Unlocking Phobia's in JW's - Steve Hassan's " Freedom of Mind " book

by flipper 29 Replies latest jw friends

  • flipper

    My wife and I finally finished Steve Hassan's latest book called " Freedom of Mind " so I wanted to devote one more thread to it in discussing how to recognize phobia's in Witnesses or cult members and some methods Hassan mentions to assist cult members.

    On pg. 146 Hassan states, " A cult phobia is a man-made mental illness that is an integral part of destructive influence. A phobia is a persistent, irrational fear. All phobias are triggered by a cue that initiates a closed cycle of fearful images, thoughts, and feelings. The cue can be an internal or external stimulus, such as a thought, image, word, smell, taste, feeling, or behavior. This stimulus causes the phobic individual to generate negative images, often subconsciously, and sometimes to imagine impending doom. Phobia's destabilize and undermine a person's view of reality, their perception of emotional and intellectual control, their self-confidence, and judgment. " So is it any wonder that Jehovah's Witnesses and other cults use these methods of phobia's to CAUSE a person to be unstable thus distorting their views of reality , emotional and intellectual control or self-confidence ?

    Hassan explains what happens during a new cult members recruitment by cults , he states, " phobias of the outside world and of the pre-cult self are methodically implanted, nurtured, and employed. The critical faculties that would allow a non-phobic person to analyze the claims of the leader and the doctrine are SHORT-CIRCUITED . Independent thinking or action is precluded. Fear prevails over logic. " Hassan continues about how cults instill fear into members stating, " The members fear's are tapped to include anything designated as a threat to the cult identity, such as any thoughts, feelings, or information critical of the cult leader , doctrine, or ORGANIZATION ; criticism of former members or the group ; any doubts or thoughts about leaving the group. Once these phobias are in place, the cult member becomes filled with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness about escaping. Cult leaders want to cultivate low self-esteem and manipulate members to work harder for praise and promotion. " It's a dangerous thing when Witnesses are controlled by these phobias as they can't see the forests through the trees or even consider exiting the cult. WE can all see there is a possibility of freedom, but they cannot, they think they are stuck for good.

    Hassan mentions 3 steps to help a cult member understand phobia's.

    " Step 1 : The cult member is told what a phobia is, how it differs from a legitimate fear, and it's potential impact. Using examples of different phobias, you explain how a cure is possible. "

    " Step 2 : As time goes by you explain how other destructive groups or people deliberately install phobias to control people. You provide several examples of cult phobias, and ask the cult member what he thinks of these OTHER groups. You give examples of how former members of other groups came to understand phobia indoctrination, and applied the cure to themselves . "

    " Step 3 : Finally, you discuss the specifics of your loved one's relationship or group. Once the person sees that his situation - like the other groups you discussed - involves phobia indoctrination, much of the hold will loosen. Ask your loved one if he has ever talked with a former member of the group who had left and is HAPPY they did so ? Would he be open to doing so, even if only to show the family that he isn't controlled through fear ? It is probably best not to attempt to do all three steps all at once, nor is it wise to spread them out over many weeks. Timing the steps so there is continuity is most effective. Ideally, you want cult members to make the connections at their own pace. "

    So that's about it that time and space allows for on the highlights of Hassan's " Unlocking Phobia's " chapter in his new book. So what do you think ? Have you seen many of these signs of phobia in Witnesses ? And what are your opinions on how some of these options may work in unlocking JW cults phobia's ? Have any of you had success in using Hassan's methods in helping JW family or friends escape the WT Society ? Look forward to your takes and comments ! Thanks ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    I'm going to read this tomorrow. It's really late, I'm really tired, but this looks really interesting.

    Thanks FLIPPER

  • OnTheWayOut

    I think a term like "the air of Satan's world" gets a trigger whenever someone is seen smoking tobacco or when cigarette smoke is detected.

    The JW automatically thinks of how evil that is.

    Whenever Christmas music is heard and slips into a JW's mind before they turn it off, it triggers their fear of starting to like the festive spirit of the world.

    Even my wife quietly freaks out whenever she is with my non-JW family and Dad offers "a toast."

    I can remember overcoming the fear of opening and reading "apostate" websites. The words "machinations of the devil" coming to mind.

    One time my wife asked me what I was reading. It was Steve Hassan's second book, RELEASING THE BONDS: EMPOWERING PEOPLE TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES. It was like the book suddenly became toxic liquid. That's not even an apostate book. I remember telling her, "It's just A BOOK! Nobody is going to keep me from reading a book."

    JW's are loaded with triggering cues.

  • perfect1

    Thanks Flipper.

  • PaintedToeNail

    flipper-Thanks for sharing this. I had one of Hassan's books, but hubby found it and it mysteriously disappeared. Anyhoo...The phobic angle makes a lot of sense. My brother and I were discussing this last night, he faded 9 years ago, yet when a guy at work mentioned eating blood sausage, my brother was immediately repelled, I would be repelled too, but much of the world at large utilizes blood in food.

    To escape being polluted by the world, I wouldn't listen to singers who were openly gay, or lead really immoral lives and had these lives plastered all over the entertainment media.

    To this day, I cannot watch doomsday or armeggedon type movies, it induces panic attacks and horrible feelings of dread!

  • notjustyet


  • freeflyingfaerie

    I would love to see the phobia-awareness happen to my family. I'll be reading that book

  • exwhyzee

    I definetly think one can be troubled/plagued by phobias in one form or another after spending their childhood and young adulthood as a JW. Perhaps I'll feel differently once I've read Hassan's book but for now I still can't quite commit to saying that the WT leaders or rank and file JW's deliberately and knowingly use cult tactics to recruit and retain members. I do think the original founders of the religion were phobics and fanatics themselves and they latched on to or developed a religion or form of worship that made their own irrational Bible/God based fears and irrational thoughts make sense. If you ever heard one of the old time leaders like Fred Franz give a talk at an assembly you'd almost think he took his speaking style from Adolph Hitler. Talk about a fanatic. Even as a little kid I knew there was some kind of imbalance going on with him. But Like anything else, if one keeps at something long enough, someone will take the bait and JW's found like minded ones who followed them for one reason or another, many of whom got caught up in it and stayed with it long after it wasn't working for them. They called these new individuals sheeplike ones who were sighing and crying in the wilderness. It's quite possible they were just scared, lost or weak minded ones or individuals who were in a particularly vulnerable place in thier lives when they encountered the JW group. I know that's what happened when my mother was first contacted. We had just moved to the U.S. from Europe, didn't have any family or support system. She and Dad were young and had no network of friends to bounce things off of. They had two young kids to look after and they found themselves out there in the wild blue yonder without a safety net or soft place to land should something go wrong. Along came some kindly but persistant Witnesses with a pre-packaged program for her to follow that seemed to make sense at first glance. She was already nervous, so their message of impending doom made her fears make all the more sense to her. She got caught up in it and slam went the door to opportunity for her children which was the main motivation for them leaving thier families and country behind in the first place.

    Maybe it's because it's what I experienced, but I defenitly think it's the first genreation JW children who get screwed up the worst and are loaded down with the same phobias that caused their parents to think when they became JW's they had found the only truth in the world. But understanding phobias and how they work, and knowing what yours are, is key to breaking free of them. It sounds like this book will be helpful in that regard, especially for former JW's.

  • flipper

    Thanks for all the replies ! Been working on lots of jobs the last few days. Sorry for the delay on the bump. Have some time to reply now.

    BREAKFAST of CHAMPIONS - Thanks. I really have been helped greatly by Steve Hassan's books and info and just want people here to see it.

    ON THE WAY OUT- Good points you make. JW's ARE affected by triggers of all kinds. Especially words or terms, and expressions that the WT Society missapplies or when WT changes definitions of words to control JW's. The experience you shared about your wife being scared of the book you were reading is a good example of how JW's have phobia's, unrealistic fears. Thanks for sharing.

    PERFECT 1- You are welcome. Hope you enjoy the information.

    PAINTEDTOENAIL- Interesting experiences. Thanks. Yeah, it's very interesting how these phobia's can still linger inside of us even years after we have exited the Witnesses ! The experience of your brother regarding sausages, you concerning Armageddon - it shows those phobia's can linger. In regards to myself I have a really difficult time when somebody tries to control me or be overly intrusive towards bossing me around or if they try to dominate me. I feel that is also a phobia I have maintained within myself as a kind of knee jerk reaction that resulted from being dominated or controlled when I was a JW. So in my life now I try to treat people on an equal , fair level and want to be on people's same level. One reason I don't tolerate people very well who are know-it-all's is I put up with that uppity attitude too much as a JW so I ain't gonna take it from anybody now ! LOL !

    NOTJUSTYET- Thanks for the marking.

    FREEFLYINGFAERIE- Good point. I'd love to see what the phobia awareness would reveal in my JW family as well. God only knows what it would reveal.

    EXWHYZEE- Interesting points you bring up. If you look at the WT Society's teachings and indoctrination methods from the beginning from Charles Russell, Rutherford, Knorr - and on down through Franz until current time - the one common theme has been use of FEAR and GUILT in creating, instilling, and implementing phobia's into the minds of Jehovah's Witnesses. Over 133 years no matter who was the WT president or on the Governing Body the modus operandi has been the same- use of fear of Armageddon to control JW's , use of guilt to make them afraid to displease GB members, elders, Circuit or District overseers who claim to represent- allegedly - " God ". It's an insidious manipulation of JW members while WT leaders have CONSTANTLY changed doctrines, ( overlapping generation theory, 1975 theory , blood doctrine, sealing of anointed in 1935, then unsealing the date) and many more crazy control tactics used to keep JW's under control creating phobias inside them through use of fear tactics and guilt. I think it's no stretch of the imagination to see it has proven to be a financial windfall for the WT Society to play upon people's phobia's. Just my opinion. To me, it's a criminal organization for doing so. Because they'll NEVER deliver the alleged " Paradise " they have promised JW's because WT leaders know they CANNOT deliver " Paradise ". It's all a scam. By keeping JW's phobic they play on that fear

  • Zordino

    So True! Marking for Later.

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