After leaving the WTS have you been left with a phobia about being happy?

by Xanthippe 19 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Xanthippe

    After reading Flipper's thread about Steve Hassan's latest book it got me thinking about the stuff on phobias he mentions. Apparently cults deliberately instill phobias in you to cut you off from the real world.

    We were constantly being told if we were struggling it showed we were doing everything right because the devil only persecutes those that are doing well.

    If I ever said to anyone I am thinking of taking up a hobby or doing some exercise or (very rarely) planning a holiday they were instantly critical. 'How do you have time for that, what about doing more field service'.

    I think maybe I've been struggling for years with the fear of doing things to be happy. I'm not giving up on it, I like being happy, but it but it seems to be more of a struggle than it should be. People who have never been in the Borg easily accept that it is their right to be happy, which of course it is. So I think it must be a phobia, like Hassan says.

    You know - if everything is going well the Devil has already got you - these things sink in as a small kid don't they? I often have this feeling that everything is going so well it's bound to go belly-up any minute.

    I've got to fight the programming. This make any sense to anyone?

  • Left in the Cold
    Left in the Cold

    Yes. It makes a lot of sense. I've only "been out" for a couple of months, but I'm seeing that I think I'm going to need some help from a trained individual to be able to live up to my potential. I was a born in. You're right. That stuff does stay in your head when you're taught it at such a young age. I am always waiting for the "other shoe to drop" so to speak. I don't have advice, but I can tell you that it's not just you. You're not alone.

  • FlyingHighNow

    I was a person who was prone to a bit of anxiety naturally. Then in steps WTBTS into my life around the time my brother died, when I was 17. They played on my fears, like they did everyone. FF in time and I just couldn't do the WT thing anymore. I stopped going when I was 31. My anxiety and fear level didn't adjust back to normal. Finally, I was blessed with a wonderful therapist and I've been seeing her for about 5 years. I am doing much better, but still have work to do. Edited to add. I started into therapy when I was 48.

    As for happiness? Happiness can come in doses here and there. It's rare that anyone gets a whole life of happiness from end to end. What I do is count my blessings, especially when I am having a rough time. It sounds cliche'. I know. But when you begin to count your blessings, it just changes something inside of you, which is your perspective, for the good. The JW's steal people's perspective and grasp and reality of their situations. If you can get that back, perpective, then you can begin to enjoy many more happy, joyous, contented times.

  • cult classic
    cult classic

    When we first left I would get things twinges of guilt for no reason. It was definitely the cult conditioning of having to be busy and active. It will pass. Recognizing it for the brainwashing that it is is the most important thing.

  • FlyingHighNow

    Trying to see yourself as a basically good person can be difficult after leaving the JWs.

  • Xanthippe

    Mm the problem is, as the shrinks all say, that when you have a trauma all the phobias and 'stuff' that you think has been taken care of pops right back up, which I think it did when my husband died four years ago. But onward and upward, as they say. It's not like starting again, but stress and shock tend to put you back where you were - just for a while. And these things happen to us all.

  • Finkelstein

    One thing for certain is people who've been associated with the the JWS for a very long time have consumed and mentally indoctrinated

    by a stream of fear induced phobias about the outside world. There is constant lamenting that the most human activities and social behaviors

    are dreadfully evil and these people and their actives should and will be eventually destroyed.

    But if you stay within the parameters of god's earthly organization the JWS/WTS. then your doing everything right in god's eyes and you will

    be accordingly rewarded at the soon to come day of judgment.

    So much of this insinuation gets implied that many people who step out of the JWS, fumble over themselves to their own detrimental

    personal fatality. The reason can be pointed to the overwhelming implication that most social activities by non-JWS are ALL evil under the umbrella

    direction of Satan himself.

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    We've all been guilted pretty hard while in. Feeling normal or OK in the outside world almost feels like a sin. Like I'm not entitled to feel this good outside of that religion. It took some time and therapy. I was lucky to have not received the indoctrination since birth

  • happytobefree

    Xanthippe...I can totally relate. My father use to wake us up every day at 5:00 a.m. to study Watchtower crap and I think he said this everyday after the study and when we were either preparing for school, field service or going to the KH. You can never be successful without Jehovah.

    I'm 44 years old...never was a strong witness and have been totally out for 12 years...but that crap still plays in my head. I've had years of therapy, very active social life, very successful in my love life, business and have a wonderful family (JW and nonJW). But I have that freaking phrase in the back of my head.

    ....but I really believe Happy is a state of mind. You can teach yourself how to be happy. It just take practice. Start with somethings that you enjoy and make a point of doing something everyday.

  • cobaltcupcake

    I never thought about it this way before, but there's emotional trauma involved in the JW indoctrination, certainly spiritual trauma. Maybe that's why so many of us are anxiety prone and phobic.

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