In another thread, canleave made the comment "I spent my childhood feeling conspicuous"
I can really relate to this, so I wanted to start my own thread.
Growing up as a JW from birth, I was a really shy, nervous child and hated being different from all the other kids. I can't remember one day when I was happy at school. I felt isolated and always scared of having to 'make a stand for the truth.' I was bullied a lot. Not physically, but just the constant drip feed of name-calling, snarky comments and humiliation. There are a few incidents that can still bring me to tears if I think about them. I remember the tight feeling in my chest as I walked to school every day, dreading what the day would bring.
My mother (pillar of the congregation) became a JW in her 20s, and I knew she would never understand that feeling of sheer terror as you walk into the classroom. I never really talked to her about how I was feeling as, I guess, I felt guilty. She is a confident, forthright, zealous person and I knew she was expecting me to witness to the other kids. It simply wasn’t in my nature. How could I tell her I used to look around the school and wonder ‘why can’t I be like everyone else?’ It wasn’t that I wanted to do anything bad, I just wanted to be like all the other kids and do all the normal things they were doing.
One of my sisters was like my mum, brimming with confidence and loved witnessing to all the kids. She would hold bible studies in the lunch break. She later told me that she loved the feeling of power that being a JW gave her, the knowledge that she was going to live forever and she could save peoples lives. She was held up as an example in the congregation, and was trotted out at conventions to give her experiences.
Over the years I have grown in confidence, although I am still quite shy and full of self-doubt. I’m a bit of a loner and I hate being the centre of attention. I’ve never felt ‘good enough’ even when I’ve excelled. People have told me that I am clever, kind, sweet, caring, generous, and an all round lovely person. I never quite believe them. I know that my childhood experiences have caused this.
If anyone reading this is still a JW and bringing up kids, please understand that each child is different. Some JW kids thrive in school because they are naturally confident. Don’t forget that for children who are naturally shy and nervous, their school years are a long, drawn-out torturous process full of fear and isolation, that eats away at your child mentally and emotionally.