Facing JW-philosophy demons
I'm new to JW-boards. Although I left JW's 7yrs ago
I am now really starting to suffer emotionally and I
think psychologically too. I've messed up my last year in
college and can't seem to write papers or learn anymore.
I was doing great and even received an award for excellence in
constitutional law. Now I can't even relate to friends or family.
My boyfriend has urged me to get prof. help for the past year but
I thought I could handle it myself. Ha! Not a chance. Last week I
suffered acute anxiety attacks that had me planning a trip to the
drug store for sleeping pills. I've never prayed as much as I did
last week. So I now turn to you guys out there. (My current friends don't understand since none are ex-JW's) I need advice from
people that can understand what it means to leave JW's. Just reading
about ex-JW's has already helped me a lot. Thanks! to all who write.
May God bless you all, Emyrose
Sorry to hear about the problems you are having. I'm no doctor, but I have gone through different stages of depression over the years. I am wondering if you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It happens when something traumatic happens to you, but you haven't yet fully dealt with the resulting emotions/issues. I don't know your story, but we have all left the Society, and the leaving process can scar us in one way or another.
Please speak to a professional, even just your local G.P. He/she may proscribe some anti-depressants, or at least help you to discuss what is making you feel the way you do.
Please take good care of yourself. Make sure you get some rest and eat fresh foods. You are fortunate to have a caring boyfriend. He may not understand exactly what you are going thru, but it is nice to have someone's shoulder to lean upon.
And stick around! Post any concerns you have. There are plenty of caring people here who are willing to assist you.
oops! I've been reading more posts and didn't
realize its customery to do an intro. Here's
my story. I grew up in West Harlem. My family
moved there when I was four. One day a very sweet
eldery man came to our door and my parent's accepted
a bible study for my older sister, my older brother and
myself because they thought it would help us learn English.
I was five and never really wanted to study but was pushed
by my older siblings and when I was 10 I stopped (but my sister
didn't and was in JW's until five years ago. She left at 29.)
But I started studyng again at 16 since my family is very disfunctional, both my parents come from abusive families. My dad never kept in touch with family and neither did my mom. SHe was an orphan and any family she had didn't want her or helped her much. (My dad has physically and emotionally abused my mom all thru out their marriage) I only know my immediate family and have never met cousins or grandparents, etc. My older brother is seriously mentally ill and has never held a job and still lives w/ my parents at 36. He's never seen a psy. doc. due to family denial. I think he may be schizophrenic. I found support and friendship in the cong. but when I began to ask ?'s it got ulgy. I guess it was too much for them to deal with. I studied every detail and researched extensively, which might have scared them to death. I got ice-cold treatment for months and then some sisters began to be nasty and rude to me. I complained and got no help. I never trusted most of the elders (some never spoke to anyone but other elders) so I went to sisters for help. I just got to hear gossip about HER/HIM and it was tit for tat all over the place. I got frustrated and left. But perhaps what bothered me more is the lack of logic that many subscribe to when
analyzing scripture. I would think to myself "How dumb can they be or is it that I'm just a genius and can see easily what they can't." The more research I did (and believe me I was praying and hoping that I would see logic in some WT teachings)the more I saw flawed reasoning.
I been out for almost 7yrs now and have recently noticed JW-philosopy has damaged the way I relate to others. But the main teachings they imprint on minds is not so easliy seen. The notion of being absolutely and concretely morally superior than others makes us moral Nazis. I can't seem to see good in many people. I've managed to alienated my boyfriend of four yrs. At one point he was so in love with me but because I can't seem to be non-judgemental towards him and his life we have beening fighting a whole lot. I've lost friends because they were not moral enough or nice enough to me. I expect people to be perfect, including myself. This superior-complex makes us constantly measure other mercilessly by simplistic and inaccurate rules. We learn to be piously incompassionate.
But Jehovah or WHatever you may call HIM/HER is love and will help us.
This is not fancy advice, but stop it. Stop judging others and stop judging yourself. We all are imperfect and just trying to figure out the best we can as to how to live and get along. I know that being judgemental is part of our Witness heritage. It is a very damaging part of our heritage. Accept yourself first with all your strengths and all your weaknesses as well, and do the same with others. There is nothing wrong with being imperfect and making mistakes. It is part of the human condition.
I know what you mean when you say you can't explain it to those who have never been through the Witness experience, but you can here because we know and we do understand. Please hang in there during a very tough time.
My advice is to seek professional help. You sound as thpough you may be depressed or perhaps you have an anxiety disorder. Your primary care physician could probably help by either prescribing medication and/or referring you to a psychologist or psychiatrist. I have a long family history of mental illness and have been treated for depression myself. If you are suffering from a mood disorder, you can deal with it much easier when you have professional help than when you try to deal with it yourself.
Emyrose-I don't know what happened to my reply I usally
mess up and it ends up posting twice this time nothing.
So just short and sweet you need to get help now! I too
have been close way too close it gets way too scary.
So before you get to the point where every breath [every one]
hurts and takes incredible energy to take, please get help.
I usally have a song reference in my posts.So here it is
"You've got a Friend" and it seems like many more than
just me. Call on us will be there put you must -must get to a Dr. and get on something ASAP.
A friend whose been there-Mark
Emy, Larc makes a good point. I think we all tend to be judgemental when leaving the WTS. There really isn't much thought involved either, it would seem we're kind of conditioned to feel aversion toward anything that is against JW doctrine. I think one thing that is helpful to bear in mind is that God looks at the heart, and while we can't read hearts it's good to look at people that way rather than their behavior, because morality is actually a relatively shallow way of looking at things. And as you say, God is love, and that's how we want to think isn't it?
Thankyou for your advice and kindness. I really
appreciate your much needed help. May God bless you for it.
I would like to know if anyone ever had the problem of being
instinctually too judgemental. If so, did you just focus on the positives of a person or situation, or did you say specific things
to yourself? Did anyone also ruin relationships,and if you did how did you tackle it. I find it very hard to control my reactions to
people. I keep thinking that they should be more unselfish, but the
funny thing is most people think I'm too opinionated on the subject.
I think to understand judgement it's important to recognize that we have expectations. (I also recommend looking up the quote I posted in Mental Health under the Emotional Stages thread Larc started) We have these expectations on how things "should" be, which as you know may not even be correct, but in comparing people to these ideals we then become judgemental.
I can appreciate your frustration about people being selfish, because that does appear to be the case for the majority, most of the time. But to me, the reality of altruism and agape love is that you're really doing for both yourself and others. After all, you can't completely ignore your own needs in order to care for others, if nothing else there's the basic physical need for food, water, and rest. Even Jesus said it's a matter of loving your neighbor AS yourself. If you don't love yourself how can you know how to love others? I think this is where the logic of the golden rule gets twisted, because sometimes we judge ourselves thinking it reminds us of what we need to work on, so we do unto others as we have done to ourselves and judge them too. I think we also need to recognize how self-centered such thinking is, because we are judging others by OUR standards and perceptions. So I think there's truth to this idea that you have to love yourself before you love others, but the point is it allows you to relate and really have compassion for others. It's important to not twist this around too, of course, and become all self-centered in everything you do. But I think if we start looking at ourselves for a change, we'll see that we have the same faults that others do, and once we really see this we can forgive ourselves as well as others.
I started a thread called, "Five emotional stages of leaving the JWs" on the Mental Health forum. Stephen and Itrospection made some good, thoughtful comments there. Perhaps that thread could give you some food for thought.
I think a good thing to work for is acceptance. Try to accept yourself and others with all their flaws, blemishes and imperfections. After all, you are doing the best you know how, so forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Likewise, try to recognize that most other people are trying to do the best they know how as well.