I was going to add some thoughts to another thread, but it is now locked. It took a long time to gather my nerve up to post a new topic, and I'll probably regret it, but I couldn't feel any crappier than I do today, (well, yes I could) so, whatever.
Perhaps the following - taken from a book I've read a million times - will be of help to someone... yeah, it's another stupid trauma analysis ... however, if you've ever been a Jehovah's witness, you have been traumatized, and no doubt must contend dearly with at least some afteraffects. In the spirit of compassion and empathy only I am posting this.
From: Trauma and Recovery, Judith Lewis Herman, MD, Assoc. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard medical School
Traumatic events call into question basic human relationships. They breach the attachments of family, friendship, love, and community. They shatter the construction of the self that is formed and sustained in relation to others. They undermine the belief systems that give meaning to human experience. They violate the victim's faith in a natural or divine order and cast the victim into a state of existential crisis.
Traumatic events have primary effects not only on the psychological structures of the self but also on the systems of attachment and meaning that link individual and community. Traumatic events can destroy the victim's fundamental assumptions about the safety of the world, the positive value of the self, and the meaningful order of creation.
..... Traumatized people feel abandoned, utterly alone, cast out of the human and divine systems of care and protection that sustain life. Thereafter, a sense of alienation, of disconnection, pervades every relationship, from the most intimate familial bonds to the most abstract affiliations of community and religion.
The belief in a meaningful world is formed in relation to others and begins in earliest life. More abstract questions..... the order of the world, the individual's place in the community, the human place in the natural order are normal preoccupations of adolescence and adult development. Resolution of these questions of meaning requires the engagement of the individual with the wider community. Traumatic events, once again, shatter the sense of connection between individual and community, creating a crisis of faith in (INSERT JUST ABOUT ANYTHING YOU VALUED AND LOST HERE). The damage to the survivor's faith and sense of community is particularly severe when the traumatic events themselves involve the betrayal of important relationships.
A war veteran's experience: Rescued at sea after his ship was sunk, the veteran became most upset when revealing how he felt let down by his OWN SIDE.... they had been in the water for 12 hours when a torpedo boat destroyer picked them up. Of course, the officers in the lifeboats were taken up first. The 8 or 9 other men, clinging to a raft, had to wait in the water for 6 hours later until help came. Some of these men drowned as they awaited rescue. The rescuers' disregard for the men's lives was more traumatic for him than were the enemy attack, the physical pain of submersion in freezing water, the terror of death, and the loss of the other men who shared his ordeal. The indifference of the rescuers destroyed his faith in his community.
In the aftermath of the event, the survivor exhibited not only classic PTSD symptoms but also evidence of pathological grief, disrupted relationships, and chronic depression. He had, in fact, a profound reaction to violence of any kind and could not see others being hurt, threatened, or injured.... However, he claimed that he felt like striking people suddenly and had become very disruptive to his own family. He remarked: "I wish I were dead; I make everybody around me suffer..."
The contradictory nature of this man's relationships is common to traumatized people. Because of their difficulty in modulating intense anger, survivors oscillate between uncontrolled expressions of rage and intolerance of aggression in any form..... His own inconsistency was one of the sources of his own torment.
Similar oscillations occur in the regulation of intimacy. Trauma impels people both to withdraw from close relationships, and to seek them desperately. The traumatized person therefore alternates between isolation, and internal self-loathing for needing others. Their capacity for intimacy is compromised by intense and contradictory feelings of need and fear.
More than a few topics posted in this forum have to do with the question of "why do I/we/they" come here? Sometimes people - especially those who've been betrayed by their most important family members, their life-long friends, even their god - find themselves so alone in the world that the 'safest' place they can find is this message board, graciously provided by a couple who should be given a mother Theresa award someday. Our pain, and our struggle to heal from it, drives us, sometimes drives us crazy.... I find it amazing how soothing a kind word can be here, how vulnerable some people will allow themselves be here, how much courage it takes to risk asking for help here, and how much this "community" can do and has done to repair damaged lives... of course, one must "duck" and try not to get splattered on occasion, but sometimes it's worth it.
Right now my cell phone is in the fish tank, and my lost inner-drama queen is talking to a million drunken strangers, but I can remember my piano, and hold close to my heart some of the most caring gestures I've ever experienced in my life, received from people who don't know me from nothing..........................