Just How Dysfunctional Are We?

by Englishman 29 Replies latest jw friends

  • outoftheorg

    Well let me throw in my two cents. It is my opinion that the cult atmosphere does cause several levels of dysfunction in an individual. Based on how long one is exposed to it, or raised in it, or the level of participation when in the cult. Ones own mental strength or ability or the lack of these would also have an effect.

    So I believe that we are dealing with many different levels of dysfunction and function on this forum and in the world in general for instance.

    I think it is the most difficult for ones (like myself) that are born into an active participating family in the cult.

    When I got out of the cult I found that I had no (original personality) to restore or go back to. Ones not born into a cult would have the original personality to reactivate and go on with their life. I found that in my case, my only option was to work diligently in an effort to build a functioning social life and through this a social awareness and abilities.

    It was difficult and is still a process in progress.

    On the other hand the wbts thinks one who leaves the organization is dysfunctional. So this allows me to have some pride in my dysfunctionality. Is there such a word?

    So I lose or do I win? Either way.


  • Francois

    Hummmm. I think that 'pends on how you define dysfunctional. The sad fact is that religious cults do indeed attract dysfunctional people in the first place. So how could anyone fresh out of a cult like the JWs be anything but dysfunctional, even if only mildly so?

    Ya gotta admit, when you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. That doesn't mean you can't rid yourself of the fleas, tho'. So pick off your fleas and pick yourself up and have another charge at life. Even presidents of the Newnited States Gummint can be dysfunctional. Look at Clinton.


  • Maverick

    I must say one of the reasons I enjoy this interaction is to "see" from differing veiwpoints.Outofhteorg brought up a point I had never even considered. I was 24 when I first started to "study" with the J-duds. I had been through college and had a job as an artist and lived on my own. So I had established myself in the world. I cannot imagine what it must be like to growup and be totally immuresed in that culture. To have nothing but the culture and no idea how to integrate into non-witness society. I do remember a young man who left Bethel comming into the Cong. and not knowing how to register a car or open a bank account. I just thought he was goofy! But now I see it is part of the "control"! Maverick

  • ozziepost

    Well, you guys, it's an interesting topic but I wouldn't be too concerned what people say who are "looking back in anger".

    But to address this "dysfunction" thing, I take dysfunction to mean that a person cannot function normally and rationally. It seems to me that this does apply to many who've exited the Borg. In their sense of unreality they cling to dbs like this one as if cyber-space was reality. So I guess dysfunction is a characteristic of some exDubs.

    HOWEVER, many posters on JWD (I cannot comment on other places) seem perfectly "normal" and have indeed got on with their lives. Again, as Eman says "whatever that means". It would seem to me that unless the exDub has truly walked along the road to freedom, they will remain stuck in a Dub mindset, even if they've not associated with the Dubs for many years. Without "moving on" in the sense of adopting a new set of values/beliefs they will still have the vestiges of Borg beliefs. I see this as being the biggest "problem" with so many exDubs. They simply haven't replaced their Dub beliefs. Oh yes, they can have anger against the WTS, but what of their personal beliefs?

    Cheers, Ozzie

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Some interesting thoughts here.

    I think to some extent all who exist in any cult are dysfunctional in regards to the outside world even though they may be fully functional and perhaps even successful within the cult walls. It is a matter of perspective and situation.

    As a "good little elder's wife" I functioned very well until the depression started. Then I became dysfunction based on their definition of what I "should" be doing.

    As the "good little JW" I functioned very well when at work or other "worldly" things.

    After I left I was a mess - very dysfunctional in most parts of my life - except that I went to college and graduated with honors - very function. (think my brain was starved for real knowledge)

    But there were things I could not do. Going to my friend's wedding in a church was scary. Discovering that the cult had lied to me clearly helped me realize how spiritually dysfunctional I was.

    Socially I had a hard time because there were a lot of gaps in my development. Whether that was based on the cult or abuse before I became a JW or a combination might never be clear but probably both. I learned to function very well as long as I could be the one in charge. --->I'd rather be the one giving the speech. But put me in a room full of strangers and expect me to socialize is a disaster in the making -----> see wallflower

    Just writing this I begin to see the shades of dysfunction - OK in one part of life but having more trouble in another.

    Most JW males have to work in the world. The women traditionally work at home. Does this give men an edge when they leave? Or does it backfire because they may lose the one status symbol they have while they are a JW?

    I think too that for those who leave and all their family and friends are still "in" they will have a much harder time adjusting to the outside world than those who have family/supports on the outside ready to welcome them back into the real-world family.

    Regardless of the situation there will be a period of adjustment which a person might be "dysfunctional" in one or more parts of their life. How quickly they adjust would depend on a wide range of factors - time in, supports after they leave, whether thay had a life before joining, personal resiliency, and degree of trauma (walk-aways vs DFed).

    None of this is good. But hey we survived a cult and in these days when we hear of those who die in a cult we are doing well indeed

  • outoftheorg

    Ozzie mentions, that a person needs to shed The beliefs and get on with their lives. I certainly agree. I did not have this thought in mind when I first got out. But for some reason my first actions revolved around destroying the legitimacy of the wbts teachings in my mind. Read C of C and other books and talked to others. I intentionally broke and disregarded their "laws" such as flag salute, standing up and saluting at games, smoking a cigar. Smoking a cigar still brings a smile to my face and feels sort of like giving the wbts the finger, I guess.

    I got busy in destroying any and all lingering wbts teachings. Looked over my moral beliefs and discarded some and modified others and kept some.

    This became the first and only time in my life that I made all these decisions and was not led or pushed into agreeing with my mother or the wbts or the elders or other influences. This was where the true ME took over my life and my thinking and my beliefs.

    I still have some problem socially with a large group of people. I can't totaly blame this on the cult experience, since I am somewhat introverted and shy.

    It has been a hard job at times but well worth the effort. So I would encourage everyone to put forth the effort and not get lost or bogged down in the thoughts or belief that one is stuck in this mess or that they can never be functional.

    I believe that there are very few people, inside or outside of cults etc. that are fully functional, as functional is described in the psychiatry books. I also believe that fully functional families are few and far between in society as a whole.

    I wouldn't lose a lot of sleep over the thought that we are not fully functional and therefore permanently damaged. We can still have a life and enjoy it, if we put some thought into our actions and the consequences these actions may bring.



    People who live in countrys where drinking warm beer is acceptable,are extremely dysfuntional.....OUTLAW

  • hillary_step


    Watch out that someone does not mistake you for a penguin - it could be a very painful experience - warm or cold.


  • ThiChi

    Some are dysfunctional. Some are not. Some are poor debaters, some are controlling, some are giving, some are kind, some are wise, some seem to have never left the Jws, some are what I like to call "professional victims," because everything they do now is the result of their contact with the Jws....

    What a mixed bag! I love it.


    Hey hillary_step,that hurts just thinking about it....LOL!...OUTLAW

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