This post hopefully will get you thinking about therapy, along with good mental and emotional health if you are dealing with the traumatic choices associated with leaving JW's, or if you are considering leaving. Because it is a trauma.
Imagine a married couple in their late 30's. Because they took last weeks Watchtower seriously, they have decided to talk to an elder in their congregation because they have practiced oral sex on each other, and feel a need to confess and get "spiritual help."
And the elders in your congregation? Two single MTS grads, and an elder in his late 20's, who just got married last year. These are the spiritual doctors who will use the
cult teachings from the WatchtowerBible to help nurse you back to spiritual health and a right relationship with the big guy upstairs. Just after they ask all kinds of personal detailed questions about which position you were engaged in as you were engaged in this unclean practice.
YUCK! No one in their right mind would choose to discuss such things with such unqualified people unless made to think they had to please someone. The cult destroys healthy boundaries, and allows the penetration of idiot thoughts as those appropriate boundaries are machine gunned away at every cult meeting you attend.
And it illustrates a real issue many who leave should learn to deal with. Many of us never learned what appropriate boundaries really are. We are so used to having to answer to big brother, it can cause you to not know who to talk to or share things. It can cause you to behave in a co-dependent manner. To either be abusive yourself, or to over share and sabotage potentially healthy relationships you need.
Now, some JWs do have a semblance of boundaries. I had some on occasion. I guess looking back, if I took the whole bullshit seriously, I should have gone to the elders and let them know I watched some R rated stuff on TV. Or other things (that frankly are none of your business either gentle reader) and that was for me. Certainly, reading this website and other books was a boundary I kept for myself that I will never regret. TTATT is huge!
At least I kept something for myself. That's how I was able to leave. In my recovery, I have learned from therapy and education that we should all have healthy boundaries in our life. Our stories are important to own and share, yet, people need to earn the right to hear our story. It's not just for general consumption. And you can and should be choosy about the people in your life. The healthiest people usually are picky about that, for good reason.
Recovery means learning who we are, and setting healthy boundaries. The people in our lives should be healthy for us first. Even if we care about them, if they are not good for us, you should limit your time with them. And unfortunately, that includes many JW relatives.
Good fences make good neighbors. I get that now. Not having proper boundaries is a residue that most of us will have to deal with on the way to a better life. If you are having problems with this, get some therapy. It will help immensely.
Because of the horribly icky preoccupation this cults leadership has with sex in particular, many have had to have uncomfortable discussions with an elder about masturbation, sex practices, and other matters that are frankly none of anyone's business.
Confessions have been heard from JW's who had 4 (four!) drinks over several hours in the privacy of their own home and were concerned that that equates to drunkenness, even if it was one time.
When I was at Gilead, one young Bethelite who had no family in, (read, if he was kicked out, he truly had no where to go) was kicked out for playing "violent video games". He was turned in by his tortured 19 year old roommate. I hope he left with both middle fingers in the air and has discovered an awesome life for himself.
The GUILT and SHAME this cult engenders in every day behavior and thoughts is ridiculous. It causes mental problems and distress. That's why I wrote this. Get some relief. Don't carry their guilt thoughts around.
Agreed, boundaries are very important and for those raised in the cult it's difficult to learn to limit how much you tell people about your life and limit association with toxic people. Counselling can really help because as a JW you weren't supposed to keep anyone at arms length but for a healthy life we need to learn to do that.
Thanks Jeff. I've gotten some, but it is the push I need to make another appointment. Had some crazy stuff lately, lots of grief... like so many of us here. And I'm a PIMO in good standing! sigh.
I have been referred for EMDR for treatment of C-PTSD and Religious Trauma. I met with the therapist for the first time last week. He has family experience with JWs (sister-in-law was kicked out of her family home for smoking pot at age 16), so he knows they are a cult. Not having to bring him up to speed on that is a plus. His first recommendation was to read Facing Codependence, by Pia Mellody. Card-carrying member of the club here with very poor boundaries. Second appointment is tomorrow, so I'm not having a good day today. I just can't keep going the way things are. Thanks for posting, AllTimeJeff.
Yes, stepping over appropriate boundaries is THE definition of a high control cult like JW.
It breaks down the individual members ability to think for themselves, hence creating the infantilised situation where the Society has to tell each one how to think and behave.
There are likely several ways to get to a place of mental health, where you can feel good about yourself and not worry about what others think, unduly. I was surprised to learn how much shame I still carried. That is something I need to continue to work on daily.
Beware though, the Borg calls setting appropriate boundaries "rebellious". How dare you have a mind of your own, speak up if your conscience impels you, or reject something that clearly isn't anyone's business.
After being out of the JW religion for years, it’s shocking to read that people in the religion have had their personal boundaries and sensibilities so eroded.
They have been conned into confessing the most intimate personal details of their lives. These sexual things are none of anybody’s business.
Of course, this intrusiveness extends into other areas of the rank & file’s lives. It wouldn’t surprise me if stupid people there discuss their financial business as well. Then every damn moron there knows everything about everybody. Intelligent people in REAL life do not do this.
I’m glad I’m long gone from this idiot religion because I would never tolerate any of this.
Years ago I had my hands full of my own teenage children. I remember a kid, maybe twenty five years old, counseling me with all of the worn out cliche's and feeling oh, so wise about himself. I took it like a humble guy who needed to hear it, all of the time thinking, "wth?"
That kid got his first public talk assigned to him, gave it like a seasoned parrot, and proceeded to disappear from the congregation forever! That was the best choice he could have made. The alternative was a lifetime of trying to sound like somebody else.
And not just with matters that could disqualify someone from "privileges(??)". I would never allow the hounders to see how much and of what type of investments you have, since they will insist that you can donate them all to the washtowel or waste the money instead by going to Israel on a mission (giving them spiritual energy to expand to their Nile to Euphrates and rule the whole world, as the filthy LIE-ble blatantly exposes their purpose).
Do you wish the hounders to be able to force you into poverty and destitution? You are supposed to confess to them if you have a job that pays well (so you can quit it and donate all the "excess" funds to the washtowel). You have a few silver dimes? You will be expected to throw them away, and they will follow up on it. You might not be put out of the congregation, but your "privilege" hopes will be taken away and you will not qualify to go next time your congregation has their Israel mission. If you are already in headquarters, you risk being thrown out if they find as much as a 1964 silver dime (in Canada, it is 1968).
Yet, when they are committing major crimes (and teaching children to abide by most of these teachings is serious child abuse, whether physical contact occurs or not), no one is allowed to report them to the police. Programming their souls to destitution and slavery is a major crime against humanity and should result in substantial jail time for those hounders making these teachings and imposing them be taught to the congregation, and the death penalty for those at the top (and not the too-humane lethal injection death penalty, either). Where is the interrogation for those thugs and scum at the top?