As JWs we were programmed with rules to no end. We even had rules for what to do when the rules we knew did not apply to new situations. This constant diet of rules upon rules created our mental map that for many is still deeply ingrained below conscious awareness and still operating even though we are no longer JWs.
For many persons exiting who grew up as JWs or spent many years in the religion, they quickly develop an awareness of how they are lacking many social competencies to live in a dynamic and constant changing world. Some of the symptoms although not limited to these are:
- Being antisocial by not fully participating in-group activities at work, social gatherings, or college.
- Being afraid to take necessary risks in finding a better job, a new or better personal relationship, going back to college or some technical training.
- Moving to a new city to accept a promotion or some job related opportunity to advance your job, career, or improve the quality of life.
- Being overly preoccupied with the current Iraqi war.
- Being very judgmental of non-JWs lifestyle, actions, values and beliefs even though logically you know that it’s a dumb thing to do.
- Having a pervasive deep feeling that you just don’t belong anywhere, you feel like an alien in a foreign planet.
Currently I am teaching emotional intelligence competency trainings (EI) for companies, agencies and at the local university. In one class recently, I had one man who outscored me on an EI test, significantly. The paradox is that this man was ordered by his employer to take this training due to his conflictive personality. After I got to know this individual’s hierarchy of values, his upbringing, and current career, I understood his flawed behavioral patterns. This man is very successful in what he does as a broker in land acquisitions to put up energy wind turbines. The problem is that he is lacking empathy in how he treats his support office staff. While this incident made me very aware of how I am not a very social person, I am very comfortable with whom I am at this time in my life. Moral of the story is nothing is a problem unless it’s a problem.
So what do you do if you are having serious problems with point #2?
This condition is due to your mind accessing programmed fear while being a JW. Cognitive approaches to overcome this fear for the most part seldom work. In order to break through “real imaginary fears” you need to access the fear and then do something to recondition the body to over ride the mental program or circuit. I broke through many of my fears through my technical training in NLP. While this approach works wonders the average person does not have the money or time or both to do this. I have personally done and taught ropes courses and this is one approach I highly recommend. I used to think fire walks were hokey but now am a firm believer due to the concept of cellular learning of accessing and using states of empowerment. Things like skydiving, I am sure also function just as well.
I am also a firm believer in taking continuing education classes at the local college or university where you may do a lot of experiential learning. Remember the objective is to chain your state of fear into one of total and complete congruence to do something you want. This is a state of being unstoppable and it’s a state the JWs did not want you to have. If you think about junior high and high school, many states of empowerment could have been programmed into your neurology through competitive sports. Being raised in the JW bubble you have to fill in those gaps or competencies you are now lacking. One analogy is this; imagine skipping several years of school or failing them and ending up in college lacking key courses. In order to be accepted you need a certain score on an entrance exam. If your score is unacceptable you will need to take remedial courses to make up for the lack of knowledge. Life is like that; if you are lacking certain competencies to play the game of life, better work on it, ASAP to avoid being doomed to a life of quiet desperation.
You can read further in this article I wrote years ago soon after exiting JWs.
"No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.