Guilt as Motivator

by LifesNotOver 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • LifesNotOver

    I've just come across this idea: I've been feeling guilty about not contributing more to this forum, given all the help I've received here. I feel guilty that I haven't had it as bad as so many of you. I feel guilty that I didn't have any JW family/friends that shunned me when I left. I feel guilty that I wasn't born in and had a so-called normal childhood and adulthood until I became a JW in my mid-fifties. I feel guilty that I had the strength to leave the JW's, my husband and my town. I feel guilty that I get to start my life anew. I feel guilty - not wanting to give back to this community. Just wanting to move on and live my life. Wanting to not only leave the JW's but the ex-JW's. No longer wanting to identify as an ex-JW.

    Is this part of the FOG? I don't want to live my life in reaction to my guilty feelings. I don't even know what that would look like, to live a life not reacting to some imaginary guilt. I've felt guilty for some reason or another all my life. My biggest decisions have been made as a result of guilt. This all goes very deep. What am I getting at here? I'm just starting to examine this concept. I'm opening this to discussion if anyone wants to go there. Maybe with some suggestions for books on the subject? Or some words of personal experience? Thanks!

  • Saethydd

    My best suggestion would be to try and find a qualified therapist, it sounds like you may have a form of clinical depression if guilt is a constant motivator in your life. It would most like be genetic, caused by childhood events, or a severe trauma in adulthood. Why the JW religion may not have necessarily caused it, I'm sure it didn't help.

  • kpop

    Lifesnotover I think the best thing to do is go to a professional for help. I know for me it is very difficult to deal with this situation but so far I have managed but many cannot.

  • LifesNotOver

    Reading over my OP this morning and seeing what others see. I sounded like a crazy person. Thank you, Saethydd and kpop. I agree I need professional help. I just wanted to move on with my life, kind of skipping through life and being happy and joyful and making new friends. Holding onto that high and feeling of power I experienced when I first left the JWs, my husband, and my town. And reclaimed my extended non-JW family. And moved closer to my son and daughter and grandchildren. Living joyfully is not something that can be done so easily, as it turns out, not something that can be done simply using willpower and wishpower if there is such a thing.

    I have been in group therapy the last eight weeks, this being the last week, and it's been helpful, but now is bringing up deeper issues that I'll be dealing with on my own unless I get some help.

  • kpop
    FOG? Ok so I had to look it up and I found on this website Fear Obligation Guilt! That is exactly what the JW uses! I will have to keep this in mind when I speak with my family (eventually!)
  • snare&racket

    It's a huge element to being a JW.

    I remember consciously remember the relief of letting go of the perpetual, inescapable guilt that is unhealthy.

    Those hormones responses and and sensitivities remain even when we leave, as a JW that guilt was purposefully cultivates as it was a strong motivator for WT's wants.

    With time it dissipates but even now I will have moments where I have to fight the feeling of inexplicable guilt and it is, in my opinion, a remenant of the JW past.

    btw; it gets so much better/easier as time passes and the letting go of perpetual guilt is one of the significant & rewarding benefits of leaving the JW cult.

  • flipper

    LIFESNOTOVER- Great thread, thanks for posting it . I was a born-in JW from birth, I escaped the JW cult at age 44 back in 2003- and I DO really understand about guilt as well plaguing us as EX-JW's. My elder dad STILL tries to guilt me 13 years after I got out of the cult ! But I've moved on and continued to live MY life the best way I can WITHOUT guilt. It's just another tactic that ALL mind control cults use is guilt and fear to control their members and sometimes it's hard to lose that indoctrination in our minds - even if we've been out of the JW's for awhile. So I empathize- been there, experienced that.

    The suggestions of therapy are really great from the other posters- right now I'm getting some grief therapy counseling after my mom died over 2 months ago and it's really helping me to sort out my anger issues towards my older JW elder dad and helping me to NOT feel guilt about the JW influence from his guilt tactics towards me - and it's helping me deal with how I tried to help my mom , but my dad got in the way of me helping towards the end of my mom's life - and the therapist helped me to see that I did the best I could to make my mom comfortable- in spite of my dad's controlling ways.

    I wish you the best my friend , please take care of YOU and enjoy life. Life is meant to be enjoyed- guilt free for sure

  • Worldling9

    LNO! Great hearing from you again. You have made some really big strides toward having the life you want. I agree that it's a good idea to explore where the guilt is coming may well have begun before your JW life and perhaps the dubs fed into it. You can still learn to just relax and be happy. That is my wish for you.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    I feel guilty that I haven't had it as bad as so many of you - this is definitely one feeling of guilt that you can throw away.

    It's nothing to do with you how bad other posters have had it.

    Have you thought about seeing a counsellor? Or do you have a really good friend outside the WT?

  • stuckinarut2

    Keep in mind, that the only power people or situations have over you, is that which you allow.

    That keeps things in perspective.

    Also, a great quote I read somewhere said:

    "Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it"

    Much love!

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