aspects of shunning
many members on here have been shunned. we know whats its like--and the effect it has had on our lives.
but what about those of us who practiced shunning before--when we were members of the watchtower cult ?
how did it make you feel ? bad ? good ? superior ? more " spiritual"?
do you think it did any good ? did the shunned person return to the cult as a result ?
or did it drive them further away--or permanently ?
do you really think it serves any positive purpose ?
I remember when I was younger I was afraid to sit in the back row next to a disfellowshipped girl, it was the only seat left. Later my attitude changed. I was still fully in and believed it was the truth, but I would go out of my way to look for loopholes to show kindness to disfellowshipped people, even those I didn't know. Funny thing is, when a relative of mine was disfellowshipped I went back to being strict, thinking it was a test and I was being faithful.
I felt awkward around DFed people. As a kid I think I was kind of scared of them. Curious though, as to what their life was like. Now that's just with people that I actually saw.
With people that got DFed and I never saw again I did feel superior. They were so stupid but I was so smart for choosing the right path.
I never had to do much shunning in person. When my younger brother was DFed I struggled. The situation was strange, the elders were assholes, and it was my first personal glimpse into it all. I realized that it was more about crime and punishment, or in his case assumed crime, and really messed up.
I chased after my brother even after he was DFed. I wanted to help him. I left notes on his car that he apparently never got. I wanted him to know that not all congregations were as messed up as what we grew up in. I'd later find out I was wrong there too. Anyway, I did care genuinely and wanted to help.
Eventually I spent years reading books on psychology, emotional health, narcissism, etc. I realized how horrific the act of shunning was. It is psychological manipulation and torment. My first act of rebellion was finding my brother on Facebook and reaching out with an apology. The rest is history.
So I had a complicated relationship with it all. Sometimes I felt superior, sometimes awkward, other times compassionate, it was circumstantial.
Shunning brings some back if they had close ties that they missed, though they came back for the wrong reason. It pushes others away and they'll never go back to such conditional relationships. So much is variable. It depends on individual personalities, circumstances, etc.
I believe, without much evidence, that shunning drives more further away than if it were not practiced in its present form.
But of course, the JW Cult uses it to control those still left within, they really are shit-scared of ex-JW's communicating the Truth about the Org.
My personal experience was one of shame when, in my early 20's, I blanked a couple who were DF'd, I felt so uncomfortable doing it I resolved never to do so again.
For the following decades that I was in I always spoke to DF'd ones, welcomed them to the K.Hall with a smile and found them a seat, not at the back unless they insisted, some did.
I was never censured for any of this, I think the Elders knew my response would expose how very unchristian the whole shunning thing is !
To my great regret, the JW religion and its practices “fit” into some twisted, wounded part of my soul — a part that is finally healing and growing and learning —
But the religion’s darker aspects (like shunning) fit into my “punishing” mental aspect at the time... I felt very spiritual, loyal, faithful, whatever crap, when I studiously shunned someone.
I remember actually feeling surprised when a DF’d person would be hurt or angry by my shunning them, because weren’t they supposed to appreciate my faithful stand and be moved to return to Jehovah...??
(If they responded angrily, it meant my shunning was “justified” because they obviously didn’t appreciate or understand the loving discipline and spiritual correction from Jehovah... And if they seemed sad, this was very confusing to me too, because perhaps it meant they didn’t understand or appreciate spiritual things...?)
The very thought of that mindset now makes me sick to my stomach. It hurts my head, and heart.
I felt bad ignoring people that were obviously right in front of me. It didn't feel right. I remember If I saw a DFd person in the street or in a shop my heart would be pounding. That's how much a cult get get into your head, control your emotional reactions.
The ones who were DFd I used to say never looked happy, but now I know that because no one walks around with a smile on their face 24/7. I was sure that they'd be DFd fairly because the elders were so loving and insightful right? (barf)
When I was a kid I was kind of scared of df'd people....If someone said "that person is df'd" it was like they had done something really wrong and I was to avoid them. As I got older I just saw it kind of as penitence, and i didn't think twice about ignoring a df'd person. Now, of course, I think how sick and conditioned I was. I also never questioned the shunning policy (at all) until i was out. I never had family or close friends df'd so that would have been different maybe.
When I came back to being a witness after a short stint "outside" I remember a childhood friend of mine called me and wanted to meet to catch up. I knew he'd been df'd and I told him I couldn't. Fast forward a decade later and I found him on facebook and wrote to apologize to him about treating him that way. I felt (feel) awful about doing that. He didn't ever write back - that's his choice and I respect it.
I feel very bad about my shunning family and others while heavily into the cult. I have tried to come to terms with the fact that I now am shun and in a way I get to experience the harm I inflicted on people when a loyal dub. I have little if any anger over those that shun me as I understand their situation, and hold no grudges toward R&F but do have a very real hatred of these dumb asses at the top of the Watchtower policy making machine and would feel much glee over seeing these ass holes in jail or begging in the streets homeless. Because these guys are some seriously fucked up delusional megalomaniacs who will inflict harm of children causing them to become martyrs for their corporation, and putting children danger of being molested.
I always felt bad for them. I always smiled or put my hand on their shoulder and patted it. I even spoke to one DF'd cong. member when he had a death in his family. I didn't care if anyone was offended by it. I am typically known for not cooperating. lol I don't march to things I don't feel are right. Maybe that is why I was not your typical JW.
going back over 50 years..my pal's older brother was d/f for adultery, we had to shun him, he seemed to stay out for years.
the brother that conducted studies with my mum and dad--and seperately with me--as a kid.....also had a study with a young married couple his own age.. long story short--he ended up shagging the wife, both fessed up and were d/f for it. husband divorced the wife. they were shunned--but after a year were reinstated and married.
i dont think shunning made a scrap of difference. the first mentioned chap was putting it around--and going to casinos--smoking--living the high life. no intention of going back--not till years later
the adulterous couple merely served their time and were reinstated and welcomed back with open arms.