Years ago son raised a few years as a JW. Now struggles with depression
The only antidote to their anxiety inducing lies is research and information. Would he be willing to visit JWfacts?
That's a start. But after the foundation of your faith is taken away, then what? You realize there will be no paradise, evildoers won't be destroyed, etc., but where do you go from there? It's almost like grieving a death. He's going to have to reexamine his values, create a belief system, and figure out what his purpose in life is. All without the JW faith as a basis. Truth is freeing, but can also be overwhelming. Maybe I'm projecting, as this is something I struggle with as well.
I would suggest professional help. My therapist had a background in a cult-like group. It could be more than the jw influence. Try other doctors. Could you contact Steve Hassan on Facebook and find if he has contacts near your area. You didn't say how old he was during his exposure and how old he is now. The fact that you and your wife might have been having difficulties during that period could be a background to his difficulties. I am NOT a professional but I have experience working with people with difficulties.
Hey CYP! remember me? another ubm, still hanging around.
Sorry to hear about your son. Blondie has excellent advice as always.
Yet another reason to keep kids away from the jw's if at all possible.
Wishing you and your son peace. -carla
Kid's raised a JW... kid has problems with depression.
This story has repeated itself so often over the years, and as I've said before, I am not a big believer in coincidence.
Hey Carla. Yes I remember you. I remember Blondie and Talesin and Wasa, and I think Zeb. You all mean so much to me, for all the help you gave during my times of angst. Hope everyone is doing fine.
He would have been actively attending from about 2003 to about 2005. So that would be from the ages of about 8 to 10.
After that we had an arrangement where he would go to my church half time, and to the KH half time. After about 2005, field service was strictly optional for him as were holidays.
My wife wandered away about 2007 or 2008?
He has other family that is in. In particular an uncle he is very close to.
I think he would be open to looking into some information. Like I said, he was never very involved, and does not choose it now for himself even though he is completely free to do so.
My wife and I discussed it, and we think it would be better if she approaches him. I was always seen as the outside, resisting, unbelieving mate. I am beginning to introduce her to Hassan's approach, so that she can proceed in a well informed way.
I am not sure how opposed he is to new info. If anything else it would be a matter of getting him to take the time, and to talk to us about it. But once I realized that this was a real problem for him, I began to approach cautiously so as to not trigger his cult personality.
I appreciate everyone's thoughts and input. Thanks so much.
I agree with counseling, but I agree with educating him about TTATT even more so.
I lived in fear of God's Wrath until I was able to conclude that God would never have anything to do with these disgusting leaders of the WTS.
Where are you Obuie? (It's a Cult!)
H, CYP, I recall you, too. A lot of people, even non JWS, don't think 'doctor' first, so of course, that would be my first (should have been in question form, though) reply.
I was not thinking of pharmas, and disappointed he was not recommended for counselling. That's my fault for forgetting the present medical climate of psychiatry, in which the latest DSM says: medicate first.
It's the nightmares and suicidal ideations that alarmed me. I know what it's like to be 15, 20, 25, and feel like that.
The Hassan Book is *the* reference, and as a team, i think you and your wife are taking a good approach. I can understand how he may feel more comfortable talking with your wife about the JW.
That doesn't mean that you can't take an active role and empathize at the right times. Saying something like "I know I can't understand exactly how you feel because I haven't been through it. There was a time when I was very low, though, when xxx happened. And it's okay to feel bad - you can always talk to me, son. I went through this with your mom, and it must be so hard! I understand." - or something to that effect.
One of the things to realize in your son's case, is that he was exposed to the JW at the very age where children develop their cognitive thinking skills. That is, between approximately age 7-10. So, the nightmares are where his subconscious turns to process at night, which left me, exhausted and depressed.
Is he gaming constantly or otherwise iosolating, with little physical activity? Think back to before the cult got ahold of your family, and did he like nature? soccer? basketball? Something you can do together.
You're right, it can be difficult to find a counselor that recognizes the serious effects that being a JW can have, especially a child. The Religious PTS sounds 'just' like PTSD, and this therapist may have some good points, but I would say, yes, biased. Bipolarsim, eg, is genetic, but can be *triggered* by stress or trauma - we *think* - so, my phrase would be 'religious-induced' PTSD.
I would be happy to look around online and see if anyone is in your area (and with sliding scale if in the USA). I've helped a couple of other people find help, and in different countries.
Will check in later, and sending you strength and good energy. xx
Edit: And yes, indeedy, TTATT should be a part of the process - organically - questions will arise. It doesn't have to be overly technical, dates, etc. Basic truths - like Jah knows what you are thinking! - are the things that need to be changed. Check out 'Transactional Analysis" as a therapeutic technique (of which there are many, and it's not the only one that may help him). xx
Absolutely, my young adults are struggling as well. Both in different ways but each need therapy and medication.
You can leave a cult physically, but it can take years mentally.
He seems to be unable to shake the idea that they have "the truth". He doesn't live as a JW though, so he seems trapped in an intolerable state between thinking the JW are the way to go, but unable (and having no desire) to live as one.
This is, unfortunately, an incredibly common problem. There was a guy at my hall who had been disfellowshipped for decades and later returned. He would often talk about the agony of being out and knowing he wasn't living in conformity with "the truth." I believe a lot of the destructive behavior common in DF'd youths is about them beating themselves up over not being strong enough to live up to the "the truth."
I was in this state for a short while, something like a year and a half. What changed? I found this website. I read enough here to lose the fear of reading "apostate literature" and after a few books any lingering doubts about whether the witnesses had the truth disappeared. Don't get me wrong. The programming runs deep and even today, ten years later, I still find myself responding to some situations according to the programming, but I don't agonize over whether I made the right decision.
Without knowing your son, it seems the only thing that can help him get over this hurdle is for him to come to realize on his own that there is no truth to the religion. My best friend when I was a witness stopped going to meetings around the same time I did and I swear he's in your son's position. He won't admit it to me because he knows I'm 100% out, but it's evident by his demeanor and some of the choices he's made. That no-man's land of being 99% out but having those lingering doubts isn't a healthy place to be.
I wish you all the best.
Everyone that has been touched by a high-control group is impacted, most to a significant degree.
The average therapist has little or no concept of the degree of damage that has been done.
You, your child, and his therapist should all read Bonnie Zieman's book: