Putting on the NEW personality
This whole concept of putting on the NEW personality when one becomes a JW is a lot more serious than most people realize. People truly develop a second personality. This personality is child-like and obedient. It is fearful of breaking rules and getting caught. It also has a child-like ability to believe opposite teachings. Just like a child memorizes a poem for school this personality memorizes a set of scripture and teachings that supposedly support the beliefs presented to it. Like a child it exhibits little logic. And like a child suspends reality in favor of mystery.
Most of us here have lived it. Almost all of us have seen it in action when talking to active JWs. Present them with a contradiction and they are limited to reciting scripture, a glazed stare trance-like state, getting angry or becoming fearful and escaping.
A few years ago I met a JW woman who had meant a great deal to me. I had heard that her husband died. When I ran into her in a mall I stopped her and offered my condolences. What I saw stunned me. She turned her head down and to the side, fearful that she would be caught talking to me. Quietly she whispered a thank you and stood there scared to move. I felt like I was looking at a small child who had just been caught doing something wrong. I felt so bad for her that an older woman should be reduced to such a child-like state when offered a kindness.
I have seen this also in my mother who can tell me opposite things they have been taught and not realize the contradiction. Or she just starts yelling like a child who makes no sense. But she can''t see it.
It is easy to get frustrated by this personality but I find it most helpful to connect with any JW on the emotional level. It seems to me that by connecting with them on an emotional level it takes them out of the NEW personality and back to the true self.
If you take a look at the indoctrination of JWs there is little emotional content. They encourage a srong control of the emotions. There is a purpose to this. When the emotions are disconnected from the true self it is much easier to manipulate a person. Some researchers believe that as infants and children our personalities are not integrated. This might explain why a child can be crying one minute and laughing the next. There is no connection between the various emotions. They are either in one or the other. We also know that memory is state-dependant. For example if something happens to you when you are upset you will probably remember it better when you are upset again.
JWs create a certain atmosphere at their studies and meetings that encourages one kind of learning and one mood state. The new personality needs to be in that state to be active. Get a person out of that state and you might have a better chance to get them to listen becausae you will not trigger the NEW personality. Since anger triggers a defense mood state you might not be too successful in getting a JW to listen to you. The more effective mood-state to get them into would be a caring one. It realaxes them and helps them listen
Just some rambling thoughts floating around in my head. A lot of this is based on my work with people who are multiples. It seems that many of the techniques I used to work with multiples might work with JWs too.
I love what you wrote Lady Lee.
Although we had to change our personality, I never did. That could explain why I didn't find it hard to associate with worldly people, and that could explain why I don't feel much regret being out of the org.
I refused to be programmed by them. I refused to delete who I was, and that didn't make them happy. They could see it.
I didn't join the witnesses to be a robot, but to better who I was.
They failed, I won.
It certainly sounds like you are on to something there Lee. Are not many multiples, in that state because of severe abuse? Borg abuse is subtle but can rip away your entire life. The more I look, the more I see, being a Witness -- as a disease. JamesT
James T Yes most multiples have experienced severe trauma - usually early in life and had little or no support.
But studies have shown that alter personalities can be created artificially - most often by using mind-control techniques like hypnosis and indoctrination Hmmmmm
JH And yes those who resisted the robot-like personality probably would never be considered "good" JWs
Another point JH The original personality does not get deleted - it submerges. For people who became JWs later on coming out of it is a bit easier. The old personality comes back. One of the reasons for the insistence on all those meetings is to keep the true self submerged.
I think leaving the JWs if you were raised in it is a bit harder. They have to find and sometimes recreate themsleves since the real self was so-often submerged very early in life and therefore never having an opportunity to develop normally. That doesn't mean they aren't normal - just that they have a bit more work to do to figure out who they are and what they believe
I just wanted to say great post.
I related with some of what you said. I was born into it and its taken me alot to figure out who I am. But fortunately I started in my early teens and though I had much pressure and objectives from my parents at that time my rebellion I believe helped me more than anything (plus public schooling).
Very good post Lady Lee, Thanks!
It is interesting how the NWT speaks of "putting on" the new personality, isn't it? It conjurs up an image of a set of clothing that one can just put on, but of course your attire is not who you are.
If we go with this metaphor, then the true self would be like being willing to see yourself naked in the mirror. It's sort of like how some people can tolerate looking at the image, but they always want to put something on to look good. In any case, it's just a matter of appearances.
Your posts are so excellent! How true about this "new personality". They just take things to extremes, don't they? They don't realize that we are all human. That is something that god gave us - and they try to take it away from us.
It is a pleasure to meet people like you!
I would suspect (if we continue with this) that if a person is depressed or not feeling good about their life or themselves that the appeal of becoming something different might be very appealing - hence the new personality.
This new personality that is presented by the borg is often deviod of true emotional content and only accepted emotional expression (God's people are a happy people) are allowed. By forcing the accpetance of this new personality the true self must become submerged or else there would be outrage at the necessity to give up so much
Interesting comments from all of you. Thank you