Healing & Rebuilding Your Life - Feedback Wanted

by jp1692 48 Replies latest jw experiences

  • jp1692

    I have been invited to speak at an International Cultic Studies Association workshop this fall. I could use your help in focusing on my presentation subject.

    These workshops are for former members of any cult or other high-control, authoritarian group, not just Jehovah's Witnesses. Last year, I spoke at one of their larger conferences in Europe. In attendance were former cult members of all kinds, people born or raised in cultic groups, families, mental health professionals, researchers, and educators.

    At a workshop I attended last fall -- and which is similar to the one I will be presenting at this year -- there were many former cult members and their families and friends in the audience, but not too many mental health professionals, researchers, or educators.

    The theme I have chosen for my presentation is: Healing & Rebuilding Your Life.

    My intended audience will range from those that have recently left a cult to those who have some distance but are either still dealing with ex-cult issues or are trying to help someone else that is.

    There are six subjects that I am currently considering for my presentation:

    1. The Five Stages of Grief/loss (Kübler-Ross model)
    2. Examining Our Beliefs: Identifying the false and harmful (dysfunctional) core beliefs which are the root cause of our on-going difficulties after leaving
    3. Psychoeducation - this is closely related to #2 above, but is frankly more technical
    4. Treatments & Interventions - seeking treatments from working with mental health professionals to self-help
    5. Discovering Your Authentic Self - (personal identity)
    6. Dealing With Isolation and Loneliness (shunning)

    As I will only have twenty minutes to present (plus 10 minutes for Q&A), I really need to focus on just one or maybe two at most of the above topics.

    So here is my request: take a look at the above list of six topics and rank in order 1-6 (1 being highest, 6 lowest) which topics you believe would be of most benefit to either yourself or others in our current journey post-JWs. Please indicate how long it's been since you left the religion.

    Feel free to leave any other comments, explanations, suggestions and/or questions.

    Thanks in advance,


  • Wild_Thing
    1. Dealing With Isolation and Loneliness (shunning)
    2. The Five Stages of Grief/loss (Kübler-Ross model) - I think this could be covered in combination with shunning.
    3. Examining Our Beliefs: Identifying the false and harmful (dysfunctional) core beliefs which are the root cause of our on-going difficulties after leaving
    4. Discovering Your Authentic Self - (personal identity)
    5. Treatments & Interventions - seeking treatments from working with mental health professionals to self-help
    6. Dealing With Isolation and Loneliness (shunning)

    First left 17 years ago. Officially DA'd 2 years ago.

  • mentalclarity

    1) Dealing with isolation and shunning - I feel this is first because it needs immediate attention before you can continue dealing with the rest - maybe a synposis of loss/grief (without necessarily going in depth about the 5 stages of grief)

    2) Examining our Beliefs/Discovering your Authentic Self- I think these are very related. What's important to you/what exactly do you believe? What are your values? How do you figure out what's right/wrong for you? I think that's really important since we depended so heavily on the organization and others to tell us what was right and wrong. This ends up being intrinsically tied to who we are.

    3) Treatments and interventions

    I've been out for about 10 years. Listening to something along those lines would have been really helpful when I first left. Although I was aware of how my decisions would effect my family dynamic I was completely unprepared for all the ripple effects in my life. Even now, although I think I'm completely above it, I still get triggered at certain occasions - like when my family doesn't show up for my kid's graduation or things like that and that's still after almost a decade!

  • OneEyedJoe

    I presume the psychoeducation section will use things like the milgram conformity trials, etc showing how social pressure can influence people? If you're not already planning it, I would suggest that you touch briefly on informal fallacies and how to reason rationally. This could also fall under the examining your beliefs section.

  • DesirousOfChange

    1) Dealing with isolation & shunning

    2) Treatment

    3) Discovering self (one of the goals of treatment IMO)

    PIMO 9 years; Fading 5 years

  • flipper

    In order of importance I choose these :

    1. Discovering your authentic self - ( personal identity )

    2. Examining Our Beliefs : Identifying the false and harmful ( dysfunctional ) core beliefs which are the root cause of our on-going difficulties after leaving

    3. The five stages of grief/loss

    4. Dealing with isolation & loneliness

    5. Psycheducation

    6. Treatments and Interventions

    I think all of these things are important , but I logged these in order of what I feel a step by step process should be in getting back to reality in escaping the sick and twisted cult mind control influence we were under.

    Discovering our authentic self is SO important because without that- a person slips back into the WT or JW cult personality . Example : Many who are dfed for years go back to the organization after many years. Reason : they don't educate themselves about HOW the WT Society controlled their minds by the dysfunctional core beliefs infecting a typical JW's sense of worth and which creates in JW's extreme lack of self esteem.( I'm not talking about core beliefs like 607 B.C.E. , the anointed , none of that stupid shit matters. ) What I'm talking about is studying the psychological repressions the WT Society instilled in us as humans, actions by WT Society leaders that steal away our critical thinking ability creating sheep like lack of self esteem causing JW's to follow and turn their brain neurotransmitters off ! THAT is the important shit to learn about. Until a cult member sees and understands HOW their minds were duped, they won't be ready to let go of the illusion or fantasy that WT leaders have any right whatsoever to invade our personal lives or invade our personal boundaries.

    And then the rest of the 4 points you made come into play after a person discovers HOW they were deceived and duped, then understanding comes into play and a person is able to learn to grieve, cope with the isolation and loneliness - but not until they've educated themselves on what the hell actually happened to them ! Kind of how I see it. Otherwise if a person doesn't understand or educate themself- they'll just simmer and stew in depressing isolation, grieving, and loneliness stuck in the quicksand of their ex-JW persona - and never understanding why they cannot move forward in life. So , hey it's my 2 cents here. I've been out of the JW's 15 years, and I feel I did a lot of homework on my inner psyche and self. Take care, Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • Giordano

    I have been out with my wife for over 50 years (left in 1965-67) So most of these issues didn't apply to me. It took close to three years to leave so I had plenty of time while still in to work any issues out. Leaving with my wife and her being my best friend made our exit into an adventure.

    However based on all of the stories I have read on this forum I think the following issues are the most serious.

    #1. Shunning for life by close family members that can even extend into the next generation.

    #2 The Break up of your marriage, losing or being separated from your children.

    #3. Examining our beliefs and losing all confidence in any religion. Basically learning to live without a god and beliefs. Going godless can be a problem for some.

    #4. Living without guilt. Replace feeling guilty with feelings of respect. It appears at times that the JW's are the most guilty of all religions.

  • Still Totally ADD
    Still Totally ADD

    jp what a wonderful thing you are doing. Wish i could be there to listen to what you have to say. I will be interested to hear how it turns out. Sorry no ideas on what to talk about it was pretty much covered. Good luck on your workshop. Still Totally ADD. PS. One thought the fear of using certain words that were considered wrong to used such as the word Luck. Take care.

  • jp1692

    Thanks to all that have posted. Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated and very helpful.

    I'm not going to directly respond to any posts just yet as I don't want to bias any future posters, but I did want to let you know that I've read and appreciated all of the comments so far.

    Thanks again!


  • OnTheWayOut

    I think many need to hear that it may be important to seek professional help, that if they do not do this for whatever their reason, at least follow up on self-help via reading books and perhaps finding other former members to vent with.

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