Healing & Rebuilding Your Life - Feedback Wanted

by jp1692 48 Replies latest jw experiences

  • slimboyfat

    I agree that shunning and isolation are the biggest obstacles. More important than all the other things mentioned. I don’t consider critical thinking a hardship. I think I used it inside and outside JWs and always felt comfortable doing so.

    I also have big problems with the idea of “authentic self”. Basically I don’t think there is any such thing. We have the ability to change due to circumstance or effort or necessity to some extent. But I don’t know that it is helpful to label this or that “authentic”. In fact if I was to pick my most “authentic” self ever, it might be me as a 14 year old boy who loved going on the ministry and was totally convinced this was the truth. That was completely authentic for me at the time. I was happy and comfortable in a way I have never been since. It would not be “authentic” for me now, because I have changed.

    Anyway, I find the idea that JW life is inauthentic and the new existence outside of the religion is authentic to be problematic, in that I find it to be neither true nor helpful.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Well-made points by all. SBF's comments re: the so-called authentic self have me thinking.

    Apart from my half century as a JW, I have always remained the stereotypical artist, temperamentally. Highs and lows, frequent crashes after protracted periods of productivity.

    Now, at 70 years old, I remain, at heart and in spirit, that same soul but quieter, calmer, and less inclined toward impulsive (and often regrettable) behavior.

    Not much to add, jp, but more later as I dwell further on your other listed items.

    Well, I am through all five steps of grieving and loss. Acceptance of what my life has become is healing itself.

  • stuckinarut2

    Great thread jp.

    I'm so happy that someone of your calibre has this opportunity to assist others in such a forum as that event! It sounds fascinating. I know you will do very well at it.

    I guess all the points are very valid. If pushed for time, I feel that highlighting to the audience the point about discovering the "authentic self" is very helpful.

    Also, of course, is the need to "give oneself permission to look behind the curtain at the cult's / group's teachings"

    Unless someone ALLOWS themselves the PERMISSION to analyse, then all else is a waste of time. They need to "Let go of any GUILT" that comes from doing so.

    Highlighting to such ones that it is actually OK and indeed beneficial to question things with a sincere motive is vital.

    Highlighting too that there is NO absolutes in all of this. There is no "black or white" "right or wrong" in such a process may also help.

  • jp1692

    Again, thanks to all that have responded. It really helps when you rank the topics, particularly when you make it clear what you think is most/least important. I’m keeping score and using it to help me focus my presentation.

    Your follow-up comments are also adding a lot of clarity.

    TO BE CLEAR: there are obviously a lot of other topics I could discuss, many of which are important. But I have already committed to presenting on one of the six from the OP. I’m just trying to get a sense from my fellow forum members which of these you think would have been most useful to you when you left the cult and similarly for others. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    OTWO: so are you saying that you think “Treatments & Interventions” is the most important issue for people that have left a cult? What do you think is the least important from my list and why?

    Stuck, thanks for the kind words. I want to be sure I’m understanding you. Similar to what I asked OTWO above, do you think “Discovering Your Authentic Self“ is our most important issue after leaving a cult? How would you rank the others.

    CoCo, I always love your non-linear approach! I look forward to your promised “more later.”

    SBF, I want to explore your thoughts on the “authentic self” concept, but again, I don’t want to bias the discussion just yet with my views so I’ll circle back to this later. In the meantime I’m enjoying everyone’s contributions!

    Again, many thanks to all for your feedback and suggestions. They are greatly appreciated.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    Where, if at all, does the "new personality" come into play when defining who we are?

    What we once specified as the fruits of the spirit -- love, joy, peace, long-suffering, etc. -- are admirable traits and developed attitudes/ behavior present in an individual who may not necessarily be spiritually inclined (and is that determination ever broad).

    As I reflect upon this now, jp, at your instance, I realize our former endeavor to develop the much touted Christian personality might have resulted in only a veneer. Lovely examples at assemblies of worldly miscreants who found Jehovah and did a 180. Russell promoted "character development" among the brethren, which waste of time Rutherford summarily quashed. To the field!

    Sure, there were wonderful Jehovah's Witnesses in our ranks, yet I clearly recall our CO, Wendell St. Clair, saying that being called a JW doesn't automatically mean you're a nice person. "WOW" then. So obviously spot on now, while I reflect upon his honest words of over thirty-five years ago. Only now do I recall this ancient history and could be off in some recollections.

    I have no reason to pretend anymore.At last, I feel real, and if that's what we call the authentic personality, that suits me.

    Thanks, jp.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    I have no idea where that anymore link came from. Sorry! All because I failed to space.

  • flipper

    COCO- You bring out some great points in which I am trying to get people who are EX-JW's to think about constantly. Especially this statement - " I realize our former endeavor to develop the much touted Christian personality might have resulted in only a veneer . " Exactly, bingo, you nailed it.

    The huge problem I noticed in the WT organization was that it totally changed from when I was a boy growing up in it in the 1960's when there would actually be WT studies dealing with the fruitages of the spirit - love, kindness, mildness, etc. to a staunch unyielding, uncaring, corporation in the 1980's where the mantra was as Ted Jaracz put it - " the needs of the organization are bigger than any single needs of individual brothers or sisters . "

    So what that CAUSED in attitudes of JW's was that to develop what the WT Society claimed were " Christian " personalities - it meant being loyal in performing WT functions or activities. To " develop " a " Christian " personality now meant in the 1980's to answer at all meetings, give your Ministry school assignments, get 10 hours or more in field service, turn your time in at the end of the month- and a person would be considered " spiritual " or " developing Christian personality " . It didn't matter if the person was unkind, not mild, had no self control, or even occasionally beat his wife in private or molested JW kids- as long as that person PERFORMED WT functions outwardly then that person was " developing Christian personality " in the eyes of WT leaders.

    So being a JW became more of an outward appearance thing to others than really any inward changes of putting on the fruitage of the spirit. And I think THAT observing that fact is one of the things that eventually made me leave the organization. Realizing I was running around and socializing with a bunch of fake people selling their souls to the WT Society , a corporation, but not really seriously changing inside as a person.

    To SLIMBOYFAT'S credit, oh sure there were some , maybe a good number who WERE sincere, but by the time I exited for good in 2003 , there were far more JW's who bought into the concept that being " spiritual " meant being loyal to the WT Society at any cost , even if the WT Society did criminal actions. And being " spiritual " had nothing to do with being " good " , or being mild, kind, or loving- just obedient to the WT leaders. Just my 2 cents here. Take care buddy, Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • smiddy3

    2 .Examining beliefs { Not just relying on cult information}

    3. Psycho-Education { Getting professional help and tools to negate cult thinking}

    5. Personal identity { Who is the real me without a cult influence }

    1. Five stages of grief { What to expect when one realizes they have been misled for however how long }

    6. Dealing with isolation and loneliness { Developing friendships and acquaintances outside of the cult }

    4. Treatments / interventions { Whatever additional help is needed to bring the person back into the real world. }

    Both my wife and I and our two sons and one D.I.L have been out for 25 years , and I D.A. myself a couple of years ago.

    I am the only one that frequents this site ,the others have no need for it their just happy getting on with their own lives .

    And that pleases me .

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    I am the only one that frequents this site ,the others have no need for it their just happy getting on with their own lives . And that pleases me . -- smiddy3

    You've said it all! Thanks.

    Mr. Flipper:

    Thanks for enlarging on my comments.

    I totally agree with your detailed analysis but would never have thought to write about fanatical and mindless dedication to the Org the way you did. That's why "In the multitude of counselors, there is accomplishment." -- Proverbs something or other

    Sheesh! Did I just write that?

    Best wishes, ALL!

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower

    On the subject of authentic self I have a few comments:

    Discovering Your Authentic Self - (personal identity)

    I think that by authentic self you mean what you really are all about minus the Jdub programming, and repression.

    My take on it is finding your true self, so that one would have to do a lot of shadow work(Jungian), un-repress it and become more whole(Jungian). As one learns to accept all parts of himself he usually becomes more creative because in repressing our dark side we repress a lot of our talents as well.

    So I see a search for one's authentic self as a real challenge and worthy endeavor and a very good shrink of say a Jungian back round might help if you can afford it(dreams are the royal road to discover the unconscious). Me I just kind of search the net and read shit that gives me a better understanding of human nature.

    Losing one's self by becoming a Watchtower drone can leave one as an empty self, just a shell of what one really is and very far from reaching one greatest potential. Read a little Maslow's stuff might help a person in this regard, maybe even a little Kazimierz Dabrowski's stuff might get one there I don't know.


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