Healing & Rebuilding Your Life - Feedback Wanted

by jp1692 48 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim

    Probably the biggest 2 are the first 2. Discovering yourself and then dealing with isolation and loneliness. The latter part of it is what most JW's have an advantage with since most of their lives has been isolated and lonely to begin with.

    But, yeah, one HAS to know their own self in a way before they can progress.

  • flipper

    What PALE EMPEROR said is SO important -

    this > " The loaded language is still there, and until it's removed they'll still have some sort of psychological/emotional connection to the cult. "

    This is SO true. Until a person starts gradually weeding out the cult catch phrases out of their everyday speech - words like " the truth " , " the friends " , " brothers & sisters " , " my P.O. " or " my elders said " ( should be " the elders said " ) - as Pale stated a person keeps identifying themselves in a common fashion with the Jehovah's Witnesses as if they never left the cult , but mentally are still a part of it.

    To be fair it DOES take awhile to lose these loaded JW cult catch phrases and expressions- however- that process can be sped up by replacing these words with other words through research and educating oneself on the Internet which in turn replaces these catch phrases within our brain neurotransmitters where in time our first inclination is to use other words and not JW catch phrases anymore. It takes awhile , but it's worth it- as in time a person will find that words like " the truth " don't automatically pop up into your head anymore. It took me about 12 years or so to get to that point, I've been out 15 years, so yes indeed, it's a process. Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim

    It's kind of funny. You hear people who are out of the Borg for decades and they still use the loaded-language and cult phrases.

  • Xanthippe
    in time a person will find that words like " the truth " don't automatically pop up into your head anymore. It took me about 12 years or so to get to that point, - Flipper

    I'm actually surprised at this, the cult phrases just seemed to vanish after we left. We left in 1989 and the next year I did a computing course at college to help me get a job. I wonder if it was being in the real world with 'normal' people that helped me get rid of the JW mindset so quickly?

    I hope I'm not sounding arrogant Flipper, I'm just intrigued. Perhaps it was the necessity to find work because we were so broke after pioneering? It does drive you when you're left poor. We just focused on integrating into the 'world' because we had to make a living and drag ourselves out of the poverty trap. You had other problems with your jw wife and losing your kids to the cult, I know. It's just interesting, our different paths

  • flipper

    XANTHIPPE- Yeah, no worries, you're just sharing your experience. You're not being arrogant, just honest. I believe it took me awhile longer to lose the JW cult terminology because even though I stopped attending meetings, for a time I was still around extended JW family that were still inside the cult- and fanatics at that in using the JW language. So though I didn't hear these expressions and terms used at meetings- I still occasionally had to hear my older mom & dad use these expressions when I'd visit them, or my older siblings would use these words, or even my adult JW daughters. So even though I stopped attending meetings in 2003 - I still had to put up with hearing my extended JW family use this loaded language. Perhaps that clears it up a bit for you. LOL. Take care, Peace out, Mr. Flipper

    I might add, I'm glad none of that language is in my head now. I'm glad it's out of my brain neurotransmitters. But I read a lot and have worked hard to put other good stuff in my mind !

  • OnTheWayOut

    I know you asked for feedback and I hope all these different thoughts helped. In the end you know your topic and you will have to decide how much time to dedicate to each of these things.

    With your subject title, Healing & Rebuilding Your Life, you kind of have to cover your step 1, but it could be as little as a general statement like "Everything you knew to be true was a lie. Now what?"

    You don't want to offer any judging on the differing paths people take upon leaving, turning to God in another way or turning from God, but just emphasize that finding your path and yourself is important. There are many ways to say that. Loaded language might be a ln important part of that.

    I also had little trouble breaking from the language mentality. I think it was because I got out of the military to join the cult, and had already broken from one language set. I also read Steve Hassan books and COC and made myself aware of the loaded language.

    As I meet others, I see many still caught in cult thinking as revealed by their cult language- 'the truth,' 'field service,' 'in good standing,' etc. So I suppose #2 is part of #5. We have to examine ourselves to start finding our authentic self.

    Good luck.

  • steve2

    In addition to the fabulous topics already covered (eg., grief and loss, dealing with isolation, etc), there is an impressive literature on resilience - the word that describes how many individuals learn to come into their own empowerment and mastery through their trials.

    Traditionally, there has been an over-focus on the “disordered” outcomes of traumatic experiences, ignoring the significant instances in which traumatised individuals have discovered unknown reserves of strength and resilience. It can be incredibly motivating to talk about this rather than the over-emphasis on hurt and damage.

    The way trauma is talked about is as important as the traumatising events themselves.

  • dubstepped

    In looking over the various criteria mentioned in the opening post I think that a person would be helped by doing these things in the following order:

    First you have to get healthy mentally/emotionally yourself. If you have no healthy tools you're not going to be able to find yourself, cope with loss, or perhaps even examine the beliefs. I personally think that you can do anything better when you start out from a place of health, or at least stability on some level both mentally and emotionally.

    So I'm guessing then I'd have to say #4 would be my start. It was my start. I started by getting into self-help. For others that might be therapy. Whatever, but learning how you work, what issues you may have in your personality, cognition, any disorderd ways of being or thinking, etc. can give you a place to start. I think you have to be able to separate who you are and what you've believed or what's been placed on you apart.

    I think that #2 plays well off of #4 in that once you start seeing what is yours you also start to see what isn't yours, like I said what has been placed on you. Those things aren't just difficulties that hurt you after you leave, but you'll also see a lot of them in some of the exploration of yourself in the previous step.

    I'm not sure that I fully understand #3, but it makes sense that it might fit here. I'm worn out and tired from a long week so maybe something just isn't connecting mentally for me in trying to understand it. The more tired I get, the less able I am to focus and read with my own ADHD issues. Since I don't necessarily grasp it wholly, I won't expound on it, but it also may not be a place to linger and educate, but may be better left out or briefly mentioned. It could take unnecessary time to get into explanations.

    Then I'd go to #1 and help the person deal with the grief of their losses, not just family and friends but of faith and the years spent pursuing something that amounted to nothing. I think that people need the foundation from the steps above to really deal well with grief.

    After that I'd go to #6 and dealing with the loneliness. Once you've accepted reality in step #1 now you're going to feel lonely. If you're busy in steps 4,2, and 3 at first you may be busy enough not to truly notice how lonely you are. Working on oneself can be beneficial not just to make you a better and stronger person, but to escape from harsh realities until you're more ready for them.

    I think #5 comes last. Once you've figured out and understood what you've dealt with in life you can start shedding the things that aren't authentic. Once you get past the grief of your losses you can shed the impact on your identity that those other people had in your life. Now you're free of the past enough to start finding yourself. If you have too much baggage hanging on it's going to be difficult to find yourself. Heck, I'm somewhat at this stage myself today.

    So, I'd go 4, 2, 3, 1, 6, 5. My concentration would be on 4 and 2 (and maybe 3?) as I think they're the most important, and that they will naturally lead into some of these other things with that better and more healthy foundation.

    I speak of my own experience. I got healthy first while still in the cult. It took me some time but it was a fascinating process and very consuming. Once I was healthy and acted more healthy the cult started distancing themselves from me as much as I was them. Then I left, took time to deconstruct beliefs, realized where I was in life and accepted it, and now I'm finding myself without the baggage of the past weighing me down as much. It does still impact me, nobody gets away unscathed, we all have scars, but it's easier to maneuver without that extra weight.

    Oops, forgot to say how long I've been out. My third Shunniversary is coming up on September 2. We disassociated almost three years ago. It took several years before that to wake up and get healthy enough to take stands and get out.

  • cofty

    JP - Really interesting ideas you have come up with for your presentation. You should try to find an opportunity to speak at a future forum where you can put the whole theme together.

    Personally I am really interested in number 2 regarding our core beliefs. Unless former members of high-control groups deal with these they will struggle to make progress in other areas.

    For example ...

    Us versus Them - Until we see ourselves as fellow travellers with the rest of humanity we cannot build authentic relationships and will go on living in judgemental isolation.

    Angst - Cult members see causes for dread everywhere. Every event is seen as proof that the world is 'going to hell in a handbasket'. This is the best time in all of human history. Until ex-cult members grasp this they will continue to be cynical and distrustful.

    Utopian Delusions - There is no such thing as 'perfection'. There never was. This is as good as it gets. Until we accept this reality we cannot begin living.

    That's my first thoughts but will think about it some more.

  • jp1692

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you all for your posts!

    I have been closely following all the comments and suggestions from everyone that has participated so far. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness that you have given to this subject -- it is very evident from everyone's posts.

    Although we all share the JW cult experience and everything that goes with being in this religion and leaving it, we still have had fairly different paths and experiences upon leaving. As a result, the things that are most important to each of us differs between us.

    Perhaps it's not too surprising that there is no one topic that is the clear front-runner. However, there are three about which there is a general consensus:

    As many of you have commented, these are very related. Indeed, it's really impossible to talk about one without touching on the others -- at least insofar as they relate to each other.

    For example, one obvious reason many of us felt isolated and possibly lonely when we first left the cult is because we were cut-off and shunned by our family and former friends that remained in the group. We no longer had that community. Even if we no longer believed the Governing Body is guided by God, we still all need and want (as does everyone) to feel that we belong somewhere and are cared about by others. It's a devastating loss and not one that is easily replaced.

    Couple that with the JW belief that everyone that is not a member is part of "Satan's system of things," and it's more than likely that most of us had few, if any, friends outside of the religion.

    These and other beliefs have a lot to do with creating those feelings of isolation and loneliness. They all must be addressed in order to overcome them, and that takes a lot of work.

    I intend to come back later this coming week and respond specifically to some of the excellent, very thoughtful comments that you all have made.

    In the meantime, know that I greatly appreciate everyone's contributions. It's all been -- and continues to be -- very helpful to me.


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