We all "shun."

by stillin 13 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • stillin

    An old friend of mine committed suicide this week. He was a great guy; pleasant to be around, a hard worker, kind. Everybody at work liked him.

    Then something changed. He started not caring about his work, he was married to a heavy drinker ,he started to drink too much, too. He had quit smoking, he was proud of that, but he started back. Then he got arrested a couple of times for driving under the influence. He started not being such a great guy and people like me who knew him best began to pull away, always hoping that he would get straight again.

    The suicide of a friend hurts. Then there's some guilt. Then there's anger and resentment. What a jerk for doing this to us! You can't go back and try a different approach; actually the "distancing" of his closest friends was all that we COULD do to try to reach him. If that sounds like faulty, defensive thinking, correct me.

    Doesn't this sound a lot like the Witness's shunning? This guy was isolated enough to not have somebody he could call. He just wallowed in his depression. He couldn't put together that we all still loved him, we simply wanted him to fix his life back.

    This was NOT the hard-core shunning like the Witnesses. Of course we still spoke with him and most of us would have done anything for him still. But there IS a mechanism in our social networking that closely resembles shunning. It's natural and understandable.

    Maybe I'm working through the guilt and the pain. And even that is more than the self-examination that the Witnesses will do after shunning somebody to death.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Shunning is an institutionalized process in the WTB&TS; it is VERY different from the decision individuals make. In the WTB&TS a judicial committee of three men makes a decision and EVERYONE is expected to fall in line regardless of their personal opinion; failure to comply puts the non-compliant at risk for their own shunning.

  • stillin

    Solid point, Nathan. Big difference.

  • millie210

    Yes to the comments above.

    When people naturally turn away from (shun) certain behaviors in others based on their own value system that is one thing.

    It can serve to help the individual exhibiting the behavior to modify or correct their own course in order to remain part of a social group. That is a good thing, both for the individual and for the big picture of the group.

    What the JWs do is set in place an artificial code of ethics determined by them and demand that it be followed to be part of their group. One way you can tell how very seriously it is off track from being normal or healthy is not only do they penalize the individual they are shunning, they will shun others who dont shun the individual!

    To compound the idiocy of this they also keep changing the rules on what is shun worthy.

    The JW rules are designed to exploit human behavior to their own ends.

    That is hugely different than the natural giving of feedback to one another about personal behaviors in a group setting.

    Most importantly, I am sorry about your friends pain and I am very sorry for what you are going through now. The fact that you are mulling it over and concerned shows that you really cared about this man.

  • Sail Away
    Sail Away

    Stillin, I'm terribly sorry for the loss of your friend, first to addiction and then to suicide. As you said, sometimes the only thing we can do is distance ourselves from toxic behaviors. I struggle with this in my family of origin. When I left the organization, I tried to re-establish communication and build relationships in my non-JW family. It just wasn't possible. There was a reason I chose a cult over family in my early teens, and nothing has changed. Please don't blame yourself.

  • The Searcher
    The Searcher

    I truly feel for your loss.

    Your friendship and affection for your lost friend are self-evident, but tragically, such sincere displays may never be enough to rescue loved ones out of whatever darkness they have been pulled into. You honestly did what you could, but he couldn't see any light in his life.

    May such tragic souls encourage us all to view our friends and family as beautiful and precious gifts - and to tell them that they are such.

  • Giles Gray
    Giles Gray

    The society uses shunning to control the people who know the one to be shunned. It is done as a 'self-serving' strategy for their own gain.

    That is nothing near the reason for how you dealt with your friend. It's a totally different motive and perspective, even though it may look similar.

  • Giordano

    Stillin it's healthy that you feel as you do. It means you have compassion.

    But the workplace differs from the KH. If a couple of your co-workers came up to you and said this guy has gone off the rails....... we have to separate him from us and if you don't follow along we will force you out and no one will talk to you.

    In other words the WT has ruled that if you don't conform to their policy you will lose your position and your co workers, even friends and family will have nothing to do with you.

    Threatening a person as the WT does is coercion which is a crime of duress.

  • Xanthippe

    stillin I'm so sorry for your loss. I just want to tell you that guilt is a part of losing anyone. I'm not sure why, I'm not a mental health professional, it's just from personal experience. Unless the person is very old we always wonder if we could have prevented it somehow.

    Depression is a terrible illness. You did all you could for your colleague. You couldn't change his brain chemistry or his family circumstances. You tried to help then you had to pull back for your own mental health. Take care.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    I'm very sorry, stillin.

    We all have had the same experience and it is so painful. Yes, we all "shun."

    I have more to add, but later . . .

    Blessings and peace.

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