Our Lost Histories

by ashitaka 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • ashitaka

    Tonight the wife is out, and I had some time to think.

    I was watching TV but got bored, because there is a fantastic thunderstorm going on right now.

    I turned off everything, and started to think about things, ans why I've had a kind of empty feeling lately, as to my past. I think about the little things, the history of my life.

    Somewhere, I lost my life to the JWs, that early time that is supposed to be the most important in forming who we become.

    I remember being a child, but can't remember when I felt like a child, I just seem to be missing something. Is it the birthdays, holidays, friends I was barred from having? Maybe that's a part of it. But, there's a sense of belonging you have as a child (I suppose), that people talk about. They talk about being coddled, encouraged to explore the world around them, have fun, and enjoy being a child. Just going outside and playing ball, you know?

    I think that the JWs robbed that specific history from us. They took the dogma of eternal death and rammed it down our little throats, hoping something would stick as we gagged on it. For most of us, something did. We hung on through our formative years, yearning for acceptance from people who cared only for their own religous rhetoric, and not for us, the innocent little children, who looked for strong adults to lead. We were like sacrifices.

    I wanted so badly to be like the other kids, not thinking about death and armageddon, just being able to play kickball and not wonder when the end would come and kill all those little playmates of mine. It disturbed so me so much when the elders talked about the birds eating the flesh of the dead....I envisioned my 'worldly' best friend, dead and being pecked at by birds.

    Beyond that, you could see a difference in the JW pals you had, and the 'worldly' friends. The JWs kids all seemed kind of dead, unless they were allowed to do whatever they wanted ( fence-sitters). But, any JW parent that followed the party line kept their kids in a box; we were screaming to get out. We expected to be beat at or after meetings, expected to never see our weekends, expected to have no friends but those who were pushed on us, expected billions to die, expected to not have one out-of-witness experience.

    Granted, there were some good times as a child; there's no childhood that is completely horrible. At the same time, I feel in my soul that I want so much more history, I need more real experience to go from.

    Just not the experience of sorrow. I've had enough of that, thanks.

    I remember being barred from things that were so important to me personally, yet not important because of what they were on the outside, but because of what they represented-getting closer to the humanity I so desperately needed to be a part of.

    I want the experience of being five years old, and looking forward to twelve years of agnst and adventure as a child, looking forward to meeting people, to acheiving my potential. I don't know when I became apathetic about my own existence, but it happened somewhere in my childhood. We were driven to think that everything was meaningless, but unlike monks, it was nonreligous. This wasn't for our spiritual betterment, but so that we would become soldiers of the Witness Reich, marching in our plain clothes and ties, every weekend and day off that we had, so that we wouldn't be 'ensnared'.

    Isn't it ironic that we were captive all along?


  • freein89

    excellent post. It's like having amnesia - no past. I too grieve for the child that never was. I remember enjoying Christmas songs and patriotic songs as a kid and then the overwhelming guilt for having enjoyed them. When I was 5 I begged my Mom to let me go to a birthday party, she let me go and I couldn't enjoy it, I was a guilt ridden 5 year old. Isn't that tragic. A guilt ridden 5 year old? Makes me sick.


  • DannyBear


    Thanks, it feels good just to say it, doesn't it.

    When I think about the fact that everyone of us raised in the cult, had our little minds assaulted with all that 'spiritual betterment' day in day out, literally from infancy, is it any wonder we suffer life long neurosis/flash backs?

    The only thing that temper's my justified anger about the whole thing, is the simple fact that there were compensating benefits.

    Learning to speak in front of groups, the art of salesmanship, the compulsory need to socialize with all age groups, these lesson's providing a few positives for all the negatives you mention.

    Even with the above, nothing can reedem them for the outright theft of our need for peer acceptance...we little devout jw's had little if any.


    **** This wasn't for our spiritual betterment, but so that we would become soldiers of the Witness Reich, marching in our plain clothes and ties, every weekend and day off that we had, so that we wouldn't be 'ensnared'.****

  • coffee_black

    I had it easier than most jw kids. My parents were more moderate than most, so I got to go to art classes and to participate in some after school activities. They never beat me... in fact I had only one spanking in my life...administered by my father, who cried more than me. I also got to stay home from meetings if I had a lot of homework. My parents believed in education.

    I do know what you're talking about though. I remember being in third grade, looking out of my classroom window at the awful thunder storm raging outside. I thought it was armageddon starting, and in near panic, wondered how I would get home to my mom, and how dad would get home from work. I didn't want to face armageddon alone.

    I had good times as a kid. I had loving parents, with whom I had very strong bonds. I think what the organization takes away from kids, more then anything else is the ability to be ourselves...to recognize that we have value as individuals...talents.. abilities...strenths that make us unique. ..to learn to trust our own judgement...and make decisions for ourselves. Learned as a child, these things are second nature. Learned as an adult...well, I'm not sure you ever acquire those abilities fully.

    I didn't fit in anywhere....in school, I could never be close enough to form friendships. At the hall, there were very few kids to begin with, and nearly all were awful... except one, and she's still my best friend today (she's out too)


  • Pistoff

    This thread made me cry.

    I realize it must have hit a nerve in my own history, but it hits me where I live: parental guilt.

    But, any JW parent that followed the party line kept their kids in a box; we were screaming to get out.

    That is a fact. Don't talk to me about moderate parents; a moderate parent, by WT standards, is a slacker and is guilty. Your children were not to be in sports, after school activities, etc. End of story.

    I am a parent of adult and teenage children, and I have left the borg mentally but still attend a meeting or two just to save face for my family, three of them still attend.

    But it is the relationship with the older two that I am working to repair. Oldest is still df'd and is unlikely to pursue reinstatement; he is the most affected by early borg training. He is a real believer still, even though he has questions he knows that he cannot ask if reinstated. He is also idealistic and has a strong sense of justice; those things create in him a real conflict when he thinks of things borg, since logic and justice do not reside there. I give him all the time with me that he asks for; we do most everything together in the summers when he is off college and working. We are close.

    Second son is a tougher case. He is reinstated and working hard in the borg; still, he knows that the sex abuse scandal is real. That says to me that there is a real struggle in his head, because if you accept that the scandal is real, and then sit through an assembly that makes you feel guilty for reading a newspaper report about it, you are in conflict mentally. His GF is starting to pioneer, and they have the signs of rampant true believerism. I think my son is afraid to talk to me about the truth, as all witness have been trained not to discuss anything that might weaken their faith.

    Third child is a dilemma; he also knows that scandal is real, and he knows that there is trouble with blood issue; he is in the mid teens and entering the social phase of life. He needs friends, and I am loath to throw a bomb into the mix at this time. I save all manner of pages relating to BS dogma and doctrine changes, chronology issues and the like. I do not lock my computer. I want him to come across it, and soon will begin to chip away at the wall. Wife is beginning to get the concept that all is not good in WT land, but is also dyed in the wool believer.

    I don't believe any of it anymore, and have come to see it as the enemy of true connection with God.

    Back to history: I have realized, through therapy, that I was scripted to think I had a great childhood, but when I dig deep, it is sad and lonely and scary; I came away from childhood with the feeling that I would get no help from my parents, but had to figure everything out for myself. My childhood was filled with worry inappropriate for a child; my father's drinking and anger was the main thing I can remember.

    My father was not in the "truth"; mother was. Father was abusive to older half siblings sexually, who remind me occasionally that they were abused by "my" dad just to keep me feeling humble, I guess. They are the most arrogant and religious of the family, and I don't miss them since they moved away as much as I feel I should.

  • Amazing

    Hi Ash: Excellent. Unlike you, I have my childhood memories as a Catholic ... I started associating with the JWs at age 17, and did not become a JW until I was 19. So, I missed out on some things at that age ... but most of my youth was spared the fear of Armageddon and separation from the world features. Still, it was robbed in other ways by my psychotic father. Yet, we were able to isolate him as the cause and live around him ... thanks to my Mother supporting our need for sanity.

    The JW religion so closely resembles the Pied Piper ... leading people to CandyLand ... but once inside he traps them into forced labor ... they really need to be put out of business. I hope that the nearly 4,000,000 ex-JWs will not let up until the Watchtower is brought to its knees ... yet, at the same time, I hope we so not sacrifice our adulthood history taking them on day and night ... that we spend more time on our own individual needs.

    When I left the JWs, I felt young again ... as though I were 20 years old still ... my theory, which I learned has some scientific support, is that when we leave an abusive situation we return to the age we were at when we first joined them ... sooo ... for a few years, I let myself be 20 again in the heart ... aftermore than 11 years away from the JWs ... I have finally grown from age 20 to 21 ... ...

    I recommend letting yourself be young again at some age level you wish ... maybe for an hour at a time ... go to the beach ... play games ... or do those things that bring nothing but pure joy ... explore, go hiking, etc. ... do some teenage things ... go to a party. While it cannot be quite the same as being 5 or 6 or 10 ... it can help the healing and finish the business of being human at a young age ... and we have the advantage of being old enough to know not to do the stupid foolish or illegal things ... so in some ways, we can be better at being young now than when we were young.

  • OICU8it2

    I feel similarly at times. I think that is only natural upon recollection. You did not miss your life. That was part of it. That was who you were then. Also, that organization did provide a measure of protection. You life could have gone many ways outside "truth" some of them costly in health, etc. I regret many things. But I think I would say the same otherwise. It's easy to think of what could have been accomplished. But some things take a level of persistence and concentration that make achievement very difficult. I can't express the measure of relief felt now from that cult. Even during the most spiritual times in the truth there was always the underlying doubt and guilt because I took all the little, subtle "helps" seriously like "can you justify before Jehovah why you are not pioneering?" and "to the extent we Love Jehovah and his organization we will be out in service", and "are you involved in dead works?" I remember thinking 'this will be my last summer' many times because I was so unworthy, even though never df or even disciplined and a regular publisher for many years. Look how much more wise and mature you are now. No experiences are wasted. Your friend.

  • ashitaka


    Thanks for your great replies. I'm helping the wife clean up the place today....we're having a birthday party for another friend who is an ex-JW from our old congregation. Maybe it's because of that that I started remembering things.

    Anyway, I will reply in detail to you guys tomorrow morning, hopefully sans hangover.


  • Satanus


    You brought back a few memories, expressed well the process and results.

    Being beaten after meetings

    Cut off from humanity and having fun

    Apathetic about life


    The slow death started in my life before school age. By the end of adolescence, i think it was complete.



    Ash -

    I feel for you and empathize. School was especially bad...MISERABLE. The guilt and terror knowing Big J was going to smoke you at Big A for singing along with the "wrong" song...or putting your hand too close to your heart during the pledge...or making that valentine in art class. I was a worthless child who didn't have the courage to stand up to every other adult and kid in my school. I did not deserve to be in the New World. I slacked off. I was scared. 75% committment to the Borg and their rules was not enough. It had to be 100% or you were dead. I could not do it. I finished my schooling knowing Big A was due any minute and knowing that I would most likely suffer the same gruesome death as my worldly classmates...yes Jehovah, I did eat a bite of that birthday cake...I'm sorry but I realize that big bears will come out of the woods when I'm walking home and tear me to bits. I hate those bastards with every bit of my life for taking happiness out of my childhood! Yes there were times when I could have fun..but in the darkness of my room as I try to go to sleep I know I'm not worthy of everlasting life. The guilt, shame and terror was always with you if you were raised in the Borg. Amazing got it right...YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO HAVE A HAPPY CHILDHOOD. You just have to get rid of all that bullshit they "inculcated" into your head. Good luck Ash and to all of us. We're damaged goods but we can be repaired. We must commit, as a small (but growing) guerrilla group, to fighting the evil empire in every way possible...writing letters, making phone calls, putting posters on bulletin boards, etc. We will win.


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