Still feel weird about things....

by FeelingFree 31 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • FeelingFree

    Oh Blondie that's horrible! How can a mother be so mean? No wonder you love giving gifts now.

    I agree and don't want to just give my family and friends presents at crimbo and birthdays. Especially as the birthday of my youngest is the 2nd Jan! She would have Christmas pressies and birthday pressies really close together then nothing for the rest of the year. Seems a bit cruel to me.

  • Vidiot
    You can take the boy out of the Watchtower, but it's a little harder to take the Watchtower out of the boy.
  • LisaRose
    This is normal and goes to prove how effective mind control is. Even when you know intellectually that there is no reason to be afraid, a part of your brain is not convinced. We all have a primitive part of our brain that controls the fight or flight syndrome. It responds very quickly in the event of a perceived threat. It's like when you suddenly see a rubber snake. The primitive part of your brain sees something alarming and your adrenaline starts flowing, your heart speeds up and you start moving. After a few seconds your normal, logical brain kicks in and says, wait a minute, that's not real, but it's a bit too late.
    I believe this mechanism is responsible for most road rage incidents, and also is a factor in OCD type behavior. I also speculate it is what's in play when you are afraid to do things that were once considered forbidden by the cult. Your logical brain knows it's nonsense, but your primitive brain is still reacting to the JW conditioning and saying "Danger! Danger! Don't do that!". It really brings home how effective mind control can be. It will eventually go away since you aren't going to meetings anymore, but I bet you could speed up the process by deliberately doing things that were forbidden by the JWs. Start with little things, like listening to Christmas music, watch a Christmas movie, go to a party, etc. Gradually you will associate Christmas with pleasant memories, not JW paranoia.
    When people have OCD type disorders they can be managed by gradually but consistently exposing people to what they fear, while helping people to manage the anxiety that is aroused by their OCD. Hoarding is an OCD type behavior, I saw an example where a young man had the idea that getting rid of the dog hair on his stairs would somehow hurt his dog. He knew that was not logical, but the OCD over rode his logical brain and caused severe anxiety, he couldn't get rid of the idea. With help he was able to retrain his brain to overcome the fear.
    I think this one reason why people struggle with leaving the religion. They think they can just leave and move on, but they get all these uncomfortable feelings when trying to live a normal life. If they haven't learned the ttatt, they incorrectly interpret this anxiety as being God's way of telling them they should go back, the primitive part of the brain is connected with emotion also, the emotions take over. They are being manipulated months and even after years of leaving. It is also why trying to get someone to see ttatt doesn't work. Their fear of apostasy is aroused and they shut down and can't take in what you are saying.
  • Tornintwo

    HI feeling free, your experience resonates so much with me! It's like it's great to be free but there is this nagging doubt pulling you back into the fear and guilt. Xanthippes post has it spot on I am sure, cult programming fades over time.

    i have teens and a toddler, I am so happy because my older girl is doing a Xmas play for her drama course and both the older ones are in a concert with their music school, my little one is making Xmas cards in nursery, for the first time we don't have to explain their non-involvement to teachers and my kids don't feel left out and weird! For me Xmas isn't about Jesus, it's too commercial, but the community and family part is great fun!

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim
    I remember the dreaded hell the Children of the Borg had to go through during the Holidays!!
  • JWdaughter

    Give yourself time. Don't overthink any of this. That is how the WT dudes came up with their stupid ideas.

    Your little girl is singing about loving Jesus. . I think it is less scary to focus on loving "baby" jesus when one is a little child. Or less creepy. Kids are kids and love everything. They are happy and joyful. Our JW parents were thunderclouds over that holiday and tried to ruin it for us forever, but the basics of Christmas for believers is sweet and about faith, not stuff. Your daughter can get a taste of that sweetness. Whether it sticks or not, she is going to have sweet memories rather than bitter ones at the holidays. You may never be able to change your gut entirely, you have been programmed. But you can insure that she never has the uglies associated with a holiday that should be positive, even for irreligious folks.

    I gave my mom a cranberry bliss bar yesterday and feared she would refuse it because it was a seasonal item for christmas (She didn't!-but seriously, who could refuse one of those?) Your daughter is not going to have to worry about wearing too much red in December, or putting lights up at her house or being caught in the christmas paper aisle at walmart by an elder. She will eat christmas cookies with no guilt unless she is dieting (another thing I'd steer her away from, weight obsession). Let her have that. You can give her that gift, if nothing else.

    It took me about 15 years before I stopped thinking about it all the time at holidays. As above, I still get twinges, but not gut wrenching ones. You have a good future.

  • Xanthippe
    It's been 17 months so I guess I still have some healing to do. - FeelingFree

    I don't think you're lagging behind. We didn't do Christmas the first year we were out because we didn't want to feel we were swapping one lot of customs/beliefs for another lot.

    But on the second Xmas when we had been out almost two years we did buy a tree and give each other cheap chocolate and second hand books because we didn't want to join in the ridiculous commercialisation.

    Do it your way, whatever feels right. From then on we didn't get feelings of guilt about it so please don't worry that it takes decades, you're nearly there.

  • tiki
    It takes time....enjoy your little angel and don't free! It gets easier over time...but it still amazes me how deep the indoctrination can go. Sad much wasted...
  • talesin

    It is wonderful to read about your little girl, having these fun times and a real childhood. You are doing just FINE, and only 17 months out!

    You know, our neural pathways in our brains are just that. Paths that have been well-trodden down. Our system naturally follows those paths, especially after years of indoctrination.

    You have been creating new neural paths for yourself. Every time you have that negative, icky feeling, reassure yourself by talking back, something like this: "Hey, I know this feeling, and it is not reality. I *know* this is a good thing for me and my daughter, so go away, negative thought". (In your own way, your own voice, tell yourself "Well done, on the right path!")

    You are making a new neural path for your brain. Eventually, the old ways will become overgrown, and you will naturally tread the new path. The one that says "This is fun! Look, see how happy she is. Ah, freedom is grand."

    Keep up the good work!

  • FeelingFree

    Thanks so much everyone for your lovely and helpful replies. It's made me a bit teary! It's so great to have you guys to vent to and that you really understand what it's like.

    Sometimes I think I'm getting on really well and then like today will have a real down day. All the crap just comes flooding back, I also have so much resentment inside. Little things mainly will trigger it like stupid jw instagram post or something (I have been proactive and come off it for that reason!)

    Think I just need to keep busy and concentrate on the positives, the fact my children won't be indoctrinated and will enjoy all the these celebrations...... That's definitely something that's "happyfying" hahaha! Such a stupid made up word just like everything else jw related xxx

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