In reading through many posts over the last few months, I have started to form a viewpoint towards at least some of those witnesses/witness families, who are abusive and overzealous in their thinking.
Arguably, many, if not all here, would say all pimi witnesses are overzealous in their thinking, but I sort of disagree with that. Without revealing too much about myself, my parents who are still in (father long time elder, mother regular pioneer), I consider stable and balanced in their views. While I was shunned to a degree, after being disfellowshipped (They didn't go out to dinner or the movies with me or socialize with me publicly or very often privately, they didn't attend my wedding) they still spoke to me on the phone every few months, as I checked in on them and let them know I was doing alright (I moved out of state in my late teens). I would stop in and see them once a year or so, when I was coming through. While at times there was a slight bit of tension in the air, they were always loving to me. We spoke at length about what was going on in my life and what was going on in theirs, as well as my siblings lives. They took a genuine interest in me and what I was doing in my life, secularly, and personally. Once, my father hugged me tightly and through misty eyes, told me how proud he was of me.
....anyway, getting too personal now. Point is, though I knew our relationship was strained and had boundaries. I never felt unloved, or that they wouldn't be there for me if and when I needed them. In fact I know, because they were there for me in a moment of crisis, despite my being df'd.
My family wasnt dysfunctional. I know them to be reasonable, loving, people. Now, I also know if I were to start pointing out negative things about witnesses, and their beliefs, or saying hateful things in regard to the organization, they would most likely cease communicating with me, though, once again, I still believe if my life were in crisis, they would be there for me.
My experience differs from many experiences that others have related here, and on podcasts/YouTube. I can understand, given those experiences, why some are very angry. I would be too, in their shoes. But I can't discount how much of their bad childhood was due to a dysfunctional family dynamic, that would've still been bad, had their parents not been witnesses. Don't get me wrong, the fundamentalist ideals of the JW seem to draw dysfunctional people to their ranks. But then again, so do other fundamentalist ideologies. Which is where I come up with Dysfunctamentalism.
I think there are a lot of good people who were/are drawn into, or trapped (born into) the JW cult. But It would seem that there are a number of dysfunctional individuals who've used the cults idealogies to thrive and perpetuate their already maladjusted mentality. Those born into it, or juveniles pulled into it by their parents, are then sucked into a perfect storm of dysfunction and fundamentalism, coming out the other side, damaged to whatever degree that volatile mixture bore out.
For someone like me, it was difficult to recognize that. I wasn't abused. I knew no one who was abused (though I'm aware now that I very well could have, and just never realized it). To hear these stories, they seem impossible, unbelievable. Yet, they are real. Many bad, some horrific, all inexcusable.
So then, to what degree does dysfunction play in a familys outcome, and what degree does the cult play?