last psychology session tomorrow
So tomorrow is my last appointment with my psychologist. We are going to commemorate it by giving each other a letter.
Sept 2016 I sat, a quivering wreck, in her waiting room. I was terrified. Would she think I was too old to help? I was there despite the disapproval of the elders (one who thought I was going to be made to do yoga and all sorts of things we witnesses didn't approve of!) and an elder's wife who had sternly told me ' if you must go, don't you be saying you're a Jehovah's Witness. It's not for them to know!'
I knew loads of bros & sis who should have sought help but they suffered in silence because they didn't want to bring reproach on God's name. Well, I wasn't one of them. A few weeks prior I'd been taken to hospital with a suspected heart attack...it was the mother of all anxiety attacks...and I'd been told by the doctor, you need to go and see someone or you're going to be in big trouble.
So I did. I was diagnosed with undischarged post traumatic stress. One of the first thing the psychologist asked me was, had I ever considered leaving the JWs?
Hell no! Are you kidding me? No way. I was rock solid sure we had the truth. There's was no way I would ever stop being a JW.
But bit by bit she helped me untangle the mess in my head. Looking back on my life was agonizing at times. Raised in an unhappy and often violent family by super strict (and extremely hypocritical) JW parents. They beat each other up and then went to the hall as if everything was perfect! Sexually assaulted by my much older brother while my parents were on a bible study (he's an elder and refuses acknowledge what he did or apologize to me) No contact with the outside world at all as I grew up. Forced to get baptized at 13. In big trouble when I got home if I didn't answer at least once during the meeting. No education. No fun. Nothing. A traumatizing and awful childhood. Reg pioneer at 16. Managed to escape in my 20s but so locked into the WT that despite everything I was totally convinced it was the real truth.
Married a RG/MS - kids. Hubby burnt out and stopped going to meetings. Kids all chose to go to university. Still I kept going. This was the truth. I wasn't giving up for anything.
But all the time I was haunted by my childhood. As if sexual abuse doesn't already rip you of your self esteem, add that to the WT making me feel that I was never good enough. Even my sister, a spiritual snob if ever there was one, told me I wasn't good enough to be a JW. I believed her and so I kept trying and kept praying. Telling Jehovah I was rubbish but please don't kill me or my kids. I was so screwed up by the WT. I blamed myself for everything. But that trip in the back of an ambulance changed everything.
So I ignored the elders and found a pyscholigist and wow, what a difference it made to my life.
Fast forward a year later...I am no longer attending meetings and am currently fading, although I am considering DA. I do not believe JWs have the truth and am deeply ashamed it took me over 50 years to come to this conclusion. Of course, my world imploded when, with the psychologists help, I started examining my religion and found TTATT! But I'm coming through it now.
I have learnt I am not a bad person after all, in fact, I'm actually quite nice. I did nothing wrong and have nothing to be ashamed of. I was treated appallingly by people that should have cared for me and that includes the elders in my congregation.
My mind now has clarity and finally, my heart has peace.
I was the one person you would have thought would never have ever given up believing the WT, but I did and I'm writing this to give people hope. You may have loved ones you want to wake up, be patient. If I can wake up...anyone can. Never give up. And for anyone out there suffering, find a psychologist or a counselor. I could not have got through this without one. It is one of the best things I have ever done.
And finally, thank you to everyone on this forum that has helped me, sent me messages of hope and comfort or made comments under my posts. Throughout all of this you have been my safety net and I have been so grateful for your support.
Congratulations to you.
I'm going to have a cake in your honour.
Good punkofnice we love cake!!
You were hardwired as a child to believe in the JW crapola. You were also traumatized by your parents and unfortunately by your older brother......the now creepy Elder who pretends he never molested you.
Good for you to get 'outside' help and good for you to share the progress you have made. Hopefully others who read this account and need help..... will get help. You started over and are becoming a more secure and strong person.
My best thoughts and wishes Phoebe.
P.S. I always make it a point to read your posts and they are always excellent.
PHOEBE- Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. You are truly an inspiration in what you've had to overcome. I'm so sorry that you suffered in the JW organization and that your brother abused you. Please know and realize that you are among friends here- many of us who were born-in JW's suffered in silence for years in our various circumstances until finally gaining our freedom of mind. I'm happy for you that you finally attained your freedom ! Good for you. Take care, Peace out, Mr. Flipper
Thank you Giordano and flipper...all of you have helped me so, so much. xxxx
I'm glad you are doing so well Phoebe. I very much enjoy your posts. You write very well - you come across as warm, fresh and open hearted.
I think, after being a witness and being told how you ought to be in order to be accepted by others, and restricting ones behavior and thought in order to accord with what is proper, one can become disconnected from ones true nature, thoughts and feelings. Forgive me if I sound presumptuous, but I get the sense you may have been suppressing your true self like a football held under the water and finally you have allowed that ball to pop up into the air and sunshine. And now you see and feel who and how you are without all the pressure of conformity. If that is how it is, then I expect it will be liberating and exciting feeling.
I have learnt I am not a bad person after all, in fact, I'm actually quite nice.
I can tell this about you, and as time goes on, you will continue to get to know qualities you like about yourself. You will find pleasure in that. You may also discover the odd negative quality, or thoughts or feelings in yourself that you would have been expected to suppress. You may feel angry thoughts for example. But you don't need to automatically suppress these. These are legitimate- they are a part of you, and can be accepted and looked at. It's just part of being human isn't it. This is all a much nicer way of being. And as it turns out, once all the external pressure to conform is taken away, and we stop suppressing ourselves, most of us discover we are pretty nice people, all on our own, and we are that way because we want to be, not because we are told to be.
I love this and that you no longer feel ashamed. You are so strong to be able to overcome all of this that you should never feel shame. Many people never overcome even one of the things you've mentioned here, whether it be physical, sexual, emotional, or religious abuse. And yet here you are with your head held high. You're an incredible person and you deserve to celebrate it.
Congratulations and best wishes for your future.I had therapy for about 2 years starting in 2006. It was the best thing I ever did for myself and I commend you for doing something so positive for your own emotional well being. Life will still be difficult but at least you have jettisoned 'excess baggage' that won't continually drag you down. Celebrate life and remember: 'At any given moment, there is more right with you, than wrong with you'!
Congratulations on breaking free! Don't beat yourself up because it took you fifty years, pat yourself on the back that you did it at all, many go to their graves without escaping, which is truly sad.