Some thoughts on guilt.
- Counselling helped me more than meds, I had a lovely understanding counsellor, what helped the most is I could say anything to her without being judged for what I was saying which helped me sort my head out, whereas I had to be very guarded when speaking to any witnesses, including my husband, to not sound negative to the witness way of life and to my non believing family to not turn them against the witness religion that I loved. A fresh outside voice might also get through to her that she is putting herself under too much pressure, the witnesses are not so much against counselling now, maybe you can get away with suggesting it.
- Actually, she has recently said she might accept professional counseling so that is something we will look into. Up to now she was afraid it would reflect badly on being a Witness, as she thought a psychiatrist would advise her to reduce activities that cause stress, such as meetings and ministry!
Sorry buddy , but you are a part of your wife`s problem , you were an Elder and she believed all that came out of your mouth,for God knows how long, being a dutiful wife and an obedient wife to her husband.
Such wives in situations like this give over their all to their husbands believing the W.T. propaganda that they were directed by Holy Spirit.
Naive ,gullible ,vulnerable ,women , were coerced to obey their husbands with the threat of disfellowshipping if they challenged their husbands in any way.They were made to feel guilty if they wern`t doing enough from the society`s standpoint. And they were made to feel guilty if they questioned the society`s explanation of anything,
New day I sincerely hope you and your wife come to a better place , I do.
Thanks for sharing your experience here , and get professional help for your wife.
Convince her that professional help is available and they are not demonised
- Smiddy, with all due respect, my relationship with my wife has never been like the one you describe. She did not wait, starry-eyed for all my God inspired pronouncements. Actually, and this has always been an impediment to my 'progress' in the org, l have always believed that men and women are equal. Now you may have met people who behaved in this way, and l don't doubt that you have, but our dynamic does not work that way. She has, though, been very influenced by a misguided loyalty, in a general way, to the org. Thank you for your sincere advice.
Xanthippe, the meds still aren't really working and she has been on them for over a year! We talked to the doc about something stronger but he is very cautious, doesn't want to give her something that drugs her too much.
Thanks for your reply, I'm sorry you and your wife are going through this. That is a long time. I won't say anything else because you know your situation better than anyone. I suppose I just wanted to answer your OP about guilt and mention that it's often a symptom of depression, but you obviously know about it. Take care.
Thanks Xanthippe. I don't post very often but when I do I usually get very understanding replies from kind people like you. I do still have some very old friends in the org who I am very fond of but alas I cannot speak freely to them about all my concerns as I would be labeled as an apostate. Any small feelers I put out were greeted with uncomfortable silences, refutations and subject changes. Nice to be truly myself here.
Dubstepped you are totally right...the org doesn't guilt you into doing more it shames you , guilt can on occasion be healthy shame never is.
New day you could try looking up shame..and some ways to combat it. Mindfulness is another fantastic tool for combatting depression...and walking. Every day.And by the way I have known some wonderful elders who have had the most posative impact on my life, and I'm an atheist now but I'm still grateful - so don't worry about the past we can only do our best with the tools we have at the time.
All the best.
Sometimes women can be very intuitive, sounding out something is 'wrong' in their world or relationship - yet not necessarily able to identify or name the issue, through fear....
She may sense that your 'all good KH status' is shakey...
I used to have overwhelming feelings of anxiety about our marriage 'matching' the JW profile re meetings, service etc - it was awful. That brain pattern of anxiety and stress translated into bouts of depression - I'm going through a miserable bout at the moment, old patterns of 'mind control' which produces SHAME are like systematic physical reactions - I'm so sorry you are both struggling.
So many 'wives' are vulnerable in the WT - it's the terrible angst of wanting to be picture perfect - JWs don't do 'messy' life - but to normal folk messy is OK.
Life is messy -we get trained not to see that as normal, as something to be afraid of - my non JW friends ( Christian and otherwise) just deal with stuff as it comes along. I had my first all out panic attack a few years ago, in my 50s - and then a sense of disassociation from the real world, which was frightening.
I tried going to meetings during that time and I felt like I was in a nightmare.....the 'hall' felt like the worst place to be - I wanted peace, kindness and uplifting spiritual food - the dynamics of our KH made me feel worse than ever.
if she has faith in God, that needs to be nurtured to protect her from the 'cult' angle....which is fake and painful.
It sounds to me like you guys could do with a big change in your life. Is there any provision for this? I don't know your circumstances but maybe an extended break from the org masked as a holiday? Or a pack up and move to a different area, state or country even? If that's not possible, a new hobby that you can do together and if it includes the outdoors that would be very beneficial - bike riding? Pic-nics? Walking/hiking?
What I've found helps with depression is setting little things to look forward to everyday and big things to look forward to in the future. Maybe you can make a plan together and write it on a calendar. You can buy tickets for future events like concerts or events, book holidays etc.
I strongly also recommend you to look into natural medicines to compliment her medications. I will post a link to a page about essential oils beneath as just one area that can help. I like to make a pillow spray for when I sleep so I breath the oils in whilst my body is in repair mode but you can also have massage oils with them in or add to baths. Maybe you could look into this and also she should watch her diet. You are what you eat. Look up foods that uplift the mood and create more serotonin. Excercise is extremely important for depression also.
It seems to me a lot of JW's suffer from guilt but they are misinterpreting the guilt they feel. They often think their guilt is from not doing enough or doing the things they are supposed to do. The fact is they often don't really want to go in service or to all those meetings but feel like they SHOULD WANT to do those things and they feel guilty for NOT REALLY WANTING to do any of it.
- The whole religion operates on the F.O.G. principle. Fear, Obligation, Guilt.
- People are afraid of dying or being destroyed,
- They are made to feel obligated to promote the Societies interests claiming their motivation is love for their fellow man but the main motivation is to save their own skins and they are ashamed of this.
- They feel guilty for not doing what they're told to do and guilty for not wanting to do what they are told to do.
Maybe you could ask your wife to show you from the Bible how many meetings per week the early Christians attended. How long were these meetings? Were they held at night making it difficult for children and working people? Ask her what literature they used to spread the word and ask her to show you an example in the Bible where ordinary congregation members (including children) engaged in door to door activity using printed literature, collected money for it and were required to report the time they spent and their placements. Where in the Bible was a quota of hours spent per month, given? Maybe if she could see that this guilt is man induced rather than coming from something specific and clearly pointed out in the Bible, she'd feel better.