Why is it so hurtful to be shunned? Why object to it?

by stuckinarut2 30 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • stuckinarut2

    It seems like many feel hurt or saddened by the practice of shunning by witnesses.

    Yes, when ones who we were close to, perhaps family or ones we thought were close friends choose to follow the warped directions of the society, it may seem hurtful.

    But really, our reaction is up to us.

    The fact is, these ones have shown that in reality, their love for us was never REAL or GENUINE. No, those relationships were superficial and lacking in substance.

    Why would we choose to try and go back to an abusive situation like that? Why feel the need to go back to a conditional relationship where one can be bullied?

    Really, it is very immature and child-like to ignore a person, or refuse to speak with them because they have chosen to research facts, or have gone down a different path. School yard antics indeed.

  • Giordano

    "But really, our reaction is up to us."

    True but the human aspect comes into play as we are social animals first and foremost. We do not expect to be shunned by our close friends and family be it because we had a lapse of judgment or worse........ questioned the 'truth' and mentioned a few concerns.

    Now in my case I knew that my questions would separate me from all of the people who meant something to me from age 13 to 23. But I was ready to move on and did so.

    My disdain for the doctrines and organization meant that I could no longer be a part of what I came to learn was a false and dangerous religion.

    Even though 50 years have passed memories still linger of friends and family. One's formative years........... the years where you grow and change the most hold some of the most profound memories. A hundred faces can flash through my mind if I let that happen and sometimes I do......that's me sitting in the corner with a smile on my face as I remember friends and fools.

    Everything you experience in life puts a mark on you......... We move on.....but...

  • OneEyedJoe

    It's hurtful because humans are social beings that fear ostracism instinctively. The flavor of shunning that JWs practice is particularly hurtful because it has built-in victim blaming - those shunning you blame you for having to shun you. We humans are also susceptible to suggestion - hearing that your being shunned is your fault enough makes it more and more likely that you'll start telling yourself the same thing.

  • Heartsafire

    It hurts so bad because it is emotional abuse. It is an indefinite "silent treatment" as if one is dead. All people should object to it because it far exceeds reasonable punishment. There is never love involved in abuse. There is never an excuse or reason good enough to do this. The people who practice this form of abuse are under the influence of a dangerous cult. It is up to people who know the truth about this cult to get the word out regarding this inhumane practice.

  • Island Man
    Island Man
    "The fact is, these ones have shown that in reality, their love for us was never REAL or GENUINE. No, those relationships were superficial and lacking in substance."

    I beg to differ. Your words do have a certain "ring of truth" to them. But then again many have also said that the false JW teachings have "the ring of truth".

    I don't think it's always the case of them not having genuine or real love. I'm sure many of them are also pained by the fact that they can no longer speak to the shunned but they do it because they have been brainwashed into believing that shunning you is the right thing to do to save your life. They have been brainwashed into showing love in a cruel way. It's an extreme example of mistaken love.

    It's not much different to a parent who would subject their fatally ill child to a painful ordeal if they're convinced that it is necessary to save the child's life. Does such a parent lack real or genuine love for their child? No. The only difference between such a parent and many brainwashed JWs that practice shunning is that the parent's actions might be justified by medical science while the JWs actions is woefully misguided and based on error. In both cases genuine love could be present.

    You cannot judge love or lack of love purely on actions. You have to consider the motives. A person can kill you out of genuine love for you and kiss you out of pure hate. I'm sure many ex-JWs on here will testify to the fact that they too engaged in the practice of shunning ex-JWs when they were indoctrinated Witnesses, not because they didn't love them but because they thought it was the best thing to help the "erring" one to return and avoid destruction. I'm sure many JWs are probably torn inside.

    It is not necessarily the lack of love. It is most certainly the power of indoctrination.

  • LongHairGal

    After reading all the posts of people raised in the JW religion who "faded" at some point, I can understand that the consequences to them would be worse than for somebody like me who came in as a young adult.

    Yes, there are people who would shun me if I see them. However, I view the JW religion as a bad job that I had and that I left. These people were never my friends anyway.

    However, I realize that somebody raised there who knew nothing else might feel lost and I do understand that many older Witnesses will never leave the religion because their social and financial connections are too deeply entwined. They cannot start over. I'm not judging them.

    But, anybody else who can see their way to get out of there and be free, I wish the best of luck. It does get better with time.

  • blondie

    If they are people that mean nothing to you, yes, it can be easy.

    But if they are parents, siblings, spouses, children, that you have a close, caring relationship with (or the illusion you do), it can be harder especially

    If you have no other social circle formed yet.

    So thinking about leaving, start now making anew social circle, where you get positive feedback.

  • millie210

    As has been said in various ways above, we are herd animals anthropologically speaking.

    Being cut off from the tribe could mean death in days gone by.

    Recognizing this is a hard wired primal response, man has come up with ways to use it. Solitary in prison usually gets the desired result. Religions do it with shunning.

    The bright side is that we can recognize it as a basic human response and take steps for our own well being.

    Making friends, talking about our feelings about the entire experience, educating ourselves are all tools.

    This forum is one of those tools that is an antidote for the bad medicine the Org is attempting when it practices shunning.

  • dubstepped

    "Our reaction is up to us" reminds me of all of the times JWs told us to just ignore natural feelings. Eventually we can get to a better place, some quicker and/or farther than others, but ultimately to hurt is normal and we aren't purely logical creatures. Lots of women, for example, go back to abusive men because it's what they know and are comfortable with on some level. All types of abusive acts can become normalized outside of our control until we get tools to deal with them.

  • compound complex
    compound complex

    I appreciate your thoughts, stuckinarut2. They, as well as those expressed by other posters, have helped me.

    In my own attempt to deal with shunning, I try to be objective and not allow emotion to put everyone who appears to be shunning me into the same basket. Most individuals are busy with their lives -- or maybe a bit negligent about staying in touch -- and have given no thought whatsoever to a deliberate shun. Maybe some think I'm shunning them . . .

    Even here on the forum, not everyone is our friend or reads our posts. Some people do like us but just don't get around to talking to us. One of my dearest friends simply doesn't write or phone or do social media. He's not shunning me. When we meet, one-on-one, we get caught up.

    Took a while, but my skin is thicker. I know who my real friends are.


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