Can a full healing from cult ever be accomplished

by Chook 25 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Chook

    Can all indoctrination leave a person , or does it linger in background till death.

  • flipper

    CHOOK - Great thread topic. I feel that up to about 99 % of cult indoctrination can leave an individual - but it's like a person having been bitten by a shark or a mountain lion - a scar will always be there reminding the person of how he or she was either physically , mentally, or emotionally abused. I feel that we as ex-JW's carry around with us various levels of PTSD ( some folks more than others ) that we will have to address once we exit the JW cult or anybody else exiting other mind control cults as well.

    I was born and raised in the JW's from birth and exited 13 years ago at age 44 finally. I still have things I'm working on in attaining a completely free thinking, open minded view of life as I've gradually lost the " black and white " or " either it's this or that no in between " type thinking that was drilled into us by the WT Society. Life is chalk full of GRAY situations that we have to adapt to and learn from - or life will eat us up.

    What's helped me to move on from the JW's is reading A LOT of books dealing with mind control tactics used by cults like the JW's, reading books on psychology dealing with controlling people or controlling personalities, Ray Franz's books helped as well, and reading lots of books about history and how oppression has existed in all world societies for years and how people fought against being oppressed. Like histories of the Native Americans, African Americans in this country and I've learned from being actively involved in Ancestry .com by reading histories of my ancient relatives in the 1300's to 1500's with the wars of Scotland and England - seeing how these people dealt with oppression and trying to be free themselves.

    I've taken up interests that refresh my inner soul like playing guitar and writing songs which heal from within. I just appreciate every day of life more these days and realize that this life may very well be the only one we get- so I live it each day to the fullest. Developing close relationships with my inactive or ex-JW nieces and nephews to be there for them and them for me is fulfilling as my older JW siblings shun their own children. My relationships are deeper with my wife, my adult son after being out of the JW's for 13 years than any of the relationships I had as a JW - and those relationships were fickle, fake, not real. Now I have lots of EX-JW friends I can turn to in times of need here on the board and elsewhere who recognize the REAL me and treat me with authentic caring and respect and me to them. I never got that respect as a JW.

    So - yes- we CAN move on and have a better life. But it doesn't come by osmosis. It takes effort on our part to reprogram our brain neurotransmitters with DIFFERENT information than the JW shit that was shoveled into our minds and replace it with productive, good information. Kind of my view on this subject

  • tiki

    It is very difficult to overcome. I am dealing with stress and anxiety and a part of my current issue revolves around deeply embedded feelings of not being sense of me mattering...serve others and be humble and don't think about yourself...well the fact is imho that you have to take care of yourself first...mental and emotional health..both of which in negative zone can wreak havoc on the physical....that is my wt legacy. It has wrecked a big part of my life and I have to live with the damages till death do us part.

  • tiki

    Flipper....thank you. Esp your last doesn't just go have to work at it....😘

  • life is to short
    life is to short

    Spot on flipper! Loved you answer.


  • scratchme1010

    Can all indoctrination leave a person , or does it linger in background till death.

    My two cents, in short, and in my case, not completely. To me my recovery has been about minimizing the negative influence of that organization. It's not realistic for me to expect that I can remove the JWs from the first 23 years of my life, especially since I come from a large family and many of them are still in. I can't talk about my chilhood without mentioning the WT. It's just not possible.

    That organization, whether I like it or not, is going to be present in my life, so my healing from it is not about disappearing it from my life, but rather not allowing them to dictate my life, my decisions or my relationships. It's not about eradicating its influence, but to keep it to a minimum and correcting anything that exists in my life as a result of its negative influence.

    I don't hide that I was a JW, nor am I proud of it. I am proud of leaving and not allowing that organization and its nonsense continue controlling my life. I now have a history of living outside that organization and I have plenty of unrelated memories and life events that make my life a lot richer in spite of all the time I wasted in that organization.

    I also find healing in the fact that the Wt nonsense was something that was imposed on me since I was born, not something I decided to join. As soon as I knew better I left, and since I have been living my life on my terms not theirs. That's good enough for me.

  • LongHairGal

    I believe recovery from a cult is in direct proportion to how long a person was in it. Also, persons raised in it have more to overcome since their formative years were there. Also, whether or not the persons raised in have the education and skills to survive in the outside world are extremely important. Witnesses hamstring their children by avoiding higher education and crippling their self esteem.

    There are other factors that enter into the picture such as how loving and functional their family was and also if they left the cult/religion/group over doctrinal issues as opposed to personal injustice or mistreatment. Also, were they financially dependent (working for a "brother")? Or, did they have a business with Witness clients?..All this is tricky to get out of.

    I came into the religion as a young adult and left because of the 1995 Generation teaching plus attitudes towards women and secular work. I still have my issues that surface from time to time. My anger level is less personal now than it once was and more on the level of anger over political candidates on television.

  • Tallon

    I think it will differ from person to person and will depend on the circumstances, and the length of time, to which they have been subjected to.

    Some people will be able to move on and have no 'ill effects'. Others may have lingering 'scars'.

    I sincerely hope that all who leave the Org will go on to have fulfilling lives.

    NB: Flipper has given some excellent advice and well worth looking into / applying.

  • Ucantnome


    someone said u always return to the religion you r born into

  • Giles Gray
    Giles Gray

    Healing from a cult and ridding yourself from its indoctrination are two very different things. The latter is a lot easier to do.

    Healing is relative. Some pre-damaged people are drawn to cults, so when they leave they still have their original issues to deal with. It would be easy for these individuals to project their original issues and claim they have problems as a result of being in a cult.

    If your circumstances are right, with effort and a bit of luck, you can pretty much move on successfully and have a full and normal life, if that is the definition of being 'healed'.

    Some 'hang-ups' from being in a cult can be very useful. Ex JWs tend to be very sharp when it comes to critical thinking. They also tend to have a very good ability to debate logically and rationally.

    So I would say yes, it is possible to completely move on from being a JW.

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