Cult memories extinguish good memories

by rebel8 7 Replies latest jw friends

  • rebel8

    I have this thing. I don't know why it is or how to stop it.

    Every time I happen to daydream about something positive from my childhood, some related cult aspect comes to mind and extinguishes it like a candle is being blown out.

    For a while, I thought this was anger and resentment causing me to want to find an excuse to be angry (not that I need one). I'm probably now as "over" the anger as I ever will be, so I'm thinking that's not it.

    It's not something I'm consciously doing. For example, I was driving and listening to a song that was popular when I was really young, probably right before the cult got me. I was remembering a relative teasing me while singing the song. Then I started remembering all the sh1t he did to me in later years via the cult, becoming an MS and supporting some truly messed up decisions by the local BOE.

    I mean, seriously, why. I don't deliberately think about this person, but I was smiling and remembering the silly song thing, and then a moment later I am remembering myself in one of the worst moments of my childhood.


  • TimeBandit

    In you mind, go back to that fateful day and slap the living shit out of him. Seriously. I think I know what you are talking about. Personally for me, it's my parents disowning me and the way they treated me that ruins almost all of the few childhood memories I can actually remember.

    Sometimes I go back in my mind to the day my dad talked to JWs for the first time. In my time travel fantasy I hug my dad and tearfully beg him to throw away the magazines he got that day, then I punch him right in the nuts...

    I'm sorry you have to experience this. I think you should look for a good counselor. They might be able to suggest some coping strategies that will help. Mine was off the cuff and I didn't mean to make light of you situation.


  • Xanthippe

    As you know neurons become linked together like train tracks and if we start down a certain memory it can take us to all aspects of that person, place or event. Also our strongest memories are linked to emotion. Which is why unfortunately we remember negative things more often if they evoke the strongest memories. That's why a happy childhood is the greatest gift.

    I find the same problem as you, I feel my brain's been wired up wrong. When I'm feeling really great negative memories intrude and can bring me down. The only thing that works for me is saying it's just the machine that's faulty it's not my whole life. I try and live in the now, I had a crap childhood, that's it.

    Would CBT work for you perhaps? I know someone who found it helpful for anxiety. The idea of it is to change mental habits.

  • Heartsafire

    You're not alone in this, rebel8. Happens to me all the time. A lot of my negative memories surface particularly when I'm hormonal or taking certain antibiotics. To the memories that end with me cringing, I like to imagine something really wonderful happening instead, or a bad person doing something I really like.

    It's fun to imagine an alternate ending and can help you not dwell on how bad you felt. For example, I might remember my heinous uncle publicly chastisng me at me at a meeting for being late (actual memory) when suddenly he is struck with a horrible bowel problem and diarrhea explodes from his backside, blowing through the fabric of his suit pants and soaking the CO's wife who happens to be standing, horrified, next to him (my alternate ending to the memory).

    I believe it is Steve Hassan who uses this method to help people deal with bad cult memories, but I could be wrong about that.

  • FayeDunaway

    I think that's a pretty normal mind process, rebel8. Past memories usually bring us to more recent memories. I can't think of my favorite teddy bear and how I used to cuddle with it without remembering that it's now missing an eye and up on the shelf.

    Some of us who have bad memories that outnumber the good ones work hard at making new memories that are good ones. Especially if we have kids, cuz we want to give them different lives than we had.

  • Phizzy

    All of my past, up until I left about 8 years ago, was the JW Cult life.

    I was in for 58 years. I still look back and have fond childhood memories, and memories from years after that, that are not blemished by being in the Cult.

    Of course, I am 100% certain I would have many more pleasant things to remember had I never been in the Cult, or had got out earlier.

    I treasure my good memories, try to push down the bad, and am grateful for what I have now, and look forward to the future.

  • sparrowdown

    There is no doubt WT leaves a very sour aftertaste that flavors even the nice memories. I have dealt with it by reminding myself that all the other people in my memories were indoctrinated and as such acted as their indoctrinated selves. We were all "under a spell" thankfully I woke up from the spell they did not.

    I ask myself would this person have acted the same way if their mind was there own, and they were free to be themselves. I may never know, but the exercise provides me with distance between the person and how they acted and that it probably wasn't personal it's just what cult indoctrinated people do.

  • xjwsrock

    Some good points in the posts so far. I will add this.

    Exercise vigorously. Get good rest. Practice any type of meditation you can. Take high quality supplements that enhance cognitive health. Do things that will make you smile or laugh your ass off. Do some things that will make you proud of yourself.

    I think the above creates an environment chemically inside us that is unfriendly to negative thought and certainly unfriendly to them setting up camp. Basically you may still have them from time to time, but you will be more likely to observe the thought than be consumed by it. Kind of like having some Teflon protection from the thought's effects.

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