When do the nightmares end?

by EyeDrEvil 32 Replies latest jw friends

  • EyeDrEvil

    Just a question for the board's input...

    Background information:

    My wife, raised in a JW home, very popular elder as her father, living through the entire 1975 thing ("Honey don't worry about passing 7th grade. Next year will be the new system..."), but beat up for years by the mind-control and spiritual abuse by the WTS.... She has recently officially DA'd from the Society this spring, had her first birthday party ever (a huge blast of a great time!). Mentally, she has never really bought into what she was "inculcated" as a child, moreso now as a very intelligent woman. She sees the Society for what it is. A mind-control / power organization. She has moved-on.

    Most days are great. We are FREE from the Borg. Life is moving forward in positive ways never before possible.

    BUT... There is the recurring problem of nightmares and random thoughts of panic and fear which will pop up unexpectedly...Fears of death, armageddon, home invasions, etc.

    How long did this last for you? And what did you do to get past this?

    Any strategies?

    Words of advice?

    Thanks for your input...


  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    When my wife left, she had to go into therapy for about a year. It's one thing to know and recognize something intellectually, but it's another to feel it on a gut level. To be raised in a high control group that is constantly feeding messages of death for any disobedience or worse, to anyone leaving, well that's a tough thing to overcome.

    Nightmares, to me, indicate fears at a very basic, subconscious level. If there is any consistency in the nightmares (i.e. being chased, being killed, etc.) that is an indication of what the fear is about. She needs to talk about it with someone she trusts and express what she is afraid of. Sometimes saying it out loud is enough, sometimes it isn't. But the nightmares will stop once she reaches a resolution about the cause.

  • 1m2y3j





    LOL, 1M

  • talesin


    Sounds like you two are doing well for the most part. Dreams are the mind's way of processing information. Recurring dreams do, in my experience, happen for a reason. Big Tex has some good advice there -- get professional help.


  • Special K
    Special K


    Hi there. Just wanted to let you know that I went through this and it became so bad I sought out professional help for awhile. I think that it was partially because I was basically raised as a J.W. from a very young age. My husband did not have this problem he only joined the J.W.'s in his middle teens. He did not seem to suffer the fall-out as I did.

    The programming of J.W.'s is very cult like and kind of winds a web throughout your whole belief system. It takes some years (at least for me) to gradually have all these webs kind of be picked out.

    I was wondering in you have read the book Releasing the Bonds by Steven Hassan. I'd really like to suggest you pick up a copy or get it through your local library. It helped me immensely to understand how these fears and phobias are subtly sewn throughout the psche. Understanding this was extremely helpful for me.


    Special K

  • cyber-sista

    This site has helped me a lot. So many things were programmed into us over the years that coming here is like a purge to me. Many of the posts trigger memories--things that I had just stuffed in there without dealing with them at the time (being told not to question). So to logically sort all these issues out and to comment on how I really felt about those concepts at the time is healing. It helps me to gain a bit of myself back again. It's a process, painful sometimes, but has aided much in my recovery.

    The best to you and yours,


  • Markfromcali

    The problem is you may be free from the Borg, but not free from yourself - unfortunately the self in this case is programmed by the Borg.

    Most people are not inclined toward self understanding for whatever reason, it is easier to get by with this when one has not been programmed in such a way - but even then there is still programming, it is just more of the mindset of the mainstream. IF you should dig deep you would in effect be going beyond the JW programming, and the good news is there is the prospect of being even freer than a 'normal person.' But if not, to be brutally honest it is essentially the same process reversed, and more than likely will take about as much time and effort.

    This is going to sound simplistic, but a basic, down to earth way of approaching this kind of self discovery is to get to know someone who is really obviously free - not from the Borg but just freely living life to the fullest, whether it's an ex or not. While it may be appropriate to seek therapy at times, don't think all the answers has to come in the form of something very technical, or something to do or practice. And this approach will probably not yield immediate results, but it does have an effect - just look at how much of an influence the Witness association has had over the years. The difference here is its not a matter of newer, better reprogramming, but being around someone like that helps release one from the programming. So for that matter be aware there's no telling what the life situation of someone like this is, but notice their attitude in life. Again, simple - but it is far more valuable than you know.

  • Terry

    I think there are stages we go through when our world view is turned upside down.

    We all have our anchor points. We have a map inside our head that tells us what's what.

    But, one day there is no Santa Claus and the next we've replaced him with a deity.

    Things you are told, and taught and instructed about stick to your bones. It isn't a light switch you can flick on and off. It is a kind of realistic miracle that any of us can suddenly "realize"'

    we are WRONG about anything; much less break free from our dependance on it. The easiest thing we do is make an immediate REPLACEMENT. But, that's not easy. Ex-cigarette smokers might become heavy eaters or drinkers. Ex-husbands and wives might suddenly find themselves deep in a new relationship that mimmicks the old rotten one. We are creatures of habit.

    We live in a world that can scare us unless we have our "blanky". The thunder and lightning send us under the covers. We retreat under the veil of "pretending" something won't hurt us.

    Philosophy calls that PRIMACY of CONSCIOUSNESS, which is just a fancy term for a mystical pretense that we can make things happen or make things real just by BELIEVING them.

    I went through years of a phase whereby I was not a Jehovah's Witness anymore; but, for all practical purposes I still had the roots of the weed growing inside my head. In other words, I still thought the same thought patterns! My world view didn't change at all just because I stopped believing! Scary? Yes. But, it was a habit of thinking. A habit that was hard to break.

    I find many ex-JW's who just go on believing almost everything in the same patterns--but--without the Watchtower Society connected to it. They jump into another religion or become bullish on debunking the Witnessess or just reading tons of anything that can give them THE ANSWERS.

    That is understandable; but worthless. Why? Our dependance on getting THE ANSWERS from others is what got us in trouble in the first place. My view is this: nobody has a secret pipeline to absolute knowledge about anything. They are all pretending and then convincing themselves they are certain. What causes the nightmares then?

    Your subconscious mind knows there are no BIG answers and no supernatural anything. Once you really admit that you are apt to be terrified. Why? YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN! You have to become an adult. That is a tough path to take. You get to make your own world without hand-me-downs from well-meaning (but misguided) others.

    I recently read a most enlightening book by Karen Armstrong. It concerns the Fundamentalist mentality in the three great monotheistic religions. She made something clear to me for the first time. Humans need a mythos (a story that connects them to a timeless sense of constancy).

    Religion plays that role. The rituals and bonding give us a sense of belonging to a fixed system of measures we can wield to protect us from change and uncertainty.

    But, real life is change; constant change. Fundamentalists are terrified of change. They cling to a mythic past. The golden age is always long ago. The future holds only the terrible Great War of God the Almighty. Religious mythology makes us weaklings who must cling and cower under the protective umbrella of orthodoxy: right practices.

    To wean ourselves away from that primitive view we must create our own new (and healthy) rituals. We must belong to ourselves in freedom. We don't cling to groups or gurus or HUGE TRUTHS; because those crackpot notions are unhealthy and feckless.

    The Nightmares are healthy; they are the monsters of the ID breaking free from all the mumbo jumbo you've been told all your life. Once they break out of their unconscious prison and run away they just don't ever come back. I find I'm not longer afraid of the dark and can't get scared in horror movies anymore! It is all nonsense now and not boogeymen demons spying on me!

    It is wonderful to be free. Rejoice in it. Embrace the fleeing nightmares and kiss them goodbye.


  • JamesThomas

    Eye, As long as there is a belief that we are an individual entity separate and apart from all else, there is deep fear. The intense fear and suffering of a tiny fragment protecting and defending it's oh so fragile existence from the rest of the universe. Can there be a more frightening "nightmare"? As radical as this may sound, we need to question -- deeply question -- what we believe ourselves to be and our relationship to the universe. Are we really what we believe ourselves to be?! This questioning and search is accomplished within our deepest and most intimate sense of being within....or not at all. Only here, will the fear -- truly end. j

  • Mulan
    This site has helped me a lot. So many things were programmed into us over the years that coming here is like a purge to me.

    Me too. It takes time.

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