Fearing the Pain

by rockhound 16 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • rockhound

    After the death of her witness father, a dear friend of ours told us her mother, in deep depression, said "This wasn't supposed to happen.The new system should have come by now"

    Depression is not unique to this heart broken sister. A witness in our old hall was out in service one day with four pioneer sisters. One sister commented that she had forgotten her Prozac, and in a flash, each of the other sisters reached for their Prozac and offered her one.

    The book "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck offers some practical wisdom. "Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life's problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing." "It is because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. When we desire to encourage the growth of the human spirit, we challenge and encourage the human capacity to solve problems....It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Those things that hurt, instruct." Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us , to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems....We even take drugs to assist us in ignoring them, so that by deadening ourselves to the pain, we can forget the problems that cause the pain. "We attempt to skirt around problems rather than meet them head on."

    From the "Collected Works of C G. Jung" we find this statement. "Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering." Dr. Peck continues "When we avoid the legitimate suffering that results from dealing with problems, we also avoid the growth that problems demand from us....If you move out to another human being, there is always the risks that that person will move away from you, leaving you more painfully alone than you were before, love anything that lives- a person, a pet, a plant, and it will die.Trust anybody and you may be hurt; depend on anyone and that one may let you down. The price of cathexis is pain. If someone is determined not to risk pain, then such a person must do without many things: having children, getting married, the ecstasy of sex, the hope of ambition, friendship - all that makes life alive, meaningful and significant. Move out or grow in any dimension and pain as well as joy will be your reward. A full life will be full of pain."

    "The essence of life is change, a panoply of growth and decay. Elect life and growth, and you elect change and the prospect of death....I have said that the attempt to avoid legitimate suffering lies at the root of all emotional illness. Not surprisingly, most psychotherapy patients (and probably most nonpatients, since nerosis is the norm rather than the exception) have a problem, whether they are young or old in facing the reality of death squarely and clearly.... If we can live with the knowlidge that death is our constant companion, traveling on our "left shoulder," then death can become in the words of Don Juan, our "ally," still fearsome but continually a source of wise counsel. With death's counsel, the constant awareness of the limit of our time to live and love, we can always be guided to make the best use of our time and live life to the fullest. But if we are unwilling to fully face the fearsome presence of death on our left shoulder, we deprive ourselves of its counsel and cannot possibly live or love with clarity."

    "Truth is reality"...The more clearly we see the reality of the world, the better equipped we are to deal with the world. The less clearly we see the reality of the world - the more our minds are befuddled by falsehood, misperceptions and illusions - the less able we will be to determine correct courses of action and make wise decisions. Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost....We are daily bombarded with new information as to the nature of reality. If we are to incorporate this information, we must continually revise our maps, and sometimes when enough new information has accumulated, we must make very major revisions. The process of making revisions, particularly major revisions, is painful, sometimes excruciatingly painful.And herein lies the major source of many of the ills of mankind. What happens when one has striven long and hard to develope a working view of the world, a seemingly useful, workable map, and then is confronted with new information suggesting that that view is wrong and the map needs to be largely redrawn? The painful effort required seems frightening, almost overwhelming. What we do more often than not, and usually unconsciously, is to ignore the new information. Often this act of ignoring is much more passive. We may denounce the new information as false, dangerous, heretical, the work of the devil. We may actually crusade against it, and even attempt to manipulate the world so as to make it conform to our view of reality. Rather than try to change the map, an individual may try to destroy the new reality. Sadly, such a person may expend much more energy ultimately in defending an outmoded view of the world than would have been required to revise and correct it in the first place."...If in our laziness and fear of suffering we massively defend our awareness, then it will come to pass that our understanding of the world will bear little or no relation to reality. Because our actions are based on our understanding, our behavior will then become unrealistic. When this occurs to a sufficient degree our fellow citizens will recognize that we are "Out of touch with reality", and will deem us mentally ill even though we ourselves are most liklely convinced of our sanity.But long before matters have proceeded to this extreme, and we have been served notice by our unconscious of our increasing maladjustment. Such notice is served by our unconscious through a variety of means: bad dreams, anxiety attacks, depressions, and other symptoms. Although our conscious mind has denied reality, our unconscious, which is omniscient, knows the triue score and attempts to help us out by stimulating, through symptom formation, our conscious mind to the awareness that something is wrong. I have already pointed out in this brief discussion of depression...that depressive symptoms are a sign to the suffering individual that all is not right with him or her and major adjustments need to be made....The unpleasant symptoms of mental illness serve to notify people that they have taken the wrong path, that their spirits are not growing and are in grave jeopardy."

    Much of the depression among the witnesses today is the result of false hopes and wrong directions the Society has given in the past and that never came true. The maps they trusted in have led them to many dead end roads. Many have revised their maps and are traveling in new directions. Others do not want to go through the pain ( Crisis of Conscience) of facing the reality: 1975 did not bring about the start of Armagedon, Millions now living will never die (they are all dead), 1914 generation is almost all gone, the anxiety of Armagedon not coming year after year, and so on and so on. Can we look back at the history of one failed prediction after another and tell people at the door that we have the "Truth" this year, but not really 10 years ago or 10 years before that?

    Face the Pain!! The real "TRUTH" is that these dreams and hopes were not true then or now. They were never a part of real truth, and our subconscious minds are shouting out loud and clear "Fix It" "Something is very Wrong". At what point in our lives do we finally take the needle and dig the splinter out that is hurting us. The Problem doesn't get better unless we face the pain that must be endured to make things get better.


  • MerryMagdalene

    Interesting information and application to J-dubs, Rockhound! But I'm afraid that most of them lack the necessary incentive to face the immense pain that can come from the loss of all that they have held dear for so long. Fear wins out all too often which, I guess is the reason for the ongoing success of the WTBTS empire. It capitalizes on their fears and numbs their pains and stunts their growth. Sad

  • rockhound

    Merry There is an old saying: " Do what you've always done,and you'll get what you've always got" After 40 years I finally Faced the Pain and took the splinter out. Rockhound

  • Annanias

    But no matter how philosophical we are, how many splinters we remove, how clear our thinking, we still lose all that we have. With that as an understood, unchanging,given, all the rest is meaningless.

  • Gopher
    we still lose all that we have. With that as an understood, unchanging,given, all the rest is meaningless.

    Even though we may have shed the false promises of JW-ism such as "Paradise Soon" and "Death soon to end", can't we still have joy and purpose? Even though we are mortal, can't we enjoy what life has to offer and try to improve the lives of others, gaining some satisfaction from that?

    We don't know with certainty what, if anything, comes after our life on earth terminates. Does that make everything meaningless now? Maybe, but I believe each of us can create meaning for our life even without absolute knowledge of what may or may not come next.

  • RunningMan

    In the book of Proverbs, it says "Expectation postponed is making the heart sick."

    The Society has a lot of sickness to answer for.

  • gypsywildone

    Awesome post Rockhound! And applicable to many situations in the lives of many people. It can be self medicated with alcohol or substances & distractions, but it isn't going away until it's dealt with. Better to do the work & LIVE!

  • shamus

    You are applying depression to witlesses.

    True, you can really see why they should be depressed. 100 percent, absolutely. Your prozac story does not hold water with me, however. I find that anti-depressants, that I've been on for over 10 years, does not do one thing for me if I forget one day. It's when I miss 3 days... that's when Ifeel it.

    Funny... when I actually got help for my depression, the dubs were outta my life faster than you can imagine. I saw right through the bullshit immediately. Depression kept me there; getting help, despite being counselled not to, was what saved me.

    You are applying those beliefs to just a few dubs. I completely agree that there is a serious mourning process that you must go through once you realize that 'the truth' is 'bullshit'. Everything that you've worked for, years of your life gone in an instant. That's why so many hang on; that's why so many go on anti-depressants nowadays.

    Just keep in mind that depression is a clinical illness; the result of low seratonin levels in your brain. People cannot 'just get over it', no more than someone can ';get over' heart disease.

  • LyinEyes

    There are so many Jdubs on antidepressants that is for sure. I have done alot of reading on depression as I suffer from it myself. I read that daily stress can actually deplete your serotonin levels and we all know for a fact that trying to live up to being a good JW, is so stressful.

    I also have fibromyalgia and migraines,,,,,,,,two very real syndromes of pain that also have to do with low levels of serotonin. As a JW, I was suffering so bad from theses maladies. When I d/a myself,,,,,,,, I went thru the grief of that, the pain , the heat ache and slowly got back on my feet like I had never been before. I have been out of the JW's for two years and I have not had to have one trip to the ER for a shot of demerol for the migraines. That is powerful to me. I let go of a religion that was going against who I was as a person, I let go of the stress, and I let go mainly of the guilt and self destructive patterns of thinking . I stopped being so damn hard on myself , both physically and mentally and I started to feel better. I still have the fibromyalgia , the migraines and the depression ,,,,,,,,,,but it is SOOOOOO much better. I don't suffer as I used to.

    I always hated the saying,,,,,,,,,that we are who we are because of the hard things we go thru. It used to piss me off to no end because I wondered what I would have been like without the heartache that I went thru all those years as a JW. Now I do see that , that statement is true. I would still choose not to go thru the horrible things I did as a JW, but I can not change that . I now see that I made it thru it, despite all the tragedy and turmoil I did survive and I am a pretty strong person.

    For so long as a JW,,,,,,, I said the same thing.........." the New World will be here soon and I will not have to deal with this, I will just wait for it to get here, Jehovah will make my mind clear and heal me then". That did not help me at all. It sounded good. It should have been a comfort, but it was only delaying the natural healing process needed to move on and grow as a person in life. Putting things on hold , not dealing with the problems is unhealthly and will come back to bite you in the backside sooner or later. The only way through , is through. I believe now that we have to feel the pain , the grief, of whatever problem we are going thru in the HERE and NOW, not later. If we try to put something on hold , waiting on Jah , as so many of us did, we are losing so many good years. Years wasted , going day to day, year to year feeling numb, so afraid to feel anything , that even the good things are not as joyous to us as they could have been , if we would have only faced the fear or the pain years ago .

  • rockhound

    LyinEyes Thank you so much for your input, as it lends weight to the above post. I believe that for most of us, we know that things are not as they should be, but we can't quite put our finger on it.I know that with my wife and I, for years when we would hear certain things said at the Kingdom Hall, we would just look at one another and shake our head. A dear friend of ours said to me, can't you just put all these things behind you ? I did just that for many years, but at some point in time we all have to finally draw a line in the sand , and say "I will go no further". And then step back and take a long hard look at just what the problem is, and how we can fix it. The simple everyday problems are not usually the ones that bury themselves so deep within us that we they hide from our conscience.
    For us, we decided to really check out what we had taught our children and others for the last 40 years. We had mainly kept our concerns between ourselves, asking time and again, the unthinkable question. "What if we're wrong" For 40 years, we had gratefully relied on the brothers at Bethel to do our research, to make our interpretations, to direct our lives. Our whole married life we had been absolutely sure that we had the "Truth", but as the years went by, we finally decided to face the work (Pain) involved in a lot of deep study and research. I now feel a lot closer to Jehovah and Jesus than I had before I put forth the effort. I don't think we can really bring closure to the many different painful issues that many have experienced as Witnesses without finding out Why we believed what we did, and What exactly was it that was wrong with what we were taught. When we face the work of getting the answers to these questions, then we can hopefully put the hurt behind us and get on with the healing process as you personally have experienced. I wish you well, Rockhound

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