A Customer really pissed me off yesterday at work: SHE WANTS TO PRAY for me

by Terry 116 Replies latest jw experiences

  • LittleToe

    UC:I agree, which is why I personally try to consistently talk about the WTS, rather than JWs per se.

    I might talk about what we believed as JWs, but it's the Society I roundly condemn for it's hypocrisy.

  • Oroborus21

    I think you are overreacting Terry. The old lady was actually thinking about you and your wellfare and her views can't possibly have any negative effect upon you, unless you allow them.

    Much of the problem that we have in the world is that we are always so self-centric and that we don't think about others enough. Any time a situation comes up on life that someone is showing love or caring towards us we need to encourage that - while remaining true to ourselves of course.

    A smile and a thank-you is all you needed to respond wth and would have been the appropriate reaction. In another situation you might be justified in more, in perhaps explaining your own beliefs or standing for your own convictions, but in the one you described nothing more was necessary. If you were uncomfortable you should simply have extracted yourself from the conversation or turned it to one more appropriate to your work (and in conformity with the company's policies).

    Regarding those policies, I find them actually pretty restrictive. While I can see a policy of not injecting personal views or antagonizing patrons as being a good one, a blanket policy on not permitting any comments to be made on "controversial subjects" is ridiculous. Especially for a bookstore these days. Since one can now get any book from the Net or at the library, bookstores, even the big chains, have to rely upon the relationship between repeat customers and their employees if they really want to be successful. Having knowledgeable, friendly, conversant and even engaging employees that will say to customers "you don't want to read that book, let me give you another recommendation" because they KNOW the customer is the kind of policy that I would have in place, if I were a bookstore owner. And the only way for you to know the customer is to learn from them what their political, cultural, religious views are and where their interests lie.


  • Golf

    To quote you, "Well, yesterday I erred."


  • Carmel


    Clearly you responded to her button pushing in an emotionally charged way, even though you kept your external composure! I've always found that if I do engage with someone of the ilk you described, I retort with questions, not statements. Turn the tables using the Socratic method and you won't tend to let your emotions get the best of the situation.

    You are now $0.02 richer.


  • Billygoat


    Can I ask a question?

    Is it so much the words "I will pray for you" that riled you up, or her attitude and demeanor? I'm asking because of this: I'm trying to imagine being an athiest (which is difficult for me as I've never been one) and someone sweet, kind, and loving says they're praying for me. I might be amused at their words, but I would be grateful at their intent, which is my wellbeing was in their positive thoughts. I would probably be gracious and without going into a discussion of doctrine or religion, would say a simple thank you. Now in THIS situation, I would have probably gotten riled up as well, not so much by her words, but her intent - to change me because she didn't think I was good enough to begin with. I understand your reaction then. It is Christians like this that DO give a bad name to the rest of us. Because there are many of us that are not like that. We're not like that because Christ was never like that. I hope that your opinion of Christians can be tolerated and expanded to a more positive one by Christians other than ones like her.

    Honestly, if I were in your shoes, I'd be tempted to be kind, but honest. Perhaps saying something like, "I don't mean to be rude, but your holier than thou attitude does a disservice to Christians everywhere. Try to convert me with your life example instead of your words. Let God do the converting." If she has ANY humility, your comment will strike a chord with her.


  • Ingenuous

    Terry - OK, so your response may not have been in line with company policy - but, then, she did initiate this, didn't she? While she, herself, wasn't the problem, her statements and attitude touched a raw nerve and brought to the fore your own issues. Transference stinks, don't it?

    If I was in your situation, I, too, might have been annoyed by her baiting ("With all this in depth knowledge and information at your disposal have you reached any conclusions about all this personally?"), invalidation ( "You could have been a MARTYR for Christ! That would be wonderful!!"), and condecension (" "Here is what I want you to do. Do you have one of these at your house?") - particularly since, as you mentioned, those are exactly the things we did as JWs. But, she intended to do each of those things. She knew exactly what she was doing and wanted your response. Considering she got her dig in and made herself feel righteous, I'm sure she wasn't nearly as disturbed by the exchange as you were.

    So you fell for it and got suckered in. You're human. Considering how badly this could have gone, it was a fairly inexpensive "life lesson" you can file away for later. And maybe it indicates some work you could do on understanding and forgiving the behaviors of your former "self".

    [Did I use enough italices?????]

  • Scully

    I've posted before about how it bothers me when someone tells me that they are praying for me. The more I think about it, the more I want to compare it to being force-fed something that you don't want to eat and and that your body can't stomach.

    One of my parents did this to me when I was 4 years old. I still remember it. I didn't like a certain food. I think it was dressing from the turkey dinner that my mom had spent all day cooking. My parents enjoyed dressing, but I hadn't yet acquired a taste for it. I didn't want to eat it. Something about it was a complete turn-off. I didn't like how it looked or smelled. I knew there were onions in it. Bluck!! My parents told me that I couldn't have dessert unless I ate the dressing. And then when I said it didn't matter, they said I couldn't leave the table until I ate the dressing. I was cajoled, bribed, threatened with spanking, threatened with having my toys taken away. Finally, my dad pleaded with me.... "just one bite, to show mommy that you appreciate all the hard work she did to make this nice dinner...." and I relented. One bite... he spooned it into my mouth.... it felt cold and lumpy on my tongue... it tasted cold and lumpy and onion-y.... and I promptly vomited the dressing and the rest of my dinner on my dad's lap. They never tried to make me eat something that I really didn't want to eat again.

    I try to remember that a lot of people have absolutely NO CLUE about what I've been through as someone who has left an abusive belief system. They believe in God, they believe in the Bible, they believe in the power of prayer. But they don't know what is going on in my mind. They can't imagine their life without God, the Bible and prayer, because they have not been subjected to the same things we've experienced. They've got an acquired taste for those things, and we have developed a severe sensitivity and allergic reactions to the same things they love.

    Sometimes I wonder how a fervent believer would feel if, in response to their declaration that they will pray for me, I responded with "Why thank you! And I will sacrifice a goat to Satan on your behalf too!" After all, if that were my belief system, and that was how I showed my concern for people, why would they be offended? Isn't that what they believe they are doing for me?

  • DanTheMan
    "Obviously you never really surrendered to God or you wouldn't say that. You have to have humility when you approach God and really be ready to give yourself to Him."

    That ticked me.

    Here was a lady who did not know me or anything about my life or my personal experiences. She took a few neutral words offered by me in reply to a commonplace question and was now able to fully judge who and what my life had been all about! The hubris!

    Couldn't agree more, that shit is totally annoying. "You just need to experience the religious brain-death that I have!"

    When she asked her question about what conclusions you had reached personally, I know it might have caught you off-guard, but man, right then you know what's coming. Grrrr....

    Billygoat - if, after having had a conversation with them where I expressed my lack of religion, a person told me that they were going to pray for me, I would be really irritated too, especially if it was somebody who didn't know me from Adam. It's like they're looking down their pious nose with pity at me, like they're standing on such higher ground than I am. Dan, having-trouble-getting-the-words-right class :)

  • Daunt

    I take a person wanting to pray for me as an offense. It's usually in a quick l ess than 5 minute conversation and the person is usually praying for me for God to change my mind. That's considering my point not even valid enough to consider as a possibility and actively suggesting this hulking dangerous idea to actively change my mind. Debate, do not wish for my blind compliance.

  • Sara Annie
    Sara Annie

    Honestly, I don't think that your reaction was all that inappropriate given your background. I can understand how the customer's comments would have riled you. Under the circumstances, I think you dealt with her in the most appropriate way you could. What I find particularly compelling--and courageous of you to admit--is this:

    I thought to myself how many people's doors I knocked on. I started out merely assuming they didn't have doodly squat and I had the universe in the palm of my hand in my little green bible! HUBRIS!! I was there to CHANGE their life without even knowing their life at all. That is beyond arrogance. That is mental illness.
    That is what angered me. It was like coming face to face with what I use to be as a Jehovah's Witness.

    I would think it would be an interesting experience to come up against the very model of how you yourself might have appeared and sounded when you were a dedicated jw. It was really astute of you to be able to poinpoint where the majority of your anger toward her was coming from, and doing so gives you an advantage that this woman did not appear to have at her disposal--empathy. You can remember what it was like to be her, so steadfast and sure in your convictions that it was normal for you to disregard the feelings of others and the life experiences that shaped them as meaningless. Along with all the righteous anger at her for the way she disregarded your beliefs, maybe there's a part of you that can let go of some of the anger you're directing toward yourself for ever acting the way you recognized you had in the past.

    I really enjoy reading your posts, Terry--I think you've got a lot of interesting perspectives and I rarely ever leave a thread of yours without something to think about.

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