Dead On The Inside
The following was written by someone that I know, who wishes to remain anonymous. He wrote it to help people understand how it is that a person can do such a horrible thing as the mass killings and two suicides at Columbine High School in Colorado earlier this year (1999).
I don't think that this relates at all to our experience in the Worldwide Church of God but is presented for whatever worth you can get out of it. I know that it helped me to see into the minds of these killers and understand what they may have been thinking to do such an evil thing. Ed Sr.
Also, see Sharon's comments below regarding her perspective on the article's connection to our experience in the Cult.
As a counselor and psychotherapist who has spent much of twenty-five plus years working with potentially violent youths and adults, I wondered if I could formulate an empathic connection with the perpetrators of the Columbine High School shooting in an effort to comprehend the deep internal pain they perceived themselves to have suffered and the heinous violence that transpired. The following is my fictitious conceptualization of the internal process that could have incited a person to commit such cruel and heartless acts and could possibly apply to any number of violent events. It is written from a perpetrators point of view and is not meant to be a justification but rather, only a possible explanation for such traumatic violence.
A Letter To The Unloving:
In your world, you denied me any sense of respect and worth repeatedly. You persecuted and tortured me through your demeaning comments, evaluations, and caustic humor. I suffered long, feeling not only externally devalued but internally dead and alienated. No one cared enough to take the time or had the time to understand my internal demise.
I joined the outcast others who felt like me. Central to our group affiliation was the theme of death and alienation -- dead on the inside and alienated from those on the outside. We thrived on video games that annihilated the enemy, on movies that glorified and esteemed the killers, and on music that confirmed our pain and righteousness. As a group we applauded each other's political correctness and your moral wrong, just like the adults we see around us. Finally, even the group attachment could no longer insulate or resolve the estrangement we felt from your dehumanizing culture that continued to persecute us.
You locked me into a diabolic psychic prison from which there was no escape.; Your teams, clubs, and other groups made sure I remained ostracized. I admired you but when you persisted to reject my enfeebled solicitations to be embraced and be a friend, I envied you, and then, I hated you. Not even the outcasts could fortify my sense of worth --death was imminent. I was already dead inside, I just had to die on the outside.
I surrendered myself to a final chance to equalize myself with others. So began the new rules -- my rules -- for the torturers and tormentors of my being. Today, I brought guns and bombs into the school I now was in charge -- I decided who was good or bad, friend or foe --alive or dead. I killed them with pleasure and laughed, the same way they killed me internally and laughed all these years. Enough I said -- no more of their "in your face attitudes" so prevalent in this culture -- kill them all. My tormenting persecutors will be equal with me in death. They deserve what they get --they got what they gave. I wanted to be one of them, now they will be one with me.
I have decided. My power to achieve has returned, and I will be recognized!: Finally, I am somebody -- I am the star player today. I am the one that all have recognized as the center of their attention, the one they wish they had had as a special friend, especially today. Just tike I wished to be with them, they and I are finally united together in the same team effort, united in our cause, proclaiming a final righteous judgment of guilty, punishable by death, for our immoral, callously brutal, and unloving behavior toward humanity -- first them, then me.
Say goodbye cruel world!!
I just finished reading "Dead on the Inside." Your preface included: "I don't think that this relates at all to our experience in the Worldwide Church of God but is presented for whatever worth you can get out of it."
True, the overall perspective of the piece was meant to depict that of potentially violent individuals. BUT, taken by themselves, there are several statements that can be pulled out and addressed separately, which could easily be written by many of us who had gone through mental torment during our days inside or outside of the Worldwide Church of God or any other similar cult. By posting "Dead on the Inside," you are addressing the hurt and morbidity of some of us, indirectly.
1) "You denied me any sense of respect and worth repeatedly."
The Worldwide Church of God repeatedly tried to rape us of our individualities and strengths. We were told that we were nothing without God. We were told to place highest priority on following church teachings and obeying the ministers, who were commissioned by God to lead us. As a result, we had little or no time for developing or educating ourselves and our families. Today, we feel the effects of having wasted many years in a worthless pursuit. We feel underdeveloped intellectually and as if we have generally underachieved. Many of us still have no sense of respect or worth.
2) "I suffered long, feeling not only externally devalued but internally dead and alienated."
Yes, Worldwide Church of God adherents suffered through many hours, days, and years of service "to God." We suffered to prove that our hearts and minds were on the Kingdom of God rather than on ourselves or our families.
Folks who knew us outside the Worldwide Church of God believed we were crazy and ridiculed us for wasting our time. We were resilient to devaluation then, having believed that we knew better than they and that they would be given a chance later to understand.
Having now rejected the Worldwide Church of God and the goals we once had, we are left to face normal society. But going back into society is difficult because we were both rejected by it and we had chosen to reject it.
Our motive to suffer long or work hard for any reason has vanished, as we try desperately to find sparks of life and creativity that may still reside within our dark selves.
3) "No one cared enough to take the time or had the time to understand my internal demise."
Be it family members, fellow brethren or ministers, if we became dejected during the Worldwide Church of God years, very few were willing to care for those in need of reassurance and support. Often, we were looked upon as "weak in faith," unconverted, or Satan-possessed, even by those closest to us.
Some Worldwide Church of God members experienced internal demise while still in the cult, as they became alienated by the contorted belief system that evolved over the years of doctrinal change or just through spiritual exhaustion. Others are now "dead on the inside" because of lack of contact with others who can or are willing to talk about what happened in the church or because they are speechless about what happened to them and feel powerless and manipulated. Trust is gone. Relying on the availability of others for help is often futile.
4) "I joined the outcast others who felt like me."
This can be taken in two ways.
Many people joined the Worldwide Church of God because of their belief in being "God's chosen people." We were to be "of God" rather than "of the world" and bonded with others who felt the same way. God had lumped us into the pile of thousands of other "weak and base things."
But now that we are "out," we are vulnerable to join other groups who feel like outcasts or "special." We've been carefully conditioned to feel different than others, and we are likely to continue acting upon this need if we don't carefully scrutinize what we are joining or buying into.
5) "I was already dead inside, I just had to die on the outside."
How many of us, Ed, have truly put our lives back together and found something meaningful to do with ourselves long-term? I fear that there are still many ex-WCG people who cannot find a renewed sense of purpose and are just waiting for the end of their current physical lives. How many years, after all, can we as habituated website readers and contributors devote so much attention to reading about cults, HWA, spin-off groups, antics of ministers, etc. without feeling a tad bit less than valuable to society and purposeless in the overall scheme of things?
Sorry to be so morbid, Ed. But posting articles like this on the website, I feel, is not coincidental. Had you already felt there were some parallels?
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