Exit Plan

by choosing life 18 Replies latest jw friends

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    Is it better to fade or just move on with your life? I have been fading for over a year because most of my close family is still in. I would never meet with the elders or write a letter to quit. That to me is playing by their rules. But I find that I can not live the life I want to and am unable to move on with my life. I am still playing by their rules to keep my family. My husband knows I want out and we still love each other. But he taunts me with the fact that I can't find "anything better." I still believe in the Bible, but not the JW interpretation. I long for a church where I can worship with others-not sales meetings at the kingdon hall.

    You have probably talked about this before, but I still would appreciate any responses from those who have done it either way. Would you have done it differently if you could go back? What are the benefits and pitfalls from your experience?

  • LDH
    My husband knows I want out and we still love each other. But he taunts me

    Please tell me you recognize this as a psychological mind-trip? This is worrisome. A spouse should never taunt the other....

    You have found something better. Your freedom.


  • sass_my_frass

    I am of the impression that the 'fade' is for some people just a protective mechanism until they get the brass to leave. It's good to put a lot of distance between you and them so that you can breathe, but in reality, a whole lot of distance still isn't enough when they can judge you and get in the way of your choices any time they want. I was disfellowshipped, and I've said this before, but if I had to do it over again I wouldn't fall for the games; I'd write a subtly provocative letter about all the things that are wrong with WBTS, and post it to only one person at a time, in order of how much I cared about them. Wouldn't sign it. It would take a while for it to find somebody who had the brass to talk to the elders about it, and if they came knocking I'd stall until I was bored with wasting their time and then write on a postit note or a used envelope or maybe a pizza carton

    "Dear cult,

    You're dropped. Don't call me."

    Actually..... definitely the pizza carton, maybe with a few old anchovies still inside; it would be difficult to store it in the congregation files (how about that stale pizza smell in the hall for all eternity?). I'd do that because since I did try very hard and still lost all my friends and family, I have learned how little good they were for me, and what value love is when it is conditional. In spite of how deeply I love them and how devastated I am that they cut me off and how much this hurts them and me, it doesn't change the fact that it's something they choose to do and on some level they want to. They find it faith-strengthening to shun, and I don't want that kind of shyte in my life. It hurt like hell, and still does and will for some time, but it's fading I can feel it.

    Last week I had a good thing happen; an old acquaintance sent out an email about his change of email address. I replied with how great life is, now that I'm no longer a witness. I wasn't expecting to hear from him again but he replied with 'Cool. So what else is new'. I was so stunned not to be shunned, it was very nice. After a few replies though I realised that there really isn't anything for us to talk about. The most important thing to him is still his faith, and I can't relate to it. It was like any of the friendships I had in the last say 15 years of my being a JW; friendly, chatty, fun... but shallow. Since I've been out I have been able to talk about anything I want with my new friends; there is no risk of them shutting up shop or seeing that 'omg change the subject now before I get infected with her murmurings' look. I want real friends now, I can't be bothered with people I can't talk to. So if I had to do it again I wouldn't waste any time playing games and dodging the ball, I'd just tell everybody I loved how it is, and accept the consequences.

  • Arthur
    But he taunts me with the fact that I can't find "anything better."

    He obviously doesn't get out very much. This is the product of living inside a psychological jail cell for so long. Pretty soon, the bare gray walls and bars look good because the prisoner can't immagine living outside of the safety of his cell.

    When Witnesses are so heavily indoctrinated to loath other churches; no wonder they can't immagine going anywhere else! This is a textbook example of mind control as written about by Robert J. Lifton and Steven Hassan. Did you see the movie "The Village" ? I thought that movie was the absolute perfect microcosm of JW life. The town "elders" had everybody so terrified of the "creatures out there", no one even had the desire to leave the village.

    I totally understand what you are saying about not being able to formally leave because of not wanting to lose your family. So many of us are in the same boat. In that case, you may just have to accept where you are at this point in time. Sometimes, staying where we are at the present point in time is the best thing we can do; until other options present themsleves.

    If you have not yet read the book: Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan; buy it ! It is one of the most enlightening books I have ever read in my life. (and I am a huge reader) You will have such a deeper understanding of the WTS indoctrination process. Understanding it is the first step in freeing yourself from it.

    My second piece of advice is this: The next time your husband taunts you about not being able to go anywhere else, I would simply tell him to shut the f**k up.

    But, that is just my humble opinion.

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    I recognize that the taunting is emotional abuse. He feels he has the upper hand because my grown children are still good dubbies. I ordered Combating Cult Mind Control from the local book store, but it is not in yet. My husband has a tendency to be controlling and emotionally abusive. But he doesn't run to the elders and tell on me. I feel like I am suffering both physically and emotionally. But we have been together for over 30 years and I am in very poor health. All of this makes me just feel powerless.

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    Arthur-I did see the village-3 times. I thought too that it resmbled the witnesses exactly. Funny, I watched it with all JWs and nobody else even saw the connection. I did tell my husband it was just like the wiitnesses, but of coarse he couldn't see it. And I say to my husband to shut the f**k up all the time on the inside, but never aloud.

  • Arthur
    I feel like I am suffering both physically and emotionally. But we have been together for over 30 years and I am in very poor health. All of this makes me just feel powerless.

    The emotional suffering is very common. Not to discount your own struggle; but there are several people on this site who have gone through some hellish emotional trials involved in fading away and trying to gain some distance from the org (myself included). One of the best things you can do is continue to read on this site regularly. Every once in a while, you will read about someone else's experiences and feelings, and will relate to them. I suggest you PM those people and ask for advice and support. You might be surprised as to what kind of friendships may transpire. I have found a couple of individuals who I correspond with by email for emotional support. Sometimes, that is what can make the difference.

    Sometimes, the best that we can do, is to get through each day - taking it one day at a time.

  • Gill

    I understand that you're in a very vulnerable state....BUT....you've already made one of the biggest steps in realising that JWs are a cult.

    Could be that, you've realised that....it may well be that ....as you say your husband is abusive, verbally, emotionally, just like the WTBTS, but could it be, just as you were able to mentally escape the WTBTS mind set, that you could, in time, escape your husband. Maybe you just 'think' you love him. It's hard to discount thirty years, but....perhaps its time to move on.

    When I was a JW I was ALWAYS ILL! I'm not kidding you here, but I was seeing four different consultants for different, pretty serious conditions. Within a year of leaving the WTBTS, I was no longer seeing any doctor, except for my counsellor, and psychiatrist who was helping me leave the WTBTS mind control. I still sometimes get anxious, but I am NOT PHYSICALLY ILL anymore, except for minor colds and bugs that everyone gets. I know that I can do anything I want to do...so can you!

    You have a very difficult time ahead if you stay with your husband because he is a control freak. I know because I see my mother in a very similar condition, constantly stressed by a control freak husband and controlled mentally by the WTBTS.

    To work your escape you have got to get some kind of psychological help for yourself first. Then you need to work on your financial independence and then you need to move ON!

    I hope that, in time you will be able to do these things and that your health is not irreperable.

    Good Luck! And well done on taking the first steps to freedom.

  • sass_my_frass

    Important in your decision is how much it matters to you how much control you have over the process. Would you prefer to be kicked out or to quit? Do you care? I've been telling a friend in a similar situation to involve their family in what will become the disciplinary process; make them responsible for dobbing you in. It will be good for them to see the injustice and lovelessness in action, and they'll always know that they are partly responsible for the problems that happen in the family afterwards - if they'd only kept their mouth shut there wouldn't be a problem. Make it their problem, not yours.

    Or if you don't care, act as you want, showing them as much respect as you can muster, and prepare yourself for when they catch up with you.

  • gaiagirl

    You can CERTAINLY find something better, however most churches don't call on you at your home soliciting your membership. After I faded, I didn't attend anywhere for several years, then thought about what kind of person I actually was, and where I would fit best. I decided that I was rather liberal, and spiritual, rather than religious. I eventually decided on the local Unitarian church, where I've been very happy for five years. You might try googling "belief-o-matic" or similar phrase to find an on-line test with a dozen or so questions to help you find what religion best fits your personal beliefs. I did not take it prior to joining the Unitarians, but having taken it since, the test confirms that the Unitarian faith is a good fit for my beliefs.

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