Ex-JWs... feelings of isolation, agoraphobia...?

by Moxie 36 Replies latest jw experiences

  • R.Crusoe

    The inuendoian premise that helping others is a road to success and ending up detached is due to not helping others is a false.

    Neither is a guaranteed route to a positive outcome!

    It could equally be shown that those looking out purely for themselves survive in more successful ways that those commiting all their efforts to others - especially if complications are interwoven with the process!

    So, like advice we often give to people, it is best to go with your heart and if it gets rejected you suffer - just as you did in JWdom!!

  • Moxie

    I am truly amazed to see that others can relate to my feelings and experiences on such a deep level. I really thought that I was alone in this, that perhaps it was just me... it is very comforting to know that I am not alone and it gives me courage to continue to fight. Over the last little while, being here has helped me. Finding a community of people who really understand is a first. I feel that venting my frustrations here on the forum and on my new blog (www.exjw.wordpress.com) is so liberating I can't even express it. It is like therapy.

    To those of you who are suffering similar things, I want to give you all a big hug... my heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your stories and your words of encouragement.


  • anewme

    Dear Moxie, what you are experiencing is absolutely normal for a person like yourself.
    Yes you are experiencing the rug being pulled out from under your life.
    Your life must have centered around the Witness community and your family.

    You are experiencing depression and there are some great medications to help you get through the next year.

    But be assured that you are the same loving individual that you always were. You looked for and found wonderful things in people among the JWs and you showed hospitality to them and made friends.

    You will continue to look for the beauty in people outside the organization and you will find it.
    You can begin again to rebuild a community of friends around yourself.

    Just continue to be a kind, honest, loving person and good people will flock to you.
    There are great people outside of the JWs too.

    Isolating yourself will not be good for you, however I did move to a mountain cabin for five years right after the dfing myself. I understand the need to be alone to sort things out.

    It is a terrible shock to learn the family and friends show more loyalty to an organization than to you, but that is because in their minds to shun you is wrapped up in showing love for God and their self survival. They are taught weekly that you have chosen to leave God and everything that is good when you leave their organization.

    There really is nothing you can do to change their organization. But you can know that God still loves you.
    Just continue to be a good person and love others and be kind and slowly rebuild your life one day at a time.

    One day will turn into the next and you will look back on a new life filled with all the good things
    you thought you had lost.

    Pm me hon when you get down. I will try to help.


  • Layla33

    My heart goes out to you, I think there are some many ex-JWs that can understand what you are going through.

    The issue is that your entire support system has changed, for many people that were rasied in this religion or have stayed in it for more than 10 years, have their friends and a lot of time family all interconnected, when you walk way it challenges you to start over and for many it is incredibly hard.

    I truly wish there were therapists that specialize in this type of tramua and I think there may be some, I would have to look it up.

    Things that can help is getting involved in activities, possibly taking a course at a local community college or college. Getting involved in a book club, etc. And when you are feeling very closed off, just force yourself to get out, even if it is a bookstore, or library.

    It takes time, but this is a great place to come and make friends and share in your experiences, there are a lot of people that go through this and it does take time.

  • real one
    real one

    sounds like you lack Jesus Christ in your lives

  • GoingGoingGone

    I'm sorry you're going through this, but I can soooo relate! I was raised a JW and I had a ton of very very good friends. I'm not DF'd, I've just faded but our friends avoid me if they can now.

    I think your feelings absolutely have to do with shattered trust. You were your authentic self with your JW friends, and they rejected you, so now you don't trust yourself to choose good friends, and you can't deal with the possibility of being rejected again. So you build a wall around yourself and don't let anyone in.

    Like you, I've also found this site to be a lifesaver. The fact that so many of us feel this way makes you realize that you're normal, you're reacting in a normal way to an abnormal situation. And I think that simply realizing that is helpful. You're normal, you've been hurt and you have a right to feel angry/disappointed/sad. So allow yourself to acknowledge the hurt. I think that one has to grieve the losses they suffer when they are DF'd - you lose family, friends, your entire lifestyle, etc. Not unlike the 5 stages of grief one goes through when a loved one dies.


    Enumeration of stages

    The stages are:

    1. Denial: The initial stage: "It can't be happening."
    2. Anger: "Why me? It's not fair."
    3. Bargaining: "Just let me live to see my children graduate."
    4. Depression: "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"
    5. Acceptance: "It's going to be OK."

    K├╝bler-Ross originally applied these stages to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom). This also includes the death of a loved one and divorce.

    Maybe you've never allowed yourself time to grieve your loss?

    Stick around here, we're glad to have you and your experiences help us, too! PM me if you need to talk!


  • Carmel

    Consider picking a service project that you would enjoy that involves you with one or more others working together. When you are serving another person you tend to forget about yourself and the limitations you percieve to have. After a brief time you'll find doing acts of service becomes addictive, as is cooperating with others in a common project. One step at a time, but little by little you'll find yourself feeling much better. Forgetting self is the secret, but one that takes purposeful action. try it! You'll like it! carmel


    You have received great advice, but what concerns me is the fact you are still suffering after 8 years. At age 26, you should be enjoying your life. You sound depressed and isolated. Counseling sessions should help you. Please call your health insurance carrier or go to their website. Please make an appointment with a counselor ASAP. Is there a nonJW family member you can spend time with or some class that interests you?

  • GoddessRachel

    Dear Moxie,

    I could have written your story it sounds so much like me. It's like I don't even recognize myself anymore sometimes. You are absolutely right that it has to do with the rejection we have suffered from everyone we believed to truly love us. It hurts beyond comprehension to deal with this kind of mass rejection, and I think we have lost our faith in humanity on a personal level. The fear of feeling this same pain all over again is too great, and it is just easier to hide. But it's not easier. It's suffocatingly lonely.

    I too am 26 years old, and I was disfellowshipped when I was 19. I used to make friends easily and love to go out and be with people. My family used to be really close and love to be together. Now my family is divided and miserable. All because that is what Jehovah would want (yeah, right). During the last three years of my life I have come to accept a lot about my circumstances, and find peace within myself. But some of it is harder to overcome. Making new friends and learning to trust people again is one of the latter.

    I think Hortensia's advice regarding long walks is very good. This has personally helped me greatly. Any kind of physical activity helps blow off steam and fight off depression. Just clearing your head and getting fresh air does wonders for my well-being.

    I think maybe you didn't find the right therapist. I am alive today because of my decision to go to therapy and following through with that decision. Don't just settle for someone, but do research and find someone you connect with. Being angry isn't a permanent feeling. Sometimes we need to work through our anger and let it surface and deal with it in order to move on. I know I personally had to do that. Otherwise you are just avoiding it and suppressing it. It is still there, but it is just buried. Dig it up and deal with it so you can get rid of it for good. So you can find the inner peace you so deserve.

    I wish you the best, Moxie, and I want you to know that you are not alone. This community has been a lifesaver for me as well. My personal plan is to just be patient with myself, to feel my feelings (so if I'm sad, I deal with the sadness, I cry many times over the loss of my family, and then I move on for that time; the feelings ebb and flow but it helps to just deal with them as they come so I can move on), and to just keep reaching out to people. When I fail, I pick myself back up again, and when I'm ready, I try again. We don't have the choice over many things but we do have the choice to fight for what we deserve and get the most out of this life. In fact, I believe we owe it to ourselves.

    Much Love,


    P.S. I can tell by your choice of username that you have the spirit and courage to overcome this trial and to become the real you, the person you are meant to be. Just hang in there, Girl.

  • odie67

    I've been df for about 3 years now. I used to have "gatherings" at my home all the time. Lots of friends, social activites etc...now it seems like that was a totally different person. I feel so detached from it all. I really don't have any friends now...my family that are Jw's shun me in public, and the family that are not Jw's I really don't have a relationship with them because I did not associate with them when I was a JW. It has been difficult and just strange to say the least. Old friends sometimes send a hello and miss you through family members.

    sometimes i think about going back just so i can have a real relationship with my family. I've never been the type of person that can pretend. Either I'm 100% or 0%. My advice would be to just take baby steps into building some activities like going for coffee, a book store maybe even a simple hobby. I started bowling...it's been alot fun.

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