Hugs to you (((BFB)))
I see a lot of good advice on this thread.
I, too, was brainwashed from birth.
And, more importantly, my last meeting was in 2000.
It's been a long road, but a progressive one. Looking back, I feel like I have done a lot of good healing along the way.
One of the first things I learned is that Anger is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Don't beat yourself up when you feel angry. There are healthy ways of dealing with anger.
My suggestion is to be patient with yourself. It is not selfish to love yourself and take care of yourself. Unfortunately, the dubs (parents/elders/borg members) conditioned us to believe that we are to put ourselves last. However, I learned through therapy (many, many years of it) that if I take care of myself by filling my own cup first, then I would have something to share with others---out of the overflow. I didn't understand when I first heard that, because it was so foreign to what I had been taught.
Conversely, if I try to help others and my own cup is empty, how effective could I be?
Now I understand what that means.
It means I could choose to learn a new way of believing...in myself...to love and take care of myself. Exercise my free will and choose. If I didn't learn to take care of myself, no one would do it for me. It was my responsibility to provide, care for and love myself first, then I could be open to receive a healthy kind of love from others---because I could also give a healthy kind of love to another. The kind of love I talk about is an unconditional kind of love. The kind of love the jws teach is conditional love. Their teaching is, "In order to be loved, you should do this, and you must do that. Or you risk being destroyed at Armageddon." Conditions. Fear---Those are not love because they are based on fear. The scriptures say, "Perfect love throws fear outside."
In therapy, I learned that I had all the tools I needed to be a healthy and happy person...within myself. I chose to stop looking outside of myself for answers. Because I had been taught that I could not live without my religion. I was co-dependent with the religion. That was not healthy. We are created to stand up on our own two feet and stop leaning on others (e.g., parents or religion). Doesn't nature teach us that baby birds grow up and leave the nest? Or baby animals grow up and leave the den? Why are people taught that they must be co-dependent with a religion?
There is soooo much a person could say on this subject.
But, for now, if you can walk away from this thread with one tidbit of new information to think about, it will help you on your new path to freedom. Trust in yourself and in this new journey you find yourself on. There is healing after leaving a cult.
The brainwash says, there is no healing after leaving. But I know that is just a lie. The cult has set us up to believe that lie. I chose to replace that lie with a new truth, "There is healing after leaving a cult."
A much happier life awaits you, BFB. I believe you too, have all the tools to heal from that crazy religion.
I see lots of good healing on this forum.