My cousin, who I was pretty close to growing up, was DFd several years ago while I was still drinking the kool-aid. I contacted her shortly after I woke up and left the Borg. We have been having great non-religious conversations on and off for a while. Recently though, she decided to go back and was recently reinstated. She wanted to continue talking, but things got weird. Below are our messages from the past week. I had been (and still am) super busy with school and hadn't had a chance to reply to a message.....
Her- so, are you not going to talk to me? jsut wondering so I konw
Me I'm literally working 7 days a week with all my clinical hours. Just busy, that's all. I'll be done in 5-6 weeks though, almost there:)
Her -- oh cool! that'll come up faster than we expect. time sure flies! i miss you cuz
Me - Miss you too
Her -- your dad accepted my friend request, but I don't wanna scare him away. should I message him? sometimes it seems like he wants to be left alone, just don't know if that's the best thing for him. and i can be annoyingly persistent. well, you knew that.
Me - It really bothers me that family will have nothing to do with me. I'm not going to be convinced to "come back". I wish they could just treat me like a normal person who is not a JW. I appreciate your efforts, I just wish others would do the same.You can try, I'm sure he would appreciate the effort.
Her- yeah I know the feeling. I spent many years wishing I hadn't gotten baptized for that very reason
Me - Sad to think they are going to live there whole life and just write me off as if I never existed.
Sorry, just angry
Her- XXXXX said recently that he feels like he lost a brother...that it feels like you turned your back on him and the rest of the family...just so you know. sorry
Me -- I didn't turn my back on anyone. They are the ones who won't speak to me, remember?
Her - yeah I know, it's rough.
Me- I never went anywhere, just changed my beliefs.
Her- yeah, I don't know, they'd probably message you. I would think
i know XXXXXX tried but then his phone died and he lost the message he had been typing
Me- That's pretty sad if you ask me, to profess to have the only true religion and then just throw away your family.
What's really sad is that I knew it would happen
Cause I used to feel the same way they do now
Her- well you're never forgotten or even far from any of our minds. and part of the reason I came back was because I knew I was down the road to ruining my life and my boys lives and just needed to stop
i know, the spring before I left, I lost 12 pounds, analysing and trying to figure out what to do. and at the time, 12 pounds was a lot to lose... haha
well, if I ever unfriend you (only because people might think I shouldn't be "friends" with you) please don't block me and I will message you, because I'll always wonder how you're doing and miss you. you're my other brother, ya know? well got myself crying. he
Me-- Make your own decisions cousin, don't let others make them for you.
I did that for way too long
Her-- oh I've got a mind of my own. just easier to be a little (sneaky?) about it sometimes, I guess.qqq6uujju
i never could bring myself to feeling opposed to the Witnesses. I made my decision and mostly knew how it would play out. it was even harder than I thought it would be, though, and I was so lonely all the time, and started getting into things that weren't good. i needed to reassess and step on the breaks
plus i was never comfortable, especially during holidays. although i do like giving gifts,but the pressure is a little too much for me
well, if its hard for them to give up on you coming back, its kinda hard to blame them I mean, you were a ministerial servant before you were even 18, right? and doing the whole Panama thing...its hard to understand how a person could change so much...just saying. not criticising. just think everyone's pretty confused.
i mean its a lot easier to do the whole holiday thing, because most everyone else does, and therefore its just easier, but i found myself doing other things because others were doing it. it was just not a good path to be on. and i'm sure you've seen some in the ER that were doing some things. i just...needed to stop.
Me-- Just because someone is a witness doesn't mean they are a good person though.
And there are lots and lots of incredibly good, honest and kind people who are not.
Myself being one of them
Despite all I did for others in the congregation, it was never enough. Panama was "selfish" I was told be the elders, I was ditching my responsibilities, and no one likes a deserter, so I would be of no use to anyone in panama.
I was called a burden and unqualified.
That's when o realized that the whole game they were playing. Keep people in line, scare them into obeying. Its a cult, without a doubt. And I am so glad that I left when I did. Sorry you don't feel the same way.
Please tell everyone that I will always be here for you and the family, nothing will ever change that. That's what real love is, unconditional.
I wish they felt the same:(
Her- It's hard to believe anyone could even think that you were a burden or underqualified! But your whole family went! How could it be selfish to help where they needed help? They didn't have enough ministerial servants to cover for you? Are these old, tired elders? haha wow well I'm sorry you had such a bad experience! We all thought you guys were doing great and it was really impressive that you were making such sacrifices to help others! We love you and if you ever needed anything we would be there for you. I wish I could do something for you but I'm home with the boys and jobless and broke haha but maybe that's why I feel this extra need to be there for family emotionally. I'm sorry that you had a sad experience/disappointment. I wish I could help. It's pretty unbelievable. Sorry about that, sweetie.
Her-- all this "cult" stuff doesn't explain why you left Mrs Freemedic. but that's your business. I'm just surprised that you left, even if your elders were needy they are imperfect. and you know that. so you just decided that the whole organization was corrupt, because you didn't like what you were told? I don't know, it just seems like quite a stretch and large life-changing step to take. and not just your life. How's your son doing? He must feel pretty abandoned. I bet his self-esteem took a huge nose-dive. Not trying to make you feel guilty or whatever, but just speaking as someone who grew up never knowing when I would see my dad. Maybe you couldn't understand because you did grow up with both of your parents...anyway, I feel like I'm forgetting something. I've cried quite a bit lately, missing your mom. I know you do too. So, what are your feelings about the Bible and resurrection? And I know you were very happy for years, I've gone out in service with you, I know you enjoyed this life. Despite losing your mom, you were as happy as you could be, I think. Believe me, there is nothing out there. Except "free" sex and way less responsibility and drugs and death. Anyway, maybe you can avoid the bad stuff and just cruise along with a successful-money-wise life. Is that really going to make you happy? Well and you're trying to help other people, that's pretty awesome. Saving physical lives is only temporary, though. But I guess if you just decided to forsake everything that you and your mom ever believed in, then I guess that makes sense. Honestly, I would probably have overdosed by now, on something, and there have been plenty of times when I thought I needed emergency medical care. So, I guess that's who you'll be there for, people who have no answers in life except the next high of pleasure or thought and feeling-deadening drugs to get them through their days. All I know is, when people drift away, they aren't happy. We just attended the Memorial Service for XXXXXXXXXXX, he killed himself on his 26th birth date last week, but he left after his sisters and their boyfriends were disfellowshipped for sexual immorality. I tried to reach out about a year ago, but I wasn't cool enough for the DF club.what a shocker. everythings a popularity contest in the world. which is fine, I like being different. and I"m not gonna shoot up just because everyone else is doing it. I went far enough as it is. anyway, I wasn't allowed to hang out with them, so I feel like I did what I could. but still. its a tragedy. he was very talented and funny, and just, that beautiful life snuffed out now. his sister heartbreakingly crying "OH! my baby!" while I held her and watched the slideshow of his short life. but hey he got to do drugs and stuff, so I guess that was good enough, huh? anyway. I'm sorry I'm just upset about these two things. Sorry If I'm being a jerk or anything. I just feel like this is all outta left-field, I know it's old news for you, its all more than a bit shocking for me. Sorry if I came on a bit strong. And I know having a family is hard, believe me there are days when I feel like I could walk away. Its a bit overwhelming sometimes. Anyway, hope to hear from you, your thoughts and such, and don't mean to be a jerk, just perplexed.
Me-- Thanks for the support. I'm sorry that you think these things. I don't presume to know what you have been through and I have never judged you. I will not listen while you presume and judge me.
Her- well, please, set me right, then. I'm askin questions and I'm sorry, probably just thinking too much and upset too much about some things but that' life
well, whatever then. I've been trying to hear your side for months now. Maybe it was a bit much to hear a total 180 from you and the whole rest of your life. I just really wasn't expecting that. but hey, I hope you're happy and I'm sure you can be smart and as successful as possible. we just all thought you were happy before and to write off the whole thing, I dunno, just seems extreme to me. But that's what you felt you had to do I guess. so yeah. I wish you the best. I want you to be happy and I'm sorry if its hard for me to understand and I sound like a jerk. I wasn't presuming I was hypothesizing and hoping for answers, but yeah maybe that's best if I just stop trying to understand. love you.
I guess, I got really bitter out there, and wish I could protect you, but perhaps you are fine. I guess we can agree to disagree, just kinda don't like hearing "I'm sorry you feel that way" (kinda going through something with a different friend/family member) well, I feel the same way, but I'm not going to sound like I feel bad for you for exercising your freedom of choice. it is what it is. I had people congratulating me when I left, but meanwhile, worked with people that wouldn't talk to me. its just funny that people assume that the only time you are using your brain or seeking knowledge is when you leave. and peeps think they know the "right" way to live. Life is hard either way and there is a lot of prejudice toward Witnesses, I know you know this, but its just surprising when it comes from people I care about. Plus my other has been pretty much blowing me off for the last few months, so yeah, those abandonment issues from my childhood do kinda pop up every once in a while, they rear their ugly heads. anyway, mostly i am understanding how hard it is to talk to friends/family that you care about and how emotions kinda get in the way and I may have been a jerk but then again, I wonder everyday if I will ever feel like a good person or if i am just a bad person and should have ended it a long time ago. but now i have kids that save my life everyday, can't back out of this world now. haha anyway there;s more but its late and I forgot. but mostly I miss you, wish you the best and treasure all my memories with you. and i'm sorry if I hurt you. and i want you to be happy. love you cousin/brother from a very closely related other mother and not related other father
so that's the worst of it. i think i got it out of my system. agree to disagree?
plus most of what I said was what I went through and noticed others went through. especially considering I don't know what's going on with you. but if that's the way you want it then that's fine. probably one of the reasons we're told not to talk to each other, just upsets everyone, I guess. well, love you, hope you have a good day and be careful at work, don't strain yourself!
Me- The way I want it? This is confusing. I try my best not to judge the life choices of others. I am confused and upset to be receiving that from you. Despite your experiences, having a great life outside of the organization is possible, I am proof of that. I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I am an incredible dad, an intelligent professional and a loving son. I don't need anyone's approval. If someone doesn't want to speak to me, that is their choice. Sad to think that a simple difference in belief would cause an individual to cut off a family member though.Here is a direct quote from the Awake, sums up my feelings pretty good:
No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and family - Awake! July 2009 P29
So thats it so far. We will see if I am "un-friended" or not.