Sure it started negitive with a bucket load of guilt and shame.
Exactly. It STARTS negative. And when you are in that first stage, it is very difficult to see things getting better. Or, to put it more directly, to know how to make it better, to get to good.
Aussie, many (not all) go through what you did, and because it takes years, it can be discouraging. I think one value that this board and other internet resources can provide is to validate all emotions. I truly believe that while initial anger is necesarry to leave, to keep it is bad for you in the long run. The fact is, many former JW's in the internet world anyway, are still angry. That is their perrogative, esp if they have just left. But I think that for good mental health (with apologies to Frazier) there has to be a point, after some years, where the depression and anger is dealt with. It is my opinion that if you are still so upset that it affects a part of your day years after your exit, then it might be good to try to get some kind of therapy. I mean that. That is part of the healing is to finally leave the negative emotions behind.
I agree with some of the other posters that there is more than 3 ways to leave. There are those of us that that were born-ins that left before we were baptized.
I know. Sometimes when I write, I purposely generalize. I admit there are many more, but in general, that is what I observed. It's impossible to touch on every situation that exists.
The point of it is (with the attempted ironic title of my blog) that the negative can and does become a positive. There are some things you can do that could hurt you as you make your exit and navigate toward your new life. You are right, being a JW for most is a negative. Now, having said that, some get their jollys being a JW. I wish them the best, and will tell them I am not interested the next time they come to my door, just like most everyone does.