5th generation, were you happy when you were "in"?
Newly Exiting JW's ( Last 5 years ) How are you Doing in Life? Let Us Know
Having been out for all of 3 months, I'm still getting used to this. I volunteered for the suicide mission of marrying a JW, knowing it was a cult. I cared about her that much, that I was willing to take the chance. I still have to come to terms with her being the one to turn me in to the elders. It changes how you feel about a person when stuff like this happens. Marriage and being a father to her child have been huge changes and huge challenges, but I've taken every punch and I'm still on my feet. I've thought of throwing a few--metaphorically--of my own, but I've done my best to treat her with patience even when she enters the realm of the absurd JW logic.
I could have a better life, but I feel a sense of responsibility to the people I've hurt. I love my wife and do not want to part ways with her even over our religious differences. I lost her before, which woke me up to everything in the first place, caused me to pay attention to my doubts again. There will be many more battles ahead, but I signed up for this war, and I'm going to stay in the trenches until it's over, clawing through everything in the way.
Apart from the marriage, I find myself intrigued by, not just what more the Bible has to say--which is a beautiful message, really, much more loving than the JWs make it appear--but also by the other possibilities of life, ie. this may be our only life and thus we ought to make some meaningful contribution to the world before we leave it. Pass on our knowledge, you know?
Not having to attend meetings or go out in field service--wow, it's amazing just how much you can get done, or how much sleep you can catch up on, or how much fun you can have just being you again. It's a huge weight off my shoulders. I don't wake up feeling like I have to live up to anything. I can just be. I'm proud of myself for once, for having the courage to face the hypocrisy and take a stand, to not cower in the face of tyranny. Freedom was worth the sacrifice, without a doubt. Freedom to be a Christian, freedom to be an atheist, freedom to say or to think or to reason. It is a gift that can only be described as divine, whether God's out there to grant it or not.
Yes, since the religion is still hovering around my life due to my wife and all, the war against oppression continues for me. I welcome that as a chance to strengthen my logic skills and find out where I might be in error so that I don't keep pressing the wrong buttons with them. I'm not interested in drawing anyone else out of the religion--they have the freedom to worship as they see fit, and the freedom to close their eyes as I once did. Since I respect their freedom, I continue to fight to get respect for mine.
The elders on my committee hounded me this weekend, by phone call and in person, about trying to come back. The phone call is worthy of a thread here--I told a friend and they were splitting their sides with laughter about it.
Although it can be sad to see my family getting dressed and attending meetings without me, I understand that to return is to submit to slavery again. And I cannot expect anyone to respect me if I bow to falsehood. The time came to stand on my own two feet. Sooner than I expected, but so far, I'm growing up as fast as I can.
Before, as a JW, I had a cause to fight for, an ideal. That ideal is gone now, but I have a new one to replace it. Freedom. Freedom to better my life and my mind on my own terms and not on the demands of a slave class. No, it's not perfect. But it's better than an illusion any day of the week. I can look in the mirror and accept that person, know that all along, that little voice inside was right after all.
My father was right. It's tomorrow, and the sun has come up. And it's going to be a beautiful day.
Struggling. I guess more with just being lost spiritually. I've had to cut people off due to MY stand...... they just don't get it. Servants calling up to complain about how 'weird' JW's are......that hand holding at meetings counsel got more play than the Generations did.....
I'm lost because I'm 42, no education, ...... having trouble adjusting to what to do next. I still have friends that are JW's, but I've mostly cut everyone off......
I feel like I'm going through the motions and sort of wandering.
SD-7, you have to make another thread about your weekend sheparding call!
The good: I am happier with myself than I ever have been. I no longer feel the shame of sitting by quietly (while screaming in my head) while people joyfully discuss how God will soon kill everyone in the world but Jehovah's Witnesses. I have found a good man who is patient with my struggles, and understanding. Plus he is nothing like the "typical" JW father figure/husband I noticed among so many families. He never screams at me, belittles me, or hits me. He supports me in everything I do and that is a new and wonderful feeling.
The bad: I am still struggling with... let's say, emotional distress. I was one of the homeschooled kids - taken out of school in the fifth grade after I ran away from home - and BECAUSE I ran away from home, I was considered "bad association" for some time, and so the Witness kids wouldn't really be friends with me anymore. Not to make this post my life story or anything! (Brace yourselves for that one!) The point is, I developed no social skills. I don't know to this day how to interact with people correctly and successfully. I have severe anxiety and panic. I have PTSD (according to my therapist, anyway). I have nightmares and night terrors. Sometimes I wonder if I am simply "weak minded" to have let it affect me so much. Then I remember how unusually complete my isolation was, even for a Witness child.
A bit more good, and then the just plan ugly: I still have my parents, and that's great. My brother was diagnosed with cancer about a year before I "came out," if you will (by necessity - not by choice). He was thirty. He made it through, and hopefully won't get sick again. But I believe his battle made my parents examine what was truly important to them. So that when I told them of my decision, they simply expressed love for me, and the hope that I would come back, but more importantly, the promise to love me no matter what - what I'd always dreamed of from them, and never believed I'd be able to have. My father expresses his thanks often to my fiance (a "worldly" man), for loving me and caring for me through these difficult times. Now for the ugliest: I was doing really well, building a social life, working a job, interacting with new people happily and successfully: and then I was betrayed by a friend. She had got herself DF'ed, and she finally realized she'd burned all her bridges. So she started telling lies about me to her mother (my boss!) to make me their common enemy and one thing led to another...I was fired. Twice. And they caused trouble as well at my fiance's workplace.
So, I guess I WAS doing really well on my exit, and then that happened, and it set me back very, very far. It still causes me immense pain...I knew her for fifteen years, and I called her mother "Mom." Her dad used to give me an allowance when he'd give his kids theirs. Lol. I'd always felt they were my "true" family, the one I'd chosen for myself. But not only did they shun me; they attempted (and more or less succeeded) to ruin my life in every way they could. So...I'm still reeling from that one and trying to deal with my anxiety, etc.
But, I am endlessly thankful still that I left the organization. It was the best thing I ever did. ...I have to sign off for now, thank you for starting this topic!
5th generation, were you happy when you were "in"?
In a sense, yes i was happier when I was ignorantly blissful living in the Matrix.
But I took the red pill and the veil is lifted now though so I guess I have to learn to live with it.
Thanks Flipper for the suggestions. I ALWAYS enjoy your posts and look for your new ones.
Flipper, it has been just a little over 2 years since we abruptly stopped attending meetings. My children are overjoyed and wonder what took mom and dad so long, which I guess is a very good sign, obviously they didn't get in full cult mind set. They were not baptised and there were many issues we were not forcing on them like pioneering and various other wacky youth book topics. We are trying to start making memories of birthday parties and prom dates. I feel an emptiness when I see friends picture albums of first Halloween and birthdays. Better late than never.
The issues with family are difficult, we are generational JW's, close minded and all live very near. A conversation with one of them can be so depressing and guilt inducing that it effects me for days. I can intellectual set myself free but they can somehow just cause an emotional tail spin. The elders have attempted to meet with us and have dropped by many times and we have been able to avoid. Now the pestering has become predictable like around CO visit and the memorial.
We are absolutely overjoyed that very good friends are fading also, to be able to talk to old friends that have had the exact same experiences that we have had is indescribable. My husband says "sometimes I just have to pinch myself, because life is so much better"!
Purplesofa's insights were great, this journey is not a straight line, there are ups downs and blips on the screen and it's different for every individual, family and circumstance. I wish everyone the best on their journey! NMKA
Ive been solidly out for about 3 years now and things couldnt be much better.I live on the other side of the country from my JW family and friends I have a whole new life.Im going into my 3rd year of uni about to declare a dual major I have a handfull of great and supportive friends and Ive had healthy and nurturing romantic relationships.I also feel like a much better and kinder person then I ever was as a witness its a total 180.Things arnt always perfect of course exspecially with dealing with the messiness of things with my JW loved ones and my own emotional recovery but I wouldnt change a thing
Good days and bad days. Hardest part is losing my very close relationship with my mother. She has less and less to say to me these days and it breaks my heart, but I don't control her and I wont let her control me.
My kids are now in sports and are making new friends, they have been to pizza parties and the movies with "worldly" friends and have came home safe and sound. They seem extremely happy to be normal teenagers.
It's a little harder for my husband and myself we tend to make friends slowly and we really pretty much stick to each other and the kids. We have one neighbor that invites us over to swim and BBQ so we are taking baby steps.
We completely forgot the DC which was a biggie, last year we gave in and went one day. This year didn't give it a thought.
Starting over in your early 40's is interesting, I look forward to what's to come...