Newly Exiting JW's ( Last 5 years ) How are you Doing in Life? Let Us Know

by flipper 91 Replies latest jw friends

  • dandingus

    Well it's been a little more than 5, but not by much. It's been an interesting couple of years, and an emotional roller-coaster in many ways. "How I am doing in life" has changed several times during those years. Before I brought myself to leave lots of things had happened to bring me to that moment, and many of them I am still dealing with the effects of even now after all these years.

    For almost two years before I left and shortly after, I was nursing my sick and dying mother and taking care of my youngest brother who was still in school. My mom eventually did recover from her illness, but it was a very close call for a while and multiple doctors had not given her long. During all this I was still a Ministerial Servant with a part on every meeting and about 6 jobs in the congregation. I was also a Regular Pioneer who was trying to keep up that schedule while working to support the family and taking care of my mom. It was such a trying time. The emotional pain was intense, and it was taking its toll. Right when I needed my witness friends the most, they each found convenient excuses to not be able to talk to me or do anything with me for months on end, or in a few cases ended up turning on my like vipers. My elders were only interested in why I wasn't getting all my jobs done at the Kingdom Hall on a regular basis. It didn't matter to them that I was trying so hard and was getting burned out. So in an attempt to make new friends (even if they weren't on my continent) I saved all my extra money, and traveled overseas to stay with some witnesses I had met at an international convention and had talked with online for a while. It was nice for a few days, but while I was there a misunderstanding ensued, and my "friends" threw me out. For three days I wandered the streets of a foreign city with no money. I spoke the language enough for basic conversations, but was so hurt I didn't want to talk to anyone anyway. I just sort of waited for the plane to take me back to the states. I sat down in an alley one night, crying. I cried out to Jehovah, as you would expect. And was met with silence, as you would expect. My faith had been waning for some time already. At that point though, it was utterly shattered, and I very nearly lost my mind. I never really came back from that country. I left the organization as much for my own sanity as anything (or what was left of it at the time, which wasn't much). Leaving was a way to run away from the pain, the betrayal, the false-promises and false-hopes. If it was all lies anyway, I figured I had nothing to lose.

    At first it was a complete shock to the system to walk out and (almost) never go back. I just kept myself busy for a while. I went out to bars for a little bit. I was enjoying the novelty of a different kind of life, and ended up doing a lot of things I had never done before. I also found a nice girl whom I've been in a relationship with now for several years. It didn't seem like it was that long since I had left, but the months then the years started ticking by.

    For a while I was in denial about the emotional pain I took with me. Then about 2 years ago it hit like a locomotive. I was nearly paralyzed by it for several months as I tried to sort it all out. Memories came flooding back for things I had just pushed aside and never properly dealt with. It was not pretty. In retrospect I know that at that point I needed counseling, but I didn't receive it. So I dealt with it the best I could.

    My faith has been the biggest casualty of all, but I have gained freedom in many ways. Sometimes, it's been a little lonely. I never really had a lot of friends to begin with, and like so many others, leaving the organization also meant leaving behind almost everyone I ever knew. I also lost the woman I loved, partially though elders' meddling and partially through my own stupidity. I gave up something beautiful to go chasing a mirage, and that was my fault. Fortunately, I was able to find someone again. I consider it the highest irony of all that my girlfriend's name is "Faith". There are days even now when I miss certain people who were a big part of my life for so long, even if they hurt me, which some did.

    SD-7 said it as well and as poetically as it could be said:

    There are days, like today, when I feel that freedom alone is not enough. There's still a huge vacuum that needs to be filled with something meaningful.

    I do have freedom now, but I also have no direction and no faith in god or man. I do what I want, not what somebody tells me to do. But what do you do when you don't really know what you want? At this point, I am more than a little lost.

    But on the positive side, my family is happy and healthy. My mother and brother both left when I did, and my other brother had already left previously. So at least the religion isn't tearing at my family at the moment as it is with others. My grandparents, some aunts and uncles are still witnesses and won't talk to me, but my immediate family is there for me and that is a blessing I do not undervalue.

    Also, I am rediscovering myself to a large degree. Personality traits that I had when I was a child which were repressed or replaced by witness training have begun to re-emerge. I always had an ornery streak and a wicked since of humor, but there are ways of thinking and feeling about myself and about life that were there, then weren't, and now are again. I had almost forgotten that I was ever any other person besides the 'witness-me'. This aspect of being out is almost completely positive. It's been an adventure of sorts, and I sometimes wonder who I would have been if I had never become a Witness. Maybe I'm getting a little glimpse of that now. I think I'm more healthy now mentally and in other ways than I have ever been, but that distinction has been hard earned.

    So how am I doing in life? Well, some days I laugh, some days I cry, and some days I even do both. I've learned that the sun will shine tomorrow with or without me, so I may as well try to enjoy it...

  • dandingus
    Worked all night on a floor stripping job - so finally back after a nap ! LOL !

    I've done that before, Mr. Flipper. It IS hard work! Nap when you need it brother. And thanks for this thread! I enjoyed reading everyone else's life experiences. It's helpful to know that other people out there are dealing with these things too.

  • flipper

    DANDINGUS- What an excellent post ! You certainly have been through many ups and downs my friend. Although it sounds like the upside of life is finally dominating your life now- and THAT is a good thing. I understand what you mean about sometimes getting sad about former friends we used to have in the JW's. But what has helped me to move on is realizing that even some who I considered BEST friends we're still just CONDITIONAL friends and our friendship was determined ONLY on the basis if I attended meetings and conformed to the JW existence or WT society instructions. So, in essence they really were not REAL friends. Real friends will stick with you through your hard times and good times- that is a HUGE lesson I've learned in the last 7 years outside of JW ville.

    It sounds like you experienced a lot of uncaring criticsm over taking care of your mom . After awile like you say- we have to leave just to save our sanity !! I was like that also. I had reached my breaking point after being born in and raised for 44 years in the cult. I just stopped cold turkey. Like yourself I have had ups and downs, but mostly ups the last 4 years and I've rediscovered myself as well, like you did. Have a great wife and am very happy. But it's all part of the journey of re-gaining our freedom. Like a cool Psychologist said in a book I read once ( Frederick Perls ) " To suffer one's death and to be reborn - is not easy ". I tend to subscribe to that view that to get to a good , happy place in life, it's not easy, sometime's we have to suffer to gain freedom. I'm glad you got out bro. Good for you, Take care, Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • sooner7nc

    Insisto Vestri Conscientia Quod Subsisto Invictus
    Follow your conscience and remain unconquered

    I am unconquered.

  • flipper

    SOONER7NC- Great for you ! I'm glad you have followed your conscience and remained unconquered ! I have done the same. We are part of the free now. Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • mind blown
    mind blown

    Well, I've been out for well over five years......and I'm doing great!

    Hey, guess what WTS.......when I've honestly needed help.....and gone to Jah in silent prayer.....he has helped me more then one could ever know! So shove it with your lies.....

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Blondie said:

    "It's like straddling a fence that keeps getting higher, the pain will make you choose one side or the other."


    Give that Sister a big ol' "G" for illustrations!

    btw, we're doing quite well in our fade. Our planned attendance at the DC will be Sunday for lunch, grab the releases, except for the DVD, and leave for a day of debauchery in the city.


  • chickpea

    ya know, i "went in" because i thought
    it was what i had to do to keep my kids

    seems i left for the same reasons....

    i cannot imagine what state my life
    would be in had i shut down my
    mind and heart to my son's reality
    as a female to male transgender...
    now, i am a board member for a local
    chapter of a national advocacy group
    adding my voice and efforts to the
    development of policy to effect equality

    i cannot imagine what state his life
    would be he caught the
    bus for the twin cities to go to PRIDE...
    he has friends there who love him
    who will take care of him for me...
    no guilt, no fear, no shame

    that pretty much says it all.....
    free from coercive strong-arming

    we are doing great!

    thanks for askin'!

  • Palimpsest

    My life is good.

    It's amazing to me how much baggage I still have at times, but I think that's largely because I left in 2005 yet didn't really begin to deal with any of it until about 8 months ago. So there's a lot of stuff that I pushed down and am only now working through. JWR has been a lifesaver for me because I love the community there, and here at JWN, I get a lot of good reading done that helps me out.

    My biggest challenge is the same one most people have: Family. My mother is still a Super-Duper-Pioneer, some of my siblings are still in, and it's taken me a while to build up a small but wonderful group of friends on the outside, so I still deal with loneliness periodically. Pressure from my mother can get unbearable at times, but I'm getting better at coping with it.

    Some things that have been essential for me have been college, volunteering, and getting involved in community events. Even though I still don't have a lot of friends, just spending time around other people at volunteer events, charity walks, community meetings, and so on helps me tremendously, both with overcoming any feelings of isolation and also developing stronger social skills. So that's always my biggest recommendation for people who are now starting to ease their way out, or for those who've been out for a while but still struggle socially. If you can force yourself to get involved in anything you can, it helps beyond words. (And don't mention the JW stuff unless you have to or are really close to people! It simply marks you as "weird" and makes it harder to adjust.)

  • flipper

    MIND BLOWN- Good for you ! I'm glad you are doing well and are happy.

    OPEN MIND- I agree, it is like straddling a fence and in time a person has to decide for themselves which side to fall off onto. To sit in the middle can cause a person to catch a bullet from the " peacekeeping force " ( WT society ) - because to THEM - there IS no middle. Keep THAT in mind. If you are on the middle the WT society views us as dissenters anyway , so in time a person just needs to take the jump to freedom anyway- just my opinion.

    I'm glad your and and your family are doing well my friend. Keep it up. Enjoy your weekend. Give your family my wife and my love . Hope to see you soon !

    CHICKPEA- It sounds like your authentic family love for your son won out over alleigance to a mind control cult. Good for you ! I'm sure your son and you and your husband have bebefitted tremendously from exiting the witnesses. Glad you're happy !

    PALIMPSEST- I'm so glad you have gained happiness exiting the witnesses. Good for you ! It is a challenge dealing with JW relatives ( I deal with that too ) but freedom of mind is worth it, definitely ! That is also commendable that you are getting involved with the community and taking steps to make new friends. It takes time. I've been through loneliness too at times, but the QUALITY of friends I've gained since exiting the cult is greater. Take care, Peace out, Mr. Flipper

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