MINDMELDA- It's amazing how superstitious JW's are when they try telling us we suffer unfortunate experiences in life because of not being a faithful Witness. It's ridiculous. Like you said the bad economic times have hit us all , it has nothing to do with how faithful a person is or not. That elderette just gave you even MORE reasons to see that the Witness organization is not true or loving. I'm glad you got out. Hang in there. Hope things get better for you and your husband economically. Keep your chin up
Newly Exiting JW's ( Last 5 years ) How are you Doing in Life? Let Us Know
last meeting for me was sept 2009. haven't gone to anything since, and have ignored recent "shepherding calls".
the first few months were scary bcs my husband was still in and i had no idea how things were going to go wtih him. but fortunately, he also left, so we still have each other. both our immediate families (save 1 of my sisters) are still in hard core and we are shunned by all of them. it has been a painful year. but it has also ironically been the best year of my life that i would not trade for anything.
i went thru the whole confused phase, the angry phase, and the sad phase. now i'm just in the life is good phase. i have a hubby, 2 little girls and several new (and old) friends that i adore. i am in school now (better late than never) earning my degree. we are going to china this fall to adopt baby #3. work is good and plentiful for us. and summer is here.
sure there is SO much hurt i could focus on in this scenario....and sometimes i do. i miss old friends or family members taht i thought i was close to. some days, it hurts a lot. but most days, i try my best to find the good. and i do find it. life is great. i have enjoyed this past year being "out" more than my 31 years of being "in" all put together.
for those just leaving...hang in there. it is hard and confusing at first. but you will find your way. look for the good in everyday.
2PINK- You sound very similar to me. The 1st year I exited was the hardest as well- being shunned by many of my JW relatives . In time some of them have re-connected and even some nieces and nephews left the JW cult themselves. So don't give up hope. In time some of your relatives may leave too. The pressure put on the witness people is incredible inside the organization.
I'm so glad you have found happiness and your husband as well. I became a lot more at ease and happy after exiting the witnesses too. At times I miss some in the witnesses, like my 2 adult daughters but like you I dwell on the positives in life now. They outweigh the negatives by FAR ! Good recommendation by you to the newly exiting ones to give it time - it does get better and life becomes more fulfilling the longer away from the cult and the mind control. I'm happy for you. Keep it up. Peace out, Mr. Flipper
Thanks for the thread Flipper
I am encouraged (sorry about the dubism "encouraged") by everyone's process that they have gone through, and the mental place they are in now.
I am new here, and I agree that making new friends is really hard to do- I am not so good at taking the initiative. And perhaps because of pickiness on my part, I dont find many people that interesting to get to know yet.
Being enrolled at university helps me to get out there and talk to other quasi-normal people.
The other major revelation for me is...I can be anything I want to be, I just have to go do it!!! That was such a shocker for me, I had such a hard time deciding what to go to college for. I chose social work because in some odd twisted way I thought that would look good to my JW family members still in- so I was still striving for their approval. But this is my life!!!!!! So as my BF has described it, I am adjusting my career path. I spent some time considering what I am really interested in doing with my life....when I was a kid I loved art and history and museums---It hit me like a lightning bolt!
So I am transferring my credits to another university to major in art history, I haven't told my JW mom yet & I dont really think I will, she wont understand anyway....our conversations do get more and more distant & she never asks me how I am doing, or about school.
Thanks for sharing everyone
like many other people life has definately been a roller coaster. I have been pretty much fully out for 5 or 6 years and you can add several years, well to be honest decades of doubt previous to that. The funny thing is jws will be quick to say that if you leave you will be like the dog returning to its vomit but i am trying to wash that vomit off me now that im not rolling in it 5 meetings a week plus conventions and field service ect ect.
the big thing for me is the fact that EVERYTHING they shoved down my throat for all of those years is a bunch of horse s***. it takes along time to sort out what lies you were told from the basic facts that are actually in the bible. I am still a christian, leaving that cult didnt scar me as far as god is concerned because i dont think god EVER hand ANYTHING to do with the wbts.
i dont know how i could be with anyone who wasnt a former jw tho because no one will ever get where you are coming from who hasnt waded knee deep in that bull. im fortunately married to someone who did what i did, who gave their all and pioneered for several years as did i. Most importantly they saw the bs for what it was and couldnt abide it regardless of how jw family reacted to their leaving. we both left, following the watchtowers advice....... get out of her lest you share in her sins.
now all i see is BS first tho. what i mean is if i go to a church i fully expect to be disapointed and am very sarcastic in my opinions about what they say or do. i try to work on it but when they say something i automaticly look at it with derision and make fun of it but then when i think about it i find that most of what they say has merit. the pastor at the church i am currently attending will go up to people in the um..... audience if you will and say that god told them to speak to them and will spout off some sort of nonsense....... see im doing it again lol and they will leave them with some sort of encouragement. instead of taking the pastor at his word im waiting for him to come and try that crap with me cause if he ever did i would know that he was full of crap cause god would know i wouldnt respond to that sort of thing lol.
it takes a while to loosen up and i have been to churches where i felt at peace and didnt do that so much. this pastor has the big hair and likes to scream..... he takes the sermon to 11 when it would have reached me better at 7 or 8. no biggie i still get good points from his sermons regardless of my skepticism.
the funny thing is my parents have (shocked look) cut me out of their lives and i though i had dealt with it pretty well. thats some bull right there lol cause you may decide what you want to happen but when it comes to a head you never have really accepted that crap.
i moved away from my folks and the jws i knew when i got married so i had it easy. i mean really with no life to speak of outside the cult its pretty easy to pick up and relocate. i moved like 24 hours away by car, then after a few years i moved about 12 hours by car. i made a trip to visit my wonderful WORLDLY family who got my back, and to introduce them to my lovely son. during this time i did come in contact with the cult members that made up my immediate family and got treated like shit so my response was to move further away again lol not on account of them mind you. i went probably 20 hours away by car.
now my father is the presiding overseer of his cong. he had no problems driving 10 to 15 hours to lousianna after katrina to help his jws...... no one who wasnt a jw mind u. or to drive 6 hours in my direction when i was only 12 hours from him to work on an assembly hall. never once saying...... hey prim want to drive half way and meet us or better yet...... screw the assembly hall i am going to drive on down to visit you. as far as he is concerned when we did visit he was forced to be around us as we drove through his town towards family that lived about 2 or 3 hours past him. we stopped and said hi for about half an hour or so and then moved on..... stayed with worldly family for 2 weeks. guess what, he never drove up us only being 3 hours away.
so what happens next......... opportunities to move abroad. now i am about 4500 miles from them. had to come back to visit my worldly family and to get my work visa. did i bother to come visit him......... what would be the point of that. again right on two weeks only 3 hours from him..... some of which we were only 2 hours from him.......... no response. now my mom and sister came around and i was giving them credit...... that is untill they justified his actions and said he was doing the right thing.
so what would u do in that situation............. i came there and let them be all fake, pretending to be grandparent of the year in front of worldly family, that happend to know EXACTLY what kind of parents mine were being. i wouldnt have made an issue of any contact they had because my son is worth more than that and he deserved the chance to be made over. when my mom said my dad was doing the right thing by not once coming to visit us the words just started rolling around in my head.
now she is a cowardly bitch....... the reason i say that is because she waited untill she was going to leave to tell me my dad was doing the right thing. i respect honesty, and conviction. if my parents came to me and said they were sorry but they couldnt have anything to do with me because they firmly belived that what they were doing was from god...... I CAN HANDLE THAT. wont like it but i would even respect that.
now you ask why the hell would i respect that? because it meant that they had principles, and even tho they were full on out of whack and WRONG at least they were standing up for what they belived. I stood up for myself by leaving that cult when i realized what it was, and it wasnt easy. instead these punks wont come out and defend themselves before family or friends and 100% of the time take the cowards way out.
why is that..... its because deep down they know its a bunch of horse crap. jesus would never ask them to do any of it and they want to be perceived as being christian and doing the right thing. there is no way that what they are doing could be explained satisfactorily to normal reasonably intelligent people.
so at that point i lost all respect for my mom, i actually thought she might be thawing but she is still the ice queen and i made a decision at that point. i was no longer going to be their whipping boy, and due to their actions on numerous occasions i was no longer going to be giving them any sort of access to myself or my son. if i ever come in contact with them again, i will simply ask them if they were still jws and if they say yes then im out of there in a flash.
now i had the opportunity to destroy them in front of my mothers family, and i honestly thought about it but there are several family members who are in poor health that wouldnt react well to it. especially since they had lost a son to a car accident........ they wouldnt want to know that my parents threw one away. i was going to ask where my father was..... and then force them to explain to everyone there why my dad couldnt drive 2 hours to see me after i flew 4500 miles. to answer why they wouldnt eat with me and explain it in detail. all because of what? the fact that i no longer go to the same church they do. not due to the fact that i was selling drugs or was a pediaphile or any sort of bad thing like that, simply because i no longer belived in their bull and attended OTHER churches.
this was a long story and probably not quite what was intended lol but the fact is..... you can THINK you have dealt with shit and that its behind you, then one asshole can bring down those walls and leave you freshly scarred all over again. honestly im glad my dad didnt come to see us because after my mom justified it to me i cant say how i would have reacted. right now i want to beat the ever living crap out of him, but deep down i know its his loss. i keep thinking that in 10 or 20 years he will get his head out of his ass and then be full of regret cause this time cannot be made up. i also dont belive in bullcrap so my son will know EXACTLY why we have nothing to do with my parents.
now this was a big negative..........(understatement of the year) but i have had alot of positive on this roller coaster to offset this muck. i have the best son in all of creation past and present, who will not be raised in a cult. i love my wife and i have real family that loves me unconditionally and who are more than willing to take up my parents slack.
out of the mouth of babes...... when my mother came to see us she brought her mother and i was in my fathers mothers house. now my dads mom is technically a jw but she would NEVER reject any member of her family for any reason so she gets a jw exemption from me lol. i tell my son......... go hug grandma....... he ignores my mom and her mom and runs to hug my grandma lol. i was like............ truer words were never spoken. then he went to hug my other grandma and was FINISHED. i think he would have gone on to aunts if i would have asked him to keep on hugging lol.
to end it all on a positive note tho. if you are coming out of the cult depending upon who you are and your circumstances you have a widely varying road ahead of you. my first peice of advice is to pretend that any word that has ever come out of a cultmembers mouth was total bullshit. dont beleive a single solitary word untill you can prove its true on your own.
there is life outside of the cult, worldly people are not all evil....... sure some are...... guess what........ so are some elders and circuit, district overseers. god dosent require you to go to 5 meetings a week and try to earn salvation through 10 hours and 2 magazines with .5 bible studies a month. dont blame everything on god........... cause he never had anything to do with that cult. it takes time and understanding people to help you through it but life is good beyond the clutches of that cult.
I wanted to comment on other's posts but I seem to be in a seriously selfish mood and can only think about my own problems and issues.
Leaving the Witnesses was the best thing I could have done. Living with a Witness spouse and kids doesn't make it easy.
But, I hope that my experience can help someone else who may be going through similar things or about to start the journey.
I always knew as I began the fade that I needed to love and support my wife throughout the process. I mentally understood it but I don't think I actually came through and did it. I knew that her foundation in life was the WTS with her family and husband a part of it. When I began to doubt and research she felt her foundation shifting and cracking. She responded accordingly. I KNEW that I had to provide a new foundation for her to step onto. In the beginning before my fade was inevitable and even old news I had my chance to provide her a new foundation that she could be safe and sound with. I didn't.
A complaint my wife has always had with me is that I am not caring or considerate enough. I don't actually believe this is true, but it is her perception. I needed to work with that and make positive changes that she could see and grab onto. I didn't do that. I remained the same person out of the truth as I was in the truth. For some spouses that's enough; it's great even to see their once witness spouse leave the truth but remain a decent human being. It goes against a lot of what they are taught. For my wife, though, it wasn't enough. I truly feel that in order for her see what I see in the truth she would need to be much more comfortable with me as a person.
It sounds odd because if something is illogical or wrong it shouldn't matter who presents it. Wrong is wrong. But, when someone is committed or tied emotionally to a belief system they need emotions to bring them out. Actually, an old poster from this board (Winston Smith) once said that a person will leave the truth through the same door they came in. I believe on that account I failed my wife. I knew what to do and didn't do it. Her tie is emotional not logical; I appealed to logic but failed to appeal to her emotions.
I love my wife. She loves me. We are frustrated with each other and the anger from that frustration lurks just beneath the surface. I don't know if it's possible to reset and try all over to provide her with the emotional foundation that she needs or if her view of me is just too damaged. I have been posting here for a long time but haven't been active with posting much in recent years. I think I fell under the illusion that just loving my wife was enough and that time alone would bring about her eventual fade from the truth. I don't think that will work. The seeds I planted landed on good soil but didn't take route because I failed to provide the needed nurishment. It's time for me to begin again. I am going to strive to appeal to her want/desire for an emotional foundation with me included to help her see the light of the truth.
Why not leave well enough alone? Because, I know my wife very well and she is not truly happy. She suffers from all the typical ailments that most witnesses have. She feels the stress on our marriage because of religious differences. AND my children; I do not wish my children to grow up as witnesses. I would also like them to grow up in a religiously unified home - if possible. I have no illusion that this will be easy. If it was easy I would probably have done it long ago. I am not even sure it will work. I have the right basis though. I do love my wife and want only the best for her. I am not trying to fool her or trick her. I want her to see in my actions how I feel in my heart. Yes, I get frustrated and angry inside (which does show on the outside) when she involves the kids in Witness things or gets overly Witnessy herself. It is my sincere hope that by better managing my emotions, showing my wife how I feel inside more consistently and regularly in ways that she sees, feels and understands that she will gain respect for me and once again see me as part of her foundation.
I made a decision on Jan 1, 2006 (my first New Year's Resolution), to never set foot in a Kingdom Hall or assembly hall again, and I'm proud to report that I have stuck to that decision despite attempts from parents and old JW friends to invite me. (Funny, that resolution was so easy for me to stick to compared to all the ones about losing weight. )
When I say "easy", I mean I never waffled in my resolve, or even considered going back, but actually it was the most difficult thing I ever had to follow through on in my life. It took me well over a year to get over the anxiety and fears about losing my family and friends and "my life". Rationally, I knew I wanted to change my life and my friends but the fears are conditioned so deep into our psyches for us "born in". We have known nothing else and starting over without JW's is truly like being "born again". When I started the journey out, I was having panic attacks and nightmares. Now, I sleep soundly at night, without fear of demons or the big bad world.
I had some help in changing my thinking, though. Randy Watters Free Minds Site was the first anti-Witness site that I ever gave any credibility too. If you spent your whole life in the org, you know that everything he wrote about being at Bethel had the ring of truth. You just can't make that kind of shit up if you haven't been there and seen it all first hand. Randy is the first apostate I ever talked to and he was such an open and non-judgemental cool guy. He just like to hang at the beach and enjoy his friends, like me, like a normal person. He also directed to me to this site which helped me realize I was not alone. I was not the only one sitting there at the KH, not swallowing "the craziness"
I also cried when I read his mother's account of him having ADHD and being beaten into behaving at the hall. My own son had ADHD and all I ever wanted was to be a good mother and to help him but I was guilty of putting the same kind of pressure on him to conform. My biggest guilt was over the times I lost my temper and spanked him because I was worried what other JW's thought of us as a family. Most of the time I didn't though, and I felt I we didn't fit in with others in the religion because I didn't believe in "beating" children.
I so clearly remember one time at the Kindom Hall, my son was really "misbehaving" (being a normal kid) and my husband grabbed him none too carefully, and put him forcefully in the chair, but banging his back into the pointy edge of the arm by accident. Well my son started screaming and then my husband grabbed his arm to take him to the back and I said "NO, I'll take him!" and then I gathered up our stuff and I whispered to my husband I was leaving and to get a ride home with someone else.
Then I took my son and walked out of the hall. My son was asking "Mommy, where are we going?" Even he was shocked that I walked out. As we were driving home along the beach on the most beautiful sunny Sunday, my son, who was 5, kept asking why we left the Kingdom Hall. I told him it was just too beautiful a day to be indoors. Then I pulled the car into the ice cream shop at the beach and got us too huge cones and we sat on the beach just licking the melting ice cream and playing in the sand and enjoying our Sunday!
I think that was the beginning of the end, and also why Randy's story made me cry, but it took ten more years of various beliefs unravelling before I truly left for good. That little 5 year old boy is 21 now, and lives with me and we are both out and relaxed and happy. We've lost all our JW friends and my husband and I just settled our divorce. (He found a good JW woman who attends all the meetings to have an affair with). It's been six months and so far, I"m really enjoying being single and I can totally be myself with my new friends and never worry what they think of me. Well, If I do worry, it's because I respect them and their opinions not because of fear.
I'm in my third year of a businees degree. I will be the first woman in my family (both JW and non-JW) to get a university degree when I'm finished. That is a real goal of mine that has meaning beyond the degree itself. It's a symbol of breaking the cycle in my family of religious and male domination.
I know my parents are going to grow old, get sick and die in this system, and take their JW beliefs to their graves. I know I'm going to eventually do the same, (sans the JW beliefs). I'm happy and content with that. I've stopped living my life for the future and for other people. Now, I can think about what I would like to do and why, and then just do it, no guilt, no apologies, no having to explain or defend to anyone. I trust that I'm a good person and don't won't want to do anything that harms myself or others. I trust that my son is a good person too, and I don't have to constantly make him feel bad about stuff to protect him.
This has been almost a 5 year process and it has got easier every day and I have more clarity every day. Some insights I have gleaned from people on this site, as well as some friends, some I have got from non JW's and some I have got from deep within myself. It's all good and all a part of the journey. It takes courage to go forward on such a road, and if I occassionally look back, it is with a touch of bittersweet sadness, but no desire to ever return to the places I've been. I'm a little excited not to have all the answers, and looking forward to being a little surprised by what lies on the other side of the twists and turns in the path ahead.
For the newbies, I would say, it is a scary journey at the beginning, but the light does get brighter and the path more clear if you have the courage to take the road out, despite your fears. A broken marriage and a broken family and lost friends can be a frightening, lonely, dark place to be. That is what it may come to for some, but it is not as bad as a life lived for someone else, a life lived in fear and guilt, or a life put on hold and never lived for a future promise that never comes.
JW's used to point to happy people in the world and say with a note of contempt, "They are having their paradise now in this system, and that is all they will ever have," and the rest of us would nod in sad agreement at their short-sighted foolishness.
Now, when I see people who are able to find their happiness in this world and feel content with that, I think, "how wise of them". They know life is short and they seize their chance at happiness now! Now is all any of us really have.
COFFEE HOUSE GIRL- Making new friends can be hard exiting the witnesses , but it does get easier. The more people you meet the greater the variety of personalities just might jive with you. That is so great you are getting a university education. You should be proud of your accomplishments ! Don't let your JW mom's attitude discourage you in your education. She is trained by the WT cult to look down on education. The truth is you are greatly benefitting yourself and your future ! Good for you, keep it up.
PRIMITIVE GENIUS- Wow. Good experience, thanks for sharing. I understand what you've been through as a born in myself. My dad's been an elder since 1953 , so my folks are deep into it. I'm sorry your parents have been so adamant in their shunning you. It sounds like they try to save face in front of family. Typical witness mentality. I 'm glad you have a great wife who understands and a wonderful son as well ! There is a wonderful life outside the cult for sure ! And it sounds like you've found it. Good for you.
THE LISTENER- It sounds to me that you are a little too hard on yourself for not being able to get your wife to exit the witnesses. You are taking responsibility for HER being cult mind controlled- it's NOT your fault. The reason you might have trouble appealing to her emotions is - the JW cult has CONTROL of her emotions, not just her mind. If you just continue hanging in there and be a loving husband, in time it may draw her into wanting to spend more time with you- instead of the witnesses. Try to get her involved in her time doing things with you instead of the cult. This may make her think more authentically, not cult think. Good luck, keep your chin up guy.
COGNIZANT DISSENDENT- Wow, beautifully written experience ! Nice. You have certainly been through the mill my friend . To exit a mind control cult, and lose your marriage also is a lot all bunched up. That is fantastic about your degree in college . Good for you. Hope it works well for you. Like yourself, I too have grown closer to my son ( 25 ) who got out of the witnesses 7 years ago. I'm glad your son got out. And happy your new life is going well. Keep it up ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper
Yeah, Mr. Flip,
I could bear the loss of everything and everyone, but not my son. He is my only child. I would have stayed in and fought for years for the keys to his heart. I would say to myself, "No one loves this kid as much as I do, no one has been to hell and back for him like I have, and he will grow up and shun me OVER MY DEAD BODY! (or someone else's if need be!).
There is a great link somewhere, I'm not sure if it's on Randy's Free Minds site or someone else's, about how to gently de-program your kids through the family study. I used all the tips and they did work for me. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has raised their kids in the borg and needs to know how to undo the damage with minimum trauma. It is worth the time and effort.
ps: for anyone with little kids who wants to leave but is procrastinating or waffling, get out now, before you lose your kids. Their minds are little sponges absorbing everything at the KH even if they seem not to be paying attention. Every year you wait increases the chance that you will lose them permanently.
COGNIZANT DISSENDENT- Very true what you say. I'm glad you fought hard to make sure your son didn't get sucked into the vortex that is the Witness organization. Glad you and he have your freedom. That's good to know about the info on Randy's site Free minds to help people assist their young ones to not get caught by mind control. Thanks for sharing