I am going to put together a page of short experiences of how shunning has affected exJWs. You do not have to be disfellowshipped, even if you were shunned after being marked or after fading. All comments are welcome, such as who shunned you, how long since family have spoken to you, what your situation is, why you are being shunned and how it has made you feel.
I would like to hear your experiences with being SHUNNED
I'm a fader.
A JW woman whom I've referred to on here as the reformed village strumpet makes a point of driving by my house and refusing to look my way.
I live in a place where everybody knows everybody else; were it not so sad, it would be truly humorous.
Thanks for asking.
I DAd myself in 2003 when I ceased to believe in any god, realized I'd been a total hypocrite for serving as an elder for 15 years or so while having hundreds of unresolved doubts and issues surrounding WT teachings. I quickly realized and accepted that I was just a plain Scottish Humanist at heart. If I still had inclinations towards any god, it definitely wouldn't be for the WT cult god.
All 4 sons are no longer active JWs, my older brother and sister wised up and exited the WT religion far earlier than me. None of my neices or nephews have any further contact with JWs. No chance that any of my 3 grandchildren will ever join the cult.
However, I'm still totally perplexed and deeply frustrated that my JW wife still clings on tight to the ever changing new light teachings of the WT, but I've not given up on her awakening to the fact that she's in a dangerous mind control cult.
My wife's JW family have had absolutely no contact with me whatsoever since 2003 - absolutely crazy, but true! I've become so accustomed to their stance that it bothers me less with each passing day. But, I still maintain that the shunning policy is still cruel, unkind and totally counter-productive.
I still come across former JW contacts in the small town I live in - without exception they avoid me and this can seem even funny in a bizarre sort of way. At least 7 local former JWs have subsequently left, and when I meet up with them, things are just fine.
Neighbours, friends and acquaintances have been far more friendly to me since my departure, so it isn't all depressing stuff.
Taking an active interest in others is still a big part of my life and I'm a happier person now without having any religious crutch to lean on. This life is all there is, so I try to enjoy all things more!
I went out with a sister whose brother was disfellowshipped 10 years earlier, at about the age of 16. He was a gay atheist. As far as I knew, his parents had not spoken to him over that ten year period. If they needed to pass on a message they would do so through a grandmother.
Another person I grew up with was disfellowshipped in his teens for moving in with his girlfriend. 20 years later he is still married to that same girl, yet the JW parents still shun him and the grandchildren.
Great experience humanist. I feel sorry for your wife; it must be hard on her having your side and the kids all leave. I hope she can see through it in time.
I faded four years ago . One of my jobs is that I work in a Gift store/coffee shop in our small town . I saw a former aquantience that is a JW walk into the store entrance with her three small girls .She looked around quickly saw that I was behind the counter immediately whisper to her children, and turn around and walk back out .
At the grocery store I have had Elders wives avoid eye contact and hurridly turn down a different aisle when they see me . I am usually a happy person and I smile and wave to people in general . On the street where I live there are now six Witness families within a three block area from me . Two of those families are related by marriage to my husband . However when I drive past any of these people and wave ,eyes are averted and heads hung low .......
My niece by marriage and her husband have cut contact with me and my daughter in law (who is not baptised but was a publisher ), because we no longer attend meetings .......if only we would start attending again then we could enjoy her association once again ...???( emotional blackmail ) My in laws are Witnesses and see us once a year when they are in the area visiting . They schedule their visits so that we are not together with other witness family members at the same time .How is that for family love ..?
I had another witness start shunning me at another job I have ,but things changed this year once other co-workers observed her un-christian behavior . Workers had noticed her cold shoulder to me ,and I openly told them why she was treating me this way, several made comments about how a real christian would not treat others like that . All of the sudden this year she started talking to me again ,but only in group situations (so she would look good again in others eyes )
This spring when we had an Elders visit and he was encouraging us back into the warm association of brothers ......I laughed, and said why would I want to go back to people that treat me this way ? Later in the conversation when he suggested I could write a DA letter I said WHY would it matter I have already been judged by those in the hall ,they already treat me as if I am DF'd so what's the point .
No matter how high I hold my head ,NO matter how wide my smile is on the outside ,the knife wounds to my heart are always still there on the inside ......
To be rejected by those you once called friend is something I don't think you ever can get use to .
Shunning family and friends who were there for you when the wts tossed you like a bag of trash is both hypocritical and shows them for the real "pussies" they really are. With the witnesses there's always two ways: "jehovahs way" which is basically a rendition of the wts's twisted take on the bible, then there's the witness way, which is basically the same thing. Either way you are led to believe that there is no other way. My best friend who has recently gone back has completely shunned me. That hurts a bit cuz we really went through some heavy stuff together. I'm just a fader as of now but I've noticed that my immediate family and friends have cut back bigtime in their association with me. Too bad. They brag about their neutral worldwide brotherhood that's basically propped up on base of sand and how they don't go to war and kill their brothers yet they'll live their whole lives as an estranged family because of different religious viewpoints. Talk about a unifying religion!
Decided to start fading when I was 26 - I am now 30. Alot of things had happened that struck me as unethical - they did not sit well with my own conscience (aside from the so called bible trained conscience). The final nail in the coffin was a lecture at uni on brain washing which I just could not ignore! (yes I was at uni - I really had wanted to go when I was 18 but the elders and parents had loads to say about that, so I had waited till I was 23 and then decided that I still wanted to go and moved out at the same time to live with a JW mate, as you can imagine the elders and my parents still had a lot to say about that!!! They used to ambush me at home and try to force my mind away from moving out and education! I told them I wanted to be a teacher and the only way is to get a degree and they said you can be a teacher of the bible!!??? Ahhh no thanks!!). Anyway I digressed - so lashings of hypocrisy later I faded away - stopped meetings but did not admit to the elders I was in disagreement with it all as I had been advised by people on here if I do that they will be able to disfellowship me and at the time I really felt for my parents and did not want them to be anymore upset than they already were!
Anyway as for my shunning story, my family (mum, dad and 2 sisters) all shunned me - we did not speak for about 2 years. I decided that I would take the control out of their hands and shun them back - allthough that does not work if people do not know your shunning them!! All of my family apart from my little sister now visit us (me, my guy and baby) every 4 months or so and we share the odd text. When we meet we stay on neutral subjects and our relationship is civil not a close one. They are not there for me if I need them or visa versa as the contact is not enough to know if they need me or visa versa. However my little sister's shunning is absolute - she never replies to a text/call/email/letter!! she acts like I am dead. My sister's treatment pains me a great deal as the rest of my family have a measure of contact with me. The irony is that my little sister is the one that I was really close to in my family and so not being a part of her life kills me a litttle every day. My little sister used to talk to me initially - she even allowed me to pay for us to go on holiday when I first left - but as she got closer and closer to her strict joho boyfriend - now husband her shunning increased to absolute shunning as it is now!!
very eloquent lifelong :-) glad to see you back on JWN
I will post a letter that I sent to a local elder after I disassociated explaining the affects the shunning has had on my young son and I. It'll explain exactly what we both went through. At the time of writing, in 2007, my son Tom was 8 years old.
I hope you don’t mind me writing to you but I was wondering whether you would be interested to know how the shunning has affected Tom and I at the gates of W****** Primary School over the last 18 months. I apologise if you are not in the least interested, please don’t read any further.
When I disassociated I genuinely thought some would shun me as per the Society’s directive, but I was emotionally unprepared for my close friends who knew me so well, to have almost relished an opportunity to shun, especially those sisters that like to frequent the M&S coffee shop regularly. The lack of love displayed was truly hard to bear.
Initially I was shocked that the sisters at the school gate, namely Lisa, Christine Morgan and Sian, were so cold and uncaring. They seemed to take the shunning to their hearts and applied it to the letter, ignoring Tom as well as I. regardless if I continued saying good morning to them or not.
This surprised me as I genuinely thought they were true friends. Although they would be sad at my leaving, I thought they would understand and still say hello. How very naive of me! The only exception has been a request by Sian for a letter to be passed on to her. I gave her the letter gladly and she has returned to ignoring me as usual. I guess its ok to waive the rules and talk to me when they want something yes?
The hurt and pain in my heart used to ache constantly to the point where Tom and I both dreaded walking up the school driveway morning and afternoon, knowing that we were being treated like pariahs by people be both had known and loved.
My own personal hurt came to a head the day that Lois was waiting for a sister at the front of the school one morning last summer. At that particular time my mum was in the hospital in post surgery having just had the cancer tumour removed from her bowel. She had had a really lousy weekend and had been in terrible pain. I had been at the hospital every possible moment during that time and was physically and emotionally drained seeing her in such pain. On the school driveway that morning I was hopeful that my sisters would talk to me, perhaps ask how mum was doing or even just throw me a smile of understanding. I really needed a friend that day!
Instead I was ignored by Sian and Lisa who were busy chatting together, and as I approached Lois at the base of the driveway, she turned her back on me.
To be honest Jerry, I don’t think I have ever felt as devastated as I did at that moment. To see my dear sister, whom I had been a support to throughout Doug’s bowel cancer illness and a help when Seth had his motorbike accident, turn her back on me when I needed her most was the cruellest of hurts. I got back to my car and was almost hysterical with hurt, so much so that I was hyperventilating and could hardly breathe. Even today, 8 months on, when I remember that day, the pain in my heart stabs me through and tears are never far away.
Seth tried to excuse Lois by telling me it was up to her individual conscience to behave that way. To be frank, her behaviour that day showed, not a conscience but a lack of one. It makes me very sad to know that such a caring friend as Lois will allow the “rules” of the Society to come before a show of genuine love and compassion to one who was her friend.
However the affect all this has had on Tom has been more serious. His behaviour in the classroom began to deteriorate and he began to manifest some odd body movements. His anxiety increased markedly with his breathing being fast and shallow and his eating and weight decreasing rapidly.
His sleeping patterns became poor and his temper extremely volatile with regular head banging on classroom desks and walls. This continued for all his time in year 3.
His teachers and I were extremely worried about this change of behaviour and he was sent for an assessment at Oak House in Newport to be seen by a team of child psychologists. Their initial assessment concluded that Tom was autistic and they recommended a course of behavioural therapy that would help him cope.
All this time I suspected that a lot of Tom’s problems were due to the shunning at school but this suggestion wasn’t taken seriously by the healthcare team or teachers. They didn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of the emotional bullying Tom and I were enduring.
His teachers began to help him in class, but it wasn’t until I regularly began to take him to school through the rear entrance, avoiding the driveway wherever possible, that we began to see real improvement. As he entered year 4, virtually all his anxiety symptoms have eased and he is my happy, normal little boy again.
A follow-up consultation with the child psychology team have since concluded that he is not autistic after all, but his symptoms were indeed the result of stress caused by the shunning at the school.
Whilst I am pleased to see Tom well and to have the autistic diagnosis changed, this does not mean that I am happy about what has transpired here. I am very angry, as any parent would be. It’s truly disgusting to shun an adult, but to shun a child is despicable. I am appalled by the behaviour of the sisters at school and I thank Jehovah every day that I am no longer part of such a group of people that can behave so cruelly in His name. Yet I also know just how bad a witness has been given by this action. Many scores of people at the school, at my place of work and Andrew’s work colleagues have observed how Tom and I have been treated and are disgusted by the Witnesses. I eagerly look forward to the day when Tom no longer attends Wootton Primary and I would have readily changed schools sooner if he hadn’t started to improve.
To this course I am writing a letter to the head teachers and child health professionals on the Island outlining the adverse mental health reactions that have befallen us as a family and the many thousands in the wider ex witness community. I feel very strongly that such adverse reactions are often hidden from the mental healthcare teams and teachers due to the benevolent front the witnesses like to portray. I feel something needs to be said to redress the balance so that these professionals are able to understand the stresses of being a witness (or ex-witness) and therefore assist in the care they can offer. No doubt many will interpret this as “beating the brothers”, but this is not my motive. On the contrary, if the professionals can draw on my experience to assist other brothers in need of their services then that can only be a good thing.
Hoping that you and all the family are keeping well.
Christian love to you all
I never did receive a reply to this letter. It wasn't even acknowledged.