I don’t want to be bitter. Being bitter doesn’t hurt the object of my bitterness, only me. But I now understand why some or many ex-JWs are bitter. I remember when I was an active zealous JW thinking, “If someone wants to leave, go ahead and leave. But why make all the fuss? Why be bitter? This is your choice.”
The mistake I was making was not seeing that choosing to leave is not the same as choosing the consequences. Knowing what the consequences will be is not the same as choosing those consequences. It also doesn’t mean that those consequences are deserved.
When we leave the organization, we can be pretty sure what the consequences will be. Whether we are DFd, DAd, or merely inactive, we will be ostracized by everyone still in. And the longer we were part of the organization, the more likely it is that when we leave, we will lose every friend we ever had and the only family we have ever known.
We are expected to “know” that we are doing wrong in leaving and that, therefore, we are only getting what we deserve. If we want to change it, then we can go back “like we should.” But it is very difficult to respect rules, and the consequence of breaking rules, when we no longer believe they are true and just.