The struggle to avoid being bitter

by crazycate 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • crazycate

    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.

  • OnTheWayOut

    The stages of greiving do not happen for everyone, but they do happen.
    The stages of leaving WTS or any cult will vary per person, but bitterness is highly likely.
    Some of the things you can do with your bitterness is educate yourself- use it to drive your hunger for answers/knowledge. You can also use it to get more exercise out of yourself. Work through it and it can pass.

  • journey-on

    I liked the way you phrased it: "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."

    This doesn't hit you square in the face till later.

    I firmly (and with faith) believe this organization will get everything coming to it sooner or later for the evil they have done and are still doing to families. Just because someone decides they no longer want to be a JW should never mean they lose their family ties. The day is coming for the WTS!!!!!

  • MrFreeze

    I would say I've become bitter. I'm bitter over all the years wasted. I think of all I've given up over something so worthless, yeah I'm going to be bitter. I'll probably continue to be bitter for a while, anyway. I am certain eventually it will pass though.

  • man in black
    man in black

    yes I became bitter and it is still a part of me.

    The reason behind it is simple , I did not realize the true implications that occur when you leave this religion.

    I became a witness when I was 15, and I remember the flurry from my dad to replace all of my worldly friends with "true friends".

    I also gave up college for this religion.

    Now I am 50, and going to school when I can. I get bitter mostly when I think of what I lost because of this cult.

  • wannaexit

    I have to agree with you Man in Black. As you, many of us are bitter because of what this organization has made us give up. When I think of my own life....the best years wasted going door to door for a publishing company......that gave me nothing in return.

    I was angry and bitter for a long time. But at some point I realized that I was only hurting myself. So i've tried hard through the years to keep my watchtower experience boxed. OHH sometimes the bitterness comes back. That's when I acknowledge the bitterness and then try to put it back in the box and I try to be grateful that I realized the situation while I still have some time to pursue other things.

  • Qcmbr

    Ask yourself why your mind can even experience bitterness. It must have had some evolutionary benefit. As such if you can understand what bitterness can do for you you can ride its wave and get the benefit rather than trying to artificially happy think it away. Bitterness only outlasts its usefulness when you adopt behaviours that counteract its biological purpose e.g. bitterness may free you to think for yourself but if you then wallow in self pity or take to your bed long term to withdraw from the pain you act counter to the benefit and the bitterness continues.

    I'd suggest that bitterness helps disconnect the emotional and neurological wiring that allowed you to give preference to this cult in the first place. Let the bitterness work itself out, accept the feelings and know that they will come in waves as your brain disconnects the old short cuts and relationships and figures out new paths to understand your place in the world. If you do not allow this to happen and you cling to your past life you become like a telephone exchange which has one useful engineer severing non - bill payers (Engineer 'Bitterness') but as soon as one section is cleaned up another counter-productive engineer comes and reconnects them (Engineer 'Fear') and so you get stalemate.

    Bitterness is wonderful for helping ensure you don't go back to make repeat mistakes, bitterness gives an emotional counterweight to sentimentalism and the sense of loss and most of all bitterness can call forth reserves of fortitude and focused self-determination that you may well have once sacrificed for cult love.

  • new light
    new light

    Well put, Qcmbr. Your head on approach to life is admirable.

    Crazycate--These guys are giving good advice. Some bitterness is generally unavoidable in this circumstance, but like any "negative" feeling, it has the capacity to change you for the better if it is faced head on and accepted for what it is and why it is there. I personally try to take on the "detached observer" perspective and let emotions coarse through me whenever possible. Using it as fuel for personal ambitions, as mentioned above, is bound to be productive and will quickly restore the balance in your mind, helping you to not feel so cheated. Best wishes.

  • flipper

    CRAZYCATE- Good thread. You make some very good points. If an inactive JW wants to return it's on our terms, but the WT society's conditions. Like you stated , it's like our alleged " weakness " is their " prediction " fulfilled. So THEY think we are coming back in a so-called " humble " mode because we saw the errors of our ways - allegedly.

    What helped me to get over a lot of the bitterness ( not all of it , still have some ) but MOST of it was by reading Steve Hassan's 2 books " combatting Cult Mind Control " & " Releasing the Bonds- Empoering People to Think for Themselves ". These two books helped free me of ANY guilt or fear associated with having been a JW . And it EASED my anger a lot by seeing that ALL Witnesses are under cult mind control and just don't know any better and aren't informed of HOW cult mind control operates within them. They are programmed robots- they just don't know it.

    So now my purpose is to assist ANYBODY who wants out of the Witnesses to escape . Anybody still in the org, on the fringes, or is fading. I've come to appreciate just how precious freedom of mind and freedom of expression is. Can't put a price on it

  • kimbo

    I wish i was not bitter.

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