My story friends after leaving the Cult and lost wife?

by Witness 007 23 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Illness plunged me from a rich, social life in a cosmopolitan world city to a rural area. My experience is that certain circumstances increase your chance of making friends. In other words, your social skills are a small component. Outside circumstances play a huge factor. I've found it much easier in a large city b/c others are in the same boat. NYC is full of private clubs to meet people. Schools facilitate it. Gyms, parks, etc.

    People seem more in cliques in rural areas. Maybe Manhattan was so anonymous so people have worked for generations to make it more home like. When I was well, the six degrees of separation was true. No matter where I went, I kept running into friends and acquaintances. The numbers are staggering. Sometimes I yearned for more anonymity. The Meet Up website is a good way. Craig's List may have info, too.

    Church is usually a good way. Most people in mainstream churches are there for social reasons primarily. It provides a haven without being a cult.

    Witness life is intense. We share persecution. There is a false sense of intimacy. It is not easy for me to constantly put myself out there. The rewards have been good. It is wonderful to be truly yourself and receive feedback that people get you for you, not an image you project. Where you are now is a crappy place to be. It is only a transition, though. Better times are ahead. Once you establish a beachhead with some group, the others are much easier.

    Another thought occurred to me. My parents had no social skills, outside of WT culture. I did not know how to make social chatter, when to push, when to retreat. There are books now on how to do these things. I attended no regular parties growing up. Assimilating into American upper middle class life was very difficult for me. It was well worth the pain and awkwardness. I held myself back by feeling insecure.

  • erbie

    As with all things it does take time but you will come to see that there are some really nice, interesting people in the non Witness comunity. Besides, if people no longer want your friendship just because you do not share their vision then they were probably not very good friends in the first place.

    Its not easy I know as I have been through it myself but in time I learned to see people as individuals and not as something that requires a label in order to meet with my approval.

    We live in a great world with wonderful diversity and its yours. Embrace it.

  • OnTheWayOut

    W007, we've been on this board awhile. I have appreciated your comments. I will tell you how I managed, despite the JW wife.

    I am very much a loner and still tend to be. I have great co-workers but they are drinkers and I am a recovering alcoholic. I am okay hanging with drinkers, but not when it is their primary goal to get drunk.

    Anyway, I developed friendships with other ex-JW's. They don't have to live up the street as phones and email and drives are great ways to keep in touch. I also occasionally flew out to meet with ex-JW's. My best friends are JRK, Flipper, IsaacAustin, Willyloman, many others who might feel slighted that I didn't list them. I also joined the local ex-JW meetup group.

    I could never join a church and I tried some other types of groups. I think because my wife is still a JW, I just felt more at ease with the ex-JW's. They get it. It's tough, almost like a separate life from the one I have with the wife, but she also has her separate JW life. But with you and your wife together, ex-JW's are just one way to find friends.

  • ABibleStudent

    Hi Witness 007. It takes time and effort to overcome the indoctrination of the WTBTS. What do you and your wife love to do? Do you like outdoor activities, indoor activities, spiritual activities, helpling people in need, etc.? Have you visited to meet other people that like to do what you and your wife like to do? They even have meet ups for ex-JWs: Have you read about local social activities in the local paper or in those free papers at convenience stores and some breakfast restaurants? Some local mainstream churches also have Bible Studies that are true Bible Studies that only read the Bible. Have you also thought about volunteering for local events that help those less fortunacte or clean up the envrionment? There is a lot to do and ways to make new friends. All you need to do is overcome your WTBTS induced phobias.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    It truly sucks to be an extrovert and find yourself outside of the Borg. My wife is suffering from the same thing right now. I'm ok with being mostly alone. I see my parents every couple weeks, my wife and kid daily, and aside from my co-workers everyday, that's really plenty for me.

    But Mrs. Sweeney, she's so lonely. She has made some friends but they are often busy with their own families. It's difficult. She needs more than just me and our kid. She needs peers. All she has are online. We are pretty far from any big city though there are some good sized towns around. I hope we can get a meetup arranged soon.

    So I guess this is to say I understand what you're going through. Hang in there 007 and Mrs. 007.

  • Bella15

    Try to make new friends by joining same interest clubs, volunteering opportunities at schools, hospitals, city hall, red cross, etc. Be intentional about making new friends. Hey have you tried your block, subdivision, next door neighbors? You have a good excuse to start friendships with them, tell them you were part of this cult that told you to stay away from them because they are evil but that you love them and feel sorry for all of this year of living next to them and not being part of the community. Just a thought.

  • Ding

    Many people here have offered great ideas.

    The barrier between JWs and non-JWs was created by the WTS, not by the "worldlies."

    There are lots of outlets for making friends.

    Most people are very nice and friendly.

    And their friendship doesn't depend on uniformity of behavior and thought dictated by a small group of men.

    You can openly disagree with them and still be friends.

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    Billz made an excellent suggestion. I now have a large pool of friends who were never JW's, nor have any interest in JW's. The result is that wifey gets to hang around alot of normal people. Wifey has commented to this effect several times. Then we get to talk about the mind numbing idiocracy of her family's behavior. The "wordly ones" always come out on top socially. Believe me I get twitchy every time she gets near that building or convention, but so far the JW's make themselves look fairly nutty. I think time is on my side now.

    BTW here's a little tidbit from a recent visit to the KH. Wifey came home and talked about all the expansion blah blah blah. She had that stupid grin on her face as many JW's do when talking about their religion. I asked why there were so many congregations merging if there is "all this growth". Didn't take to long for her to figure out the lie.

    Does she work? Offer to have lunch or dinner with some of her work friends. Her workmates may view her differently now that she's sociable.

  • Quendi

    I am glad you have shared this problem with us, Witness 007, and I concur with the advice others have given. If I were to sum up what they have said it would be this way: You reap what you sow. If you sow bountifully, you will reap bountifully. If you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly. Yes, it does take a lot of effort, but the results will be more than worth it. Look over the suggestions others have given you on this thread and choose those which best fit your circumstances. Then follow through vigorously. With time, patience, and effort, you'll find yourself reaping an abundant harvest.


  • blondie

    Think first where did my "friends" come from at the KH

    1) jw family (nonjw were verboten) how friendly were they? How often did you see them if you were not in the same congregation, same town (or state)?

    2) jws that happened to be in the same congregation: same age/older, married/single, children/no children; same interests, sports, shopping, etc. If they went to another congregation, did the friendship survive or did they find new friends in the new congregation and expected you to do the same because you now had meetings at a different location, field service in new territory. How many jw "friendships" are built merely on shared busy events at the KH. I went to many congregations and found that less than 10% really got to know you, most likely people in the book study.

    3) Do these people stick with you after you become inactive or do they drift away and put up barriers? Were they friends? I think not.

    1a) what about non-jw family contacts, start up or renew? I know just because they aren't jws doesn't make the good friends. But it is a place to start.

    2a) What about people with your new interests. If you are parents, find parent groups, school events, get to know your neighbors. Have a barbeque and invite neighbors over. I'm involved in a volunteer group and we get together 3 or 4 times a year for a meal. I'm excited that this weekend our neighborhood association is having a large garage sale, and then a picnic at the local party the next day.

    3a) People who stick with you despite ups and downs may only be a handful. But better one good friend than many acquaintances.

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