Friends... life after JW

by ekruks 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • ekruks

    Have awakened to what fooo-king sh1t (sorry!) I've been living in these last years.... well since I was born.... I am left if quite a weird state. I think you all must have been here.

    Can you please let me know where to go after this?

    I have some weird friends.... JWs.... I used to think they were normal. To be honest, they are still all I really know. I never went to school many Witnesses around here... was home taught, to avoid problems in schools. Then other than a stint in further education, where I did well, I submitted to the pressure to be a window cleaner... no work colleagues. The only people I've known up to now in my life are Jehovah's Witnesses... suppose that's partly why I've been in it so long, because I don't really know what the outside it.... I've only seen the outside in TV, or occasional very casual conversations while cleaning windows.... when studying for a degree, I avoided all non-work contact with the other guys to keep the elders happy.

    I don't know how people even find friends in the world. There is also the fact that if I come out and open about not believing this anymore and thinking we are in some abusive, cult that frightens us into staying, then well, exactly that, I will loose contact with my family. It will be like the US government's purges of any citizens it decided were communists during the Cold War.

    Has anyone been here? ...not believing in this anymore, but not wanting to loose family.... but not being able to cope with what this cult is doing to one's brain; depression, etc., this feeling of being trapped..... it's obvious now that the reason I had a breakdown was because I couldn't cope with the bullying by elders trying to make me submit and stop questioning their weird behaviour.... they are an old boys club... not that I think they all realise what they are doing; perhaps they are ill, I don't know... some show signs of passive aggressive disorder, but I think with others, they live in denial; there is a lot of passive dissidence, and blatant Stockholm syndrome..... looking back, I was always trouble by the behaviours of brothers and sisters, who were very irrational at times, with paranoias, and often a lack of common sense..... but I was swept up in the flow of it all and didn't really know any different.

    Having a breakdown has meant for a while meetings and ministry suffered. It resulted in me for the first time, being able to sit back, away from the pressure, to analyze things. Especially when the pressure of being told I had had a breakdown; elders saying it was just that the holy spirit was no long upon me, because I didn't pray enough. Man, I prayed, sometimes for hours, on my knees, crying, begging, even hitting myself, begging for forgiveness! I was desperate, and lost. We are encouraged to question things and make the truth our own, but always from within the Watchtower guidelines, but this always troubled me, because it was the Watchtower itself that told us not to look beyond it. It didn't quite make sense. It was after the time that an elder started a meeting late because he was yelling at me in front of the congregation, that I went through to the restrooms, and the stress, the pressure, it was crushing me, and I collapsed on the floor, crying for a few minutes, begging Jehovah to give me a different assignment where I could actually serve him. It was never the same; never so beautiful, never so innocent....

    I just lost interest, especially after two different judicial committees fail to disfellowship me on false charges, e.g. reported an elder, with solid evidence that he was blatantly reading porn, and instead of him going before the committee, I was tried for slander. I had to appeal, and the appeal committee was in disagreement, and so it was referred to glorious bethel. The weird bit being that I was immediately taken off as a servant, for a rebellious spirit, but permitted to pioneer, though technically both have the same qualifications. I was an absolute shambles; it wasn't a divine spirit at work, but simply imperfect men, and hence, an imperfect result. We talk of the perfection; the canonicity in the Bible, so what of the very opposite in Jehovah's organisation, though I do accept the Israelites were also corrupt, but such a comparison is never made by the Watchtower, as if to say there are false Christians amongs Jehovah's people.

    Anyway, I just can't buy this anymore. But what did you guys do about family?

    Maybe it was your parents? Didn't want to break their heats? Folowing the Devil, etc., must cause so much pain.... I can't bring myself to hurt them like that. What of being married? It's such a vile situation! How does one live like this?! It's how they control us!

    It's so lonely! Friends is a tricky one, because those in the faith don't get my lack of interest in ministry, etc., and I can't discuss my real feelings, stresses etc. with them. I can't look outside for friends, because that will rock the boat and I will loose my family! Lonely life! Doing my head in! I feel like I'm in prison! I don't like the Witness firls; never have, as so many are only interested in marrying an elder (as if they are the Senator's wife!), or worried about how many return visits I have, while others pick and choose, doing something worldly like playing rap and wearing short skirts while chasing pioneer brothers and talking of Gilead. What bothers me more is the blatant signs that the pressure of this life has, especially on marriages. I don't like the naive arrogance, though I know it's just how we are taught to be.

    ....but how can I look to the outside, without loosing parents, siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents.... so many, so much pain, so lost.... not to mention, having spent quarter of a century in this movement, being born in it, I don't know how to live outside it. It's like an illness!! Like I have some disabilty. How did you guys cope with this?

  • ekruks

    The situation is basically taht I can see how much this is screwing my life up, but at the same time, it's all I have and know. I don't know how to live without it, and I guess that is why so many stay in, and also the not wanting to hur their parents, or the never speaking to them again - it's two much pain for both parties. I don't have friends on the outside; so if I disassociate myself, I am absolutely alone. No friends; no family. Have no contacts outside the organisation, other than window cleaning clients, and well, that's not business. I know we were taught worldly people are wicked, and well, I struggle to think they all are, but I don't know who to trust outside the faith; not that I have ever trusted all within it. It's such an unknown, and perhaps I sounds like some chilidsh wimp. I think this can be a fear, a path to hard to walk, a painful one too, and so we just stay where we are. This really is Stockholm syndrome, and I am sure I'm not the only one who has been here.

  • Bella15

    Welcome to the rest of your free life!

    Where to go from here? I know a way that I didn't know before, and it was not "where to go", but "whom to go", but everything in due time and I think one of the first things you should know is that many of us have felt the same way you do. I even once stood against false accussations, I was only 14 years old. Read about cults, brainwashing and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and be open to seek medical help, trust me you don't have to suffer alone, I did, for years I didn't know about sites like this and all the things that confirmed my feelings on the Watchtower Corporation. Something that counseling helped me realized is that spirituality had nothing to do with religion. So don't let the Watchtower robs you of the right you have to have God in your life. Do not leave God behind, bring that concept with you.

  • ekruks

    Thanks Bella for your encouragement

    I don't deny God exists, but neither am I sure.... I'm agnostic. i.e. don't know. The lack of end of suffering puts me off the notion of God, but also makes me want him as a reason for morals.

    One of the things that woke me up the most, was watching the film Anegls & Demons, starring Tom Hanks. Now, this film is taboo, but even though some characters are keen on evolution, not all are, so it's not necessarily anti-God, but rather anti-religion. Looking at the corruption of the religous leaders, it all seemed a bit close too home - reminded me too much of how when a servant, it politics I saw amongst elders, rather than holy spirit at work

  • Bella15

    I liked the movie you mentioned and the Da Vinci Code too ... things like that can make you wonder and start thinking about the possibilities, it was this type of thinking that made question a lot about that org since I was a child which make living in that environment emotional hell. You will go through many stages while being deprogrammed from that cult, which is normal, just be strong and brave and face the feelings and emotions you will experience because if you keep pushing them down you will get sick or explode into a nervous breakdown or something like that. So listen to the advice from mature people here. There are some that were and are still elders, ex-bethelites that can really help you. I have a plaque on my wall that reads: Faith Hope Love ... don't let anyone take these away from you, because for many years I was robed of these and my life was miserable.

  • sabastious

    Welcome eruks!

    I have been out for over a year and still not a day goes by where I don't figure out a new way the Watchtower is still within my mind. It's a slow weeding process, this place will help.


  • ekruks

    Fair point Bella :) Had a nervous breakdown twice, though the second one was much worse, and has left me with some fatigue problem, for which I take high doses of Co-Q10 etc.. The stress had built up, and was doing my head in as far back as I can remember, even as a small kid, though I can't really compare that to a non-Witness kid life, as I didn't live twice :p But I did have lots of doubts and questions, and was disciplined very heavily for my rebellious spirit. I had so many lectures on humility; while the elders were the ones who were being full of themselves. I was constantly told to wait on Jehovah, to trust that the light gets brighter.... but it is so obvious that the holy spirit doesn't direct these men, even if a few are somewhat sincere though still bound by draconian laws. The Governing Body are like a monarchy, just like in Angels and Demons. What's with all this secrecy? We are submitting to people, and we don't even really know what they do or really who they are !?!

    Sabastious, it has a grip; often my conscience pangs me about something, and I can't see a reason for it to; it's just the way I've been bought up. I agree with some things, like sure drugs are dangerous, but some of it I just can't see any point to.

  • LV101

    Welcome Ekruks -- you've come to the right place for help. within time you'll have a game plan, so don't worry. it's a process and just take one day at a time.

  • ABibleStudent

    Welcome ekruks and I am sorry to hear about your situation. It is going to take you time to feel better but you will feel better, so don't give up! First, make your plan of how to get a better job than being a window washer (i.e., get a better education), make "Worldly" friends, and, if you are living with your JW parents, get a place of your own. Keep posting on JWN, ask for help from other exJWs, read other threads to help find your answers, visit other websites (i.e.,,, etc.), and read books. If you want to learn how to communicate with you JW family when they are in cult mode, you should read Steve Hassan's books (e.g., "Combatting Cult Mind Control' and "Releasing the Bonds"), visit his website (, and watch his videos on I know that some libraries have "Combatting Cult Mind Control" because I checked it out from a local library. Good-Luck!

    By the way making new friends is easier than you think, just be careful and choose your friends wisely. Think about what you love to do (i.e., bike, read books, dance, etc.) and that other people like and search for ways to meet those new friends. Always smile at other people, ask them simple questions about what they are doing, answer questions that they ask you and ask them more questions about them - let them talk and listen to them. By asking people questions, you show that you are interested in them and you are also able to control the conversation. Checkout to meet people to go on hikes with etc., and to meet other exJWs.

    Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,


  • ekruks

    Great advice guys :)

    Read "apostate" websites lots, and Crisis of Conscience, and didn't find that to be the demonic, promotion of moral depravity as claimed, but just rather ordinary comments; read similar thoughts to some that I had wondered, or that people had mentioned on the ministry. Just something about reading it from other people, and see their thoughts. Not that my family understand and if I share my thoughts with them; they will have to disown me :(

    Got my own flat :) Thrown out of home after the second judicial committee. Been twice, but not disfellowshipped :/ A guy tried to rape me once (worldly guy; think what made me want the new world so much), but the judicial committee and elders abuse messed me up more! It really messed with my mind because God is said to be directing it, and it's just a shambles.

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