Welcome! Sounds like you've been through the wringer. But you and your child have your life ahead of you now without the guilt and fear. Stay strong.
New girl in town here for support
Welcome, Joyfulfader. I'm not a JW but I am married to one. I also had a fresh start at forty, as I was a young single parent. For the first twenty years of my adult life, I focused on keeping our family fed and cared for and precious little else. I had to rediscover myself and now in my fifties, I am considering secondary schooling (for the sheer joy of learning). The time of rediscovery is painful while you are going through it, but I am betting you will look back at this time with fondness.
Flipper mentioned Steve Hassan's books. I echo that advice. Hassan helped me understand that there are two personalities trapped in a Witness - the put-on cult personality and the natural personality. I can now spot the difference right away, and you can learn to do that too. You are familiar with the cult personality. There is a woodeness in delivery, a robotic sameness in the responses. The poor person sounds like a Watchtower article. This comes out especially if the person's beliefs come under attack. The natural personality is what you have the joy of discovering. What makes you laugh, cry? What are your hobbies and interests? What did you derive special pleasure from as a child?
As for rebuilding your faith, I suggest you concentrate on a list of things you do believe. Keep it positive. Then ask yourself why. Make your own list of commandments if you like.
Working through who you are as a person and rebuilding what you believe will help you know when your thoughts are your own. I bet the transformation will be very natural and after a few months, those who knew you would be shocked. That's because independence of mind will be natural and you will no longer self-edit to the "humble" way of thinking. Go for it, girl!
As you settle in your new home, I suggest you take the time to build a network of flesh-and-blood friends. You may start with work associates and people you meet at a hobby club. This sense of network and support is the big loss you get when you leave the Witnesses, and you will be more secure when you replace it. In between times, enjoy us here.
And, finally, what an Elder's story! Cedars started a thread about an October 15 WT article, all about honoring the elders. I am sure you have a lot to contribute to that conversation!
Welcome to the board, and to the rest of your life - free from a lot of JW-related stress.
I was in for 32 years. It takes time to built a support network but you can do it.
Welcome! You have endured some horrific abuse. Be glad you are out. Take time for you and your child.
BTTT, Peace out, Mr. Flipper
i have downloaded a pdf of Crisis of Conscience. That is an expensive difficult book to find!! I will read the books by Steve Hassan. I am an avid reader and look forward to reading them.
reopenedmind- I agree with the not doing anything illegal or against my inner moral person. i have always had my own strong sense of morality and ethics. I think my own thoughts helped me realize the twisted words used by the WBTS and the elders were the unethical ones. And I truly believe the slander and life destroying tactics used to make people conform could be considered illegal. so no illegal, unethical acts from this girl!!! And yes, I have my best friend to talk to who shockingly listened to what I had learned and has now realized it too and has left. She is taking a slightly different path to rediscovery but we support one another in this area.
Heaven- you are so right. it is all about emotional blackmail. So easy to get in with the love bombing then there is no escape...NONE. We could tell people over and over to examine their beliefs but as soon as we did the blackmail began. I dont mind the losing of the friends i had at the KH because they werent true friends. I am not DF'd but they abruptly stopped calling and stopped letting their kids call my daughter who is by far and away a more honest, kind, undeceptive young woman than any of them. I cant lose my parents though so I still have to tread lightly.
Fernando- Yes i am strong because I have to be. I have been a single mom for over 8 years since my husband died and I refuse to give up. So thanks for the extra kick to continue :)
Flipper- I agree, intelligence is not the issue but even when one has a few braincells it is difficult to understand how in the world does anyone actually fall for it all???
You have all been so kind and I hope I can offer something positive to all of you on this forum. I have learned a lot over the years and seen quite a bit also. Its all a game of power and politics...a game I have quit playing.
I recommend that you read the New Testament without Watchtower publications.
You'll see a very different message than the WTS presents.
I would recommend that you start with Romans and Galatians.
Use one or more recognized (non-Fred Franz) translations.
If you like, feel free to send me a PM at any time.
You access PMs by clicking on the little envelope in the upper right corner of the screen.
40? God how I wish I was just 40 when I started this journey!
I am going to goodwill stores and 2nd hand stores and picking up every bible I can find. I have 7 now and often have them all laying out on the table. Have picked up some concordances and the works of Josephus and am in the process of intense study (in my small amount of free time). I agree that rereading the Bible without the preconceived notions is an essential and worthwhile part, daunting as it may seem with all the branding of my brain.