Nice to "meet" you all :)
I have been reading this forum for maybe a month now, and it has helped me answer alot of questions that I have had, and I must say I am extremely glad I found this forum, so full of information!
I'll tell my story, I'll try to keep it short.
I grew up with my whole family being jw. My mum, dad, brother and his wife, sister, grandparents, all baptized. I am now 28 and I never have been baptized myself
I was never convinced it was the truth, if you forget about being a kid and just accepting everything your parents tell you. Later I became afraid to ask questions. When I did ask questions, the answers never satisfied me (even tho sometimes i made myself think they did in a way), and I never KEPT asking when I wasn't happy with the answers because I knew they had nothing new to add, that was it. I also knew they'd be bothered by it if I didn't accept it as the truth. So basically I have just "pretended" to accept things. My dad has held weekly bible studies with my mum, sister and me even tho I have lived away from home for 10 years. I actually thought that was normal up to a point, so I just kept doing it.
My dad is a very manipulative man. Not only when it comes to his beliefs but also other things. He doesn't come off that way to others, as far as I know. People often comment on how wonderful a man he is. Truth is he has been an alcoholic for over fourty years now (drinking only at night) and him and my mum has successfully hid this from me all these years. This is now something they're dealing with and he seems to be changing a bit, also being more accepting. I bring this up because we had a family day and they read a letter for my dad (i wasn't there, but my mum, bro and sis were) that I had written. I wrote what I thought about him, things that made me angry etc., and I needed to also tell him in a small sentence that I basically didn't want him to force his religion on me, but said in a slightly nicer way. I thought this was going to do the trick, but later i realized nobody really reacted to that part of the letter (as far as I could tell because nobody said anything about it) so I felt like I needed to say it even more directly and detailed in a separate letter...
So... I wrote a short letter and explained. I said the truth, that I don't believe what he and my family believes, and that I don't believe in the same god as he does. I only said that I believe there might be some higher power. I told him I do not wish to try to change their beliefs or opinions, and I don't want to discuss things with him because of that.
I said this to him while he was still in rehab, and he listened patiently on the phone to what I had written down and just accepted and agreed that "of course, no problem" and so on. I texted the "letter" to my closest family too, so that I can be open about it. My mum said she was sad about it, but that "we can still do nice things together". My brother sent me a thumbs up and my sis said she loves me regardless. When it comes to my sister, after this happened, she seemed very different than what she wrote in the text. In the text she was all accepting and proud that I said how I felt. But after, she was all weird and quiet and asked things like "but what are you going to do with your life?". I wanted to say "uh, live it?" but i said something like "hmm I think we can talk about those things later" because I am still so early in the process that I want time to think about what to say first. My dad had said to my sister that he accepted it and guessed it was okay, but had given the impression that "I'm sure we can get her back!".
This is my problem. Even though I am very happy I was never baptized and face being disfellowshipped... I still feel outside the family now. This is only a couple of days ago that I did this. But I had to.
I told my mum it wasn't their "fault" that I didn't believe it anymore, that there is nothing they can do to convince me, it's just "how it is". I also told them that they can still talk normally about things with eachother when I am there as long as they keep in mind and RESPECT that I think differently. I won't sit there and debate them, I just want respect. But I don't think that will happen. I am afraid my dad will KEEP spending every minute I am there telling me things like "oh look at that beautiful butterfly, isn't it amazing what Jehovah designed?" or "there's a great new article on *whatever topic*, let me find it for you, here you go".
I want them to respect that I will NEVER believe what they do. I feel that it is as simple as brainwashing. I can't explain it any other way. But I will never tell them that unless they ask directly, because I don't want to change them or take their beliefs away from them. I want them to do the same for me....
Is it possible? Can I have that?
What I know is I don't believe in the bible the way they do (what I believe is something I need to find out on my own), I don't respect their way of treating other people, I don't believe what they teach is right, I am angry with them for letting SO many people and KIDS die because they refuse blood because of 8 random men in Brooklyn! Just a few random things I cannot stand about it.
I have a couple of friends from my childhood (who are jw's) trying to get back in touch with me... but I have been somewhat avoiding it (seen them a couple times but tried not to have too much contact) because I know we won't have much in common... their main interest will always be being a jw. I can't be myself with them and still be friends. I feel bad for not contacting them, and I'd feel it was wrong if I did, also if I did and they ignored me because I said I am not interested in their religion, I'd feel just more depressed than what I already do.
I have only two people in my life now that I can invite to my home that aren't jw. My boyfriend, and a regular friend, she's a bit older than me. It is SO good to talk to my boyfriend about NORMAL things, you have no idea. Up to very recently I was SO closed about my beliefs (i THOUGHT I had to protect the jw's way of thinking, and so I was very defensive and we had many arguments (mine based on ... nothing) about religion, evolution etc.
I opened up to him, and slowly I started thinking "hey, maybe I don't have to pretend I am like a jw for the rest of my life? or... is that illegal?!". I still feel it's illegal, but I do it now. I just bought BOOKS about SCIENCE and EVOLUTION, and stories from ex jw's! It feels so good to be finally free, but I only have one person (soon two) to share it with. That's why I wanted to share it here. But ..
I really want and need some input. How do I deal with my family from here? What do I say to make them not try to "get me back"? I just started reading about things, and all I know is that I don't believe what they do, but I am afraid to discuss with them (if they tried to start a discussion, I won't do that out of respect (oh and fear haha) because they always come up with some weird reply that they think eliminates my doubt completely, when it doesn't to me.
Omg btw, I just watched the danish movie Worlds Apart! That last line made me sob so much, it said exactly how I have felt for a while now...
"God Jehovah, this is the last time I'll speak to you. Because I don't believe in you anymore."