Is being disfellowshipped the most awful thing that can happen to a person, or is it a golden opportunity for you to re-invent your life?
It happened in reverse for me. When I was DF’d, I had deliberately initiated the proceedings by walking around the pitch at a district convention whilst accompanied by a DF’d person. There were a few thousand witnesses to my misdeed!
I didn’t care, I was so sick of not being allowed to leave quietly, so I instigated a once-and-for-all tactic that would get them out of my hair for good. The DF’ing kept them away, I had, by now, got a new social circle so I was totally unaffected by the shunning of the JW’s. Plus, I lived in a large city that meant that face to face encounters with JW’s was fairly infrequent.
However, 15 years on I got my first real taste of shunning at it’s worst. Her Ladyship and I had decided to live in Weston. It was the second time there for me, and I had always liked the place, I had spent my teenage years there where I was very well known as The Son Of The Overseer.
Weston is a smallish town, and I was astonished that I kept coming across people that I had known from 20-odd years before, work-pals, the old girl-friend or two, the occasional companion to boozy sessions over half a pint of weak beer.
But, I kept seeing JW’s by the bucket load. And they all shunned me! Here I was, a responsible and faithful married fella with 3 sons, a mortgage and some sense of civic duty being given the elbow by a bunch of gossipy old ne’er do wells who didn’t have a clue as to the reason that they were shunning me! They hadn’t seen me for over 20 years, yet the jungle telegraph had warned them that I was on my way.
At this point I realised that I would have to take control over them, instead of letting them have the initiative over me. I resolved that I would be the shunner, I would turn my head away first if the stony stare that I gave didn’t put them off first.
This was so successful, that I was actually approached by one woman who said: “Look here. It’s me who is ignoring you, not you ignoring me, is that clear?” It was at that point that I realised that I had won my battle with them. If they wanted to shun me, then they were the ones who would have to use a different restaurant, a different supermarket, a different pub. They were the one’s who would feel the inconvenience of the shunning policy, not me.
So, going back to my initial point regarding re-inventing oneself, I was forced to re-invent myself as a hard and cold person as far as JW’s were concerned, not the cuddly nice chap who would be so mortified by shunning that he would be banging breathlessly on the KH doors to be allowed to sit alone at the back for years.
The one benefit of all this for me was that it did give me the courage to confront people face to face if I thought it necessary, rather than to just mumble apologetically and hope that the irritant would depart.
It would be interesting to see how many other posters have found it necessary to re-invent parts of their personality since they were DF’d, and to see whether the whole experience has actually been good for one’s own development and maturity.