Re-invention After DF'ing.

by Englishman 4 Replies latest jw friends

  • Englishman

    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.


  • flower

    What and awesome way to go out E! I totally admire you for doing it. You apparently were a little more informed about the whole thing that most but I think for the average witness it is one of the most devestating tings that can happen. But if you believe God is running things how can it not be devestating and traumatic. I literally went out on my knees sobbing.

    But eventually I realized it was also the best thing ever to happen. And I'd go through all the pain and depression and loneliness of that first couple years after all over again if I knew it would lead me where I am now and where I will be in the future.

    I'm definately re-inventing everyday. I feel I had to start from scratch when I left. I had no clue who I was, how I felt about anything, what my opinions about anything was. I was incapable of expressing positive emotions. You could have told me I won a million dollars and I probably would have said 'cool, thanks' I was pretty much dead inside.

    So I feel like all aspects of my personality are being developed now and very rapidly. Actually I think there was a person in there all along but just trapped by the way life was in dubville and not allowed to be free.

    Lifes 1000 times better now but still hard as hell but its a better kind of hard ya know?


  • Francois

    "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?” "

    That is just too rich! I can see and hear it in my mind right this very minute. What did you say? I would have fallen off my stool laughing.


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    My version of re-invention is slightly different. If I want to talk to them - I do. If I choose to ignore them - I do. Either way my head is high. I do not divert my eyes and hang my head in shame. I do not obey the ruling of the elders to avoid members because I might stumble them. Lordy I hope I do stumble them. I am better than I was as a JW and have nothing to run away from.

    It took a long time to get to this point but the turning point for me was when I met a friend who I dearly loved in a shopping amll. I had heard her husband died and my heart went out to her. I debated saying something and finally decided to approach her. We stood across a table of items and I called her name. She looked up and I offered my sympathies. She stood there like a small child who was cornered. She turned her head down to the floor and muttered Thank you. I could see the awful pain in her eyes but the fear was palpable that someone might see her talking to me.

    How sad for her. But in that moment I realized how much the org infantilizes members. I had grown a lot since I left and never ever wanted to return to that child-like state.

    I grew up. They don't. They can't.

    Rejoice in the healing and not in the pain.
    Rejoice in the challenge overcome and not in the past hurts.
    Rejoice in the present - full of love and joy.
    Rejoice in the future for it is filled with new horizons yet to be explored. - Lee Marsh 2002

  • Teirce

    Has anyone discovered an average time for how long disfellowshipped or disassociated persons have been in the organization? I suspect that it may well be two decades on average. And many of those will have been those who were born into it, so that the most vital and energetic decades of their life were stolen. After I disassociated myself, I had a long convalescence of just wasting time and enjoying the lightness of being. It was the lightness of how certain nights, certain times of the week were now completely blank slates: the heavy, sweaty, nervous weights that had occupied them were now completely demolished. The price of course was that there was no friends to call upon for support, other than the nominal acquaintence of workmates. I suffered for several months under the supposition that by being a responsible, good, communicative example to my family/friends, that they would let up on their strict iteration of shunning, and might actually make some clandestine bridges of the sort that are fabled among those JWs who desperately want to get out but are kept in by love of family. I can say this: it was not in my cards to win them by good example. So, two can play that game. They defy the reality of blood/friendly connection, so I defy it also and instead chose to reflect on the whole matter thusly, They "are" my family/friends in some distant place along this linear railroad we call time, but they "are not" my family/friends in this immediately present time. Therefore, they don't exist to me in any form; I've written them off. But I don't feel inhuman about it because I can fondly recollect and look upon the whole thing in the aforementioned way. New friends and loyalties collect to any who have an inner fire and believe in themselves.

Share this