i was happy before i woke up
I get treated horribly by my ex
"Ex" being the key word here ... why are they treating you any particular way at all?
And I'm still paying the consequences of failing at being a Witness.
That's like failing at being a jerk.
The fact is that there is no easy way to exit from this religion, so what you are going through is normal, if anything about this religion can be considered normal. When you are in the midst of major change in your life it's tempting to look back and I realize your former situation. Don't go there. Be grateful you found out TTATT before you wasted any more years in the religion and that you are now mentally free, those are very important things.
You left for a reason, so accept that you made the right choice and put all your energy into making your new life work. It does get easier with time and there are many things to do to make it better. Keep in mind that leaving the Watchtower does not automatically fix every thing that is wrong in your life. For example, you say you have no friends, but you said you also didn't fit in when you JW, so you wouldn't solve that problem by going back. Think about things you can do to meet more people to increase your chances of making friends. Can you take a class in something you are interested in? Can you do volonteer work? Those are a few ways people have been able to make friends.
The stress and disruption is temporary. Imagine taking on a gruelling fitness program that you joined for your health. At the beginning, the program will be painful. You will wonder if it is all worth it. Why do you stick with it? Because it will get easier, and the rewards will far outstrip the temporary pain. You will have greater stamina, you can do more things, and you will have vital and energetic senior years.
Similarly, exiting the Witnesses means you have more free time, you can explore new ideas and modes of living free from censure, you will read wider, and you will be a wiser, more flexible human being. With a decent pension.
You will graduate soon. You will make new friends. And your ex will get easier to deal with or else the courts will make it so.
Divorce can feel like a failure, even if it was the right thing to do. The same with exiting a religion that you invested a good deal of your life in to. But it's not a failure, it's a step towards life.
It will get better.
Sorry you are feeling that way. I recall the movei Matrix when Morpheus tells Neo, "All I am offering you is the truth and nothing more." There is some solace in that, solace in the fact that you know. At least now you can stop living the LIE and move forward in this life that is all we have.
As for friends, ask yourself if they really were your friends. Your response might be a surprise. Then, join a club. Go on a trip with a tour group. Visit a winery. Join toastmasters. Most of the time, ex-witnesses who lament the loss of their "supposed" friends forget that they were only "friends" because they joined the club. Well, if you have left the club and they are no longer your friends, then it was the club that was important to them wasn't it? Conversely, if friendship can be found in one club than couldn't you find friends in another?
My hubby is an elder, he's a good man. Does everything he should and yet he still says he doesn't feel good enough. He's always beating himself up over the things he gets wrong. It hurts me to see it. I want to shout at him to get out of this religion! Then he'd feel better. But I know he wouldn't, he'd still carry the guilt around with him. That's the sad thing about it.
To be free of it you have to tell yourself there is no reason whatsover to feel guilty about anything. Why should you? Who made you feel that way? What do you feel guilty about? Carrying a load of guilt is what we've been made to feel, whether we do things or don't do things. We can't ever feel happy because we've been made to feel that way.
You have to break that cycle before you can ever move on and feel happy with your life. You don't owe anything to anyone. Just be true to yourself. If people don't accept you for who you really are then they are not worth having in your life anyway.
I hope you can find a way forward. Look forward to graduating in your job and use it as a fresh start to a new you and a new life. All the best!
Literally before we wake up from sleep , we may have had a wonderful dream where the impossible seems blissfully real.
Unfortunately the reality of full consciousness makes us face the hard realities of life.
How we handle this is the key to happines albeit no ones life is a bed of rosies.
This is the position you're in.
The world is your oyster!... go for it!!
I'm still paying the consequences of failing at being a Witness.
For now on, instead of stating "a Witness", fill it with a more descriptive term of what 'a Witness' was all about.
Try some of these:
I'm still paying the consequences of failing at being...
...a supporter of the Watch Tower Bible Tract Society Inc.
...a cult member
...a believer that 99.9% are wrong/evil and 0.1% are right/good.
...a person who can ignore numerous failed prophecies.
...a person who can overlook numerous flip-flops in doctrine and teaching.
...a believer that the business originating term of 'governing body' pertains to a select few who God has appointed to direct "His" people.
...a cherry-picker and follower of those who cherry-pick to suit their agenda and beliefs.
You did not fail at anything good, healthy or true. An accurate description of your scenario is:
"I'm still paying the consequences for those who fail to see the actual truth and continue to comply with the demands of the Watchtower Society".
The real failures are those who are trying to bring you down and make you feel bad for standing up for truth and honesty. Do not allow them to have that kind of control, at the very least, do not allow them to warp your perception and discernment of what you know is right.
You have learned from your mistake, do not allow others who continue to make the same mistakes and/or insist they have made no mistake, convince you to return to a high level control group with cult tendencies. You're better than that.
WallsofJericho said something interesting that I have struggled with as well
call me fake
Who is calling us fake?? We do it to ourselves. Don't let JW control who you are. If they say we are fake, that's their problem. We are being real for the first time. It really comes down to not letting them have control...especially mentally.. of how we feel about ourselves.
Shakespeare may have said it best: "This above all: to thine own self be true,"
The hard part is what LOSINIT is going through, the letting go of what OTHERS think. Some can do it the way Walls is and it works for them. It usually takes some time, but it comes. And the "fake" part we realize was what we were doing when we ignored our nagging doubts. Now we are real and who cares what the hardliners think.
LosingIt: I hope you have a good day today and find joy in your true self.
Human tendency is to prefer the evil we know to the evil we don't know.
Congratulations on leaving the old evil behind, because there was no chance of things changing for the better, and then grabbing the unknown, which is difficult right now but has every possibility of becoming a much happier life.
The insight here is amazing... I'm going to read these over and over tonight.