Do You Feels That Your Life Was Ruined Because of Ypur JW Experience?
I know that some are upset because of the time lost because of ever having been a Witness. Have you moved on as an ex JW or are you stil devastated because of your past JW lige?
"Ruined" and "devastated" are strong words - yet I acknowledge that they may apply to some ex-JWs who have suffered significant losses either as a result of their life as JWs or leaving or both.
At the same time, this forum shows the resilience of many who have left the organization. Sure, I wouldn't wish my experience as a JW and then leaving on anyone - yet having gone through it all, what a shame not to derive important learning.
I could write a lot about how much I have "grown up" since leaving. The whole concept of taking personal responsibility for one's own life is a crucial one. I have gone from being a "Yes man" who couldn't hold his head up high to an individual who is very clear about what steps I need to take to divest myself of the trappings and risks of obeying other humans. I look back at my life as a JW and hardly recognize myself. I constantly sought answers and reassurance from others (in the organization) and knew next to nothing about principles of good mental health, self-care and developing my own life and career.
I do not blame individual JWs, including elders, for the barriers of FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) they put in my way. I accept they were only doing what had been done to them and what they viewed as right.
Lastly, I acknowledge not everyone who wants to leave can leave or, having left, can find their way. I know of a number of my peers who tried to do so and killed themselves. It is hard making your own way when you have been raised to distrust non-JWs and to doubt your own heart. Yet it is worth reminding ourselves that cults thrive because they render individuals doubting of their own inherent abilities and strengths.
If we can get past the blatant FOG manipulation and see JWs for who they are - fellow humans who are simply obeying their human leaders - we can keep our reactivity in check as we learn how to take back control of our lives.
I wouldn't say my life now is ruined, I have moved on and am happy, but I am not totally free of being negatively impacted by the experience either, I have limited contact with JW siblings, and I still have to work to keep some of the thinking out of my head.
I would say that the cult played a big part on affecting my psyche growing up as a JW. Now at this point in my life I've literally had to "unteach" myself all the things that was instilled in me being raised in it such as:
-Not feeling good enough,
-Striving for perfection and feeling like I constantly have to do more to prove my worth
-Saying yes even when I didn't want to. Fear of saying no and having to deal with the repercussions
-Being Submissive and obedient to any man or accepting whatever words came out of a mans mouth as final say
-Living in Fear
-Denying my true self and Identity and living for the approval of others
These are areas of my personal life that i feel The WT organization has played a major role in messing me up. Now being away from the cult for 2 years I have to constantly fight to correct this way of thinking when old habits or that way of thinking tries to creep back in.
While I am out, I am still surrounded by JW family. NO- my life is not ruined. I am doing well at moving on. I have a great career that I love, but I will never 100% move on because of my family. I am a wee bit bitter at the wasted time and their keeping my loved ones captive.
Sorry for the mixed answer. I can't decide how far my pendulum should swing on this one.
I won't say ruined but caused me a lot of wasted time chasing after their bull shit of meeting attendance and as a unpaid advertising agent for the corporation's material prosperity.
That being said I have learned to adjust and change even after 29 years of indoctrination. It wasn't easy but I feel a change at age 47 was good for my brain's neuroplasticity I'm now 64 and have many new interests that make life better and more worth living then the bull shit the WT crammed down my throat.
no, a plus for a flexible survivor. ("--hold on to what is fine.")
In all honesty, I can't say it was...but I did waste time. Somebody told me to look at it like I was in a bad marriage and now divorced.
I have moved on and happily retired from my secular job.. I am a little angry though because I will never get the opportunity to tell off some JWs - hypocrites who have passed away after living a comfortable life when they were pushing poverty for me. Thankfully, I never listened to them.
I can't say my life was ruined - I spent... at this point 3/4 of my life as a JW. No life no matter how difficult, no matter how different can be viewed as a total waste. Everything is experience. Would it have been easier, more fun, happier...if I had not spent the majority of my life as a JW? Maybe, but I can't go back. I can go forward and I am still breathing - so my life has not been ruined. In fact in some ways I think my life has been made richer - I have a much more different and varied life view than many of my peers. Having to start ones life over at 33, with for the most part, no friends, no family - a blank slate - kind of steels you for the further adversity and trials that you face as you have a family, reach middle age, recognize the concept of mortality. There is still anger, there is still insecurity, but a ruined life - not at all.
They didn’t kill me but many opportunities were never exercised because of this evil cult, they also made it much harder for us to succeed in life!