Hello all. I feel like I know some of you since I have been lurking here for almost two years, yikes!
Let me introduce myself. I go by Goofy here, you know the Disney character, always liked him. I was raised a Witness and do not want to be identified by anyone who knows me as I am not DA'd or DF'd but have been inactive for a couple of years now.
I left mainly because I had to before I killed myself with self pity and scarlet water. I was lonely and never fit into the organization. I never fit in anywhere as a child as I was a very devout little JW girl in school. I followed all the rules and read studied more than most adults ever have. I was firm on Birthdays, holidays, etc. I must have seemed a very strange little girl. I used to try to make it to the swingset at recess first so that the teachers wouldn't notice that I was at recess alone again. My family was not "in socially" in the congregation, so I grew up without any friends to speak of. I grew up believing that I was not likeable and that I was completely inferior . I remember at the Hall I would make my way to the water fountain as many times as possible before and after the meetings so that the Brothers and Sisters wouldn't notice me standing alone because I would be embarrassed becasue noone was talking with me. It got worse as I became a teenager. Being a shy person didn't help matters.
I have read many of your posts and litterly cried because I recognised the feelings you relayed in your posts. The isolation feelings, guilt, disfuntional families, the good old "spankings" etc. etc.
Well, through the years I became more outgoing, less theocratic, married and divorced (to a guy out of the Truth) and repented and turned back to the Organization. But I still continued to have "Worldly Friends" but actually became pretty active again for several years afterwards. I stopped with a lot of the worldly association and turned to the congregation due to encouragement I had received from the Elders in a short while though. Shortly after that I began to sink to an all time low. I tried and tried but through the years I had developed into a very social people loving person. I like to laugh and party. As a single sister association is limited. I had lots of "friends" now in the congregation as I was being active. I had a lot of people say hello to me at the Hall, but no friend to call up on the phone to chat or have a coffee with. I began drinking harder and harder and crying myself to sleep every night. All the while I am hearing comments made about me by the congregation about my independent attitudes on dress ( I mouthed off a little about having to wear skirts to the meeting when it was cold) and that I was materialistic (yeah right, I made under $30,000 at the time) because I did enjoy my job and talked about it often. The one thing that made me pretty happy at the time.
Finally after one very self pitying night, I got up the next morning and just said to myself "I am done". I stopped going to meetings. I have been living my life now. I am happier and have many friends calling me and sometimes I look forward to the night that I "get to spend alone". I still am not in a relationship, but it doesn't matter as I am not lonely anymore.
I still have guilt feelings sometimes, still have to deal with family who try to force feed me information to "come back to the Truth" and still am not sure what to do about my relationship with God, as I do pray and read the Bible everyday. I am not sure of what I believe anymore, but I believe in Jehovah, Jesus and the resurrection, though I think the resurrection may be heavenly.
One thing that helped me and may help some others was that I found a couple of nice little "Cheers" like lounges that I spent a lot of time at, at first and one I still go to on a fairly regular basis because I like the people there. It gives me a place to go and just be me and I don't have to worry about saying the wrong thing, as everyone forgets by next week anyway. Now, I am not advocating going to get drunk or for the sake of picking someone up, I always leave alone, but if you find the right place, it's like the Cheers them song says, "Sometimes you want to go where everyone knows your name". You have a few laughs, chat some, relax and it helps with the feeling of missing a congregation full of people you know. It's best to pick a lounge that is a little upper class and has the same customers on a regular basis so you get to know people. It becomes almost like a little party or social setting. But, I know this isn't for everyone and some may even frown at the suggestion.
I just breathe a little easier now and drink a lot less. I think the move away from the Organisation has been best for my own life. I don't hate the Organisation or anyone in it. I do dislike some of the hardline rules etc.
I hope this wasn't to long. I hope everyone has a great weekend!