Whats the aftermath for you?

by Brummie 15 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Brummie

    People who have never been JWs seem to think we can simply walk away from it "get a life" and move on (as if we dont have a life or something). I was wondering what consequences you peronally suffer for having been a JW? Depersonalisation, depression, keeping people at a distance, none...etc?

    I've been looking at depersonalisation recently since someone told me I can make a comment on some big issue and yet seem totally none emotional about it...huh? Like most things dont phase me yet everyone else is getting in a real wiz over things I am totally laid back about.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to respond.


  • Silverleaf

    Hi Brummie,

    I was never a JW but my association with one had a deep effect on my life for a long time and a lifelong effect on my views of religion. I might have once thought it should be easy to walk away from something if it maks you so unhappy but after having read a lot of the stories of people here who were actually in the organization and not just on the outside looking in, like me, I can see how it can be very hard to break free.


  • nightwarrior

    Hi Brummie

    Actually it is true... after leaving the JWs, I felt that I can trust no one. I have now only a couple of close friends, but I am very careful as to what I say, and I certainly do not take friends for granted.

    I have been stabbed in the back so many times by 'fickle jw friends' that I am now very very wary of people. Though I do find that I speak up more for myself now, and I feel more sure of myself, and that if I want to speak out about something I will, where as before, I would not speak up in fear of upsetting someone (stumbling). I was the queen of tact.

    So I am now in the process of finding myself and liking what I am finding. others may not like it, but so what who cares.

    Mrs NW

  • Loris


    Very thought Provoking. Depersonalization – I never knew the word. But it is what I am. I too can speak about a subject that others are passionate about without a twinge of emotion. My whole family (myself and eight grown children) are anti-social. We are content within our group but have trouble reaching out to others in any meaningful way. We talk about it. We are aware of the problem but are at odds with fixing it. Two of my sons are trying to venture into the unknown world of "dating" outside of the WTS box. They are so unsure of how to approach the whole idea.

    It’s as though we as JW’s lived by a script. Now we have to write our own script. We have no social skills. We do not know how to interact with normal human beings.

    The conversations at the KH were meaningless chit-chat. I said the same thing to the same people week after week for too many years. I went door to door and gave my "scripted" presentations to uninterested people that I did not give a flip about.

    I believed that I knew a lot about a lot of things thanks to Awake and Watchtower. Now I have to search and research everything to learn the real truth about everything. My self-esteem is at a dangerous low because I know that I know very little about everything.

    I have to discover at the age of 55 who I am and try to encourage my children to venture out into the unknown world, a place I had warned them was a wicked dangerous place.

    There is so much damage that is caused by living in slavery for so many years.

    I am trying to rid myself of the depersonalization complex. I am slowly developing a real personality of my very own. Someday I hope to have a passionate, spirited conversation with another equally passionate person.


  • Charmed

    I have been diagnosed with depression since my family recently told me that if I had "turned my back on Jehovah," they would never speak to me again. I used to be a very happy-go-lucky sort of person, and I wish I could get that back.

    I also find that I have trouble making decisions. I'm always worried that I'll make the wrong decision. I think this is because when I was a JW, all decisions were made for me.

  • nowisee

    charmed, it's nice to meet you. i hope you are finding support here among people who care.

    i related to both charmed and loris. having always been the odd one, in school the oddball who didn't salute flag, celebrate holidays, yet the one who always preached to everyone....also the one who because i lacked appropriate mothering (i would often be dirty, wearing same clothes for weeks in a row) i suffered a lot of rejection. strangely enough, i felt this rejection to a degree at kh also, the child of an elder, someone looked up to in cong. - i always seemed to be more serious and steadfast than my peers at kh. somehow these feelings follow in life - oh i can barrel through situations and never give a hint of what im really feeling, but often have felt still like the oddball, just not fitting in. so this has resulted in a somewhat solitary life, i work alone now by choice - just more comfortable....so apart from a few good friends and my wonderful husband my social circle is small. -- i know that feeling of being anti-social and not wanting to be hurt.

    perhaps this is why i love being here so much as it seems most everyone is understanding and friendly.

    i also related to charmed's fear of making decisions. having been so profoundly mistaken about something so important causes much questioning and second-guessing. sometimes i drive my husband crazy!

  • DJ
    We have no social skills. We do not know how to interact with normal human beings.

    Me too. I am learning though. It's hard for a 42 yr. old, it's sort of like starting kindergarden. My kids have an advantage at their age and I'm so happy for them. I've met so many kind and loving people who have reached out to me (mainly Christians) and yet I still am on my guard. I suppose it will take time. I'm having a terrible time articulating here........lol....I guess it's my lack of social skills. One day at a time, I guess. Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day. Growing up believing that the world and everthing in it is evil and that nothing is pure is a sick twisted way for a child to learn to love or trust. There is a scripture that says, "To the pure, all things are pure but to the defiled all the are defiled" So true. We were taught by the defiled minds that all things are defiled and disgusting and prohibited. Such an unhappy way to be. A small child is a perfect example of a pure mind. The other day I asked my son who will be 6yrs. old next week what kind of dinner he would like and what kind of cake would he like me to bake him. He answered me in such a sweet way that it brought tears to my eyes. He wanted the cake to be his sister's favorite so that she would like to have some too. He asked for a bone for his dog for a gift. Surprisingly, he asked for no be-headings. I am blessed with my son and I am so thankful and I celebrate his birth. He is the fruit of my womb and a gift from above. The unconditional love that I have for my kids is the love that I want to have with others. Maybe someday.

  • gitasatsangha

    I agree with you. It is extremely difficult to build friendships at anything more then the shallowest level.

  • Billygoat

    The aftermath for me was:

    • Deep depression
    • Suicidal tendencies
    • Low self-esteem
    • Fear of making the wrong decision
    • Difficulty trusting anyone
    • Difficulty maintaining relationships beyond acquaintances
    • Thinking getting sex from a man was love
    • Thinking giving sex to a man was love
    • Thinking I never deserved anything beyond "leftovers" in life

    But today I am doing so much better. When I look at myself 13 years ago when I first left, compared to where I am today...I am VERY proud of the growth in my life. I am VERY proud that I've survived the pain. And now I feel I contribute more to society than the average Joe because of those very experiences.

    Do I relish my past? No. But I am thankful for it. If it weren't for being disfellowshipped, shunned by my family, struggling to just stay alive...I wouldn't be the person I am today. And today I like myself pretty well! I couldn't say that as a JW.

  • Big Tex
    Big Tex

    I think I did this whole Witness thing backwards. I was depressed and suicidal before I left. After I left, Nina was still going so that kind of created a wall between us. It took a couple of years, and I was in therapy anyway, but gradually the depression lifted and I began to feel better about myself. I doubt I'll ever have high self-esteem, but I think that has more to do with my dysfunctional family than Jehovah's Witnesses.

    As to depersonalization. I too find myself doing that. I've always chalked it down to having my family treat me badly, but perhaps it's a microcosm of how others are treated by the Witnesses. Consider that we were only allowed to associated with other Witnesses. We were told we're all one big happy family. But then one day we left that family and that family cut us off. We found out that it was a conditional love, and perhaps there was never any love there at all. I think that creates a hardness around the heart, whereby it's easier to let people drift out of our lives because we've already lost friends and family that were very precious to us (and perhaps still are).

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