I definitely had some very happy times "while in". Remember, as long as you do everything by the book, you are accepted. I got to see more of the world than just my backyard, and I got to intermingle with people of many nationalities. I learned the bible, inside and out. I learned how to speak and teach effectively. Having to go from door to door, and being a shy little country girl wasn't easy for me. But, because I really believed in what I was doing, the fear left me. I was totally borg, heart and soul---for as long as I was under my mother's wing. As I entered my twenties, I remembered thinking that this was my life and I needed to begin building my own foundation according to what I believed. Sure, I guess I thought it would be easy to break away, but I was ill prepared for that "thrust out into the world". That's what cults do to people, and that's why it's so painful to get out.
Having had the total JW experience, I can truly understand cults and how they work. I also know that precognition makes us co-dependent in such institutions. I no longer have a need for any type of organized religion in my life. I'm very comfortable with that. I am very spiritual without the religion. Some folks really need that type of organization to survive daily living. I was a bit stronger than that, and like many of you, made a decision to leave. I also know what it feels like to be "rejected for normal behavior in youth" and endured the public humiliation of disfellowshipment. I groveled for reinstatement, and then attempted to live a lie for a good portion of my youth. Later on, leaving on my own, because I truly did not believe their concepts any longer, was a power move on my part, but a tremendous personal struggle, nontheless, for a very long time.
These days, the guilt, fear, anger, resentment, has been replaced by the comfort of peace and contentment. The sight of a JW dutifully going from door to door does not make me tremble...even when they ring my doorbell. The way my JW mom continues to shun me does not have the affect that she was hoping for. Her choice, as I was not disfellowshipped for "walking away". Still, I am being shunned and rejected by family and dear friends that were a part of my life for a very long time. Whether I'm awake or asleep, they no longer haunt me in negative ways. It's like the window is open and fresh air is coming in all the time now. Feels good.