Forget your JW history and move on...

by Brummie 14 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Brummie

    Within the first couple of years of leaving the WT quite a few people told me to “forget it, get over it and move on”, it wasn’t like I kept talking about it, in fact, as much as I needed too, I seldom did. Its just that they observed my interest in talking with exjws…an interest that I’ve never tired of. I used to feel like I owed people an apology because a lot of my best friends were exjws! Sometimes people who come here ask us why we don’t just get over it….why should we feel pressured to forget it all? Why forget the damage caused by the WT? I've moved on, but I'll never get over it.

    The only reason I knew that the elders had announced my disassociation from the platform was because they called my mother and told her NOT to be at the meeting that night, she called me to let me know it would be finalised that evening and I wouldn’t be hearing from my JW family members anymore. She cried on the phone and for me, that was emotionally hard to deal with. The Watchtower had no right to put a heavy weight on her or on me, why should I forget their crime?

    The morning after my dis-ass was read out I was aware that I had just lost my history! The Watchtower had no right to do that either, it continues to bind you with heavy weights even after you leave!

    When we lose our history there is no one to say “hey remember years ago when we did this or that?” there are no episodes of happy reflection, all our friends and family whom we have associated with now treat us as dead. No one speaks anymore, in his or her eyes we are dead but we just refuse to lie down! There is no one to remember the fun times and the sad times we had, the trials we faced, the people we knew, the things we did together, the best friends we shared, the confidants, people we thought we could trust, the acquaintances, the daily experiences of life, people of the same faith who we would write to or visit in other countries, no one to bump into in town and catch up with. Life is isolated for the first couple of years…forget it and move on???

    Then there is the issue of what to talk about to the new people we begin to meet? The Kingdom? The remnant 144000? Paradise? Armageddon? Kingdom expansion? Whose been disfellowshipped and whose been baptised? Pioneering? The service and the bible studies? Cults???? Surely people in the “normal world” would look at us like we had gone crazy if we spoke of these things. Yet these are “the normal” conversations we would have on a daily basis and its difficult to know what else to talk about when we leave. What did we have in common with people “in the world” when we were JWs? How do we now find a common ground with people who have never been in the cult? During the first year of our exit we probably became the worlds experts on the weather “Awful weather isn’t it…looks like the suns about to shine… I thought we’d lost the sun in England…its cold enough for snow today isn’t it...better get your thermals out its getting chilly” (abrupt end of thrilling conversation).

    Exjws have enough to contend with, they don’t need people telling them to “Get a life” or to stop associating with people on exjw boards, they had “a life” remember and look what happened to it…. wiped out without as much as a blush from the WTS. Only other exJWs can relate to the enormity of that.

    Thing is, until you have lost your history and everyone in it, you wont need to talk about it so much.

    I feel that I have been wronged, I’m not bitter I’m just damaged. I’m pretty much over the worst, but I can still move on without throwing my past away. Its my past and its very much part of who I am in the present.

  • Gopher

    Hear, hear! You are exactly right.

    Each person deals with their departure/dismissal from the JW organization in their own way. Nobody can tell a victim how he or she should feel about the things that happened to them and about how they're reacting to it now.

    We each "decompress" from the experience at our own rate. After a while we BEGIN to adapt to life in the normal, non-JW world, and then are able to help others who also have suffered a loss of their family and their personal history too.

    Is it so bad to be here for others who have gone through many of the same things we did? Not if we do so by our own choice.

    Someone who's never been a JW has a right, of course, to express their viewpoints on forums like this. But to tell an ex-JW how to think, and to just "get over it", is very patronizing, even condescending.

    Anyone who says such things is interfering with the healing process. If they don't wish to read threads about our ex-JW experiences, let them go on to the fluff stuff on here -- there's plenty of that here too!

    Gopher (an ex-JW)

  • La-Bellamargarita


    I just want to say how much I agree with what you have said. I am an ex JW and although I drifted out of the org around three years ago, now like yourself I cannot just forget who and what I was for approximately twenty years of my adult life. The healing proccess is not an easy one. Sometimes I feel completely over it all, and then some little thing triggers me off and all the bitterness returns to haunt me. Therefore a site like this where I can meet up with people who know exactly what I am going through and who will figuratively (nice JW word eh!) listen to me unjudgementally is just a real boon for me.

    love to you all

  • dannyboy


    Excellent, pithy post IMHO. Well said. I can readily identify with your thoughts.

    I don't hang out around here as much as I used to, but over and over again I read posts like yours that get to the heart of our experiences and feelings as ex-JWs, and trigger reflections and "RIGHT ON" smiles.

    Thank you for an excellent post, Brummie.

    ---Dan (Doing my best to slowly replace the "friends" I lost, and building up additional non-JW "history")

  • Brummie

    Nice response Golfer, thanks

    Anyone who says such things is interfering with the healing process

    I think thats what make me get annoyed when I hear it!

    La-bellamargarita (cool name), I can relate to all of what you said.

    Sometimes I feel completely over it all, and then some little thing triggers me off

    Same here!

    danny, I just read your autobiography, great! glad you got out after being so prominent in there, I can imagine the headache.

    Thanks again G, L & D for sharing


  • outnfree

    Thanks for expressing the way I feel so well, Brummie. My husband just recently told me to "let go" of my association with ex-JWs since I've "let go" of the religion, and so it should all be in the past. I cannot. Nor do I wish to. I have more healing to experience, and I also feel that I can be helpful to those more recently "outnfree" from the JW religious bondage. I enjoy our once monthly "meet-ups" and this board, even though I am posting less and going to college and doing homework more.

    I have been married to my husband for nearly 25 years, yet he does not share an important part of my history -- the time when my father was still alive, and, actually, my time as a witness since he refused to socialize with any of my JW friends. I find it comforting to have a friend, still, who actually knew my father. I find it comforting to have more than a few friends who actually understand the JW experience, the good and the bad.

    I am fortunate to have only been an adult convert to the religion, so I haven't experienced the heartbreak of family shunning. I also remember what a JW-free existence was like and I'm not quite as maladroit at holidays and birthdays and God-bless-yous (<<-- mine always come out very delayed - lol) as the in-the-org-from-birth ex-JWs. But there are friends I miss, people I remember fondly and wish I could contact freely from time to time, just to catch up. This, of course, is not possible.

    I am moving on, but at my own pace in a way which is best for ME after years of subsuming MY needs to the Borg. Nobody is going to tell me when the "cure" is effected except my own little self.

    "And," as Emily Ann would say, "that's the truth!"


  • onacruse

    Hey brumm, thanks...I couldn't agree more with what you and the others here have said. I thought maybe this little quote was relevant;

    The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. History is a hill or high point of vantage, from which alone men see the town in which they live or the age in which they are living.
    G. K. Chesterton


  • mattnoel

    Its seeming very hard - makes a big imprint in your life. I wish that I could just say right all forgotten about and that would be it. One day I guess it will all wear off.

  • Brummie

    Wow Craig, thats really something! A cut out and keep quote fer sure.

    Outnfree, thx

    I am moving on, but at my own pace in a way which is best for ME after years of subsuming MY needs to the Borg. Nobody is going to tell me when the "cure" is effected except my own little self.

    I luuurrv this attitude, my sentiments exactly.

    Matt, it has worn off for most days, it just keeps popping its ugly head up on others, as time passes it gets further away huh.


  • anglise

    Brilliant post Brummie

    throughly agree with all you say. We are going through this now, and have also been told we should just forget it and move on. For us it is the 2nd time we have lost our past. We gave our past up to come into the org and then have lost the 18 years we spent in it. We are still trying to get the courage to meet other x's in the flesh and maybe make some real friends again.

    Well done and thankyou for such a good post.


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