Newly out, am I shunning them before they shun me?

by schnell 14 Replies latest jw friends

  • schnell

    I have indeed made the truth my own, and I am never going back to Jehovah's Witnesses.

    The fact now is that talking about this religion with someone who believes it makes me sort of angry. It raises my blood pressure. I don't like doing it. I don't like hearing how great Joe Hoover is and how nice the meeting was last week. It's a bad taste in my mouth.

    I really don't like being told about Satan and demons. That actually reeks of emotional weakness and delusion to me.

    The truth is, I had some friends in the congregation. And they have their doubts too. But I genuinely don't want to hear their "encouragement."

    I regularly skip calls. I silence the alerts on texts from certain people.

    And now I sort of feel like I've shunned them before they shun me.

    And then there's my mom. She's a widow, she lives alone, and she needs people to talk to her and listen to her. And she talks about this religion all the time. She texted me a YouTube video about the resurrection this week to try and appeal to emotion.

    If I try to explain how this isn't the truth, I'm told I'm thinking too much. I've heard that from multiple Witnesses, and I was even told that by a JW commenter on a YouTube video. What the hell, guys? You can't think too much about this religion you call the truth?

    Example: I say Jerusalem was sacked in 587 BCE, not 607 BCE, I back up my claim, and I say that this calls 1914 into question if their whole philosophy of history is to be believed. They say, "It's only math, it's only 20 years. So what? You think too much. You need to listen to Jehovah."

    I say the Insight book and other publications peg the Flood at 2370 BCE, and there isn't a shred of evidence to support this supposedly real world cataclysm. "So the date is wrong, the GB makes mistakes. What other hope do you have? There's nothing for you out there."

    It is no wonder why the Watchtower studies about history and prophecy are always a little more quiet. These people are apathetic and ignorant about it.

    What was most striking was when I told my mom about the child sex abuse scandal and just how piss poor the organization has behaved, and she basically said that. . . Jehovah and the GB must be allowing sex offenders into the organization to instigate the Great Tribulation. I railed against her when she said this.

    And she knew about the UN thing years ago and never told me. She didn't think it was important.

    So rather than beat my head against a wall to see what's inside it, my fading has involved simply going dark. If I leave them alone, hopefully they leave me alone. It seems to be working, but a few still try, and my god are they dumb.

  • truth_b_known

    You and I are in a similar boat. I was never DFed. I faded. Before my fade was complete I was shunned by friends I had for decades.

    The only person in the congregation who would speak to me was my father. When he did speak to me, he talked to me like I was a Witness or a Bible study. That hurt.

    You cannot reason with them. You are dealing with faith. Faith is belief. Belief is opinion. It is not based on facts.

    It hurts, but in the end you got your life back. Over 30 years of my life was wasted in that cult. I still have plenty of time to enjoy life.

  • DJS


    Our hearts are with you, as most if not all of us have been in your shoes. The consistent advice I would give you or anyone else in your situation is to make the cleanest, quickest, safest and quietest break possible from this vile, evil cult.

    You only have so much physical, psychological and emotional energy, as do we all. They will be much better utilized moving away from this ambition robbing, conscience stealing, family destroying cult as quickly as you can.

    Focus your anger toward positive endeavors. I know it is easier said that done, but it is possible. All of the anger, frustration, emotions, etc. that you spend on the cult, its teachings, practices or adherents will essentially be a gigantic waste of time.

    The 'rewards' of any potential gains in trying to speak to dubs or change ANYTHING about your circumstances are miniscule when compared to the 'risks' to your own emotional and psychological well being. Plus you are wasting valuable time that will be much better spent charting a new course of happiness and prosperity for you and yours.

    Breaking up is hard to do. Good luck.

  • FedUpJW

    I'm told I'm thinking too much.

    Oh hell yeah! I have heard that so many times in the last year or so that I have to purposely un-clench my fists every time I hear it now. My stock answer each and every time recently is, "Really? Maybe YOU need to think a little more!"

  • James Mixon
    James Mixon

    The most important thing try to keep a relationship with your mom, you will make news friends. Leave spiritual matters out of the conversation.

  • ToesUp

    We did the same thing. We call it reverse shunning. Trust me...they will forget you. They forgot us when they couldn't get juicy details. We went stone cold quiet. Sad but true! We owe them NOTHING.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    I'm not sure that this is exactly whet you mean, bit I _LIKE_ the concept od proactive, pre-emptive SHUNNING, especially from the perspective of "I will shun you NOW so that you can't shun me later!"

    Go for it, and may it go well for you.

  • steve2

    I'm not sure how well disposed you'll be to some straight talking from me - so please forgive me if I upset you and come across as disrespectful. That is not my intention - yet your post reeks of a significant struggle with the JW mentality: Witnesses drive you nuts just by being Witnesses.

    It's like someone who cannot stand ducks surrounds themselves with ducks and then complains about all the quacking. As my Uncle Pelican used to ask me when I was much younger, "What did you really expect?"

    Based on your OP, you are pretty heavily invested in the "explain game". Where's it written that when people ask you, "What's up?" you gotta tell them?

    It sounds like you are hitting you head against lots of JW brick walls. Why waste your energy? If they are so disinterested in arguing or discussing doctrine, why waste your energy and time?

    Cut those apron strings with Mom - you're not a kid, I presume. And please give your Mom a break. She's a loyal JW. Her answers to your disclosures fire you up, as does the behaviour of the other ones you talk to. Did you really think any single one of them would say, "Hey, you've got me thinking: I must investigate the issue further! I appreciate your sharing this with me!"

    You're learning what so many of us here have learnt the hard way: Far, far more Witnesses than we would ever know cope by means of apathy ... and the organization knows it. That's why the biggest threat to the organization is NOT apostasy but apathy.

    This may be a great time for you to give yourself permission to slow yourself down and perhaps start thinking about your own life in and of itself.

  • schnell

    I agree steve2. It's true, I'm on a bit of a tangent right now as I unshackle myself from basically every belief pressed upon me all my life. And, I demand an answer at times from people whom I've learned don't have one. This whole episode has been outrageous to me. I don't go out of my way for a debate or answer "How are you?" by saying I've read Dawkins and watched John Cedars on YouTube for hours and hours. When they press the "encouragement" button, the least I can do is grimace.

    Eventually I'll calm down. I always wanted to be a writer, and I should just calm down and get on that. The cool thing is that now my moral inhibition has been freed a bit. I don't really have to worry about hiding behind a pseudonym so I can write "Fuck" in a blog or a novel without answering to a judicial committee. (Yes, it's true that schnell is just my pseudonym here.) I feel I've mostly conquered this dragon in my life, but with some growing pains, I should be off to a new journey to find new treasures in my life.

    Speaking of writing, my mom repeated a story that Stephen King was a witness at some point. She's said this in years past, she got it from somewhere. I told her I've read part of his memoir "On Writing", and I've searched through the ebook for any text about that. From what I read about his childhood, there doesn't seem to be any substance to this minor rumor at all.

  • OneEyedJoe

    I think this is pretty common - several times on this forum I've read people talking about all the effort they put in to fade only to eventually end up avoiding all contact with their former friends anyway because you find that you really have so little in common with them anymore. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with it...and I suspect in most cases it's nothing like the shunning JWs do - if a former friend called you up and needed help you'd probably still be there for them and not lecture them on religious nonsense and tell them its their fault you haven't been around, etc, etc.

    The alternative to "reverse shunning" as some have called it is to set healthy boundaries in your relationships. The cult trained us not to have any boundaries - everyone was constantly in everyone else's business. In the cult you can't have boundaries because you have to constantly be evaluating whether someone is good association or whether you have to report them to the elders to "help" them. We were also trained to give up personal information at the drop of a hat - nothing was private. If you want to have a relationship with people that are still in the cult, you'll have to learn how to set boundaries for yourself and stick to them.

    You can do this a couple ways - the most subtle way is simply compartmentalize your life and not talk about things that they're likely to lecture you about, and then change the subject any time they start going in to cult talk. You can vary how obvious you make the subject change if they don't pick up on it at will usually make the other person a little uncomfortable to have an abrupt change of subject that you stick to, and that's something that people will often learn to avoid and they'll avoid the subjects that you're avoiding. Stick to your guns (it'll be more difficult at first than you might think) and this can work.

    If the more subtle approach doesn't work you can always face it head on - "I love you and I value our relationship, but I'd really prefer if we didn't discuss X." You don't have to tell them why you don't want to talk about it. Again, stick to your guns and if they force the issue terminate the conversation. It's not the same at all to the cult shunning - they don't shun those who only constantly try to get them to read "apostate" stuff, they shun any apostate regardless of whether they're actively flaunting that they're apostate.

    It will take time and patience and commitment. People fall into their roles by habit and if you want to change the role someone's playing you'll often get push back as they try to get you to go back to the role you used to play. Often this push back will be strongest right before they finally break and give in to the realization that you're not going to get pulled back into your old ways and they'll have to adjust. It'll be hard for you to not fall into your habitual role too, though, so you'll have to stick with it consciously. This is something that might be worth working with a therapist/counselor on, as they can be very helpful in providing an objective viewpoint.

    In the end it may not work with everyone, and you may lose some relationships. But you gave it a fair chance and you're only losing the people who are too stubborn and don't value you enough to adjust to you setting healthy boundaries and telling them what you need out of the relationship. When that's the case, then all you'd ever have is a one-sided relationship anyway, and those aren't worth anything to you.

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