Help Please - Finding It Hard Adjusting To The Real World
Hi everyone. Im asking for you guys help in a phase im going through right now. Im sure it’ll pass but id appreciate your advice.
Born in, my family consists of mum, dad, two brothers and two sisters. My family were good JW’s who made sure we had NOTHING to do with non JW’s – even non JW family. So I have no idea who or where my non JW cousins are (something I deeply regret). One of my brothers isn’t baptized but he’s studying.
I have aunts and uncles and cousins who are still in.
Im disfellowshipped for apostasy. I was trying to fade but my cover was blown and in my JC I voiced my concerns over the ever changing doctrines (from their own mags). I don’t consider myself an apostate, simply someone who’s looking for truth and is humble enough to follow evidence rather than superstition or wishful thinking. Anyway, that made me “an apostate”. So my family think im disfellowshipped because I am trying to draw people away. Which im not. I told them I don’t talk about religion as a rule. So there’s no reason for any JW to be fearful of me.
Anyway. Im obviously being shunned by all of them. Because I was a good JW I had no “worldly” friends. None. So I feel like im starting my life again at 31yo. I passed up going to medical school when I was in my early 20s because Armageddon was so close. Now, it’s too late to start down that path. My brother who is studying is shunning me too but he still smokes. So it’s annoying that he’ll gladly follow the rule of shunning me but wont give up his cigarettes.
Im finding it really, REALLY difficult living in the real world. I imagine this is the point most people go back to the witnesses. It was comfortable. I mean I was miserable but I somehow felt comfortable. Im happy im out of that cult and that I can finally think for myself. But thinking for myself somehow feels wrong. Like the other day I was in a store and saw a T-Shirt that had Harley Quinn from the latest Suicide Squad movie on it. Rather skimpily dressed she was. I liked it but my JW brain clicked in “no you cant have it, its pornea”. But of course I CAN have it if I want to.
Then I written “happy birthday” on someone’s birthday card that was being passed around the office. I felt like a bad person. I know that sounds silly but it’s true.
It’s like there’s a nagging voice at the back of my brain calling me on the things I do.
Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings I feel like someone’s going to knock on my door asking why I wasn’t at the meeting. I have a new girlfriend now and although I don’t feel guilty staying over at hers I DO feel guilty in that my family don’t know about it. I mean, I would tell them, im not ashamed of it, but because they’re shunning me they don’t know anything about it. They likely think im “enjoying a sinful life” but in reality im the same person I was before. Only now im true to my inner self and I have my own morals.
Any born in’s relate to this? How long until this passes? Am I supposed to do something to speed up the transition to a normal life?
pale.emperor, I really appreciate your posts, and now I appreciate from this post the wonderful personality, behind the posts. I can't give any advice, except to say it's your decision and you do what is the right thing for you.
It's never easy leaving a cult,the anxiety you are going through is part of the process.
My heart goes out to you. Recently I wished some one a happy birthday and it did feel a little odd but I just smiled to myself.(and I have been out for some time) and last night I was out and signed with some others a happy birthday card for a friend who is hospital..
Did u say medical school? Yes training to be a doctor is about 7 years with all the intern time included. So why not nursing?
Take on that hobby you always wanted to and you will meet others of like interest. It will happen.
in all the years ive been coming here ive read countless experiences like yours. you are going through the classic new ex-jw issues
your post was great, spot on about being "comfortable"
keep getting friends, get involved in your community, talk to ppl at the gym, take walks around your neighborhood, youll discover that feeling of community that you miss
Never been in your shoes, but I think it's too early to expect the levels of happiness and comfort you had before. your world was gradually, but totally shattered. It's going to take time to make new friends and create new healthy bonds with other people who have never been in a cult. Perhaps some here will suggest Steve Hassan's books to reinforce that you are doing the right thing, but also to get rid of the guilt induced by the cult mentality.
Stay strong for your own and your daughter's sake.
Don't tell your family ANYTHING about your GF, new life, etc. Only smile and look happy if you happen to see them. If they happen to break the silence and ask how you are, tell them you feel like a million dollars and are happier every day. They hate that. They WANT you to feel like this.....like a discarded piece of human trash. That way, you'll come crawling back and begging to be let back in. F' that! You are what, 31? I'd for d*mn sure be heading back to college and med school if I were you. Plenty of time to become a Dr. That will also get you out of this funk and get you around more intelligent, like-minded people and you'll become more social. Think about it! You have a new lease on life, might as well get on it!!!
I passed up going to medical school when I was in my early 20s because Armageddon was so close. Now, it’s too late to start down that path.
It's never too late. I went back to college at exactly your age to study nursing, against cries from Friends™ who declared that Armageddon™ was Right Around the Corner™ (we stopped going to Meetings™ at the beginning of that year). That was 21 years ago. Our never-JW family doctor started medical school at the age of 34, and retired a couple of years ago at the age of 71. In both my case and my doctor's case, we had spouses and young families.
Think of the opportunity as the success story that the WTS absolutely hates. If you really want it, you can do it. In the meantime, you are gaining new friends and allies that will help you stay on the path.
It just takes time. This time next year you will read this thread and laugh.
Doing bad things can sometimes feel so good. Practice makes perfect.
People feel the same coming out of a controlling relationship. You have to learn to enjoy your new found and hard earned freedom. It will become natural soon enough.
31 is no age. If you have a dream, go for it.
Hey pale emperor.
Firstly, PLEASE be assured that you are not in this alone. Many, MANY, of us have traveled this path. I say this not to minimise your situation or trivialise your feelings, but rather to assure you that we genuinely empathise and "get it".
I find it helpful to focus on the things you DO have, rather than the things you may think you are missing.
What value do you place on knowing the facts about the society?
How much better do you feel to realise that witnesses indeed fit the very definition of a cult? (Google the identifying signs of a high control cult)
How much better is life free of FOG (Fear Obligation Guilt)
And, that life with just a few good friends, is worth far, far more than life with thousands of fake or conditional friends who are so keen to judge you improperly!
Most importantly, you have a girlfriend who enjoys your company for who YOU are! Enjoy the time with her, and look forward.
Remember too, The windscreen is bigger than the rear-view mirror! Look forward, don't look backward....
31! First, be glad that you are still young. Sure, you already missed on some education and many years. But you still have plenty of time in front of you and a world of opportunity.
First and foremost, you need to rebuilt your belief system. This may take time, however, you need to do it. You need to stop, think about things you find acceptable and not and be convinced in the reasons why. For instance, I personally do not believe in the bible, a personal God, etc. However, I do believe in being a good person. For that reason, I would not, for instance, cheat on my wife, steal, lie, etc.
Second, you need to do things other than work. Previously, if you were committed to the JW values, you spent at least 15 hours per week doing things related to that. that is 60 hours per month. What will you do with all this time? For instance, I took some extra work, I took karate courses, I did small projects around the house, took other courses pertaining to my hobbies, increased my activities with my kids. You'd be amazed of everything you can discover. Once you have accomplished a few things you never could have found the time to do as a JW, believe me, you will feel truly free!
As for family... well, there is nothing harder than to loose your family. In that regard, I would advise listening exactly what the society says about non believer spouses: Win them by your actions.
You can send them emails giving them updates on your life, leaving out JW related things. Send them pictures, etc. They will certainly read it. They may not answer to these, but you can be sure they will read it.
You need to come the the understanding that your relationship with your family has been forced into an abusive one by the religion you were all involved in. Abuse is never a positive thing. You should not accept abuse from anyone. When you accept Abuse (lack of respect) from parents, family, friends, boss, girlfriend, etc, you will loose respect for yourself. It is than that you will automatically fail and loose happiness.
BTW: I was also in my 30s when I left.