Continuum of an Exit
A few random thoughts about my continuum. Did your exit follow this process?
Doubts – this is tough phase because the mind begins and then continues to prove to itself through logic and facts that the “truth ain’t the truth”. Sometimes folks just get stuck in this phase for several reasons such as family, friends, social circle, business arrangements and similar.
Many with doubts move into the resistance phase which seems to be shown by disobeying minor JW stuff (hair, college, vacation, plastic surgery, R rated movies)
As time goes by the resistance phase increases toward a mini-rebellion shown by missing meetings, limited or no field service, lots of time away from the “brotherhood”. Some may choose to go to college, others may focus on other things like charity, sports and business.
The mini-resistance phase can go on for a long time especially if the personal cost of leaving the JWs is high. If the benefits are great than the cost of leaving. The rebellion phase can be a quiet rebellion in which one lives life as he or she wishes and generally leaves the JWs alone and wants the JWs to leave them alone. The rebellion phase can also be demonstrated in others ways such as disassociation and taking adversarial positions against the JWs. In this phase one identifies themselves as an X-JW. A lot of time and thinking is done on the time and resources wasted being a Witness and also a lot of thinking about why one didn’t leave sooner.
The last phase is one where I think I am at. It is when one is an ex-X-JW. This is the phase in which one rarely thinks about the JWs or our life as Witnesses. The circle of friends is made up of folks with similar interests and experiences and with those that invigorate and encourage us. At times there will be something that triggers a memory about JW-land but it is rare. It is a happy and fulfilling place.
Kind of like the stages of grief.
I think wether you ever graduate from X-JW, to Ex-X-jw has to do with wether that world still enters or is a part of your life. I don't see myself ever being on the other end of that.
I WISH! Sounds like a lovely place to be, Zarco. Paradise on earth! My plan is to get as close to this place as I possibly can while still married to an active JW. If it should happen that I'm no longer married to this active JW, I'm out faster than ... well, faster than I don't know what ... so I'm a "Wannabe ex-EX-JW". I'm still working on how this is going to look in my life going forward. Oh, and yes, my exit is following the process you described - well said!
My longest phase was the doubt phase. I had minor doubts for years before we left.
Problemaddict - yeah the grip that the JWs have on some of us is strong and a daily part of the life.
Lifesnotover - my wife (now ex) was still a JW while I was exiting and woke up on her own time table. Keep the "faith" - your wife may come around.
Whiskey - nice going on the exit
I agree with those phases. I have always said that the aim of any ex-JW should be to become an ex-ex-JW.
Too many get stuck at the ex-JW phase. Not because they linger around with a view to helping others on their journey out, but because they don't know how to completely let go. It could be due to convenience / laziness or just lack of energy to do the whole "make new friends and move on" thing again.
But if you can be the only ex-JW in your group of friends, I think it's healthier and doesn't mean you have arbitrarily limited your association based on the WTS experience.
It's impossible to ever let go of every thread completely and sometimes things popup, family issues etc... that brings it all back and you may need to pop back to the group for input or information on latest developments. There's a difference between it being a support and being a crutch forever more though.
I'm at the stage where I start to think I might have imagined my JW past. It's like it happened so long ago, to someone else. I used to have family and friends who were also JWs ... or maybe I dreamt them. Who cares - I have a nice reality now with friends we love and when we see JWs on the street I feel like a total outsider to what they do and believe.
Of course we are still involved in this site, I will always have at least an academic interest in the WTS because of it.
Just as the stages of grief are not exactly what everyone goes through, neither are there exact stages of JW exit. I never went through your resistance phase or mini-rebellion stage. My rebellion stage as a fader was well after fading.
I would love to be an ex-ex-JW, but have my mother and wife still in the religion. I have many reasons to stay connected to the ex-JW community.