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.