I think chook said it well. We are victims of a very unique form of insidious treachery. Unless you've been there you really can't get the whole picture. I am here because I can speak of things here that only you guys understand. Especially is this true for born ins. We never had a choice until we woke up and realized we did. Even my husband who joined up in adulthood but never really swallowed the whole schmear doesn't get how distressed and damaged emotionally the religion has left me. We need each other and new posters need us.
My thoughts on our online community.
I think from my username you can tell how I felt on 'waking up', I was angry, disillusioned. I'd given my whole life to something I now could see was fake. The rug had been well and truly pulled from under me. Although I don't feel so bad now I still feel on shaky ground. Not quite sure what to believe half the time. Now seeing what I can see behind the curtain, I feel like my family who are still in, are being held to ransom and I'm powerless to do anything about it.
The most I get from this community is a sense of having come from the same place, even though we are all on different paths and going in different directions. The most help I find is from those who are still going through the motions for sake of family and how to deal with the situations that crop up. It's invaluable for someone like me, I don't feel quite so alone with it all.
I go to a support for a serious chronic medical issue I have had for 40 years. Sometimes I go every week, sometimes not for a few months. But I find people who understand what I am dealing with, something that has lessened but will never go away. There are some old timers but new people all the time. Some stay for awhile, others leave (or move away), but we help each other in a way that others cannot, not even our significant others.
I think of ex-jw dbs the same way.
I had few jw "friends" when I was a jw and none now that I have not attended meetings for 15 years. I see a few people at a store or on the street from the old days, but just a smile and a hi and I keep walking. I don't engage them in any religious conversation for sure because I believe they will have to see the errors in the WTS on their own. I'll be here to help if they decide to leave.
It's been a real pleasure to be part of this "online community" for the past few years. Like so many of us, I woke up many years ago but was so deep into the whole jw stuff it was 'impossible' to break away. About 55 plus years of servitude, 20 plus years as an elder, baptized at 12, regular pioneered for years, most of my family jw's and 'all' my friends jw's. Yep I was encased in jwdom.
As I woke up to reality, I had no one to talk to about my doubts and views. Since I had seen the wt organization from it's ugly underbelly, I knew it wasn't god's organization but simply another man-made religion. The problem is that there exists an almost unanimous unwillingness on the part of any jw's to discuss the failures of the wt. That very disturbing situation drove me to find this forum. Although I don't contribute many op's, I read nearly everyone's comments.Good to know that I'm not the only former jw that has found piece of mind and happiness away from the wt organization.
The Rebel, your thoughtful post speaks to the value of being a good listener.
Your thoughts, feelings and personal experiences are a great way to start sharing and healing.
Contentious debates are another thing entirely, and those who listen carefully and extensively before weighing in are going to get the best reception and will be able to help move the debate forward.
It's not like chess; thinking several moves ahead prevents you from listening and responding to the actual thoughts behind the comments. This can only happen when you slow down, listen closely, and truly understand the other person's point.
Which is exactly why drinking and posting is a recipe for disaster. Drinking loosens inhibitions. And, it takes effort to inhibit an impulsive, emotional response.
Methinks you are a wise man. :)
It would be remiss of me not to thank posters for their insightful thoughts and kind comments. Much appreciated.