Update on my life as a Jehovah’s Witness Teen after running away

by Letty 15 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Letty

    Hey. It’s me again. The last time I posted was a long while back. Months ago. In case you didn’t read my other thread, I’m 19 and I was a regular pioneer, very admired in my congregation. There wasn’t one person who didn’t look up to me. And I’m not saying that cockily. Not many of the youth were spiritual. But I begsn to lead a double life, my love for the religion dimming away. I fell in love with someone outside. My parents found out and kicked me out but ultimately i ran away.

    I made a thread afraid of what to do.

    Many of you were giving me advice and helping me when I suddenly vanished.

    It’s august now and I feel I should give an update. Before I do that...I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me and gave me advice. I really needed it in that part of my life.

    Even though my parents wanted me “out of the house” they still wanted to control me. I told them I wanted to move in with my aunt but they said it wasn’t an option.

    They took away all my means of communication and really closed me off from the world. It was at that point I got near suicidal. And I knew if I didn’t leave soon I’d end up killing myself. So on a Sunday my dad asked me if I was going to the meeting and i shook my head no. I think my dad knew I was going to leave.

    But the second the car pulled out of the driveway I ran to the neighbors house and asked to use their phone, I called my aunt crying asking her to come get me. But she was in another part of town, my grandmother who was in town ended up picking me up. And she hid me in the back of her car so the rest of the family didn’t see, I didn’t want to start a scandal.

    I got to my aunts and she let me stay. Of course my parents tried to come get me back but I refused. And I ended up getting a factory job that was very rough. I had never really worked so it wasn’t easy for me and I began to pay bills. Not to mention I didn’t even have a phone or a way to talk to my friends or boyfriend.

    My parents of course called me through my aunts phone all the time. They told me to come back. That I was leaving god. They’d say a lot of things. But I told them I didn’t want to. And it hurt. I love my parents and I didn’t want them to suffer. They pressured me into talking to the elders. And eventually I caved in. They said, “just do this for us at least.”

    I thought maybe, talking to the elders would restore my faith maybe haha...it didn’t. I think this is what completely changed me forever. The elders asked me to tell them in detail how I sexted my boyfriend. Everything me and my boyfriend did. How we did it. What positions. Where I touched myself. If I felt pleasure. How many times I’d do it.

    i had to say that in front of those men. Who looked at me in disgust...the elder who gave me study...who was so proud of me...looked at me like I was scum.

    After that I told my mom I didn’t want to be a witness anymore which was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say. I know I broke my parents hearts. But they are so loyal to the religion..my mom would say Satan will devour me and that I could forget I had parents.

    It was the hardest time of my life. I felt so alone and so vulnerable. The witnesses were the only people I had contact with other than my boyfriend and a few “worldly” online friends. Without them I felt...so...alone. I felt I couldn’t fit in. I would work heavy work and trying to accustom to the “world” was hard. All the changes were too much for me and I slipped into a heavy depression. I stopped eating or going out. I’d work and go straight to my room and cry.

    Having my parents think I was horrible didn’t help either.

    Sigh...i was too weak. I ended up going back to my parents. Mostly because I was close to getting dis fellowshiped. I have a little sister and I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her on her own in the..religion.

    I couldn’t bear the thought of not ever seeing her again. Or my parents either even though they hurt me. And it was all too hard.

    so I went back. Yes I’m probably dumb and weak. So I sat in front of the elders again, more this time and again I had to tell them everything I did. All my sins. How I acted like a whore for sexting. A whore. Even though I’m still a Virgin. This time when I have them all the details, I did it monotonously. Like I was detached from myself. They discussed over it as I waited silently with my parents in the car. They said I would be censored.

    I didn’t go to the meeting when they announced me.

    I think I truly reached a point where I was empty.

    A few weeks later I went to my first meeting since everything that has happened. Everyone hugged me and cried. And I cried to. Not because I was happy. But because I felt like I was drowning. I wish I didn’t care about these people. I wish I had no feelings. It would make leaving easier. But I do care.

    Since then, I am not admired in the congregation anymore. I’m the hot topic of gossip you could say. I’m an example to everyone of how easily one could fall. I don’t comment anymore or take the stage, I don’t preach anymore. I rarely assist the meetings, and when I do all I do is cry because I’m miserable. I’m so unhappy.

    I go about my days in a zombie-like state...empty eyes. I keep to myself and my parents say I’ve changed. And i love them so much...how do i tell them I have long since left this religion in my heart...when they believe this religion is the only salvation....i feel I’m just drifting through life. I do believe I’m depressed. But I could never tell anyone that or they would tell me to pray more and it will go away.

    It won’t go away.

    I’m here writing this thread in search of help again.

    How do I make this feeling go away? Will it ever go away? I just want to go away. Far away.

    I don’t want to end this on a sad note. Do here are some good things. I got a good job, I’m training to be a paralegal for a lawyer and he has helped me a lot and Ive gotten to know the world. I have thought about doing YouTube to and writing a book like I’ve always wanted. I’m currently saving up money as well.

    My boyfriend and I are still in contact and still in love and plan on moving in together one day. I’ll be 20 soon and I’ll visit him soon.

    My parents have given me a bit more freedom to my surprise despite pressuring me into this religion.

    And despite being heavily depressed, I do have hope. Hope that things will get better and that one day I can be free. I feel I have been robbed of my identity and I need to find myself. There’s so many things I miss. I miss Christmas. I miss a stupid holiday with the presents and the songs. I miss those days. There’s a lot left to live for and I know one day I’ll find it.

    And one day I will truly be happy.

    Until then I’ll carry on.

    Thank you for reading.

  • Crazyguy

    Hang in there and keep planning for your future! Remember it’s your life go live it , you only get to do it once. Thanks for posting.

  • john.prestor

    I just want to start by saying you didn't do anything wrong, and you have nothing to feel ashamed of. Don't let these people judge you for doing something normal and healthy with your boyfriend.

    That being said, there's nothing worse than being forced against your will to participate in a faith you find harsh and judgmental. Leave as soon as you can. Keep saving money and move in with your boyfriend when you're ready. And I would encourage you not to let the congregation or your parents know of these plans.

  • no-zombie

    Hi Letty,

    What we all of us have said you you in the past, still holds true today, in that its best if you stay clam, take one thing at a time ... but now look after your mental health. The stress that you have felt over the last few months was real and it can take a tole on you. And if you cant shake off your depressive feeling on your own, its far better to go to the doctor for some medication before it becomes a clinical problem. Having a lot of experience with someone i love suffer with a deep, long term depression, I cant emphasize it enough in get medical help early.

    Regarding the 'Truth' and all that other stuff ... I would wager to say, that all of us have been in your shoes in one way or another in the way we have felt. Some have been able to leave though, others like myself as trapped like you because of family. In any case there is one thing that you can take away from all of this (and you must focus on the positives) is that you are awake and free in your mind. Something that 99% of Witnesses are not.

    And finally, while it may be true that over the coming months, things could be still emotionally rocky for you ... this place ... the forum ... is great in helping you to heal. So vent as much as you want, make comment on others peoples' posts and of course ask as many questions as you like. Physically we may not be able to do much for you .. but we never judge ... and its good to get involved. Its helped me.

    look after yourself :)


  • jbscott

    Make plans. Save money. Go to a doctor and get some meds for depression. Exercise outside every day if possible. Being a paralegal is a good idea. Long-term job prospects, many interesting types of law practice. Keep busy. New friends will come, because you will be an interesting active person they'll want to know.

    Been there, done that. It's worth the tough journey to attain freedom at the end.

  • Half banana
    Half banana

    Letty you poor thing, whatever has happened it's not your fault, don't blame yourself! You had the misfortune to belong to a highly controlling cult. The JW organisation does not care about people it cares imposing its will on its unthinking flock (mainly it cares about its investment funds).

    The elders were disgusting putting you through that and quite unnecessarily. What does count is your wellbeing and your future.You have the promise of a good job which is excellent and you should work to become financially independent, you are an adult even though your parents think you are not.

    Do keep in touch here and all the best to you --we are all on your side here.

  • berrygerry
  • pale.emperor

    Hi Letty

    First of all, know that there's hundreds of ex-JWs on here reading your post all rooting for you and wishing we could physically help you as well as emotionally. If you lived anywhere near any of us we'd take you in in a heartbeat - seriously.

    The situation you present is unfortunately not uncommon. Congrats to you for seeing the religion for what it is at this stage, some of us wake up at 60 years old or even older and we see how much of our lives we've wasted.

    The only advice I can give is definitely post here more. Share you feelings, your progress, ask questions, ask for help. Definitely do YouTube videos. Other people need to know what this religion does to people and it's quite therapeutic getting things off your chest and sharing your journey with millions of people.

    No one here is going to think bad that you went back to your parents and the meetings. We get it. We know the pressure you're under. How old are you again? If i were you I'd be super nice to your parents, the perfect daughter - but stand your ground when it comes to your beliefs. You don't have to argue about it or make a big deal of it, but simply present what you believe as facts. Facts can never be dis proven. Facts have nothing to fear from lies or dishonesty. I'd even answer up contradicting the Watchtowers theology. As long as you present an answer from the bible how could they disagree?

    But for all that, well done. We care about you and hope to read from you more often. Let us know if you do YouTube videos we'll all follow you.


  • Letty

    Thank you again everyone. Your replies really make my day and they have helped me a lot. I am trying to take your advice and incorporate it into my life. I hope to be as strong as all of you. And yes i will seek professional help for my depression and I’ll post more on here. Thank you so much guys. 🌻

  • Giordano

    Letty your not alone and remember that there is shunning in many high control religions, be it the Mormons, the Amish and some Mennonites, Scientology and small religions all over the world.

    Being raised in a high control religion is dangerous.....remember Jonestown....... if you don't.......... Google it.

    Check out this site and realize you are not alone:


    After years of depression, anxiety, anger, and finally a week in a psychiatric hospital a year ago, I am now trying to pick up the pieces and put them together into something that makes sense. I’m confused. My whole identity is a shredded, tangled mess. I am in utter turmoil.
    These comments are not unusual for people suffering with Religious Trauma Syndrome, or RTS. Religious trauma? Isn’t religion supposed to be helpful, or at least benign? In the case of fundamentalist beliefs, people expect that choosing to leave a childhood faith is like giving up Santa Claus – a little sad but basically a matter of growing up.
    But religious indoctrination can be hugely damaging, and making the break from an authoritarian kind of religion can definitely be traumatic. It involves a complete upheaval of a person’s construction of reality, including the self, other people, life, the future, everything. People unfamiliar with it, including therapists, have trouble appreciating the sheer terror it can create and the recovery needed.
    .............In my view, it is time for society to recognize the real trauma that religion can cause. Just like clearly naming problems such as anorexia, PTSD, or bipolar disorder made it possible to stop self-blame and move ahead with learning methods of recovery, we need to address Religious Trauma Syndrome. The internet is starting to overflow with stories of RTS and cries for help.

    Check this site out.

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