...and so the shunning begins

by Phoebe 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • Phoebe

    I am now officially 'inactive' so am no longer chased by an elder a for a report. The congregation I belonged to never had much time for me anyway, I said once I could drop down dead in the k.hall and no one would notice. So I never expected anyone to be particularly bothered that I wasn't there and they aren't. Apparently 50 years in the WT counts for nothing.

    But the two 'sisters' I knew best, were two people I had known and been close to for well over 30 years. During those years even though we lived apart from each other, we were in constant contact. One sister and I phoned/emailed almost every day. Sharing our ups and downs and always being there for each other.

    This sister left the 'truth' for a number of years and was shunned herself for doing so, but I never shunned her. I kept in close contact, always a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear. Supporting and encouraging her. I think I was a damn good friend to her.

    But now, I no longer go to the meetings, she has distanced herself from me. Emails have all but stopped and the ones I do get are almost businesslike. I have never criticized the WT to her but she knows I feel strongly about the child abuse - for obvious reasons, I was a victim.

    The other sister has stopped all contact with me.

    I'm not surprised, but can't say it doesn't hurt because it does. Especially the sister I supported when she herself left the WT. I know friendship in the WT is conditional but I never saw it as that. I was a friend whether they were in the truth or not because that's what friends are.

    I find it quite upsetting that both of them have turned against me. I wish I had walked away from this awful organization decades go.

  • Gorbatchov

    I wish you all the best. So it goes, this are de side effects. Try to find other friends!


  • jp1692
    Phoebe: I'm not surprised, but can't say it doesn't hurt because it does.

    That’s really it. Even when we know it’s coming and expect it, it still hurts to be cut off and shunned by people we care for.

    It sounds like the one sister that “left” for a time probably is still a believer. I say that because she returned and is now shunning you for leaving.

    You might try and remind her of that, but remember her WT indoctrination will cause her to interpret your real, unconditional friendship as “spiritual weakness” on your part.

    Sorry you’re dealing with this. It sucks to find out that we’ve invested time and emotion into people that can’t return the same unconditionally. But you have learned some important things about yourself and what kind of person you are.

    Now you have the opportunity to make real friendships and find people that love you for WHO you are and not WHAT YOU (pretend to) BELIEVE.

  • ToesUp


    My story mimics yours to a tee. I have lost countless “friends.” You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t hurt. It does. Where else on earth are you treated this way? It is barbaric behavior.

    My spouse and I have a saying, “we only want people in our lives who WANT to be there. “ We have let others know that we love them and are still here. If they don’t want it, they can move along. We are still caring, kind and loving people.

    We have some close friends and family that have distanced themselves and that is their choice. We have to respect that decision just like we want respect. It’s tough sometimes.

    Sorry that you are going through this.

  • flipper

    PHOEBE- I'm so sorry that you are experiencing this. Me too. Count you and me among others here who have lost lots of folks we once considered " friends " who were Jehovah's Witnesses. Now after not attending meetings myself for 14 years- I look back at them as conditional acquaintance's I once had who liked me because I shared the same skewed belief system they had. It still hurts that they chose to shun me, but in reality I have made much more nicer friends EX-JW's and Non-JW's who accept me and really SEE me for the person that I am- not the person that they WANTED me to be. It's taken years for me to learn the difference and see the difference, but it has helped some of that hurt we feel go away in time, the hurt of rejection. It does take time for sure.

    Just want you to know that I care, we all care here and I enjoy your posts and insights here on the board . Please know that we feel you. If you ever want to chat, just PM me and me and my wife will keep in touch, O.K. ? Hang in there sis

  • dozy

    Sorry to hear Phoebe....I guess we have all been there.

    What saddens me is that old "friends" , in almost all cases , don't even have the courtesy to communicate a "sorry to see you go" or similar expression , by any method. You realise the pure conditionality of the relationships and honestly wonder if they had any value at all , if the other party regarded them as so superficial.

    For years I communicated daily with an long standing ( probably 30+ years ) JW "friend" in another congregation - just the usual daily newsy text or email - nothing dramatic - usually something sports or news related - very rarely anything JWish. We'd meet up occasionally at assemblies or if we happened to be in each other towns for work etc. Then suddenly , presumably when he had heard I had faded and no longer attended the meetings - he just dropped me cold turkey. No communication - nothing. I emailed him a few times " hope you are OK" etc - and he didn't respond. I texted him and it pinged back as "number blocked".

    As an former-JW - you know the Society rules - everybody who isn't a JW ( and especially ex-JWs ) are worldly , satanic , bird food , bad association etc etc. But it's the basic rudeness and lack of common decency that angers / annoys me more than anything else.

  • The Fall Guy
    The Fall Guy

    So sorry that you're hurting because of the shunning. That's what the shunning's supposed to do - hurt you so much that you want to crawl back on your hands and knees and beg the shunners to forgive you.

    We should mourn that our blinded shunners are unable/unwilling to assimilate any of the information which exposes their beloved organization, and not that we've lost such cult-directed friendships. It hurts to know that sincere love and compassion can be repaid in such an inhuman way. I hope you make new and better friends soon.

  • carla

    I'm sorry, wishing you peace moving forward.

  • stillin

    Phoebe, it's tough. What are you supposed to do, fake it? I appreciate your honesty in life, even if it hurts. I believe that there are lots of active members who are only there for the "friends" they automatically have by showing up at meetings and service.

    You seem like a quality person. You will sort out your acquaintances and apply yourself. Don't be gullible, the Witnesses have taught you that not all that glitters is gold.

  • LongHairGal


    I am sorry this is happening to you but it happens to ALL who leave the JW religion whether by fading, DFing or DAing. There's no avoiding it. I am assuming you are born-in or raised-in.

    You can also be semi-shunned like I was because of having a full time job or being independent. But, this made it easier for me to walk away from it all.

    While there are those who may hang on to a friend or two longer than the average person who leaves, it does happen ultimately...And, I am not referring to family members who communicate for 'necessary business'.

    As another poster mentioned, you need real friends and not conditional ones or phony ones. I am a long-time "fader" and have cut all such people from my life and even unfriended them on FB. I have even separated from some ex-JWs, sorry to say.

    I have a few new friends that were never a JW and are not religious but some ex-JWs are great people. Just take it slow. I know it feels weird and you can sense that your name is mud because the JW grapevine has turned against you. That's the way it is in JW-land.

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