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Ex Jehovah’s Witness ?

Gj1
Community Member

Hey guys my first post here😊

To start off with I want to say that I was born and raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and left the faith when I was able to move and support myself. Leaving and coming out to normal society has been pretty tough tho. I just feel like there’s a really distinctive loneliness of being an ex Witness that a lot of people won’t ever understand.

I’m wondering if there are any ex Jehovah’s Witnesses on these forums that have been able to sort of overcome those feelings and find happiness outside the organization.

Could really use some good stories that it does get better because at the moment it feels like I’m seeing the world from behind glass

81 Replies 81

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Gj1~

I'd like to welcome you here to the Forum, which is an inclusive sort of place. I do not know the exact problems you have to face though I might be able to imagine some.

If you don't mind my asking what are the main difficulties you are finding in your new life?

I came from a very religious upbringing (father a clergyman) and eventually broke with his faith. Of course this is rather different as you would be coming from a close-kit prescriptive environment and may in fact no longer have access to the people who were large in your life. To leave and go into a different world is not easy.

I guess in a somewhat similar way when invalided out of my life as a policeman I entered a society that was new, leaving behind a sort of rather closed community.

Making that adjustment does take work. I went on a course of study, which gave me identity, direction and daily contact with others. This in turn lead to a new occupation. I'd guess the daily contact was one of the most important things.

I do hope you come back and say more

Croix

Gj1
Community Member

Hey croix thanks for the reply 😊

I think the big difficulties are building relationships and friendships. Having a up bringing that was so different to everyone around me is sometimes hard to explain and even a little embarrassing. I do have issues with the “Us and Them” mentality still. Like I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness but I’m not a normal person either. It hits at random times the feeling like I’m an outsider even if I’m out at work or with some mates and it can be pretty hard to shake.

Also probably doesn’t help that I was told constantly that non-witnesses were all untrustworthy then only to be messed around by the eleders (sort like church leaders) makes it hard to know who to trust and rely.

Yeah daily contact at work has helped me come a massive way and keeping busy not thinking about it does too

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Gj1~

Thanks for coming back and saying more. Unfortunately there is no easy way to know who you can rely upon, there is no group of people from the FBI to Elders who can see inside others, there is just an individual's own experience - which you are gaining in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. That's as good as it gets.

As for trustworthiness in a population, If I can say so without causing any distress you are now one of the non-witnesses, but if you look inside yourself, have you changed? I would think you are just as trustworthy now as before.

Please do not feel embarrassed about your upbringing, for all of us it is a springboard from which we develop. I'm sure there would have been aspects of it that are worth retaining, and now with experience and maturity they will be more recognizable. In my own case an early emphasis on honesty, charity and steadfastness have remained and are assets.

There really is no rush to do or feel anything, living in society is a lifetime occupation after all. I have the feeling you are going to be fine

Croix

Bluenpink
Community Member

Hello,

Im an ex jw. Ive been out about 7 yrs and it does get easier. Ive been able to celebrate my childrens birthdays and enjoyed Christmas with my partners family. Even been able to let go of a lot of guilt from being an imperfect human.

I understand the 'us n them' mentality. I was born and raised in the faith too.

Can I ask what were the cicumstances in which you got out? Were you disfellowshipped or faded? I was disfellowshipped and I think being "kicked out" is pretty hard to recover from but it is possible once you are able to readjust your thinking.

ElainesWay
Community Member

Hi Gj, Have just joined Beyond Blue so only just seen your post. There's a couple of good online exJW forums.

I left 'the organisation' in 1980, but didn't find out TTATT (the truth about the Truth) till 1999. Know what you mean about the baggage from high demand control. It does take years to re-learn new attitudes and discard old, in many cases toxic, believe systems.

Having fabulous never-been-JW friends played a big part in getting me through.

Many exJWs join meetup groups to start their new lives.

Hope you're doing ok.

Hi ElainesWay and Bluenpink,

welcome both of you to beyond blue.

I am not a JW but a Christian, and I was listening to a podcast today about faith and sexuality. You might wonder what the relationship between this and your post - the guy they were speaking with is a gay Christian and he spoke about the issues he faced/faces. Like you have all mentioned there is a us and the mentality, and while this person is OK with himself, the healing is ongoing and for some may never truly happen.

Remember that you are person first and foremost, and deserving of love and support for those around you. There are a couple of other threads that reference JWs and a google search like

Jehovah Witness beyond blue

will give you the links to these. I wish you well on this journey and if you want to chat some more....

Peace and comfort to you all,

Tim

rolled_oats
Community Member

Hi there,

This is my first post on any forum. I've been a bit nervous but someone recommended I just go on and have a look and reading your story made me feel like i'm not alone. I'm in a very similar boat. At the moment I am living two lives which is very stressful. I've been disfellowshipped before so I guess the thing that scares me is being kicked out again and having to deal with the trauma and letting my family down again. It really is tough.

anyway good to know there's others out there that understand what it's like.

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Rolled oats~

I would like to welcome you here, you can be assure of a positive and understanding approach from us all. While many will not have had exactly the same expereices you have we have all had problems, many wiht families we thought were reservoirs of love, that help us see some of the trials you have had to face.

I'm glad you were able to post here, a feat in itself.

Living in a close-knit community and then being rejected, as you were in the past, is pretty devastating and I would imagine not only are there feelings of loss and grief, but also of self doubt. As someone who was disinherited from his family I may catch just a gimps of what you are going though worrying about what may happen.

I can see from your post, having survived disfellowship before you have resilience and courage, even if you think otherwise.

If you would like to talk more you are most welcome, another perspective can be a comfort and source of stability.

May I ask if there is anyone in your life that does give you the care and support one needs, regardless of others?

Croix

Hello,

It sounds like a big decision for you to make.

I am saddened that just because someone might not have the same beliefs they might become "unloved", At the same it must be hard trying to live to separate lives. While I have an idea of what disfellowship is, I am unsure of the impact of it, aside from your mentioning trauma and letting your family down. What things you cannot do, or how you can or cannot interact with? Perhaps you could educate me.

If I may ask one question... being able to write this post on the forums, how did you feel? (for myself, this space is somewhere I can write down things knowing that I will not be judged by others)

Tim