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Ex Jehovah’s Witness ?

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

Hey Rolled oats! (Reminds me of the Carl Barron bit)

I understand your conundrum and empathise with you completely. When you leave or are kicked out from the cult, it feels like leaving the only cabin you know exists for miles in a blizzard. You sometimes feel you have no choice but to crawl back and beg to be allowed return to shelter.

I have (if I'm totally honest) no friends at all, I'm not out for sympathy or pity it's just how I am I guess. Since leaving and having "friends" turn me away, I guess I've been hesitant to start up any other friendships. But that's all my doing.

Having said that, how are you and your man finding life this time around? Any tips to pass on?

Community Champion
Community Champion


In your second last post you mentioned loneliness and in then in your latest post mentioned not having friends. I hope you don't mind me asking ...

Is the loneliness because people who were your friends in the community are no longer friends?


Are there people you have coffee with (or have lunch with), but you do not consider them friends for some reason, and if so, think there something else missing? (For example, last year I would have made a similar statement to you, that people did not like me, mainly because of what I thought of myself. However, this year, I have found there are people who like me and appreciate what I do etc. I guess it was/is a perspective thing on my part)

I hope this question is OK


G'day Tim,

Of course the question is ok. I think that there is a feeling among ex witnesses (I know I should really only speak for myself but,) of; "how can anybody who has not experienced jw life really understand me?" Therefore "how can I have any real friends?" It's a bit like a war veterans appreciate other war veterans, a kind of shared trauma thing. I guess I do have friends but I wouldn't say I'd leap to take a bullet meant for them.

The "friends" from the organization never called to catch up with me or came by my house to visit and I don't harbour any ill will towards them for it, they probably feared the draconian reprisals.

I appreciate the advice and you sharing your story about perspective, it means a lot to me to hear people be real and open about their feelings, to share thoughts instead of being terrified of the consequences if others would discover them.

it's good to know there are others out there (although sad) that can empathise with the hardship of feeling lost

not feeling like i fit in 100% in either world is a daily struggle

can i ask, were you kicked out or did you leave of your own accord?

also, did you grow up in the "truth"?

sorry to hear about the loneliness, there are definitely genuine people in the "world" who can hopefully help you with no judgement

Indeed, I feel for your daily struggle.

Most days I feel like a bbq shape rolling around in a sack o' marbles.

I was brought up in the "truth" I would say. I remember having my first study from the "my book of bible stories" book (remember?, the big yellow one) when I was in kindergarten. I was forced into the theocratic ministry school when I was 12, i was never baptized and left on my own accord when I was 21. I forgot that it has been 14 years since I fled.

I left because I could no longer take the life long feeling of guilt and failure. From as early as primary school I felt that because I hated school, my parents were disappointed in me therefore God hated me and would wipe me out in Armageddon. In high school he still hated me because of my love for heavy metal music, violent video games and movies, but mostly because I hated the door to door work and going to meetings. In my late teens I was a nervous, anxious wreck of a boy with zero self esteem.

By some stroke of luck, I found a job working with some beautifully kind hearted people that helped me realise I was not worthless, wicked pile of slime, the job and the people gave me the confidence to leave the week of my 21st birthday.

The first 6 months of being out were great. I pierced things, tattooed other things, watched the Exorcist (not a good idea, lost a lot of sleep for that) grew my hair out finally, listened to some great music and generally went after the forbidden fruits. It wasn't until I entered into relationship with my first girlfriend that I realized I was a little..tainted.

Sorry for the life story, I hardly ever share let alone over share..

What is your story of exodus?

Community Champion
Community Champion


Just to let you know that I do not mind sharing my stories. I find that by sharing my stories you (in the plural sense) might find some connection, or get something from it. Not that it should matter, but I am a Christian, and have enough stories where non-Christians have acted better than (so called) Christians.

@rolled oats,

you mentioned not fitting in 100% - what would 100% look like?


Sorry it's taken me so long to reply!

Yeah i guess i try to fit in as much as i can with 'wordly' people but i still don't seem to have the connection i do with 'witness' people.

i'm sure time will fix this.

i have a very patient fella so he is a huge support with this transition stage.

i guess i have to allow for an adjusting period, just gotta keep positive!

If we skip over the categories of people, when you mention not having a connection, is that because of depth of conversation is not as deep as you might like. For instance, there is a person I talk with (and I won't go into details re her situation) but after hello we can jump into the deep stuff quite easily, and I like that. Others prefer shallow discussions never getting the know the other person. Of course, how deep a conversation can get depends on both persons in the conversation. Well.... at least when you talk about connection that is how it feels to me.

And we take each day one at a time...

Hi Smallwolf,

Fortunately for you, you may not have ever experience the sense of close belonging to a community as I (and every other JW) have throughout my life. The JWs’ are an extremely close-knit community that doesn’t encourage its members to associate with non JW people other than in the workplace.

My dilemma is that I have traditionally only had close trusting relationships with other JW’s, and the basis of those close relationships has always been the JW religion and its associated lifestyle and activities, however I am now facing the rest of my life outside of the JW community and hence I am struggling to find the right tools to build the meaningful connection with non-JW’s (hopefully that makes sense)

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Rolled Oats~

I can understand waht you mean from two aspect in my own life, the first was being brought up in a very conventional status conscious and religious household, my father was a clergyman, and this ended when I was disinherited. The love I'd always assumed was there, even behind less than admirable parental conduct, was in fact a chimera, never there at all.

The second was when I was invalided out of the police, and the very close bonds with fellow members facing a common cause in all its aspects meant I lost that sense of kinship and a whole world in fact. There too outsiders were 'other'.

I mention these becuse with my family, wife, offspring, there is love and closeness, and although it took a long time I've found substitutes for the fellowship in the police.

Basically there are good people you may well be able to share a common cause with , if not religion then perhaps occupation or purpose.

You might never have a life exactly the same as your youth - but would you really want it?

I'm very glad you have that fella there for you, it must make a huge difference.