Forums  ›  General Discussion  ›  JW Support & Religous Discussion - NO PREACHING

Walking away is only the start

Being part of a high control group is similar to being institutionalised. You rely on someone else to make the important decisions in your life and tell you what to do and when. Everyone in your close circle believes the same as you and monitors you to make sure you conform. The conditioning runs so deep that  it can manifest itself even when you have broken free from the organisation and no longer believe the doctrines and ideas.


It takes great courage to walk away from the organisation and the people you have known and trusted all your life.  It is similar to a bereavement since you are cut off emotionally from many you love and respect in a very profound way. You have also lost the framework and ideology that shaped your life losing the Devine along with the physical relationships. Anger, depression and stress are natural reactions and in some ways are part of the recovery process.


Having had the courage to walk away from the lie is the first step, it is the first battle won  and a good beginning but  the final victory over the organisation can only come when your life is truly your own and you no longer liver in fear  of their opinion and disapproval.

Good points JAne, all. Some may need depression meds which can be quite helpful, or even a psych.


All we can do now is try to help others out as well, and help those who newly left to acclimate.

The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

Thank you for your post...


I am struggling greatly with leaving. I was disfellowshiped almost 7 years ago, but recently just went through trying to get back in, I know that sounds crazy, but I miss my family, I missed my friends. I was raised a Jehovah Witness and my whole life was them, I regular pioneered starting at 11, I wanted to be a missionary one day.

And then, somewhere in all that, I became this "evil" person, And at 23 they disfellowshiped me. I'm 30 now and I feel like every day I just check another day off my life and am not going any where.

My support is slim, I have a good life, a good job, things like that but each day I come home to an empty house, few to call, and even fewer to have a personal connection with.

So I tried to go back, my little sister just had her 2nd baby in December and I wanted to be part of my Niece and Nephew's lives.

Last night I was told that even though I have gone MANY Many MONTHS to the meetings without missing a SINGLE one, been to the memorial, the special assembly day and the convention, They didn't think that it was time for me to be back in yet.

I am angry, I'm hurting and I just don't know what to do any more..

I feel invisible.


Going back is not answer. We have a huge community here and on Facebook of friends you can talk to and meet in your own area. Also is a great way to make new friends with similar interests in your area. If you need someone to talk to, any of us would gladly do so, just private message us. You are not alone!
The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

Part of the hold they have over you is your family, they hold them hostage.  Many return because they miss fellowship with those they love and the society banks on this. It is natural for you to love your family members and be part of their lives and in most families you don't have to earn the right to talk to them.  It may be in the future that they too may need someone outside the organisation to reach out to. The retention rate for the young is very poor and they face a future like yours of rejection by those they would expect to love them always. They will need to know there is someone out there they can reach out to.

I am sorry that you have not had a positive response to your efforts to return. These decisions are often arbitrary and depend in part what you did to get disfellowshiped and how elders feel at the time. Since God wasn't involved in the removal of you from the congregation he also has no influence in how quickly you can return. They may be testing repentance but quite frankly it is a means of humiliating you and lowering your self esteem. Those that have to work harder to come back will want it more or that is the thinking behind it.  It might be worth taking time to think about whether this is what you want. The society has a way of lowering our self esteem and making us feel unlovable and isolated. Depending on which country you are in there are charities that offer cult counselling free of charge. In the UK this is available through encourage. They can help you look at how your witness experience has affected you and how you can move forward. You already have started the building blocks of a new life but you need to build new networks of affection and make connections with people outside to make the adjustment. All the time you spend chasing the opportunity of reinstatement keeps you in this hopeless limbo state.

Having a network outside is vital to support you in your new life but takes time to build. I started with on line support forums. Ex jws have members all over the world and they also get what you have been through in a way that others don't. I have made real friends this way who accept me and offer unconditional friendship whatever I choose to believe and not believe. I have used ex JW meet ups and other opportunities to meet with people and now know that I have a new circle of go to people to share good news, vent over JW rubbish and talk about my problems. It took effort in the beginning but I now consider it worth while.  Some of my good friends remain virtual but I still value them and love to catch up with what is happening with them.

These are difficult times looking back to what you are missing is a painful experience. Humans are social creatures we need friends. Start with the virtual friends feel free to message people and reach out. From there you will find that people will have ideas on how to meet up with others and you can find new friends. I am so glad you found the forum.

Wow, I second everything nugget said. (very winsome words) I too believe that it is only a matter of time before the real truth comes out, or is more openly exposed than it is now.  I look forward to being a shoulder to cry on for my family members who will one day see the light too.

Being lonely suuuucks soooo bad!  I can totally sympathize with you there.  To get away from a judgmental atmosphere I had to move here to NC where I know absolutely nobody.  I try to stay busy catching up on all the things I missed out on.  Online dating (I recommend OKCupid) is a fun diversion as well as a very educational experience seeing how normal people interact on that level.  I've had to learn --and still am learning-- how to be a confident man... not a namby pamby milk toast wuss that I was brought up to be.

Hang in there whoami.  It can be a slow process, but things will get better.  It is such a relief to be free and know the real truth.  Like I told you when we chatted before, educate yourself. and the blogs by "Cedars" on are very informative and helpful.

Oh, another thing that I had to figure out...  It even took me a while to identify it...  I was always so used to someone telling me what I should be doing with my life, that it was kind of slow for me to grasp that I, and I alone am in control of my life.  I can do whatever I want, be whatever kind of person I want to be.  Once you embrace that, life takes on more meaning and you can start living life as an adventure.

We have articles here that might be helpful too...


The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

This has been exactly what I've been struggling with. All my life EVERYTHING had been pre-selected for me. These are your friends, these are your career options, these are your potential mates, these are your thoughts. Its like you're barely a real person.  Then, when I left the organization, it took me awhile to realize that my life is my own. It is my responsibility now to shape it into whatever I desire. Which is actually more frightening than it is liberating. The idea that I'm a separate entity, apart from all others, without anyone to show me the's quite unsettling. But I guess the first step is the realization of this. Now I can begin to come to terms with it.

I agree with you JimmyK. I found i didn't really mature mentally or emotionally until I left, and TBH I am not there yet.

In a way we become institutionalised because decisions are made for us. We never have to think outside the collective voice. Being outside can be unsettling especially if we wish to pursue something that has been previously discouraged because our conditioning makes us feel off balance.  It does not matter that many of the things frowned upon by the society are restricted because they pose a threat to the stability of the organisation rather than any spiritual or moral threat to us as people.

I found I needed to look at things with an open mind and trust myself to make choices even bad ones. Also ask for advice from others with experience. This reinforces the knowledge that life is a community effort we are all in it together. Friendships and opportunities have to be worked at and grasped with both hands. As witnesses we had friends merely because we believed the same thing now we have the challenge of being friends with people who believe different things and have different viewpoints.

Forums such as this one helped me immensely to become a grown up  and support me when I needed it.

I can vouch for the fact that cantleave is working on maturity and is making progress, slowly.