After a three year haitus, I have decided return to blogging. After leaving the organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I had many scars that needed to healing before I could come back and continue to blog without any anger, bitterness and vindictiveness. I wanted to come back in more positive mind frame so I could write more objectively and constructively. I wouldn’t say that I have healed completely, but I am on the right path and I have come a long way! It certainly hasn’t been easy to attain this.
Leaving the organisation left me with a lot of emotional scars. Prior to leaving, loved ones had warned me that I would never find happiness outside the organisation and that the world would chew me up and spit me out. This narrative was further perpertuated by videos that the organisation showed , which always portrayed those who left as people who became unhappy, turned to drugs, contracted sexually transmitted diseases or stuggled with intense sadness and regret. I convinced my self that I had to be extremely happy and lead an almost perfect life in order not to fulfill the organisation’s stereotype, and that proved to be exhausting! Whenever I would experience melancholy and sadness, I would start to think that perhaps the organisation was right about abandoners of the religion never finding true happiness.
I also found myself yearning for contact with people with whom I’d had a shared history and the fact that they were shunning me was totally devastating! I struggled with insecurities due to the fact that it was difficult for me to listen to my inner voice because I had learned to ignore it while I was in the organisation, as I had been encouraged to only listened to the voice of the bible as intepreted by the governing body of the organisation. I was angry about all the time I had wasted in the organisation, spending approximately 15 hours each week on theocratic activities for 15 years of my life. For a while after leaving the organisation, I felt lost as the beliefs I had long held and cherished were now in disrepute.
Most of all, all the things that had made me vulnerable to joining a cult, such as; having come from a broken family, poverty as well as sexual abuse as a child; suddenly came to the fore once again as my head was no longer ‘buried in the sand’ and the paradise of the JWs was no longer within reach for me.
Needless to say, those emotions have at times been overwhelming and crippling. It has taken a lot of effort and energy to work through them. To be honest, I am currently still working on the emotional scars but I am happy to say that at last, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
The biggest epiphany I had during a counselling session with my psychologist was- it’s ok not to be ok. When you have been through such hard times, it makes sense that you will sufferer before you heal. Struggling with negative emotions does not mean that the organisation was right about me being doomed to an unhappy life. As long as I handle my negative emotions effectively and turn to the right channels for help, my fate does not necessarily have to be that which is portrayed in the organisation’s propaganda.
The next blog post will be about how I have overcome that negative emotional state I found myself in and how I have moved on with my life post JW.