Ex Jehovah’s Witness: Will I Ever Feel Truly Happy Again?
Yes. You will be truly happy again, and truly sad, and truly angry, and truly depressed, and truly elated.
Welcome to the real world folks.
You and I now get to experience the real emotions of real people in the real world.
You and I both have to understand that the “happiness” we felt while in the Jehovah’s Witnesses was an illusion made up of false security and false intimacy. It gave us comfort and a feeling akin to “bliss”. We felt we had a real family in our “brothers” and “sisters”. It is amazing to me that the forced use of these terms “brother” and “sister” created the very illusion of a familial environment!
The feelings we had were like a drug in that if you honestly believed you were doing everything Jehovah and His earthly organization wanted you to do that you were:
- Part of something bigger than yourself.
- Had a strong chance at everlasting life.
- Good enough.
- In control.
The problem is that you and I only felt that way for brief periods of time and then we would falter or fail or hear a criticizing talk like “Are You Doing Enough For Jehovah?” (yes this was an actual talk at a circuit assembly!) and then a host of other not so pleasant emotions would rush in and crowd out the good feelings that we had. Then the work phase begins. You have to work extra hard to get yourself feeling better about your “relationship” with Jehovah so that you can get that “feeling” again. Is it any wonder that when someone criticizes the Watchtower that Jehovah’s Witnesses have such a physical reaction to such criticism?
This is a bipolar phenomenon.
Have you ever noticed Jehovah’s Witnesses bouncing from one opposite pole to the other? One month they’re out drinking hard, drugging, smoking or using profanity and the next thing you know they have a “theocratic haircut” and they’re back at the meetings and out in service and yes that snot nosed twenty-something even looks down his nose at you!
As a young man, it was amazing to see this tendency, both in myself and others. I always thought it was just my own weakness. However, in retrospect, I realize that it was by design. The design was straight from the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society.
The Watchtower leadership loves to find people with a “fatal flaw” that keeps them bouncing from one pole to the other. These are the hardest working people in the organization by the way. They work harder than anyone else because they truly believe that it will somehow counter the “evil” that they do in private.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses create workers by giving them the positive feelings listed above during the indoctrination phase and then snatching them away and replacing them with the following feelings:
- Condemned to die.
- Not good enough.
- Out of control.
This theocratic “YoYo” plays itself out in millions of repetitions in their worldwide membership and is much like a “binging and purging” eating disorder. The emotions and thought processes are the same. The only difference is that it is “spiritual food” (read propaganda) instead of physical that is causing all of the problems. It is no wonder that many Jehovah’s Witnesses have eating disorders.
So the Watchtower preys on this human weakness. This is why even those who have been publicly reproved or are undergoing disciplinary action are still allowed to go door to door. Why? Because that is what pays the corporate office! Why would you want to stop someone from selling your products if you own a sales organization especially if they think their paycheck is everlasting life?
When we, as ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, leave this type of environment the negative emotions are running on overdrive. We’ve been programmed to feel all of these horrible feelings about ourselves and our world. We isolate ourselves because nobody else can understand what we’re going through. These negative feelings are further amplified by the mistreatment we receive at the hands of “friends” and family as well as those we hold in high esteem like the body of elders.
Is it any wonder that many, upon leaving, find themselves depressed, suicidal, and emotional train wrecks?
Many, after a period of time, feel that they simply can’t go on and either turn back to the organization for their theocratic “fix” or they commit suicide. I’ve known many JW’s who took the latter route.
However, if you can hang on, have some good non-JW friends, find a therapist, read self help books, and join a support group like this blog, for example, your chances are very good that you will make it past this ultra low point in your life and on to true happiness.
Here’s to being truly happy!