Palm Branches

Never Making Your Own Choices… by Reddit user LostParadisePartII – August 2018

I’ve slowly come to the realization that even after three years of deprogramming there are still parts of my mind affected by the witness experience.

What I have come up against recently is a total lack of confidence in making choices about my future. I have no idea what I want to do or should do. I’m far from recovered.

I grew up a witness and every choice about what I was going to do in the future was made for me. I just knew what I SHOULD do… I never actually thought: “what do I WANT to do?” And I still can’t answer that question.

I’m always looking for the answer to the question what SHOULD I do… I’ve been on autopilot since I woke up. Not in touch with my authentic self that is crying out for something different.

Sometimes I just crave a job where someone tells me what to do and I do it – they made me into a follower, not a leader. They destroyed any sense of entrepreneurial spirit I had. I find myself without the motivation to follow through on my plans.

Does anyone relate to this? Not knowing who you are or what you want? Letting a sense of duty make your decisions rather than your authentic self, and then resenting and regretting it?

Looking for a Way Out by Reddit user Iwouldliketoleavenow – December 2017

Bit of background on me, I’m a homeschooled baptized witness (imagine the repression) in a pretty bad place right now.  My education was never a priority since my parents had no idea what they were doing. But I’m trying my best to do it myself, Maybe get into a half decent college, although I lack motivation and doubt whether I could finance something like that.

I’ve known for a while that I don’t believe, but being isolated from the rest of the world my whole life the only people I’m in contact with IRL are all witnesses, including my entire extended family, who are all extremely set in their ways and I have no hope of convincing otherwise. Most of my family are genuine people, and I know it would crush them if I left, but right now I’m just going through the motions putting on an act, but I don’t think it can last.

I just feel stuck, too afraid to make a move and risk losing everyone I care about.

Thinking About Being Seen by Reddit user WidowCreel – September 2018

I have been thinking about how I have felt for along time that my parents never really saw me for who I truly was and my entire emotional processing surrounding this revelation consisted of me feeling slighted and hurt by them. However recently I have tried to see things from the context of the dynamic of them as people and their own lives. They missed out on who their child truly was and there is something profoundly tragic and melancholy about that. Their inability to contextualize beyond their own beliefs blocked them from what I imagine is one of the greater joys of parenting, watching your child become who they are and they choked themselves off from that joy by not accepting me for not being what they expected. I love exploring art, culture, history, philosophy, ethics all the things that the religion they tried to instill in me was trying to instill a framework for, I think the examination of existence is one of the most beautiful parts of life and the way in which I engage with that exploration one of the most beautiful things about me. Sometimes I long just to call my parents up and tell them what I think about life, love, death etc. not to try to dissuade them or dismiss them prove them wron in some way, because what do I know? Rather I wish to express who I am and what I am about, what I do and who I am and it pains me that the reason that relationship experience between us is blocked is because of them and it hurts. But I am trying to let my love for them win, because that’s who I want to be, whether they know it or not.

Friends by Reddit user [deleted] – December 2017

Being a Jehovah Witness kid I never really got to make connections with other kids because from a pretty early age I knew that practically the entire population was off limits.  But the few select people that I was supposed to be friends with never really cared for me and for the most part, I never cared for them.

So I never really made any friends, in the congregation or otherwise. And my parents started to tell me “you need to be more social” or “you need to go out more” but whenever I try to do that I get shut up unless its these few people who I didn’t want to be friends with because they bullied or ignored me ever since I was a little kid. It’s so fucked up, I take there advice and try to be more social but whenever I do I always get told “I’m getting too close to bad association”. I am just fucking watching my teen years slip through my fingers sitting in my fucking room rotting away. All I have are fucking video games and music and the very few friends who I can text. And what sucks even more is I have all these things like Snapchat and Instagram where I am just watching these kids do all this fun shit but I have to go knock on doors or watch some old man talk about GAWD all day. Sometimes I just go on walks by myself to just get out of the house and DO SOMETHING and then I get interrogated when I come home and all I did was walk to Starbucks to get an iced coffee.

I used to get invited to go out by the few friends from school I did have but I always had to make up some bullshit excuse or I would try to lie to my parents but that didn’t work because I am a terrible liar. And they weren’t asking me to go like smoke weed and rob a bank with them.. they were just asking to like.. go for a walk or just go to the mall or something but nope, that’s unacceptable.. it will take you away from GAWD.. Well mom and dad.. I am a lot farther away from GAWD than you think.

I was THAT JW Teenager by Reddit user ArgentenianPublisher – October 2018

I was THAT JW teenager.

I loved theocratic activities. I used to read the Bible and prayed daily. I never missed a meeting, made a lot of comments and preached every week. Conventions where my favourite events of the year.

I believed wholeheartedly in Jehovah and his organization. I enjoyed studying WT literature and I could defend any doctrine using the Bible. I could even remember by heart the name and year of publication of almost every book, magazine, brochure and tract the organization has produced.

I tried to be a good christian: loving, kind, respectful and forgiving. You could always see a big smile in my face.

I was seen as an intelligent young Witness who was in good standing and had a promising future in Jehovah’s organization. I was looked up to and everyone considered me a good example to the congregation.

I was trying to suppress the fact that I am gay and asked Jehovah thousands of times to change me.

I masturbated a lot and watched homosexual pornography. I played violent video games and watched horror movies.

I tried to improve. I confessed, had a judicial committee in which three grown adults asked a 17-year-old boy intimate questions about his sexuality. They saw I was repentant.

I was the “perfect Witness” for two years but realized I was extremely unhappy.

I said enough is enough, investigated my religion and woke up.

I am PIMO (physically in, mentally out).

I was THAT JW teenager. Now, I am just a teenager. Maybe, I have always been just a person.

Harassed for My Education by Reddit user Exokris2014 – February 2018

I just really need to vent, I’m a 19 year PIMO.. I’m currently in a 4 year college getting my BA in applied psychology. I get my BA next summer. I am also planning on going to Grad School.

All in all, I’ll be done in a few years. Almost every day, whether by family or friends I’m questioned or made fun of for my choice. My elder dad doesn’t support me, the congregation people see me as bad association…my bethelite brother only calls me to ask me when I’ll be done.

Every witness I meet looks down on me for pursuing something more than a 2 year degree. I hate this so much.

I go to meetings, service everything. So why can’t they leave me fucking alone. I just want to get an education so I won’t have to struggle like my parents, why does the Borg hate that so much.

Comment by Reddit user Kyalthered in response to the post Things You Missed Out On While JW – September 2018

Playing sports… well. Consistently. My coaches let me know they wanted me to play QB as a freshman in high school. The school was ranked in the top 10 in the state… fast track to college. My mom caught wind of this and pulled me completely out of the school. Then 2 years later my parents split and as a bargaining tool my mom put myself and my brother back in school and said we could play… we got through football season and into basketball/baseball season when the baseball coach mentioned he was going to have pro scouts come look at me. Guess who was out of school within the next few weeks?

I still struggle with this every day. I was told by coaches in 3 different sports I would easily get a scholarship with a little bit of effort on my part. Now I’m 25 and have no education. I’ve struggled with obesity and confidence issues since then… I’m still PIMO but idk. Sorry for the rant.