Even though I've been free of the JW Cult for close to 10 years, it's still affecting me. It robbed me of my teen years, education, self-esteem, family & friends. My whole family is in this cult. I haven't met many new friends in the last 10 years. My hub & I have one little boy now & we are practically loners. His family? Yes JW too. I
have new issues w/ the extended family now that we have a 2 year old. I want him to have grandparents however I do not want him going to any meetings w/ them so as to brainwash him. They rarely call & when they do, they setup a time to see him not us, so I am wondering if they have disfellowshipped us. That would be fine w/ me but that's why we moved & faded away so we could have contact w/ the family. It's been great to be free of guilt. My husband & I are both Atheist. I do miss having family and close friends. I still have a hard time fitting into society as a 'normal' person. It's also hard living here in the Bible Belt. I am a nurse & the corporation I work for basis their work ethic on religion. Smart, clean, non-judging friends are hard to find. How do you make up for the loss of family? I yearn for a 'normal' family. How do you find close friends @ this point in life? Everyone I know has close friends w/ whom they grew up w/. I grew up w/ those of the JW cult & rejected all of my "worldly" friends. How in the world do we begin to repair this?

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There is no easy answer. It is hard.

...I for one, would rather live with the difficulties of "starting over" than living a life constructed of "mindless" relationships, ignorance of truth, adherence to cult doctrine/lifestyle because of fear.

You are ahead of the game. You can now see! JWs cannot. ...they blind themselves to the realities of the world because, like you have found out, they are sometimes hard to deal with.

It's difficult to lose family and "friends," no doubt. But, just like having followed the wrong path when presented with a fork in the road, even for many miles, when you learn you are going the wrong way you don't continue to follow the ill-chosen path, you turn around and start to head in the right direction--no matter how far you may be off course.

Just continue to seek out new friends, new relationships. ...they are out there to be found. I promise you!
Oh yes, Curtis, you made a point which is very important which is how JW's rewrite reality to reflect their fears and prejudices. My mother is the QUEEN of denial (not a river in Egypt, j/k) They cling to those blinders because if they were to acknowledge the real world they would be forced to deal with all the wrong minded things they do everyday. They simply can't cope with their own sins and weaknesses. And this of course makes it much easier to focus on everyone else's flaws.
This is a very difficult situation to deal with. I know how you feel. I feel like I was robbed of my childhood and the bonds that should be the strongest, those of family, are conditional. This has a very destrustive effect. However, I know I am better off. And I continue to try all avenues of finding friends. This is very hard for me, because of the constant brainwashing I have a hard time trusting people.
I know exactly how you feel. The worst part is the isolation, from your family, who should love you unconditionally, and from the rest of society who you know can't possibly understand. I know all about that. I am also estranged from my Witness mother. She is the type who will not stop pushing her beliefs no matter how firmly you set a boundary. I am currently avoiding her because it is just easier that way, although I miss her very much and I grieve for the relationship that we "should" have. I also grew up in the South, we're from South Mississippi.
Although I am not personally in this situation, I understand the problem you and your family face. I want to extend my sympathy to you and my hope that you and your family stay strong and safe from JW influence.
As someone who was not in the church or any other, i cautiously suggest looking into improving social skills and ways to "make friends".  The fact is, you can make a new family.  People, whether in your shoes or not, are often in situations where family is cut off.  You expand your horizons.  Take chances to talk to strangers.  Go to places where groups meet up...

For much of my life, I have spent it alone and had to go through some hurdles to manage my shyness.  I picked up books on making friends and feeling more comfortable.  The bottom line is, there are people everywhere all around you.  You don't need to feel alone. 

If you want worldly friends, look for them.  Make it known.  I hear there are lot of people who feel like that in bible belt.  Try meetup.com, craigslist, and other sites.  Look at Center for Inquiry's site, American Atheists, Project Reason and so forth.


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