I was raised within the organization called Watchtower Society (WTS). My father, an Elder, and three older brothers all went straight to Bethel (WTS HQ) fresh after graduation. My stay-at-home mother home-schooled my siblings and me from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
I always felt different from anyone else in my family. I felt the pressure of walking the line, and it caught up with me. By age thirteen years, I developed an eating disorder, and struggled in silence with it for years. It grew more aggressive and by eighteen years of age, the eating disorder was so overwhelming, I felt as if I had no choice but to reach out for help from my parents. They took me to a psychologist. I sat down alone with the psychologist for approximately an hour and spoke. I opened up and really spoke. After our session, the psychologist walked out into the waiting area where my parents were, and simply said to them, "Your religion is killing your daughter." My parents whisked me out of that office, without so much as a split second's hesitation, and the whole drive home they talked about what a "quack" she was. After that day, my parents never spoke of my disorder again, and I was left to overcome that demon completely on my own.
When I was twenty years old, I was pressured into marrying the first person I dated. He was a pathological liar, and abused me physically, sexually, verbally, emotionally, in every way that someone can be abused, all while posing as an exemplary "brother" in the congregation. I would cover my bruises before the meetings. I was THAT girl. I was that girl for two years.
Finally one day, as my husband revealed to me his "secret" drug problem, which I had been suspicious of but couldn't prove, the fog cleared, my critical thinking skills kicked in and the start of a backbone was born inside me. I knew I had to get out.
I packed my things as my husband followed me from room to room, harassing me as I went. Finally when I was done packing, after he made one threat to push me down the stairs on my way out, I left. ..
Needless to say, I received heat and judgement for leaving my husband without proof of adultery. My life was in shambles, I was living by myself in a tiny apartment, trying to just pick myself up each morning and failing miserably, all while elders were coming to my door and telling me that I, "just needed to have more faith."
SO, after twenty-three years in "the Truth," twelve years after my baptism, and four years of regular pioneering, I wrote my dissociation letter. One copy to the elders, one copy to my parents. The long road of losing my family, losing all my friends, losing everything but my free will lay ahead. That was almost five years ago.
Jumping ahead to the present: I found my soul mate, moved to the Florida coast, gave birth to the most beautiful beam of sunshine that we named Lennon. I am healthy; I am strong. I love myself. I love my life. I have a family that loves me unconditionally. Yes it's been hard, and it's STILL hard, but when I look back at the pitiful, weak shell of a person that I used to be, and I see how much I have been able to grow and evolve into the person I am now, it's like putting my face to the Sun.
This is not a "I just need to complain" post. This is my story of hope. Love yourself enough to do your own thinking, love yourself enough to respect your life. Only allow others into your life if they also love and respect you. You're not broken. You're stronger than f*cking nails!