“Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”.

There is a documentary that will soon be released that I’ve been interested in.  Interested enough that I’ve been following their website and their Facebook page.

It is called Truth Be Told.  A feature length documentary exploring the lives of former Jehovah’s Witnesses and how being raised as such shaped their lives.

I believe it deals with the emotional toils of ex-JW’s quite well.  I think it is worth your time to check it out.  Private screenings have started, and here is a short video of one person’s opinion.

Shunning is such a “foreign” concept for a lot of people – unless you experience it.
It is uncomfortable to talk about.  Many just hide their pain.  (Most times, if I am feeling pain, I do.)

One thing that I noticed about being an ex-JW though and not often expressed is a feeling of shame.  Not the shame that the JW’s want you to feel.  I mean that’s their reason for shunning you in the first place, treat you wrong, shame you, and then you will turn from your behavior and return to them.

This is a different kind of shame.  (I may not even be able to explain this very well, but here goes.)

They (JW’s)  have already instilled that instinct (shame) in you, so that poison sits there and seeps out in other ways.  Logically you may know you don’t deserve to be treated the way you are and other people will tell you don’t deserve to be treated that way either.  However, continual shunning by family and people that you have known your whole life can twist a web of lies within your mind to somehow think you deserve this treatment.    The occasional (if that even happens) conversation with your family includes things like “you know better” thus reinforcing the “you deserve this” mentality.

So, even though you may logically, rationally, spiritually and from a scriptural  point see they are treating you wrong, their continual avoidance can trigger shame.

Shame to tell your story.  Shame to explain to new people you meet why you don’t have family around.  Sometimes others will unwittingly contribute to this, should you tentatively try to discuss your story, if you misinterpret their uncomfortable silence or quick change of topic.

Shame you don’t constantly confront your family.  By not constantly confronting them, you feel like they win, and then they think they are justified and correct in what they are doing and thinking.  Logically though you understand you can’t change anyone.

Then there is the shame you even fell for the manipulation of the organization.  The lies you believed they told you.  Those same lies you repeated.

I think that is what gets me the most.  I dislike manipulation.  Probably because  I like being in control of myself (another problem I have).    When I find I’m being manipulated or lied to it really triggers pain and hurt.

When you figure out that you’ve been manipulated and lied to, there is this shame that you didn’t figure it out earlier.  It’s like you say to yourself, “Hey, I’m not dumb, why didn’t I see this?

It doesn’t matter if you were raised in it.  You still feel that way.  You hate to admit that you were played.  Nobody likes being played.

I’ve found the best way to get rid of the shame was giving it a voice.  Giving my story a voice.  Every time I told someone I was an ex-JW it became easier.  Every time I told someone my story it released more pain.

Does that mean there are times when I don’t feel sorrow or hurt?  No.

Sometimes a memory will come and I can be sad.

However, I can tell you that all the deep pain, hurt, shame and bitterness is gone.  That was laid at the foot of the Cross.  With amazing grace, I was found.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T’was Grace that taught…
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear…
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares…
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me…
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be…
as long as life endures.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years…
bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise…
then when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.


8 thoughts on ““Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”.

  1. Thanks for posting!
    I was born 1957 3rd geneation JW and have NO shame speaking out against the Watchtower cult abuses.
    Number #1 lie of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is the date for Jesus return aka second coming October 1914.

    Danny Haszard FMI dannyhaszard(dot)com
    I am the Watchtower whistleblower

    • Thank you for stopping by, commenting along with your courage to speak out! I too am 3rd generation, born in 57. Once I took the step to talk about my past, I found my courage. It was also the beginning of eyes to really be opened. I can’t say it was a quick. Often I would let busyness of life get in the way of my growth. We’re talking years. Blessings to you!

  2. You are one courageous lady Denise. You have my admiration and my love…. It took a lot for you to leave the wrong and follow the right but you did it and it takes a lot more for you to be able to write about it.
    God is with you. He will support you and give you courage. He will hold His Light high and show you the way. He will never ever desert you. He will love you always regardless of any sins. He is a God of Love, a God of Power and a God of forgiveness…..my love to you and to Craig and to all those working with you xxxxx

    • Thank you sooo much for your kind, encouraging words!!! Looking forward to the day when we will meet. Who knows what could happen here, but Heaven will be sweet!! Thanks again, dear sister.

  3. Never understood how this could happen in a family. It should have never happened. You are such a wonderful person and you obviously have a wonderful husband and family. Love you, Denise.

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