Years ago, I was sharing an apartment with a female Ba'alat Teshuva. The Ba'alat Teshuva, lets call her A.
We were sharing an apartment in an haredi neighbourhood although some of our neighbours were still secular Jews. I suppose that today, the neighbourhood is entirely haredi and that secular Jews have probably moved away.
I should mention that quite a few Baale'i Teshuva I know in Jerusalem are sticking to a firm Minhag (custom). Without becoming a member of a certain chassidic group, they still keep the Minhagim of their favourite group. You even find this in Toldot Aharon where female Ba'alot Teshuva come to the Tishes; they don't dress like Toldot Aharon but keep many of their customs and even live in the Mea Shearim neighbourhood. They know Toldot Aharon families and are being invited by them for Shabbat.
My former flatmate A. was such a "Shomeret Minhag - A Ba'al Teshuva keeping a certain chassidic custom without being an official group member". A. was "Shomeret Minhag Vishnitz". By the way, in those days, Vishnitz Bnei Brak wasn't divided then.
I never asked A. what customs she kept neither did I ask her about Vishnitz. The only thing I noticed was that A. was facing severe difficulties of being accepted into haredi society. There were many reasons for it but she still tried as hard as she could. There were times when A. may have got the feeling that she was accepted. At least from time to time.
I, on the other hand, have never felt the desire squeezing myself into something. I neither need acceptance nor acknowledgement because I am simply too individualistic and especially introverted. Doing my thing and not waiting for other Haredim to say that I am so "holy". A Zaddika !
I am not and I don't want to hear all this slogans. I am not a Zaddika and not sooo terribly religious running after the perfect Hechsher, wearing only long sleeves or skirts. In my opinion, being religious consists of many different aspects in life besides the usual Halachot. How you react towards your environment, for instance. "Bejn Adam le'Chavero". Or that you honestly pray and not because the time for Mincha has arrived. That you take religious matters seriously, think and internalize them and not doing, doing, doing without using your brain.
A. was desperate for acceptance and did anything gaining it. She had this behaviour of inviting herself to the neighbours Schabbes table every single Shabbat. They were born Chassidim but I cannot even tell to which Chassidut they belonged. I wasn't interested and A. had told me that they wouldn't talk to me anyway because I was still on the level of "between national religious and haredi". She said that it had taken her one year after moving in, until the holy neighbours finally invited her for Shabbat.
Honestly, I wasn't keen on being invited, as I had my own plans on Shabbat. Usually I went into town where I either stayed with friends of at the Jewish hostel Heritage House in the Old City. After Shabbat was over, I went back to our Ramot neighbourhood.
A short period of time after me moving in, I met the neighbours' wife in the staircase. We talked for a while and she invited me for Shabbat. As I already had other plans, I told her that I would come in another few weeks or months. Telling this to A., she was shocked because I had been invited after a few weeks only. How this could be. I didn't know and I wasn't even begging the neighbour to invite me.
Then a serious incident occured making me think about born chassidic society and its behaviour towards Ba'alei Teshuva:
A. got a phone call from another "Shomeret Minhag Vishnitz" and was invited to a wedding taking place in the haredi Kiryat Mattersdorf neighbourhood. My flatmate was freaking out because SHE got invited. In her eyes, the was the peak of acceptance ! She immediately started to bake. I asked her for what and she said that she wants to bring all those cakes to the wedding. As a gift and simply to contribute something.
For the next two or three days, A. was baking nearly without a break. Our small kitchen was flooded with cakes and pies. When the evening for the wedding arrived, I helped her loading all the cakes into the trunk of her car. Then she was gone and only came back the next day. She returned being in a bad mood and asked me if I can help her again. It turned out that none of the wedding guests had even touched one of her cakes. All the cakes came back in the trunk and were stuffed into the fridge. A. said that I can eat the cakes together with her but, in the end, they were rottening and being thrown away.
A. never spoke about what had happened but I found out from the neighbours: The sad fact was that no born haredi wanted to eat from the food cooked by a Ba'al Teshuva. Some readers may claim that this is a stereotype opinion but, according to my experience, A. is not the only case.