POMO here. I’m posting right now because I hope that sharing makes people feel less alone. What I really want to know is how you are holding up with everything crisis that’s going on right now. My questions are numbered below, toward the end. It’s totally ok to skip the background story if you want.
I’m 42. Been POMO since 25. I don’t have contact with my witness family other than when they occasionally insta stalk me. It’s been well over a year since the last text blast that I got was “tattooed voting yoga witch” accusations. Of all the things.
My tattoos are reminders of my sobriety and my healing from an entire childhood of mental and physical abuse directly from Jehovahs witnesses. I voted for Obama twice. I am pro choice. I am pro cannabis. I campaign against trump and the relig right. I fight for social justice. I won’t ever stop that. I am a registered yoga teacher and work with other severely traumatized people and teach recovery yoga. Not stopping that either. The witch part? IF THE BROOM FITS, FINE. I often wonder how much time they count and turn in for their efforts to harass me? Sometimes I wonder if multipliers exist on the time card now for certain kinds of policing. I digress.
I have one sister. Her and my mother are hardcore JW. My mother’s mother joined the witnesses early 1970’s, when it was all going to blow in 1975. Our parents had been divorced since I was a baby. Our alcoholic father took his life in 2002, he was raised Dunkard Brethren in a very violent home. That’s my immediate core biological family. My mother has been married to an old elder since the 90’s. Regional building committee stuff. Blind congregation stuff. I think some of you know the extra special kind of ministry work that involves NO FIELD SERVICE. That’s them.
I have one auntie in my life, a non-witness who has some communication with her sister (my mom). She knows some of the abuse but not the full extent. I never ask how my mom is because it puts auntie in a stressful position. Auntie desperately wants a sistebest friend relationship with my mom, but auntie is worldly so it’s a hard no. That’s what we have in common- we both lost our moms and sisters to the cult. The rest is a little complicated and I have to tread lightly. Auntie is some kind of nouveau hip Christian. But her church is still funded by the southern baptists in the fine print, and is ultra conservative/anti-gay/pro trump, despite the “we can wear leggings to church! We have beer nights” banners. That’s pretty gross to me AS WELL. The difference is that she is open and accepting of people different from her.
Last week I was talking to Auntie. I asked about my mom. I didn’t want to, but I’m so worried about her still. I need to know she’s safe. She’s 68. Her health is shit. Her husband is damn near 80. I’m not an asshole- she’s forever my biological mom. It’s complicated, I still care.
Here’s the lowdown I got:
Mom is living out in the country in north Florida. On what sounds like some kind of doomsday compound. Her anxiety is through the roof. She has been unloading crazy bold statements and scripture warnings on EVERYONE. Her health is shot right now. And she often has to end calls with Auntie to deal with her deep freezers. FREEZERS. As in, ‘ZERS. PLURAL. I don’t even know what to think. For what and how long will stockpiling deep freezers help anything??? Is she going to feed Florida?? That is the shit keeping me up at night - how to get a drop cord or generator through Armageddon. What kind of fresh hell is this.
And THAT was exactly when it broke through for me. The freezers. It’s completely irrational and fear based. I have always questioned, but it’s crystal clear now. My mother has untreated and undiagnosed mental illness. (please read “educated” by Tara Westover). My whole life she has misguidedly been using her faith as her therapy. One time when I was a kid she went to therapy and they told her she needed to leave her church. So SHE QUIT THERAPY. With her level of generational trauma, she can’t see life any different. And she’s stuck in her fear. This one realization about her has helped me work on forgiveness toward her. But we cannot have a relationship with an abuser if I want to stay sober. Boundaries boundaries boundaries.
My sister just turned 50 this week. I don’t know where she is either. Auntie heard my sister is stuck in southern Mexico with her husband, doing missionary work in the most impoverished areas because, WHITE SAVIORS get extra credit. So now, with Covid and closed borders, I worry about her too. Let’s be clear - it’s out of obligation, not because she was ever a nice person or a good big sister. She used to torment me constantly and her and my mother were violent people, citing the rod of discipline for really anything, depending on which way the wind blew that minute.
I have removed myself from contact with my mother and sister, as well as from circles where I would be kept up to date on the play by plays that the witnesses are experiencing now - living during the time it’s all supposed to blow up, and things are blowing up. For my mental health and healing, I need the distance from them.
I mean, literally. I moved as far away as I could. Last year my husband and I got rid of all our stuff and moved to Hawaii to take new jobs. Ahhhhh the irony of living in a tangible “paradise” I’m not supposed to be allowed in because I’m so “unworthy”... THAT seems to REALLY burns EVERYONES biscuits.
TODAY THOUGH- I’m posting this morning because I just really want to send out some support and shout out to my fellow outcasts.
- If you’re dealing with this too (please share if it’s comfortable for you) how are you holding up with this kind of pressure?
- It is reviving the same PTSD scripts in your head too?
- if you’re still IN, what is the spoken/unspoken message coming from HQ these days?
- How is your family reacting behind the scenes?
- Are there coping strategies you are putting in place?
WITH ALL MY ALOHA, your tattooed voting yoga witch
PS- It’s too triggering to me to look at any videos or .org content. My era of doomsday culting was pre-tech. Although I did see one time a Caleb cartoon about demonic toys, and then recently the apocalyptic horses on the home page at the beginning of this, and I just have no words for any of this. Every now and then I see video clips on reddit of the new GB dudes and they make me intensely uncomfortable. I am highly empathic, and they turn my whole body cold. Something is not right with them. Their energy is DARK. They are hiding more than we can even guess. Years ago, when watchtower rebranded to .org, my mother told me “its all completely different. We have an app now. You design apps, You’d love it”. And my reply was, “oh, so did your belief system change with it? No? Ok. STILL NOT INTERESTED.” Unrelated to that... last year I went to my in-law’s JW funeral, and I about fell over when I saw everyone holding up their smartphones to follow along with scriptures. I didn’t know it was a contest who can hold it the highest and longest. Almost all right-handed. All brand new devices. Not one cracked screen. modest pop sockets. rolls eyes so hard can see own brain
I was there a hot 5 minutes and left to wait for the luncheon. Everything has changed, yet nothing has changed.