Perhaps we are talking about it more. I sure do hope so. How we deal with therapy (mental health), and the trauma that many black women are dealt at the hands of their black mothers, is a topic that needs to forever make its rounds until there is healing.
I’m 4 sessions into therapy. Therapy that I decided I needed for myself, my future offspring, and my marriage. Therapy because there are those in my life that won’t get help for themselves, and I have to figure out a way to navigate someone else’s choices. And ultimately, therapy because I need to deal with the specific black girl trauma I’ve experienced as a product of being raised by a Black Mom.
An experience so utterly identical, yet we still struggle to address it and call it out for what it is—abuse.
Watching a scene play out between Eva and her mother on Real House Wives of Atlanta (season 11, episode 5) was really hard for me. I watched a grown woman cry over what’s supposed to be the happiest moments of her life—planning her own wedding—and her tears be ignored. It was hard because it touched on my own relationship with my black mom. Namely, the lack of acknowledgement or respect for my feelings. Feelings where, if there is any acknowledgement, it’s done so in a manner that’s gaslighting.
“You’re so emotional,” something about a hurt dog, or something authoritative, aggressive, and bullying. Never any acceptance of overstepping boundaries. Left to navigate feelings of hurt, guilt, embarrassment, and anger toward a caregiver. Multiplied by decades. Multiplied by past traumas that may or may not be your own.
I watched this beautiful, self-aware, successful, talented and engaging black woman (Eva) second guess herself and concede. She wound up returning back to a situation where she previously had to get up to collect herself and immediately invalidating her own feelings, for the sake of her Black Mom.
A friend said to me recently “[and] the sad part is we end up getting therapy or medicated because they won’t.”