Childhood trauma is an issue that is rampant in the black community, but rarely gets mentioned or discussed in depth. I fear it’s because we as black people have considered childhood trauma normal and a part of our culture.
All around, there are funny memes that show a parent (usually a mother) being irate, disparaging, emotionally abusive (and sometimes physically abusive) with her child. You may see the mother making fun of the feelings of the child, ignoring them, or highlighting how they are a disappointment. The punchline is the subtext of how mama’s are so crazy and we laugh because we remember it and we’ve recovered.
But have we?
The new Netflix movie Nappily Ever After resonated with so many women because many could see their own mother in the honorary bad mum, Lynn Whitfield, and that is what make it worse.
The effects of childhood trauma are real. If you grow up in a household where your voice constantly didn’t matter, you were emotionally (and maybe physically) abandoned, but you were told your feelings of sadness or loneliness didn’t matter because you have a roof over your head and should be grateful… that creates a conflicting version within yourself.
With the contradiction of what you feel with what you’re being told to feel, you may learn that feelings are not safe. You learn to try to ignore those inner longings that are God given and there for a reason. However, because they are a part of being human, the need to express or resolve them does not go away… so you learn other ways to get them. Often, they can be self-destructive and unhealthy in the form of addictions and impulsive behaviors. Sometimes we don’t have the tools to try to cope, so the pain goes inward, manifesting as depression and anxiety.
Whatever the behavior, starting the process to get to the root is important. I created Black Girls Heal to help women start this process and get to the solution that will finally heal.
The Writer Behind the Writing
Shena Tubbs is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Trauma Recovery Coach, and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist Candidate based in Houston, TX. Shena specializes with treating women with intimacy disorders, trauma, and sexually compulsive behaviors or addictions. She is also trained in some of the leading models for trauma and emotion regulation such as EMDR and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Shena hosts the podcast “Love Junkie” which focuses on healing and recovery from codependency, love, and sexual addictions, and she is the founder of Black Girls Heal, a recovery community offering tools for black women to heal from the effects of childhood trauma, unhealthy relationships, and low self esteem. To find out more about Black Girls Heal and keep up to date with their work, click the link below.