*This will not be limited to only black parents or the community. I’m black, my family is black, so these are my experiences. However, any person of color is free and welcome to join in. Discussion is encouraged.
I made a post about my issues and the final nail in the coffin concerning my mom who I’ll refer to as Tanya. For those of you who don’t know, I have been very open with my trials and struggles concerning Tanya which was all due to her narcissism. It took me until two year ago to realize that’s what and who she was and I’ve been a bit fascinated over this revelation.
I had sought out online support groups but the whole reason I made that post was because there doesn’t seem to be much help online for PoC, especially black people, when comes to narcissist/toxic black parents. In the black community, it has been ingrained in our minds since birth to show a certain type of reverence for our elders, especially our parents. Black parents demand their kids to respect them.
I said before that older people do carry a certain wisdom about life but that sure as shit doesn’t mean they are smarter than anyone younger than themselves. People who are self-aware know and understand this. This is also where the first hiccup is when comes to dealing with toxic, black parents; any type of challenge to their thinking, no matter how respectful and polite we are when presenting this difference of opinion, it is seen as an affront.
This issue is being addressed from many black millenials. Here, the author brings up a Living Single episode that deals with emotional abuse from a black mother. I grew up in a house like this and heard it from Tanya and other black moms when addressing their children. It was said and joked about and used in so many comedy skits as a stereotype that it because normalized. That’s why I never questioned it. This was just something that black mothers did.
Because I never questioned Tanya’s method of parenting and because the parenting style was so normalized, it was like getting hit by a brick when it was pointed out that it was abusive. But it is. Parents are supposed to guide their children on how to properly deal with emotion, no matter how trivial or intense the situation. Instead we’re told from a very young age, that how we feel is not legitimate, or that we’re overreacting to such a trivial thing. In essence, we’re being conditioned that our feelings do not matter, only what our parents think does.
The dismissive behavior towards my feelings, the nasty words directed toward my personality or appearance, the threats of violence because I dare showed emotion, all of that shit is abusive. It became even more clear after my dad pointed out that I look just like him and that’s probably all Tanya saw. Add a healthy pour of narcissism and colorism, a sprinkle of self-hate and boom! You have Tanya.
That being said, the manipulation runs deep. It’s easier to justify the methods instead of dissecting them, especially when the parents refuse to recognize their bad behavior. You start to wonder if you are being a bad son/daughter and whether you are tripping out over bullshit. Do not rationalize away your truth, no matter how hard it is for your parents to accept it.
It is hard to do this with black parents, specifically black mothers; it’s like pulling teeth to even get them to admit they perhaps made a mistake. I literally spelled it out for Tanya, multiple times: I-D-O-N-O-T-T-R-U-S-T-Y-O-U. I wrote her countless letters, emails, screamed, cried, raged. She just put it out of her mind because it was not a reality to her liking. Or she would get so very offended over the thought that her parenting was shit since I was alive and had all my limbs.
We don’t owe our parents anything. Whether they had us by choice or not, it’s not our faults that they had to be parents. It’s not our fault if they struggled. It’s not our obligation to do what they want because they sacrificed to raise us and it’s certainly not our obligation to sacrifice our own mental well-being to appease them.
I did not mean for this to be so heavy in tone. Apologies! I’m really just trying to get a conversation going and want for y’all to have a space to talk about these things. I’m off to work for the night but will be checking in.