Suffering In Silence
Updated: Apr 24
“Someone: Hey, how ya doing? Me: I’m fine! Someone: Hey, how are you today? Me: I’m good! Someone: Hey, ya hanging in there. Me: Yup, I’m fine!” Do you see the pattern here… No one’s life is that damn fine and good. At least no one that I know or have ever encountered through my profession. And yet, someone of us, *clears throat* (Specifically Black Women), is one group of individuals who often suffer in silence and withhold truth, honesty, vulnerability. This has been something I’ve consistently reflected on over the last five years since starting my own counseling journey and let me tell ya, the journey has been VERY eye opening, (this is coming from someone who originally identified themselves as pretty self aware). Nonetheless, my counseling journey ( as a client) has been eye opening mostly because I’ve spent my entire life denying myself and honestly not allowing myself the ability to heal. Even little ol’ me, at the tender age of 9/10 years old had the learned skill set to suffer in silence. Within the Black culture and as a collective beginning at a very early and tender age, we see our parents do it and we then model what they do and not to mention we are also directly informed by our parents and loved ones very early on, “don’t go spreading my business or any business that is in this house” “no one needs to know what goes on in this house!” And these statements combined with how many of our parents navigated the world as Black people become fundamentally imbedded within us. And yes, I DID SAY imbedded. Not to mention, if we tack on the societal judgements and stigmas related to how marginalized Black women are viewed in their workplace, in their churches, in their educational settings.., every single facet of our lives, we are almost expected to just stand firm, stand strong, don’t waiver, cry, show darn near NO meaningful or personalized emotions what so ever. Pretty much present ourselves as highly functional robots?! Ok, got it… No, no, no. That’s just not it. As a collective, we must begin to shift the narrative. The narrative is no longer, conceal, hide, and don’t heal. The narrative now is to share, connect with others, and heal. The sooner we as Black women stop saying we are “fine”, and start expressing how we really feel the better we will actually feel. I’ve only been on this journey myself for a very short amount of time. But, by simply expressing how i am feeling when someone asks, as lifted such a burden from me. So instead of me saying I’m fine, I say “I could be better…” “I’m feeling overwhelmed lately..” “I’m feelin’ anxious today”. Just laying out the simplest and truest feelings you have is the most genuine and authentic way to just be real and not suffer in silence. So, I challenge anyone reading this post to try it. See if those around you ask follow-up questions or provide support. See if openly expressing how you are doing that day, lightens the burden of those feelings just a tad.
Reflective Journal Prompt:
The goal is to not suffer in silence. With this in mind, I ask you to challenge yourself to think back to a very complex or difficult time in your life, who did you express your feelings to? Who knew that you were suffering at that time? If you had that person or group of people to help ease you through your suffering what did that support feel like? How was it helpful? If you did not share this suffering with anyone, what has or continues to stop you from sharing your suffering? Fear of rejection? Judgement? Explore this in depth. I also challenge you to explore what it means moving forward for you to suffer less in silence. Can you identify one small way you could begin to suffer less in silence?
A Black Woman Healing Too