Bipolar Black Mama.

This is a topic that I have been very hesitant to write about, especially amidst the Angry, Black Woman Stereotype and because not all or even most Black mothers struggle with mental illness; however, this is an issue that we need to address.

Get a group of Black people together, start talking about childhood and you will see that almost everyone has the same story about their mom growing up.
"There was no timeout in my house, there were only butt-whoopings!" "I know that if I ever disrespected my mama, I would not be living anymore!" These renderings of our childhood become ways to unite us as a community, as it is great to know that someone else knows your pain (literally).

Now, I'm not here to take a stance on whether whooping your child or putting them in timeout is a better parenting practice (my parents definitely didn't "spare the rod"); however, I do want to talk about when the discipline turns into abuse, and more specifically mental abuse.

I was talking to a fellow blogging friend a few weeks ago and we had a long conversation about bipolar disorder among black mothers. I've had several friends laugh and say that their mothers must be bipolar because it seems like something switches in their head and they black out whenever they get mad. Bipolar disorder is a lot more common than some people think, with over 3 million people diagnosed every year. Unfortunately, seeking help through therapy isn't yet as accepted as a part of our culture. Plus, imagine trying to tell a mad and crazy mom that she needs to seek mental help (I can't imagine that conversation going well). So what's the result for the children of the bipolar Black mama? Those rash moments of unshaken rage plummets their self-confidence, no matter how many times the mama tries to smooth it over as if it never happened. When this type of mental abuse is continued throughout adolescence and young adulthood, for instance for college students who live at home during breaks, the transition to being perceived as an adult is a blurred line that is hard to be obtained.

Discipline should never span to mental abuse. A child should never be called out of their name, told that they are unintelligent, feel that they are hated or fear going home because of verbal abuse. Discipline should correlate directly to an action and should be civil. No one that you love should ever be slapped across the face or have objects thrown at them out of anger.

Also, one thing that some parents forget to do is follow up with the child after they receive discipline. You can't go from smacking your kid and calling them every horrible name in the book to asking them to go shopping with you and act like nothing just happened. This causes anger and resentment that can be carried into adulthood.

I can talk about how wrong it is to mental abuse children and why we should not do it; however, the bottom line is that there are several people out there who have been mentally abused by their parents and are currently living in the aftermath.

But, you can't talk bad about your mama, right? She put a roof over your head, provided for you because nobody else would and sacrificed so much to raise you.
This is the internal struggle that I'm sure several people experience, but it's one that needs to be talked about so that we can grow from it.

A hostile home environment can cause detriment to a child's self confidence and affects them even outside of the home. Mental abuse stems from the abusers mental illness and can turn into a viscous cycle if the underlying problem is not addressed. If you are or have suffered from mental abuse from a parent or family member, it is okay to go to therapy. Please talk to someone about it and seek out the help that your abuser was not able to seek.

I would love to know your thoughts on this issue.

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Quirky, Brown Love is a media outlet for quirky, brown millennials. EST 2014.

Email Bryanda Law, Editor-in-Chief
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