As a therapist a theme I often hear in the therapy room is the sacrifice women of African and Caribbean origin make when they are unable to express their needs. They lose their ability to speak their truth in times of strife. I believe too much self-sacrifice can affect one’s wellbeing, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Women of African and Caribbean origin bear physical and emotional scars and these wounds of the heart, soul and spirit are often left untreated, can eventually fester corrupting the body and mind. Overall, we have a difficulty in “breathing” figuratively and literally. As a culture we often choose to ignore the overt and covert messages that have existed over generations because it can have an impact on our emotional wellbeing. When we find it hard to express ourselves it can throw us into a state of flux and we often deny the reality of what is happening.
This is largely to do with the experiences of our ancestors. Even though the physical enslavement of black people has ended, the attitudes and behaviours remain a part of our culture. The unrelenting, dedicated, committed and assertive parts of our ancestors continue to exist during difficult times. Black women rarely show their vulnerabilities and even when faced with challenges, we are likely to adopt a “tend and befriend” strategy to survive our environments. Asking for help may conflict with our personal values such as spirituality, faith and being strong.
How often have you told yourself, “I don’t want to create any drama, so I won’t say anything, I won’t speak up”.
What were the messages you heard growing up?
“Don’t talk your business”
“We have to be strong”
“Keep your mouth shut”
I want to stress women of African and Caribbean origin are not victims. By default, we may appear as rescuers to alleviate the pain and suffering of others. This rescuing stance often diminishes and discounts our own needs and wants. In particular they are the support givers and not the support receivers. The lack of our own support can lead to denial of our emotions.
As a therapist I have seen an increasing number of women of African and Caribbean origin who feel increasingly less stigmatised about picking up the phone and seeking therapy. Going into group therapy may feel like an invasion of privacy, however for many this experience is seen as a positive and feedback has been recognising the healing power of therapy.
At Silent Echoes we believe as women of African and Caribbean origin get to know and understand their beliefs and their desires, they can begin to realise they no longer need to remain trapped in one fixed version of who they are.
At Silent Echoes women of African and Caribbean origin are allowed to speak up without judgement. It can be transformative if one is able to identify who they are with their strengths and weaknesses.
At Silent Echoes women of African and Caribbean origin are given the permissions to get to know the parts of the self they may struggle to fully acknowledge and to be okay with them.
At Silent Echoes we are providing a safe, nurturing space to discuss race, mental health, culture, identity, relationships, self-care and taking into consideration all the unspoken fears and inequalities. We don’t adopt a one size fit model when working with women of African and Caribbean origin.
Silent Echoes will be a platform that supports women of African and Caribbean origin to identify with the emotional realities of their black experience. Our hope is with greater insights we can begin to make different choices and we can then “breathe”.
Starting Thursday 10thJanuary 2019
7pm to 8.30pm
The Minster Centre
20 Lonsdale Rd, Queens Park NW6 6RD
Contact for further information
Dee on 07958 710 694
Sam 07938 435 233
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