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I wasn’t sure if the [tumblr] follower who sent me this ask wanted it published so I answered privately. Outside of hate mail, I’m cautious of publishing Person A/Person B conversations. I just took a screenshot of the ask and this is my response:

a message from one of my tumblr followers

a message from one of my tumblr followers

I understand that my mom cares about me in her own way, or thinks that she does. My mother has revealed bit by bit that she was emotionally abused as a child by her family. I didn’t mention it in the post because it wasn’t a post about her personal issues, it was about me and the effects she’s had on me.

I still have to [at least] stand up for myself, since no one else does, and not excuse her for perpetuating that abuse. If I don’t, I’ll continue to be a victim. We’re both adults now and she’s still doing the same stuff she’s been doing for years, psychological abuse and her past physical abuse, which have made it so I can’t even look my own mom in the face or my own reflection in the mirror. And, either way, my hair is my choice and her actions have caused a lot of damage to my sense of self/self-esteem.

And besides, why does my hair need to be “done”? My question is, What’s wrong with it the way it is???

I guess I’m not sure that anybody who abuses me actually cares about me. Tough love can be abuse, oftentimes it is. Just because this person provides for me doesn’t mean I’m not being abused.

A lot of parents try to write abuse off as parenting. Black parents are no exception, contrary to popular belief in the Black community.

I’m smart

You’re dumb

I’m big

You’re little

I’m right

You’re wrong

and there’s nothing you can do about it

–Matilda (1996)

Ever heard the saying “Yo mama put you in this world and she can take you out”?

I respect Black women’s right to parent their kids in the most effective ways for them. And at the same time if you use violence to discipline your kids when is enough enough? When are parents just doing the most and they need to stop? For example, my mom just has a foul temper, from stress or whatever. If we lost something? Beating with a two by four. If she lost her own shit and we couldn’t find it after she yelled and cussed at us, because she lost her own shit? Beating with a belt or a two by four. It was very arbitrary and we lived in fear. I got a beating for accidentally breaking a cheap glass snowman cookie jar from the dollar store that she replaced the next day.

Can people tell abuse from parenting? Its sad that I didn’t know the difference either because I was taught to never question them as an adult no matter what they do. Then I was punished by my parent for letting other adults take advantage of me while my parent maintained that I had no right to question them as an adult.

I wasn’t aware of how irrationally afraid I was of my mother until I went to college (and the how, what, and when is embarrassing so I won’t elaborate). The same tricks/tactics don’t work anymore yet the abuse continues.

Like I said before, my mother may think she loves me but she doesn’t like me as a person. She hates too many things about me and snaps at half of everything I say and do. I’m not stupid. I can tell.

I’d love to use Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow Smith as a good example of what a mother-daughter relationship can be like, based off the letter Jada wrote about not policing Willow’s body, hair, and self expression…

but er

the Smiths is rich. They don’t count.

I’m not saying all this so people can judge my mom and the whole of the Black community or question Black people’s parenting capability, which I know some people will, particularly racists. But I know what see and I know what I’ve experienced. These are the things I talk about here.


**it was a piece of lumber that broke from the inside of her box spring mattress. She called it her ‘stick’. It wasn’t literally a two by four. It was shaped like one of the slates in the image below and about three or four feet long.