The new book “Nobody Knows” examines intergenerational trauma and stress | Chicago News

The new book “Nobody Knows” examines intergenerational trauma and stress | Chicago News


Breaking the pain cycle between generations requires self-examination and self-love.

of “No one knows the problem I saw: the emotional life of a black womanAuthor Inger Burnett Zygler examines the experience of stress, trauma, and unrecognized emotional suffering that black women have faced for generations, and is new and strong, including getting used to vulnerabilities. Provides a way.

Burnett Seigler, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University’s Fineberg School of Medicine, personally writes her book along with stories from loved ones and her clients. Weave in a story.

“I saw so many black women coming to my treatment room with these common experiences of chronic stress associated with long-term care responsibilities, work, economics and traumatic experiences.” Burnett Seigler said. “They seemed to have it together with everyone else, so they got heavier and felt that they were the only ones to experience these difficult experiences.”

But Burnett-Zeigler has hope. She believes this is an exciting time for mental health in general, especially for the black community.

“COVID has created this global stressor that has been stressed by most people over the last 18 months,” said Burnett Seigler. “When everyone is experiencing something at the same time, less stigma is attached to it.”

Wherever we turn, we are surrounded by beautiful, intelligent and strong black women. I’m sure you can give many names in your own life. In fact, you are probably one of them. Today’s strong black women are sharpened at work and climbing professional ladders. At every event, I’ve trimmed my hair, nailed it, and dressed perfectly, and I can’t find any evidence of a problem anywhere. They volunteer at local events in the church next to you, and at your books and wine clubs. They do whatever it takes to care for their children and extended families, with or without the help of their partners. They have multiple jobs and are trying to make it with a system designed to keep them from moving forward. Strong black women are not only the backbone of society, but also their breath and heartbeat.

Strong black women can be seen on big and small screens or on social media with a single click. Political leaders such as Shirley Chisholm, Aunt Maxine and Michelle Obama. Literary icons such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison. Athletic champions like Althea Gibson and Serena Williams. Dynamic actresses such as Cicely Tyson, Angela Bassett and Regina King. TV moms like Georgia Evans and Claire Hacks Table.Crooner sang Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Mary J. Blige and more. He represents business leaders, Ashura M. Burns, Debrary and Mellody Hobson. They also belong to our own family, whose names may not be well known, such as my grandmother and mother, the example of my first strong black woman. A woman who guides me at work. And of course my girlfriend.

Seen from a distance, strong black women seem invincible. They achieve everything they have tried to achieve. They bounce more strongly from anything that could get in the way. Their heads are always raised, with style and smiles. If you get off the line and need to get back to your place, they can do that too. Above all, they never forget to praise and honor God for everything he has done for them. We respect these women as our role models and for inspiration. Their strength makes us believe that the possibilities we have are endless.

But as a strong black woman, you know best that getting stronger is not always easy. Whether at home, at work, or just walking down the street, the world tests us every day. My grandmother taught my mother, who taught me to wipe away tears, keep raising my head, and keep going to deal with wounds, disappointments, and losses. It’s not the first time I’ve been injured Will not be the last, She will say. My mother reminded me quickly and often, Life is not fair, so don’t expect it to happen.

Society pressures us to be everything and superwoman for all, and we accept that responsibility. We are constantly pouring and rarely receive urgent care. We fight teeth and nails to prove our value, against the negative expectations people have of us. Still, that doesn’t seem to be enough.

Despite our difficult circumstances, black women are masters of maintaining calm indifference and presenting themselves to have it all together. As soon as you leave the house, wear the face of the game, the mask. This mask protects us from all the historical trauma and social illnesses that put pressure on us, including racism, sexism and victimization. Prevents scratches on the outside and scratches on the inside.

Often the mask is a façade and does not really reflect what we have experienced or how we feel. We generally accept the label of strong black women with pride, but on the other side of the mask are stress, anxiety and depression that lead to unhealthy behaviors such as emotional diet, lack of sleep and neglect of self-care. I have a disease. Masks allow us to show the world only a small part of our true self. I wear it as a way to deal with pain. It’s our survival tactic. But is it really helping us? I do not think so. In fact, I believe that strong black women’s masks prevent us from becoming real and prosperous.

Given all forms of suffering, it is difficult to find a black woman who has not experienced any trauma. But if you don’t look closely, or if you don’t ask the right questions, you’ll be looking right in front of them. Black women have been pushing for so long that suffering has become commonplace. Too often, we have dealt with pain by looking away from it and avoiding or denying it, rather than looking carefully and treating it gently.

Excerpt from Trouble that no one knows By Inger Burnett-Zeigler. Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Amistad, and HarperCollins. Copyright © 2021 by Inger Burnett-Zeigler.

The new book “Nobody Knows” examines intergenerational trauma and stress | Chicago News

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