No-Contact Mother's Day Blog

Coping With the Pain of No-Contact on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day can be an extremely difficult holiday, especially if you no longer have a healthy relationship with your mother. For those of you, who have decided to go no-contact, it can be extremely difficult to watch other people celebrating with their mother. You may even still long for your mother in some ways. Here are some tips to help you cope with Mother’s Day if you have a toxic mother.

1) Create meaning.  It’s important that you interpret what Mother’s Day, or any holiday for that matter – means to you. It’s easy to go along with the commercial meaning of the holiday – buying mom flowers, taking her out to brunch, and perhaps even giving a fancy gift. In other words, express love with material gifts. Reconfigure the meaning of Mother’s Day to what works for you. Perhaps it’s just a normal day, a commercialized day that’s overrated, or a day that you celebrate other moms in your life, or a day where you observe the loss of your mother. You decide what works for you.

2) Be authentic and true to yourself. As you reflect on going no-contact with your mother, recognize that this is what is needed for you to thrive in your life at this time. Going no-contact is your way of self-preservation, so that you are able to be the best version of yourself that you can be without having to endure abuse or negativity from someone who is supposed to love you and have your best interest at heart.

3) Recognize you don’t have control over who your parents are. You don’t control over the family that you are born into. Thus, you may have to endure a lot from your mom until you become a legal adult. We develop strategies to survive a toxic parent as children. However, when you become an independent adult, you can consciously choose to cut your toxic parent out of your life. You can replace your toxic mother with a maternal figure, who is emotionally healthy, and fulfills your need for a mom.

4) Decide what a mother is to you. This is another area where you get to interpret what a mother means to you. Figure out how you define a mom and assign the appropriate role accordingly. You may even decide to take denounce the title of “mother” from your own biological mother and give her another title such “the woman who birthed me.”

5) Create a positive space for yourself. Recognize and understand that Mother’s Day is only temporary, and that it will be over in a matter of hours. Plan ahead of time how you want to spend your day. Maybe you would like to stay off social media, or perhaps you want to spend the day pampering yourself, or spend it celebrating other mother’s in your life.

6) Mourn the idea of the mother you lost. A lot of times when people reminisce about their narcissist mother, they often think of the potential of that parent. Romanticizing what characteristics your parent should have had is not uncommon. Instead of fantasizing about the person your mother should have been, write down the positive traits that you wish she had, and use that to identify an alternate maternal figure for yourself.

7) Reflect on what your mother missed out on with you. When you have a narcissistic parent, they spend a lot of time trying to change you or convince you to be something different. Instead of doing that, create a list of all the things that you accomplished. You are a survivor and a thriver, among other things. Your mother really lost a huge opportunity to be a part of your life. List the qualities and accomplishments that you are proud of. Ask others what they admire or like about you if you feel stuck.

8) Practice forgiveness. Forgiving isn’t for everyone. However, when you forgive someone, you let go of the idea that they owe you something, and the feelings of resentment and contempt. Thus, by forgiving someone you no longer allow that person or the negative feelings that you have about that person to take control over you. So forgiveness, is releasing the power that your mother had, and thus you are reclaiming your life back.

Mother’s Day can be difficult for you if you are going no contact. However, by making a conscious effort to take care of yourself and move on, the pain decreases over time. While it may be difficult to be at peace with your decision to go no-contact, recognize that you made the decision to preserve the quality of your life.

To watch the video version of this blog, please visit A Date With Darkness’ YouTube channel. This blog is also available on www.adatewithdarkness.com. Please also see the quick reference guide below for a reminder of tips and suggestions. 

Copyright © 2019 Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC

Disclaimer: Please note that this blog is not meant to be substituted for treatment with a licensed mental health professional. Please also note, that recommendations don’t apply to everyone or every situation. This blog is educational content only.

Infographic for No Contact on Mother's day

Quick reference guide for ways to honor going no-contact with your mom on Mother’s Day.

Succeeding While Black: 11 Tips for Combatting Microaggression in the Workplace

African American woman combatting microaggression in the workplace.

Succeeding While Black: 11 Tips for African Women to Combat Microaggression in the Workplace

As mentioned in the previous blog, microaggression against black women in the workplace is a very common occurrence. There are many African American women who are suffering in silence when they go to work due to the toxic nature of a microaggressive environment. They struggle with being offended against, are in fear of losing their job, lack of support, and feeling unappreciated for the hours of work that they put in with their employer. Frustrations and tension can run high in African American women who struggle to understand how to deal with microaggression, especially if others around them are ignorant to what’s going on or if they refuse to believe indiscretions are taking place. The following are tips and suggestions on how to deal with microaggression in the workplace.

1) Assess your goals for your job. The first step in combatting microaggression is to think about what your goals are for your current job. What position do you want in your job? How important is this job to you? Do you want to promote within the company? Determining your job’s current value to you will help you to decide how much to emotionally invest in your workplace atmosphere. If your job is short-term and of little significance, then it wouldn’t be to your advantage to emotionally invest your energy.

2) Let go of the idea of being liked or accepted. Understanding that everyone isn’t going to like or accept you for who you are is very freeing. You may be everyone’s cup of tea – and that’s okay. Recognize that the only person you need to be fully accepted by, is yourself. It is not necessary for you to have a seat at everyone’s table. Furthermore, while it is nice to be liked by your peers, popularity is not a necessity to do your job effectively in most cases.

3) Pick your battles carefully. Some things are worth your time and others are not. It goes back to the emotional investment mentioned in #1. All ignorance doesn’t deserve moments of your time. There are some things that are better for you to let go.

4)  Be objective. It is easy to get fired up when people disrespect you. Who wouldn’t be upset over covert racism? However, as much as you can, try to remove your emotions out of what is happening (especially if you decide to proceed with the following steps), and just remember the facts of what happened. This will especially key if you escalate your issue to a higher authority. When you are objective, you are still able to describe how the incident(s) caused you to feel and impacted your life.

5) Document. Keep a record of indiscretions that are occurring. It helps to have documentation whenever possible. Documentation in the form of emails, voicemails, and other things that can be tracked can provide evidence of microaggression.

6) Higher education and more job experience. Having both traits go a long way. Education can never be taken away from you. Your experience is unique and adds to your perspective and your ability to do your job. Higher education and training can be difficult to dispute. Be confident about both qualities as you have worked hard, and there are times when your voice needs to be heard. Remind those that question your abilities of what you bring to the table.

7) Check-in with your supervisor or manager regularly. It helps to keep a running dialogue with your manager or supervisor about your work performance. Even with microaggressive leadership, ongoing meetings can be helpful and provide information about their attitude and their perception of your work quality and ethic. If the information provided is contradictory, it still provides useful information about leadership, your job role, and the next steps you should take with respect to your role within the company. It can be helpful to take notes during the meeting and email your notes afterwards to those who were present.

8) Connect with like-minded peers. Connecting with peers who are supportive and who have witnessed the microaggressions can help to alleviate stress. If you have peers that are trustworthy, utilize them to discuss the issue, and problem-solve how the issue can be addressed. There is strength in numbers.

9) Invest in mentorship or therapy. It is always helpful to have an objective support system. This can be provided in the form of a mentor or therapy. They provide support, feedback, suggestions, and help you with reality-testing and gauging the microaggressions. It is importance to find someone who is culturally sensitive to issues such as microaggressions and other common concerns of African American women.

10) De-stress. It is important to have ways in which you can decrease your stress both in/outside of your work. Finding ways to manage your stress at work can help to ease the tension so that you can get through the workday. Some examples of managing stress at work can include taking short-breaks, positive self-affirmations, talking to a peer, or listening to music. It’s also helpful to remember that you have an identity outside of work. Be sure to plan activities that you will look forward when you are done with work.

11) Talk to the person who is microaggressive. Explore this option only if you feel safe to do so. Sometimes, people can truly say things without truly meaning to be offensive or harmful to you. It may be an issue that can be rectified by discussing it with the person who was offensive.

12) Escalate your issue. If you are invested in your job, or you feel that the microaggressions which are committed against you have caused you a considerable amount of harm, then you should research and potentially escalate the issue to upper level management. When attempting to resolve the issue, information should be presented, and reported according to the appropriate person according to the chain of command. It’s also helpful to document dates, times, person’s you spoke with, the type of communication, and what was communicated, and why you reported the issue to the person that you reported it to. Should microaggression continue, or you are retaliated against, you may want to report the issue to an outside person, such as the governing body of your employer, corporate office, office of employment or labor board, or an attorney.

Disclaimer: This content was written for educational purposes only and is not meant to be definitive or utilized in place of therapy with a licensed professional. Each situation is unique and may not be applicable to every reader. Please use your discretion when using tips and suggestions in this article. This was written by Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC; and should not be reproduced without consent of the writer.

Black women succeeding and prevailing against microaggression in corporate America.

© 2019 Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC

Working While Black – 9 Signs of Microaggression in the Workplace against African American Women

Working While Black – 9 Signs of Microaggression in the Workplace against African American Women

A common stressor that occurs among African American women in a workplace is microaggression.  Microaggression is defined as a subtle statement, action, or incident which discriminates and is prejudicial against a racial or ethnic minority and is often utilized to make people of color feel inferior. It is often overlooked or dismissed by White counterparts, because the aggression is not always obvious nor is it obvious how it causes the person who is being aggressed against feel. Here are some signs that you are experiencing microaggression on your job.

1) It doesn’t feel good going to work. Your body is typically going to alert you in several different ways when something or someone isn’t good to or for you mentally, spiritually, psychologically, or physically. The way in which this shows up with respect to microaggression is that you dread going to work, and the feeling intensifies over time. This may show up in ways which you dismiss or minimize initially. Some signs to look for are inability or reluctance to get out of bed, anxiety, depression, or feeling stressed or lack of motivation when thinking about your job, avoidance of certain people and situations. This is your body’s attempt to alert you that you don’t feel as though work is a safe space.

2) African American women are referred to as aggressive or hostile when expressing job concerns that goes against the toxic workplace mentality or management. African American women who advocate and express concerns are often referred to as aggressive or hostile – which is a condescending way to describe someone opinion that you may not agree with. It is also utilized as a control tactic to try and demonize someone with good intentions and has a desire to bring about positive change in the workplace. This tactic is utilized to make someone become more submissive by suggesting that they are a bad person or that they are difficult to be around. This also encourages triangulation, where more than 1 person is encouraged to align with non-Black counterparts against the woman of color. This tactic is an attempt to make a black woman feel inferior, that her opinion/voice doesn’t matter, disliked, or as though her job may be in jeopardy for expressing a valid or different opinion or concern.

3) White counterparts reword your ideas and opinions and are praised and given credit for originality. It can be a magical occurrence really – your idea or opinion that you expressed, which wasn’t well received by management or no one cared to acknowledge, is expressed by a White colleague who is treated as though their train of thought is new and genius. Absolutely nothing changed was changed from the idea that you came up with except for the race of the next person who re-stated it. When trying to reclaim credit for your idea, it falls on deaf ears. It can be an additional shock, when the person who restated your idea or point is actually aggressive, yet their aggressiveness is not addressed.

4) Feeling invisible. In the predominantly White workspace, it can seem as though you don’t even exist when you aren’t acknowledged. When an African American woman speaks to a White co-worker, and doesn’t get a response (e.g. saying good morning, and not receiving any acknowledgment back). What’s more, is the co-worker will speak to others in the room with no issue. n that occurs when you speaking to White counterparts where it seems as though you are non-existent.  Another example of African American women being ignored on the job, is when their emails and other communications are consistently ignored by management.

5) Guardedness or the perception that you are being scrutinized more. Often African American women feel the need to be guarded and hold their work to a higher standard. There is often the perception that your work is being scrutinized more or the threshold is lower for job termination. Some women feel that their work is also reviewed closer or more scrutinized than their counterparts. This perception comes from comments, warnings, emails, and documents advising that their work needs to be reviewed or modified in some way. Another form of microaggression, is when management may go to another non-Black and requests for them to give feedback about the African American woman’s work performance or behavior. This can also be viewed as triangulation. Because there is a concern about excessive scrutiny, African American women often overcompensate by doing extra work.

6) There is refusal to address you by your title, role, or work role given is often inappropriate. Another form of microaggression occurs when non-African American coworkers or managers refuse to address African American women who have a higher degree, such as PhD or MD, by their title instead referring to them as Ms. By refusing to call an African American woman by her title, it considered disrespectful and it is a power and control tactic, designed to make them feel inferior or level the dynamics to make the non-African American co-worker feel equal. Still other Black women experience being assigned inferior work roles that allow them to maximize their potential. Thus African American women are passed over for leadership opportunities, and higher paying jobs.

7) Inappropriate comments made about hair, attire, names, mannerisms African American women among colleagues. African American culture is one where in which the public is scrutinizing and tries to conform to White standards of culture. There are still students being expelled from schools for wearing their hair in locks, and there were also recent news reports of teachers cutting off a student’s braids. It is not uncommon for African American women’s hair, names, speech, and style of dress to be discussed in a condescending manner among work peers. Questions asked about their differences can also be shameful in nature. Examples of insensitive comments about African American women’s hair include: “is your real,” “can I touch your hair,” “how much does it cost to do your hair?”

8) Cultural differences are seldom addressed. There is education on cultural sensitivity of marginalized groups in most workplaces. However, in those discussions of cultural sensitivity or competence as it is frequently referred to – African American women are infrequently referenced in groups in which people need to be more sensitive or appropriate to.

9) Little support is offered when there is racial disparity or discrimination experienced on the job. When the ideas of racial differences or aggression is brought up by those who have experienced it, experiences are dismissed, or no one wants to discuss those experiences for fear that there is too much controversy around racial matters.

Despite African American women experiencing microaggression on the job, they are still very resilient. It’s unfortunate that microaggression is something that is still an issue of discomfort for people of color, however the more that we start safe conversations around the issue, the more we can address it.

Disclaimer: This blog was written for educational purposes only and is not meant to be definitive or utilized in place of therapy with a licensed professional. This blog was written by Dr. Natalie Jones, and cannot be reproduced without consent of the writer.

© 2019 Dr. Natalie Jones, PsyD, LPCC