Lesson 1: “When the Angry Black Woman Is You! Post Traumatic Love Disorder?”
“Ever since I learned there was something called a colored girl, an evil woman, a bitch or a nag, I’ve been trying not to be that. Leave bitterness in somebody else’s cup.” ~Ntozake Shange
“You sure didn’t get that angry black woman gene!” he said, grinning.
“Angry black woman gene?” I repeated. He was bold for a first date. I moved my silver stilettos under the table.
“Yeah,” he explained. “All the black woman I meet seem pissed.”
Of course, every sister reading this is asking, how dare he?! Unfortunately, this man was not alone. I have heard this (often) from love coaching clients.
Homeboy didn’t see me a few years earlier.
When my marriage ended I was woeful -- and mad as hell. My heart was shattered. I was in real emotional pain and saw no way out. It felt like it was me against the world. I didn’t go as far as declaring that I didn’t need a man, but I proceeded as if ‘I could do bad by myself’ and ended up hurting others.
So, hell yeah, I was angry. I am also black, a woman and human.
Hollywood tries to stereotype us as an angry black monolith. Our dignified first lady can barely look down at her nails without folks calling it an eye roll.
So what happens when we are angry, black and bitter. Often nothing. We heap hurt on top of pain on top of heartbreak. We lead with our righteous scabs, unable to let love out -- or in. We either attract men who are vibrating at the same low level of energy or we can’t accept those coming to us with something different.
When anger is your shield it becomes a wall. This looks different depending on who’s experiencing it. Some women are pissed at the world. Others turn the anger inward as depression. We live it as chronic stress and anxiety or try to stuff it down with food, drugs, sex, alcohol and even religion.
After I noticed this very real trauma in enough of my relationship coaching clients I gave it a name: “PTLD, Post Traumatic Love Disorder.” Soldiers as well as assault and rape victims experience PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a normal reaction after surviving the traumatic ravages of life-changing war.
PTLD occurs after a devastating love event, an incident that may trigger childhood issues. We feel betrayed, broken or abandoned. Then we take this energy forward, living and dating like love zombies and the walking wounded.
So how do you heal for the sake of your spirit and future relationships?
Here’s how to move forward:
1. Learn how to feel your feelings.
We are terrified to really feel our feelings. We fear that if we lean into the anger, sadness, loneliness, that we’ll never make it out. I am asking you to have faith in Something Greater Than You that you will. If you’ve been through a devastating breakup you need to first grieve the loss. The pain is similar to drug withdrawal because the chemicals our bodies create in love are opiates. Cry, scream, yell, feel it out.
2. Practice extreme self care.
You have experienced a trauma. You need to get grounded, connected and back into your body. It takes time before a bombed out shell can be a bombshell again. Re-parent yourself. Your parents did the best they could but now it’s your turn. Practice self compassion with healthy eating, yoga, meditation or a new dance class.
3. Give yourself closure with forgiveness.
Healing takes time. You may not ever understand why a situation took place. It’s not your job to interpret someone else’s behavior. Your objective is getting back to being the best you. For your mental health you will (eventually) need to forgive anyone else involved. However, you need to first take responsibility for your choices in the situation and forgive yourself.
4. Choose connection over isolation.
Post Traumatic Love Disorder can feel like you’re in the middle of a tornado. If you focus only on your problems you will keep going around in the tornado. You have to see the outside to free yourself.
Sadness causes many of us to retreat. We stay alone with our sorrows then lash out. This is the wrong approach. Of course you don’t want to weigh down those around you but your loved ones want to have your back.
5. Get help, chica.
If someone pokes you and venom comes out, it’s not because they poked you. It’s because that’s what was inside of you. Find a therapist, coach or support group to help you.
Heal this hurt so that you can have a healthy, loving, romantic relationship moving forward with a partner who deserve the true queen that is you!
This Week’s Homework:
Complete these questions in a notebook. You may want to form a Love School Playgroup with your friends to do these assignments.
Take 5 deep, cleansing breaths to get centered and begin.
1. What love traumas am I carrying around? Who am I still a “victim” of?
2. Who would I be if this never happened?
3. Because it is too painful I avoid feeling...
4. If I released this victimhood I might...
5. The kind of love I deserve is...
Healing Affirmation: “I am worth loving.”
Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, evolved sexuality and getting the love we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to JET and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Find love class worksheets, advice videos, coaching, and more at “Abiola’s Love University www.AbiolaTV.com. Email questions to kissandtell@abiolaTV.com or tweet @abiolaTV or #loveclass.