The Great Disconnect: Why Black Women Struggle Raising Daughters Who Struggle To Love Mama

The Great Disconnect: Why Black Women Struggle Raising Daughters Who Struggle To Love Mama

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about the relationships that Black mothers and daughters have with one another. We began to talk about the interesting relationship dynamic that seemed to be a familiar and similar one from woman to woman. Comparing our own relationships and experiences with our mothers, I got to thinking…

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

You have to go back a few generations in order to understand the mindset and the type of teachings our grandmothers and great-grandmothers were taught by their own mothers.  A lot of our grandmothers, who were/are victims of incest, sexual abuse and molestation, were blamed for the actions of their abuser. They were told that they were being fast, even though they were only 8 years old and just sitting in their room playing with their dolls… they shouldn’t have been that’s what fast girls do. Many times, often times, they were being offered up to their mothers boyfriends/husbands in exchange for “some” thing. This abuse came by the hands of men in their immediate families, men who were supposed to be their protectors: uncles, cousins, even their own fathers and grandfathers. They weren’t told that it wasn’t their fault. They weren’t taught, as we try to teach our daughters today, that there was nothing they could have done differently that could have prevented these things from happening to them. They weren’t taught to “speak up”. They were taught to accept the blame and carry the shame.

Their mothers, our great-grandmothers, blamed them for seducing their husbands and their boyfriends. They were forced into silence to keep from shaming the family and… themselves. Never bring disgrace to the family name (because, yanno, being abused or accusing someone in your family of abusing you was shameful). Our grandmothers were damaged mentally, emotionally, and physically and as a result, when they grow up and had children of their own they passed down those same lessons to the next generation (our mothers and fathers).

Our grandmothers embraced and coddled their sons and protected them in the same manner that their mothers protected and coddled the men in their lives.  When our grandmothers looked at their daughters they saw a reflection of themselves. It hurt. It was painful. It was a reminder of everything they endured as a growing woman and it angered them. No one ever taught them how to deal with their emotions or how to deal with their pain or their hurt. So they took it out on their daughters. It was their mission to break their girls the way their mothers broke them. So they took those same lessons and burned them into their daughters and when their daughters had their own daughters…the cycle continued.

In all of this…the sons…the boys just slide on through the cracks and granted all of the room to spread their fuckboyism across the valley with little to no repercussions and as a result…we now have fully grown men who completely lack accountability because history has taught them that men don’t get punished or held accountable. We call them “mamas boys”. 


If a girl comes home pregnant, it’s her fault. Automatically, no questions asked. She shouldn’t have been having sex. Period.  She was being fast. She was trying to act grown. She is reprimanded and sometimes kicked out of her home…by…her mother. But on the flip side, when that mothers son comes home in the same scenario, the first thing said mother does is question the possibility of the baby being his. She tells him about “these thots” out here and how these “hoes aint shit”.  She immediately begins to alleviate all responsibility right off the bat. She has already dismissed the girls claim, called her a liar and has taught her son not to trust women. So when the same young boy grows up and continues to get girl after girl after girl pregnant he has now been taught to automatically deny any responsibility for his actions because, you know these girls be lying and it’s probably not mine anyway.

His mama taught him that.

Because she doesn’t trust women.

Because the women in her life failed her.

Right now we have 3 generations fighting for control.

–          Generation 1 (our mothers) who are still clinging on to the lessons that they were taught by their mothers because that’s all that know.

–          Generation 2 (my gen) – who is still trying to find a balance between the lessons that we were taught and coming to our own, because we realize that a lot of the lessons we learned are problematic and damaging.

–          Generation 3 (our girls) – who are completely free (being raised to be free) and fighting for their own right to individuality.

No unity = struggle. 

Issue 2 (which piggy backs off issue 1):

We are taught at very young ages that other Black women are a threat to us. Even in our own homes. Light vs Dark. Fat vs skinny. Who is more athletic? Who has better grades? Who is the prettier sister? We aren’t 2 weeks out the twat yet before someone is trying to “compare” baby photos to see who has the “prettiest baby”.

In addition to that there is a trickle down affect. The Black man can’t fight his oppressor (which is more than often himself and not the “man”) so he takes it out on (his) Black women. Since Black women are theoretically “the lowest” on the totem pole, we have no one under us to project on which leaves us with no one other than each other to fight with…and again, the closest women to us (besides our mothers) is our daughters.

So, it goes like this:

– Black man gets beating down by his oppressor (which is sometimes his damn self)

– Black man gets frustrated then beats down the Black woman and blames the Black woman for everything that has ever gone wrong in his life

– The Black woman has no one that is “beneath her” so she turns her attention to other Black women…starting with her daughter. Because if it weren’t for you “basic bitches and hoes” Black men would love and appreciate her more.

We have been conditioned to compete.

There’s an unspoken fear that a lot of Black women have. They fear aging and being “undesirable”.  So, that’s when the competition comes in. Trying to out dress your daughter, intentionally dating men WAY too young. Young enough to date your daughter and in some cases sleeping with the men your daughter dates.

As non-WOC get older they are looked at (generally) as more desirable. They are given cute names like “Cougars”. 

When Black women (and WOC) get old they are viewed as “disgusting” by Black men. Older Black men don’t want to date a woman their age (or in their age range) They want young, fresh 18 year old meat (See: R.Kelly).

On the flip side, you then have young Black men who actively pursue women that are older than they are…significantly. Like seriously dude…I am 31, you are 22…what am I going to do with you?! Go away! When I see this, I immediately think “mommy issues”. And with all these men running around complaining about being “nice guys”  who can’t seem to win and telling women what they need to do to be worthy of having a man, the need for approval is at an all time high. Especially for older women who are unmarried, never been married and want to get married.

Black Girls grow up to have beef with their mothers because we grow up in homes where our mothers are not affectionate with us. Our mothers are not gentle or soft with us. There’s very much a “no love lost” relationship between mothers and daughters. In general our mothers raised us. Our mothers did what they needed to do to get us through but there was no empathy for us growing up. So we go through life carrying that with us. Being hard and trying to adhere to the lessons that we were taught growing up.

Men on the other hand don’t typically grow up to hate or dislike their mothers. Even the worst mom will get the love and the affection of her son and the reason is because men are coddled and guided through life by their mothers. So much so that when they grow up and become what by society standards is an adult m”a”n they are so angry with the world because the world is not treating them in the same manner that their mom has been treating them. They are used to getting their way. They are used to being catered too and taken care of. They are used to being absolved of any and all responsibility and accountability that they grow up expecting the rest of the world to treat them like that.

“We” dont have it like that. We are taught from an early age that everything IS our fault and anything good or bad is a direct result of our actions and our actions alone. Black men are coddled and sheltered with an “understanding” that the game has already been rigged to see them fail. “The man”, the “system”, women, jobs, education...none of it was made with them in mind (which is true but thats not the point). If something doesn’t go their way or something happens in their life the first instinct of most m”e”n is to place blame on some other person or persons in order to explain why they specifically are unable to “can”.

Women, on the other hand, are raised with an understanding that it is our responsibility to “make shit happen” and no one on this earth is going to give us a thing. We are raised with the understanding that we have to “earn” everything that we acquire and if it is unreachable it is directly related to and as a result of “our” laziness and inability to perform to standard.

Its only been in the last year or two that Black women (specifically - no Sally this isnt your conversation) have begun using the words, “I deserve...” and even still there are still a high number of Black women who still believe that if she doesn’t damn near kill herself trying to “get it”, she is unworthy of whatever it is she is trying to achieve.

This is the reason why you will see such a high number of black women who are by definition classified as “over achievers” and why so many men cant seem to “get it together”.


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