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I'm NOT Every Woman: The Cost of the Superwoman Complex

Black and Brown women are disproportionately suffering from physical and mental health issues due to putting family, work, church, and community before self. Women of color come from a legacy of proud, strong women who hold it all together. We learned it from observing and admiring our mothers, aunties, grandmothers, and big sisters.

This value system that we have inherited to be selfless and strong has too often come at a huge price. By embracing the identity of caregiver and life preserver, the results can be chronic illness, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, and even premature death for women in our community. Self-neglect is no longer acceptable. When we are not well, our loved ones pay the price.

Communities of color where women were staying at home and supporting one another no longer exist. Balancing work and family is a myth we fool ourselves into believing is achievable. Instead, we must juggle work, family, community, and wellness. And too often we drop the wellness ball. Getting clear about what we need is imperative.

Asking for help may be difficult, but we must accept it to save ourselves, our families, and our communities. This is especially important this time of year when holiday expectations and obligations go along with existing real-life responsibilities. There is still the job, the school, work, the household duties, our extended family needs, shopping, decorating, and trying to make up for this year not being like any other. Feeling overwhelmed is an understatement.

Again, because we value and take pride in our identity or the role we have taken on, we often feel less than when we fall short. Doubting our worthiness creeps into our psyche because of unrealistic expectations.

Valerie Proctor Greene. LCSW

Clinical Director of Operations

TeleHelp 24/7

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