Black women have been the backbone of their community so much so that they often forget about the importance of self-care, which oftentimes leaves them on autopilot to endure day-to-day life.

Glenda Boone was disappointed at how distant her relationship with her oldest daughter became after she went from Miss to Mrs, according to Good Morning America. She assumed her firstborn’s new husband was the reason behind the shift, so it was shocking news when it was discovered she was the reason their dynamic changed after a talk with her other daughter Lauren revealed they never felt an emotional connection with her even though everyone lived under the same roof.

“I never thought about taking care of my mental health because my generation was taught when you talked about mental health, you automatically thought mental illness,” Glenda shared with Deborah Roberts during an interview with GMA. “So, for me, it was more of a suppression. From [my time as] a small child, even my emotions, you suppress them. You suck it up.”

The marketing executive naturally assumed being physically present mattered most in the childhood stage, so instead of making sure she was healthy mentally, her focus was supporting her kids by providing them with the necessities to have a functional lifestyle.

Many women in the Black community refer to themselves as superwomen because regardless of the multitude of challenges they face in their environment, they carry themselves in public as if nothing is happening, essentially putting on a strong front. The medical term created to describe this characteristic is superwoman schema, which is when one “projects strength, suppresses emotions, resists feelings of vulnerability and dependence, succeeds despite limited resources, and prioritizes caregiving over self-care,” per the National Institutes of Health.

Due to this, Black women don’t address their internal problems and overlook their mental health. Plus, with the fear of being called “crazy” very prevalent in Black culture when someone reveals they’re in therapy, it doesn’t make it any easier to seek out help. Dr. Zoeann Finzi-Adams, a licensed psychologist and assistant professor at Howard University, spoke on how no one can retain this composure for long without it harming the human body.

“‘Everything that comes my way, I should be able to handle it,'” Dr. Finzi said to GMA when using words to explain the mindset of someone with SWS. “And that’s exhausting because no one is able to do everything. No one is able to, and that is such a big barrier for getting any kind of support.”

To change the trajectory of her relationship with her daughters after discovering the root of estrangement from her eldest, Boone took their recommendation to begin therapy. She didn’t match with a therapist until after a few tries. Once she found a professional that she felt was a safe space, she was able to be comfortable be vulnerable about her life. Being able to express her inner thoughts and traumas provided a new sense of emotional and mental relief.

“I learned how to remove the mask,” the marketing executive explained. “I was allowed to free myself, release myself. The mask of superwoman was mine. I could be all things to all people …. But my daughters let me know, and Lauren in particular … ‘You were there. But you weren’t present.'”

Lauren was excited to see the progress her mother made in therapy because she finally could be more emotional, which is what both daughters always longed for. Despite the eldest daughter not being ready to bridge the gap yet, Boone hopes that she’ll eventually come around for a conversation now that she’s not only taking self-care seriously but also her mental health.

“We think that everything’s fine with our child,” Glenda said. “So, when stuff happens, normally, it’s a crisis, so we think it’s that event that caused it when in actuality, it wasn’t. Our children might have been trying to communicate something to us before and we weren’t listening.”