Black Therapist Podcast formerly Black In Therapy host New York Brooklyn Based Psychotherapist Nikita Banks, LCSW discusses her triggers surrounding one special day of the year and the cause–Birthday and Daddy issues.
My name is Nikita Banks and I want to welcome you to another episode of Black In Therapy. Black in Therapy is a podcast where we discussed unique issues people of color face when dealing with mental health issues and mental health diagnosis. If you haven’t yet you can subscribe. You can reach us Soundcloud. You can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, at Black In Therapy sign up to our mailing list at Black in therapy.com.
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So this week is my birthday and what I’ve noticed about myself that my birthday every single year is trigger trigger trigger trigger trigger.
And if you are in the line of fire honey, you are going to get blown away.
So this week my energy level has been ridiculous!
It’s been really crazy I have been all over the place. I would think I was hormonal, outside of the fact that I know for a fact that I’m not.
I really know that the trigger for this emotional disturbance that I’m feeling is the fact that my birthday is here.
For me, my birth date is wrapped up in this idea that I’m going to get my hopes up for people to come and do things in honor me or whatever and I’m gonna be let down.
Or you know so many people call me or like text me your reach out and want to hang out and then I’ll shut down emotionally and won’t accept any of it.
Because either I’m waiting for a grand gesture from somebody in particular or I am shutting down because I don’t want to be disappointed.
So there are many years that I… let my birthday go by where I don’t do anything. And this year is not really all that different. I don’t have any true plans for my birthday outside of the fact that nineteen years ago I had a child on my birthday.
And so he will (also) have his birthday in a few days as will I because it’s the same day and I plan on surprising him at school.
Because there’s nobody I would rather spend my birthday with except for him.
But yeah usually I turn my phone off and I don’t be bothered with anybody because I get so excited about a day of celebrating myself. And somehow I allow someone to rob (me of) that joy to me.
That someone every single year has been my father and I’m grown, growner than grown.
I’m 21 times some and I know that my birthday has been a disappointment every year because my father used to forget it all the time. Not just forget it but he would like to lie. Oh, your gift, it’s in the mail, Oh I mailed it. I think your mother got it. Oh, I left it at so and so’s house.
This became glaringly noticeable for me a few years ago.
So when I was twelve years old it was the first year I had a sleepover for my birthday. And shout out to my Debbie, who was passed away, (she’s) my father’s sister.
I used to always go to her house. And one year on my birthday and she invited me to come over. To spend the night and my cousin Linda had her friends come over and it was my birthday so we had a sleepover.
I’m a little bit of a B-Word. Even at twelve so I was like yeah, I’m having a sleepover but who are these people right?
So I had a sleepover with my cousin’s friends. Some of the friends I knew from the block.
When we woke up from a sleepover my father came over that morning and in my mind, I remember being twelve and I was like, I was twelve going on twenty, seven… thirty at least.
So I remember my father was showing up there. When I got up in the morning he was there and I called him Charles. Because that’s his name. And I was like hey Charles. You know was going on these Hey happy birthday baby girl.
And I was like yeah, thanks where’s the gifts?
Because…I was me even at twelve and so he was all like… “I left it at the house… I was gonna come get it.
But you know what actually I come by to find out what you want.
Well, I want a computer. That’s what I wanted that year from him because I wanna computer you know that’s what I want to give me he said okay No problem now my father had a lot of money. Growing up my father made a lot of money a whole stack of money, like if that was you know umpteen years ago out the money that he made then if I made that right now its a lot of money.
Okay, so I knew him buying me this computer really wasn’t a big deal.
Where I went wrong is I should have just asked him to give me the money. I should have been like give me the money.
And I’ll buy it which, I actually think my aunt did. I think she was like just give me the money and I’ll take her to go get it and he was like, no, no, no I’m going to get it.
Whatever so I’m twelve I believe him. Because why would he lie to me, right?
I don’t know any better. And so I went home that day and to my surprise, my mother threw me a surprise birthday party. Which again I wasn’t that grateful for because she didn’t know any of my friends at school and so she had invited people from my block that I really didn’t like all that much.
So to add to the disappointment gets to know your children and their friends. And that kind of thing.
So anyway I was really happy that my mother had that party, and it was the only party that I remember having in my whole entire life.
And I was just like wow my mother actually did something loving for me like not that she wasn’t that loving but affection was something that we were lacking in the home.
So to be thought about and celebrated on my birthday was something I had never experienced before up until that year.
For me being twelve So anyway that year I asked my father for a computer.
And then we moved to Virginia when we moved to Virginia. I kept asking him that summer, Hey when is the computer coming.
Like what’s going on with the computer and he was out all. I mailed it. It must have got lost in the mail.
It came back, your mother sent it back and this went on for a while. And I remember getting mean, am mad and resentful. I was like really pissed off at my mom. Because I was like how dare she. Now my father loves me, stupid little girl. So I guess this must have gone on for about a year.
Because I’m hopeful and I have my mindset on something at some point in my mind I was like you’re gonna give me that.
You will give me that computer will get that computer. I’m gonna make him, right, not realistic.
But this is this did the stages of grief I guess. The emotions that I was going through at the time.
So I eventually became angry. So obviously, I didn’t get the computer. I had to get over it, ok but whateve.
So fast forward to have to be about five years ago because I remember being in therapy at the time.
My dad can do anything not just because I believe that he can but just because I know that he can. When it comes to like fixing, plumbing, housework, fixing a car, rebuilding engines, like he’s all old man’s man.
Because my grandfather was the old man’s man and I was having car trouble. And I was like you know when my father’s around he wants to be involved in my life. Listen, I need you to come and fix my car, Whatever was going on with my car it has something to do with my computer in the car.
So at first, he was like, I go get the computer and then I’ll do it. I don’t have a problem with fixing it. And then it turned into, I’ll do it next week. I’ll do it in two weeks, all I’m a do it this day and then he was like aw I’ll fix it, but how much you gonna pay me.
I was like I don’t understand…It has gone on so long that it was like alright this is my birthday give me the computer for my birthday.
So I remember vividly like it was yesterday I was at the gas station and I said to this man like you you’re going to charge me for my computer on my birthday. Like just give it to give me. The computer you told me you were going to do it. Just give me the computer it’s my birthday.
And I heard myself, and I was like man you are having the same damn argument decades later. You’re arguing with this man over a computer.
That shook me to my core and I had two get to a point where I’ve learned.
I learned two things I had to let it go and let go of the expectations that I have for this man to do anything, anything for me.
He’s not able to keep his word. He has no integrity and the more I keep expecting him to do things for me. The more disappointed I’m going to be.
And the second thing I learned is that my birthday is ruined his so much bottled up emotions and yearly disappointment surrounding my expectations of what others should do for me on my birthday, that if I kept it up.
I was never gonna be able to have a Happy Birthday.
So as I said nineteen years ago I had my son on my birthday. And uhm, he’s my best gift ever. And so I’m having a little bit of withdrawals.
this is my second year that he’s not home with me on my birthday. I learned how to cook, and bake cakes, and decorate them. And give him a party every year on his birthday.
For the most part, because it was something that I wished my parents were able to do for me.
I celebrated him while celebrating me. In that time so I know for me I’m having a little bit of an emotional disturbance.
Because my birthday’s Tuesday and I can’t make it about anybody else or anything else and I have to feel the feelings that I’m feeling and I know that eventually, I’m going to have to get over this.
But today I’m just telling you about it so the therapist needs a therapist a lot of times and I’ve worked a lot of these, these issues out with my therapist.
And I’ve noticed over the years I transferred that energy and that anxiety about my disappointment to my partner when it became my birthday so much so that I no longer celebrate my birthday. Or Valentine’s day another, one I don’t celebrate those days with people I celebrate those days for myself.
So it’s so strange this month or this two weeks I’ve had a lot of patients who share my birthday either of the same week or the week before.
Like today I went out for lunch by myself and the server it was her birthday so I gave were a big tip because I’m like Hey we Libra’s we have to stick together.
If you are to take anything away from what I’ve said today just be mindful of how you vibrate energy and emotions and feelings around certain days and dates of the year.
I know the holidays can be extremely triggering for a lot of people and definitely going to do some shows about surviving the holidays single.
And surviving the holidays with family, and surviving the holidays alone. But birthdays, valentines days, when friends become engaged baby showers. All of the things that we see now, especially on Facebook.
Facebook could really trigger you if you’re not careful. Social media period but I think Facebook most because you can see.