The Five Stages of Black Woman Grief, Part 2: Bargaining and Depression

This post is meant to continue where the first part left off.


Stage Three: The Bargaining Black Woman


As stated in the first part, the “five stages of grief” for black women tend to not happen in any particular order. Some women begin at this stage. Others move from “denial” to this stage. But like denial or anger, the traits exhibited by black women who are at the bargaining stage are all too familiar. For example:


“I know there has been a lot of wrong done on both sides. Black men walk away a lot, but then black women have a lot of nasty attitudes, too. Who wants to be around that? Both black men and women need to do more to help each other. If black women can just get over their anger and stop being bitter, it will help make things easier for everyone. We do a lot, but black women are strong. Sometimes too strong. We got to let black men be men, and help them take the lead in the community. Black women are still part of the community. We can’t just walk away and leave our people in ruin. They need us.”



“Yes, I’ve thought about dating outside my race. But I just feel like there are still good black men out there and I don’t want to miss my chance at true black love. Black women tend to be too demanding, and it’s not like other men can put up with our ish like a brotha. Everyone wants a black man cause they got it going on, so it’s hard. But good things are worth waiting for, right?



While you could argue that the second comment is a type of denial, ultimately these both represent bargaining behaviors. The first is the obvious “if black women did ______, things would change” form of bargaining that tries to convince black women that somehow, despite pulling most of the load in the black community, they STILL are not doing enough. This mentality often ignores the reality and imagines that there is a level and fair playing field full of rules to be abided and awards that will be given out. But this simply is not true. The black community is largely skewed against black women, and no matter what you offer or “bargain” with yourself or others, there are no rewards coming.

As for the second, many black women bargain that if they follow certain “rules”, they are guaranteed a piece of black man, or a whole one if they are lucky and good enough.

There are black women who have married black men and have good marriages. However those relationships were not built on bargaining-behaviors, but rather compatibility, mutual love and respect. Bargaining-behaviors will lead to relationship failure or unhappiness black women who exhibit them are eager to ignore red flags and will overlook unacceptable treatment and qualities. They “barter” their happiness not based on proper vetting, but because they want a black man, and any kind of black man will do.


When it comes to community obligation and dating within the black community, black women are left in a terrible position. Everyone knows it, except black women at the denial stage. Black women who are at the bargaining stage recognize it a bit more, but are not fully prepared to accept it and  put their best interests first.


 Stage Four: The Depressed Black Woman


The depressed black woman is a popped balloon: All the air went out of her and her tattered pride is lying on the floor in pieces.

This stage lacks the fire of anger, but can still be quite a doozy and very hard to escape. That’s primarily do to the sense of helplessness and hopelessness involved. If you are a person that gets all your pride from how another group is supposed to feel about you, what happens to your pride when you find out they HATE you? If you are expected to turn to “your people” for help but they won’t help you because you as a black woman are meant to carry the load, how helpless would you feel?

Then there’s that ugly matter of praising to high heaven the femininity and beauty of all other women while telling black women everywhere that their unique beauty is less than dirt.

For the depressed black woman all the hurt and agony exists endlessly, because they don’t understand that love and approval will not be forthcoming from the negative hate-filled sources they’ve turned to for validation.

This is a terrible way to be, because it’s often unnecessary. It’s a reality that such women have allowed other people to shape for them. Breaking away from this stage often means changing your mind about who you are and what your value is. And then changing the type of people who you allow around you.



Coming up in Part 3: Acceptance – What it IS and what it ISN’T…

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