EXCLUSIVE: Tanika Ray Explains The Trauma Of ‘Never’ Hearing Her Mother Say I Love You

The entertainment reporter became emotional during an upcoming episode of 'Red Table Talk.'

Entertainment reporter Tanika Ray is opening up about how her strained relationship with her mother negatively affected her upbringing.

“The way I was mothered was unsatisfactory,” Tanika shared on the upcoming episode of Red Table Talk. “My mother and I just don’t speak the same language. We don’t agree on the sky color, we don’t agree on anything.”

The California-born beauty went on to reveal to hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris that her “cries for help were ignored, criticized, and othered.”

She further explained, “When you have an emotional child that needs to be heard, it’s dangerous. I learned at a young age not to depend on her but when I had a child, that’s when this ghost voice comes out of nowhere,” she shared while expressing confusion when she finds herself speaking in her mother’s tones. “Why am I using that voice? That aggressive voice that then made me coward. My daughter said to me at age six, ‘Mommy, why don’t you and Grammy hug?’ [That] broke my heart.”

Tanika continued her emotional testimony by adding, “Appearances are really important to my family, but there was no intimacy or love in the house. I always call myself a survivor because I was so depressed. I started drinking when I was fourteen, so I want to make sure that my daughter doesn’t try to escape me going forward and she knows I’m a safe space.”

In the heartfelt conversation, Tanika shared that she came to the realization that she had “Mother Hunger.”

According to Kelly McDaniel, trauma psychologist and author of Mother Hunger, there are three important developmental needs for all children: nurturing, protection, and guidance. Without it, it can lead to feelings of loneliness.

Unfortunately, Tanika says she was missing these pillars. She also revealed she was “never” told she was loved by her mother. “It’s 1000% so painful to think about considering I have my own daughter. That’s a whole other type of pain,” she said. “My grandmother, my mother’s mother died unexpectedly when my mother was two months away from delivering me [...] I was born into grief and sadness.”

“It’s so core to Mother Hunger that you brought up shame. Here’s how our brains work as little girls; if our mother is somehow compromised, she’s traumatized and therefore she can’t care for us. The message we get isn’t something is wrong with mom. The message we get is something is wrong with me that she can’t love me. We don’t ever stop loving her. We just don’t learn to love us and that is the shame that’s core in Mother Hunger.”

For healing, Tanika confessed that she mothers herself. “Every day I work on it,” she declared.

This emotional episode of Red Table Talk will stream Wednesday, May 25 on Facebook Watch.

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