Jada Pinkett Smith is opening up about the ways in which the death of her grandmother affected her relationships.
On the latest episode of Red Table Talk, Pinkett Smith interviewed psychologist Kelly McDaniel about her latest book Mother Hunger, which explores the ramifications of dysfunction in maternal bonding. Smith, who co-hosts the Facebook Watch series with her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris and her daughter Willow Smith, explained that she had a difficult time navigating life after the death of her grandmother, who she felt was a pillar of safety and protection for her.
"Once she was gone, there was no safety," said Pinkett Smith, who was 13 when her grandmother died. "So then I went into the world to create my own safety."
Following Pinkett Smith's grandmother's death, Banfield-Norris, who battled heroin addiction and has been sober for more than three decades, fell deeper into substance abuse, leaving her less available to care for her daughter.
The Girls Trip star, 50, added that she had to "deal with a lot of stressful adult things at a young age" and that she didn't have the "ability to deal with the emotions that were coming with it."
"Those women that you see [who] you think are so strong, there's this terrified girl underneath. And that's me," she said.
Smith shared that the experience made her seek out "protection" in other areas of her life.
"That's my biggest wound that comes out in all my relationships," she said. "I've looked for the craziest kinds of protection. I don't have a really good sense of what's safe, and what's not. I'm either extremely protective or extremely defensive."
In an April episode of Red Table Talk, Smith spoke about struggling to help daughter Willow manage her anxiety.
"You just get used to figuring out how to keep yourself safe in these environments and I try to tell people all the time, most of us grow up in war zones," she said. "And I did not even really realize that until my life changed when I started to look at how my kids were growing up versus me."
Smith explained that she later realized that she, too, was suffering from the same mental health issue as her daughter.
"In having to deal with and learn about her anxiety, I've had to look at some of my own behavior and behaviors of my mother and go, 'Well, of course, I probably would have some anxiety in regards to how I grew up,'" Smith shared at the time. "It was very difficult."
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