Through my journey, I've been fortunate to connect with friends and clients whose parents migrated to the West during the 60s and 70s. These interactions have painted for me a vivid portrait of the nuanced challenges faced by this particular generation.
Let me share the story of Riya.
Riya was born and raised in the U.S., the daughter of Indian parents who immigrated in the 1970s. From a young age, she observed the time-warp her parents were ensnared in - a version of "Indian Culture" that was reminiscent of the 70s, and not quite the contemporary India she would come to visit.
Visiting her cousins in India, she found herself feeling out of place. While her American upbringing made her feel too "Indian" in the eyes of her American peers, she found that her cousins in India seemed more Westernized than she did.
This dual-identity struggle was exacerbated when she started her own family. Living with her in-laws post-marriage, the experience was a double-edged sword. While she was showered with support during her pregnancy and early motherhood, the patriarchal structure took a toll. Fertility issues further strained her marriage, with her husband's inability hold this duality in a coherent way with his parents further causing conflict. Riya named this phase the 'post-childbirth valley of patriarchy. She would experience heart palpitations everytime the phone rang, and it took away from precious bonding with their child although she was always physically present in the early years. Her high-achievement self excelled at work after she got back, but at the same time she was burnt out.
Unfortunately, their young daughter began showing signs of stress, and exhibiting behavioral issues at school. It was evident that the intergenerational trauma was trickling down. The guilt weighed heavily on Riya.
I met Riya during this tumultuous period. She was searching for a therapist who not only understood trauma from an interpersonal and marital perspective but the unique cultural aspects of her experience and most importantly her high-achievement traits with precision and nuance.
This is where my expertise sets me apart. While there are many other somatic experts, I can offer an understanding of the cultural elements that interplay with trauma, giving a unique form of attunement and witnessing that straddles individual identity on one end and a collective identity on the other and help you locate yourself within this confusing mix.
Riya's story is not isolated. I've encountered countless individuals grappling with these cultural dichotomies. It's essential to recognize that trauma doesn't only manifest from overtly traumatic events. Sometimes, it's the subtle, everyday experiences, often compounded by cultural dynamics, that can leave the most profound scars.
If you find your story resonating with any of these elements, I want to extend my hand and say, "I see you, and I understand." Together, we can navigate the complex journey of identity and healing, grounded in cultural sensitivity and compassion.
Choose understanding. Choose empathy. Choose to heal with someone who truly knows the intricacies of your journey.
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