Many children of immigrants experience hidden grief or disenfranchised grief that is not acknowledged by society or the systems we live in. Here are things you may need to process grief around as it relates to family, identity, friendships, romantic relationships, & stigma >>
You may grieve lost oral history or inaccessible generational stories because parents/elders don't want to talk about it. You may grieve entire relationships you weren't able to have or sustain because extended family lived far or you couldn't communicate in a shared language.
You may grieve the years your internalized shame took from you -- years you turned your back on parts of your identity or where you are from. You may grieve a loss of your language, roots, traditions, and heirlooms that were left behind in your parents migration.
You may grieve your childhood experiences and apologies you'll never get for situations you were put in. You may grieve not having access to your community because it's not available where you live or because you are not welcomed because of the choices you've made.
You may grieve what your siblings or cousins had access to that you did not. You may grieve the fact that you've lived entire lifetimes without your parents' knowledge that consisted of secret romantic love and secret romantic heartbreak/loss.
You may grieve heartaches in friendship that are not recognized because your family doesn't believe in their importance. You may secretly grieve experiences that are stigmatized in your family, culture, or society like infertility, divorce, or suicide.
You may carry grief that was passed down from your parents' traumas or because of what wars, imperialism, or colonialism took from your ancestors. You may witness your parents' grief of what they left behind, absorb it, and help them carry the weight as an immigrant kid does.
Peel back the layers of your grief. Consider creating a grieving ritual that allows you to express or feel what you have not allowed yourself to express or feel -- dance, scream, create a memento, write a letter, or so on. & find support where you can share your grief w/ others🌱

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More from @SahajKohli

16 Dec 20
Many children of immigrants have access to resources our parents didn't have, and prioritizing healing & growth is great & all... but can we please talk about what it REALLY feels like -- and how incredibly painful & hard it can be -- to emotionally outgrow your parents & family?
You love them but you can't heal them. You love them but you understand things in ways they don’t have language for. You love them but you're left having to rationalize their behaviors while simultaneously working through how it may be affecting you.
We constantly grapple with how our parents are not necessarily the enemy (this doesn’t include all family dynamics of course), & as such, many children of immigrants learn over and over and over again how to practice extreme empathy & understanding for others’ shortcomings.
Read 5 tweets
10 Oct 20
ONE in FOUR children in the U.S. has at least one foreign-born parent. So for World Mental Health Day, I want to highlight the unique mental health struggles that immigrant children & bicultural folks, like me, can experience at the intersection of our two differing cultures >>
1. In one culture we may be taught that seeing a therapist and/or talking about our mental health struggles is selfish and shameful, and in our other culture, we are taught that caring for our mental health is a sign of courage and bravery.
2. In one culture we're taught that groupthink -- or maintaining the harmony of, making decisions as, & considering the betterment of a group/family/community -- is most important, and in our other culture we are often encouraged to nurture our individuality & our self-efficacy.
Read 10 tweets
1 Sep 20
For children of immigrants, it's not uncommon to develop self-sabotaging behaviors for various reasons. >>

1. You may have been told that you're one thing or that you should be or do one thing, so now you may try to make your life work in that box, even if it doesn't feel right.
2. You may have grown up in a household where you had to learn to be comfortable with instability, so now as an adult you set your own upper limit potential -- or your own comfort for success -- that inhibits your growth.
3. You may have been told to do things well or don't do them at all. So at the first sight of a hiccup, mistake, or roadblock, you just give up altogether because it feels like you're a failure.
Read 10 tweets
3 Aug 20
While this is not an exhaustive list, here are 10 benefits of going to therapy for children of immigrants >>
1. Therapy can help you navigate your bicultural identity, multiple cultures, and the differing norms, values, and expectations.

2. It can provide a confidential, productive space to vent and work through struggles without fear of your community finding out.
3. Therapy can help you manage, and heal from, generational and unspoken trauma.

4. You can learn to explore your need and desire for boundaries in your relationships and how to effectively set and hold them in a way that works for you.
Read 6 tweets
11 May 20
Happy Mother’s Day to the immigrant moms who left their own homes before they even knew themselves and moved across the world w/ partners they may not have known very well only to birth life in a new country and plant roots in an unknown land.
Happy Mother’s Day to the immigrant moms who nurtured their children’s growth regardless of where it would take us. The ones who spent their whole lives putting themselves last, catering to our every whim, and making our everyday lives easier, often without appreciation.
Happy Mother’s Day to the immigrant moms who found their own voice by nurturing their children’s. The ones who argued with our fathers so we could have the freedoms they never experienced themselves. The ones who never felt strong but were adamant on raising strong women.
Read 4 tweets
1 May 20
For children of immigrants, there's a number of reasons why it may be difficult to show up wholly and authentically in your everyday life and relationships. >>
1. You may not have been taught how to handle failure or setbacks and/or you may not have been taught that quitting, walking away, or saying no can be acts of strength. These may manifest themselves as you "powering through" even when it's unhealthy or you're unhappy.
2. You may have been (and may still be) constantly compared to your peers so it may be difficult to genuinely support others' success without it feeling like you failed in some capacity. Or this may manifest itself as struggling to trust others to hold your own ideas & goals.
Read 10 tweets

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