people of colour

People of Colour and Breaking Generational Trauma

People of Colour (PoC) and Breaking Generational Trauma

It seems as if People of Colour are becoming more aware of their own generational trauma and are striving to heal and change cultural norms, in the hopes of “breaking the cycle.” This trend seems to have started with social media and the access to mental health knowledge on these platforms, in addition to the current mental health awareness culture that is thankfully upon us.

It seems as though PoC are still struggling to progress through their healing as they are often riddled with guilt around facing their feelings of anger, frustration, sadness and shame towards their caregivers. As well as, towards their culture that has perpetuated certain unhelpful behaviours which have caused mental health challenges and relational wounding.

This seems to stem from the narrative that elders (PoC), persistently reiterate through childhood that “you must be grateful, we do a lot for you”, “we provide you with a roof over your head, you have no reason to be sad”, “you’re ungrateful for all that we do for you”. This comes from the elders/caregivers own inability to face their shortcomings as a parent – which instills in the child, that experiencing negative feelings towards their caregivers is not acceptable and often represents a level of ungratefulness.

One of the most persistent themes that are prevalent with PoC, is that of pressure and expectation – often resulting from worries around reputation and status which stems from most collectivist cultures. These pressures infiltrate all aspects of a person’s life such as relationships, sexuality, career and other life decisions. POC are often expected to marry but not date, and thereafter marry someone of the opposite sex, within the same culture, ethnicity, race, religion and even clan.

Furthermore, the pressures around achievement, success, studying certain degrees and getting into specific fields which symbolize status and intelligence, are prevalent. This often leaves an individual basing their entire worth on achievement and struggles to build their identity around anything other than their career.

The challenge around ending these cultural and generational cycles involve, firstly, being in denial that one’s caregivers or culture has affected their mental health, the struggles around guilt, wanting to maintain positive relationships with caregivers you may feel resentment towards, dealing with feelings around unworthiness and not being good enough when choosing a path that is not always going to be accepted, risking being out-casted and isolated from the rest of the community and bringing a level of shame to ones caregivers when going against cultural norms.

Also Read Boundaries In Brown Families

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