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Forums / Multicultural experiences / Slight trauma from childhood racism?

Topic: Slight trauma from childhood racism?

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. I don't even know
    I don't even know avatar
    176 posts
    28 July 2019

    Hi all,

    This is kind of random but has anyone else here been through racist incidents that have really hurt them or had a domino effect on the rest of their lives. I'm half Japanese, half English but born and raised in Australia. I was asked by a mental health professional recently about any events in my childhood which may have lead to who I am and my mental state now. I couldn't think of this at the time but now I keep thinking about this time when I was in Kindergarten/Prep/(the year before grade 1 whatever you want to call it) and I had a teacher who everyone hated. Me and this other boy were the only half Asians and she treated us both like crap. I remember three specific incidents where she made me feel worthless, stupid, idiotic and even made me cry a few times.

    I was four and now I have a feeling it has destroyed my school experience and cultural identity immensely. Can anyone relate or have any advice to get over it?

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Peppermintbach
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Peppermintbach avatar
    4566 posts
    28 July 2019 in reply to I don't even know

    Hello,

    Thanks so much for sharing some of your struggles. I can definitely relate to some of your experiences. I’m second generation Australian, have mixed Asian heritage and both my parents were migrants.

    It sounds like that teacher’s behaviour has (understandably) had a very lasting impact on you. I feel saddened to hear how she made you feel...it sounds like she really upset you and made you feel bad about yourself. I feel your hurt and perhaps even anger/resentment...

    I can relate to how childhood (and event adulthood) incidents can affect a person’s sense of cultural identity or identity. I spent most of my life rejecting my cultural heritage, because I felt a lot of people around me (some peers and even much older adults) rejected or didn’t like that part of me. Even though many people were (& are) caring and genuinely accepting of different cultures, there are others who sadly aren’t...

    In school, some (not all) of my classmates used to make fun of me for my heritage e.g. name calling, etc. For a long time, I refused to speak my first language outside the family home (and if I had to, it was in a tiny whisper).

    I would also try to hide my lunch, because I was embarrassed by the rice, etc in my lunchbox. Etc...I had internalised some of the views of my classmates, which translated into a sense of “shame” in me for my cultural heritage/cultural identity.

    I wonder if maybe reading through some threads on the Multicultural People forum here, as well as perhaps checking out the Beyondblue resources (for people from a CALD background) might help?

    Also, you’re of course most welcome to write here any time to emotionally unload, chat, etc. There’s no pressure but just know it’s a caring and safe space ;)

    For now, I just want to extend my caring and compassion to you. I, as well as others, understand where you’re coming from...the feelings of inner conflict and hurt are very real. I get it. I really do.

    Kindness and care,

    Pepper

    1 person found this helpful
  3. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9755 posts
    28 July 2019 in reply to I don't even know

    Hi, welcome

    So, "slight trauma" through racism is your experience from childhood that seems to be lingering through adulthood. That must be annoying.

    You don't need racism to experience alienation. Different hair texture, personality that is different and other things can lead to similar trauma. I was the only Australian born student in my class- all of them were of migrant families. So that was reverse racism as they congregated in their ethnic groups and rejected me.

    In 2009 at the age of 53yo I had one psych appointment. during that time I explained my emotions and extreme sensitivity that I'd had most of my life since a teenager. He prodded me for any event that occurred in my childhood- my wife eventually mentioned my brother. Ah, yes, at 12yo I had an older brother that was a diabetic and we were both swimming in a backyard pool. Without going into detail he was ok after the trauma but I had thought he was going to pass away. That event triggered shock and for 3 months I didn't speak- not one word and cried a lot. Then I slowly came out of it.

    I was diagnosed with dysthymia, a low mood constant depression over that event some 41 years later. I also have bipolar.

    The mind is a strange operation and we often don't realise the impact from traumatic experiences can do to us. We also find it hard to "let go" and "move on". This is more a part of our DNA and so we are limited to how we can be cured of all these things. But there are things you can do yourself as well as professional medical help.

    For example - only have in your life people with the golden attitude- Empathy! Some do, some are self centred. 4 years ago for example I helped a school friend (known him for over 45 years) as he was going through a health scare. Then this year I had a family crisis. Yet there was zero support from him, I realized he just didn't have it in him. It was all about him!. This doesn't mean he is toxic and I'll discard him, but it does mean my friendship towards him will be limited because otherwise I'll get hurt and disappointed.

    Close friends will hear you our, be supportive and some you'll have forever.

    Google

    Beyondblue topic fortress of survival

    Beyondblue topic do you cry over spilt milk?

    Beyondblue topic worry worry worry

    TonyWK

    Anxiety for example - I recovered after 22 years of hard devoted exercises and altering my life to fit the recovery- relaxation exercises, moving to the country, getting rid of toxic people and so on.

    1 person found this helpful

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