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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Wong

Common Signs of Asian American Intergenerational Trauma


Asian family

Intergenerational trauma is carried on through generations (our parents, grandparents, and theirs, etc.) that have been through tragic events such as war, poverty, and famine. Here is a list of some common examples of intergenerational trauma if you grew up in an Asian household:


  • identity issues (i.e., difficulties understanding your needs and wants, values/morals, etc.)

  • feeling guilt about living the life you want

  • feeling excessive guilt about not doing enough for your parents or anybody in your life

  • your feelings and problems are minimized, often leading to bottled up feelings

  • feeling shame for asking for help

  • perfectionism (i.e., feeling the need to be high achieving and success driven even when not explicitly told, etc.)

  • codependency (i.e., a sense of obligation to take on a caretaker role at the expense of your own needs; feeling responsible for your family members, siblings; being unable to make decisions without first getting feedback, etc.)

  • people pleasing (i.e., ignoring your own needs and getting frustrated/angry; feeling uncomfortable to set healthy boundaries such as saying "no", etc.)

  • emotional numbing (i.e., pretending to be "okay" and "strong")

  • anxiety (i.e., excessive worrying about potential dangers, food scarcity, etc.)

  • and many more...

Though this may have impacted you significantly in your upbringing, relationships, academic and work settings, etc., the good news is these feelings, behaviors, and patterns can be processed and unlearned with a culturally, trauma-informed therapist. Feel free to reach out to schedule a free 15 minute consultation with me to gain some insight about what you're going through with your family.

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