Racial trauma is real. As a person of color, you are likely well aware.
Perhaps you cope in ways that hide your need for healing. Do You think of your inward adjustment to the pain as normal and part of what’s required? Until a thought or image or memory causes your buffer of avoidance to fall away and fear sets in?
Perhaps you feel that you are fine, that you just live your life. Do you claim that the uncertainties of racialized culture roll off your back… controlling your environment and relationships to ensure it?
Or you maybe you very certain that you carry the wounds of unfairness and invalidation with you. You know and you’re angry about it. You are well aware that you are doing damage to yourself and others, though it’s the last thing you want.
So what can you do with any of that? Regardless of how your defense mechanism, is there a path to peace in an unjust world?
The truth? Complete wholeness will only come when full truth and justice are embraced for and by all.
But people of color aren’t doomed to live in perpetual, pointless emotional pain.
Take These Steps to Start Addressing Your Racial Trauma Productively
Find your personal pride.
Trauma is often steeped in shame. Educating yourself can change your perspective. This takes time and is worth the energy. What are the positives you never heard about? You are more than you think or know. Learn your heritage. Seek out images, gifts, art, and media that show the whole of you and your community. Talk to people who “get” you and take pride in the truths of who you are. Make space to value them.
Answer these questions: What is my cultural history and what changes can I promote?
The injustices that feed racial trauma are more than the roots of your pain and loss. They are also the source of resilience and traumatic growth. Learn about that history and the courage of those who came before you led and continue to lead the struggle for justice and respect.
Build your social support system.
You need a network. Trauma makes you doubt it. It may even make you feel you don’t deserve it. Those things are not true. You were built to belong. You owe it to yourself to build a community that soothes, strengthens, and serves you. Trustworthy people that you can share with provide healing and a reliable buffer when life as a person of color gets hard again.
Accept your feelings & honor your needs.
Racial trauma can muddle your thinking and mutes your voice. You can become consumed with how you are hurt or could be hurt at any moment. To survive and stay healthy, you must pay attention to yourself. Challenge yourself to be authentic and clear internally. Give up the habit of denying your needs. Healing will start there.
Reach out for guidance, alliance, and support.
It’s time for a change. The best place to start? Inside yourself, from a place of strength. You can overcome outside forces that hold you down by reining in unhealthy thinking and habits that hold you back. Seeking out a professional is not weak or shameful.
Do you wonder why you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, and issues you’ve yet to share? It is important to gain some insight into the impact of racial trauma. Work with a compassionate, qualified therapist is an invaluable tool to that end.
Let’s develop the inner resources to help you cope together. You have it in you to face any future invalidation or indignity with less fear and more purpose. Please read more about trauma counseling and reach out for a consultation today.