Working title: Healing through the youth– intergenerational trauma in refugee communities
An excerpt from my Master of Public Health capstone project:
Poor communication can take form overtly and covertly; patterns may include guilt-inducing communication, experiential (nonverbal) communication, indirect communication and pervasive silence (Shamtobi, 2016; Lin, Suyemoto, & Kiang, 2009; Xiong, 2015). Prolonged emotional avoidance and silence of past traumatic events can interfere formation of secure attachment with others (Lin et al., 2009). Trauma that is unacknowledged and unaddressed have profound transgenerational effects on descendants. Silence limits exchange of cross-generational knowledge, permits hurtful assumptions to infiltrate relationships, and reinforces emotional avoidance and distance in families (p 197). Lin et al. (2009) describe silence as a social consequence of historical trauma related to war and genocide:
… refugee communities often have little voice or power on their within new social settings, and they typically receive little public or civic recognition for what they survived. Refugee survivors often resist talking about their experiences even with their own children. As time passes, students who were refugee themselves and those who were raised by refugee parents typically have not communicated with each other about the meaning of trauma in their family story (p 197).