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-What is “intergenerational trauma” and how does it relate to codependency?

-What does it mean to be “first gen” and “second gen?” And how can children of immigrants be more prone to codependency?

-How does boundary-setting promote balance and better living in any family, whether you’re “first gen” or “tenth gen?”

Thanks for supporting the show! In this episode, you’ll hear me talk with Ms. Allison Ly, LCSW, all about codependency and intergenerational trauma. Allison talks openly about her own codependency as the daughter of immigrants and ways she has had to navigate assisting her Chinese and Vietnamese parents without being codependent with them. Allison does a great job describing what intergenerational trauma is, how it impacts first- and second-generation children of immigrants, and ways codependency can take root in these families. Allison ends with some amazing insights on what codependents on their healing journey ought to know–be sure to listen to the whole episode for her wisdom!

More on this week’s guest:

Allison Ly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She provides mental health therapy virtually in California for people who are 1st and 2nd generation, struggling with feelings of anxiety in their relationships to feel more confident. Allison’s a first generation Asian American born and raised in Los Angeles. She identifies as Chinese and Vietnamese culturally, and also speaks Vietnamese conversationally.

@allisonlylcsw on instagram
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More deets on this episode:

We start with the typical two and hear about Allison’s definition of codependency: ”putting out own feelings and our needs on the backburner. We typically want to appease other people and what they need…but at the end of the day, it helps us alleviate our own anxieties, we have self-worth, etc.” Allison spells out how it typically depends on the situation–thankfully–where we are codependent at certain times and situations but it’s not a global behavior.

Allison then describes aspects of her own codependency that began during her childhood. She recalls how, being first-gen, she had certain roles in her family where her parents were dependent on her and she gained esteem, worth, and love thanks to serving them.

While Allison shares, she also helps us by defining what “first gen,” “second gen,” and “intergenerational trauma,” mean.

We then hear about what codependency looks like in these children of immigrants and how it starts during childhood, develops in adolescence, and becomes exhausting as an adult. Often, they are stuck trying to discern which cultural expectations to honor: their parents’ culture, American culture, their local culture, etc.?

Allison home’s in on the fear of abandoning the family which comes up when children of immigrants are tasked with choosing which culture to adhere to. It’s overwhelming!

Where do we start then? With awareness, according to Allison. She discusses the benefits of therapy, of having a community, and finding ways to “not be so alone.”

Notice you have options, notice the lack of self-kindness, and then discern what is the next right step for you to take in self-kindness? Then you try to create compromise in your relationships so it is not all or nothing. There is compromise, a middle-ground, a gray area, a BALANCE.

Be aware and kind
Go to therapy or find a community
Start to create boundaries

“I hope everyone remembers that it gets better. It’s a process.” Thanks for the reminder Allison!

We conclude with one-minute of silence to reflect on the fact that it gets better. Thank you for joining along with us!
Questions for you, my dear listener:
What are your thoughts and feelings after hearing Allison’s definition of codependency?
How can you relate to Allison’s experiences of codependency from her own life?
Where can you identify intergenerational trauma in your codependent behaviors? How has codependency potentially been passed down in your family?
If you have different roles in your family like those of first- and second-generational children, how are you navigating fulfilling those expectations while also creating boundaries?
What was it like to sit in silence while reflecting on the fact that, it gets better, however, it’s a process?
Thank you for listening!

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