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Four Reasons You Don't Feel Like You Belong As A Mixed Person

Updated: Mar 10

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As mixed people we are more common than ever, but more often than not we struggle with feeling like we actually belong somewhere.


When I first became a therapist, before I'd specialized down, I naturally attracted a lot of mixed clients. Literally every single one struggled with feeling like they don't belong, they were processing getting bullied for being mixed as kids, being treated differently than how their friends or family members look, and so on. Every single one of them.


And the thing was, they all thought they were alone in their experience. And because of that, they assumed something was wrong with them. 


Many of the mixed clients I work with today also feel that they are alone in this experience and that there’s something about them, something wrong with them, that makes it uniquely difficult for them to experience belonging.


But the reality is that this feeling of non-belonging is a common occurrence in mixed people (and other marginalized people and inbetweeners). Here are four reasons why you as a mixed person might not feel like you belong anywhere.


  1. We are living with the legacy of colonialism and what that did to our ancestral communities. It separated us - from each other and from our ancestral practices, all the rituals and traditions that our ancestors used for connection, grieving, and healing. And as mixed people, we can feel that on both / all of our cultural lineages (yes, even our ancestors who benefiited from colonialism were also harmed by it). On top of that, we often feel extra disconnected as we move (in)between these cultural communities, not feeling like we fully belong to either of them.

  2. Everyone’s f*cking lonely right now, according to the US Surgeon General. The US Surgeon General released a whole report about the loneliness epidemic last year and how loneliness is actually making us unwell - more unwell than other lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and smoking! Much of this is structural; for instance, many of us are forced to or choose to prioritize work over our relationships in order to survive capitalism. Additionally, our communities are literally not built in a way that facilitates casual interactions, a lot of us have to drive anywhere to socialize. Belonging just isn’t a sacred element of the dominant society.

  3. You’ve been microaggressed, bullied, and rejected because of your mixed identity. Most of the mixed people I work with were bullied to some extent growing up for being different. I always tell my clients, kids don’t make rational conclusions about what someone elses behaviro means; they internalize it as something being wrong with them. And then those feelings stay with us throughout our lives to some extent. They inform how we interpret other interactions and how we communicate with others, what we expect from our relationships, and more.

  4. You’ve been microaggressed, bullied, and rejected within your own family.  Many mixed people experience microaggressions within their families, the people who are “supposed” to love you unconditionally. Maybe your grandmother preferred your lighter-skinned cousins, or maybe you’re criticized for not speaking the same language as your family. Maybe they tease you or actively exclude you from special activities. It leaves an impression that potentially no where is actually safe to let our guard down.


And as a result of all this, you might blame yourself. You might internalize what others think of you (or what you think they think of you) instead of focusing on yourself. 


All of this is deeply painful and can restrict us knowing who we are and feeling like we really belong somewhere. I refer to the deeply held protective patterns and insecurities around identity and belonging that many mixed people experience as the belonging wound, and it can look like:


  • Not feeling like enough of any of your identities to actually own it

  • Feeling extremely sensitive to rejection and avoiding it at all costs

  • Not putting yourself out there to make friends, or putting yourself out there and retreating as soon as something feels uncomfortable

  • Ruminating about interactions with other people

  • Perpetually waiting for someone to rescue you instead of taking agency over your own life

  • Avoiding vulnerability, struggling to develop deeper connections with others 

  • And more

In my experience, what’s needed to help us heal these wounds is a combination of connecting more with yourself - with your body, your emotions, your values and needs - and developing relationships with people who see and welcome your complexity.


And some of the most gifted people at understanding complexity are….other mixed people!


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That’s why I created my group program, Find Your Roots. A 4 month virtual group healing program for mixed people. In it, you’ll discover how somatic practice can help you finally feel emotionally grounded, validated in your mixed identity, and empowered to have fulfilling relationships with people who have your back.


Registration will open in about a month.


Make sure you check out my website for more information and join the waitlist so you get alerted when doors open!



 

Heal Your Belonging Wound: Get my free video practice on belonging and cultivate a felt sense of belonging from the inside out.


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