Many of us are feeling isolated right now as we rely on Zoom and FaceTime to see our friends and family. When this will end exactly is unknown, but for some it will remain their reality. Households impacted by family separation and deportation see this long-distance digital relationship as "normal."
This week's episode, “Deportation Wounds,” brings our host Tonya Mosley in conversation with Isabeth Mendoza, our producer and question asker. After 11 years, Isabeth is seeking help to begin healing from her father's deportation and the traumatic experience.
“I think that the pain and the tragedy of family separation is so deep and so unique that even if it happened to you a month ago or six months ago, or for myself, 11 years ago, the pain is very fresh. I don't know how else to explain it aside from it's very painful. I think the conversation ends with the person [being deported] or it's kept alive by a legal proceeding. But life continues, the family keeps going, and I don't see resources or places that I can go to learn about what to do after this. How does anybody move forward? What is the future for families like mine? And how do we get to live our future and not just imagine it?”
Truth Be Told called upon Adriana Alejandre, licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and founder of Latinx Therapy podcast as a Wise One. Alejandre says that while struggle, resilience and survival dominate the immigrant narrative, healing does not.
“... those are some of their pillars that help [immigrants] to keep going, to survive their day-to-day, hour-by-hour lives sometimes because of the lack of resources. I think healing is sometimes, understandably so, one of the last things that they have to think about, because most immigrant communities come from a collectivistic culture, and they're taught to prioritize others versus themselves. It doesn't come very naturally and so I think that's one of the reasons why healing gets put on the backburner.”
Family separation and deportation illicit pain, confusion and fear. Alejandre also points out that anger holds hands with these feelings. “We are taught that anger is a secondary emotion. But through my clients, my clients of color specifically, I've learned that that's not true,” Alejandre says. “Anger is valid. If we can learn to expel it and release it in healthy ways when we're aware of it, then I think that it translates into another emotion.”