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  • Writer's pictureChalita Antommarchi, PsyD

The Pressures of Being a First Generation Immigrant

family moving across the globe

Immigrant families who move to the United States often come with dreams of a more prosperous future for themselves and their families. The huge undertaking of immigration often comes with significant obstacles and challenges that continue to have an impact on future generations. First generation immigrants must often navigate learning a new language and culture as well as managing the pressure to succeed. 


These struggles may include:


Confusion 

  • There may be conflicting messages between their emigrant culture and the new culture that they must carefully sort through and adjust to.

  • The expectations and values that first generation immigrants hold may fluctuate, creating rifts in their relationships with their loved ones over time.


Guilt/shame 

  • Having left their homeland and extended families behind to seek out new opportunities

  • Having access to opportunities and experiences that their loved ones may never have


Isolation

  • Includes navigating the language barrier

  • Potential lack of access to social communities and resources

  • Insecurity related social engagement and integration into the mainstream culture


Discrimination

  • First generation immigrants often come from minority backgrounds, which put them at risk of daily prejudice and discrimination.

  • Experiences of discrimination can lead to negative internal messages about themselves and their cultural group.


Stress

  • Pressure to “live the American dream” despite the unique obstacles that immigrants often experience including financial adversity, emotional distress, and other obstacles that may hinder what they can achieve, despite their capability.


No matter how these messages and expectations are experienced, these beliefs can impact

children of immigrant parents (second generation immigrants) as well. Please view “The Pressures of Being a Second Generation Immigrant” on our blog for more information.


The generational pressures on immigrants are intimate, complicated matters that deserve the time and attention to sort through these experiences and the emotional reactions behind them. If you feel like these concerns have made a significant impact on your life and cause you distress, you may want to seek out a qualified mental health professional to provide additional support.



Chalita Antommarchi, PsyD

About the Author: 

Chalita Antommarchi is a registered Psychological Associate (#94027857) in the state of California. Dr. Antommarchi enjoys working with a variety of issues including trauma, anxiety, life transitions, adjustment concerns, interpersonal relationships and communication, identity development, LGBTQI+ concerns, grief and loss, spiritual concerns, and whole person care.


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