Immigration blues: what to do if you want to leave everything and return to your homeland
Lack of humanity and understanding, draconian conditions of survival, alien mentality, inability to restore the former social status and use previous achievements ... These are just some of the reasons that sometimes force immigrants to return home after several years and enormous efforts spent on adaptation in a foreign country. Is immigration really not the path for everyone, and what if the desire to return to their homeland becomes too strong?
In fact, there is no universal answer here. It may well turn out that the particular country you have chosen does not really suit you, or at this time in your life you simply do not have sufficient motivation to immigrate. However, before deciding to return, we would recommend a few simple tips to help you determine if you really made a mistake in your decision to go abroad or if your feelings are caused by temporary circumstances that can be completely eliminated.
The easiest way to figure out if you should stay in a new country is to prioritize. It is important to remember exactly what you left and what you first hoped to gain in immigration. The fact is that no country can fully satisfy all your expectations and, moving to a new place, you not only gain, but inevitably lose something. The inability to come to terms with these losses, sometimes unconsciously, can significantly spoil the impression of the new country. How fair noticed psychologist Olga Podolskaya, cases of disappointment in immigration are most often associated with distorted expectations of it.
«Let's say you want apples, but you have not planted an apple tree, but blueberries. Agree, it is rather silly to complain that, growing up, she does not bring apples. The same goes for another country. She is what she is, with her merits and demerits. If you can discern its merits and learn to minimize the flaws, then you can become happy here. If you wait all your life for apples to appear on the blueberry bush, you will always feel negativity and a feeling of broken hopes.", - she reasons.
That is why it is important to decide for yourself which shortcomings and losses you are ready to accept, and which ones you are not. If what comes first on your priority scale remains at home, then maybe you really should consider returning. If you have acquired the main thing in immigration for the sake of which you decided to leave, this realization will help you to more easily accept the “collateral losses”.
The stage of non-acceptance
Psychologists note that almost all immigrants go through the stage of rejection, and sometimes even serious negativity in relation to the new country. American explorer Kalervo Oberg back in 1954, he deduced the theory of the U-curve of adaptation, which was then confirmed by other specialists. According to this theory, an emigrant, when moving to a new country, goes through several cycles: "tourist" euphoria and idealization of a new country, then disappointment and irritation, after which, under normal conditions, a period of nostalgia ensues, culminating in complete adaptation and integration into a new society.
The irritation stage means that the body is exhausted, tired of new experiences and needs rest. Often, disappointment in a new country can be explained precisely by this, and not by objective reasons. Thus, if you have a desire to return within six months or a year after the end of the idealization stage, you just need to give yourself time and allow your body to recover.
As for nostalgia as a stage of immigration, it usually occurs in the period from two to four years after arriving in a new country. At this stage, the body recovers from exhaustion and seeks to mourn the irretrievably lost. It would be most reasonable to allow him to do this, and in most cases the bright sadness from parting with the past is replaced by complete adaptation.
Check if difficulties in adaptation are related to wrong attitude to certain factors, which is quite possible to change. This may include:
- dissatisfaction with the loss of social status or opportunities for professional implementation
This is a fairly common phenomenon that cannot be overcome immediately, even with the most hard work. The education received at home does not matter in a number of areas, and in order to return to the profession, for example, a doctor, you will have to retrain according to American standards.
Psychologically, only reassessing the significance of your successes can help here. You should not equate your American achievements with what you have achieved at home. On the contrary, it is useful to build a new scale for assessing achievements and to increase in one's eyes the significance of what was done in immigration compared to previous life (for example, equating one success in the United States with a dozen successes in Russia). In addition, do not forget that our "invalidity" is sometimes a direct consequence of the difference in mentality. It is not customary in the US to wait to be noticed and appreciated; it is important to learn to bargain for the best share as soon as you develop the advantages that make such bargaining possible.
- transferring negative feelings from specific grievances and failures to the country as a whole
Even if you did not have high expectations from immigration, you may well face a very real case of deception, abuse, meanness or set-up. You can be reported out of envy, your counterparties are able to openly neglect your interests and take advantage of your vulnerability as an immigrant, after all, someone really wanted to deliberately harm you. Nobody is safe from such situations.
However, it is important to remember that no one is insured against this even at home. The only difference is that in their own country such situations are experienced in a completely different way than in immigration. The fact is that, living at home, we rarely operate with the concept of "country" as such, by no means - we perceive our life in fragments. We separately perceive the courtyard where we grew up, the school where we studied, family, neighbors, friends and colleagues. Consequently, the grievances inflicted by an individual person are not transferred to the country as a whole - unless, of course, you have become a victim of state repression.
However, in immigration, especially at its initial stage, the category of a country involuntarily appears. It is common for an immigrant to view all his impressions in a new place through the prism of whether he will be able to accept this country, whether he will be able to understand the mentality of its inhabitants, whether it is suitable for him. Consequently, with this approach, every insult can subconsciously be perceived as rejection from the entire country, every observation I want to generalize to everyone, every new blow looks fatal.
To avoid this effect, it is important to try to fragment your life, as it was at home, that is, to separate each of its areas from others. For example, if you live in the United States, try to make yourself American friends whom you can trust from different walks of life. Then, if you are offended, for example, by your work colleagues or bosses, you will no longer have the feeling that you have been “offended by the Americans”. You will already know in practice that Americans are different.
- wrong choice of environment
When choosing friends for yourself, it is important that people who are authoritative for you, whose behavior and attitude serve as a kind of standard for you (in psychology - a reference group), are well-disposed towards you. At different stages of immigration, you may need the support of different people. At the stage of idealization, for example, it is useful to surround yourself with those who, like you, love a new country and are able to share your enthusiasm, and at the stage of irritation and nostalgia - by those who are capable of understanding your difficulties and longing.
You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York
But in all cases, it should be people who, on the one hand, will understand what you are feeling, and on the other hand, they will help you focus on the positive and move forward. It is better to avoid those who try to impose on you too positive or too negative an attitude towards the new country. Excessive negativity can lead to the fact that a person is completely immersed in "internal immigration" and loses all interest in the host country without trying to make any effort to adapt. However, an overly positive attitude can lead to your difficulties being misunderstood and pushing you too hard in a “pull yourself together, rag” style even in cases where you objectively need rest, recovery and empathy. This is why making friends can very seriously affect your ability to adapt.
Check if your inability or unwillingness to adapt to the new country is not a consequence of a specific injury... The consequences of psychological trauma caused by a really serious event can be an irresistible rejection of the English language, fear of dealing with Americans, a desire to withdraw into oneself and one's memories, in a word, factors that make adaptation almost impossible.
It is important to understand that it is most likely that you will not be able to overcome such a serious injury on your own, and in this case it is necessary to consult a psychologist. No amount of advice can replace qualified help for you. In the most extreme case, if there is no opportunity to consult a specialist, it is important, at least, to try to find a balance of two points. On the one hand, you should give yourself time to “lick your wounds,” that is, create a comfortable environment for yourself that creates a sense of security. In addition to taking care of your body, here you can use some elements of "internal immigration", memories of the past, communication with compatriots, and so on.
On the other hand, it is important to remember that the longer you take a "break" in your new life and attempts to integrate into a new society, the more difficult it will be in the future. Therefore, along with recovery, it is necessary to "win back" space from the injury in parallel with small steps. In relation to the United States, this means trying again to build safe relations with Americans, showing interest in the country (maybe not in modern times, but in its history), gradually narrowing down the topics that make you associate with trauma, preventing them from expanding, - filling in the whole perception of the new country. But, again, this process is best done with the help of a specialist. The experience of many people shows that a return to normal life is possible even after very serious blows of fate.
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