I Will Not Be You

This book contains interviews with eleven different Korean Americans that are anonymous. The sole idea is that Koreans, in general, are taught not to express or share what is going on within their family and their emotions. The face of the family cannot be tainted. Mental health is nearly never discussed within Korean American households due to stigma and the mannerisms we adapt from our culture.  However, the trauma or hurt from the gap between Korean and American cultures is where Korean Americans are also affected.         Trauma is happening in a hyper-aware generation, which may be why there is such a big gap between our parents and us. There comes the point in asking if our parents have been fostered in a safe environment themselves. Parents justify their actions with what they went through in the past to their children. They hold their lives over them for basic parenting needs for their kids. Passing on generational trauma through justification is what Korean American children need to break. We cannot repeat those behaviors if we want to create healthy boundaries with ourselves and others. The children of those parents are trying to understand them not to resent them, but it's not a job for a child. However, it's essential to acknowledge they faced different experiences than us that could have been more extreme than what could've passed onto us. Family members need to work together by listening and acknowledging the pain that is present from the past. It's time to acknowledge their actions can lead to mental health issues or personal distress.

Most importantly, we have to unlearn toxic behaviors from our parents actively. It's important to acknowledge that we have some or many bad traits from our parents. It could and might affect the people around us, relationships, and especially if we want to start a family of our own. It's unfair, and it's a lot of work, but it is our problem now. We deserve change, and the people you choose to bring into your life deserve it as well.         The start to breaking generational trauma can start with us.



Susie Kim