As Accompanying Partners we manage to organize an international move within a few weeks, adjust easily in the new place and make everything work quite quickly. But at some point we can get into a sort of survival mode. We know there is something missing. We can’t really name it but we start feeling isolated or alienated, and we maybe even blame our partner or anybody and anything else for our state.
– Feeling this is not unusual, it is totally normal! It is a symptom of culture shock and it doesn’t mean that we have to “jack it all in”.
The main reason why we feel this way is because we realize that our expectations are not met. The life is not as relaxed, fun, exciting or easy as we pictured it…
Some of us even realize during this period that we didn’t fully agree with the move in the first place – the timing wasn’t right or the destination is not one we would have picked first… – and some of us simply didn’t know what this all would entail.
As a result we end up feeling guilty not to feel happier and not to be fully convinced about what we had agreed on months or years before…
What I always recommend doing when we feel alienated, frustrated and neither here nor there, is to take a moment and write it all down (or record it if you prefer saying it out loud) to (re)assess our situation regularly because we often hope that things will be better in the new place or in the new phase, but it rarely changes as drastically as we expect. Also, we tend to take things for granted, we assume that what we liked months or years ago is still valid, and so does our partner. But we all change constantly. Our expectations and needs (and habits) change and it is important for ourselves and our family to take some time now and then, and make sure we’re all still on the same page.
If we are not feeling well in one place and the environment isn’t friendly, maybe even “unhealthy” for us and we change to a new place or phase, we’ll carry our baggage with us and feel unhealthy and unhappy in the new place or phase too if we don’t figure out a way to make it all more bearable for us.
We need to find a way to optimize the situation right now and find out what it takes to make it a healthier one for us in order to move onto the next phase or place without this heavy baggage of guilt, frustration and resentment. – By focussing on our own needs and expectations and by trying to make them meet we make ourselves – and our family and friends! – the most precious gift.