Vietnamese American Intergenerational Trauma: Conflict as Rhetoric in Vietnamese American Memoirs

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2023-04-13

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Abstract

I studied family communication dynamics in conflict and intergenerational trauma amongst Vietnamese American households. My methodology was reading memoirs to examine conflict under the lense of rhetoric for intergenerational trauma. I learned that conflicts occurred due to manifestations of war PTSD amongst family members and former soldiers. Conflicts between parent and child arose when the child touched too closely to wounds or interjected their values and opinion against their authority. The mixing of our history and current experience is what shapes how conflict occurs and is resolved in each household. These languages that come from these experiences aren't easily understood, which results in misunderstandings that not only fracture family relationships, but greatly affect how individuals move forward emotionally and intellectually. Having awareness of the subtle ways our psyche communicates pain will ultimately be beneficial in changing the way that we treat each other and live our lives; rather than continuing to live as war victims and acting on survival instincts, we must as a group move towards constant reworkings of our perspective on our experience to an empathetic and mindful communication of how we feel, in any medium that we choose that is encompassing of our feelings and culture. We empower ourselves by being willing to understand our own rhetoric, its evolution, and guiding that change to our current situation.

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English, Vietnamese Americans

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