Hidden Pain

Posted: 25th October 2011 by admin in Uncategorized

From my experiences there are great benefits of being a CCK. A global awareness, an uncanny ability to accept and relate to those who are ‘different’, an ability to see through prejudice.

Yet at the same time there is often a case where a CCK/TCK/MK whatever K, hides the pain they have within. This can often be that experience has told them that when they share difficult experiences with others they do not understand the pain and difficulties they have been through. Whether it be parents struggling to adjust themselves or the oblivious people around them, the K’s bottle up the pain.

This can mean that as the pain is hidden and repressed, it finds another way to express itself but as it has not been fully dealt with and expressed or mourned, it continues to do its damage.  Such hidden pain can lead to feelings of depression, lack of self worth, anxiety, phobias, jealousy, hatred and worse depending on the person. The frustrations within constantly bubble up whether it be through feelings of wanting to run away from the current circumstances, fears of making friendships or mingling with others, fear of not being good enough or not being accepted. Part of this can be the natural part of integrating into another culture but when they constantly persist and become a driving force which drives us in our adulthood it can mean that such frustrations control us. It can mean we never let ourselves accept those around us and we feel the need to constantly move on and not have to make deeper relationships as deeper relationships mean showing others the pain within and we have ‘learned’ from experience that NOBODY is able to understand our pain.

Hidden pain can affect us physically too. It often shows itself through anxiety disorders, irritable bowel and possibly even allergies. For some of us we do not even know that we are holding the pain within. All we feel is the frustration it causes, the sudden feelings of depression it can produce and the churning in our stomach when we are faced with certain everyday circumstances we feel are out of our control.

It sounds depressing doesn’t it? But the thing is for me and many others it is the truth. It has taken me years to understand and work through some of these things because I have been unaware that I have repressed the pain. Times when I want to cry but I am physically unable to. Times when I have wanted a girlfriend but  feel that i will be rejected if I ask or that it is not worth attempting as I will probably move on and I dont want to deal with the pain.


The biggest change for me was realising where the pain was, learning to express it and put it into words. I learned to do that through music, through writing, through drawing, through a number of different ways. Little did I know as an adult K I would experience the whole thing again.

Over three years ago my wife (who is not a K) decided that after 14 years of marriage, did not love me anymore. It is only now that I feel i can write about it without it being too painful. To cut a long story short I will not deal with how she treated me  or how she found a boyfriend etc. but  rather what the experience meant to me. Once again I found myself going through pain. Perhaps this pain is a little different to K pain as many people relate to it. Somehow, I needed to express the pain for a number of reasons.

The first reason is so that I did not take my frustrations on my wife. How would she ever know that she was wrong in what she was doing if I treated her badly?  Just because she was rejecting me and treating me badly, did not give me permission to do the same. What message would that give the children? First and foremost I had to retain my own dignity and sense of worth.


At times the pain of rejection feels unbearable. You find yourself mourning so many things. You mourn the past you had together, the loss of the wife you love to her own frustrations, the loss of her family who believe the lies told about you, the loss of the house you spent many years renovating. The bitter words and accusations however unjustified still seem to stick and somehow you need to wash them off. You find yourself alone, miles away from the family of your childhood.

I thank God for providing one or two people who stuck to me like glue through this time and were there to listen to my frustrations and my pain. Where would I be if I had not been able to turn to my Bible and learn to deal with the situations and the pain? Or to a blog or advice on the internet? I learned to understand and express the pain within.


After all, just like being a K, the last thing i needed was to take my past and let it rule the relationships of my future. However much I wanted to deal with them on my own I needed the support of others. I needed to talk to people who could listen without judging, who could advise without condemning.

Sure there is still some pain there, but it is pain I can express now rather than hold within. I have learned to let those experiences build me up and strengthen me in the right way rather than strengthen my phobias and fears.


So as a fellow K, I advise you try and understand your pains and learn to express them in some way. If you do not they will find a way of expressing themselves without your permission, usually in a very negative fashion. TCKid is a great way of understanding your pain, and expressing it but find other helpful ways too.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jinno, I´m a TCK, and I´m lucky enough to be married to a TCK. He is my home, any where we move in the world. We lived in a homogenous society for the first 10 years that we were together, but then we both felt that we just couldn´t stand it anymore and needed to be expats again. The expat community is “home” for us. Our kids go to the international school, and our friends are the parents of these kids. Those families have experienced at least 2 cultures and are kind of used to meeting TCK´s, and that´s important to us. This is one way to find a “home”. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Una and Suzie,

    Depression is a difficult thing to deal with. At times it seems to come and go without our permission. I used to find I would have sudden bouts of depression when driving home.

    For me depression was a way of my body telling me something was wrong. Either something wrong medically or something wrong mentally. For the mental side of things, often it was because I was feeling trapped in a situation with no way out. What was happening in life was just becoming too much and because of that I would start to feel depressed.

    So the question is just how do we deal with mental depression? The answer I found was that I had to do something about the cause of that depression. I either had to change my circumstances or be able to mentally cope with them. One of the best ways to mentally cope with a situation is to find someone we can share those worries and concerns. Someone who will listen and not judge you, perhaps even give advice too.  You need to feel that there is a way out of your circumstances and that things will change. It is better if they are the same sex as you so that you concentrate on the problem and do not cause more problems.

    Some good ways of dealing with depression and anxiety is to see the end result. Remember times when you successfully dealt with a difficult issue and came out victorious. See yourself as doing the same in your current situation too. Sometimes you need to decide to do something to change your current circumstances, perhaps something drastic. Just be sure that you are being wise and not causing even more difficulties for yourself. Get some advice before you make major changes in your life.

    Hopefully I have given you some food for thought on why you are feeling depressed and anxious, and yes you can get through to a point in your life where depression no longer rules it.