Social mobility is undeniably a GOOD thing. So we are always being told. And in many ways it is. But there is a hidden underside and I see a lot of it in my clients.
There is loss and confusion. Relationships with family are changed when academic success means moving out of your family’s community and maybe being unavailable because of your work. No longer part of the familiar daily life, your absence may be resented by the very people who encouraged you to study and ‘move up’.
There is a sense of being uprooted and rootless. You no longer belong where you came from and you may not know where you do belong. You may feel you don’t know why you are on this particular path. Was it your choice or were you pushed down it?
And there can be a growing distance from those who raised you and nurtured you as a child. You have had different experiences. Your outlook on life may have changed. Is this a betrayal? How can you fit in with these new beliefs? Do you still want to fit in?
For perfectionists and strivers it can be hard to acknowledge the pain and confusion. Firstly you may believe you should always be able to work things out yourself. Secondly you may feel you have no right to be suffering because your life is clearly so much easier and better than it would have been if you hadn’t ‘moved out’. And you may feel ungrateful if you voice any unhappiness at all.
Talking to someone outside the situation can help you make sense of what it is you are feeling. No one will judge you. But you will be heard and valued. And things will get better.