Coping with Microaggressions in Manhattan (NYC)
What are microaggressions?
“the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” (Sue, 2010)
They always seemed subtle to you, even when people intended them as compliments, but you learned to read between the lines and notice the subtle put-downs and jabs they contained.
Microaggressions often leave you (whether as a person of color, woman, LGBTQ person, and/or the intersections in the between) with a sense of confusion that makes you doubt your own reality and wonder what the fuck just happened.
Working in Manhattan, you've had to figure out how to cope with microaggressions your day to day--from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep.
How Microaggressions impact your mental health
Microaggressions can also leave you feeling hyper-vigilant, self-conscious, demoralized, and make you doubt your sense of reality.
This is due in part to being repeatedly exposed to stress. While some stress can be performance enhancing, too much can wear us down and be toxic. If you're not able to cope, you get more worn down over time.
Some people respond to microaggressions by becoming more withdrawn, others respond by being more confrontational.
Both are perfectly normal reactions to feeling invalidated.
How can therapy help you cope with microaggressions?
I can help you improve your ability to cope with microaggressions by finding a balance between 1) self-care and coping, and 2) mindfully setting boundaries with others.
Sometimes that means learning how to assert yourself in a way that maintains your integrity and self-respect. Depending on the power imbalance between you and the other person, it may mean accepting the reality that this is happening while also taking care of yourself emotionally.
Quietly tolerating microaggressions can lead to resentment and feeling powerless, while confronting microaggressions every time they occur can quickly burn you out and affect your relationships.
Through counseling, I’ll help you find a balance that fits with your personality and style, so you can be more resilient and grounded in your truth.
My approach is grounded in evidence-based approaches to coping with stress and conflict, and informed by my own experience of dealing with microaggressions as a Puerto Rican/Latinx man in New York City.
If you're in Manhattan (NYC) and are looking for help, I’d love to hear from you. Reach out below to get started.