I have been an Expat myself since young adulthood and do therefore know from experience, what it feels like to move around often and start all over. It is not always easy to feel home in a new place, once the initial culture shock is over and it's hard to adjust to the new surroundings with different customs. If in addition someone does not speak the local lannguage yet and misses his former support network, things can feel pretty unsettling.
Some people adjust easier after having relocated than others do. It is normal for Expat families to face many challenges once the first excitement of being in a new place has worn off. A lot of emotional strength is required from a person to balance out the ups and downs one might experience, when he suddenly comes in touch with the loss of his support networks, familiarities and other comforts he has left behind. Initially he might not know what's missing, but he does know that something is not right. He might experience life as dull or feel empty, sad, out of place, frustrated, angry, lonely or indifferent and doesn’t understand what is wrong, or how to find his way back to feeling content and happy as he used to feel.
Here is an example about how things could unconsciously unfold for a expat family;
Family "X" with 2 children, moves from Germany to Singapore. The parents decide that the wife will become a stay home mom, since she can't get a work permit in Singapore.
After the relocation and the new role as a stay home mom, the wife begins to feel a lack of belonging & purpose and becomes a bit hopeless.
It is easier for the husband to adjust to the new location, since he feels fulfilled by his work and he has still work colleagues whom he shares a common interest with. In comparison, the wife has became the main parental figure, especially since her husband is gone a lot on long business trips. He doesn't think further about his wifes situation and focuses mainly on being the sole bread winner now which he takes seriously. She misses her partner; feels left alone with everything and has not enough time to attent her own interests anymore. She misses her support system from before and lacks the challenge from her work. She resents her husband for his ability to still follow his dreams and for being mostly left alone with everything concerning their children. As a result, she begins to nitpick on her husband. He does not like her change of behavior and pulls away.
The roles have shifted in this relationship and there is a danger that the couple will grow further and further apart, if they don't get soon together trying to understand each other and make some changes accordingly.
Every individual, couple and family who has relocated faces different challenges with different needs and reactions to their given circumstances. Some Expats who have moved a lot might have figured out how to cope with those changes more easily, than others do. Being an Expat does not need to be difficult, if you are able to stay in touch with who you are and don’t neglect yourself and inner needs during the process of the transition.
If you find yourself having gotten off track and your feelings of happiness & contentment have diminished, it is time to seek help and look at yourself. The first step in the right direction is for you to figure out, recognize and understand what you are feeling and missing in your given situation. Once you realize what your inner needs are, it should help you to make the necessary changes, take charge of your life again and you should be able to move forward to a more fulfilled life.
There might be many different reasons that cause you, your partner & you or your children difficulties, since your relocation. Please know that you are not alone. There is help to assist you to get back on track to feeling content and happy again. Come and speak to us at California Counseling. I would like to walk beside you to help sort out which peaces of yourself you have left behind or denied since your relocation. I offer those services to you in English or German.