Communication Skills/Emtional stress


    I have a problem that I have been dealing with my whole life ever since i can really remember.I'am 21 now and can only really remember it been an issue from age 12 when other kids could ask me questions about why my parents never slept in the same bed? For years i had this and i never really thought anything into it but when I was 16 I spent 3 months living with a family in South Africa and questions were asked and I had no answers,like why was my father's wedding ring on the wrong finger on the wrong hand? and i could not tell me "sister" in that house why.I'am really an only child and I'am now 21 spending a year abroad for college in France. I have always repressed this and felt afraid to talk about it,but since I have been here My long time girlfriend of about 4 years and me have gone our separate ways  as we felt we could not do the long distance relationship work and she was my only real emotional support and for the first time in my life I have had to deal with emotional problems in my life in terms of missing her deeply and wanting her back in my life. We did not talk for a few weeks but the last 3 weeks we have talked everyday even until the early hours on Skype. All this has forced me to really think about everything that has been going on and I recently returned to Ireland for a week to see her and it was amazing but she is still unsure about us as towards the end things between us became very hard. This is due to my mum and dad's relationship,ever since my girlfriend and I met, I have worried that our relationship would become like theirs ( as that was also their first real relationship and got married very young ) and for the from last November until September ( when we ended it ) I was acting not like myself been very rash and drinking a lot and when i drank,consumed a lot of alcohol to have fun. I see now that i was acting like a fool and I see that I must deal with my problem with my parents now and not let them affect any future relationships I have and my kid's futures ( when I have some ). But along with that when i returned home I saw what my EX is doing,she is not been herself and acting like i did in the previous months. She has problems at home some she will tell me and others she wont as she blocked her emotions and thoughts,instead she does really irrational things like smoking weed nearly everyday,when she goes out,she gets really drunk and tries other drugs like Ecstasy and MDMA and when I see her do this she is not her. Recently she found out that she will have to move from her family home because of money problems,she fights with everyone in her house which has forced her to spend a lot of time in friends house's,she is now only working as she failed college exams and wont be back till January to repeat 1st year. She has no one to talk to as her friends are all unemotional drug heads ( I mean that in the sense that they would use any drug at least 3 + times a week ) and they don't give her support,they don't see that she has changed cause she is now like them and at home,her mother and her have pushed each other away and they cant talk for more than 10 minutes and her sister's relationship with her boyfriend has pushed my EX away and she just refuses to talk to her dad about this all. I am now back in Lyon,I am fighting to try and get her to talk about this all but she wont. I don't even want her to talk about us but i want her to open up,she has said she has not cried in months and she does not know how anymore. I am so worried about her,she does crazy things now and has shut her emotions off when she use to be so open with all her problems and the combination of the problem I am having with my mum and dad,which I don't know what to do about cause i have help from no one. I have amazing mates but as a man it is harder to open up and when i do, i'am in France and they are in Ireland.To add to this i am trying to learn a new language in a new college and i am trying new things so I can lead my life away from how my parents have lied to me ( which I have found out has been since i was 4 years old )so that I don't end up like them. They are both good loving people and I just want this all to end but I don't know what to do to help me,my mum,my dad and my Ex(i use ex but really we are the best of friends still now ). Can you help me in anyway? please :(

ANSWER: Hello William - your story is a familiar one. You and your Ex have each inherited [psychological "wounds" and unawareness] from your ancestors, as your parents did.

The best thing you can do for all of you is to study and apply this free online lesson on wound-reduction:

The next best thing is study and patiently apply these options:

You can refer any of the other people to these resources, but you cannot make them want to heal unless they're ready to change.

If you have questions about any of this, please ask!

Compoassionately, Pete

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QUESTION: This is really good and interesting stuff,I can really relate to it,would you suggest counselling? And also my Ex seemed to have the emotional support all the way until she was 16/17 could she also have a similar situation to me even at that age?

Hi again - I encourage you to patiently study "Lesson 1" here:

and then decide if you wish to work with a therapist.

With the symptoms you describe, I suspect your "ex" inherited psychological wounds from her parents in her early years.

- Pete

Communication Skills

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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about how to significantly improve your thinking and communication effectiveness, and your relations with adults and kids. I cannot answer legal, medical, grammar, punctuation, spelling, or spiritual questions.


I have studied and taught communication and relationship skills for 40 years, and have been a professional family-systems therapist (MSW) since 1981.


I am a past Board member of (a) a large suburban community mental-health center and (b) the Stepfamily Association of America, and I am a current member of the National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council

I have published 6 books, including one on communication skills: Satisfactions ( 2nd ed., 2010); and over 150 articles in the nonprofit educational Website Break the Cycle! -

I have also published articles for and over 150 educational YouTube videos.

BSME, Stanford University, 1959 MSW, George Williams College 1981 Clinical internship U. of Illinois Institute for Juvenile Reasearch (IJR) 1981 Over 100 post-grad courses on a wide range of human-relationship topics

Past/Present Clients
over 1,000 self-referred Midwestern-U.S. adults, kids, couples, and families

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