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Communication Skills/biological father overstepping boundries


I found out a year ago that the father I grew up wasn't my biological father. Last February this man sent my mom a message on facebook saying he was in town and wondering if they wanted to hang out like old times. My dad saw the message and eventually my mom admitted to having a 3 month affair with guy, around the time she had me, that was 19 years ago. There marriage was falling apart, and they were thinking of divorcing. When my mom found out she was pregnant, my dad wanted to try again so she never told him and she said she ended her affair. My dad ended things with my mom, and two weeks later, we got a dna test done and it turned out he wasn't my father. After this my dad aruptly ended contact with me, he told me that he didn't know how to be around me, that finding this out changes everything. It has gotten a little better, we do message each other on facebook occasionally.
  This past January, I met my biological father. and this was where all the problems began. My mother decided to start a relationship with him, and I finally met him. The intial meeting wasn't too bad, a bit awkward. After that we met a few more times, before things start to get very uncomfortable. He is telling everyone on facebook that I am his daughter, and how I am going to meet all of them, and at the beginning of the month he and my mom showed up to pick me up to go for supper. During supper my mom refered to him as my dad. After about an hour I made an excuse that my friend needed to be picked up. I know he is trying to make up for lost time, but I really don't want him to act like he is my father, when I got one and I want to improve the relationship I have with him. I met him, and tried to get to know him for her, but I really don't want to do it anymore. What should I do? This whole situation really sucks.

Hi Dana - it sounds like you have several problems:

1] adjusting to the reality your [psychological] Dad is really your stepdad ;

2] adjusting to your stepdad's relationship shift with you and your Mom;

3] sorting out your feelings about your biofather wanting to be part of your lives, and your Mom's inviting that before you're ready;

4] getting clear on your boundaries with your biodad, asserting them, and resolving any values conflicts you may have with your Mom about your boundaries;

5] grieving the loss of a reality which you now know is a myth;

6] adjusting your personal identity [whose daughter are you? Who are your ancestors?];

The most important task you face is accepting that your mother is probably a "Grown Wounded Child" [GWC] from whom you may have inherited psychological wounds. If you have, the wounds will make the six tasks above harder.

I encourage ALL of you to study this free online "lesson"

This is a LOT to absorb, so pace yourself. If you have other questions, Dana, please ask.

Compassionately, Pete  

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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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