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Communication Skills/Father-Daughter Communication


My dad and I are very alike and we have always gotten along very well, but recently I can barely stand him. I have never talked to my dad about any deep issues because I never want to hurt his feelings and he seems to always make a sarcastic or passive aggressive comment about whatever I say. It is really hard for me because I have to preface things with "Dad, please don't joke about this, I need a straight answer from you." It is hard to communicate with him because his communication skills are very limited. I sent him an email recently about a money issue and said at the end, "I don't want this to hurt your feelings because I care so much about you." He emailed right back with passive aggressive comments that made me pity him and made me feel very guilty about bringing up the issue in the first place. I have gotten nothing worse than a 3.8 GPA my whole life, all the way through high school. This past summer I failed my first class ever... and now when I talk to my dad about how hard I am working in school and to find a job, he bases my credibility on that one failure. That one class has been my biggest fault, I have never done anything that would make my father not trust me. I don't know what to do anymore. I want to have a dad I can talk to, who won't make me feel guilty about issues I bring up. I care about him very much, but it is hard to have a dad I can't talk with.

Hi Sydney - thanks for your clear description. It suggests that your Dad may be a "Grown Wounded Child" (GWC) whose inherited psychological wounds inhibit his ability to hear you clearly and problem-solve with you. To understand this, read these: and

To raise your odds of talking "well" him,, consider these ideas:  and

If one or both parents are "GWCs," you may be inheriting psychological wounds from them. I encourage you to study and apply online "lesson 1":

If you do, questions are most welcome.

You have a LOT of useful options here, Sydney! - 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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