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Counseling/Adult Child of Emotionally Abusive Parent


alice wrote at 2010-09-22 17:27:03
With all do respect to Pete, your mother IS ABUSIVE.  Emotional manipulation and attempts to control your child (adult or otherwise) through guilt or other means is the definition of emotional abuse.  There are a lot of books out there on emotional manipulation which maybe helpful to you.  You might also check out information on Borderline Personality Disorder and see if any of it fits with your experience with your parent.  

Michelle wrote at 2013-03-28 19:11:04
Hello There,  

You are being verbally abused and the effects on your life are huge like not living happily, satisfied and worth while in this world. The long term effects from verbal abuse are low self esteem which is a negative self impage of yourself.  Not really liking youself.  Decisions in life will be based on not feeling worthy or enough.  You daughter also needs to be protected from your mothers verbal abuse.  The effects of low self esteem are depression, fears, anxiety all stem from being verbally abused and not being in an emotionally safe environment as a child.  The healing from verbal abuse is a process. The better you think about yourself the better you will be able to distinguish the way people are abusive in all aspects of your life.  Please refer to and read: Breaking the chain of low self esteem and there is a workbook that goes along with it.  You can also read more about Low self esteem which comes from being verbally abused on website:

Best regards and I understand where you are coming from and how you feel


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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