Hi Peter
I am a 37 year old female, married, mother of 3 girls.  I have recently relocated to Houston from the UK and am struggling a bit with insecurity.  I find it is 3 steps forward and 2 steps back with making friends over here.  I have been feeling very down about the fact that I don't think people like me and it is making me shy away from social situations.  

Recently my husband and I got asked to come along and join a bowling team by a lady that I have met a few times, we went along and had a great time, there are set members that go every week.  The following week, even though we had indicated an interest to go again, we never got invited.  I bumped into a few of the team members at a party and they were all asking if we were coming again.  I get the feeling that the organiser of the team doesn't really want us to come along again (the only indication of this that i have is that she never asked us back, she hasn't be unfriendly in any way).   Should we go along after getting an invite from the other team members, or should we take the hint and not go back.  The organiser knows the other members invited us and said 'yeah, just come along'.  

I have been insecure all my life and being in a new place is heightening this.  I am a fairly outgoing chatty person, but at the back of my mind is always the though that i am boring people, that they want to get away from me etc.  I think this may make me seem a little offhand as occasionally i cut conversations short, or i seem a bit flustered.

Anyway, any wisdom very gratefully received.

Hi Jenny - it sounds like your root problem is low self esteem and lack of self-confidence. These often come from inherited psychological wounds from early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse ["traumas"]. The good news is that once aware of the wounds, you can significantly reduce them using "inner-family therapy" ["parts work"] See these:

If you are a "Grown Wounded Child" [GWC], reduce your wounds and guard your kids from inheriting them by studying online "lesson 1" at If you have questions along the way, please ask.
I vote that you go bowling and enjoy yourselves! :-)

- Pete


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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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