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Counseling/Pursuit of what?


Hello dear friend,
My question to you is about my pursuit of happiness and being something in life. My relationship with my mother has grown weaker in the past 6- 7 years. My family is always in conflict, that leads to verbal abuse. this has lead to my depression and all sorts of emotions such as no one loves and feeling deprived of happiness. I don't have many friends, I have been unsocial most of my life and dependent on my mother for building relationships and in fact dependent on her for everything. I have changed a lot. I guess I am learning. I find it much more easy to speak to people. Even up to the point where I myself go and talk to them. But I have a selected number of friends. In fact just one close friend. This is probably bcoz we love music and want to do something significant with music. I am learning. I am at the very beginning of this change. I have started to play piano and my mother tells me I have gotta good voice. But regarding my change, I feel like I have been trying to transcend my family's beliefs. This has led to a lot of conflict with my mother. She criticizes me a lot bcoz of this. This probably why I feel like my family doesn't love me any more and find me more of a burden. That is when I turn to other faces role models and even ordinary people. Strangers, basically. And I do find a sense of support as I look at their life perceive the way they feel, their life and their culture. I have even fallen love. I guess I am crazy. But it's just another heartbreak. What am I looking for really?

Hello Rajdeep - I suspect you seek the same thing we all do: [1] clarity on your personal identity; (2] steady self-acceptance and self-love; [3] growing clarity on your life purpose; [4] healthy companionship, love, and intimacy; [5] spiritual serenity, and [6] a stable sense of personal and environmental security. As you mature and establish your independence, you seem to be in the process of discovering different life-values and beliefs than your mother. The two of you may not know how to manage "values conflicts"

It's possible your family adults are psychologically wounded and are unable to accept and empathize with you as you mature and assert your independence.

I hope this is of some help to you. - 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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