Counseling/grief

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Question
Hello Peter,
I am a 65-year-old woman. My father died 3 years ago. But I'm still crying, practically daily, over the loss.  Specifically, the loss of never having connected or had a single meaningful conversation with him; and never having done things with him when he was wheelchair-bound for 7 years before he died. This was due partly to the fact I had a grave dislike for my mother, his caregiver whom I couldn't avoid; I've always been UNable to be 'myself' before her, and the rest of the family. Eg, I cried buckets the days after his death--but not a single tear around them. It hurts even more as I had been his 'favorite' child, though I felt no bond, he was nice but not 'available' emotionally and even physically. My guilt and regrets are hurting me.
Can you advise? Thank you.

Answer
Hi Nancy - from your description, I suspect you and your parents are "Grown Wounded Children" [GWCs]: http://sfhelp.org/gwc/gwc.htm  and http://sfhelp.org/gwc/means.htm.

We GWCs were seldom taught how to grieve well, because our wounded ancestors never learned themselves. See these two free online "lessons" for options on healing wounds and doing "good grief"  http://sfhelp.org/gwc/guide1.htm  and  http://sfhelp.org/grief/guide3.htm.

If these bring up more questions, please ask! - Pete

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Peter Gerlach, MSW

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

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

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

Education/Credentials
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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