Smiling and white knuckling it, feeling used, misunderstood, ignored, or stuck…

Even if no one says it, you feel judged and looked down upon if you don’t satisfy or keep up. Sometimes people do say it, and harshly. You pleased others, performed as well as you could, fought your habits, kept the peace, and endured anxiety and disappointment. Tried to be good, hardworking, quiet, and self-sufficient, while not sticking out too much.

You avoided inner and outer conflict for partial peace and satisfaction. But…

your efforts did not lead to stable relationships, a brief thanks, or a feeling of safety. Or, other bad things did happen. And now, you’re confused. You thought it was probably your fault, somehow. So, you tried harder to ‘figure it out’ and repeated. But the tired routine of self-compromise, self-doubt, and crumbs of hope was finally not enough, and led to its own problems.

I’m Dr. Chris Michael, a licensed psychologist and therapist in Claremont, CA, and by distance technology throughout the state.

These days, I rarely treat people who are severely entitled, exploiting, or bullying. Usually, they don’t see their problem anyway. I do sometimes watch them in documentaries, while fooling with a guitar or petting a black cat. I learn about them in continuing education, to help those who do not know how to handle them.

Many have been in situations like yours. Often, help is needed to get through. Why?

It’s mostly not about figuring out a secret formula, micro-analyzing, or mind-reading. But we wish it was. Instead, it’s about trusting a relationship we can depend on for support, insight, and guidance. That allows us to accept some hard things and examine our values, emotions, and options.

I tell clients we can have some control over our lives, but humans often want total control. When I say ‘control’, you might think of the dominant, bragging ‘winners’ on reality TV…or at the office…or in line at the DMV…or in your home.

Not always. Control-seeking comes in many flavors, including the subtle flavors of people-pleasing, excess helping, over-thinking, and overdoing. I specialize in what is eating you: The problem of getting more choices and freedom in life without being a jerk and without getting stuck in ‘try again’ routines.

When you get stuck, you can start to worry something will crumble. Let’s make sure it’s not you.

Long waits and searches are common when seeking mental health help. Typically, I answer within a business day. For a brief consultation, call or email me securely or request an appointment.