Love Yourself Like You Always Wanted Others to Love You. Self-Love Abundance & The Codependency Cure

Happy young casual woman hugging herself with natural emotional enjoying face. Love concept by yourself

“Achieving Self-Love Abundance (SLA) requires you to treat yourself like you long for others to treat you. SLA mandates that you love yourself unconditionally, like you were not, for far too long in your life. Its time to create a best friend in yourself.”   (c) Ross Rosenberg, 2016

For more information about Self-Love Deficit Disorder and Self-Love Abundance concepts, visit www.AdvancedClinicalTrainers.com.  The six hour video seminar, “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder may be helpful.

For codependency or Self-Love Deficit Disorder psychotherapy / counseling services, visit Clinical Care Consultants (CCC) website.  www.ClinicalCareConsultants.com.  CCC is a specialty drive counseling center, which has three psychotherapists who are trained and supervised by me in my Codependency Cure/Self-Love Deficit Disorder treatment methods.   It’s two offices are in Arlington Heights and Inverness IL.  It serves the Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect communities.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar (and upcoming book)

                         

 

 

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Nine Stage Recovery Model for Self-Love Deficit Disorder (Codependency). Ross Rosenberg’s “The Codependency Cure”

This  is the model that I  will be writing about in my upcoming book, The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder.

nine-stage-model-final-copy

Stage 1: Hitting Bottom (Introducing Hope)
Stage 2: Human Magnet Syndrome Education: Breaking Free from the “Dance”
Stage 3: Withdrawing from SLDD Addiction: Battling Pathological Loneliness
Stage 4: Setting Boundaries in A Hostile Environment. Courage and Commitment
Stage 5: Maintaining Safe and Secure Boundaries. Protection, Security and Self-Care
Stage 6: Resolving / Integrating Unconscious Trauma: Healing Attachment Trauma

Stage 7: Discovering Self-Love. Building an Internal Self-Love Foundation
Stage 8: Building an External Foundation of Self-Love. Achieving Self-Love Driven Relationships.
Stage 9: Shedding Self-Love Deficit Disorder. Becoming Self-Love Abundant

SMILING SKELETONS POEM by Ross Rosenberg. Healing from Childhood Trauma. Letting Go of the Past.

 

This poem reflects a latter portion of a healing process that many codependents, or those with Self-Love Deficit Disorder, choose to take. It illustrates the very important psychological milestone when a Codependent or SLD (Self-Love Deficient) is ready to face-down their consciously forgotten childhood trauma (repressed memories),  in order to accept the sad and lonely power it has always had over their Self-Love Deficit Disorder.  Embracing the trauma memories, sorting them out, and accepting them as one’s unfortunate but immutable history, is a crucially important and necessary milestone in one’s SLDD, recovery.  It paves way for the eventual transition from SLDD to SLA – Self-Love Abundance – “The Codependency Cure.”

 

skeleton-thumbsup-copy

SMILING SKELETONS
By Ross Rosenberg

Strolling dreamily down
a familiar street
in the direction
of places long forgotten,
I was obliviously drawn
To my childhood home.

The houses painted anew
with unfamiliar
over-grown trees,
could not hide
the memory-stained streets
of happily playing children
who never thought about
lonely shadowy figures
deprived of sweet
summertime frolic.

Like a magnet,
I was irresistibly pulled
in the direction
of my home,
where lost days,
weeks and years,
were anonymously recorded
on a calendar
that no one ever saw.

Until that day,
I had been too afraid
to revisit the rooms
long closed to me,
where broken toys
and missing game parts
were carelessly strewn
on the ruby red
matted shag rug
of my youth.

In the farthest reaches
of my lonely drenched bedroom,
the closet beckoned me
To enter its dark and cluttered domain,
to sift through
flash-frozen
aching memories
of an emotionally abandoned boy.

Among the stowed away
remnants of my youth
sat clattery boned skeletons –
“closet skeletons,”
who rejoiced at the opportunity
to dance in the light of recollection,
and finally end
their long winter of slumber.

Memories of the loosely connected parts
of the lost child
I used to be,
enervated my skeleton friends,
who frenetically discharged
the repressed electric energy
of the frightening
but dark and dreary
memories of yesteryear.

The battle between
wanting to run
or stay put,
to recover the truth –
the accurate narrative
of my youth –
compelled me to remain
just long enough
to survey the darkly lit
container of my youth.

With eyes wide open,
courageous but anxious,
I fixed my gaze
on my bony friend’s shadowy,
but kindly countenance,
and for the first time
I decided,
I am strong enough
to be vulnerable,
so that I can finally remember
my lonely-boy-self,
and absorb the unthinkable
memories of my youth.

It is time to let go.
Bid farewell
to my skeleton friends.
Seal shut
the closet of my youth
and return home,
and live gratefully in the present.

I have spent a lifetime
afraid of dark specters
residing in my closet.
Now is the time
to meld the past and the present,
into a representation
of the person I always wanted to be.
It is the right time
to release the phantom pull backwards,
while gently grasping the hand
of the beautiful present moment,
that pulls me increasingly closer
to where my self-love lies.

Ross Rosenberg
10/1/2016

smiling-skeletons-pic

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar (and upcoming book)

 

 

 

The Eight Stage Self-Love Deficit Disorder (Codependency) Treatment Model. Rosenberg Codendency & Narcissism Expert

This  is the model that I  will be writing about in my upcoming book, The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder.

 

nine-stage-model-final-copy

 

Stage 1: Hitting Bottom (Introducing Hope)
Stage 2: Human Magnet Syndrome Education: Breaking Free from the “Dance”
Stage 3: Withdrawing from SLDD Addiction: Battling Pathological Loneliness
Stage 4: Setting Boundaries in A Hostile Environment. Courage and Commitment
Stage 5: Maintaining Safe and Secure Boundaries. Protection, Security and Self-Care
Stage 6: Resolving / Integrating Unconscious Trauma: Healing Attachment Trauma

Stage 7: Discovering Self-Love. Building an Internal Self-Love Foundation
Stage 8: Building an External Foundation of Self-Love. Achieving Self-Love Driven Relationships.
Stage 9: Shedding Self-Love Deficit Disorder. Becoming Self-Love Abundant

Stop Trying to Change the Malignant Narcissist (Why You Should Never Give A Narcissist My Book).

Stop Trying to Change the Malignant Narcissist

malignant narcissistI am so grateful to the many people who have told me that my book The Human Magnet Syndrome was life-changing. Having such a positive impact on the human condition is my teenager “gonna change the world” dream come true. I couldn’t be happier!

My book was written to inspire and motivate people to understand their part in thedysfunctional dance they have been irresistibly drawn into their whole life. It WAS NOT written to be used as a defensive or offensive strategy in dealing with harmful pathological narcissists (PNarcs).

The “codependent” and “narcissistic” designations in The Human Magnet Syndrome were designed to identify a very serious personal and relational problem so the reader would be motivated to get help to disconnect from it. The book was never intended to be used as a retaliatory weapon to be used by angry, vindictive and/or controlling codependents, or what I now refer to as individuals with Self-Love Deficit Disorder (SLDD). Similarly, it wasn’t written to be used as a countermeasure against narcissistic harm.

The mere mentioning of my book to a PNarc is almost always counterproductive, as it will ALWAYS trigger a negative reaction, no matter how much you believe otherwise. I strongly suggest that you never give a copy of my book to PNarc. Never! It will always trigger a narcissistic injury and set up a dysfunctional interaction, or dance, where the PNarc has complete control and the person with Self-Love Deficit Disorder does not.

If a PNarc learns or is told that their partner is reading my book, they will react in one of two manners:

  1. They will exhibit various forms of vindictive and indignant rage, which compels them to openly intimidate, manipulate, and consequently sabotage their partner’s attempt at SLDD recovery.
  2. This is the more insidious and harmful reaction that is common with Covert and Malignant Narcissists. In this scenario, the PNarc covertly executes a plan of sabotage and disempowerment, which may include gaslighting, mind manipulation, and continued brainwashing.

The latter is more dangerous as the PNarc is allowed to maintain their victim role, while manipulating their partner into believing that they have the problems, not them. In these cases, some of my clients, in the beginning of therapy, are convinced that they are the PNarc and their significant other the SLD. Believe it or not, a few of these clients’ PNarcs read my book, and then gave it to their partner with the continued brainwashing narrative that they are the “codependent” and their partner the “narcissist.”

Plain and simple, any suggestion that the narcissist is at fault will elicit a narcissistic injury. Giving them my book, or referring to it, while telling them you are SLD or codependent, is and will cause them to react in one of two ways. One, they will project onto you that you are the narcissist and they the codependent; or, two, they will be triggered with a narcissistic injury, and subsequently rage against you for the comment or suggestion. You will be the target of their unmitigated fury and vitriolic criticisms, and they will punish you.
The following excerpt from the Human Magnet Syndrome exemplifies the predictable negative response that PNarcs have to my work.

“According to their verbal and/or written feedback, they feel the seminar is offensive, ill-conceived, biased and even absurd. In particular, they are quite bothered by what they perceive as prejudice. These participants hear me say that codependents are the victims and emotional manipulators are the perpetrators of their dysfunctional relationships. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the training (and this book) specifically details how both the codependent and the emotional manipulator are equally willing magnets in their dysfunctional “dance.” The codependent’s tendency to find harmful partners and remain with them cannot and should not be blamed on emotional manipulators, or vice versa.

It would appear that the severe reactions from my audience are likely products of a narcissistic injury, which occurs when the narcissistic individual felt criticized, judged or defeated.

Anger and defensiveness are the common reactions of a narcissistically-injured emotional manipulator, as they feel offended, degraded and/or humiliated when confronted about their wrongdoings.” (Rosenberg, 2013).

Depending on the PNarc’s sub-type or diagnosis, their narcissistically prompted rage will be either delivered directly (“in your face”) or passive aggressively/covertly, which is the common strategy by Covert Narcissists and Malignant Narcissists. The covert and passive aggressive form of the narcissistic injury is more harmful than the reactions from the garden variety overt narcissists. They deliver maximum damage to the triggering (activating) SLD because of the invisible, secretive and manipulative nature of their counter-attack. Examples include triangulation of family, friends or co-workers, in order to promote their victim narrative.

Sadly, and ironically, the mere fact of fighting for what SLDs most want and need — unconditional love, respect and care (LRC) — results in the loss of it. Once in a relationship with a PNarc, any attempts to control or coerce the narcissist into loving, respecting and caring for the SLD are quickly offset by a dizzying array of self-serving manipulative countermeasures. These come in various forms, depending on your PNarc’s subtype. Unfortunately, as long as codependents fight for LRC in a manner that renders them powerless and ineffectual, they are virtually guaranteed never to receive it.

I learned 22 years ago that setting boundaries, resolving conflict, and defending myself from a PNarc was a complicated and dangerous endeavor that left me feeling worse than I felt before the ordeal. I was surprised to learn that my repeated and unsuccessful attempts to control my PNarc’s neglectful and harmful treatment were the primary interactional components of our relationship. My behavior was so automatic and reflexive that I was completely oblivious to it. Adding insult to injury, the only predictable outcome of my control compulsion was feelings of shame, loneliness, anxiety, and anger.

We must learn that PNarcs are never the primary problem. Instead, it is a SLD’s distorted and delusional belief system that compels them to keep trying to change and control their PNarc partner, who has a great deal riding on not letting you succeed. Despite ample evidence that SLDs can rarely effectively and consistently control their PNarcs, they blindly continue.
In conclusion, please do not use my book or other works to wage a battle against your PNarc. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, I beseech you to Observe and Don’t Absorb your PNarc into oblivion!

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig.
You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it!
– George Bernard Shaw

About Ross Rosenberg, MEd, LCPC, CACD, CSAT

Ross is the author of the Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us

BPD, codependency, codependency author, codependency expert, dysfunctional relationships, human magnet syndrome, love advice, love help, narcissism,narcissism author, narcissism expert, narcissist abuse, narcissistic abue, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic abuse syndrome, narcissists, npd, relationship advice, ross rosenberg, why he love people who hurt us,  addiction expert, aspd, best codependency book, best narcissism book, BPD, codependency addiction, codependency author, codependency book, codependency cure, codependency expert, codependency help, codependency treatment, human magnet syndrome, narcissism, narcissist, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic victim syndrome, npd, observer don’t absorb, pathological narcissists, ross rosenberg, ross rosenberg author, self-love, self-love deficit disorder, sldd, trauma expert, trauma resolution

 

Excerpts from The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder Book Proposal

Excerpts from The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder Book Proposal

Chapter 3: “CODEPENDENCY” NO MORE – THE SELF LOVE DEFICIT DISORDER STORY

Discovery Phase V – Core Shame Pathological Loneliness
At age 43, about two years after my humiliating second divorce, my life spiraled out of control and seemed be irrevocably reduced to shambles. My success driven self, the one that kept winning races because of the blinders he had on, could no longer carry the day. Like an old battered row boat with one too many holes in it, I took on more water than I could frantically bail out. No matter how much I tried, dragging on life’s rocky bottom, made it impossible to keep the “good” Ross afloat. As rapidly as one part of me was sinking, another part was rising upwards, seeking the light of day.

To my great dismay, from the murky depths of my unconscious mind, arose my emotional nemesis – core shame. This wasn’t the first time we met, as “he” had repeatedly and unremittingly tapped me on the shoulder back in my exquisitely sad, lonely teenage years. In an effort to stop the throbbing loneliness he caused, I almost self-medicated myself into oblivion. Twenty-eight years later, I was back to my self-medicating ways, trying to anesthetize myself from the ever-present reminders that I was essentially broken, worthless and unlovable. “Bottoming out” at age 44 served as a wake-up call, when I decided to awake from my self-medicated slumber and got myself back into therapy. This time around, I would not stop, until I could permanently eradicate my shame core, that part of me that kept leading me into the arms of a pathological narcissist.

Proposed Table of Contents

Dedication
Acknowledgments
Forward: Another author will write?
Introduction: The Journey to Self-Love: Breaking Free to Recovery
Chapter 1: “Magnets” and “Cures:” The New Codependency Landscape
Chapter 2: Codependency, Narcissism, And The Human Magnet Syndrome
Chapter 3: “Codependency” No More – The Self-Love Deficit Disorder Story
Chapter 4: Paleopsychotherapy: Uncovering Trauma Fossils
Chapter 5: Codependency Addiction: “Hooked” on Your Narcissist
Chapter 6: Organizing The “Codependency Cure.” A Six Stage Recovery Model
Chapter 7: Hitting Bottom – From The Ashes the Phoenix Does Rise”
Chapter 8: Stop Wrestling with “Pigs!” The Observe Don’t Absorb Technique
Chapter 9: Finding Your Voice: Setting Boundaries in A Hostile Environment
Chapter 10: Maintaining Safe & Secure Boundaries
Chapter 11: Healing the Wounded Child Technique
Chapter 12: Discovering Self-Love: Building A Self-Love Foundation
Chapter 13: Relationship Math: The Addition of Two Self-Loving Individuals
Chapter 14: Reaching Self-Love Abundancy – The Codependency Cure
Conclusion
Bibliography

CHAPTER 6: ORGANIZING THE “CODEPENDENCY CURE.” A Six Stage Recovery Model

The Inevitable “How To” Question
It seemed every time I talked about the Human Magnet Syndrome (HMS)—in seminars, YouTube videos, blogs, articles, and of course, in my book—I was repeatedly besieged by the same emphatic question: “When will you tell us how to solve the problem?” Even with the epiphanies and watershed moments that the HMS material made possible, these same people were still mired waist-deep in the muddy swamp of a lifetime of codependent pain.

Naturally, the HMS’s explanation for why they repeatedly mistook harmful Pnarcs for loving life-partners was helpful, but it wasn’t enough. It helped them identify and understand their destructive self-sabotaging tendencies, but they also craved guidance on how to break free from the bonds of codependency , while learning how to be in a relationship with a lover, a best-friend, a mother, or a brother, who was mutually loving, respecting, and caring.

In writing The Human Magnet Syndrome, my goal was to explain what codependency is, not the solutions to it. It was my intention to both revise and redefine it, while explaining its predictable and reflexive behavior pattern, and why codependents repeatedly “dance” with harmful Pnarcs despite cascades of consequences, losses, and emotional pain. As much as I sympathized with the urgency of these questions, I maintained the course of my mission, which was to create a seismic shift in the understanding of codependency. I would not waver from this decision, since I had already planned to follow-up my HMS work with an instructive “how to” book focused on practical solutions and the path to healing.

Even with the clarity of my master plan, I still needed to convince others—both professionals and patients eager for help—why my “why material” needed to be separated from and to precede the eventual “how to” discussion. The following lays out my rationale.

CHAPTER 8  STOP WRESTLING WITH PIGS!  How to Master the Observe Don’t Absorb Technique
The Emotional Wrestling Ring

The emotional ring is the fight that occurs in the SLD’s head, a fight which the SLD always loses. This thought and feeling-based wrestling ring consists of the flood of thoughts, feelings, suppositions, predictions, and judgments that overwhelms the SLD before, during, and after the SLD enters the physical ring. Adding another level of complexity, in any given emotional ring, the SLD is wrestling the current Pnarc, as well as Pnarcs from the past, namely the narcissistic parent or parents responsible for attachment trauma (the cause of SLDD).

The emotional wrestling ring is more dangerous than its physical counterpart. Not only is it invisible and lacking a definitive shape, but it is also the venue in which inner voices or dialogue command your attention. On a good day, the voices or dialogue are patient, accepting, self-forgiving, and self-loving. On a bad day, the Pnarc takes residence in your head, berating you with a cacophony of conclusions, judgments, and impatient commands that unfairly second-guess, judge, and ridicule your actions while degrading and derailing any attempt to secure healthy boundaries.

With the Pnarc infecting your thoughts, feelings, and judgments, the wrestling match is over before it starts, and the inevitable outcome is assured. When you add to the mix the flight or fight and false power responses, the SLD’s thought processes and judgment are impaired, rendering them the surefire loser of any altercation, argument and/or conflict with their Pnarc partner. In addition, once the SLD “rents” the Pnarc “space in their head,” all bets are off, as defeat in the emotional ring ensures another humiliating smack-down in the physical. The fight may seem to the SLD to be fought and lost in the physical ring, but this is an illusion, as most fights are lost in the emotional ring.

Muhammad Ali’s Emotional Knockouts
Muhammad Ali, international sports icon and boxing legend, exemplified a person who dominated his sport because of his mastery of both the emotional and physical rings. Many boxing aficionados and sports historians would agree that Ali may not have always been physically stronger, faster, or more skilled than his opponents. However, these same people would agree that despite his opponents’ obvious advantages, “The Champ” would find a way to win the boxing match. It is unimportant to this book to determine if Muhammad Ali was a Pnarc or not. But what is of value is to demonstrate how and why his psychological boxing methods were a masterful use of the emotional ring, and how they enabled him to achieve dominance in the boxing world.

Especially in the mid to later part of his career, Ali racked up wins through the carefully executed psychological manipulation of his opponents. His big wins, especially against the likes of Joe Frazier and George Foreman, were attributed to his ability to get into their heads, provoke unbridled anger, and ultimately, render them their own worst enemies. Winning in the emotional ring was achieved by taunting, ridiculing, and embarrassing them, which got them so enraged and hell-bent to pulverize Ali that they would ultimately sabotage their own efforts to win the fight.

Once Ali’s opponents were antagonized to the point of rage and a hyper-focused obsession to beat him to a pulp, they expended huge amounts of their energy early on in the match. The combination of his opponents’ triggered vindictive rage, their all-out intention to knock him out in the first few rounds, and Ali’s successful use of his “rope-a-dope” strategy (hunkering down in a safe, defensive position), all but guaranteed Ali a win. By the time his opponent lost his steam, and perhaps his false power, Ali would tap into his reserves and deliver a flurry of bout-ending punches.

Simply speaking, Ali won most of his fights by leading his opponents into an emotional ring and manipulating them to fight unknowingly against themselves; just as the Pnarc does with the unsuspecting SLD.

 

THE CODEPENDENCY CURE (2ND BOOK) UPDATE

The Codependency Cure (2nd Book) Update
I just finished writing the final chapter (of three) that is necessary for my book proposal. I have been working on this for 4 months! After my professional editor Thomas G Fiffer finishes editing it, it will be sent to a publisher.  
I am hoping to receive an acceptable offer by early November.  In this  case, I will  start writing the other 10 chapters (see below). I estimate the book being completed by November 2017.The three chapters are entitled:
 
Chapter 3: “Codependency” No More – The Self-Love Deficit Disorder Story
Chapter 6: Organizing The “Codependency Cure.” A Six Stage Recovery Model
 

Chapter 8: Stop Wrestling with “Pigs!” The Observe Don’t Absorb Technique

Proposed Table of Contents
 
Dedication
 
Acknowledgments
 
Forward: Another author will write?
 
Introduction: The Journey to Self-Love: Breaking Free to Recovery
 
Chapter 1: “Magnets” and “Cures:” The New Codependency Landscape
 
Chapter 2: Codependency, Narcissism, And The Human Magnet Syndrome
 
Chapter 3: “Codependency” No More – The Self-Love Deficit Disorder Story
 
Chapter 4: Paleopsychotherapy: Uncovering Trauma Fossils
 
Chapter 5: Codependency Addiction: “Hooked” on Your Narcissist
 
Chapter 6: Organizing The “Codependency Cure.” A Six Stage Recovery Model
 
Chapter 7: Hitting Bottom – From The Ashes the Phoenix Does Rise”
 
Chapter 8: Stop Wrestling with “Pigs!” The Observe Don’t Absorb Technique
 
Chapter 9: Finding Your Voice: Setting Boundaries in A Hostile Environment
 
Chapter 10: Maintaining Safe & Secure Boundaries
 
Chapter 11: Healing the Wounded Child Technique
 
Chapter 12: Discovering Self-Love: Building A Self-Love Foundation
 
Chapter 13: Relationship Math: The Addition of Two Self-Loving Individuals
 
Chapter 14: Reaching Self-Love Abundancy – The Codependency Cure
 
Conclusion
 
Bibliography

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BPD, codependency, codependency author, codependency expert, dysfunctional relationships, human magnet syndrome, love advice, love help, narcissism,narcissism author, narcissism expert, narcissist abuse, narcissistic abue, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic abuse syndrome, narcissists, npd, relationship advice, ross rosenberg, why he love people who hurt us,  addiction expert, aspd, best codependency book, best narcissism book, BPD, codependency addiction, codependency author, codependency book, codependency cure, codependency expert, codependency help, codependency treatment, human magnet syndrome, narcissism, narcissist, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic victim syndrome, npd, observer don’t absorb, pathological narcissists, ross rosenberg, ross rosenberg author, self-love, self-love deficit disorder, sldd, trauma expert, trauma resolution

 

DON’T USE MY BOOK TO FIGHT A NARCISSIST! You Will Lose, I Promise.

 

Male hand holding a fake pistol with red flag isolated on white background.

DON’T USE MY BOOK TO FIGHT YOUR NARCISSIST!  You Will Lose, I Promise. 

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

I am so grateful to the many people who have told me that my book was life-changing.  Having such a positive impact on the human condition is my teenager “gonna change the world” dream come true.  I couldn’t be happier!

My book was written to inspire and motivate people to understand their part in the dysfunctional dance they have been irresistibly drawn into their whole life.  It WAS NOT written to be used as a defensive or offensive strategy in dealing with harmful pathological narcissists (PNarcs).

The “codependent” and “narcissistic” designations in The Human Magnet Syndrome were designed to identify a very serious personal and relational problem so the reader would be motivated to get help to disconnect from it.  The book was never intended to be used as a retaliatory weapon to be used by angry, vindictive and/or controlling codependents, or what I now refer to as individuals with Self-Love Deficit Disorder (SLDD).  Similarly, it wasn’t written to be used as a countermeasure against narcissistic harm.

The mere mentioning of my book to a PNarc is almost always counterproductive, as it will ALWAYS trigger a negative reaction, no matter how much you believe otherwise. I strongly suggest to never give a copy of my book to PNarc. Never! It will always trigger a narcissistic injury and set up a dysfunctional interaction, or dance, where the PNarc has complete control and the person with Self-Love Deficit Disorder does not.   If a PNarc learns of discovers or is told that their partner is reading my book, they react in one of two manners

  1. They exhibit various forms of vindictive and indignant rage, which compels them to openly intimidate, manipulate, and consequently sabotage their partners attempt at SLDD recovery.
  2. This is the more insidious and harmful reaction, that is common with Covert and Malignant Narcissists. In this scenario, the PNarc covertly executes a plan of sabotage and dis-empowerment, which may include gas lighting, mind-manipulation, and continued brainwashing.

The latter is more dangerous, as the PNarc is allowed to maintain their victim role, while manipulating their partner to believe that they have the problems, not them. In these cases, some of my clients, in the beginning of therapy, are convinced that they are the PNarc and their significant other the SLD. Believe it or not, a few of these client’s PNarc read my book, and then gave it to their partner with the continued brainwashing narrative that they are the “codependent” and their partner the “narcissist.”

 

Plain and simple, ANY SUGGESTION THAT THE NARCISSIST IS AT FAULT will elicit a narcissistic injury.  Giving them my book, or referring to it, while telling them you are SLD or codependent, is and will cause them to react in one of two ways.  One, they will project onto you that you are the narcissist and they the codependent; or, two, they will be triggered with a narcissistic injury, and subsequently rage against you for the comment or suggestion.  You will be the target of their unmitigated fury and vitriolic criticisms, and they will punish you.

The following excerpt from the Human Magnet Syndrome exemplifies the predictable negative response that PNarcs have to my work.

“According to their verbal and/or written feedback, they feel the seminar is offensive, ill-conceived, biased and even absurd. In particular, they are quite bothered by what they perceive as prejudice. These participants hear me say that codependents are the victims and emotional manipulators are the perpetrators of their dysfunctional relationships. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the training (and this book) specifically details how both the codependent and the emotional manipulator are equally willing magnets in their dysfunctional “dance.” The codependent’s tendency to find harmful partners and remain with them cannot and should not be blamed on emotional manipulators, or vice versa.

It would appear that the severe reactions from my audience are likely products of a narcissistic injury, which occurs when the narcissistic individual felt criticized, judged or defeated.’ 

‘Anger and defensiveness are the common reactions of a narcissistically-injured emotional manipulator, as they feel offended, degraded and/or humiliated when confronted about their wrongdoings.” (Rosenberg, 2013).

Depending on the PNarc’s sub-type or diagnosis, their narcissistically prompted rage will be either delivered directly (“in your face”) or passive aggressively/covertly, which is the common strategy by Covert Narcissists and Malignant Narcissists.  The covert and passive aggressive form of the narcissistic injury is more harmful than the reactions from the garden variety overt narcissists.  They deliver maximum damage to the triggering (activating) SLD because of the invisible, secretive and manipulative nature of their counter-attack.  Examples include triangulation of family, friends or co-workers, in order to promote their victim narrative.

Sadly, and ironically, the mere fact of fighting for what SLDs most want and need— unconditional love, respect and care (LRC)[i]—results in the loss of it. Once in a relationship with a PNarc, any attempts to control or coerce[ii] the narcissist into loving, respecting and caring for the SLD are quickly offset by a dizzying array of self-serving manipulative countermeasures.  These come in various forms, depending on your PNarc’s subtype.  Unfortunately, as long as codependents fight for LRC in a manner that renders them powerless and ineffectual, they are virtually guaranteed never to receive it.

I learned 22 years ago that setting boundaries, resolving conflict, and defending myself from a PNarc was a complicated and dangerous endeavor that left me feeling worse than I felt before the ordeal.  I was surprised to learn that my repeated and unsuccessful attempts to control my PNarc’s neglectful and harmful treatment were the primary interactional components of our relationship.  My behavior was so automatic and reflexive that I was completely oblivious to it.  Adding insult to injury, the only predictable outcome of my control compulsion was feelings of shame, loneliness, anxiety, and anger.

We must learn that PNarcs are never the primary problem.  Instead, it is a SLD’s distorted and delusional belief system that compels them to keep trying to change and control their PNarc partner, who has a great deal riding on not letting you succeed.  Despite ample evidence that SLDs can rarely effectively and consistently control their Pnarcs, they blindly continue.

In conclusion, please do not use my book or other works to wage a battle against your PNarc.  In the words of George Bernard Shaw, I beseech you to Observe and Don’t Absorb your PNarc into oblivion!

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig.
You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it!
George Bernard

Ross Rosenberg is a licensed clinical professional counselor and professional trainer. He is the author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us. Contact him at info@advancedclinicaltrainers.com

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us

                  

Why Opposites Attract: Introducing The Continuum of Self Theory

Why Opposites Attract: Introducing The Continuum of Self Theory

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

Originally appeared in Counseling Today at http://wp.me/p2BxKN-3Vv

The most potent of love potions, “romantic chemistry,” draws lovers into a trance-like experience that results in a steamy dance of infatuation, intrigue and sexual desire. Romantic chemistry, or the “urgeOpposites_smallto merge,” typically controls our rational mind, so much so that lessons learned and pledges made are neutralized in an instant. Although conscious desires, choices and preferences are crucial to the pairing of a romantic partnership, they play a secondary role to the forces of the unconscious mind. No matter how we try to fight our relational destiny, we still fall prey to our reflexive urges.

The irresistible and hypnotic allure of romantic chemistry creates what I call a “soul mate conviction.” What seems so perfect in the beginning often unfolds into a disappointing, dysfunctional relationship. In my book The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us, I explain why, for so many people, the soul mate of their dreams often ends up becoming the cellmate of their nightmares.

Although the human magnet syndrome is an intuitive explanation for the ubiquitous forces that bring partners to and keep them in dysfunctional romantic relationships, it lacked a theoretical foundation. To account for these irresistible and predictable attraction forces, I was compelled to create the continuum of self theory. I believe it explains why all people, not just individuals who are labeled as codependents and narcissists, are predictably drawn to a certain type of partner who is their “opposite” match.

In a nutshell, the continuum of self theory offers an intuitive explanation for why so many people remain in relationships despite feeling lonely, frustrated or resentful. Similarly, it explains why some people tend to repeat their dysfunctional relationship choices despite wanting something different. Additionally, it describes why relationships become fragile and often terminate when one of the partners independently achieves greater emotional or mental health.

The self-orientation concept

The continuum of self theory rests on the self-orientation concept, which represents a distinctly human and universal personality characteristic — we all have one! Self-orientation is defined as the manner in which a person expresses or does not express his or her emotional, psychological and relational needs when in a romantic relationship. There are only two self-orientation types: “other” and “self.”

The “other” self-orientation (OSO) manifests as a natural and reflexive predisposition to be more oriented toward the emotional, personal and relational needs of others than for oneself. On the other hand, the “self” self-orientation (SSO) is the natural and reflexive predisposition to be more oriented toward one’s own emotional, personal and relational needs and desires than those of others.

Both self-orientation types are represented as dichotomous and inverse personality characteristics on the continuum of self. As opposite self-orientations, they land on opposite sides of the continuum of self. The most severe manifestations of both self-orientations are placed at the farthest ends of the continuum.

The most severe form of an OSO is codependency. The most severe form of an SSO is pathological narcissism, which is exhibited in narcissistic, borderline and antisocial personality disorders or an addiction. People are considered codependent or as having a severe OSO when they are hyperfocused on the relational and personal needs of others, while neglecting the same needs for themselves. Conversely, people who are considered pathological narcissists or who have a severe SSO are almost completely focused on their own relational and personal needs, while neglecting the same in others.

The middle of the continuum represents individuals whose self-orientation compels them to equally fulfill their “other” and “self” needs. The continuum of self, therefore, represents the full range of self-orientation possibilities, from healthy to dysfunctional.

Relationship math

The continuum of self is a qualitative construct because it can predict a relationship’s degree of healthiness or dysfunction. It is also a quantitative construct because it demonstrates relational compatibility and stability through the use of interacting numerical values. Through “relationship math,” or simple addition and subtraction of single-digit numbers (the continuum of self values), it is possible to identify relational compatibility and stability. The term stable is used to describe relationships that are enduring and resistant to breakup. Conversely, an unstable relationship is likely to either not progress beyond the initial courtship stage or end when frequent conflict or discord is present.

As a whole, the continuum of self measures the full range of self-orientation pairing possibilities. It is designed to measure only interacting self-orientations; it does not purport to measure any other personality construct.

The continuum of self theory suggests that all people are consciously and unconsciously attracted to romantic partners who have an opposite, but proportionally balanced, self-orientation. It predicts that OSOs and SSOs will be attracted to each other while experiencing feelings of relational compatibility. Like an award-winning dance couple, because the care “needer” (SSO) leads the dance and the care “giver” (OSO) follows, the dance is perfectly coordinated; neither steps on the other’s toes. The resulting bond of opposite yet balanced self-orientations may not be happilyconnected, but it will likely endure hardships and be resistant to change.

By definition, people who are codependent (severe OSOs) are prone to focus on the love, respect and care of others, while dismissing, devaluing or being afraid of seeking the same from others. Conversely, people who are pathological narcissists (severe SSOs) are disposed to satiating their own love, respect and care needs, while devaluing, ignoring or neglecting those same needs in their romantic partners. As opposite but balanced personality types, they almost always experience immediate and intense feelings of romantic chemistry.

Continuum of self values

In total, there are 11 values on the continuum of self, representing the full range of self-orientation possibilities. Continuum of self values increase or decrease in a series of single digits. (Examples of each continuum of self value can be viewed at http://goo.gl/gT1dMD.)

Because individuals who are codependent and individuals who are pathological narcissists have diametrically opposite self-orientations, they are represented on the farthest ends of the continuum of self (-5 and +5, respectively). As a person’s relational health improves, so does his or her self-orientation, which is represented by a lower positive or negative continuum of self value. The middle value is zero, which represents an equal balance of love, respect and care given and taken in a relationship. The positive or negative designation does not imply that one self-orientation is better than the other but merely that they are on opposite sides.

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The farther the values pairing moves away from zero on the continuum of self, the less mutuality and reciprocity are evident in the relationship. In other words, higher negative and positive values pairings (for example, -4 and +4) represent a relationship that lacks a fair distribution of love, respect and care. Conversely, lower pairings on the continuum of self represent an increased mutual exchange of love, respect and care. The former represents a dysfunctional relationship, while the latter represents a healthy relationship.

According to the continuum of self theory, romantic relationships remain viable or endure because the matching opposite self-orientations create a sense of relational equilibrium. If one partner becomes healthier, as evidenced by a shift in his or her lowered continuum of self value, then tacit and direct pressure is placed on the other partner to respond with similar positive movement and growth. If the partner of the healthier individual does not want or is unable to change and grow, then stress is placed on the relationship. The stress will either lead to a breakdown of the relationship or create pressure for the healthier partner to regress to former levels of dysfunction. Failure to maintain a balanced inverse bond may result in the failure of the relationship. It should be noted that family systems theory influenced the conceptualization of the continuum of self theory.

Corresponding zero values do not signify an absence of self-orientation. Instead, they represent an exact balance of love, respect and care being given and received. Although having a zero value would be ideal, in reality, the vast majority of people fall somewhere on one side or the other of the continuum of self.

The lower inversely matched couples are able to ebb and flow because of the reciprocal and mutual nature of their well-matched self-orientations (continuum of self values). They are able to ask for what they need — and even disagree with each other — without experiencing resentment or conflict. However, higher inversely matched couples create a dysfunctional relationship. With polar opposite higher continuum of self values, the two are unlikely to reconcile their vast differences in self-orientation. In particular, the person who is a pathological narcissist is an unlikely candidate for any substantive personality change.

Except in the case of a pathological narcissist, who may have a personality disorder, a person’s self-orientation and continuum of self value are neither fixed nor permanent. A person’s continuum of self value typically rises and falls throughout his or her lifetime. It is even possible, albeit not usual, for a person to move from one side of the continuum to the other. In the case of a switch in self-orientation (from SSO to OSO, for example), the person usually begins with a lower positive or negative continuum of self value. In addition, this person has likely participated in some form of long-term or regular mental health service. With motivation, emotional fortitude and good counseling, most OSOs and SSOs are capable of learning to practice a mutually satisfying level of give-and-take in the areas of love, respect and care.

The zero-sum relationship

Relationship stability is achieved when the negative and positive continuum of self values of each partner equal a zero sum. In other words, zero-sum relationships occur when two partners have an exactly opposite self-orientation.

Note that the zero-sum relationship describes the quantitative state of a relationship, not the qualitative state. To illustrate, a -5 continuum of self value, or someone who is codependent, will likely form a stable and lasting dysfunctional relationship with a +5 value, or someone who is a pathological narcissist. On the contrary, a mildly giving and overly empathetic person with a continuum of self value of -2 would make an ideal partner for a mildly self-centered person with a value of +2. Therefore, a zero-sum relationship isn’t necessarily healthy or stable. It is just balanced.

Consider this vignette of a healthy -2/+2 zero-sum relationship. Sandy (-2) is a mother and wife who enjoys her role as a busy stay-at-home mom. She stays busy caring for her family and serving in several volunteer positions. She is married to Dan (+2), who is a successful corporate executive. With the support of Sandy, Dan works long hours to build his status and reputation in the family business. Although Dan likes the attention that being in the public eye brings him, he still makes himself available for the personal and emotional needs of others, especially when it comes to his family. Sandy and Dan’s lower opposite continuum of self values result in mutual feelings of love, respect and care. When Sandy is sick and can’t care for the children, Dan doesn’t hesitate to take a few days off work to cover her domestic responsibilities. If Dan needs help, Sandy steps up in any way she can to help him.

Now consider this vignette of an unhealthy -5/+5 zero-sum relationship. Ken (-5) works two jobs to care for his wife, Allison (+5), and their three children. Ken harbors deep resentment toward Allison because he has to work multiple jobs to make ends meet for the family. Allison has been largely unresponsive to and, at times, unaware of Ken’s unhappiness. Although Ken is highly bonded to his children, his work schedule keeps him away from many of the quality moments with them. When they got married, Allison unilaterally decided to quit her successful accounting career because she wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. Despite Ken’s repeated assertions that they needed two incomes, Allison insisted that she needed to be at home with their kids and that Ken was being unreasonable. Ken’s fear of conflict and fear that Allison might leave him resulted in the suppression of his resentment. Allison’s narcissism prevents her from understanding Ken’s need for mutuality and reciprocity in the relationship. They are likely to stay married but remain miserable (particularly in Ken’s case).

Relationship categories

Continuum of self values are categorized into three groups: healthy/balanced, problematic and unhealthy/dysfunctional. Lower values pairings illustrate healthier relationships that are characterized by higher levels of mutuality in the exchange of love, respect and care. Higher continuum of self values pairings demonstrate less healthy relationships that are characterized by a lopsided exchange of love, respect and care, with more going to the SSO and less to the OSO. Couples who fit into a specific category can move forward or backward on the continuum of self as they either evolve or devolve relationally.

  • Healthy/balanced: 0/0, -1/+1
    and -2/+2
  • Problematic: -3/+3
  • Unhealthy/dysfunctional: -4/+4
    and -5/+5

Unhealthy/dysfunctional relationships

According to the continuum of self theory, individuals who are codependent have a severe OSO, which is numerically represented by a continuum of self value of -5. When in romantic relationships, they focus almost completely on the needs of a pathologically narcissistic partner, while ignoring, diminishing or neglecting their own similar needs. Although unhappy and resentful, they remain in this relationship.

In contrast, pathological narcissists have a severe SSO, which is numerically represented by a continuum of self value of +5. When in a romantic relationship, they predominantly focus on their own needs, while ignoring, diminishing or neglecting their partners’ similar needs. They seem oblivious to their partners’ resentment or unhappiness about the relationship. Therefore, they have no investment or interest in changing the relationship.

The unhealthy/dysfunctional range for relationships is -4/+4 to -5/+5. Although “balanced” and “stable,” these dysfunctional pairings result in one-way “narcicentric” relationships. The +4 and +5 SSOs receive the lion’s share of love, respect and care, while the -4 and -5 OSOs are typically on the short end of the receiving stick. As such, the OSOs suffer in the relationship significantly more than their SSO partners do.

In an effort to avoid upsetting the narcissistic partner, the -4 and -5 OSO partner tolerates and, consequently, adapts to the SSO partner’s narcissistic ways. Because the OSO partner is neither adept at nor comfortable with communicating anger, displeasure or resentment, he or she is likely to suppress these feelings. In addition, the OSO partner may have learned that communicating resentment or anger is likely to result in rejection, conflict or harm (personal or relational), all of which he or she actively avoids. Therefore, the OSO partner perpetuates or enables the dysfunctionally balanced relationship by adjusting to the other partner’s narcissistic behaviors.

The -5/+5 zero-sum relationship is typically resistant to change, mostly because of the pathological narcissist’s inability to acknowledge his or her role in the relationship’s dysfunction. Denying culpability or responsibility for the relationship problems reinforces the narcissist’s position that psychotherapeutic services will be neither personally beneficial nor helpful to the relationship.

The partner who is considered codependent is correspondingly resistant to change because it would potentially result in emotional, psychological or even physical harm or in deep and profound feelings of guilt, shame and loneliness. However, people who are codependent are sometimes able to accept responsibility for their problems and seek help.

Although the -4/+4 relationship also constitutes a dysfunctional relationship, both individuals have some capacity, albeit minimal, to break free of their polarized self-orientation differences. To illustrate, the -4 OSO is minimally capable of setting and maintaining boundaries regarding the love, respect and caring imbalance in the relationship. Likewise, the +4 SSO partner, who does not have a personality disorder, has some limited capability to demonstrate concern and some limited willingness to better meet the partner’s needs. This relationship is still resistant to change because the +4 SSO is negatively reactive and fragile about accepting constructive or critical feedback about his or her narcissism.

Problematic relationships

According to the societal and cultural standards of most developed Western countries, the -3/+3 relationship is often considered problematic because the distribution of love, respect and care is not equally and fairly distributed. In this relationship category, the balance is significantly tilted toward the SSO. Even with the inequity of love, respect and care that is given and received, this couple is still capable of minor to moderate levels of mutuality and reciprocity. For example, the OSO partner is able to set some boundaries and communicate some of his or her needs. Conversely, the SSO partner is capable of minimal to moderate levels of empathy and motivation to meet his or her partner’s needs, while also being open to some constructive and critical feedback.

The delineation between healthy and unhealthy continuum of self values pairings is not always clear. From the vantage point of modern Western culture, a couple with a -3/+3 pairing may be considered unhealthy because of the distinct disparity between the exchange of love, respect and care. However, from the perspective of other societies, cultures or ethnic groups in which the norm is oriented toward an acceptable discrepancy between the giving and taking of love, respect and care, the relationship would be considered healthy and normal. If these romantic partners are satisfied and happy with their relationship and there is no harm perpetrated against the OSO, then their somewhat polarized exchange of love, respect and care may actually constitute a culturally specific healthy relationship.

Healthy/balanced relationships

The healthy values pairings in the continuum of self are -2/+2, -1/+1 and 0/0. Healthy relationships are defined by both a zero-sum balance and an equitable distribution of love, respect and care. Although a -2/+2 couple may not share an exactly equal exchange of love, respect and care, they still experience an affirming, balanced and mutually satisfying connection. This relationship is considered healthy because both partners are content and satisfied with their unique flow. In other words, this relationship works because both partners feel loved, respected and cared for in a manner that satisfies their healthy self-orientation.

An example of such a relationship is a healthy counselor who enjoys helping others but still sets boundaries when feeling ignored, or a healthy writer who lives for affirmation and recognition but can still fulfill his or her partner’s needs for the same.

Maslow’s hammer and nail

As much as the continuum of self theory attempts to identify and quantify human relational behavior, it is neither feasible nor appropriate to rely on just one theory to explain complicated human behavior patterns. There are inherent dangers to having a limited or narrow view of human psychology.

Abraham Maslow, one of the founders of humanistic psychological theory, said, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” My hope is that the continuum of self theory can serve as just one of the many tools in a counselor’s toolbox to help understand and change our clients’ or our own dysfunctional relationships.

I would also like to offer some disclaimers. First, because an addiction can mimic pathological narcissism, a significant period of recovery is needed before determining a person’s baseline self-orientation.

The continuum of self only measures a person’s self-orientation. It does not purport to measure more complicated and multifaceted personality or relational characteristics or dynamics. Also, the theory should be applied only in a clinical setting with a competent and qualified counselor who is trained in the continuum of self and other related psychological theories.

Although the continuum of self theory attempts to explain and simplify the complex attraction dynamic, it does not pretend to be bigger and more inclusive than it was designed to be. It is a narrowly focused explanatory paradigm that measures an individual’s self-orientation, while accounting for the attraction dynamic of opposite but compatible personality types. It is not intended to be a stand-alone or comprehensive theoretical explanation. However, it may be useful as an adjunct to other psychological theories.

As a new psychological theory, the continuum of self has not yet met the rigors of scientific scrutiny. However, I hope that it will contribute to the current understanding of human behavior and stimulate further thought and discussion on the topic.

Ross Rosenberg is a licensed clinical professional counselor and professional trainer. He is the author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us. Contact him at info@advancedclinicaltrainers.com

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us