This is the model that I will be writing about in my upcoming book, The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder.
I 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:
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
Chapter 8: Stop Wrestling with “Pigs!” The Observe Don’t Absorb Technique
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We have choices about our relationship with ourselves. We can live our lives out as our own worst enemy and unknowingly being a partner to the insidious and self-harming forces of Self-Love Deficit Disorder.
Or, we can allow ourselves to risk being vulnerable and courageous enough to admit that our primary problem is with ourselves. Admitting that we are the main reason we cannot love ourselves unconditionally is a daunting and risky proposition. It changes our focus from the world is unfair and unkind to us, from we are an obstacle between the world and ourselves in finding compassion, empathy and love for ourselves.
The primary obstacle to achieving self-love abundance (SLA) is the treacherous and predictable part of us that reflexively, almost instinctively, over-judges, over-condemns, or over-predicts our lack of importance or lack of worthiness to others.
Self-Love Abundance is created by our new-found ability, that unfolds slowly but progressively, to be accepting, gentle, patient, and forgiving to ourselves. Moreover, SLA is created by being optimistic with our predictions of worthiness.
How can we ever really love anyone fully, if we are mercilessly hard on ourselves? We can’t. It is time to take this updated version of the serenity prayer to heart!
By Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
“And the day came
when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.”
~ Anaïs Nin
in a metaphorically dilapidated and dangerous home that fools us into believing it protects us from the risk of harm and danger. As much as we may want to blame another person for building the house, making us stay inside it, or inoculating us with fear for wanting to move out of it, we must face the fact that we are also responsible. Since we are not chained inside of the house, the captor needs the captured to believe they belong in such a house. Believe it or not, the locks on the outside doors were installed by both partners. The challenge is to realize that you always carry the keys for the deadbolt locks and the password for the security alarms.
In reality, this “safe house” of ours has always constricted our growth potential by not allowing us to believe it’s safe to go “outside”; to realize we can, in actuality, weather being soaked by spring’s torrential rainfalls, buried by winter’s knee-deep snow, or burnt by summer’s scalding heat. We have been manipulated into believing the locked doors and security systems of our dysfunctional dwelling protect us from all of these things. The fortified steel bolt locks that we agreed to, or were talked into installing, never actually protected us. On the contrary, they trapped us in a home imbued with the absence of self-love, where every wall, floor, and ceiling is stained with fear, negativity, and pessimism.
It is time to ask ourselves about the truth and validity of the frightening and dangerous nature of the world that lies one step beyond the entrance of our home. Have we been force-fed a version of reality that was meant to keep us frightened and cocooned in our home? Or did we concoct our own scary story of the outside world to protect our wounded, sensitive and vulnerable hearts? The truth be told: the walls we believe protected us also entrapped us…stopped us from healing the wounds responsible for our beliefs of being permanently homebound and an emotional invalid.
Do we mistakenly believe the risk to venture out into the seemingly unsafe community of unknowns and potential perpetrators is far less risky than staying put in our slowly shrinking and suffocating home? Similarly, have we lulled ourselves into believing the dangers of being vulnerable and hurt on the outside are worse than the inescapable ongoing trauma of being imprisoned within the seemingly protective confines of our own home? If so, we may have been tricked into believing the value of supposed protection and safety, over the potential for personal, relational and emotional freedom and self-love.
It is time to take an honest inventory of what is missing in your life and what you are longing for and have spent a lifetime dreaming of. Honestly and courageously calculate the real differences between what would be both lost and gained by living in your home, or venturing outside of it. You will be surprised at how you were manipulated into believing your small and increasingly dangerous home was never safe.
Now is the time to imagine a home that is big enough for you to move freely and without restriction; one that speaks to your bright future, not the lurid and frightening memories of your past. You can have that dream house, the one you always wanted, but mistakenly believed you never deserved. But before you start thinking about a new home, it is crucial that you realize the home you need to build and then move into is already inside of you.
Wrap your arms around the idea of knowing you deserve such a home. Sit with this new-found knowledge and marinate in the idea that your future dream home can actually be acquired. Also, if possible, come to terms with the restricting and freezing nature of your fears and doubts, which have been instilled inside of you since you were a child. Life will open up so many possibilities once you understand and accept your insecure and fear-based beliefs about the past, present and future were purposely forced upon you in order for you to believe in your dependency, weakness and lack of personal power and control over your own life.
Deciding to move and then actually making plans might be exciting at first, but you will get scared and doubt yourself. Be prepared to feel scared and insecure. Take your time, don’t panic and stay present. And whatever you do, DO NOT waver in your commitment to build your inner foundation of self-love, self-respect, and self-caring. Moving into a home before your own personal foundation is solid is a dangerous proposition! If there are cracks, then your “house” will be reduced to “rubble” if bad weather should come your way. Building your home (self-love) inside of yourself before rushing (escaping) into another dwelling, will ensure a long-term and safe home, fit to carry you brightly and self-lovingly into the future.
When you get to the point where you know deep in your heart that you are ready to move, don’t rush to pack up and hire movers! In addition, before throwing away or donating any of your old and dingy material possessions, work first on fortifying your new foundation of courage and resiliency, while establishing mutually loving, respectful and caring relationships outside of your current, soon-to-be former home. Then, you will be ready to start looking for your dream house!
When you do find your new home, make sure its foundation matches your own. A home that has both a solid infrastructure and rock-solid foundation will bring you joy and happiness that you once could not have imagined and, once experienced, will protect you with every bit of the self-love you so courageously have built up over time. Despite the rainstorms, blizzards and heatwaves, you will be safe from harm and live in an environment of peace, happiness and potential.
Now is the time to imagine, build, move into, maintain and cherish your future home, in which the foundation and every brick are made from self-love!
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
Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
I first came across this allegorical story about self-love, courage and risk 28 years ago when I began my psychotherapy career in Boone, Iowa. The story is a chapter from John and Linda Friel’s 1988 book, “Adult Children Secrets of Dysfunctional Families: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families.” The Friels were one of the early pioneers on ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) and codependency.
The Friel’s goose story typifies the experience of being raised in a family that protects its dysfunction more than the people in the family. It eloquently and powerfully conveys what it is like to experience the double bind of knowing what is wrong with your family, but being afraid of exposing this truth. For many families, such as the one in this story, the risk to tell the truth often requires either leaving the family, or being expelled from it.
As the protagonist of the story, a young adult goose matured and began to realize how sick his family really was and how unwilling they were able to accept it. In fact, the toxicity of the family’s dysfunction was so severe that everyone’s mental and physical health (safety) were sacrificed in order to maintain and perpetuate their shared denial-based narrative. The young goose’s courage to face the truth about his family’s toxic dysfunction, set boundaries with them, and follow his intuition about what is healthy or not, is truly inspirational!
Looking back at it now, I am reminded how the brilliant work from people like John and Linda Friel impacted my own codependency recovery and what would become my own clinical and written work. Twenty-eight years later, this story still resonates with my own codependency and dysfunctional family story. It is clear now that ideas such as my “Surgeon General’s Warning,” “Observe Don’t Absorb” technique, and my Five Stages of Codependency Recovery concepts could not have been developed without the knowledge and inspiration from pioneers like the Friels and their compatriots. I hope it impacts you in the same way!
Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Adult Children Secrets of Dysfunctional Families: The Secrets of Dysfunctional Families
From The Goose (Chapter 9, page 93)
Once upon a time in a far away land called Northern Minnesota, there was a family of geese who lived on a quiet little pond on the outskirts of a small town. Mr. Gander and Mrs. Goose and their three goslings spent a lot of time in the pond, and they enjoyed their neighbors, Mr. Beaver and Mr. and Mrs. Loon. On sunny afternoons after the wind had died down, they would congregate near Mr. Beaver’s house and talk about their families and their plans for the winter. Like all normal Minnesotans, the weather was always at the top of the list for conversation.
“Hot enough for you, Mrs. Goose!” asked Mr. Loon.
“Land sakes, yes!” replied Mrs. Goose, with a mock sigh of consternation in her voice.
“Well, I don’t know,” piped in Mr. Beaver. “I sort of like this weather.”
Mr. Gander listened our of one ear as he gazed our over the pond and thought about what a wonderful life they had all made for themselves. His goslings were growing up faster than he had ever imagined, and he was thinking ahead to the trip south that they’d all be taking in a few months. He was even thinking beyond that, to the rime when they could return to this pond again after the long, cold Minnesota winter was over. He loved this place.
While all this adult conversation was going on, the three goslings were out in the middle of the pond skimming across the top of the water, feet paddling fast as they tried to get themselves airborne for the first time. None of them were to accomplish it today, but they would soon enough. As they stopped to rest, the Littlest Gosling spoke to his brother and sister. “You know, I haven’t been feeling so great the past few days. My stomach has been a little queasy, and my head hurts just a bit.”
“Well,” his sister replied, “you’re probably just anxious about the big trip south this winter. After all, it is a long way from home.”
“Yes,” his brother added, “and you’ve been working awfully hard to learn how to fly. Why don’t you just go over by Mom and Dad and take a breather.”
The Littlest Gosling frowned. “I don’t know. It just feels like something; wrong. I can’t quite put my wingtip on it, but something tells me things aren’t right.”
“You Silly Goose!” his brother and sister echoed in unison.
The Littlest Gosling began swimming toward the spot on the edge of the pond where his parents were. Before he reached them, he veered off to the left into a small cove lined with cattails and water lilies. He noticed a peculiar odor and spotted two dead fish floating bellies up on the surface of the water. He wondered if there was something wrong with his pond; and he wondered if that was why he was feeling a little sick.
He paddled out of the cove and around to his parents, Mr. Beaver, and Mr. and Mrs. Loon.
“Mom, Dad,” he began, “I think there’s something wrong with this pond. I think there’s something in it that’s making me sick.” He gazed up into their eyes, awaiting that glimmer of pride and recognition in their expressions that would say they were interested in his discovery.
Instead, Mrs. Goose snapped, “0h, you Silly Goose! Whatever gave you that idea? Land sakes, son, you come up with the silliest notions sometimes”.
That evening his parents, brother and sister all had a good laugh over the Littlest Gosling’s “discovery”.
“Why, we’ve been coming back to this pond every spring for as long as I can remember,” spouted Mr. Gander. “And no one has ever been sick a day in his life since we’ve been here,” added Mrs. Goose.
“Alright, alright,” shouted the Littlest Gosling, “enough is enough!”
Over the next few days everyone forgot about the incident, and things pretty much went back to normal.
About two weeks Inter the Littlest Gosling began to feel sick again, but he’d learned his lesson the first time, so he didn’t even think about telling anyone in the pond about it.
At first he didn’t know quite what to do. He went back to the small cove and saw some more dead fish and smelled that smell again. Then he took a tour of the rest of the pond and discovered some of the same things going on. A few dead fish here and there, a funny smell and a slight headache and queasy stomach that wouldn’t seem to go away.
By now he was able to fly, and although lie was feeling weak, he decided to break the rule that his parents had made for him and his brother and sister, and he flew up and over the edge of the pond and away. After gaining altitude, he noticed a big lake off in the distance with a large population of geese, ducks and loons, and so he headed toward it.
After a few minutes, he landed gracefully on the surface of the lake about 50 yards from a big gaggle of geese who were swimming about, enjoying the late afternoon sun. He was hesitant at first because his parents had told him not to leave his own pond, and because these geese were strangers. But they were very nice, and they invited him to come and join them in their conversation.
Soon after they began to talk, the Littlest Gosling told them what had been happening to him lately. As he talked, the Eldest Gander of the gaggle became very serious. The Littlest Gosling noticed that a frown swept across his face, and then suddenly the Eldest Gander began honking furiously.
“Where exactly do you live, son?” he asked the Littlest Gosling.
“A few minutes from here, as the goose flies,” he answered. “In that pond behind that abandoned farm.” The Eldest Gander honked even louder now.
“You must fly home and warn your family at once! And everyone else who lives there, too. That pond is poison! Believe me. We lived there once, too. His face grew sad. “I lost two of my goslings because of that pond.”
The Littlest Gosling did not hesitate for an instant. He took to the air and flew directly to where his parents were swimming in the pond.
“Dad! Mom!” he shouted. “I know l’m not supposed to leave the pond, but I just had to get away. I was feeling so sick. And I was so curious. Anyway, I talked to some geese in a lake near here, and the Eldest Gander there said that the water in this pond is poison, and that he lost two goslings because of it. We need to get out of here right away!” he said excitedly.
Mr. Gander looked sternly at his son and said, “We told you never to leave this pond until we are all ready to fly south for the winter. You have broken our most important rule. We are very disappointed in you. Now go back to the nest and don’t leave there until we tell you to!”
The Littlest Gosling was heartbroken and terrified. He didn’t know what to do. He loved his family, and he wanted to be a good gosling, but he didn’t want his family to die either. He began to return to the nest. When he was almost there, he suddenly turned, looked up into the sky, recalled the words of the Eldest Gander, and then flew off toward the big lake.
He had decided to live rather than to die but he was so deeply sad that he cried for the better part of four days. Members of the gaggle on the big lake would stop by to comfort him, and to tell him that he had made the right decision, but he still felt a deep pain inside.
On several occasions, he almost got up and new back to the pond, thinking that to die with his family would he better than to live with strangers. But each rime, something deep inside of him told him to stay put.
And then something happened. Almost three weeks after he had left home, he saw a lone goose, or was it a gosling, winging its way toward the lake. His eyes were riveted on the bird. His heart leaped when he realized that it was his brother. His brother had started to feel sick, too. He had got in a huge fight with Mr. Gander but had finally decided to join the Littlest Gosling. Three days later, his sister joined them and a week after that, so did Mrs. Goose. Finally one week later Mr. Gander, sick to his stomach and with a headache throbbing in his temples, joined the rest of the family on the big lake.
It took a lot of courage on their part, but once they were settled into their new home, Mr. and Mrs. Gander called a meeting of all the flocks.
As a hush settled over the late, Mr. Gander put his wing around the Littlest Gosling and said, “This is my Littlest Gosling. For a while I thought he was a Bad Little Gosling. I thought he was a Silly Goose. But he wasn’t. We were the Silly Geese. And the Littlest Gosling saved our lives. We are proud of him.”
A tear trickled down the beak of Mrs. Goose. It was a tear of pride and relief and gratitude. The Littlest Gosling’s heart filled with warmth as every duck, loon, goose and gander on the big lake began honking their loudest honks and calling their loudest calls to celebrate his courage, wisdom and strength.
That winter they all flew south together and in the spring they returned to the big lake. They were pleased now to be a part of all the flocks safe in the knowledge that their water was pure, their friends were true and that their goslings would be able to grow up to be healthy and strong.
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
This NO COST event showcases the voices of celebrities, top professionals and thought-leaders delivering cutting-edge scientific, spiritual, and practical approaches to treating and overcoming addictions of all kinds. The online conference is for all the spouses, ex’s, parents, siblings, and children who love or have loved an addict too.
Do you have a friend or family member struggling with co-dependency, addiction whether it’s substance abuse, love, sex, food or internet addiction? You’ll want to get on this FREE Recovery Today Online Conference to find out cutting-edge scientific, spiritual, and practical approaches to treating and overcoming addictions of all kinds.
You’re going to learn new powerful tools and techniques to self-care, boundaries, how to discover YOUR own authenticity and how to become aware of the parts of YOURSELF that are closed off when YOU are an ‘active’ codependent.
It’s got an all-star line up of celebrities, therapists and experts, like Jack Canfield, Dr Gabor Mate, and me! Just one of those strategies can help you shift your half lived or tumultuous life to one of hope, awareness, authenticity, aliveness.
The 30-Day Sobriety Solution. Jack Canfield, a Harvard graduate with a Master’s Degree in psychological education, knows what motivates, drives and inspires people to do the impossible.
When the Cape’s Too Tight on Superman: Men and Codependency. Dan Griffin is an internationally recognized expert on men, relationships, and trauma and an author of multiple groundbreaking books.
Honestly Realign Your Role in The Family Melodrama (Be Who You Want to Be!). Jean LaCour PhD, CPP, CPRC is a Global Recovery Expert and Thought Leader who has trained thousands of people in 25 nations.
Unwelcome Inheritance: Break Your Family’s Cycle of Addictive Behaviors. Lisa Sue Woititz is an author and Certified Professional Recovery Coach who focuses her efforts on educating and empowering families affected by addiction, high risk youth, and individuals that are recovering from eating disorders.
Lessening the Impact of Addiction by Becoming Part of the Solution. After watching her son struggle with addictions Joan was driven to know how his addictions began and why his life ended up the way it did. She now shares with you their loving true account and how it is possible to live without addictions now.
Staying Focused in a Hyper World: Natural Solutions for ADHD, Memory and Brain Performance. John Gray, Ph.D. is the best-selling relationship author of all time and the most trusted voice in relationships today. He is the author of 17 books, including The New York Times #1 Best-Selling Book of the last decade, MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS.
“Codependency No More” Presenting: Introducing “Self-Love Deficit Disorder.” Ross Rosenberg is a codependency, narcissism, trauma, and sex addictions expert. He has provided training’s in 27 states and 2 countries. He owns Clinical Care Consultants, an Arlington Heights Counseling center, and Advanced Clinical Trainers, which are both in Arlington Heights IL.
Your future self now – The keys to calling in the power of your divine creativity. John Burgos, founder and host of Beyond The Ordinary Show, has committed his life to improving and enriching the lives of others. His show unites and leads the next generation of transformation through providing a stage for emerging and provocative spiritual leaders, exposing and bringing light to the shared power of collective consciousness.
Stop Living Your Child’s Addiction. Valerie Silveira, Author of “Still Standing After All the Tears” & Creator of the Nine Actions to Battle Your Beast. Valerie has had a diverse career in finance, business operations, consulting, training and speaking. She uses her professional experience and her thirteen-year ride on what she calls the Roller Coaster From Hell to help others put the pieces of their life back together.
Codependency and Shame. Darlene Lancer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and expert on relationships and codependency. She’s the author of “Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You” and “Codependency for Dummies”. Ms. Lancer has counseled individuals and couples for 28 years and coaches internationally. She’s a sought after speaker in media and at professional conferences.
3 Steps to Healthy Love. Rachel Levy, LMHC aka, Love Coach Rachel, is a Sacred Spaeholder for relationships, devoted to living and teaching the healing power and practice of Empathy. As a respected Imago Relationship Therapist both in her Miami Beach office and online globally, Rachel is known for her compassionate and uncanny ability to help clients dissolve conflicts, develop their emotional intelligence and transform their struggle into loving, healthy and strong relationships.
Duana “Dee” Wilkins
Bringing the Family Voice to Addiction and Recovery. Duana “Dee” Wilkins is the original founder of Change Addiction Now a national organization focused on bringing the family voice to addiction and recovery through peer support and evidence based resources. Duana will be the first to tell you there would not be a C.A.N. without the dedication and commitment of all of her fellow cofounders and amazing volunteers.
SELF-COMPASSION: the Key to Freedom & Inner Peace. Author, Therapist & Workshop Leader Carolyn Hobbs, a Licensed MFT for 30 years, blends Body-Centered Therapy with Meditative Awareness. She trains psychologists, therapists, drug counselors & LCSWs in Body-Centered Therapy nationwide through U.S. Journal Conferences. Carolyn teaches Joy and Freedom through Compassion Workshops at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in the SF-Bay Area each spring since 2004.
Mind the Gap (Mindfulness and Co-dependency). TEDx speaker Dr Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John MA (hon.Dr of Letters) is the award winning author of Eight Step Recovery Using The Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction. Last year it won the category of best Self Motivation Book in the USA book awards and the USA International Book Awards. She is the co-founder of Healing and Insight an online teaching faculty that explores the sharp edges of suffering through the mindfulness teachings. Author of 8 books, her new edition of Detox Your Heart – working with anger, fear and hatred will be published in spring 2017.
From Distraction To Divine Action: How To Shift Your Energy Around Addictive Behavior, Patterns, & Habits. Panache Desai is a contemporary thought leader whose gift of vibrational transformation has drawn thousands from around the world. A highly sought-after speaker featured regularly in print, broadcast media, and online, Panache has appeared with Oprah Winfrey’s Emmy® Award-winning series, Super Soul Sunday as well as Soul 2 Soul: Asking Life’s Big Questions.
Addictions Respect No One. Award Winning Actor, Director, and Producer Daniel Baldwin is recognized anywhere he goes. Unlike other Hollywood celebrities, however, Daniel is also recognized as one of the “Baldwin Brothers”; perhaps the only celebrity family, with four brothers, all having made it to the big screen… Alec, Daniel, Stephen and Billy. Besides his onscreen achievements and fame, however, Daniel is most passionate about sobriety and speaks frequently about it. The road to his own recovery has been quite unique, and he’s very open to share it.
It’s Treating the Underlying Issue that’s the Key. Nationally recognized addiction expert, Greg Hannley is the Publisher of “Recovery Today Magazine” and Chief Executive Officer of SOBA Recovery Center. His vision is to provide a safe, sober environment for those suffering from the disease of addiction and to evangelize a simple, powerful message; there is hope.
By Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
When treating trauma victims (and trauma survivors), I conceptualize trauma as a metaphorical invisible wound that is shamefully hidden from others. Many trauma victims hold onto the irrational belief that, by telling someone their story, they would be taking an indefensible risk which could have irreversible and lasting consequences. They are also terrified of the consequences of exposing the perpetrator because of real or imagined judgment, rejection from loved ones and the consequent loss of important loving and supportive relationships – social and familial isolation.
They avoid sharing their trauma with others, including a psychotherapist, because they believe: “I am permanently broken,” “I will be blamed,” “I must have deserved it,” “No one will believe me,” “People will be mad at me” and “No one loves a broken person.” The most prevalent thought that motivates the burying of the trauma wound is “It will get worse by telling someone,” “The perpetrator will hurt me again or someone I love” and “The perpetrator is more believable than me.”
These unfortunate victims consequently commit their trauma wounds to oblivion. They both consciously and unconsciously decide to permanently and deeply bury what happened to them and never utter a word about it again – to others and even to themselves. Similar to a person with a real physical wound who avoids medical treatment, they hide it from others in hopes that it will heal by itself and the pain will eventually go away. But it doesn’t.
Sadly, some of these trauma victims spend the rest of their lives unaware of their festering, debilitating and painful wounds. The suffering they do allows them to connect to the result of the core wound, not the trauma itself. In other words, it is less threatening and easier to attend to the palatable consequences of the invisible wound than the source itself. And, if by accident a mere memory fragment should come to mind, the person will run further from it, cover it with another layer of denial, or just preoccupy themselves with a dysfunctional partner and/or seek to further self-medicate or numb it away.
Unfortunately, the longer the trauma wound is left untreated, the worse it actually gets. Repressed (unconscious) trauma might seem gone, but it actually gets worse over time. No thanks to shame, it grows and morphs into a more destructive force, attracting more and more shame like a strong magnet does to paper clips. Accumulated shame always becomes toxic, which consequently requires our conscious and unconscious mind to spend more energy in denying, forgetting or forcefully not thinking about what had happened to us. This process adds even more layers of shame.
With each passing year, the buried trauma wound is covered by successive layers of “sediment” which, because of the forces that push down on our life, becomes a harder rock-like boundary “protecting” the trauma memory. Because of the powerful natural psychological forces of compaction, the original trauma eventually converts into a “fossilized memory” or “trauma fossil” that has become completely inaccessible to memory.
With meticulous care, and help from a mental health professional, we can carefully and cautiously dig, hammer and chip our way down to the original layer of sediment where the trauma fossil has been ensconced in rock. Such “paleotherapy” work is not for the faint of heart and requires courage, focus and persistent but gentle efforts to crack through rock-hard layers of forgotten time while, at the same time, not damaging the fragile nature of our former wounded selves – the trauma fossil.
And only when all of the traumatized parts of our former selves are unearthed, carefully sorted through, and put back together, are we finally able to understand what happened to us so long ago. The reconstruction of our trauma story paves the way for both an emotional and intellectual understanding of how we almost became psychologically extinct. Although “paleotherapy” may be a frightening endeavor, it is, perhaps, the only way to courageously heal our trauma wound at its source – and relieve a lifetime of suffering.
This takes a great deal of courage and vulnerability. George Eliot’s advice has never been more important to believe in than now: “It’s Never Too Late To Be What You Might Have Been.” We just have to fight for what we should have been if we were not traumatized as we were. Commit this to memory: “The antidote to trauma is self-love.” Trauma recovery creates self-love. The battle to heal and overcome our trauma is well worth it. I guarantee it.
For a powerful discussion (video) on courage and vulnerability, I highly suggest viewing Brené Brown’s video, “The Power of Vulnerability. https://goo.gl/up87PQ
Eleven Tips to Healing Your Invisible Wounds
From the Upcoming Book, The Codependency Cure: Breaking Free From Narcissists
Codependency recovery has the capacity to change your life. My writings and YouTube videos are intended to inspire, motivate and guide you on a journey to solve and overcome the obstacles that are responsible for your codependency. It is backed up with my own recovery experiences and 28 years working with trauma survivors and codependents and my book, The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us. My transformation is proof that a person doesn’t have to be weighed down by the childhood trauma that compels them to form long-term relationships with people who cannot love or respect them, but will inevitably hurt them.
However, you should be warned that there is no “quick fix” for your life-long patterns of codependency. Nor is it intended to repair the part of you that makes you to fall in love with a person who started out as your soul mate, but ended up as a “cell-mate.” To that end, there is not a secret formula that neutralizes your pattern of establishing and maintaining relationships with pathological narcissists – people you love but who consistently hurt you.
However, you should be warned that this book does not contain an illustrious new-fangled theory that will quickly fix your life-long patterns codependency. It is not intended to fix that part of you that compels you to fall in love with a person who began as a soul mate, but ended up as a “cell-mate.” To that end, it will not provide you with a secret formula that neutralizes your life-long pattern of forming and maintain enduring relationships with pathological narcissists – people you love but who consistently who hurt you.
Since you have not put the book down yet and are still reading it, I am morally obligated to give you my “Surgeon General’s Warning.” Similar to the warning on a pack of cigarettes, if you decide to move forward with the difficult and at times heart-breaking challenges inherent to codependency recovery, there is no doubt that painful experiences will befall you. There is no way around this cold, hard fact.
My warning differs from the real Surgeon General’s Warning. First and foremost, I am neither a surgeon nor a general! Secondly, you won’t die from a progressively painful physical ailment. You will suffer, though, but only for a distinct period of time. Third, and best of all, this warning also predicts future emotional and relational freedom and happiness.
However, if you can persevere through the losses, emotional pain and suffering, which go hand-in-hand with the initial stages of codependency recovery, then you may very well experience, perhaps for the first time in your life, joy and freedom from the pain and suffering caused by the selfish and harmful narcissists in your life. You will save yourself from being placed on the giving and sacrificing end of most of your relationships. And what’s more, you will learn to love yourself more than anyone else in your life, which in turn will set you on a path to love another similarly healthy and self-loving person.
Considering the predictable hardships and obstacles inherent in the first two stages of Codependency Recovery (Chapter 5), you will need to prepare for one of the biggest and most difficult battles of your life. As demonstrated in Chapter 10, codependency is an addiction with terrible withdrawal symptoms. You will experience bitterly painful bouts of loneliness, codependency’s most potent withdrawal symptom. The insidious pathological power of loneliness will make you second guess any gains that you have made and hypnotically compel you to return to your former codependent ways. If you have ever kicked an addiction, you will understand exactly what I mean.
You will invariably get knocked down a few times and sustain bumps and bruise along the way. But…because you can get up and move towards your goal of recovery, you will. You will not have to do this alone, though, as you will have developed a support network that will be there for you during times of darkness and despair and moments of triumph and success. Although the warning may frighten and perhaps, discourage you, I urge you to keep your eye on the prize. I know it is there, because I have walked the path myself.
As difficult as the uphill battle may be, it is not going to be all doom and gloom. Like any mountain climber will tell you, reaching the top of the mountain is a harrowing and extremely demanding experience. But, being on top of the mountain and planting your flag is like nothing else! After savoring that moment, you will happily proceed downhill, which you will find to be so much easier than climbing it. Not only is going down the mountain much easier that the upward climb, but once at the bottom, you will have the opportunity to savor this personal victory for the rest of your life!
An honest depiction of the codependency recovery process, “the good, the bad and the ugly,” will not only prepare you for what lies ahead, but also for the necessary sacrifices that are part and parcel to breaking free from the malignant hold pathological narcissists have over you. There is no getting around the fact that you will need to financially, psychologically, personally and relationally prepare for the daunting challenges that lie ahead[i]. Such preparations will embolden you, while mitigating and buffering the potential consequences you may endure by standing up to and setting boundaries with narcissists who, by now, have exacted a great deal of pain and suffering upon you, as well as, perhaps, your family.
Be warned that there will be blowback from your narcissist, who will likely try to sabotage your treatment in an attempt to throw you off course. Because your narcissist has a great deal to lose by you getting well, he may try to intimidate, abuse, isolate and/or hurt you. Adding insult to injury, your resistance to the harm perpetrated against you may even result in custody and financial threats, job loss, and even abrupt termination of important and meaningful relationships.
But don’t worry, as this book will prepare, lead and guide you toward a life outside of the control of the people you love, but who predictably hurt you. In this book, you will come to understand The Four Stage Codependency Treatment Model, the backbone of codependency recovery. It will provide you with concrete illustrations and descriptions of the linear and sequential paths of the recovery experience. It will also demonstrate how the path of codependency recovery predictably leads one to rewards beyond their imagination. This model and the challenges outlined in it will prepare you for the ins and outs, the challenges and the payoffs of each step. Not only will it provide you with a bird’s eye view of what’s in store for you, but it will also anchor you to the treatment/recovery process.
This is the time to ask as many questions as possible because, the more you know about codependency recovery, the higher the probability of a successful outcome. It is recommended that you, with the help of a trusted recovering codependent or a therapist, create a cost-benefit analysis between the two starkly different conclusions: remaining unappreciated, neglected, deprived and/or harmed by the narcissists in your life, or discovering healthy love of self and others. Such should show you all that you stand to gain and all that you will continue to lose if you don’t move forward with your decision to break free from codependency. As described in Step Four, if you stick with the program, you will eventually experience, perhaps for the first time, safe, supportive, affirming and respectful treatment from others. You will also have learned about the sustaining nature of self-love.
You will get to a point where you will be able to courageously and confidently extract yourself from any relationship where you are abused, neglected and/or deprived. You will also possess the motivation to pursue challenges and neutralize obstacles like you never imagined. Be ready, as you will be able to form relationships with healthy partners who will want to unconditionally love, respect, trust and support you, while also being dependable, responsible, sharing and fair to you. Moreover, you will develop feelings of personal efficacy and increased self-esteem that you have not previously experienced.
Through your commitment to solve you codependency dilemma, you will have broken free from your suffocating and soul-scorching dysfunctional relationship dance with your pathological narcissistic partner. Let my warning inspire you to put your nose to the grindstone and tough it out, so you can experience self-love and relational joy and freedom!
Chicago Tribune by Jen Weigel: Are You A Magnet for Disaster, Helper, Don’t Forget to Help Yourself Too. Letting Go Of Toxic Relationships, Online Infidelity: Identifying, and Dealing with, Cyber Affairs
Rewireme.com: Seasonal Survival Skills (Holiday Blues Survival Kit)
Everup.com: Self Love Deficit Disorder: Where Do You Fall on the Continuum of Self? How the gray area between codependency and narcissism is defining your relationships.