Tag Archives: codependency recovery

On Surviving the Potholes of Self-Love Deficit Disorder Recovery

 

On our healing journey, sometimes we hit potholes in the road. Such surprises may cause us to temporarily lose control of our “vehicle.”  In an adrenaline filled moment of terror, we contemplate the end. Because of our newfound healing instinct, we tightly grab hold of the “wheel” and muscle our car back on to the road. This is when we steer our fate back to self-love
Worry not; you are moving in the right direction! Hold tight onto your courage, as the road to self-love abundance is fraught with risk. When you do arrive, and you will, you will realize that no destination as sweet as this can ever be achieved on a road free of obstacles and dangers. Therefore, self-love is not only the antidote to your driving dilemma, it’s also the destination you have always deserved.

Ross Rosenberg

 

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Self-Love Recovery Institute 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)

SELF LOVE RECOVERY INSTITUTE                         

When Selfish Is Actually Self-Love.

 

WHEN “SELFISH” IS REALLY GOOD

It is GOOD for SLD’s (Self-Love Deficients or codependents) to be selfish. It is like learning to ride a bike. Doing something for yourself and not caring what people think is a dangerous proposition.  “Selfish,” therefore is good.

The problem is the voices in your head have been lying to you; telling you that you are being bad, when you are just trying not to drown anymore.These voices have never been yours. Rather, they are covertly implanted narratives that were designed to confuse you, turn you against yourself, and break you down. It is time to break the gaslighting spell and regain the true voice in your head…your own! Fall a few times, brush off the pain, and get back on the “bike.”

Learning to love yourself will frighten people, who have only one way to get you to quit the nonsense of SLDD (Self-Love Deficit Disorder or codependency) recovery. They will call you a “narcissist” and try to make you feel ashamed and guilty for your moments of self-care. Scoff at the projection, this is more about them than you. Ride your bike all the way out of their life!

 

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Self-Love Recovery Institute 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 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The OTHERS Serenity Prayer

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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!

Ross Rosenberg

Dream house

Building Your Dream Home – The Importance of Self-Love

Building Your Dream Home – The Importance of Self-Love

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

                  

The Six Stages of Self-Love Deficit Disorder (Codependency) Recovery

This is an updated version of the Five Stage Model on the same subject.  The Six Stages of Self-Love Deficit Disorder (codependency) Recovery will be an organizing construct/paradigm in my upcoming book, The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder.

6 stages of self love defcit cisorder recovery

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

                  

The Codependency Cure: How to Recover from Self-Love Deficit Disorder

The Codependency Cure: How to Recover from Self-Love Deficit Disorder

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

Ross Rosenberg has pioneered 15 principles that help his patients resolve their painful dysfunctional relationships patterns.

When a therapist colleague and friend recently asked me to explain what Self-Love Deficit Disorder is and how to treat it—I panicked. Although I love talking about my latest discoveries, especially my renaming of codependency to Self-Love Deficit Disorder. I paused to think of the best response. Being fatigued from seeing six psychotherapy clients that day, I considered using the therapist’s conversation maneuver of avoiding the subject by asking a similarly difficult question about a topic on which the client loves to talk. My second impulse was to skirt the question by explaining that the answers are best explained in my latest seminar video—the six-hour “Codependency Cure.”

These discoveries organically materialized in my life as a direct result of my need to heal emotional wounds and to tear down the emotional, personal, and relational barriers keeping me from experiencing self-love.

My third impulse, the best one, was to proudly and enthusiastically share my “children” with yet another person. Those who know me well understand how my Human Magnet Syndrome, Codependency Cure, and Self-Love Deficit theories and explanations are byproducts of my own family of origin issues (trauma), my roller-coaster journey to recover from it, and the joy of learning to live free from codependency. These discoveries organically materialized in my life as a direct result of my need to heal emotional wounds and to tear down the emotional, personal, and relational barriers keeping me from experiencing self-love. This is not just a set of theories I like to talk about, but a personal mission that I plan to be on for the rest of my life.

Although I wasn’t excited about the prospect of talking shop at that moment, I tapped into a well of energy and enthusiasm that gave me the much needed boost to give a condensed rendering of my latest work. But this time, I set a boundary (for me and them): it would only be a fifteen-minute explanation! I figured since I had already given many radio interviews, written many articles, created training courses, and, of course, been a psychotherapist for 29 years, it would be a piece of cake.

And … I did with time to spare! Knowing that others might ask me the same question again or would benefit from a similarly condensed rendition of my conceptual and theoretical work, I decided to create a written version of this discussion. The following are my 15 guiding principles of Self-Love Deficit Disorder and The Human Magnet Syndrome.

♦◊♦

  1. “Codependency” is an outdated term that connotes weakness and emotional fragility, both of which are far from the truth. The replacement term, “Self-Love Deficit Disorder” or SLDD takes the stigma and misunderstanding out of codependency and places the focus on the core shame that perpetuates it. Inherent in the term itself is the recognition of the core problem of codependency, as well as the solution to it.
  1. The absence of self-love results in deeply embedded insecurities that render a person powerless to set boundaries and/or control their narcissistic loved ones. The person with Self-Love Deficit Disorder, the SLD, is often oblivious or in denial about their dysfunctional relationships patterns with narcissists, as to admit to it, would require them to face their core shame and pathological loneliness.
  1. PNarc’s (Pathological Narcissists) have one of three personality disorders and/or have an addiction: Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  1. The SLD was once a child who was raised by a PNarc parent who flew into fits of rage, anxiety, sadness, and/or depression if and when their immediate needs were not catered to or immediately met. This child emotionally survived by avoiding their narcissistic parent’s anger (narcissistic injuries) by morphing into the “trophy,” “pleasing,” or “favorite” child that the PNarc parent needed them to be. This child grew up learning that safety and conditional love were available to them if they buried their own needs for love, respect and caring while becoming invisible.
  1. The inherently dysfunctional SLDD/PNarc “dance” requires two opposite but distinctly balanced partners: the pleaser/fixer (SLD) and the taker/controller (PNarc). When the two come together in their relationship, their dance unfolds flawlessly: The narcissistic maintains the lead and the SLD follows. Their roles seem natural to them because they have actually been practicing them their whole lives; the SLD reflexively gives up their power and since the narcissist thrives on control and power, the dance is perfectly coordinated. No one gets their toes stepped on. SLD’s dare not leave their dance partner, because their lack of self-esteem and self-respect makes them feel like they can do no better. Being alone is the equivalent of feeling lonely, and loneliness is too painful to bear.
  1. Men and women always have been drawn into romantic relationships instinctively, not so much by what they see, feel or think, but more by an invisible and irresistible relationship force. “Chemistry,” or the intuitive knowingness of perfect compatibility, is synonymous with the Human Magnet Syndrome. This is the attraction force that brings compatibly opposite, but exquisitely matched, lovers together: SLD’s and PNarc’s. Like two sides of a magnet, the care-taking and sacrificing SLD and the selfish and entitled PNarcs are powerfully drawn together—sometimes permanently.
  1. SLD’s feel trapped in their relationships because they confuse sacrifice and selfless caring with commitment, loyalty and love. The SLD’s distorted thinking and value system is fueled by an irrational fear of abandonment, loneliness and core shame.
  1. When an SLD sets a boundary, insists on fairness or mutuality, or attempts to protect themselves from harm, the PNarc partner punishes them with some form of active or passive aggressive retaliation. The actual consequence, or the threat of it, freezes the SLD inside their unhappy dysfunctional relationships. Over time, the PNarc achieves complete dominance over the relationship because they have systematically extracted any semblance of self-confidence and courage from the SLD.
  1. SLDD often manifests as an addiction. The enthralling emotional drama of dysfunctional relationships or the belief that the SLD can control a PNarc is the “drug” to which SLD’s become addicted. Despite losses and consequences, the SLD addict hypnotically pursues their drug of choice. “Relapse” is inevitable if the SLD should leave the PNarc before resolving the underlying problems responsible for the addiction.
  1. Pathological loneliness and the fear of it drives SLDD addiction. It is SLDD addiction’s primary withdrawal symptom, which lasts between two to six months. This toxic form of loneliness is excruciatingly painful and is experienced physically, emotionally, existentially, and spiritually. In the throes of pathological loneliness, the SLD feels isolated, unloved, unsafe, and fundamentally unworthy.
  1. Core shame drives pathological loneliness. It is the feeling of being fundamentally damaged, bad and/or an unlovable. Core shame was caused by attachment trauma.
  1. Attachment trauma is caused by the traumatic childhood experience of being raised by an abusive or neglectful PNarc parent. This form of trauma is largely repressed and is beyond the SLD’s capacity to remember. Attachment trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are similar mental health problems or are one of the same. Resolving this trauma requires a psychodynamic, family of origin, addictions, and trauma informed psychotherapist.
  1. SLDD is not a primary psychological or emotional problem. It is a symptom of other underlying and more severe psychological problems. With the resolution of SLDD Addiction, pathological loneliness, core shame and, ultimately, the attachment trauma, the SLD will, perhaps for the first time, be able to love themselves.self love deficit disorder
  2. According to the rules of “relationship math,” the addition of ½ + ½ (an SLD and PNarc) = 1, which is ½ of a relationship comprised of enmeshed and dependent partners. But the addition of a 1 + 1 (two self-loving individuals) = 2, which is 1 whole relationship comprised of mutually and reciprocally loving interdependent adults.
  1. Self-love is the antidote to codependency or Self-Love Deficit Disorder. And since the human spirit is capable of astounding feats, then the all the pain and suffering that it takes to achieve self-love is well worth the effort. George Elliot had it right: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.

self love is the antidote to codpendewncy

♦◊♦

In closing, I would like to thank everyone who has asked me about my work. It is through explaining my ideas and concepts to others that I have been able to hone in on the universal truths about which I am so devoted to teaching and writing. For more information and resources, readers can consult the Advanced Clinical Trainers website.

Originally published on HumanMagnetSyndrome.com

– See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/codependency-no-more-how-to-recover-from-self-love-deficit-disorder-fiff/#sthash.g6k8AS60.s309DFaH.dpuf

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

                  

 

The Four Stage Model of Self-Love Deficit Disorder/Codependency Recovery

Web

 

The Four Stages of Codependency Recovery are:

Stage 1: Setting Boundaries
Stage 2: Maintaining Boundaries in a Hostile Environment
Stage 3: Building New Relationships
Stage 4: Reinforcing/Strengthening New Relationships

Like the real Surgeon General’s warning, Ross prepares his clients for the battle of their lifetime. His “Surgeon General’s Warning” is an ethical and moral mandate that all therapists working with codependents should utilize. The “Warning” facilitates an accurate understanding of positive and negative experiences of codependency recovery. Similarly, it sets up the important cost/benefit dialogue that instills hope, while preparing the codependent client for this challenging transformation. Knowing both the positives and negatives, recovering codependents can make a life-altering informed decision.

NO, I DON’T HATE “BORDERLINES.” What I Do and Why I Do It

NO, I DO NOT HATE “BORDERLINES” What I Do and Why I Do ItNO, I DON’T HATE “BORDERLINES”
What I Do and Why I Do It

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

My videos have raised the ire of some viewers who have taken pot-shots at my professional background, ethics and clinical skills about codependency and Borderline Personality Disorder. I have been accused by a small but vocal community of purposefully perpetuating myths and falsehoods about clinical disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder.

Because I’m not an elected representative or spokesman for mental health in general, I have created video content imbued with my own voice and personal and professional experiences. Although it is my ambition to provide support, direction and advice to the victims of what some people are now calling Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome, I do not restrict my feelings of responsibility to one side over the other. Because I tend to take the position of right and wrong while doling out fair distribution of responsibility or blame to all sides, I have not walked the tightrope of political correctness. I am okay with this.

Although the victims of such narcissistic abuse, those with codependency, or what I now refer to as Self-Love Deficit Disorder (SLDD), complain that they are trapped in relationships where there is an absence of love, respect and care, they are also trapped in the same relationship that lacks self-love, self-respect and self-care. Consequently, I have worked hard to create helpful content that inspires my readers, viewers and clients to take an open look at their own responsibility in their perpetual attraction to pathological narcissists (The Human Magnet Syndrome).

As a recovering codependent and passionate mental health provider of services for SLD’s, I know that the only hope for full recovery is to heal the deeply seated psychological trauma that is directly responsible for our personal and relational dysfunctional patterns. I am hell-bent on creating content that provides direction and hope for those with SLD, who want to heal their personal insanity with all their heart and soul – their long-buried attachment trauma.

My perspective or frame of reference has always been with the victim SLD who finds themselves compulsively, if not addictively, in relationships with harmful narcissists who mercilessly hurt them when they attempt to set safe boundaries or behave with dignity and self-love. I make no bones about my lack of empathy or sympathy towards the pathological narcissistic partner who emotionally and relationally survives on the backs of the powerless SLD partner. Therefore, I keep creating as much content as possible to help those with SLD to overcome their paralyzing fear of living alone with their shallowly submerged feelings of self-loathing, core shame and excruciating pathological loneliness.

My ambition is to empower my SLD clients to take responsibility for their disorder while understanding they are also victims of it. I help them to muster the courage to move backwards on a journey to heal and resolve their long-forgotten childhood attachment trauma. It is as if I help them become their own paleontologist whose ambition it is to uncover their own trauma fossils that will explain what happened to them so many years ago when they were truly powerless and vulnerable. Putting the trauma fossils together allows them to understand their long-buried past while being able to construct a more accurate understanding of who they are in the present and what they can become in the future so they can move forward without fear of the past, present or future. In combination, my SLD work puts an end to the insane self-fulfilling prophesy of personal and relational doom.

My Human Magnet Syndrome book and video work has taught millions of people why they repeatedly and reflexively choose relationships with harmful people and remain in long-term relationships with them. Unfortunately, my work has been confused as a negative indictment against pathological narcissists. On the contrary, my work has never strayed from a focus of empowerment and support for those who are courageous enough to face the stark reality of their core shame, fear of loneliness and need to lie to themselves or self-medicate to hide from the reality of their own personal nightmare. It seems that those with SLD gravitate toward my work and the pathological narcissists cower from personal accountability.

I do not bash people with BPD or, for that matter, other pathological narcissists. But I do have a distinct point of view and a prejudice against those who harm others and who resist getting professional services for such harm. Let me be clear: I AM FOR people who want to get better, not hurt others, and take personal responsibility for their actions. I AM AGAINST abusive perpetrators who narcissistically justify their harmful behavior or blame it on the victims.

You will find that my work will not focus on the pathological narcissist’s faults, but rather with what is “wrong” or what compels the SLD to consistently fall in love with people who say they love them, but consistently fall prey to their narcissist’s deprivation, neglect and/or abuse. My life’s work is to lead SLD’s out of their self-perpetuating walk of shame and onto a path that includes self-love and the healing of the trauma that has kept them from holding onto it. After all, the antidote to Self-Love Deficit Disorder is self-love.

Rosenberg’s BPD Videos

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2015
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

                  

Introduction: The Codependency Cure: Reversing the Human Magnet Syndrome (Submitted with Book Proposal)

INTRODUCTION TO ROSS ROSENBERG’S THE “HUMAN MAGNET SYNDROME” (HMS)

One would think that after the sweat and toil of writing my first book, the second one would flow freely and easily.  After all, I have been ruminating about it since 1988 – the beginning of my psychotherapy career.  Actually, to be completely honest, I began thinking about it in 1978, when at age 17, I began to piece together my curious habit of self-destruction.

As early as I can remember, I needed to know how and why the world around me works.  Like a compulsion, I have never been able to let go of a moment’s curiosity without first learning more about it.  This “information addiction” is interwoven into the very fabric of my being.  I am similarly compelled to know how and why I have become me – the good, bad and ugly.  A psychology education, therapy, a continuous study of psychology, and more therapy have gone a long way towards satisfying this need.  I am indebted to my “learning compulsion” as it has helped me detach from my predilection for dysfunctional relationships while setting the stage for healthier and more loving relationships – especially with myself.

My need to seek answers from the world around me prompted me to write “The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us” (HMS).  The book reveals why codependents and narcissists repeatedly come together in lasting but dysfunctional relationships.  The book dissects and attempts to answer this codependent/narcissist relationship dilemma.  Or, in the words of my father, it explains why so many who pursue soulmates end up with “cellmates.”

In almost every one of my over 60 Human Magnet Syndrome seminars, one or more participants would ask a form of this question, “…this is great, but how do I change the outcome?”  Instead of being drawn away from the seminar’s focus, I would typically respond with “In order to solve the Human Magnet Syndrome, it is absolutely necessary to first know what it is, its origins and what perpetuates it.  Neither a person’s intelligence, education, degrees, certifications or self-proclamations of expertise brings them closer to solving a ubiquitous psychological problem without first understanding it.”

This answer was never satisfying enough, as it was invariably followed up with an inquiry about a companion instructional training and book.  Well, I can finally say that now is that time!  My beloved “why” book now has a “how to” sibling.  I am proud to introduce “The Codependency Cure: Reversing the Human Magnet Syndrome.”  It is specifically written to guide readers toward the resolution of their own personal craziness: their repetitive merry-go-round experiences with harmful narcissists.

Since “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” this book will help the reader resolve their own codependency insanity.  It will do so by explaining how to heal those deeply embedded and unconscious emotional wounds that keep many tied to harmful narcissistic loved ones.  It will also bring the reader closer to your long dreamed about soulmates and further away from all the looming cellmates.

GROUND ZERO FOR “THE CODEPENDENCY CURE”

After graduate school at Boston University 28 years ago, I moved to Boone, Iowa, to work in a small community counseling center.  Central Iowa and its non-stop landscape of corn and soybeans, with the intermittent smattering of pig farms, wasn’t my number one choice for my first post-graduate job, but a first job often takes you to where a job offer exists.  I would serve a hardworking blue collar and moderately rural community of about 15,000 people.  As the only counseling center in town, I was required to do a little bit of everything.  Like most graduate school students who eventually become psychotherapists, I experienced a “baptism by fire.”  It would be an understatement to say that there was a sharp and swift learning curve!

With about 18 months under my belt, I was assigned a client by the name of Becky[1].  She was a 45-year old woman with two children who was married to a physically and verbally abusive narcissist and alcoholic.  Unbeknownst to me, she was going to introduce me to codependency and its connection to unresolved repressed trauma.  Yes, my very first codependent client!

Becky and I would ultimately join forces to take up arms against those real and imagined combatants who compelled her to remain with abusive narcissists, especially her husband.  We would learn together that she really wasn’t imprisoned by her husband, but more by the unconscious part of herself that was frozen at the time of her childhood trauma.  Through her diligence and courage, she would face her inner demons – her unresolved trauma – and free herself from the life-long harm it caused her.

During our work together, Becky demonstrated great strength and courage as the work was very difficult and, at times, fraught with danger.  She would eventually vanquish the enemy part of herself that kept her connected to her narcissistic captors.  Ultimately, she would usher in a new era of her life in which her childhood trauma would be resolved (healed) and her compulsion to remain with abusive men would cease.  More than that, she would learn about the necessity for self-love and practice it regularly.  Before I proceed with the rest of the story, let me first digress back for a moment to Boston, Massachusetts.

In the 1980’s, Boston was a hotbed of psychoanalytical and psychodynamic thought.  It was also the time that Family System Theory was all the rage in counseling/psychology graduate programs throughout the country.

Most of my BU professors were heavily influenced by the psychoanalytic and psychodynamic works of Freud, Erikson, Jung, Adler and others, who all espoused that most psychological problems could be traced back to a person’s early childhood relationship with their parents.  This long-term treatment proposition involves a circuitous path in and out of a client’s conscious and unconscious mind.  According to these theories, the resolution of the problems or issues for which psychotherapy is often sought requires a deep probing into the client’s conscious and unconscious memories of their childhood experience with their parents.

BU’s Family Systems course had a profound impact on my understanding of individual and relational psychopathology (issues and problems).  It would teach me that family relationships, nuclear and extended, create and perpetuate positive or negative mental health, or somewhere in between.

According to Family Systems Theory, when implicitly or explicitly adopted rules are changed, forgotten or challenged, relationship systems experience instability and acute discomfort.  Because instability is uncomfortable and, therefore, undesirable, the renegade member of the relationship system has to either return to their dysfunctional role – acquiesce to the system’s rules and expectations – or push the system to adapt to their changes.  This process either promotes greater relational health or causes a deterioration of the relationship.  Creating new and healthier rules – a new equilibrium – is a difficult proposition, as it is always much more difficult to change than to maintain the status quo.

Returning back to Becky, my first codependency client in Boone, Iowa: although the term “codependency” was not addressed in graduate school, I quickly devoured books and sought out professional trainings on the subject.  Books such as Melody Beattie’s “Codependent No More” (1986), John and Linda Friel’s “Adult Children Secrets of Dysfunctional Families” (1990), and Terry Kellogg’s “Broken Toys Broken Dreams: Understanding and Healing Codependency” (1990) fed my burgeoning interest on the subject.  These brilliant writers and treatment specialists inspired and guided me toward a better understanding of Becky’s peculiar personal and relational struggles.  Notwithstanding, I still had no explanation for the forces that compelled her to remain married to her abusive and narcissistic husband.

Thanks to my Family Systems background, I felt prepared to help Becky understand how both her nuclear and extended families kept her mired in a powerless victim role.  My understanding of psychodynamic theory helped me to comprehend how and why her inability to leave her abusive husband was intricately connected to her unresolved childhood trauma associated with her abusive and narcissistic father and codependent mother.

After six months of therapy, Becky was no closer to having insight into her codependent compulsion to remain with her husband.  The bubble of optimism that had motivated me up to that point seemed like it was going to pop at any moment.  Determined not to give up, I shifted my therapeutic strategy.  I began engaging her in discussions about her childhood abuse about which she had, up until that time, only shared vague and non-emotional details.  Although difficult for her, she courageously shared several vivid accounts of her horrifically abusive and neglectful childhood.

Such recollections were rife with disturbing accounts of abuse, neglect and deprivation – all at the hands of her parents.  It will suffice to say that she lived in constant fear of her father’s unpredictable abuse, while feeling unprotected and abandoned by her mother.  Becky protected herself in the only way she could, which was to mold herself into what her father most wanted: “daddy’s good and compliant little girl.”  This required her to detach from and deeply submerge her childhood desires and dreams for being unconditionally cared for and loved.  She learned that, as long as she maintained her role as daddy’s trophy child, she would experience some semblance of safety.

On Becky’s 18th birthday, she hurriedly married her boyfriend, the young man who would eventually replicate the abuse of her father.

I found it peculiar that, while sharing memories of her tragic childhood, which was brimming with horrid details of verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, she maintained a stoic and detached appearance.  As she would recount these incidents, she seemed to automatically sanitize them of any emotional content.  Even with prodding, she would only describe the “photograph” version of the events, not the full “motion picture.”  Little did I know that her affective experience of the abuse and neglect was buried deep by the forces of repression – beneath the concrete defensive walls of her mind.

My gentle but persistent prodding for emotions, which I refer to as affective memories, would eventually pay off.  At about the nine-month mark in our therapy, I asked her to imagine how the little eight-year old girl she used to be felt during the abuse.  Her eyes suddenly turned red and welled up with tears, she began to tremble and her face turned white.  In the flash of a moment, she transformed into a frightened little girl.  Her voice, her facial expression and posture exposed the eight-year old abused child that had been neatly compartmentalized and forgotten for over 37 years!  I was sitting face to face with “little Becky,” the physical embodiment of her long-repressed trauma memories.

Little Becky’s emotions erupted with an intensity that I had never before experienced.  The torrent of tears, hyper-ventilating and body spasms seemed to escape with the velocity of an over-inflated tire that has been expectantly punctured by an icepick.  I intuitively knew the importance of keeping her safe while gently probing the painful memories that she was exposing to the light of day.  With an understanding of psychodynamic theory, I knew I was facilitating the release of repressed memories that had been deeply embedded, and forgotten, in her unconscious.

For the next three months, the adult Becky and I would periodically return back to Little Becky’s emotively honest but raw world, sifting through both happy and distressing emotional experiences.  Together, we would release the claw-like grasp her unconscious mind had on her personal and relational health.  Over time, Becky understood the harmful nature of her codependency, her dysfunctional urges to remain with her husband, her fear of being alone and, most importantly, the lack of love and compassion that she had for herself.  As a result of our work together, Becky would resolve the trauma that compelled her to remain powerless in codependent relationships.

After year-and-a-half of our therapy, Becky had divorced her husband and relinquished most of her selfish and/or narcissistic friends and family relationships.  Like a flower finally given sufficient water and sunlight, she bloomed into a vibrant, strong and loving woman who could and would protect herself from exploitative narcissistic people.  Moreover, her new and improved “human magnetism” landed her in the arms of a mutually and reciprocally loving man.  With ease, she began to develop new friendships while enhancing existing relationships with family and friends.  Building a foundation of self-love released her from her life-long indentured servitude to narcissistic masters.

All in all, my work with Becky set the stage for all of my future work with codependents and trauma survivors.  I didn’t know it then, but my experiences with her would eventually compel me to create hypotheses and theories that would culminate in my cherished Human Magnet Syndrome work.  I can never thank Becky enough for her impact on my life.  Her courageous battle upward from the emotional abyss inspired me to write this book.  Moreover, it helped me understand the far-reaching and ever-present truth about codependency recovery:  self-love is the antidote to codependency.     

Now, let me tell you why and how someone can heal trauma and “cure” codependency.  Now let me show you how a person devoid of self-esteem, feelings of personal efficacy and debilitating shame can learn to love themselves and break free from their “cellmates.”  I hope you enjoy my book.

[1] Name changed to protect her identity.

                  

Ross Rosenberg,
3325 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Ste 400B
Arlington Heights, IL  60004