Tag Archives: narcissistic personality disorder

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Codependency Anorexia: Are You Starving Yourself from Love?

Codependency Anorexia

Codependency Anorexia is a logical solution for people with Self-Love Deficit Disorder™ (SLDD) who are hopelessly addicted to dangerously attractive narcissists.  As a last-ditch protective strategy, the desperate codependent (SLD™) shuts down their innate and natural impulse to fall in love, thereby rendering them safe, but disassociated relational robots.  Although intimacy starvation provides a sense of power and control over real and invisible threats, it adds another of many layers of shame & loneliness to their SLDD.

It is paradoxical in a sense, as it occurs during a moment of clarity when the only obvious choice is to freeze one’s natural “love impulse,” which has, up until this time, consistently blown up in their face.  If the codependency anorexic barrier is challenged, an alarm of extreme anxiety is sounded, which does not stop until the threat has been neutralized.   At the end of the day, the codependent anorexic is safe from harm, but the cost is extraordinarily high!  Safety, without the experience of self-love and the healthy love of others, is no different from being jailed for a crime that was never committed.

Based on the Ross Rosenberg article featured here

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                         

 

Codependency Categories: Active, Passive and Anorexic Codependents

Codependency Categories: Active, Passive & Anorexic Codependents

Excerpts from Ross  Rosenberg’s book, The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love  People Who  Hurt Us.

Active and Passive Codependency

As a direct result of the codependents questioning themselves about being a narcissist, I categorized codependency into two sub-types: passive and active.  Although all codependents are habitually and instinctively attracted (and later bonded) to severely narcissistic partners, one is more active in their perpetual but unsuccessful attempts to obtain their narcissist’s love, respect and care (LRC), while the other is more passive.  Although both try to control and manipulate their narcissistic partners, they go about it differently.

Passive codependents are more fearful and avoidant of conflict.  For complicated reasons, mostly related to their extremely low self-esteem, fear of being alone and tendency to be in relationships with controlling, dangerous and/or abusive pathological narcissists, the passive codependent attempts to control or influence their narcissistic partner through carefully, if not meticulously, executed control strategies – most of which are intended to fall under their pathological narcissist’s radar (awareness).  Because of the secret and hidden nature of their control strategies, passive codependents are perceived as more resigned, stoic and compliant than active codependents.

Active codependents, on the other hand, are overtly manipulative in their control strategies in attempts to rectify the LRC inequity in their relationship.  Being less afraid of conflict, they often engage the pathological narcissist in arguments and confrontations.  They also are prone to aggressive altercations, lying and manipulating, in an effort to avoid being harmed or to meet their own needs.  They are therefore experienced as controlling, antagonizing and manipulative.   In addition, they may want others to see them fight, control, and manipulate their narcissistic partner, as it serves as a paper thin attempt to feel powerful and in control.

Active codependents are often mistaken for narcissists because of their more openly controlling demeanor.   Like the passive codependent, they believe that “one day” their pathologically narcissistic partner will realize their mistakes and wrong-doings and finally give them the love, respect and care they so desperately want and need.  It just never happens…

Although different “on the outside,” both the passive and active codependent share the pathological “others” self-orientation.  While the active codependent may seem stronger, more in control and more confident, both share the same deeply embedded insecurities and feelings of powerlessness.  Both are unable to break free from their dysfunctional relationship.

Codependency Anorexia – Starving One’s Self of Love

Codependency Anorexia occurs when a codependent surrenders to their life-long relationship pattern to destructive pathological narcissists.  The codependent often transitions to Codependency Anorexia when they hit bottom and can no longer bear the pain and the harm meted out to them from their malevolent pathological narcissists. It is paradoxical in a sense, as it occurs during a moment of clarity, when the codependent realizes that they are completely powerless to stop their attraction to lovers who, in the beginning, feel so right, but shortly thereafter, hurt them so badly. In an effort to protect themselves from the long line of “soul mates,” who unexpectedly convert to “cellmates,” they flip their vulnerability switch to “off,” which results in a complete shutdown of their emotional, relational, and sexual machinery.

Although their intention is to avoid getting pummeled again by the next narcissist, they unknowingly insulate themselves from the very human experience of intimate romantic love. This defense mechanism serves to protect codependents from the cascade of resulting consequences of their debilitating love choices. By denying their human need to connect and love passionately, they are, in a sense, artificially neutralizing The Human Magnet Syndrome. Or in other words, they are removing themselves from any possibility of close romantic love, healthy or not.

To maintain their codependent anorexia, codependents ultimately have to divorce themselves from their emotional and sexual selves. As a result, they “starve” themselves from the very human need to connect romantically, intimately, and sexually. Such deprivation often leads to long-term mental and relational health problems.

In the codependent anorexic state, the codependent is hypervigilant of any person or situation that would lead to a potentially harmful and dangerous intimate relationship. They often over compensate in social situations to avoid either showing interest in someone else or accidentally reacting to someone else overtures. To that end, they also deprive themselves of everyday social events, in order to not accidentally bump against a vulnerable or threatening situation or person. And if a person or event does threaten the codependency anorexic barrier, a shock of extreme anxiety uncomfortably steer them back onto their self-depriving but safe course.

The anorexic codependent is unable to recognize that their disconnection or disassociation from their vulnerable relational and sexual self is harmful, if not debilitating. Notwithstanding, they continue the path of intimacy deprivation so that they are able to maintain their distorted and deluded sense of power and control over real and invisible threats. At the end of the day, they are not hurt by another pathological narcissist. But, they also live their life in a barren desert of loneliness and fear.

Codependents cannot shake the unrealistic belief that happiness will only come if they are in a relationship. They look to other people to make them feel happy and fulfilled. It is only through an intimate relationship that they will be able to feel complete. Codependents tend to rely on a source outside of themselves – their romantic partners – to make them feel worthwhile and lovable.  As a result of the codependent’s reliance on pathological narcissists to make them feel good about themselves, they seldom experience self-love or healthy levels of self-esteem.

 

Since the codependent unconsciously chooses partners who are unwilling, unmotivated or unable to meet their personal and emotional needs, they may choose the path of control to get their pathological narcissist partner to give them what they want and need. To some, it is counterintuitive for codependents to be controlling. There are indeed codependents who do give up and take a passive victim-based role in their dysfunctional relationships. However, because most codependents take on the lion’s share of the relationship responsibilities such as child care, house cleaning, cooking, shopping, and/or financially supporting the relationship/family, they cannot afford to acquiesce and relinquish control of their family’s life. Without maintaining some semblance of control, they and their family or relationship would certainly suffer. To most codependents, the idea of stopping their attempts to get their narcissist partner to reciprocate or behave fairly and responsibly is tantamount to giving up on their relationship; something that codependents are mostly unwilling and incapable of doing.

Codependents often develop compulsive or addictive-like patterns while trying to control their narcissistic partner. Their compulsion to control someone who cannot be controlled puts them on a circular path that always brings them back to where they started: angry, frustrated and resentful. Much like the hamster on its wheel, they run around and around trying to get somewhere, but always end up in the same place. No matter how fast and how long they run, they never actually leave the place where they started – their dysfunctional relationship with a pathological narcissist. Their attempts to seek the unobtainable create a series of personal and relational failures that ultimately remind them of their powerlessness over others. This pattern is self-reinforcing. The more they fail at controlling the pathological narcissist, the worse they feel. Over time, they get worn down by their failures and consequently give up on the hope that the one-way nature of their relationship will ever change.

Codependents are slow to give up hope that their partner will eventually give them what they want, deserve and need. However, for some codependents, their patience eventually runs thin. Their naïve belief that their narcissistic partner will give them what they have so sacrificially and patiently been waiting for eventually transforms into bouts of anger and resentment. Realizing that hoping and waiting does not get them what they want, i.e., their spouse to be stop drinking, stop an affair, or to show them love and thoughtfulness, they resort either to direct or passive forms of aggression. Instead of running on their hamster wheel, they start to actively attempt to control their unyielding partner. So the stereotype that codependents are passive victims who wait a lifetime to get what they want is just not true.

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)

                         

 

Did You Vote for An Iceberg. The Danger that Lurks Ahead. The Trump Presidency

DID YOU VOTE FOR AN ICEBERG?

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

TITANIC TRUMP

Most, if not all politicians are inherently self-serving, dishonest and moderately to patho- logically narcissistic. Successful ones win elections because they are able to create a praiseworthy image while secretly stowing away and hiding their truer ambitions and secrets. Often, the public is informed about factual (not contrived) secrets, lies, private affairs, or even mental health issues, is when a person with an agenda publishes, reports, or leaks it to public. Whether it is a news organization wanting to raise ad revenue or individuals or groups who are motivated to create a smear or propaganda campaign, most of this “fake news” has just one purpose: to manipulate us to believe one candidate will cure the ills of our society, while instilling doubt, fear, paranoia that the other will hurt us. Such propaganda peddlers are successful because they craftily prey on our emotions, especially fear, so that we believe their guy will be our savior and the other, the devil incarnate. To solve this scourge, we must vigilantly discern truth from fiction while taking the time and expending the energy to critically think about the “news” that is fed to us. Let us not forget that shiny, sparkly and harmless seeming chunk of ice, may actually be a Titanic sinking iceberg.

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)

                         

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

www.AdvancedClinicalTrainers.com

donald trump, trump, narcissist narcissism, pathological narcissism, npd, malignant narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder, ross Rosenberg, narcissism, expert, human magnet syndrome, codependency, codependiente, codependent, codependency expert, fake news, propaganda, political lies, lying politicians, president trump, Hillary Clinton, crook Clinton, bill  Clinton,

Narcissists Do Not Like Psychotherapy

narcissists don't therapy

 

Narcissists Do Not Like Therapy

  1. NPD’s, in or out of therapy, frequently deny personal responsibility when blamed for a problem.
  2. A person diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) resists seeking psychotherapy.
  3. The NPD’s tendency to blame others and deny responsibility for their mistakes, misdeeds and/or problems, inhibits the experience of cognitive dissonance or the affective experience of guilt, shame, or self-anger.  Cognitive dissonance is often the antecedent or motivating factor for one’s decision to seek psychotherapy.
  4. As a result of the NPD’s lack of insight into their role in personal and interpersonal problems, their participation in psychotherapy is limited to the cessation of discomfort others are causing them.
  5. The potential for positive outcomes in insight-based psychotherapy with an NPD client is low.
  6. The NPD’s lack of empathy inhibits the collaborative problem-solving process necessary for most couples-based psychotherapy to succeed.
  7. If and when a psychotherapist directly attributes a problem to the NPD client or challenges their lack of empathy and/or denial systems, the likelihood of an eruption of anger, resentment and paranoia (narcissistic injury) is high.
  8. Psychotherapy terminations are likely if and when the NPD client perceives the psychotherapist agreeing with or supporting (taking sides) another party in the psychotherapy process.
  9. Narcissistic injuries are the most common reason for psychotherapy termination.
  10. NPD’s temporarily participate in psychotherapy to seek forgiveness or to alleviate a consequence.  When the threat of the consequence has been lifted or neutralized, the NPD often terminates psychotherapy.
  11. NPD’s may leverage their participation in psychotherapy as a “bargaining chip” to manipulate another person.

NOTE: I use the term “Narcissist” to represent Pathological Narcissists, which included those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Antisocial Personality Disorder / Sociaopaths (ASPD) and, of course, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  It also inlcudes a person active in an addiction.  They all share the following characteristics.

  • Impaired thinking, mood & control of impulses
  •  Impaired relationships
  •  Trouble perceiving & relating to situations & people
  • Rigid & inflexible thought & behavior patterns
  • Resist change despite consequences
  • Unaware of the harm they cause others
  • Commonly project blame on others

(c)    ©Rosenberg, 2016

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 Do Opposites Attract? Codependents & Narcissists. Continuum of Self Theory (of the Human Magnet Syndrome)

logo

Presentation1

EXPLAINING WHY OPPOSITES ATTRACT

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

Click Here for the Original Article on Counseling Today’s Website

Opposites_small

 

 

 

 

The most potent of love potions, “romantic chemistry,” draws lovers into a trancelike experience that results in a steamy dance of infatuation, intrigue and sexual desire. Romantic chemistry, or the “urge
to 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.

COS

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.

Letters to the editor: ct@counseling.org

 

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

                  

Continuum of Self Values (CSV) Personality Type Breakdown / CSV Sheet

Continuum of Self Values Examples / CSV Sheet

From The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us

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

COS udated for Narc copy

The following list matches each of the 11 Continuum of Self Values (CSVs) with a general personality description.  These examples are only intended to illustrate the range of general personality possibilities according to the Continuum of Self Theory’s self-orientation concept.

-5 CSV:  A codependent is completely absorbed with the love, respect, and care (LRC) needs of others, while completely ignoring and devaluing their own.  This category of individual is often powerless, unable and/or unwilling to seek LRC from his romantic partner.

-4 CSV:  A person with codependent tendencies.  He is almost always focused on the LRC needs of others while only intermittently seeking to have his own LRC needs reciprocated or fulfilled.  This person is able, albeit unmotivated, fearful and/or inexperienced in seeking LRC from his romantic partner.  He often chooses not to ask others to fulfill his LRC needs, as he doesn’t want to upset others or cause conflict.  If asking for some semblance of LRC from his partner, he does so nervously and with distinct feelings of guilt or neediness.

-3 CSV:  A person who identifies with his caring and giving nature.  He is predominately focused on the LRC needs of others, while often diminishing, delaying or excusing away the fulfillment of his own needs.  This person’s identity and reputation is fused with his helping and caretaking nature.  He is typically in relationships in which there is an imbalance between his partner’s and his own LRC needs – giving much more LRC to his partner than receiving.  This individual is capable of setting boundaries in relationships while also asking for what he needs, however, he tends to feel guilty or needy when setting such boundaries or when asking for help from others.

-2 CSV:  One involved in relationships in which his caretaking identity is valued and appreciated, but not exploited.  He enjoys relationships with others in which he provides ample amounts of LRC, without wanting equal amounts reciprocated.  He is able to ask for what he wants or needs from others, although is slightly uncomfortable doing so.  He is comfortable with a partner who needs more LRC than he is willing to give in return.  He is able to set boundaries and ask for what he needs when the LRC balance goes beyond his comfort level.  He might experience mild feelings of guilt or neediness when asking his partner to meet his own LRC needs.  As much as is possible, he avoids individuals who are narcissistic, exploitative or manipulative.

-1 CSV:  A person with a healthy balance between loving, respecting and caring for self and others.  He typically seeks life experiences and relationships in which he is able to satisfy his own LRC needs.  He tends to participate and appreciate relationships that are based on a reciprocal and mutual distribution of LRC.  Although he derives meaning and happiness when helping and caring for others, he does not tolerate a selfish or self-centered romantic partner.  He often enjoys caring for others, but does not identify himself as a caretaker or helper.  He do not experience guilt or feelings of neediness when asking for LRC from others.

0 CSV:  A person who participates in relationships where there is an equal distribution of LRC given and received.  They easily ask for what they need from their partners, while being open to their partners LRC needs.  With their LRC-balanced relationships, they easily fluctuate between being the recipient and giver of LRC.

+1 CSV:  A person with a healthy balance between loving, respecting and caring for self and others.  They tend to participate and appreciate relationships that are based on a reciprocal and mutual distribution of LRC.  This individual values personal and professional goals and ambitions, which they confidently pursue.  Although they derives meaning and happiness through the pursuit of his own goals and ambitions, he is also cognizant of the necessity to love, respect and care for his romantic partner.  He effortlessly provides LRC to his romantic partner when necessary or requested.  He may identify with both the role of a caretaker or helper while wanting to fulfill his own goals and ambitions.

+2 CSV:  A person who prefers to be involved in relationships in which the pursuit to fulfill his own ambitions, desires and goals is encouraged and supported.  In a romantic relationship, he actively seeks attention, appreciation and affirmation.  Although he is a go-getter and may be consumed with “getting the spotlight,” he is willing and able to fulfill his partner’s needs.  He is neither exploitative nor selfish.  As an individual who is more oriented toward his own LRC needs, he periodically forgets about the inequity of LRC distribution in the relationship.  He responds favorably and non-reactively when his partner asks for higher levels of LRC.  Although he can be comfortable in a caretaking role, he doesn’t maintain it.

+3 CSV:  A mildly selfish and self-centered individual.  He is predominately focused on the LRC needs of self, while often diminishing, delaying or excusing away the fulfillment of his partner’s needs.  This person’s identity and reputation is fused with his need for attention, validation and recognition.  He identifies with the persona of the go-getter and success-driven individual.  He is typically in relationships where there is an imbalance in the distribution of LRC needs, expecting or taking more LRC than giving.  If confronted about the LRC inequality, he may get defensive, but will be able to make corrections.  He can modulate or control his self-centered and seemingly selfish attributes.  Although he may be perceived as self-consumed and self-centered, he is willing and able to love, respect and care for his partner; they just need frequent reminders.

+4 CSV:  A narcissistic individual.  This individual is absorbed and preoccupied with the LRC needs of self, while rarely seeking to fulfill the LRC needs of others.  He comes across as being entitled, self-absorbed and self-centered, as he are driven to seek LRC from others, while giving very minimal amounts of the same in return.  He is comfortable with the LRC disparity, believing his needs are more important than his partner’s.  Although this person is overtly narcissistic, he is still able to give nominal levels of LRC to others.  If confronted about the LRC inequities, he will characteristically get angry and defensive and are quick to justify his actions.  He, however, does not experience a narcissistic injury or exhibit narcissistic rage when confronted.

+5 CSV: An Emotional Manipulator.  Unable and unmotivated to love, respect and care for others.  He is consumed with fulfilling his own LRC needs with no intention of reciprocating.  He has great difficulty in exhibiting empathy, unconditional positive regard or love.  When he does give LRC to others, it is typically conditional, with strings attached.  He is not able to comprehend or accept his pathological levels of narcissism.  When confronted about the LRC imbalances, he will often strike back with either direct or passive aggression.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
3325 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Ste 400B
Arlington Heights, IL  60004

Owner of Clinical Care Consultants and Advanced Clinical Trainers

                  

On TV Again! The Taylor Baldwin Show is on San Diego’s U-T TV Network

Slideshow-Taylor-Baldwin_t640x400

I will be taping a 30 minute interview with Taylor Baldwin on December 13th.

The Taylor Baldwin Show is on the U-T TV network, and my host has several health and beauty products on the market, and can be seen in national commercials. Being an anchor is her second job, and we like to focus on health and beauty segments, and overcoming divorce is a great topic!

Meet Taylor Baldwin

Taylor Baldwin’s enthusiasm and talent are unparalleled!  One of today’s most exciting media stars, Taylor Baldwin is a successful news anchor / TV host, as well as an accomplished DRTV host, television spokesperson, actress, and media/product development consultant.  She’s been a mainstay of several major television outlets, working in a variety of roles for Fox Sports Net, CBS, and KTLA / Tribune Entertainment – where she served as their prime time entertainment anchor.

Her acting roles include TV’s “7th Heaven” and other feature films. And Taylor is no ‘One Trick Pony’. She is the founder and president of Taylor – Made Productions. Under her company she produces and develops products. Her latest hit ‘Hot Buns’ – is a commercial that falls into beauty product category.

And we’re not done yet! Taylor creates a successful bio-weekly video blog called “Taylor Time” that showcases the hottest health & beauty tips, as well as innovative products.

 

Ross Rosenberg Codependency Expert

Clinical Care Consultants YouTube Channel     HuffPost-app-icon-sm     Clinical Care Consultants on linkedIn   Ross Rosenberg on twitter    images   download

 

Covert Narcissists: Wolves in Sheep Clothing ( Closet Narcissists). Ross Rosenberg

images

 Covert narcissists are masters of disguise – successful actors, humanitarians, politicians, clergy members, and even psychotherapists who are beloved and appreciated, but are secretly selfish, calculating, controlling, angry and vindictive. Covert narcissists create an illusion of selflessness while gaining from their elevated status. Although they share similar basic traits with the overt narcissist, i.e., the need for attention, affirmation, approval and recognition, they are stealthier about hiding their selfish and egocentric motives. Unlike the overt narcissist who parades his narcissism for all to see, the covert narcissist furtively hides his real motives and identity. These narcissists are able to trick others into believing they are honest, altruistic and empathetic individuals. They are successful at pretending to be a more likable version of themselves, knowing that if their true identity was uncovered, they would not be able to maintain the respect, status and prestige that they have so furtively garnered.  From Ross’s book, The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC
Psychotherapist & National Seminar Trainer

Owner of Clinical Care Consultants
Co-Owner of Advanced Clinical Trainers
Author of the Human Magnet Syndrome

book iconx   actz  images  Clinical Care Consultants on linkedIn  twitter-icon   psych central icon   Clinical Care Consultants YouTube Channel

On TV Again! The Taylor Baldwin Show is on San Diego’s U-T TV Network

On TV Again!  The Taylor Baldwin Show is on San Diego’s U-T TV Network

Slideshow-Taylor-Baldwin_t640x400I will be taping a 30 minute interview with Taylor Baldwin on December 13th.

The Taylor Baldwin Show is on the U-T TV network, and my host has several health and beauty products on the market, and can be seen in national commercials. Being an anchor is her second job, and we like to focus on health and beauty segments, and overcoming divorce is a great topic!

Meet Taylor Baldwin

Taylor Baldwin’s enthusiasm and talent are unparalleled!  One of today’s most exciting media stars, Taylor Baldwin is a successful news anchor / TV host, as well as an accomplished DRTV host, television spokesperson, actress, and media/product development consultant.  She’s been a mainstay of several major television outlets, working in a variety of roles for Fox Sports Net, CBS, and KTLA / Tribune Entertainment – where she served as their prime time entertainment anchor.

Her acting roles include TV’s “7th Heaven” and other feature films. And Taylor is no ‘One Trick Pony’. She is the founder and president of Taylor – Made Productions. Under her company she produces and develops products. Her latest hit ‘Hot Buns’ – is a commercial that falls into beauty product category.

And we’re not done yet! Taylor creates a successful bio-weekly video blog called “Taylor Time” that showcases the hottest health & beauty tips, as well as innovative products.

 

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC
Psychotherapist & National Seminar Trainer

Owner of Clinical Care Consultants
Co-Owner of Advanced Clinical Trainers
Author of the Human Magnet Syndrome

book iconx   actz  images  Clinical Care Consultants on linkedIn  twitter-icon   psych central icon   Clinical Care Consultants YouTube Channel