Tag Archives: ptsd

Hitting Bottom: When The End Greets the Beginning (Poetry by Ross Rosenberg)

I wrote this twenty years ago, when I had hit what I thought was the bottom of my life.  The poem helped me put into words the trauma i had endured while in a relationship with a very abusive woman.  It served as a catalyst to understand and eventually heal the highly traumatic abuse I had endured.

Although the trauma of the relationship seemed to have ended, the impact of it was embedded in my psyche.  Writing the poem helped release some of this toxic energy welling up inside of me.  Writing  it also helped me create a clear boundary from where I was and where I needed to go.


When The End Greets the Beginning

The Fist clenched, balled tight
Waving high in the sky
Like a tattered flag of war
Firmly declaring the message of hard fought freedom

The Arm stretched higher than its length
Wanting to go even higher
But held back by its physical limitations
Desiring to support the rage of its neighbor hand

The Body tense with anxious exhilaration
Energized by the wave of spontaneous emotion
Reacting – wanting to release
Neither knowing nor understanding the electric energy

The Mind, racing with scenes of the past
Remembering the torrent of pain
Memories frozen in time – razor sharp
Unable to understand, but finally able to feel

The Heart embattled and tired
Once protected by walls made of carefully controlled rage
Cracking, crumbling, disintegrating under their own volition
Heralding the light to pass through

The Soul, confused and bewildered
Like the newborn’s terror at birth
Interpreting the beginning as the end of safety
But all the while willing to open his eyes and greet what lies ahead

Ross Rosenberg

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)

SELF LOVE RECOVERY INSTITUTE                         


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


Trauma Continuum – Excerpt from Rosenberg’s Codependency Cure Seminar

The following information on Ross Rosenberg’s Trauma Continuum was taken from his Codependency Cure Seminar, which is available at Advanced Clinical Trainers website.

trauma continuum 2


  • DSM does account for levels of trauma
  • Not all are diagnosable
  • All trauma has impact
  • Good, bad and life-altering
  • Trauma that cannot be processed and organized is relegated to our limbic system
  • The brain’s protection vault
  • The brain’s circuit breaker
  • The more profound the trauma, the deeper it is buried
  • The more difficult to access
  • The more profound the psychological disturbance


  • Trauma should be organized according to levels of severity
  • Mild to most severe
  • Mild to moderate is consciously processed
  • Moderate to severe require defense mechanisms
  • Biological phenomena
  • Considering there are levels of trauma
  • And trauma treatment works
  • A continuum should represent the trauma resolution

The Will to Survive: Poem and Photo by Ross Rosenberg


Ross Rosenberg
(c) 1986

The Will to Survive

The old oak tree stands tall
but crooked.
It’s cracked,
creviced surface.
reflects the assault of the seasons

The rain,
heat and snow
of seasons yonder
grate at its surface
with diamond sharp teeth.
Digging in
Leaving permanent marks.

In defiance the tree stretches,
and moves skyward.

Its roots reach around rocky obstacles
Firmly anchoring itself the earth.
Exerting strength and desire.
Forcing its viability
to grow into yet another season

Roots that are deeply implanted
into uninviting
and inhospitable soil
Forcefully create a home

And the tree proclaims:
“I am a tree
I am from the earth
Neither rain,
nor cold
will supplant my desire to leave

I remain where I belong”

Ross Rosenberg


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

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Smiling Skeletons. A Poem About Healing and Transformation by Ross Rosenberg

Smiling Skeletons (A Poem about Healing and Transformation)
By Ross Rosenberg

Walking down the usual paths in my life,
without a thought,
without a plan,
I unexpectedly found myself
mysteriously drawn
toward the direction
of my childhood home.

This repository of childhood dreams,
was barely recognizable
and frighteningly familiar.
Although ladened with bittersweet memories
I was beckoned toward it.

A memory of the child I was,
whispered to me,
encouraged me
to approach the front door,
grasp the door knob.
Feel its cold metal welcome.
And enter the haunted domain
of my childhood.
Long not visited,
long avoided

Until now,
I have not had the energy:
To enter rooms long closed to me.
To open up closets.
Expose dark clutter to the light of day
Fearlessly sift through memories.
Feel that which has been safely frozen in time.

My neatly packaged
stowed away memories,
took a new surprising form:
Transforming into skeletons.
Clattery boned friends
comprised of loosely connected parts
of the child I was.

The battle between
the effort needed to be honest,
and the courage to explore the truth,
kept me out of these rooms.
Kept me far from these sacred closets.
Disallowing me to fully accept
this bittersweet memories of my youth.

I think I am ready now
to sustain an episode
of honest recollection.
To venture into darkly lit closets.
To bring the past into the present.
To face my skeletons.

I am no longer the same child,
who with nervous and frightful glee
watched the Saturday night horror movies,
That showcased the dancing bony demons.
And being afraid to sleep.

With each skeleton I encounter,
I find I can open my eyes without fright.
And see that they actually smile at me,
Explaining to me,
with their dark happy and kind eyes:
It is now ok to remember.

Ok to let go.
Ok to close the closet.
Ok to go home.
And Ok start living in the present.

I have spent a lifetime avoiding skeletons.
Now they are my friends.

Ross Rosenberg

When Today is Yesterday – PTSD

When Today is Yesterday (PTSD)

Time moves forward predictably
and with precision.
Tomorrow can’t be stopped
But in the blink of an eye
today becomes yesterday

Memories once encased in leaden vaults —
Formerly sunk
to the bottom of a murky abyss.
Springing forward into action
Releasing the electric charge
of the long forgotten moment.

I move forward —
but the images pull me back.

You are here —
but haunted by the presence of the past.

I hear you whisper —
but startled at the scream.

I hear your promises —
but terrorized by lies.

I hold your warm body —
but feel a cold heart.

I am safe in your embrace —
but threatened by razor sharp weapon

Stop! Identify yourself! 
Are you the present?

If not, could you be the future?

No! You are the past!
Hidden in the hazy glow
of the here and now.

As a child, I wasn’t afraid of ghost
But I am now.

Ross Rosenberg

Ross Rosenberg Codependency Expert

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