Tag Archives: trauma 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                         

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.

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  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

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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

                  

 

Relationship Circle – Moving Closer or Further Away

This diagram will be in my upcoming book, The Codependency Cure: Self-Love Deficit Disorder Recovery. It was inspired my a dear friend Karen Kaplan who wrote the incredible book, Descendants of Rajgrod: Learning to Forgive.

The Relationship Circle Diagram represents the fluidity of relationships. We can choose to “upgrade” or “downgrade” a relationship based upon our emerging sense of self-love and self-respect. It also demonstrates that we can make ourselves safer from harm while keeping a relationship or, conversely, move closer to a person in order to experience more intimacy and closeness.

 
relationship circle

CHECK OUT ROSS ROSENBERG’S EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS/PRODUCTS – www.AdvancedClinicalTrainers.com

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

                  

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