The Human Magnet Syndrome - Excerpts - page 6

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beautiful child you naturally were, you will instinctively replicate the same harmful patterns to those
who love you.
The Baton Metaphors
Simply put, each generation in my family groomed the next to participate in a two-member relay team.
Not only did the parents of each generation pass on their zeal and enthusiasm for relay races, they were
also highly influential about which of two possible team roles each child would eventually adopt. The
“runner” role, or baton, would be passed on to the child who could make the narcissistic parent feel
good about themselves. The “kicker” role or baton was passed to the child who could never make his
narcissistic parent happy and who became the grave disappointment.
Despite my mother’s dysfunctional loyalty to helping my dad win each and every race, she would never
experience the joy of crossing the finishing line with a win. Even when she lay prostrate on the ground,
exhausted, and unable to move, she would convince herself that my dad’s win was also hers. Even
though her experiences were joyless and demeaning, she never thought to quit the team. Sadly, me and
my siblings would pass the proverbial batons from my parents onto the next generation. Only the very
strong and committed could break this pattern. Without courage, and lots of psychotherapy, the
probability that the race will stop with this generation is highly unlikely.
Four Generations of Dysfunction
To understand the forces that are responsible for my childhood attachment trauma—the ultimate cause
of my codependency, I am including here my family’s history going back four generations. Providing a
broader context to how my codependency came to be seemed more fair, empathetic and sympathetic,
than to just focus blame my parents. Although some of my family might not agree, the intent of this
chapter is not to hurt, malign or discredit any one person. Rather, it’s to illustrate the multi and trans-
generational forces behind the development of both codependency and narcissism in my family, while
focusing on how we all are victims, despite some family members seeming more like perpetrators.
Please accept the disclaimer that the historical information I am about to share is limited in scope,
potentially incomplete, and often generalized. My intent is to highlight salient psychological features of
each person for the sole purpose of illustrating the trans-generational nature of codependency and
narcissism. Despite my attempts to be accurate and neutral, I concede that the conclusions I have
reached may very well have been impacted by my own personal “lens.” In writing this chapter, I
carefully considered the value of sharing the material versus the relational consequences. With a heavy
heart, I offer you the following explanation for why I became a codependent adult.
I am the second oldest child, born to Earl Rosenberg and Muriel (Mikki) Rosenberg, both of whom are
deceased (2015 and 2008, respectively). My parents were only children, not by choice, but by
dysfunctional or medical circumstance. They had four children together in the span of ten years: Ellen
born in 1959; me born in 1961, Steven born in 1963, and David born in 1969. According to my parents,
the only planned child was David. My mother would later disclose that she pushed my father for the
fourth child because of feeling lonely and in need of a purpose.
In my opinion, my father had most, if not all, symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Conversely
and not surprisingly, my mother was a text book codependent, as described in most books on the
subject, including this one.
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