The Human Magnet Syndrome - Excerpts - page 7

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CHAPTER 2: THE TERRIBLE BUT EXCITING TANGO
My early poetry writing seamlessly manifested into a professional capacity, effectively utilizing
metaphors and analogies, in my psychotherapeutic work. It has always been easy for me to explain
complicated psychological phenomena by using simple, but highly symbolic, words and phrases.
Sometimes, when they pop into my head, I am pleasantly surprised and appreciative of them, as is the
person with whom I share them. The intuitive and reflexive use of such verbal and written symbolism
makes me feel connected to a higher power, as it seems to come out of nowhere while making a
significant difference in the lives of my clients.
The Metaphor that Changes Lives
To date, the words “dance” and “dancing” are the most significant and life-changing metaphor I have
created. It explains the automatic and repeated attraction patterns occurring between codependent and
narcissistic romantic partners. This simplistic but profound metaphor, eventually inspired the creation of
a 6-hour professional training, which would be the backbone for the first edition of “The Human Magnet
Syndrome.” Although I cannot recall exactly when I used these words effectively with one of my
codependent clients, I do remember the consistent “aha moments” or epiphanies they created. I am
quite certain that the creation of “the dance” metaphor coincided with my intense preoccupation on my
pattern of falling in love with, and sometimes marrying, women who seemed narcissistic to me.
When I used “the dance” to explain the narcissistic/codependent relationship, or “the dancer” to
describe either the codependent and narcissist, it allowed me to demonstrate a logical and persuasive
explanation as to why codependents and narcissists are attracted to one another. Until that time, the
explanations for codependency focused more on it as a personality trait and predisposition to be a
pathological caretaker. My focus differed by explaining the attraction that codependents have to
narcissists, and the powerlessness they experience once in a relationship with them, not because they
are a victim, but because of discernable and fairly simplistic interactional patterns.
My dance metaphor idea proposed that codependents are passive dancers who feel natural and
comfortable taking on the role of the follower in the relationship dance. Conversely, it explains how
narcissists are the active dance partners who feel natural and most comfortable when taking charge or
leading the dance. Together, the metaphor explains the natural comfort level, and thereby the
attraction, that these two opposite dance partners experience on the dance floor.
Dictionaries define dance as “rhythmical and sequential steps, gestures, or bodily motions that match
the speed and rhythm of a piece of music.” The dance metaphor is virtually the same: rhythmical and
sequential steps, gestures, and romantic behaviors that match the speed and rhythm of each dance
partner’s personality and relationship expectation. Codependents and pathological narcissists
participate in a dance-like phenomenon that ultimately creates a lasting dysfunctional relationship or
dancing partnership. Dance partners with oppositely matched dysfunctional personalities often
participate in a dramatic, rollercoaster-like pathological relationship that continues despite one side’s
unhappiness or desire for the dance to stop.
I believe the most important contribution of this metaphor is how it simply synthesizes individual and
systemic (relational) psychological explanations. Solving complicated psychological problems, like
codependency, requires a person to accept their role in it, no matter how badly it makes them feel.
Avoiding feelings of embarrassment, guilt or shame, might make a person feel better in the short run,
but it comes at a cost. Codependents can solve and recover from the Human Magnet Syndrome driven
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