Category Archives: Book Excerpts

THE PASSING OF THE CODEPENDENCY BATON

THE PASSING OF THE CODEPENDENCY BATON
By Ross Rosenberg, MEd, LCPC, CACD, CSAT

This is an excerpt from the 2nd edition of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us, which will be published on 12/30/17. The book is being been completely re-written: 70 pages of new content, reorganized, re-edited.

As much as we would like to, we cannot avoid certain indisputable immutable facts of life: We will have to pay taxes, we will get older, we will most likely gain a few pounds, and we will always be connected to our childhood. Sigmund Freud was right, we are, indeed, creatures of our past; affected more by our formative years than by recent events and circumstances. Although genes play a significant role in determining our adult selves, how we were cared for as a child is integrally connected to our adult mental health and the quality of our adult relationships. Whether we embrace our unique childhood history, or if we try to mute, forget or even deny it, there is no way of refuting its impact on our lives.

If you were fortunate, you may have had a childhood that was absent of major trauma, abuse, deprivation or neglect. As one of the fortunate ones, you would have had parents who made mistakes, but who also unconditionally loved and cared for you. Just by being yourself, despite your imperfections, you would have proved to your parents that all babies are perfect and the gift of life is sacred.

Your healthy but not perfect parents would have been intrinsically motivated to foster your personal and emotional growth, not because they had to, but because they believed you deserved it. The only requirement to receive your parents’ love and nurturing was to just be your genuine self. Consequently, you would have become a part of a multigenerational pattern of emotionally healthy children; you would have become a balanced and emotionally healthy adult. If you chose to have children, you would perpetuate the positive parenting “karma” by raising your own emotionally healthy child. Unfortunately, this was not my experience.

The child of psychologically unhealthy parents would also participate in a similar multigenerational pattern; one, however, that is perpetually dysfunctional. If one of your parents was a pathological narcissist, you would have been born into this world with specific expectations determined by that narcissistic parent. And, if you could figure out what those expectations were, and could deliver on them, then you would have figured out how to motivate your narcissistic parent to nurture and love you. If you kept in synch with your parents’ narcissistic fantasies, you would be the grateful recipient of the conditional love and conditional attention.

By molding yourself into a “trophy child,” you may have found a way to be hurt less, but it would have come at an unimagined cost. Although your “trophyness” saved you from the darker and more menacing side of your narcissistic parent, it would have deprived you of emotional freedom, safety, and happiness. Relaxing and enjoying the wonders of childhood would never be yours. Your comfort in sacrificing and being invisible would eventually coalesce into adult codependency, which would compel you to replay your childhood trauma in the people with whom you choose to be intimate.

However, if you were unable to be your parents’ “trophy child,” you would trigger their own feelings of shame, anger and insecurity, which they would project onto you. As the “bad seed” child who is incapable of assuaging your narcissistic parent’s unconscious but huge reservoir of toxic shame, you would likely be punished with deprivation, neglect and/or abuse.

The nightmarish quality of your childhood would require you to find the biggest psychological boulder under which you will permanently hide your agonizing memories. Your lonely, deprived, and/or abusive childhood would lay the foundation of a potentially permanent mental health disorder that would compel you to selfishly hurt others, with limited or conditional experiences of empathy or remorse. Just like the parent who disfigured the beautiful child you naturally were, you will instinctively replicate the same harmful patterns to those who love you.

©Ross Rosenberg, 2017

The book will be available on 12/30/17 or before and sold on Amazon and at SelfLoveRecovery.com.

Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Self Love Recovery Institute
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The 
Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar

SELF LOVE RECOVERY INSTITUTE                         

 

The Eight Stage Self-Love Deficit Disorder (Codependency) Treatment Model. Rosenberg Codendency & Narcissism Expert

This  is the model that I  will be writing about in my upcoming book, The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder.

 

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Stage 1: Hitting Bottom (Introducing Hope)
Stage 2: Human Magnet Syndrome Education: Breaking Free from the “Dance”
Stage 3: Withdrawing from SLDD Addiction: Battling Pathological Loneliness
Stage 4: Setting Boundaries in A Hostile Environment. Courage and Commitment
Stage 5: Maintaining Safe and Secure Boundaries. Protection, Security and Self-Care
Stage 6: Resolving / Integrating Unconscious Trauma: Healing Attachment Trauma

Stage 7: Discovering Self-Love. Building an Internal Self-Love Foundation
Stage 8: Building an External Foundation of Self-Love. Achieving Self-Love Driven Relationships.
Stage 9: Shedding Self-Love Deficit Disorder. Becoming Self-Love Abundant

Excerpts from The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder Book Proposal

Excerpts from The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder Book Proposal

Chapter 3: “CODEPENDENCY” NO MORE – THE SELF LOVE DEFICIT DISORDER STORY

Discovery Phase V – Core Shame Pathological Loneliness
At age 43, about two years after my humiliating second divorce, my life spiraled out of control and seemed be irrevocably reduced to shambles. My success driven self, the one that kept winning races because of the blinders he had on, could no longer carry the day. Like an old battered row boat with one too many holes in it, I took on more water than I could frantically bail out. No matter how much I tried, dragging on life’s rocky bottom, made it impossible to keep the “good” Ross afloat. As rapidly as one part of me was sinking, another part was rising upwards, seeking the light of day.

To my great dismay, from the murky depths of my unconscious mind, arose my emotional nemesis – core shame. This wasn’t the first time we met, as “he” had repeatedly and unremittingly tapped me on the shoulder back in my exquisitely sad, lonely teenage years. In an effort to stop the throbbing loneliness he caused, I almost self-medicated myself into oblivion. Twenty-eight years later, I was back to my self-medicating ways, trying to anesthetize myself from the ever-present reminders that I was essentially broken, worthless and unlovable. “Bottoming out” at age 44 served as a wake-up call, when I decided to awake from my self-medicated slumber and got myself back into therapy. This time around, I would not stop, until I could permanently eradicate my shame core, that part of me that kept leading me into the arms of a pathological narcissist.

Proposed Table of Contents

Dedication
Acknowledgments
Forward: Another author will write?
Introduction: The Journey to Self-Love: Breaking Free to Recovery
Chapter 1: “Magnets” and “Cures:” The New Codependency Landscape
Chapter 2: Codependency, Narcissism, And The Human Magnet Syndrome
Chapter 3: “Codependency” No More – The Self-Love Deficit Disorder Story
Chapter 4: Paleopsychotherapy: Uncovering Trauma Fossils
Chapter 5: Codependency Addiction: “Hooked” on Your Narcissist
Chapter 6: Organizing The “Codependency Cure.” A Six Stage Recovery Model
Chapter 7: Hitting Bottom – From The Ashes the Phoenix Does Rise”
Chapter 8: Stop Wrestling with “Pigs!” The Observe Don’t Absorb Technique
Chapter 9: Finding Your Voice: Setting Boundaries in A Hostile Environment
Chapter 10: Maintaining Safe & Secure Boundaries
Chapter 11: Healing the Wounded Child Technique
Chapter 12: Discovering Self-Love: Building A Self-Love Foundation
Chapter 13: Relationship Math: The Addition of Two Self-Loving Individuals
Chapter 14: Reaching Self-Love Abundancy – The Codependency Cure
Conclusion
Bibliography

CHAPTER 6: ORGANIZING THE “CODEPENDENCY CURE.” A Six Stage Recovery Model

The Inevitable “How To” Question
It seemed every time I talked about the Human Magnet Syndrome (HMS)—in seminars, YouTube videos, blogs, articles, and of course, in my book—I was repeatedly besieged by the same emphatic question: “When will you tell us how to solve the problem?” Even with the epiphanies and watershed moments that the HMS material made possible, these same people were still mired waist-deep in the muddy swamp of a lifetime of codependent pain.

Naturally, the HMS’s explanation for why they repeatedly mistook harmful Pnarcs for loving life-partners was helpful, but it wasn’t enough. It helped them identify and understand their destructive self-sabotaging tendencies, but they also craved guidance on how to break free from the bonds of codependency , while learning how to be in a relationship with a lover, a best-friend, a mother, or a brother, who was mutually loving, respecting, and caring.

In writing The Human Magnet Syndrome, my goal was to explain what codependency is, not the solutions to it. It was my intention to both revise and redefine it, while explaining its predictable and reflexive behavior pattern, and why codependents repeatedly “dance” with harmful Pnarcs despite cascades of consequences, losses, and emotional pain. As much as I sympathized with the urgency of these questions, I maintained the course of my mission, which was to create a seismic shift in the understanding of codependency. I would not waver from this decision, since I had already planned to follow-up my HMS work with an instructive “how to” book focused on practical solutions and the path to healing.

Even with the clarity of my master plan, I still needed to convince others—both professionals and patients eager for help—why my “why material” needed to be separated from and to precede the eventual “how to” discussion. The following lays out my rationale.

CHAPTER 8  STOP WRESTLING WITH PIGS!  How to Master the Observe Don’t Absorb Technique
The Emotional Wrestling Ring

The emotional ring is the fight that occurs in the SLD’s head, a fight which the SLD always loses. This thought and feeling-based wrestling ring consists of the flood of thoughts, feelings, suppositions, predictions, and judgments that overwhelms the SLD before, during, and after the SLD enters the physical ring. Adding another level of complexity, in any given emotional ring, the SLD is wrestling the current Pnarc, as well as Pnarcs from the past, namely the narcissistic parent or parents responsible for attachment trauma (the cause of SLDD).

The emotional wrestling ring is more dangerous than its physical counterpart. Not only is it invisible and lacking a definitive shape, but it is also the venue in which inner voices or dialogue command your attention. On a good day, the voices or dialogue are patient, accepting, self-forgiving, and self-loving. On a bad day, the Pnarc takes residence in your head, berating you with a cacophony of conclusions, judgments, and impatient commands that unfairly second-guess, judge, and ridicule your actions while degrading and derailing any attempt to secure healthy boundaries.

With the Pnarc infecting your thoughts, feelings, and judgments, the wrestling match is over before it starts, and the inevitable outcome is assured. When you add to the mix the flight or fight and false power responses, the SLD’s thought processes and judgment are impaired, rendering them the surefire loser of any altercation, argument and/or conflict with their Pnarc partner. In addition, once the SLD “rents” the Pnarc “space in their head,” all bets are off, as defeat in the emotional ring ensures another humiliating smack-down in the physical. The fight may seem to the SLD to be fought and lost in the physical ring, but this is an illusion, as most fights are lost in the emotional ring.

Muhammad Ali’s Emotional Knockouts
Muhammad Ali, international sports icon and boxing legend, exemplified a person who dominated his sport because of his mastery of both the emotional and physical rings. Many boxing aficionados and sports historians would agree that Ali may not have always been physically stronger, faster, or more skilled than his opponents. However, these same people would agree that despite his opponents’ obvious advantages, “The Champ” would find a way to win the boxing match. It is unimportant to this book to determine if Muhammad Ali was a Pnarc or not. But what is of value is to demonstrate how and why his psychological boxing methods were a masterful use of the emotional ring, and how they enabled him to achieve dominance in the boxing world.

Especially in the mid to later part of his career, Ali racked up wins through the carefully executed psychological manipulation of his opponents. His big wins, especially against the likes of Joe Frazier and George Foreman, were attributed to his ability to get into their heads, provoke unbridled anger, and ultimately, render them their own worst enemies. Winning in the emotional ring was achieved by taunting, ridiculing, and embarrassing them, which got them so enraged and hell-bent to pulverize Ali that they would ultimately sabotage their own efforts to win the fight.

Once Ali’s opponents were antagonized to the point of rage and a hyper-focused obsession to beat him to a pulp, they expended huge amounts of their energy early on in the match. The combination of his opponents’ triggered vindictive rage, their all-out intention to knock him out in the first few rounds, and Ali’s successful use of his “rope-a-dope” strategy (hunkering down in a safe, defensive position), all but guaranteed Ali a win. By the time his opponent lost his steam, and perhaps his false power, Ali would tap into his reserves and deliver a flurry of bout-ending punches.

Simply speaking, Ali won most of his fights by leading his opponents into an emotional ring and manipulating them to fight unknowingly against themselves; just as the Pnarc does with the unsuspecting SLD.

 

THE CODEPENDENCY CURE (2ND BOOK) UPDATE

The Codependency Cure (2nd Book) Update
I just finished writing the final chapter (of three) that is necessary for my book proposal. I have been working on this for 4 months! After my professional editor Thomas G Fiffer finishes editing it, it will be sent to a publisher.  
I am hoping to receive an acceptable offer by early November.  In this  case, I will  start writing the other 10 chapters (see below). I estimate the book being completed by November 2017.The three chapters are entitled:
 
Chapter 3: “Codependency” No More – The Self-Love Deficit Disorder Story
Chapter 6: Organizing The “Codependency Cure.” A Six Stage Recovery Model
 

Chapter 8: Stop Wrestling with “Pigs!” The Observe Don’t Absorb Technique

Proposed Table of Contents
 
Dedication
 
Acknowledgments
 
Forward: Another author will write?
 
Introduction: The Journey to Self-Love: Breaking Free to Recovery
 
Chapter 1: “Magnets” and “Cures:” The New Codependency Landscape
 
Chapter 2: Codependency, Narcissism, And The Human Magnet Syndrome
 
Chapter 3: “Codependency” No More – The Self-Love Deficit Disorder Story
 
Chapter 4: Paleopsychotherapy: Uncovering Trauma Fossils
 
Chapter 5: Codependency Addiction: “Hooked” on Your Narcissist
 
Chapter 6: Organizing The “Codependency Cure.” A Six Stage Recovery Model
 
Chapter 7: Hitting Bottom – From The Ashes the Phoenix Does Rise”
 
Chapter 8: Stop Wrestling with “Pigs!” The Observe Don’t Absorb Technique
 
Chapter 9: Finding Your Voice: Setting Boundaries in A Hostile Environment
 
Chapter 10: Maintaining Safe & Secure Boundaries
 
Chapter 11: Healing the Wounded Child Technique
 
Chapter 12: Discovering Self-Love: Building A Self-Love Foundation
 
Chapter 13: Relationship Math: The Addition of Two Self-Loving Individuals
 
Chapter 14: Reaching Self-Love Abundancy – The Codependency Cure
 
Conclusion
 
Bibliography

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Six Stages of Self-Love Deficit Disorder (Codependency) Recovery

This is an updated version of the Five Stage Model on the same subject.  The Six Stages of Self-Love Deficit Disorder (codependency) Recovery will be an organizing construct/paradigm in my upcoming book, The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder.

6 stages of self love defcit cisorder recovery

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

                  

Malignant Narcissism (from The Human Magnet Syndrome 2013)

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Malignant Narcissism (from Rosenberg’s Human Magnet Syndrome Book 2013)

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

In 1984, Dr. Otto Kernberg, a Cornell University psychoanalyst, coined the diagnostic term “malignant narcissism.” Kernberg believed that there is a narcissism continuum, with NPD at the low end, and malignant narcissism with psychopathic features at the high end. Malignant narcissism appears to be a hybrid of NPD, as it is a combination of four pathological extremes: narcissism, psychopathy, sadism and paranoia. Even with the other forms of psychopathology, they are still distinctly narcissistic as they demonstrate most narcissistic traits/symptoms. The difference, though, is that malignant narcissists are able to force their grandiose fantasies onto others.

Like NPDs, they are entitled and grandiose. However, malignant narcissists take it to a more extreme level because they believe they have a special destiny in life. By believing in their special status or destiny, their extreme sense of entitlement and grandiosity in their relationships is reinforced. They are outwardly selfish and unapologetic, while also feeling compelled to direct the lives around them. They are often suspicious of others, especially those who could remove them from their position of power. They are belligerent and scheming, while manipulatively casting themselves as the injured party. They often rise to influence by claiming they are victims of oppression. As a direct result of their beguiling charm and calculating nature, they are able to sympathetically rally support for their cause. With legions of dedicated followers, they are able to lead and inspire rebellions, which in turn secure their leadership and power structure.

Because malignant narcissists are fundamentally insecure and paranoid in their relationships, they counter by maintaining complete and total control of others. With a rise to power through popular support, they believe there is a mandate for them to maintain power and strict control over their legions of followers. Once they have achieved control, they will do almost anything to maintain it, including rape, murder, and even genocide. As a direct result of their paranoid and psychopathic tendencies, they challenge, defy, demean and even murder anyone who is either an authority figure or has the power to hurt them. Examples of malignant narcissists include Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein.

Malignant narcissists are known to be emotionally, physically and/or sexually abusive and will purposely and maliciously harm others. Their cruel and harmful treatment of others is reinforced by their need to maintain power, control, and a sense of superiority over others. Although they seem similar to psychopaths or those diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder, they are different in that they can internalize right and wrong, form meaningful personal and social relationships and rationalize their actions as a desire to advance society. They may be loyal in relationships, but because of their paranoia, may hurt or harm those who pledge loyalty to them.

LINK TO MY VIDEO: Malignant Narcissist Are Dangerous! Loving the Destroyer

COME SEE ME IN LONDON ON 11/28/15

rhms london

                  

The “Surgeon General’s” Warning for Codependency Recovery. The Codependency Cure Book Excerpt.

rosenberg stages of codependency recovery

The “Surgeon General’s” Warning for Codependency Recovery.

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

From the Upcoming Book, The Codependency Cure: Breaking Free From Narcissists

Codependency recovery has the capacity to change your life.  My writings and YouTube videos are intended to inspire, motivate and guide you on a journey to solve and overcome the obstacles that are responsible for your codependency.  It is backed up with my own recovery experiences and 28 years working with trauma survivors and codependents and my book, The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us.  My transformation is proof that a person doesn’t have to be weighed down by the childhood trauma that compels them to form long-term relationships with people who cannot love or respect them, but will inevitably hurt them.

However, you should be warned that there is no “quick fix” for your life-long patterns of codependency.  Nor is it intended to repair the part of you that makes you to fall in love with a person who started out as your soul mate, but ended up as a “cell-mate.”   To that end, there is not a secret formula that neutralizes your pattern of establishing and maintaining relationships with pathological narcissists – people you love but who consistently hurt you.

However, you should be warned that this book does not contain an illustrious new-fangled theory that will quickly fix your life-long patterns codependency.  It is not intended to fix that part of you that compels you to fall in love with a person who began as a soul mate, but ended up as a “cell-mate.”   To that end, it will not provide you with a secret formula that neutralizes your life-long pattern of forming and maintain enduring relationships with pathological narcissists – people you love but who consistently who hurt you.

Since you have not put the book down yet and are still reading it, I am morally obligated to give you my “Surgeon General’s Warning.”  Similar to the warning on a pack of cigarettes, if you decide to move forward with the difficult and at times heart-breaking challenges inherent to codependency recovery, there is no doubt that painful experiences will befall you.  There is no way around this cold, hard fact.

My warning differs from the real Surgeon General’s Warning.  First and foremost, I am neither a surgeon nor a general!  Secondly, you won’t die from a progressively painful physical ailment.  You will suffer, though, but only for a distinct period of time.  Third, and best of all, this warning also predicts future emotional and relational freedom and happiness.

However, if you can persevere through the losses, emotional pain and suffering, which go hand-in-hand with the initial stages of codependency recovery, then you may very well experience, perhaps for the first time in your life, joy and freedom from the pain and suffering caused by the selfish and harmful narcissists in your life.  You will save yourself from being placed on the giving and sacrificing end of most of your relationships. And what’s more, you will learn to love yourself more than anyone else in your life, which in turn will set you on a path to love another similarly healthy and self-loving person.

Considering the predictable hardships and obstacles inherent in the first two stages of Codependency Recovery (Chapter 5), you will need to prepare for one of the biggest and most difficult battles of your life.  As demonstrated in Chapter 10, codependency is an addiction with terrible withdrawal symptoms.  You will experience bitterly painful bouts of loneliness, codependency’s most potent withdrawal symptom.  The insidious pathological power of loneliness will make you second guess any gains that you have made and hypnotically compel you to return to your former codependent ways.  If you have ever kicked an addiction, you will understand exactly what I mean.

You will invariably get knocked down a few times and sustain bumps and bruise along the way.  But…because you can get up and move towards your goal of recovery, you will.  You will not have to do this alone, though, as you will have developed a support network that will be there for you during times of darkness and despair and moments of triumph and success.  Although the warning may frighten and perhaps, discourage you, I urge you to keep your eye on the prize.  I know it is there, because I have walked the path myself.

As difficult as the uphill battle may be, it is not going to be all doom and gloom.  Like any mountain climber will tell you, reaching the top of the mountain is a harrowing and extremely demanding experience.  But, being on top of the mountain and planting your flag is like nothing else!  After savoring that moment, you will happily proceed downhill, which you will find to be so much easier than climbing it.  Not only is going down the mountain much easier that the upward climb, but once at the bottom, you will have the opportunity to savor this personal victory for the rest of your life!

An honest depiction of the codependency recovery process, “the good, the bad and the ugly,” will not only prepare you for what lies ahead, but also for the necessary sacrifices that are part and parcel to breaking free from the malignant hold pathological narcissists have over you.  There is no getting around the fact that you will need to financially, psychologically, personally and relationally prepare for the daunting challenges that lie ahead[i].  Such preparations will embolden you, while mitigating and buffering the potential consequences you may endure by standing up to and setting boundaries with narcissists who, by now, have exacted a great deal of pain and suffering upon you, as well as, perhaps, your family.

Be warned that there will be blowback from your narcissist, who will likely try to sabotage your treatment in an attempt to throw you off course.  Because your narcissist has a great deal to lose by you getting well, he may try to intimidate, abuse, isolate and/or hurt you.  Adding insult to injury, your resistance to the harm perpetrated against you may even result in custody and financial threats, job loss, and even abrupt termination of important and meaningful relationships.

But don’t worry, as this book will prepare, lead and guide you toward a life outside of the control of the people you love, but who predictably hurt you.  In this book, you will come to understand The Four Stage Codependency Treatment Model, the backbone of codependency recovery.  It will provide you with concrete illustrations and descriptions of the linear and sequential paths of the recovery experience.  It will also demonstrate how the path of codependency recovery predictably leads one to rewards beyond their imagination.  This model and the challenges outlined in it will prepare you for the ins and outs, the challenges and the payoffs of each step. Not only will it provide you with a bird’s eye view of what’s in store for you, but it will also anchor you to the treatment/recovery process.

This is the time to ask as many questions as possible because, the more you know about codependency recovery, the higher the probability of a successful outcome.  It is recommended that you, with the help of a trusted recovering codependent or a therapist, create a cost-benefit analysis between the two starkly different conclusions: remaining unappreciated, neglected, deprived and/or harmed by the narcissists in your life, or discovering healthy love of self and others.  Such should show you all that you stand to gain and all that you will continue to lose if you don’t move forward with your decision to break free from codependency.  As described in Step Four, if you stick with the program, you will eventually experience, perhaps for the first time, safe, supportive, affirming and respectful treatment from others. You will also have learned about the sustaining nature of self-love.

You will get to a point where you will be able to courageously and confidently extract yourself from any relationship where you are abused, neglected and/or deprived.  You will also possess the motivation to pursue challenges and neutralize obstacles like you never imagined.  Be ready, as you will be able to form relationships with healthy partners who will want to unconditionally love, respect, trust and support you, while also being dependable, responsible, sharing and fair to you.  Moreover, you will develop feelings of personal efficacy and increased self-esteem that you have not previously experienced.

Through your commitment to solve you codependency dilemma, you will have broken free from your suffocating and soul-scorching dysfunctional relationship dance with your pathological narcissistic partner.  Let my warning inspire you to put your nose to the grindstone and tough it out, so you can experience self-love and relational joy and freedom!

Write this down, commit it to memory and post it where you can see it every day, as it is the key message to everything written in this book: The antidote to codependency is self-love.

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

                  

“The Surgeon General’s Warning.” Excerpt from Upcoming book The Codependency Cure – My Second Book – A Sample From it. Ross Rosenberg

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CHAPTER 1: THE “SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING”

 

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.  There is no end to the adventurers we can have, if only we seek them with our eyes open.”  Iawarharla Nehru 

Before presenting the instructions of my Observe Don’t Absorb Technique, I am morally obligated to give you my “Surgeon General’s Warning.”  Just like the warning on a pack of cigarettes, if you decide to move forward with codependency treatment, you will similarly experience harmful side effects.  There is no way around this cold, hard fact.  However, my warning is different from the real one.  First and foremost, I am neither a surgeon nor a general!  Second, you won’t die from a progressively painful physical ailment.  You will suffer, though, but only for a short period of time.  Third, and best of all, mine has a positive warning built into it.  If you can muster up the energy, perseverance and courage to actively pursue treatment, you may very well experience, perhaps for the first time in your life, freedom from the negative consequences and losses that are inherent to codependency, which has you forever placed on the giving and sacrificing end of most of your relationships.

Considering the high rate of codependency relapse[i], be advised that you will have to prepare for the fight of your life.  It won’t be easy.  You will get knocked down a few times.  You will sustain some bumps and bruises.  But…you can always get up.  You and your therapist will jointly manage your anxiety, fear, guilt and ambivalence towards pursuing one of the more difficult decisions that you will ever have to make.  Although my warning is frightening and may discourage you, I encourage you to stay focused on the rewards waiting for you at the end of this uphill journey towards personal and relational sanity.

An honest depiction of the treatment/recovery process, “the good, the bad and ugly,” is not only a warning about what lies ahead for you, but it’s also an opportunity to prepare yourself for the necessary sacrifices that are part of breaking free from the malignant condition of codependency.  You must financially, psychologically, personally and relationally prepare for the daunting challenges that lie ahead for you.  Such preparations will embolden you, while mitigating the potential consequences you may endure by standing up to and setting boundaries with your narcissistic partner who, by now, has caused a great deal of pain and suffering for you as well as, perhaps, your family.  Let my warning inspire you to put your nose to the grindstone and tough it out, as the results may very well bring you personal and relational joy and freedom for the first time in your life!   Believe it, because I have successfully walked that path successfully with many clients.

The Warning includes a discussion of how to prepare for the blowback from your narcissist, who will likely try to talk to you about your treatment, while attempting to sabotage any progress you make.  Expect intimidation, manipulation, abuse, isolation, hurting those you love (triangulation), custody and financial threats, and even abrupt termination of the relationship.

Most importantly, prepare for what I call “codependency withdrawals.”  Since chapter ____ discusses “codependency addiction,” it will suffice to say that, like chemical/drug addictions, as a “sober” or abstinent codependent, you will more than likely experience excruciatingly painful emotional reactions following the termination of relationships with your narcissistic loved ones.  Such includes, but is not limited to, feelings of hopelessness, extreme frustration, anger, shame, guilt and loneliness.  Loneliness, as discussed in chapter ____, will be the most challenging of all your withdrawal symptoms.  Its insidious pathological power will make you second guess any gains that you have made and hypnotically compel you to return to your former codependent ways.  If you have ever kicked an addiction, you will understand exactly what I mean.

My full Warning includes a general discussion about other professional services, recovery strategies, tools and support systems/groups you may want to take advantage of, such as 12-Step and therapy groups.  You will be taught my “Four Stages of Codependency Treatment Model,” which will be discussed in detail in chapter ____.   The Four Stages model provides concrete illustrations and descriptions of the linear and sequential paths of the treatment experience from beginning to the end.  By understanding the discussion of this model, you will understand the ins and the outs of each step, the challenges and the payoffs.

The Four Stages provide you with a bird’s eye view of what’s in store for you.  It will also anchor you to the treatment/recovery process.  Ask as many questions as possible; as they say, knowledge is power!  A discussion of the Stages with your therapist will serve to help you develop a cost-benefit analysis between the two starkly different outcomes: remaining unappreciated, neglected, deprived and/or harmed by the narcissists in your life, or discovering healthy love of others and self.  As described in Step Four, if you stick with it, you will eventually experience, perhaps for the first time, safe, supportive, affirming and respecting treatment from others.  I promise.

As difficult as the uphill battle may be, it is not going to be all doom and gloom.  Like any mountain climber will tell you, reaching the top of the mountain is harrowing and extremely demanding.  But being on top of the mountain is like nothing else!  After savoring that moment, you will happily proceed downhill, which you will find to be so much easier than climbing it, but the experience is infused with the exhilaration of triumph of what you have achieved.  Not only is getting down the mountain much easier that the climb up it, but you get to appreciate that moment of personal victory for the rest of your life!

My full Warning will provide you with concrete examples of what you will likely achieve from the treatment/recovery process.  First and foremost, you will get to the point where you will easily be able to extract yourself from any relationship in which you are abused, neglected and/or deprived.  You will develop feelings of personal efficacy and increased self-esteem, and will have more unwavering motivation to pursue previously believed insurmountable challenges than you can ever have imagined.  You are going to form relationships with healthy partners who will want to unconditionally love, respect, trust and support you, while also being dependable, responsible, sharing and fair to you.  The discussion will be galvanized through the disclosure of one or more stories from real clients who have successfully completed treatment, are active in their recovery and are reaping the fruits of their labor.  And there will be many such stories to share with you!

Write this down, commit it to memory and post it where you can see it every day.  It is the key to the whole recovery process:  The antidote to codependency is self-love.  Yes, this is what the rest of the book is about.  But, as I said, it will be a difficult path.

Setting boundaries and detaching from your narcissistic foe will indeed result in an ass-kicking from here to Timbuktu!  And, if you survive – and you will – you will have broken free from your suffocating and soul-scorching dysfunctional relationship dance with your pathological narcissistic partner.  Your cellmate will be replaced by your future soul mate!

[i] Relapse is defined by returning to a relationship with a harmful narcissist or submitting to harmful treatment by the narcissists in your life.

                  

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

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