Excerpts from the Human Magnet Syndrome

By Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed, LCPC, CADC
PsychotherapistAuthorEducatorExpert Witness

“What felt so right, so perfect, would remain that way for no longer than a few months. Despite the rapturous beginning of our supposed soul-mate experience, the relationship would inevitably crash and burn. The hot flames of passion would predictably transform into frustration, impatience, resentment and regret. Our fantasy lover, before our very eyes, would morph into an angry, controlling, narcissistic person who would hurt us while all the time insisting she or he loved us.  We would be left feeling powerless to set safe boundaries or to break up. In each case, we would feel alone, unloved and, ultimately, resentful.”

“Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He must have understood my rollercoaster experience with romantic partners. Why was I continuing with my dysfunctional relationship follies if I knew something was wrong? Was this my own form of insanity? At the time, I thought so. There came a time in my life when I was ready to reach way down deep, embrace my deepest fears, seize control of my future, and finally stop the insanity in my life. To fulfill my promise to myself, my first move was to figure out why I was habitually attracted to women who, despite my attentiveness and generosity, would harm me. I knew I had to first dig deep into the convoluted fabric of my emotional past.”


“The book is about love and the pursuit of one’s life-long romantic partner. Since the first Stone Age kiss, men and women have been magnetically and irresistibly drawn together into romantic relationships, not so much by what they see, feel and think, but more by invisible forces. When individuals with healthy emotional backgrounds meet, the irresistible “love force” creates a sustainable, reciprocal and stable relationship. Codependents and emotional manipulators are similarly enveloped in a seductive dreamlike state; however, it will later unfold into a painful “seesaw” of love, pain, hope and disappointment. The soul mate of the codependent’s dreams will become the emotional manipulator of their nightmares.”


“A person, whose parents deprived them of unconditional love during their childhood, especially the first five to six years, will likely be drawn to a narcissistic romantic partner by a magnet-like force from which it will seem impossible to break free. This magnetic force, or the Human Magnet Syndrome, has the raw power to bring codependents and narcissists together in a perfect storm of love and dysfunction. The magnetic power of this dysfunctional love will keep these seemingly opposite lovers together despite their shared misery and eager hopes of changing each other. The dream of perfect and everlasting love will sadly never come to fruition. The soul mate dream will inevitably morph into the cellmate reality.”


“The book will explain why patient, giving and selfless individuals – codependents – are predictably attracted to selfish, self-centered and controlling partners – emotionally manipulators.  Like clockwork, codependents and emotional manipulators find themselves habitually and irresistibly drawn into a relationship that begins with emotional and sexual highs, but later transforms into a painful and disappointing dysfunctional “relationship dance.” The dance of the codependent and emotional manipulator is paradoxical in nature in that the two opposite personalities participate in a relationship that begins with excitement, joy and euphoria, but always transforms into one that is strewn with drama, conflict and feelings of being trapped.

“This book is about real-life relationships – common everyday relationships – that many of us have experienced, but wish we hadn’t. It is also about codependents and emotional manipulators and the ubiquitous “magnetic force” that brings them together into a lasting dysfunctional romantic relationship. The reader will learn why codependents and emotional manipulators are always attracted to each other and why, despite major personal and emotional upheavals, they remain together.


“All parents, whether they are psychologically healthy or unhealthy, provide their children with experiences and memories that will ultimately result in an automatic relationship guide for their adult relationships. Children simply soak up their parents’ treatment of them. If they are blessed, they might be the lucky recipients of a relationship GPS of sorts that will consistently guide them to the right place, right time and right person – all the time. The not- so-fortunate child may inherit a broken relationship manual, which will likely lead them astray in their pursuit of loving, safe and happy relationships. Although the broken guide may seem permanent, the human spirit has remarkable transformative potential. Because humans are capable of healing and transforming, as well as rising above the seemingly indisputable forces of our childhood, we do not have to be the torch-bearers of our parents’ life sentence. We are all imbued with the capability to grow and learn from our mistakes. Many of us, with hard work, can get a chance to overturn what once seemed like a life sentence of future dysfunctional relationships.”


“As perfectly compatible dancing partners, the emotional manipulator dancer is the “yin” to the codependent’s “yang.” The narcissistic traits of an emotional manipulator make them an attractive choice to a codependent, who is typically comfortable in the role of giving, sacrificing, and being passive. Codependents are naturally drawn to emotional manipulators, because they feel comfortable and familiar with a person who knows how to direct, control and lead. The codependent’s dancing skills are distinctly connected to their reflexive dysfunctional agility – to be attuned to the cues, gestures and self-serving movements of their emotional manipulator partner. Codependents expertly and adeptly predict and anticipate their emotional manipulator partner’s each and every step, while experiencing the dance as a positive but passive experience.

Conversely, emotional manipulator “dancers” are drawn to codependent partners because they are allowed to feel strong, secure, in control and dominant in an activity that brings them much attention, praise, and love. They habitually choose codependent “dance” partners because with them they are allowed to maintain the center focus, lead the direction of the dance, and ultimately determine where, when and how the dance will proceed.”


“As a direct result of their well-matched relationship orientations, codependents and emotional manipulators are irresistibly drawn to one another by what seems like an invisible magnetic-like force. When they first meet, they are enveloped in a magnetic and seductive energy force that initially fulfills their fantasy for true love, but later devolves into a painful seesaw of love/pain and hope/disappointment. As opposite but inversely matched dysfunctional individuals, they become compatible relationship partners. The same magnetic attraction force that brought them together also bonds them into a long-term and persistent relationship.

History is replete with examples of romantic couples who were irresistibly attracted to each other, not so much by what they saw, felt and thought, but more by an imperceptible but overwhelming magnetic-like attraction force. Anthony and Cleopatra (codependent-narcissist), John and Jacqueline Kennedy (narcissist-codependent), and Elvis and Priscilla Presley (narcissist-codependent), are just three of a countless number of famous couples whose relationship was driven by a magnetic-like love force.”


“The unconscious feelings of familiarity compel both individuals to repeat the catch-22 relationship pattern of their childhood – needing to be loved by a person who is characteristically unable to love them or anyone else. More specifically, they will be compelled to repeat a version of their childhood relationship with their emotional manipulator parent. The codependent will do anything to get their partner to love them while the emotional manipulator will do anything to ensure their own safety and needs.

The soul mate dream quickly devolves into the “cell-mate” reality. In the beginning, they can’t live without each other and later… they can’t live with each other. The honeymoon phase never lasts very long. It is inevitable that shortly after the two dysfunctional lovers meet, the feelings of limerence will be replaced by conflict, chaos and misery (more so for the codependent).”


“Despite our efforts to find a romantic partner who unconditionally loves, respects and cares for us and who participates in a mutual and reciprocal relationship, we are inclined to follow a metaphorical “love compass” that will powerfully direct our relationship choices. Whether we realize it or not, we all use a metaphorical compass when we seek an ideal romantic partner. We are obliged to follow the direction in which we are led, regardless of our conscious intentions to take a different route. Even with our promises to ourselves to make rational, safe and healthy choices, we are unable to resist the captivating pull toward the direction that our compass points. Star-crossed lovers, therefore, are inevitably brought together not because of their conscious choices, but rather because their metaphorical compass has directed them into each other’s loving embrace.

The romantic relationship that is brought together by an interminably strong magnetic force will survive the test of time, as it adheres to the human instinct to find and stay with a partner who is uniquely compatible and familiar. According to the continuum of self theory, compatible romantic partners tend to stay true to their unique opposite relationship orientation. The same applies to the human magnet syndrome: We are attracted to and maintain relationships with individuals whose “magnetic polarity” is uniquely opposite and therefore compatible with our own.”


“We all come into this imperfect world, in imperfect families, as imperfect versions of ourselves. Not one of us is without a story or two about family dysfunction, economic hardships, medical limitations, self-esteem challenges and more. Through conscious choices, personal commitment, and hard work, we all can experience the world as fully competent, secure, loving and loved individuals. With a fervent belief in ourselves and a commitment to becoming the very best version of ourselves, we can achieve our God-given right to experience joy and healthy love. Taking good care of yourself, healing your emotional wounds, and unconditionally loving yourself, will bring you closer to your dreams. My very favorite quote by George Eliot exemplifies the malleable and indomitable nature of the human psyche/human spirit: “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

For more information about Ross’s resources, seminars and workshops, write us at help@selfloverecovery.com or visit Self-Love Recovery Institute.

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The Human Magnet Syndrome - provides answers to why patient, giving and selfless individuals (codependents) are predictably attracted to self-centered, selfish and controlling partners (emotional manipulators).

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