Foreword to Ross Rosenberg’s New Book:
The Human Magnet Syndrome: The Codependent Narcissist Trap
The larger patterns at work in our lives can often seem mysterious, purposeless, and even incoherent at times, if not completely undetectable. But given enough time, a magnificent logic often appears in them. The story of how I came to write the foreword for this book is an excellent example of that.
All the way back in 1990, I published my first book, titled Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood. I had high hopes for the book but it suffered a series of setbacks at the hands of a disinterested and unscrupulous publisher. Within six months, it was clear to me that I was stuck with 1500 physical copies of a book for which there seemed to be no interest whatsoever.
Heartbroken and discouraged, I stowed the books away in my closet in the unopened original cartons. And I stopped writing for publication, believing that there was no interest and no place in the world for what I had to share.
Seventeen years later, I woke up one morning with an idea: What if I gave those books away to people who might have some use for them? But to whom? I decided to search the web for anyone who worked with men, anyone who worked with survivors of childhood abuse, neglect, and trauma, or anyone else who might be interested in the sort of book I’d written. I was determined to get my books in the hands of those who might put them to good use in helping other men heal, which had been my original intent in writing it, and I didn’t care if I had to give every last copy away to do it.
Using the results of my searches, I compiled a list of names and addresses and sent a short letter to each person describing my book and offering to provide a complimentary copy for their use. Initially I sent actual physical letters in actual physical envelopes. I did so for about six months before switching to email. I had neither a website nor any public presence at that time. I was a complete unknown trying to give away a seventeen-year-old poetry book no one had ever heard of.
Ross Rosenberg was a recipient of one of my letters. I don’t recall exactly what I saw in his information that told me “This might be a person who’d be interested in receiving my book” but whatever it was, I was correct. He responded with interest and I sent him a copy. And that is how we met.
In the less than ten years since I met Ross, he has transformed himself from a staff counselor at a practice in Buffalo Grove, IL into an internationally recognized expert on narcissism, codependency, trauma, and sex addiction. He is a best-selling author. He has founded his own counseling center as well as a training/seminar and professional certification company. He also has a YouTube channel that is hugely popular. In short, he has emerged as a global influencer and thought leader in the very brief time since I first made his acquaintance by sending him a letter offering him a free book in January 2008.
There’s a point in sharing all of this, and here it is: We live in a world of wounded people. Many of them don’t even know they’re wounded, or in what ways, or how those wounds influence their thoughts, perceptions, behavior, their very lives. Many of those people also carry the seed within them to heal not only their own wounds, but to contribute to the healing of the wounds in others as well. Ross is one such person. So am I.
Ross has often told me that reading my book helped open the way for him to write his own book. This book. A most unexpected result of my sending him that letter, to be sure, but one that speaks to the apparently unintentional and often inscrutable magic of those larger patterns I mentioned at the outset.
I thought my work was worthless for almost two decades, but I was wrong. It just wasn’t time for it yet. And when it came time, I had the great good fortune to cross paths with someone else who was waiting at the threshold for his moment to bust right out and bloom.
You’ll never know what benefit might emerge from the good work that can come of healing your own wounds. Sometimes it comes in the form of something, or someone, quite extraordinary that you’d never expect.
Ross, and his work, are quite extraordinary by every definition I have. Enjoy this book, take everything you can from it, apply it as best you can, and move your own healing out into the world in all the ways that are waiting inside you to be engaged.
Poet / Author / Artist / Men’s Coach