The Five Love Languages Doesn’t Work with Codependents & Narcissists

Ross Rosenberg & The Five Love Languages

In this video Ross explains the danger of applying Gary Chapman’s “Five Love Languages” concepts to codependents (Self-Love Deficients/SLD’s) and Pathological Narcissists when in marital/couples therapy. Although this book is universally helpful to the majority of people, it can create unintentional harm to codependents/SLD’s. It is simply dangerous to use Dr. Chapman’s brilliant and universally helpful work on this population.

The “Five Love Languages” rests on the presumption that two people are healthy enough to be open, to be empathetic, to hear the other person. This book is especially helpful for a relationship in which each person has a capacity to communicate what they need and feel empathy for the other person. Each person should have the ability to sacrifice their needs in order to take care of another person, with the understanding that that person will do the same.

The danger of applying the “Five Love Languages” in a couple with a covert narcissists or ASPD client, is that the therapist will not know who is he/she dealing with. The therapist will perceive the discomfort, the fear, the anxiety of one partner. The one who has spent a whole relationship with a pathological liar and a manipulator. Who, like most victims of covert narcissism or ASPD, is more than likely beaten down and afraid that if they should say anything, their partner will be smart and manipulative enough to pretend that he/she is the good one, the honest one, the open one. But once that session is over, the good guy/woman face comes off and they tear into that codependent.


For more information about Ross Rosenberg and his resources, check out Self-Love Recovery Institute.

Ross Rosenberg

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT, is an international codependency, narcissism, trauma, and sex& love addictions expert who provides psychotherapy, training and consultation services. Ross is a keynote speaker and trainer, presenting in 27 states and 3 countries. He owns Advanced Clinical Trainers and Clinical Care Consultants, an Arlington Heights IL counseling center. He wrote the best-selling book, "The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us." Ross’s YouTube channel contains 75 instructional/educational videos, which have over 2.6 million views and amassed 24,000 subscribers. He has been on ABC Late Night, a ABC "Swiped" documentary, Fox News and WGN News. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune & Publishers Weekly and he blogs for The Huffington Post, &

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