SMILING SKELETONS POEM by Ross Rosenberg. Healing from Childhood Trauma. Letting Go of the Past.


This poem reflects a latter portion of a healing process that many codependents, or those with Self-Love Deficit Disorder, choose to take. It illustrates the very important psychological milestone when a Codependent or SLD (Self-Love Deficient) is ready to face-down their consciously forgotten childhood trauma (repressed memories),  in order to accept the sad and lonely power it has always had over their Self-Love Deficit Disorder.  Embracing the trauma memories, sorting them out, and accepting them as one’s unfortunate but immutable history, is a crucially important and necessary milestone in one’s SLDD, recovery.  It paves way for the eventual transition from SLDD to SLA – Self-Love Abundance – “The Codependency Cure.”



By Ross Rosenberg

Strolling dreamily down
a familiar street
in the direction
of places long forgotten,
I was obliviously drawn
To my childhood home.

The houses painted anew
with unfamiliar
over-grown trees,
could not hide
the memory-stained streets
of happily playing children
who never thought about
lonely shadowy figures
deprived of sweet
summertime frolic.

Like a magnet,
I was irresistibly pulled
in the direction
of my home,
where lost days,
weeks and years,
were anonymously recorded
on a calendar
that no one ever saw.

Until that day,
I had been too afraid
to revisit the rooms
long closed to me,
where broken toys
and missing game parts
were carelessly strewn
on the ruby red
matted shag rug
of my youth.

In the farthest reaches
of my lonely drenched bedroom,
the closet beckoned me
To enter its dark and cluttered domain,
to sift through
aching memories
of an emotionally abandoned boy.

Among the stowed away
remnants of my youth
sat clattery boned skeletons –
“closet skeletons,”
who rejoiced at the opportunity
to dance in the light of recollection,
and finally end
their long winter of slumber.

Memories of the loosely connected parts
of the lost child
I used to be,
enervated my skeleton friends,
who frenetically discharged
the repressed electric energy
of the frightening
but dark and dreary
memories of yesteryear.

The battle between
wanting to run
or stay put,
to recover the truth –
the accurate narrative
of my youth –
compelled me to remain
just long enough
to survey the darkly lit
container of my youth.

With eyes wide open,
courageous but anxious,
I fixed my gaze
on my bony friend’s shadowy,
but kindly countenance,
and for the first time
I decided,
I am strong enough
to be vulnerable,
so that I can finally remember
my lonely-boy-self,
and absorb the unthinkable
memories of my youth.

It is time to let go.
Bid farewell
to my skeleton friends.
Seal shut
the closet of my youth
and return home,
and live gratefully in the present.

I have spent a lifetime
afraid of dark specters
residing in my closet.
Now is the time
to meld the past and the present,
into a representation
of the person I always wanted to be.
It is the right time
to release the phantom pull backwards,
while gently grasping the hand
of the beautiful present moment,
that pulls me increasingly closer
to where my self-love lies.

Ross Rosenberg


Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar (and upcoming book)




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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