Written by Ross Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC.
Self-Love Recovery Institute – President/CEO
PsychotherapistEducatorAuthorExpert Witness

So many people suffering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder (codependency) dream of what it would be like to experience personal and emotional freedom. Freedom that has been stolen by remorseless, selfish, and parasitic narcissists. For many, such thievery has occurred right before their eyes. For others, their birthright to self-respect and self-love was invisibly and undetectably stolen from them through sustained and carefully crafted campaigns of gaslighting and brainwashing.

More powerful than gaslighting is the systematic use of what I call the “Crushing Double Bind.”

I define the Crushing Double Bind as a strategic and systematic campaign to render the methodically weakened SLD helpless, by making them feel powerless and trapped. This Catch-22-like strategy teaches SLDs that any attempt to stop or escape their narcissist causes worse harm than staying put. When the solution becomes the punishment, the SLD is frozen by extreme anxiety and dread. Creating and executing a plan to escape their physical and psychological dungeon feels simply impossible for such emotionally frozen victims. The narcissist has successfully created a “can’t win for losing” predicament.  

When an SLD is immersed in the scheming narcissist’s double bind strategy, it often creates a mental health condition known as “learned helplessness.” Learned helplessness occurs when the SLD continually experiences impassible barriers, repeated failures, and little to no support. Over time, they stop trying to overcome their seemingly hopeless condition, even when they have the ability to do so. The SLD lives in a world of illusion that the narcissist has crafted specifically for them. An environment that is filled with real or imagined blockades and debilitating consequences, and the SLD becomes trapped more by brainwashing (or purposeful mental manipulation) than real circumstances. Sadly, losing and giving up the dream of winning becomes a safter alternative.

Unfortunately, freedom is not guaranteed if an SLD successfully frees themselves from the entangled web that the narcissist has woven tightly around them because of what I call SLDD Addiction.” An SLD who musters the strength and courage to break free from the narcissist will now face yet another seemingly insurmountable obstacle as they begin to experience the bone-achingly painful withdrawal symptom of their addiction, “pathological loneliness.” The SLD will often find themselves “bargaining” with themselves and many will succumb to the delusional belief that they can control, change, and even learn to enjoy the narcissist. Like many addicts, they make the terrible mistake of returning to their drug of choice to avoid the pain of withdrawal.

But there is a solution! Although not an easy one, as it requires a skilled therapist who is experienced and trained in my intensive Self-Love Recovery Program (SLRP). This program does not simply involve affirmation, empathic listening, and coaching for what to do and what not to do. It requires the SLD to really dig deep in order to overcome the origins of SLDD, and to fight against the psychological forces that prevent SLDD from being neutralized or cured. The unique healing journey you will experience in the Self-Love Recovery Program requires the resolution of attachment trauma, core shame, pathological loneliness, and addiction. What may feel impossible is possible!

It has been my personal mission to make a difference in the lives of people afflicted by SLDD. To bring education, inspiration, courage, motivation, and healing to the many who suffer from this condition. In my treatment modality, I have worked diligently to provide ways for you to not only educate but heal yourself. To that end, I highly suggest reading my book, The Human Magnet Syndrome to learn as much as possible about SLDD, its origins, and the cure for it – my Self-Love Recovery Treatment Program (SLRP).

SLRP is best explained through my full-length (4-6 hour) video seminars, which are available at Self-Love Recovery Institute’s website – If you are currently working with a qualified therapist, I encourage you to share the material and what you learn from it with them.

Until next time, I leave you with this thought to ponder…

  • I deserve to be in places, spaces, and relationships where I feel safe, respected, loved, and valued.
  • I will learn the difference between my real and brainwashed fears.
  • I am strong and worthy enough to fight to get my own thoughts and perceptions back.

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

Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is the owner of  Self-Love Recovery Institute.  He is a psychotherapist, educator, expert witness and author.  Ross is known globally for his expertise in codependency (Self-Love Deficit Disorder™), Pathological Narcissism, Narcissistic Abuse and Trauma Treatment.  

He is a keynote speaker and educator who has presented in 30 States/70 cities and abroad. Ross has been regularly featured on national TV and radio.  His “The Human Magnet Syndrome” books sold over 120K copies and are translated into 10 languages.  His YouTube Channel has amassed 19 million video views and more than 200K subscribers.  

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

To receive Ross’s weekly reflections, please click here.

self-love deficit disorder
Ross Rosenberg

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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