Throughout your life, you may have numerous friendships.
Through these friendships, you might realize that some benefit you, and others are completely toxic.
This is true for intimate relationships as well.
However, instead of letting go of these friendships or partnerships, you hold on to them.
You might be experiencing the human magnet syndrome.
Human magnet syndrome occurs when you realize the relationship you have with someone is unhealthy, but you can't seem to let go even after they've hurt you numerous times.
How can you learn to finally let go of the people who hurt you?
Ross A. Rosenberg, MEd, LCPC, CADC, CSAT, discusses what the human magnet syndrome is and how you can learn to let go of toxic relationships.
RadioMD Presents:HER Radio | Original Air Date: June 11, 2015
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pam Peeke, MD
Dr. Pam Peeke founder of the Peeke Performance Center and renowned nutrition and fitness expert and Michelle King Robson founder of EmpowerHER.com and leading women's advocate cut through the confusion and share the naked bottom line truth about all things woman. It's HER Radio.
DR. PAM: Michelle, tell the truth. No playing around here. Do you have people in life you can't let go of who are toxic and that can hurt you?
DR. PAM: Oh, my gosh! Did you turn over a leaf?
MICHELLE: I did.
DR. PAM: Did you just sort of say no?
MICHELLE: I did!
DR. PAM: So, when did that happen and why and what's going on here? I am trying to understand.
MICHELLE: It happened about 4 months ago. Best friend, big problem and that was it for me. I finally determined that toxic people are gone.
DR. PAM: Okay. So, we are detoxing here today. We want to understand this whole issue and, seriously, of why you can't let go of toxic people that hurt you. And not only that, though, we have the author of the book on this topic. It's called the Human Magnet Syndrome. Why we love people who hurt us, for crying out loud. So, we have with us Ross Rosenberg.
Ross, welcome to HER Radio. Ross is fabulous. He is the owner and works in Clinical Care Consultants, a counselling center in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He is a licensed therapist who is also a certified addiction counselor and certified sex addiction therapist. He has been a psycho-therapist since 1988 and trust me. He is considered one of the leading experts in co-dependency, sex and love addiction and narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. Well, for crying out loud, then, Ross...
MICHELLE: That covers everybody.
DR. PAM: I mean, that's just everybody we know.
MICHELLE: And/or we don't want to know.
DR. PAM: Okay. Ross welcome to HER. Now, it's time to detox. What is a human magnet syndrome? What is this?
ROSS: Well, The Human Magnet Syndrome, it became a title of the book that represented my work on trying to explain why certain type of people repeatedly make what seems like a wonderful soulmate choice in a relationship and ends up being soulmate consequence. There is something about personality types like caregiver, what I call the pathological caregiver, or the codependent. All we seems to fall or fall in love almost reflexibly with someone who is a care-needer or pathological care-needer or a narcissist.
And once I figured out these patterns in my own life, I was able to translate that to work with my clients and then eventually write the book. We are magnetically drawn to opposite personality types like a dance. The follower of a dance always is going to gravitate towards the leader. The codependent, the caregiver, always is going to be reflexibly attracted to the care needer. And that is a pattern that is responsible for all the dysfunctional relationships that start with the flourish of love and kindness and respect, but end up with hurt and pain, especially for the codependent.
MICHELLE: Boy! Can I relate to that. All of that. I mean, completely totally relate to that because I am a caregiver and I attract care-needers. This is amazing. I am so happy that you are here doing this today. So, tell us how you define a pathological narcissist because I do believe that I've had a few of those in my life.
ROSS: Well, actually, I married a few.
DR. PAM: What? Wait. You say you married a few? Oh, my gosh -
ROSS: Wait, wait, one at a time.
MICHELLE: I think I did, too.
ROSS: It's interesting. As a psychotherapist, I was ashamed to admit that I have been divorced twice. Now, I am happily married with a wonderful...The loveliest woman I have ever met and we have known each other for 10 years. But I didn't talk about my second divorce because of the shame I carried around. Because as a therapist I should know this. And that shame put me on the path to figure this out.
So, to your question, what is a pathological narcissist? That is a group of psychological disorders that I believe constitute people who are severely narcissistic to the point where they harm others and I include in that group someone with the narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder or a sociopath, and a person who is an addict.
DR. PAM: Hello! There you go.
ROSS: So in my--I created a theory that actually specifies this but I specifically use that term, pathological narcissist to talk about these group of people. All of them share that core.
DR. PAM: So, now that we understand that a little bit, so why is it that the codependent narcissistic relationship is so resistant to breakups? I mean, doesn't somebody get a wakeup call here say, "I am out of here?" So, what happens? Why is it so resistant?
ROSS: Well, to answer that, let me quickly define codependency because in my book, I actually re-defined codependency in a way that can be summed up in three or four sentences because codependency is a very broad and ill-defined concept. The codependent, according to my book, even that I consider as someone who within a relationship gives away love, respect and care to others without getting it back in return, is upset about it, and stays in a relationship. That's it. That's the definition of codependency.
DR. PAM: Perfect!
ROSS: And so, why does the codependent stay in these relationships? Actually, as I am writing my second book and it's also available on my YouTube channel, which you can find by just typing in Ross Rosenberg. Codependency is actually a secondary problem that comes from childhood attachment trauma. If you are raised by a narcissistic parent and you learned to survive your narcissistic parent by learning how to make them happy, make them not mad, you became, as Alice Moore wrote in few of her books, you became the trophy child--the child from which the narcissist derived happiness.
So, your whole early childhood point of view or what I call "relationship template" is set early on. Its love equals taking care of others or ignoring you own needs. And if you ever try to get your needs met, you know you are going to be punished.
So, if you are a child and you grow up to an adult and have that relationship template embedded in your psyche, when you meet a narcissist, it's almost paradoxical. It feels familiar and what is familiar feels safe. You know what to do in these relationships. Because of your low self-esteem, the psychological problems that are associated with the codependency, healthy people make you uncomfortable.
So, the codependent falls in love with the sexy, bold, charismatic, domineering narcissist who becomes a reiteration of the same relationship they had as a child and they feel powerless to get out of it like they were powerless as a child to do anything.
MICHELLE: Pam are I were raising our hands, by the way.
DR. PAM: We were going, "Let's see. Narcissistic parenting." And we are kind of going to the care. You know, I bet there are lot of women out there in HER Radioland and just raising their hands along with us saying, "Yeah. Yeah. Been there done that." Here is the question, what do you do? Ross, what do you do?
ROSS: What do you do? Actually, that's why I am writing my second book and that's why my YouTube channel has become almost viral. It's almost like--almost like 2 million views. I have six or so videos where I am actually explaining what to do and why I am writing my book.
But what do you do in most simplest forms is you understand that codependency is the result of an attachment trauma. And if you can't find a therapist that understands that codependency is not the problem itself to resolve -- because you can talk for five years or more about why you shouldn't do it but it won't change something that is deeply embedded unconsciously.
So, the therapy that I provide and I am writing about now, it actually resolves codependency at its core where the attachment trauma is. So it's very psycho-dynamic.
DR. PAM: Well, you know something, Ross? I am just going to be giving a shout out. Ross Rosenberg has been our guest to help us understand this whole issue of toxic people and why we are still hanging out with them. Please get out and go buy his book, The Human Magnet Syndrome. Why we love people who hurt us, for crying out loud. Thanks for being on HER Radio, Ross. I am Dr. Pam Peeke with Michelle King Robson.
MICHELLE: And you can go to humanmagnetsyndrom.com and read more about Ross' work. You are listening to HER Radio on Radio MD. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. Stay well!