Codependency Recovery: How to Stop Loving the People Who Hurt You

codependencyPsychotherapist and author Ross A. Rosenberg, is the owner and works in Clinical Care Consultants, a counseling center in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He also owns and trains with Advanced Clinical Trainers (ACT), which provides a platform for talented and inspiring trainers, leaders and experts. Ross has been a psychotherapist since 1988. He is considered an expert in codependency recovery, sex and love addiction, and Narcissistic and Borderline Personality Disorders. Ross is a licensed therapist who is also a certified addiction counselor (CADC) and certified sex addictions therapist (CSAT). He joined me on Last First Date radio for a highly informative show about how to avoid dating and falling in love with the people who hurt us. Following are loosely transcribed highlights of the show.

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Breaking the Narcissist Relationship Pattern

narcissist relationshipSandy, 

My second husband was a narcissist (more specifically a legend in his own  mind as the Emotional Vampires author put it). I very carefully read that Emotional Vampires book to try and make better decisions, but unfortunately, I got snagged by another one!

This one is much more slick and much quicker than ever before. I met him online on Plenty of Fish.  We’re in our late 40s. His last marriage lasted a year.  I am a very compassionate a person and have a strange attraction to helping broken people.  Within about 6 weeks he figured out how to play my sympathy card and moved in.  It’s been four months now. 

About a month ago, I told him I was miserable, the relationship wasn’t working for me, and I thought it best that he find his own place. All serious conversations happen over text, because he can’t even look at me during a conversation about our relationship.  Then he starts fixing a few things that were making me unhappy and pulls the great sex night card and figures the move-out subject is tabled. He has barely taken me out these four months except for a few dinners at the same restaurant.  He’s never introduced me to his friends, and has blown off every outing I’ve tried to plan.

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How Do I Deal With a Deadbeat Dad?

deadbeat dadDear Sandy,

I have a 14-month old baby girl with a man who left when she was only 6-weeks old. I wouldn’t agree with him on certain things, and he was hurtful, cruel, and very vindictive. He came back when she was 6-months old. But now he’s moved out and left me with the baby again to chase success and the millions he says he’s going to make. Of course he blamed the parting on me. I now know better than that. I know now that this is a good thing, but I’m so sad for our daughter. Before he left, he admitted that he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and ADD. He has no compassion nor empathy. How do spend the next 18 years dealing with him coming in and out of our life? I tried being kind and nice so we wouldn’t fight. I even asked him to sign over his right to her so I wouldn’t have to go back and forth with him, but of course he said no. How do I deal with a deadbeat dad for the next 18 years?

Thank you,


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Are You Attracted to the Wrong Man?

attracted to the wrong manDear Sandy,

I am single and 52. How can I stop being attracted to the wrong man?  They treat me badly, and I have the courage to let them go at the very beginning of the relationship. I then start missing the good times and forget the reason why I left . I keep mentally and emotionally hooked to them – even for years – and close myself to any other relationship.  I sometimes go back to them for a very short time to receive the same bad treatment. I always try to convince myself that I did something wrong.  I am so used to this pattern that I cannot feel how it would be to be in a relationship without stupid games, lack of respect or an abusive “love”. Why do I do this to myself when I want just the opposite?

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Getting Up the Nerve to Leave a Narcissist

stop dating narcissistsHello Sandy!

I just came across your article giving the 5 ways to identify and stop dating a Narcissist.  It hit the nail on the head with my boyfriend. I have a tendency to date/marry these kinds of guys. I need to figure that out.  I think it goes back to my father.

I have identified finally that my current boyfriend has a cycle. At first he is the best guy ever, wants to marry me, says I am the most amazing woman he’s ever met, etc.  Then overnight he becomes distant, uninterested, too busy for me, says he’d invite me to dinner with him at his parents but there’s not enough pizza (really odd stuff). And when I tell him my concerns about it, it sparks a fight and he will then give me the silent treatment and break up with me suddenly rather than talking it out.  He says he can’t talk to me when I treat him like that because it hurts him and he is trying to protect his heart.  Then he wants me back and sweeps me off my feet again. 

Thanks for the article, it is helping me.  I just need to get the nerve up to actually leave a narcissist for good!


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How Do I Leave a Narcissist?

walk awayDear Sandy, 

First of all, thanks for your great website! 

I consider myself an intelligent person, but got involved with a man I now see has histrionic/antisocial/narcissistic qualities.   I tried to leave him a few months ago, but he said all the right things, and I moved back in with him.  All the concessions and promises he made at that time have gone by the wayside, and I am practically back to where I was before I left the first time.  It has become very clear to me that he has precious little empathy and is unwilling to accept accountability.  Everything I’ve read lately about narcissists leads me to the understanding that I cannot heal this man, and that I will experience trauma without end if I stay.   

I am less worried about my recovery once I’ve taken the step, than taking the actual step.  I have thought of doing as you suggested and simply saying that “This is not working for me.”  A friend of mine who knows this man well, thinks that I should explain more, because “It will come as a complete surprise to S” that I intend to leave for good. Yes, like me, my friend is compassionate, and I do care about doing the best I can.   I guess if I were going to explain more, it would be to say exactly what I’ve told you:  that I sense little empathy in him for my feelings, that I see him retracting accountability, and that he and I have obviously different moral standards. 

Now that I’ve made this decision, can you help with the “how” to leave a narcissist?

At least, having gone through this earlier, I will be fine with the aftermath once I am on my own again.  

With profound gratitude for your wisdom,


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