Ross: Harville Hendrix is an esteemed colleague, who says we repeat relationship patterns born out of our childhood experience. In my book, I explain how someone becomes a codependent, narcissist or emotional manipulator. It always goes back to your childhood.
If you were a child of an emotional manipulator or narcissist, your emotional needs were not met. You would have been traumatized as a child, because you weren’t loved unconditionally. So you become a codependent as an adult, who learned a coping style that taught you how to please, how to sacrifice, how to get love by making a narcissistic parent feel good about themselves.
If you couldn’t figure out how to meet your parent’s needs, you learned through your own efforts that your needs are met. Then you become narcissistic, focused on fulfilling your own needs.Until you heal your childhood trauma, you act out to repeat those patterns as an adult. You need therapy to change your childhood pattern.
Hadley: Are you saying hat you can’t change childhood patterns by reading books like yours or Harville Hendrix’s to become aware of old patterns and heal or break them?
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Ross: I wish you could use our books to heal dysfunctional emotional patterns. In reality, when you experience psychological trauma as a child or adult, it’s deeply embedded in your psyche and you need help to heal it. You can’t change deeply embedded psychological patterns just through awareness.
However, awareness is an essential part of the healing process. You can’t change a deep psychological pattern unless you’re aware of it and you’re motivated to solve it with some sort of therapy.
Hadley: How do couples with dysfunctional personality traits improve interactions? How do singles identify warning signs of unhealthy traits in someone you’re dating?
Get the answers in the next highlights of Hadley's conversation with Ross Rosenberg for A Lasting Love.
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