Discover how to identify and deal with dysfunctional personality traits in a romantic partner in highlights of my radio conversation for A Lasting Love with Ross Rosenberg.
Ross is a veteran psychotherapist who wrote the new book, The Human Magnet Syndrome - Why We Love People Who Hurt Us.
Hadley: You wrote that soulmates can become cellmates when you find dysfunctional personality traits that cause conflict, chaos and misery. How do you define “dysfunctional”?
More from YourTango: Does Marriage Kill Sex and Romance?
Ross: My definition of “dysfunctional” is having internal problems and not using internal or external resources to solve them. My definition of “healthy” is having internal problems, but using internal and external resources to solve them.
Hadley: I love those definitions. They empower us to solve problems or avoid them by using love tools like you get here.
Ross: We all have problems and challenges that don’t define our psychological health. All people are attracted to their emotional opposite. So a narcissist, who’s completely focused on their own needs, will be attracted to a codependent, who’s completely focused on the needs of others.
Ross: Some tell-tale signs of narcissist or emotional manipulator: Does a person monopolize conversations? Do they take a topic and turn it back to them? Do they always talk more than you? Do they make their own conversations or feelings more important than yours? Do they demand special treatment?
Hadley: What are the red flags of a codependent personality?
Ross: A codependent will ask you to make all the decisions. They will not have strongly articulated opinions about what they like or what they want, because they are so strongly connected to others needs over their own. They tend to talk in derogatory terms about themselves. They apologize all the time. They can’t answer questions about where they want to go or what they want to do. Their insecurities shine through.
More from YourTango: How Newlyweds Build An Enchanting Marriage - Love Toolkit
So the red flags for a codependent are someone who’s insecure, who’s not comfortable in their own skin. They’re more motivated to do or say what you want. These are signs of a codependent, who will not be an equal partner to you in a healthy relationship.
Hadley: What if you’re in a new relationship or in a new marriage and you realize you’re with someone who has some of these unhealthy personality traits. What love tools can we use to improve your interactions, like setting boundaries.