The 4 Stages of Self-Love

I have recently found Dr. Ross Rosenberg’s work around codependents and emotional manipulators. I am currently reading his book “The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us” and it has been an incredible journey to the roots of my own codependency symptoms.

Codependents have a “complete willingness to give love, respect and care to their relationship partners, without the hope or the possibility of receiving the same in return”. More often than not, codependents choose emotional manipulators as partners and rarely empower themselves to put an end in a relationship that makes them very unhappy and miserable.

There are many important things to say about codependency and emotional manipulation, but for now I would like to share the most important idea I got from one of Dr. Ross’ youtube videos: the cure for codependency is self-love. As Dr. Ross notes several times in the video, it might seem cliche, but the process of codependency recovery is about realising the power and importance of loving ourselves. And how do we do that? It is easier said than done, so I thought it would be nice to share Dr Ross’ four-stage approach with you.

Stage 1

Setting Boundaries 

When you finally decide to put a stop in all the abuse you have subjected yourself to, you will notice that the efforts to change how you react and deal with “pushy” and manipulative individuals will inevitably bring some level of conflict into your life. People were used to receive everything from you and when you stop giving them the benefits of having a relationship with you, they will start to complain. As a result, you may have to deal with some nasty reactions and in most cases the situation and climate between you and others can become really negative. Some people will try to persuade you to come back to your “old self” with arguments such as “you are not being nice”, which will easily make you feel pressured to return to your old habits and behaviours. Whatever happens, please stick to your new boundaries and rules.

Stage 2

Maintaining Boundaries in an Hostile Environment 

This is when you have to persist in face of doubt and hazardous situations. In this stage, some people will keep taunting and persuading you to give up on yourself. Others will be simply sad or surprised, but they will support you anyway. And others will simply walk away, because you stopped fuelling their egos and that was the main reason why they used to stick around you. Either way, the most important is that you keep focused in your own needs and the reason behind your wish of having a healthier relationship with yourself and others.

Stage 3

Building New Relationships 

After realising who loves you and who only brings you toxicity, it will be time to look for healthier relationships. You will finally look for mutuality, commitment, and interdependence. You will no longer accept to be in a relationship in which you give all of you and receive barely nothing in return. You will apply your new set of rules and lessons when developing a new relationship.

Stage 4

Reinforcing or Strengthening New Relationships

Once your new relationships are established, you want to keep taking care of them. This is when you explore healthy ways to keep bonding with others while still preserving your own needs and expectations at the same time. You will want to invest in others and request others to invest in you in a similar fashion.