Relationships can be like a roller coaster, leaving you with a stomachache and wondering why you keep going back on the same ride.
For Mount Prospect native and Arlington Heights psychotherapist Ross Rosenberg, it's not necessarily the same ride, it's the same person with a different face.
Through his own emotional journey to find love, Rosenberg has developed a theory that people are driven by invisible forces toward their personality opposite.
In his book "The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us," Rosenberg presents his theories on why those who are selfless and codependent fall in love with emotional manipulators again and again.
"As I was working on my own dysfunctional relationship pattern, I realized it's not so much the person you're dating, it's more these reflexive forces that draw people to be attracted to one another," said Rosenberg.
He maintains that those who are passive and selfless are drawn to the selfish and controlling, which is why the codependents and the manipulators end up being in the same destructive relationship with different people.
The book grew not only out of his experience with romantic dysfunction and codependency, but also from training seminars he has given through the nonprofit CMI Education Institute, based in Eau Claire, Wis. By the end of the year, Rosenberg will have spoken in 27 states about the invisible powers that attract.
His seminar, "Codependents and Emotional Manipulators," was so popular that CMI Education asked if he would be interested in writing a book, he said.
"When I wrote the book, I wanted to reach a larger audience to guide therapists and the public. You can't help someone if the therapist doesn't understand the problem," said Rosenberg.
"The Human Magnet Syndrome," which was published in April, is both for therapists and for people dealing with codependency or manipulation.
"There's a lot of books about how to be happy or find love, but you can't change something that you don't understand," said Rosenberg.
The book is meant to be a middle ground between the public and professional therapists. The author hopes each reader will understand his or her own patterns and work on those issues with a professional.
Rosenberg found himself searching for answers after years of being in the same flawed relationship.
"I believe that sometimes we are led to mistakes because you can't change something you can't understand," he said, "When the pain gets so bad, you hit an emotional bottom. I needed that to learn what I know now."
Rosenberg said his realizations led him to stop the cycle of bad relationships and find his soul mate and wife, Korrel.
Rosenberg is the owner of the Arlington Heights counseling center Clinical Care Consultants, which provides individual, marriage and family counseling services. The average number of years for each specialist in his or her field is 18 years, according to Rosenberg.
"My job as a business owner is to oversee and supervise to make sure we meet the criteria to be the experts and be emotionally connected to our work," he said.
Clinical Care Consults also works with local high schools and community centers, such as his alma mater John Hersey High School and the Alexian Brothers Health System.
He and his specialists offer free training and seminars for social workers and parents on subjects like teenage suicide risks and dysfunctional relationships.
"I'll never forgot how difficult it was for me as a kid, using drugs and on a one-way path to destruction," he said. "Therapists helped me understand I was self-medicating my pain."
Through his book, his seminars, Clinical Care Consultants and his outreach in the community, Rosenberg said now he is focused on helping others with their issues. He said he is experienced in treating relationship codependency, teenage patients and is an expert on sex addiction.
"I want to make a difference," he said.