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Smiling Skeletons: Releasing Trauma for Self-Love


By Ross Rosenberg

Strolling dreamily down a familiar street
in the direction of places long forgotten,
I was obliviously drawn to my childhood home.

Like a magnet,
I was irresistibly pulled
in the direction of my home,
where lost days, weeks and years
were anonymously recorded on a calendar
that no one ever saw.

The house, painted anew,
and the unfamiliar over-grown trees,
couldn’t hide memory stained streets,
where an emotionally desperate child
longed to simply frolic and play.

Until that day,
I had been too afraid
to revisit the room
long closed to me,
where broken toys
and missing game pieces
were carelessly strewn
on the ruby red
and matted shag rug of my youth.

In the furthest reaches
of my lonely drenched bedroom,
a dark and cluttered closet
beckoned me to enter,
to sift through
it’s flash-frozen aching memories
of an emotionally abandoned child.

Alone, I was not
as clattery boned closet skeletons,
dance in the light of recollection
of the pristinely preserved
emotional remnants of my childhood.

Memories of the child I used to be,
enervated my closest companions,
causing them to frenetically discharge
the electric energy
of dark and dreary
memories of yesteryear.

This time,
I decided to be strong enough
to fix my gaze
on the shadowy,
but kindly countenance;
of my no longer-frightening friends.

Shoulder to shoulder,
with my skeleton friends,
I surveyed the dark container of my past.
where an exquisitely lonely boy,
once lived on an emotional diet
deficient of all empathy and compassion.

Now is the time
to meld the past and the present,
to return home,
where closets do not hold
memories of a time
that no longer define me.

It is the right time
to release the phantom-pull backwards,
while gently grasping the hand
of the beautiful present moment,
that pulls me increasingly closer
to where my self-love lies.

Ross Rosenberg


More About the Book

Smiling Skeletons: Releasing Trauma for Self-Love

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC

Ross Rosenberg is a psychotherapist, international speaker, author, professional trainer, and codependency (renamed to Self-Love Deficit Disorder™), narcissism, trauma and sex addiction expert.  He owns Clinical Care Consultants, a Chicago suburb counseling center and The Self-Love Recovery Institute. His trainings, which feature his original work, have been presented in 30 states and twice in Europe.  

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APA Reference
Rosenberg, R. (2018). Smiling Skeletons: Releasing Trauma for Self-Love. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Mar 2018
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