I wrote right at the beginning of this site's construction about Harville Hendrix (and Helen Hunt)'s work on what they have called 'Imago'. I would like to give you a brief precis on my understanding of Imago, as this proved to be an early key in my understanding of why and how my relationships have repeatedly ended, always it seems to me with an inevitable communications breakdown.

In its simplest terms I guess I understand the theory of Imago to work something like this. Childhood it appears is an emergence from a perfect and secure womb environment into an imperfect world. To a less or greater degree an infant's care givers will create and add to the imperfection of existence outside of the womb. The evolving infant creates a series of measures to best deal with this imperfect exposure, revolving around the key actions of clinging (drawing closer to key care takers) or avoiding (drawing back/away from key care takers).I will not go into too much further detail, but I guess feel free to follow the link to Imago and it's many clinicians, or better yet I might suggest get a copy of Harville's book and have a poke around for yourself.

For the sake of hypothesis if I might ask you to accept the possibility of clinging/avoiding, it appears, according to Hendrix, that we practice to excellence with these tools through infancy childhood and adolescence. Then in adulthood seek out partners who reflect the type of wounding we encountered as infants in order instinctively to obtain redress and solution, and the ability to move on. Further that we are attracted very specifically to a type that matches the singular wounding we each suffer, because at a root level such people are familiar to us. This I understand is not something you can cheat concsiously, I guess because ultimately we are each designed to seek the opportunity to grow beyond our wounds.

Of course the dilemma is that ultimately we choose people that are least able to instinctively help us deal with our particular wounding or we with our partners. Imago at it's best I think teaches that what we can do is work upon ourselves and seek to provide our evolving selves as a solution to our loved ones and in so doing invite them to join an evolution.

Some terms that Imago therapists might introduce you to are imbedded in the following suggestions as to how you might want to look again at your emotional relating. Conflict whether invisible or visible is a natural part of relational growth trying to happen. If it's not uncomfortable and unfamiliar you are not growing. Criticism is a powerful form of self abuse. When you criticise your partner you are attacking a disowned or lost part of yourself, and effectively undermining your self esteem.

It seems that the trick is not to find the right partner but to be the right partner. Your success in partnership will overwhelmingly depend on your own state of mind and actions. Romantic love will draw you and your Imago match together, someone with whom you can grow. The real work starts only when the romance recedes and the power struggle takes centre stage. Unfortunately it seems that a majority choose rather to live in a predictable hell than have a taste of heaven and then risk losing it.

It is also said that in relationship any behaviour you judge to be crazy is just a child trying to tell you how they feel. It seems also clear that being wounded 'in relationship' you need to find healing 'in relationship' with an Imago match. Further, lower your defences and watch your partner change from enemy to ally. Most of your partners complaints have some basis in reality, they aren't always trying to hurt you and can help you see how your responses are frozen in an infant past tense...Remember just my thinking,but maybe try this:


I LIKE THIS...The best way for you to take care of yourself is to take care of your partner. Selfishness may get you what you think you want but it won't get you what you need


To connect and love and grow old and die... In safety ...
my way