Is your relationship in trouble? Have events changed in your life, like a new baby, or a death in the family, a move to a new location, or a new job? These are all very stressful and can change your dynamics and feelings for each other. Are you wondering how the person you fell in love with became a stranger behind a mask? Or perhaps you are a couple preparing for marriage. You want your marriage to be one of the 50% who make it. It could be that you’re single and tired of dead end relationships that don’t meet your needs. Sometimes a neutral party like a therapist can help you to problem solve the immediate situation, but sometimes it goes deeper than that.
Imago Therapy helps people to understand the unconscious factors (the Imago) in their selection of each other. It reveals the emotional dynamics that are being replayed from childhood. And it teaches couples how to relate to each other, and themselves, in a more nurturing, loving way.
We are taught that when we fall in love, the feeling is supposed to last forever. We meet the person of our dreams and a magical transformation takes place within us. We feel alive, whole, connected to the world and the people in it. Then, before we know it, that magical feeling disappears. Disillusioned, our dreams shattered, we begin to feel angry and betrayed.
We try to coerce our partners into giving us what we need. We criticize, we withdraw, we shame, we intimidate, we cry. Or sometimes just the opposite. We enter into a dead zone, where it seems like there are no emotions at all.
We feel entitled to wait for our partner to come alive first. Some of us go on locked in this painful power struggle for years until we either break up or seek help, desperate to regain the magic we once had.
The Power Struggle
One of the reasons for the power struggle is that nature has a way of attracting “Maximizers” and “Minimizers” to each other. Most of us can easily identify parts of ourselves on the following Imago chart:
Exploding feelings outward
Depend on others
Mostly exaggerate needs
Are compulsively open
Are excessively generous
Ask direction of others
Think mainly about themselves
Try to dominate others
Implode feelings inward
Mostly deny their needs
Share little of inner world
Withhold feelings, thoughts, behaviors
Take direction from themselves
Think mainly of others
Act and think compulsively
Are usually submissive
How could there not be an inherent power struggle?
We unintentionally trigger each other into emotional reactions that really have very little to do with the issue at hand. Then the issue gets out of hand and everyone ends up feeling confused and hurt. And very lonely.We stop listening to each other. We no longer try to really hear each other. And we certainly don’t take any responsibility for trying to make ourselves understood. We expect our partners to be mind readers.
Out of fear, we run from the very intimacy and feeling of safety we most yearn for. We exit into careers, affairs, computers, hobbies, drinking, drugging, friends, and the kids. Not to mention the whole extended family.
*** If our primary connection in life shifts away from our partner, it is likely to prove fatal to the relationship.
Does this describe the relationship you’re currently in? Would you like to restore some of the passion and intimacy you once had? Or, are you an individual looking to find the love of your life?
Whatever your situation, Imago can show you a new way to love and be loved.
How Does Imago Therapy Help?
When we remain unaware of the hidden agenda of romantic love, we continue to repeat our mistakes. We need to understand that conflict is actually growth trying to happen. By resolving our problems through Imago Intentional Dialogue and other Imago techniques, the emotional bond initially created by romantic love can evolve into the powerful bond that is true love.Imago Relationship Therapy provides all the tools necessary for transforming relationships, and it offers important, immediate relief.
Once we learn to feel emotionally safe with each other, we can grow and become truly authentic with ourselves and with each other. That’s when we fall in love again with who our partner really is…And we are loved for who we are. Until…life being life…we grow and change again. Some conflict is inevitable, of course, in order for people to grow and change. With the tools Imago Therapy provides, you will learn to welcome growth and change, and respectful conflict, because you get to fall in love all over again with your “new” partner.
This is the upward spiral of love that is joyful and life affirming.
For further reading:
- Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix
- Keeping the Love You Find by Harville Hendrix
- Getting the Sex You Want by Tammy Nelson
- How to Ruin a Perfectly good relationship by Patricia Love Ed. D and Sunny Shulkin, Ph.D.