Imago Theory

Imago Theory

Often times clients that come to me complain of being attracted to the “wrong people”. They understand a person may not be the best choice for them, and yet something inside of them is propelling them towards him/her.

According to Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt Imago relationship theory – most of us are trying to find mates that closely resemble our early age caregivers. Subconsciously, we’re all trying to resolve the same patterns we did in the childhood. The problem is that since we’re attracted to the same type of people we’ve had wounding experiences with, most likely we will not have satisfactory relationships with them now.

Harville Hendrix says: “Our unconscious need is to have our feelings of aliveness and wholeness restored by someone who reminds us of our caretakers. In other words, we look for someone with the same deficits of care and attention that hurt us in the first place.

So when we fall in love, when bells ring and the world seems altogether a better place, our old brain is telling us that we’ve found someone with whom we can finally get our needs met. Unfortunately, since we don’t understand what’s going on, we’re shocked when the awful truth of our beloved surfaces, and our first impulse is to run screaming in the opposite direction.”

I find that this theory sheds a lot of light onto the dilemma of one’s partner selection. If you find this topic as fascinating as I do, I highly recommend two of the books written by the above authors: “Getting the love you want” and “Keeping the love you find”.

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