Have you heard of the saying, “We marry our parents”? It means that we subconsciously pick partners who remind us of the parent we have unresolved issues with, hoping that we can change them.
According to the Imago Relationship Therapy, Imago meaning “unconscious image of familiar love”, there is frequently a connection between frustrations in adult relationships and early childhood experiences. Dr. Hendrix and Dr. Hunt (marriage and family therapists who developed the Imago Therapy) childhood feelings of abandonment, suppression or neglect will often arise in a marriage or committed relationship.
Watch a video of how your childhood impacts your present relationships by Clicking HERE
No relationship is perfect. It’work. Every day is a choice to work with your partner. You don’t just give up. You try to understand each other. So communication is key.
In my work as a trauma therapist, I follow the Imago Relationship Theory. When conflicts in your partnership arise, try this 3 step process:
- Mirroring: Listening to what your partner has to say without interrupting, disputing, or deflecting, and then repeating it back to confirm you’re understanding fully.
- Validating: Acknowledging your partner’s point of view and the logic in what they’re saying from their perspective (you don’t have to agree with it, just acknowledge it).
- Empathizing: Connecting to and experiencing the emotions of what your partner is saying.
Remind yourself that it is not personal, it is not about you that your partner is mad, sad or frustrated, it may be rooted in their childhood feelings of abandonment, suppression or neglect. Once we remember this, we can empathize with them and communicate in a more effective way.