In my last article Are You Ready To Shed Your Past I explained how scientific evidence has shown that early parental care is crucial in forming who we are. You may even keep falling for the wrong type of person.
Factors such as our gender, our position in the family, our looks, and the messages we received from our parents and other authority figures, impact greatly on our self-confidence, our intelligence and even our relationships.
How we react to our friends as well as who we pick as a lover, our abilities and interests at work, in fact almost everything about our psychology as an adult is continually reflecting our childhood in our day to day, moment by moment experience.
It has been shown in recent experiments that when we meet someone new, we impose preconceptions upon them based upon our childhood relationships. Unwittingly, we confuse them with characters from the drama that was once our family life. The stranger’s name, their way of talking, how they look, any one of hundreds of tiny details can trigger memories from the original family script which we then impose on to that new person.
Not only do we relate to our intimates guided by childhood narratives and roles, the experiments suggest that we even get these people to behave in the ways we were used to back then. Whether we were seen as the sweet, lovable one or the black sheep of the family, we go out and find people who see us that way. So, if we found a parent domineering, we may cause a new person, who resembles them, to behave like that too, by baiting them or encouraging them to control us. The implication is that the sort of people we get close to are the ones whom we can persuade – all done unconsciously – to play the role we demand of them from our past.
No wonder it’s so hard for us to find the right lovers and close friends. We keep falling for the wrong type! We first require them to fit our childhood scripts and then in order for the relationship to work we must fit into their unconscious storylines a well.
We unconsciously choose a partner for the purpose of healing childhood wounds. In simple terms this means that the unconscious purpose of marriage/relationships is to complete our childhood and to heal one another of childhood wounds – that is why we seemingly keep falling for the wrong type.
When we fall in love, we see the other person as a mirror image of ourselves. This romantic stage doesn’t last, it’s as if the scales have fallen from our eyes and we see our lover, warts and all. We might begin to have negative feelings such as anger, despair, resentment, pain and sadness. When this happens, we begin to question whether we have made the right choice.
This second phase of the relationship is what we call the power struggle. This is also unconscious and couples will perhaps fight, live parallel lives of discontentment – maybe seeking comfort and/or distraction in work, addictions, affairs and live a life of convenience – be it financial or for the sake of the children. This can lead to separation or divorce, but this is not the answer; You can get rid of the partner, but you take the problems into the next relationship.
It makes perfect sense to me that you might ask how do you work through childhood wounding and enjoy a happy relationship?
I have been trained in an approach to couples and family counselling which equips people with the tools to move beyond the power struggle.
The theory explains why we are attracted to certain people and the role of conflict in a relationship. It also helps us to see how past experiences impact on our present relationships.
The core skill of Imago Relationship Counselling is the Imago dialogue which facilitates connection, understanding and deep intimacy when the couples will experience that “falling in love” sensation all over again.
Typically, the usual models of relationship counselling involve a couple talking about their problems – they dissect, apportion blame and look for solutions. There are often negotiations, compromises and agreements which are often a band-aid over the real issue. Imago relationship therapy helps a couple to understand each other so that they begin to have a more empathic connection to each other, and the problems and issues will dissolve.
Couples who attend the sessions will learn skills that will help them to identify the real cause of conflict, how to work through it and transform their relationship.
If you want to know more about learning skills to develop a deeply connected relationship book a free 30 minute session with me so that I can get an understanding of how I can help you.