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:
'TO FIND A PERSON WHO WILL LOVE YOU FOR NO REASON AND TO SHOWER THAT PERSON WITH REASONS, THAT MAY BE THE ULTIMATE HAPPINESS (Robert Brault)
A Raconteur's Tale
Lovers joy yodels song in mountain peaks,
in valleys it echoes where nobody speaks
Romance fizzing in lightning burst,
watchers become tense,
and dense, and reduced
To an audience before panoply gone wild,
as two more enter the embrace of the child
This discombobulation of a raconteur,
is how the onlookers view both him and her
Bye to wounds of the child, of the parent, so prosaic
Passion and joy undiluted, sharply colour the mosaic
unenviable night though must follow day
and the gay rights of passage soon pass away
War comes soon enough both hurt and sore
they draw straws and exit through thrice numbered door
But then what of the choosing, have both then slept
inept in the solitude of the ancient carry on
May it be vintage love, or to try once again
More likely not than so, see, that old friendly pain
But p'raps at last a chance, golly some real potential
not a spiritual message, nothing too existential
Follow the crumbs of wisdom cast soulfully 'pon the ground
Spy somewhat careful and to the garden you'll be bound
Of vintage love, and salutory joy may, well, can be yours
You just gotta pick the right numbered doors
So to both think caring, think growing and sharing
think truth in abiding, think no longer of hiding
Holding hands and smiling gently, sitting by the water
Finally being one of a pair, like we two really oughta.....
To connect and love and grow old and die... In safety ...