In the first part of my blog about Dr. Harville Hendrix’s “Getting the Love You Want” we discussed what characteristics a person must have in order for us to fall in love with them. Long story short, the more characteristics a person has that are similar to our ‘lost selves’ the greater chance we will fall in love with them! We are looking for an original wholeness through our romantic relationships. To discover the ‘lost self’, a set of characteristics that are out of our awareness, one may look through the lens of the ‘false self’, the characteristics we identify with and as that protect the ‘lost self’.
Now that you know all of this useful information, you are ready to learn about our love “blueprint”, our Imago! The Imago, as Dr. Hendrix describes, is the ideal mate image that you have been forming since birth and is directly constructed out of those who influenced you most strongly at an early age.
Lets back up a second. I know some of you may be asking “You’re expecting me to believe that I feel in love with my partner because they resemble my parents? No way, I chose my partner because he/she is the exact opposite!” And yes, I am asking you to believe that. Here’s why…
The part of our brain that was encoding exorbitant amounts of information, about our caretakers and our surroundings, as we entered the world is what we call the ‘old brain’. The ‘old brain’ primary care is our survival, it functions out of our awareness and it’s not in contact with the external world, the ‘new brain’ is. The ‘new brain’ holds our consciousness. It’s responsible for higher-order thinking, emotional regulation, planning, decision-making, and all the other wonderful things that make our species different from all other mammals; it’s what makes us human.
We want to know all of this because our old brain holds the key to the question “why do we fall in love with people who posses the same characteristics as our parents?” Essentially, the old brain is searching, out of our awareness, for people that resemble our caretakers in order to recreate the environment of childhood. The old brain is also very stubborn; it doesn’t participate in the new brain ways of ‘letting go’ and ‘moving on’. It’s ultimate goal is to mend childhood wounds by trying to replay those situations with romantic partners. Your brain has your partner confused with your parents!! Whatever psychological and emotional damage you endured as a child, your old brain wants to mend. It looks for romantic partners who carry some of the most influential positive and negative characteristics of our parents, which also created our own ‘lost and false self’, and then, we fall in love.
On the next part of the blog, I will discuss how to create your own Imago blueprint and how to discover which positive and negative traits of our caregivers influence us the most.