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Reconciliation
User Topic: Imago, anyone?
Lyonesse
Member
Member # 32943
Default  Posted: 2:21 PM, May 31st (Friday)

WH has been in IC for a while and is looking for an MC. He has found one who uses Imago therapy. Some of it sounds useful - my H needs to practice communicating and empathy. But there are a few things that raise my hackles:

1. It seems to assume couples were either disappointed in M or are always fighting. Neither was true for us, and neither was the cause for his infidelity.

2. The website says "the purpose of a relationship is to heal one another's childhood wounds." Yikes.

3. The video says the most important element in creating intimacy is "never criticize."
I'm one of those BS who has carried far too much of the post-A work. I still have plenty to say about his A behavior, post-A behavior, and present behavior. Much of it will be critical.

I'm on the fence about this. If anyone has used Imago, could you give me some feedback about the pros and cons of your experience?

Many thanks!

[This message edited by Lyonesse at 2:23 PM, May 31st (Friday)]


Me: BS, 40's.

Posts: 1696 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: West Coast
Lostinthismess
Member
Member # 39210
Default  Posted: 2:30 PM, May 31st (Friday)

I was just reading about it this morning, so I'm interested in the replies also! Gottman had been recommended to us so I was looking for a trained mc when I happened upon the Imago. All I know is our current mc is just too young and inexperienced for us.


Dday- 4/4/13
fwh- harrypotter
'You just keep living, until you are alive again'
'I don't want perfect, I want honest'

Posts: 298 | Registered: May 2013 | From: Ca
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 2:35 PM, May 31st (Friday)

I found it extremely enlightening and marriage-saving for us.

1. It seems to assume couples were either disappointed in M or are always fighting. Neither was true for us, and neither was the cause for his infidelity.

> That doesn't sound right to me - I don't agree.

2. The website says "the purpose of a relationship is to heal one another's childhood wounds." Yikes.

> All children, no matter how happy their childhood, have experiences that are 'wounding' (ok it's a terrible word) to their sense of who they are. Imago takes the attitude that you (in selecting your mate) have picked someone who is the very 'Image' (thus the name Imago) of who will best meet your own needs in resolving some of the unmet needs of childhood that persist into adulthood. They theorize that the problems most people have in their marriages stem from not realizing this fact and working with it to grow, personally.

It's true.

Example: A woman who had an abusive mother growing up leaves home without resolution of this and marries a man who treats her really well. Conflict may occur in this relationship as the woman tries to (subconsciously) put her spouse in positions that involve a 'work-out' of sorts with the abusive mother of her childhood, creating all kinds of chaos in their relationship.

Yes - that IS autobiographical.

3. The video says the most important element in creating intimacy is "never criticize."

I'm one of those BS who has carried far too much of the post-A work. I still have plenty to say about his A behavior, post-A behavior, and present behavior. Much of it will be critical.

I agree with the Imago attitude toward criticism. It is an empathy-killer.

Did your FWH have a critical parent? Are you a critical spouse (in general)? Is it possible that your FWH married someone who would be highly critical of him because that was a familiar experience for him?

If you want MC where you get to "say your piece" to the last degree and have your spouse be nothing but remorseful you're going to be disappointed with MC in general.

If you're interested in both YOUR personal growth and that of your FWH you will be in for a great experience.

The best part about it is that you will truly learn how to listen to, acknowledge and empathize with each other.

Maybe you'll be able to think of him as 'FWH.'

[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 2:47 PM, May 31st (Friday)]


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 20485 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
doesitgetbetter
Member
Member # 18429
Default  Posted: 2:48 PM, May 31st (Friday)

I agree with TR. We started off with IC and MC, we then attended a weekend Retrouvaille retreat and all the follow up weekends after that. Retrou was just missing a resolution IMO. So I looked into IMAGO.

While we didn't attend any IMAGO counseling, we did get all the books and workbooks and work through it at home.

I couldn't agree more with TR. While we may not THINK we are trying to get our spouses to heal our childhood hurts, it is definitely a huge factor in what we look for in a spouse, just subconsciously. An example from their books would be the girl who has an alcoholic abusive father, and she then hooks up with abuser after abuser trying to get them to do what she couldn't get her father to do, which would then heal her hurt from childhood. How many times do we hear about that in real life? (That's just one example, but you get the point)

Criticizing is not any way to have a mutually respectful and healthy relationship no matter what. So this is a great tool to have in your tool box for life, not just in dealing with the A. I noticed immediately that I would get a very different reaction from my H when I would approach something by saying "I am so hurt when I think of this...." versus "I can't believe you were so disgusting as to do that...". I can totally see where he would feel attacked when I was criticizing, and that's not what I was going for... I didn't want him to shut down, I wanted him to open up and help me while I hurt so much.

Another great thing about IMAGO is that some of the books also help a person deal with themselves. It helps you work through your own demons. It helps you figure out how to not cause the same pains to your own children that your parents did to you, and how to not create opposite pains by going the opposite way your folks did. It's very eye opening.

Like you, we were never disappointed in or fought in our marriage. We had a really good, although not deep, marriage. This series has helped us put the depth that one would expect a couple who's been together for 15 years and raised 2 children to have.

So, while it may sound in some places like it's not applicable, it most definitely is. Even if you don't want to see a counselor who works with it right away, get the books and start working on it at home. We would dedicate 2 hours to each section and it was like home therapy for us. We still use the techniques, and they still help SO very much! It also helps understand where your spouse is coming from.


DDay - Dec '07
Me - BS
Him - FWS
Us - Committed
May 18, 2010 - I forgave him fully!
"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

Posts: 3859 | Registered: Feb 2008
Lyonesse
Member
Member # 32943
Default  Posted: 4:06 PM, May 31st (Friday)

Thanks for your replies.

Imago takes the attitude that you (in selecting your mate) have picked someone who is the very 'Image' (thus the name Imago) of who will best meet your own needs in resolving some of the unmet needs of childhood that persist into adulthood. They theorize that the problems most people have in their marriages stem from not realizing this fact and working with it to grow, personally.

The way you put it, TR, is that we recognize our unmet childhood needs and use that knowledge for personal growth. I don’t have a problem with that. The part I am troubled by is "the purpose of a relationship is to heal one another's childhood wounds." I don’t want that to be the PURPOSE of my relationship, though I am happy to support my spouse in his healing, and hope he would do the same. However, I don’t think I am responsible for healing WS’s childhood wounds, anymore than he is responsible for mine. I was under the impression that is the work we were doing for ourselves in IC. I definitely think part of a healthy M is sharing where we are in that work, asking for feedback, etc., but the work belongs to each of us to deal with our own pasts and to become healthier partners. If I thought I was getting married just to heal my H from his relationship with his parents, it probably wouldn’t have been very appealing to me.

The video says the most important element in creating intimacy is "never criticize."

I’m not saying I follow my H around the house shouting “You’re ugly! You’re lazy!” Rather, he really has some dysfunctional thought processes, and I have been the main reality check for him as he comes to terms with that. I was hoping his IC or an MC could take on more of that role. I looked up definitions of criticize. One of them is “to find fault with, to point out the faults of,” which just sounds mean-spirited. But it also means “to evaluate; to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly.”

I could write a whole thread trying to explain WH’s cognitive functioning problems (and almost everyone notices them – people usually look confused, and then just assume he is “quirky,” which I used to do also). But to keep it short I will just say I have spent the past two years trying to gently lead him through the various decisions he made regarding the A, and help him sort out what a healthier response would be. It has had results, and he now has a good IC and several other methods of building better tools and new thought patterns. But he has not been proactive at all about building our new M or looking at how I have been affected by this. So in the first instance I see “criticism” in the sense of thinking critically, evaluating, and modeling that process for him. As regards to his lack of initiative in R, however, yes, I do need to express my disappointment in the second sense, “to find fault with.” That doesn’t mean I am going to be mean about it. It just means I am not willing to rugsweep and pretend like we both caused this big, bad A – I am going to tell the MC and WH what I am frustrated with and what I want WH to step up and do. Giving up the right to criticize sounds like giving up my right to point out where the problems are, as I see it.

I should add that this if my first post on Reconciliation, because I don’t feel we are there. I kind of feel MC is still premature for us, as WH only started IC recently. On the other hand, it took him so long to get there that I have been waiting for some kind of work on the relationship, and I would like that to start. We will probably meet with this MC one time and get a better take on her. Maybe we will just get the books.

Did having an MC there really help, do you think?


Me: BS, 40's.

Posts: 1696 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: West Coast
Lucky2HaveMe
Member
Member # 13333
Default  Posted: 11:42 AM, June 1st (Saturday)

We did an Imago weekend with Rick Brown himself. It was AWESOME! We both got a lot out of it.

http://www.rickbrown.org/

1. We were not always fighting. In fact, both being conflict avoidant, we never fought.

2. We did do some exercises back to our childhood memories. It was powerful for me - I was brought right back to being that little girl who was always told she was too "girly" (runs like a girl, throws like a girl... well, I was a GIRL! it was so very confusing and did a number on my self esteem, etc).

3. I did not come out with a "never criticize" vibe.

I highly recommend it. Perhaps you could try a weekend workshop first? Here's a link to Rick Brown - he does workshops all over the country.

http://www.rickbrown.org/


~L2HM~
Every Storm Runs out of Rain ~ Gary Allen

Posts: 5471 | Registered: Jan 2007 | From: WNY
Lyonesse
Member
Member # 32943
Default  Posted: 12:03 PM, June 1st (Saturday)

Thanks for sharing your experience, L2HM. Most of what I looked at was Harville Hendrix. Brown does seem to give off a different vibe.


Me: BS, 40's.

Posts: 1696 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: West Coast
WhatsRight
Member
Member # 35417
Default  Posted: 12:33 PM, June 1st (Saturday)

Anyone know if Imago could be helpful for just me? (My husband is pretty much finished with any kind of counseling.)

I went to "marriage counseling" ALONE once before in a failed marriage. (How embarrassing!)

Anyway - could it be helpful from a one-sided perspective? Maybe just to help me with me?


"Noone can make you feel inferior without your concent." Eleanor Roosevelt

I will not be vanquished. Rose Kennedy


Posts: 1812 | Registered: Apr 2012
doesitgetbetter
Member
Member # 18429
Default  Posted: 4:26 PM, June 1st (Saturday)

WR, they have books and workbooks for individuals as well depending on what help you're looking for. Look up Harville Hendrix on Amazon and read the synopsis' on his books and you'll find one that's right for you alone. Receiving Love is one that pops to mind for someone working on themselves, and they have a workbook to go with that as well.


DDay - Dec '07
Me - BS
Him - FWS
Us - Committed
May 18, 2010 - I forgave him fully!
"Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

Posts: 3859 | Registered: Feb 2008
RightTrack
Member
Member # 36976
Default  Posted: 6:54 PM, June 1st (Saturday)

I accidentally bought Harville Hendrix's ," Keeping the Love you Find." I was looking for another perspective on the WHY b/c I had read "Just Friends" to the point of memorizing the book. Had I thumbed through it I would have never bought it b/c I hate that IMAGO/blame it all on your parents stuff. That said, late in the night when I was tired of more "Just Friends" I started reading it. I thought it was a bunch of mumbo jumbo until I got to Chapter 13 and then I clearly saw our relationship, how to fix it and how to celebrate the post-affair relationship we have now as the "end of the power struggle" and the beginning of a deeper love. I would recommend suggesting that your WH START with Chapter 13 and then work through the rest of it if it looks helpful.

Posts: 541 | Registered: Sep 2012
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 10:35 AM, June 3rd (Monday)

However, I don’t think I am responsible for healing WS’s childhood wounds, anymore than he is responsible for mine.

In a marriage, when confronted with the most basic needs of your spouse, what could be more contributive to the relationship than a focus on healing?


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 20485 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
Loyalty2Liberty
Member
Member # 36714
Default  Posted: 5:51 PM, June 3rd (Monday)

short version: Tried Imago with Wh, got more psychologically messed up than when we started, spend most my SI time in the d/s forum now.

By the time I quit, even the rug-sweeping, blameshift-facilitatig therapist eventually kinda figured out that what was really going on was closer to him being a domestic abuser than it was to insufficiant addressing of childhood issues or lack of romantic behaviors.

By that time, I suffered a lot more impediments to my healing than if I skipped MC.


me:BW
him:stbxWh


Posts: 236 | Registered: Sep 2012
Topic Posts: 12