An Important Realization About Relationships

In a recent Oprah Supersoul Conversations podcast entitled “The Oprah Winfrey Show: How to Make Love Last,” she sits with Harville Hendrix. Hendrix, the best selling author of “Getting the Love You Want” theorizes that:

“Whatever happens in childhood, whether its mild or intense, there is something that is going to replicate itself in adulthood in your intimate partnership. The early childhood experience, where there is a wound, has to be repaired – and it always has to be repaired in a relationship in adulthood similar to your parents.”

This statement is probably the most important concept in understanding why we choose the partners that we do. Hendrix speaks about the tendency to repeat patterns, not as a means to punish ourselves (although it may feel like that over time), but rather as a way to heal – to repair the wound that we received in childhood so that we can move to a healthier place. In order to change the pattern, we first must understand this concept; we then can follow through with the necessary work needed to choose someone who fits into a healthier space.

Hendrix further explains that in an unconscious process with our partner:

“We either pick them, provoke them or project onto them. So if you had a problem in childhood, you are going to pick somebody who will help you redo it, or you will project onto them that they are, or if not, you will provoke them. Its brilliant because we have to resolve that issue.”

Think about this in terms of trust. If we grew up not trusting a parent because they were never there for us, we will either pick a partner who is not trustworthy, we will project onto them that we can’t trust them (by being accusatory and jealous), or we will provoke them into being unreliable (in which a partner might start acting that way as they continue to be painted in that light.)

It is only in understanding this process can we begin to make the necessary changes to our own internal dialogue and move to repair. First in ourselves, and then in our patterns.

To listen to the full episode (it is worth your time):

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Photo credit: http://Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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