Click, listen, then do the exercise below with a partner.
IMAGO HEALING: Based on Hendrix, H., 1988, Getting the Love You Want : A Guide for Couples
Your Imago’s a part of you, an internal energy system of which you’re unconscious; it’s opposite inner voices you ordinarily use to deal with the world. Opposites attract. You see reflections of this part in people that attract you. The Imago makes you seek a lover like it, so you can recognize that you, too, have, albeit in underdeveloped form, the very aspects that you find first so attractive, then so annoying in a lover. Your Imago focuses you on men or women that embody what you loved about your parents and prior lovers but also what you hated about them. A lover your Imago makes you select can also hurt you like Mom, Dad and your exes did. Your imago hopes, when it gets you and a lover to create scenes where she or he could hurt you again, she or he’ll do better than your parents and ex-lovers and thus heal the hurts of your past.
Facilitate a lover or a friend; take her or him through the cues below; he or she’s your Receiver. The Receiver seeks in you (or a lover you’ll represent) what s/he loved about his/her caregivers. You also represent what s/he hated about them. You can hurt him or her like they did or heal him or her when you love instead of hurt her or him. In the exercise below, your Receiver experiences his or her Inner Child, the voice of his or her emotional reality.
Heal Hurts teaches the Receiver to defuse over-reactions to you or the lover you represent and to manage emotional reactions based on the Receiver’s past so s/he doesn’t distance you or his or her lovers now based on what happened before. S/he learns to release pent-up feelings and rescript once-appropriate but now-limiting rules.
When the Receiver responds to the cues that comprise Heal Hurts, s/he also learns to say what s/he wants without masking reactions. S/he requests healing behavior from you and asks you to affirm his or her new openness.
Read cues in bold type aloud to the Receiver. Exception: read anything enclosed in square brackets [like this] silently. Sit facing her or him. Center yourself or move into a therapist role. Erect a psychic filter so you can avoid reacting to her or his content and stay present for her or his healing. Shield and center yourself in case s/he says you hurt, upset or frustrated her or him.
Where you need to respond, you’ll see this ###. Where you see ***, it’s her or his cue to respond: give her a few breaths’ time to do so. If s/he doesn’t respond, pause several breaths and read the cue again.
Tell me about an UPSET, frustration, problem or issue you have with me, with your current partner or with your last lover, using this formula. “When you … , I feel … and react by … to hide my fear of … because what I really want is …” [Example, if needed, “When you … mock me, I feel … hurt and angry and react by… withdrawing or attacking to hide my fear of … being humiliated because what I really want is … respect.”]
“When you … ***, [State upsetting behavior]
I feel … ***
and react by … ***
to hide my fear of … ***
because what I really want is …” ***
Is there anything else you’d like to say about that? *** [When Receiver’s said as much as you can accurately remember, read the next cue.]
Wait. Let me know if I’m getting you right. You’re saying … ### [Finish the sentence, summarizing in your own words (paraphrasing) what s/he said.]
[If s/he corrects you, paraphrase her corrections and ask if you’ve got them right till s/he says, “Correct.”]
[Continue paraphrasing and asking if there’s more until s/he fully expresses what s/he thinks and feels about what frustrates or upsets her. When Receiver says, “that’s all”, complete the next two sentences to her or him.]
You make sense, because … ### [Say how Receiver, if you put yourself into her or his head-space, makes sense.]
I imagine you must feel … ###
Is that what you’re feeling? ***
Close your eyes. Recall a time in your CHILDHOOD when a parent or other person upset or frustrated you the way I did. When you recall such a time, tell me your age then. Describe the scene at that time in the present tense, as though the scene is unfolding now. ***
What emotions did you feel? ***
Feel those feelings now. Sink into them. Amplify them till they’re intense, then EXPRESS the feelings aloud to your parent (or other person), as though he or she were here and you could say everything without retaliation. ***
What did you decide as a result of this upset? ***
What did you gain as a result of this decision? ***
What would you like to do that you didn’t do? ***
Pretend I’m your … [mother/father/other person involved (Choose one)] in the upset. What is living with me like? ***
What’s your deepest hurt with me, your mother/father/other person involved [Choose one] in the upset ? ***
Imagine you go back to WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE, perhaps 5 years old, but it could be younger or older. Wake up in the bed or place where you slept. Wake into the awareness of your inner, feeling Child, the vulnerable one under whatever protective roles you already learned.
Notice the room from your Child’s perspective. Notice the decorations, toys, other people in the room in which you waken.
Wander through your house and yard. As you do, meet each person and animal–Mom, Dad, stepparents, Gramps, siblings, nannies, Kitty and Rover, as well as each imaginary playmate and ghost (if you felt them) who influenced you deeply as a child. See each of them more clearly than ever before. Tell me who you see and HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT EACH of them. ***
Tell me what you LIKED AND DISLIKED about being with each of them. ***
Say what you wanted but DIDN’T GET from each of them when you were growing up. ***
Tell me, from the perspective of your Inner Child, what you ENJOYED with each of them as you were growing up. ***
Say what SCARED, HURT AND MADE YOU ANGRY when you were growing up. You may cry if you wish. *** [Silently empathize with the feelings Receiver shares, as though they were your own experiences. Allow plenty of time.]
What else scared or hurt you? ***
[If you’re your partner’s mate, read this sentence (if not, read the alternate sentence below.)]
Tell me what I can do to help you start healing the hurts you shared. Say what you want and specific THINGS I CAN DO as a gift to you to help you heal. ***
[Alternate sentence, if you’re not your partner’s mate] What can your mate(s)/future mate(s) [Choose one] do to help you heal?” ***
[Everyone read this sentence to partner] Let me know if I’m getting you right. You’re saying … ###
Correct me, if I didn’t get you exactly right. *** [Finish the sentence, paraphrasing (saying in your own words) what Receiver’s been saying.] [Paraphrase again ###, if you’re corrected.]
[Sentences for mates only to read:] I’ll do it this week; I’LL GIFT YOU WITH … ### [say what you’ll do; or, if the behaviors Receiver asks of you are impossible for you now, say,] “Give me other options that’ll make your Inner Child start healing the hurts. ***
Now imagine, you return to your childhood sleeping place and fall asleep there. Dream you’re grown up, and doing an exercise in which I’m holding you as you explore your inner Child. Gradually wake up, make eye contact with me.
Let my arms represent your Ideal Mother/Father’s capacity to love and encourage you. Close your eyes again. My voice’ll speak for her/him–telling you what you need to hear, words to help heal old hurts that limit you more than you want. [Gently hold partner]
Imagine you’re small–you’re [partner’s name]‘s Inner Child–and I’m your Ideal Mother/Father. Absorb these sentences in your child psyche [ Based on Rosenberg, J., Body, Self & Soul: Sustaining Integration, Atlanta: Humanics, 1985.]
“I love you. I want and cherish you; you’re special to me.
“I feel, hear and see you.
“You’re safe; I’ll protect you.
“I’ll look after you, take good care of you.
“My love makes you well.
“I sometimes, from love, I say, `No’.
“I’m always here for you.
“I love who you are. And I’m proud of who you are, whatever you do.
“ I love your looks. I enjoy your intelligence. Your creativity delights me.
“I want you to enjoy your body. I want you to savor your sexuality and enjoy touching your genitals.[For woman Receiver]
“Menstruating is a joyous miracle.
“I love you whether you’re like me or different.
“You can love many.
“Follow your inner voice.
“Do it. You can.”
Tell me anything else you’d like me, as your Ideal MomDad to say? *** [Say it.]
Now open your eyes. See me, your partner.
Tell me what I, your partner, can do to encourage and nurture your inner child right now. ***
Now I’m stepping out of roleplaying. I’m your Giver, your tantric healer again.
Tell me what you need from me (or your lovers) to help you start healing the hurts you shared. Say what you desire; give five healing services–specific behaviors I or a lover can do this week as a gift to you to meet your desire. I’ll write them out for you. ***
[If you are indeed the Receiver’s lover, say] I’ll perform the 5 healing services. This week at these times, I’ll gift you with … ### [say what you’ll do; or, if a behavior s/he asks is impossible for you now, say,]. Give me another option (I can agree to) that addresses the same frustration. ###
Finish this sentence: “When you gift me with the five healing services, I’ll shrink my fear of … ; then I’ll feel … ***
[Guide Receiver to Reparent Her- or Himself]
“Imagine an Ideal Parent. An Ideal Parent feels, always felt, and will always feel about your Inner Child the way the Child needs and says what your Inner Child needs to hear. Invoke your Ideal Parent then move to a new seat, a seat for you to enact Ideal Parent. On this seat, embody, enact, become Ideal Mother/Father. Which are you? ***
Hi, glad to meet you, [Receiver’s name]’s Ideal Mother/Father [choose]. Tell me your main attributes, qualities and characteristics. How do you, Inner Parent, feel and act toward [her or his name]‘s Inner Child? What do you want her to consider in love and sex?
Thank you; I enjoyed meeting you. Let return to her original seat. Separate from your Ideal Parent.”