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Oprah called upon Dr. Harville Hendrix, a relationship therapist whose work she calls "life changing," to help Shannon and Louie understand their marriage. His Imago Relationship Theory is based on the belief that individuals fall in love with someone whose personality is similar to that of their caretakers. "The reason for that is you want the positive and negative traits," he says. "But primarily the negative traits."

Dr. Hendrix says that when a person falls in love, they may appear to be attracted only to their partner's positive traits. Subconsciously, that person is also attracted to their partner's negative traits that are connected to the unfulfilled needs of childhood.

The Imago Theory is that it's not a coincidence you're attracted to your partner. "You lost [happiness during childhood] and you'll never feel fully alive again until you get it back. We think that committed partnership or marriage is the context within which those issues can be restored."
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FROM: An Abusive Husband's Desperate Plea for Help
Published on April 19, 2006

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