Secret Society Book Review • 'Getting the Love You Want'
Dr. Harville Hendrix's "Getting the Love You Want" is not just a book for those looking to remedy relationship woes; it's truly a must-read for any, all, single or taken. For those of you who don't see a place for a book on marital therapy in your life currently - I especially urge you to pick up a copy, or download to listen to at your leisure. As a 24-year-old in a relatively peaceful and blissful relationship, I felt the same. But after only a few pages I was completely drawn to Dr. Hendrix's words, theories and method. I found quite often throughout reading that I could relate Dr. Hendrix' words to the relationship I have with myself, the conflicts that arise caused by the dichotomy of who I am now and who I believe my true authentic self to be. It also quite often brought me back to the work I did in Lacy's UNBLOCKED REPARENT. The uncovering of my childhood memories I had since repressed and the tidbits from my upbringing that shaped the mask I wear, the insecurities I carry and the relationships I unknowingly seek brought me great clarity while reading this book.
Dr. Hendrix's theories are based on his discovery that we are constantly searching for a partner that closely resembles our parents or others that raised us. Dr. Hendrix refers to this time of childhood as resting in our Old Brain. Our Old Brain's primary goal is to recreate our childhood in order to heal old childhood wounds. The partners we call in through our Old Brain are likely to either resemble the negative traits our parents had, or who mirrors places in ourselves that need to be developed. Ultimately, through partnership, as Dr. Hendrix writes, we are looking to remedy the lack of love, trust, comfort, etc we experienced in childhood so that our subconscious can heal and we can finally become our TRUE AUTHENTIC SELF. Sound familiar?
Our main takeaways
We all live busy lives, and for those who didn't have the chance to read, or finish our SECRET SOCIETY book of the month, "Getting the Love You Want," we have outlined our main takeaways to share with you! Please join in the conversation and SHARE YOUR MAIN TAKEAWAYS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW so that we can expand together!
When I first picked up “How to Get the Love You Want,” I was honestly skeptical of how much I could absorb at this particular time of my life. But I was still eager to open my heart and my mind to what Dr. Hendrix had to say. Only a few pages later and I couldn’t put it down. I began relating it to my own relationship with myself, my friendships and have digested his material to apply to future relationships. The insight I've gathered is beyond a simple list, but I've scribbled my biggest fascinations below:
i. The partners we attract are those that mirror areas within ourselves that need healing or development. Both my current partner and my ex-partner have completely opposite traits, (one quiet and Type A, the other loud, forward and Type B), yet on further observation I've realized that these are traits within myself that I've either tried to dial-up or dial-down. ie. I need to work on my passive, quiet nature as it allows others to walk all over me, and a deeper fear of putting myself out there and speaking my mind needs healing.
ii. In order to have a healthy, strong relationship, you have to be willing to change. I had always thought the opposite: you should never change for someone else. But his outlook differs: It's not that you should change to appease your partner, but rather you need to be able to recognize and adapt your own image of self and how that interacts with your partner's. Be willing to learn and grow with each other.
iii. Our partners can guide us to where we need the most healing, yet the subconscious resistance to healing or change is what can cause greater external conflict within the partnership. To heal conflict, you must look within.
iv. Whether the relationship continues or ends, we can learn something greater about our selves. Each partner we receive in life is another opportunity to dive deeper into our own subconscious mind.
v. In order to be loved, we must first become lovers. We have to learn how to nurture and how to care for someone outside ourselves.
I was first gifted this book by a dear friend four years ago in my prior relationship when it was on the rocks. And one thing I learned at that point is that there is such a thing as a conscious relationship: when two people are willing to work on the relationship and grow, or there is an unconscious relationship: when two people aren't willing to do any self-work or evolving in a relationship. And conscious relationships only work when both people are willing to put in the effort and evolve. Therefore, this book has become a bit of a bible. My favorite highlights are infinite but I'll narrow it down to five:
i. We attract partners that are a compilation of our characters, especially their underdeveloped qualities.
ii. We attract partners that tend to be our opposites in many ways for they possess aspects of ourselves that we had to reject in childhood (i.e. what triggers us about our partners tend to be what we reject in ourselves such as play, emotional expression, communication; etc). Our partner's opposites and what triggers us about them tend to reveal our shadow that's in need of integration.
iii. I'd be nowhere without that Imago Dialogue format to communicate with my partner. It's saved us over and over and over again. Along with many of my clients.
iv. What we mistake for "love at first sight", the "happily ever after fantasy", instant "omg we were made for each other", is simply trauma bonding.
v. Love, love, love the exercises and tools in it that allow us to heal in our partnership together in order to arrive at a place of deeper intimacy, and healthy autonomy.
I couldn't put this book down. It's covered with notes on the sides, underlines of all the takeaways and highlighted for things that I absolutely can't forget. This book is the book of all relationship books, because it not only helps you understand yourself more, it helps you understand why you're drawn to certain people. MAJOR learnings from this book... here are my favorite quotes:
i. "It appears that each one of us is compulsively searching for a mate with a very particular set of positive and negative personality traits."
ii. "We're looking for someone who has the predominant character traits of the people who raised us."
iii. "Let's start with a definition: a conscious partnership is a relationship that fosters maximum psychological and spiritual growth; it's a relationship created by becoming conscious and cooperating with the fundamental drives of the unconscious mind - to be safe, to be healed, and to be whole"
iv. "We choose our partners for two basic reasons: (1) they have both the positive and negative qualities of the people who raised us, and (2) they compensate for the positive parts of our begin that were cut off in childhood." (Mindblown?! Yeah, me too.)
v. "Love is best described as eros, life energy seeking union with a gratifying object."