Core Negative Image or CNI is our vision of our partners in their most difficult, irrational and least loving moments. When we move into "you always" or "you never" with our partner we are no longer arguing with each other but rather our caricatured version of our partner. When we move into this space with our partners we are in fact living out our early childhood wounding or false empowerment. This "Bad Deal" argument we consistently/continuously have with our partners represents a fight we never finished in childhood and that we didn't get growing up.
Without fail, each one of us chooses a mate who fits our unresolved issues. As Terry Real author of "The New Rules of Marriage" informs us that we all marry our "unfinished business."You may think the relationship does not bring up every hurt and anger you've ever carried inside, but it does. Doing so allows us to re-create the old struggle, to attempt to be heard, appreciated and most important to get the outcome that we never got as children. The hoax is in believing this will actually happen. As a result of our screwed up thinking in relationships, humans tend to see their partners through a lens of distortion. We attribute characteristics to our partners that set them up for failure through the manifestation of a core negative image. One benefit to couples knowing this is that they can start to use this information for good rather than what it is generally used for. Your Partners CNI can serve as your relationship compass, it will always point out the opposite direction from your goal.
The Following are five strategies outlined by Terry Real to help couples do this:
1. Make each other's CNI's explicit
2. Acknowledge the truth in each other's CNI's
3. Identify CNI-busting behaviors
4. Use CNI's as your compass
5. Set up dead-stop contracts.
These are strategies designed to be used and integrated in couples therapy. More to come in next weeks post!