A few weeks ago, my friend Adam Sheck blogged about the 3 P’s of relationships from an Imago Relationship Therapy standpoint. The 3 P’s are: Pick, Provoke and Project. First you pick a partner who reflects the positive and negative traits of your caregivers when you were a child. We call this your imago match. Then you provoke those traits to come forth. At first you provoke the positive traits, but after the honeymoon phase of the relationship is over, you provoke the negative traits to come out. Then you (I say you, but we all do it) project those traits onto your partner, whether they actually have them or not. If you’ve ever thought or said, “you’re just like my father (or mother)” then you know what projection is. If there are only three P’s in relationship dynamics, then we’re doomed to cycle around and around. After enough provocation and projection, we’ll decide that it’s time to pick again, and start back at square one. As I read Adam's blog it occurred to me that there are two more P’s possible for couples who want to move into a conscious relationship. The fourth P is “Peel away.” You notice what you’re provoking and what you’re projecting onto your partner. You become aware of it and then peel away the layers of childhood wounding that attracted these traits to you. It usually takes a trained professional to help peel away these layers. Find a good Imago therapist or a relationship coach to help you. The fifth P is “Prevent.” You prevent the cycle from repeating by bringing your awareness to the layers you have peeled away. Typically, these layers are ways you learned from your caregivers that you were not worthy of unconditional love. As you peel away the layers, you learn to love yourself more and you realize that you are, in fact, worthy of unconditional love. Then, instead of having to pick a new partner, you will be able to enter fully into a loving relationship, just as you deserve.