(Imago is the Latin word for image)
Through our early attachments we formulate an Imago. As we grow and develop we experience many scenarios of interactions with caregivers. Some of these leave us feeling secure, cared for, and loved. Others leave us anxious, uncertain, angry, frustrated. Humans have the capacity for a whole spectrum of emotions. These emotions are associated with the various experiences from childhood, and are encoded as our Imago. For example, if one experienced a very warm, loving, affectionate father who smoked a pipe, he or she might have a fondness for pipe tobacco. In adulthood this individual might find themselves particularly attracted to a man with a pipe, but would also be likely to expect a partner to be warm, loving and affectionate. If, in addition, this warm father died when the child was 7 years old, s/he might fear separation as an adult. So far, this person's Imago would suggest that a potential male partner is warm and loving (and might smoke a pipe) but might leave unexpectedly. There are a variety of defenses that one might develop as a result.
This is a complex topic! We haven't yet talked about the female caregiver's input to the Imago. The main point is that we carry with us a picture of who we will find attractive in adulthood. And it's a composite of many pictures from childhood, made up of both positive and negative characteristics of both of our parents!