Post by Evangeline on Dec 31, 2019 18:28:55 GMT -8
I found this old post . . .
The Outer Child by Susan Anderson
Edited by Susan Peabody.
You've met your inner child—now meet your outer child, the self-sabotaging nemesis of your personality—the part that breaks your diet and gets attracted to all the wrong people.
Whereas Inner child is all about feelings, Outer child is all about behavior.
Your outer child acts out your inner child's feelings - especially your abandonment feelings - without giving you, the adult, a chance to intervene. When you feel hurt, angry, or insecure, Outer child acts out these feelings in ways that sabotage your relationships. Outer child takes feelings like anger and fear and goes off hell bent, impulsively making matters worse. It’s like an annoying, obnoxious older sibling was only trying to help, bungling in an attempt to protect (overprotect) you from abandonment. Stealthy, quick, and misguided, it intercepts love before you ever know what happened.
Outer child acts out in patterns. It is a master procrastinator, rationalizer, avoidant. You can use Outer child as a self-awareness tool. In discovering your outer child, you get a leg up on overcoming your self-defeating patterns, improving your relationships, and becoming the self-possessed adult you always wanted to be. Outer child is featured in Taming your Outer Child; Journey from Abandonment to Healing; Journey from Abandonment to Healing, and Journey from Heartbreak to Connection. Some find it helpful to attend an abandonment recovery workshop to learn how to effectively target their outer child patterns.
Outer child is the impulsive, obstinate, self-centered ten-year old within all of us. Outer child wants what Outer child wants NOW, and overrules you, the adult, in getting it. Outer child prefers to binge on candy when you are steadfastly sticking to a diet (or so you thought). Outer child says yes to a third glass of wine when you, the Adult, had decided on a two drink maximum. Outer child thought that meant minimum.
Outer child is born of unresolved abandonment. It wreaks havoc in your relationships when it acts out your inner child's primal fear of abandonment. For example, it aims its emotional suction cups at our prospective partners and scares them away.
In taking the outer child inventory, you undertake the first in-depth self-reckoning of your lifetime. As you gain outer child awareness, you own up to character defects most people prefer to deny. You learn how to deal with traits that until now formed an invisible infrastructure of self-sabotage deep within your personality.
Outer fights change—especially change initiated by you, the adult. Outer balks at doing the right thing and only wants things that are bad for your health, figure, or bank account. By bringing Outer out of the bunkers and into the daylight, you get to subvert its mission, rather than let it subvert yours.
Outer grabs for immediate gratifications that sabotage your long range goals. You decide to pay down your credit cards, but Outer gets you to buy a shiny new boat. You decide to go on a fitness program, but Outer gets you to pay for the annual membership, but prevents you from actually using it.
Outer is fueled by emotion. Take anger. Outer either overreacts or under-reacts to your anger. For example, abandonment survivors tend to be too insecure to risk expressing anger or assertiveness to someone because they fear it might break the connection. Outer takes advantage of this fear and gets you to take your anger out on yourself, damaging your self-esteem. Conversely, Outer takes your anger out on innocent bystanders and makes you look like a monster.
Outer is the “yes but” of the personality. If you let it, Outer ties your life up in knots.
Outer child likes to play games, especially in relationships. It wears many disguises including “hard to get” and “Florence Nightingale” (where Outer panders for 'love-insurance' by over caretaking). It poses as your ally, but is really your gatekeeper. Its covert agenda is to maintain your patterns—albeit your most self-defeating ones.
By deconstructing your Outer child defenses, your Adult Self has the opportunity to guide your behavior, rather than remain driven by your hidden nemesis.
To read more about outer child: Taming your Outer child: Overcoming your Self-Defeating Patterns (Ballantine 2010); Journey from Abandonment to Healing (Berkeley 2000); and WORKBOOK, Journey from Heartbreak to Connection: A Workshop in Abandonment Recovery (Berkeley 2003).
Last Edit: Dec 31, 2019 18:56:40 GMT -8 by Evangeline
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it elsewhere." Buddha
Post by Evangeline on Dec 31, 2019 18:30:38 GMT -8
And old post . . .
I have been hearing about the concept of the inner child since 1985. She is wounded. She needs healing and attention. While I do have an inner child by the name of Susie, I also have an inner child who is more than wounded; she is angry. Her name is Gretchen. She has a temper. She lashes out at people and she is anti-social. Gretchen needs healing too.
I never understood these alter egos until I read the works of Susan Anderson. She explains that the outer child, the self-sabotaging nemesis of our personality—the part that breaks our diet and gets attracted to all the wrong people.
Whereas our inner child is all about feelings, the outer child is all about behavior. She acts out our inner child's feelings --- especially our abandonment feelings --- without giving our adult personality a chance to intervene. When we feel hurt, angry, or insecure, our outer child acts out these feelings in ways that sabotage our relationships. She takes feelings like anger and fear and goes off hell bent, impulsively making matters worse. It’s like an annoying, obnoxious older sibling who ends up bungling an attempt to protect (overprotect) us from abandonment. Stealthy, quick, and misguided . . . she intercepts love before we ever know what happened.
Our outer child acts out in patterns. She t is a master procrastinator, rationalizer, avoider. We can use our outer child as a self-awareness tool. In discovering our outer child, we get a leg up on overcoming our self-defeating patterns, improving our relationships, and becoming the self-possessed adult we always wanted to be.
Many of us find it helpful to attend an abandonment recovery workshop to learn how to effectively target the patterns of our outer child. She is the impulsive, obstinate, self-centered ten-year old within all of us. Our outer child wants what she wants NOW, and overrules us if we are not careful. Our outer prefers to binge on candy when we are steadfastly sticking to a diet (or so we thought) or a third glass of wine when we, the adult, had decided on a two drink maximum.
Our outer child is born of unresolved abandonment. She wreaks havoc in our relationships when she acts out our inner child's primal fear of abandonment. For example, she aims her emotional suction cups at our prospective partners and scares them away.
In taking the outer child inventory, we can undertake the first in-depth self-reckoning of our lifetime. As we gain outer child awareness, we own up to character defects most people prefer to deny. We learn how to deal with traits that until now formed an invisible infrastructure of self-sabotage deep within our personality.
Our outer fights change—especially change initiated by us in recovery. She balks at doing the right thing and only wants things that are bad for our health, figure, or bank account. By bringing our outer out of the bunkers and into the daylight, we get to subvert hers mission, rather than let it subvert ours.
Our outer child grabs for immediate gratifications that sabotage our long range goals. We decide to pay down our credit cards, but she gets us to buy a shiny new boat. We decide to go on a fitness program, but she gets us to pay for the annual membership and prevents us from actually using it.
Out outer is fueled by emotion. Take anger. Our outer child either overreacts or under-reacts to our anger. For example, abandonment survivors tend to be too insecure to risk expressing anger or assertiveness to someone because they fear it might break the connection. The outer child takes advantage of this fear and gets us to take our anger out on ourselves, damaging our self-esteem. Conversely, she takes our anger out on innocent bystanders and makes us look like a monster.
Our outer child is the “yes but” of our personality. If we let her she ties our life up in knots. She likes to play games, especially in relationships. She wears many disguises including “hard to get” and “Florence Nightingale” and t poses as our ally, but is really our gatekeeper. Her covert agenda is to maintain our self-defeating patterns.
What we do about the outer child. If the inner child need nurturing and sympathy, the outer child needed boundaries, healing, and benevolent discipline. In a kind way, we must learn to keep her in check while loving her anyway. She did not get these things as a child and needs them now.
Last Edit: Dec 31, 2019 18:49:34 GMT -8 by Evangeline
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it elsewhere." Buddha
Post by Susan Peabody on Jan 1, 2020 14:42:10 GMT -8
I cried when Susan Anderson explained to me what the Outer Child was. In 1985 I acknowledged my wounded inner child, but I kept my outer child (Gretchen) hidden. She was angry and belligerent. I was ashamed of her. People told me they did not like this part of my personality. I got an invitation once and the so-called friend said, "Leave Gretchen at home." But now I am learning to keep her under control. She is the most honest of my alter egos.
I want to give credit to Eric Berne and Thomas Harris for introducing the world to the concept of different "ego states" and the concept of the inner child.. It is called transactional analysis. These days people forget about one thing they talked about and that was the "parent tape." This is what your parents told you about yourself and taught you about life. The parent tape gives birth to the "inner critic" and outer child.
“You may be alone and feeling concerned that you’ll never find a relationship. Or perhaps you’re mired in a relationship that just isn’t working. Or you’re part of a couple but feel a lack of passion toward your partner. Or you love someone who doesn’t love you back. Or you keep going through cycles of breakups and can’t seem to get a relationship to last.”
Every single one of those things has applied to me, so I just had to read further.
Earlier in the book, Anderson explains a lot about how the brain works. Long story short, the part of your brain that responds to painful emotions is primitive, and you tend to do an unhealthy response before your logical mind has even had time to identify the emotions.
Anderson explains about the fear of abandonment, versus the fear of engulfment - two states of mind that LAs frequently experience. “Prominent among Outer’s maneuvers are avoidance and projection: You avoid intimacy to avoid the risk of rejection. Or you project your needs into the relationship and make more emotional demands than your partner can handle.”
Anderson also discusses traumatic bonds, which are what happens when someone treats you badly, and that makes you feel even more attached to them. She talks about intermittent reinforcement (also known as “blowing hot and cold,” “push-pull,” etc.) When a person gives you something good inconsistently, on an irregular basis, you become more attached than you would if they were predictably good to you all the time.
She introduces the term “abandoholism”: “Abandoholism is the tendency to be attracted to the hard-to-get. It’s like other kinds of addictions, but instead of being addicted to alcohol or narcotics you’re addicted to the high stakes drama of abandonment and the neurochemicals that go with it.... you’ve been conditioned to think that unless you’re feeling insecure, you’re not in love....You become a rat in a cage, seeking crumbs of love by re-creating the unequal dynamics you may have had with parents or peers...”
Torchbearing and infatuation are discussed. Anderson says that your task is to re-train your mind. You need to imagine and visualize yourself with a satisfactory love life. You also need to learn to abstain from people who make you feel insecure.
Last Edit: Jan 2, 2020 9:03:21 GMT -8 by RoseNadler
What if….I could do Step Three BEFORE my life becomes a total disaster?
The chapter starts with, “The tendency to shut down romantically when you become too sure of your partner is a dilemma shared by millions of people.” Once again, that opener drew me in.
To continue: “...this chapter focuses on the more common cause of love-loss in a relationship—situations where it’s not your partner’s fault, it’s something going on (or not going on) within you. Although you’d love to blame it on him or her, you know it’s you. You’re having trouble loving her the way you used to but you’re not sure why. You wonder if it has to do with familiarity, which has bred a kind of complacency and boredom. You consider that you might be love-challenged.”
Most of the chapter shares an example of a man who believed he was falling out of love with his wife, and in love with another woman. That’s pretty common, but what’s different about this guy is that he knows it’s something going on inside him - it’s not that there’s anything wrong with his wife or her behavior.
Long story short, he had been abandoned by a previous partner. To avoid ever being hurt like that again, from that point on, he only got involved with women that he had an “edge” over:
“He’d developed the defense mechanism of avoidance (his Outer Child had been busy at work). He took pains to stay out of harm’s way by no longer pursuing women who might reject him in the end. Instead he focused on women over whom he was sure he had the ‘edge.’”
“But clearly, Brad’s need to have the edge had an undesired side effect: He needed to be in pursuit-mode (establishing his edge) to sustain his love interest. After a year of marriage, he felt completely secure with Dottie, and his passion for her started to seep away. It seemed he couldn’t feel both passionate and completely secure at the same time.”
Most of the chapter discusses the work that Anderson did with this client, Brad, to hear what his Inner Child was saying (his emotional needs), and learn to strengthen his inner Adult (the logical part of the brain), to resolve the emotional needs in a healthy way (as opposed to unhealthy behaviors, or Outer Child, being in charge.)
A specific technique that Anderson had Brad try was to be fully present with his wife for at least a few minutes every day. He just needed to tune in - he didn’t have to be “feeling it,” necessarily. He would take this action in order to retrain the neural pathways in his brain - taking the action in order to change the thought patterns - instead of having to want to be fully present before doing it. He also needed to keep in mind that he was doing this for the purpose of strengthening his marriage (which he had decided was a goal he wanted to achieve). Finally, Anderson stressed that he needed to look for and find the joy in this new behavior. If you enjoy it, you’ll be more likely to keep on doing it. Makes sense to me.
Anderson includes a list of 15 steps you can take if you believe you have the same problem. (Taken almost verbatim out of the book - if you’re thinking of copyright issues.)
1. The first step is to recognize that you have the problem. This is the most difficult step, due to layers of self-deceit and false attribution (such as blaming a passionless marriage on your mate’s faults) that have been confusing you all along.
2. Redefine love. Love is not an absolute feeling, nor is it confined to infatuation.
3. Commit to loving behaviors. Don’t expect love to be a feeling you fall into, but a verb that you act out. Don’t wait for the “feeling” to motivate you. Motivate yourself.
4. Recognize love as a creative process.
5. Make the connection between self-discipline and love. Recognize that achieving love involves following through with loving actions on a consistent basis.
6. Care for your partner. The expression ‘Fake it till you make it’ doesn’t quite fit the bill here, but I am suggesting that even when you feel at a loss for romantic feelings, express care in your actions.
7. Honestly talk about your feelings with your partner, even if this means explaining that you have a problem with feeling love or passion for him. (Note from Rose Nadler: IMHO, this is the scariest step. It sounds terrifying.)
8. Take responsibility for your problem. Tell your partner that this is a problem you have and that you’re working on it. Again, don’t blame your love issues on your mate’s inadequacies. Begin sentences with, “I’m dealing with something that has nothing to do with you . . .” (Note from Rose Nadler: As I look back on the trouble L and I had, I now believe that he was trying to do this with me. He was trying to tell me there was nothing wrong with me, and he still wanted to be with me. But for whatever reason, my own Outer Child would not let me listen to this message he was giving me and take it on board.)
9. Make a plan to be completely in the moment with your partner. Show up not just physically, but emotionally, by carefully attending to everything he or she says and does. Create special moments of fun, communication, or intimacy. Find the joy in these activities. Build a legacy that belongs not to the two of you as individuals, but to the relationship.
10. Initiate conversations that get underneath the surface emotions. Draw your partner out by asking open-ended, caring questions to learn more about her emotional issues.
11. Be willing to create new feelings and a new level of communication in the relationship. Relate things from childhood; confide your current personal dilemmas; radically listen to your partner’s issues. Risk admitting your vulnerabilities and secret feelings; dare to get close. This is just about sharing, not finding solutions.
12. Ask follow-up questions the following week to show that your interest in his feelings carries through.
13. Make yourself sexually available...Make allowances for the fact that insecurity is no longer serving as an aphrodisiac.
14. Share this sexual struggle openly with your partner. Neither partner should try to “fix it.” Just sharing openly builds intimacy and relieves the pressure to perform The old you used sex to consummate a love conquest. The new you is learning to consummate more substantial feelings, like mutuality, caring, and trust.
15. Be open to a new rainbow of feelings. Remember, sometimes it’s hard to recognize love even when it’s there working for you. Yes, feeling secure and comfortable might not be intoxicating, but that’s the point—it’s emotionally nourishing. Your old reference point for love was based on infatuation or love conquest. Your love gauge was skewed by the fact that you were used to pursuing unavailable partners. This new kind of love may feel different. Do you feel closeness, caring, trust, respect, security? Rather than dismiss these feelings as less than romantic, include them in your new definition of love.
Last Edit: Jan 2, 2020 9:53:27 GMT -8 by RoseNadler
What if….I could do Step Three BEFORE my life becomes a total disaster?