Susan Anderson’s Workshops and Appearances

November 11, 2013 1 comment

Hi all! Please find Susan’s latest articles posted regularly at abandonment.net and outerchild.net

SUSAN’S WORKSHOPS & APPEARANCES 

New York Open Center in Manhattan, Sunday Oct 22 2014 10:00 A.M. – 5:30 P.M. All day workshop: Abandonment to Healing: Overcoming Your Outer Child Patterns of Self-sabotage. Register at http://www.opencenter.org/journey-from-abandonment-to-healing-overcoming-our-self-defeating-patterns/ or call 212 219 2527

Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Ca. Nov 16-21 2014:  6-day intensive workshop in Healing Abandonment, Taming Outer Child. Register 831 667 3005 or go to www.esalen.org.

Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Ca. April 26 – May 1 2015:  6-day intensive workshop in Healing Abandonment, Taming Outer Child. Register 831 667 3005 or go to www.esalen.org.

Categories: Uncategorized

When the Workplace Becomes a Stage for Your Abandonment Issues: What to Do When You’re Triggered

July 16, 2012 5 comments

When the Workplace Becomes a Stage for Your Abandonment Issues: What to Do When You’re Triggered

 

Blog: Susan Anderson © July 14, 2012

 

 

When the Workplace Triggers your Issues…    

 

You begin to feel nobody values your ideas.  Or somehow you become a scapegoat.  Or your coworkers gravitate toward your rival.  Or you’re overlooked for promotion.  Or your staff actively ignores your directives.  Or….

 

Any number of triggers can rekindle the old abandonment would, generating feelings you suffered in your family dynamics or in your peer groups at school.  It’s as if your primal abandonment sores start bleeding through, imprinting themselves onto your current experience.  The setting is different and the players have changed, but the emotional stain remains the same.  The workplace has somehow become a stage on which your old unresolved conflicts are reenacting themselves.  

 

Something, someone is making you feel small again… or invisible…  or misunderstood… or victimized… or slighted….   There you are in the same old emotional soup, only this time not as helpless.  

 

Now, with enough personal awareness, you flip it.  No matter how justified your grievances are, you can arise to your higher adult self and buck up.  Knock the chip off your shoulder, dump the sour grapes, and spit out the bitter pill.   To end the self sabotage you must take complete responsibility for the situation you are in by becoming the person you need to be to resolve it.  Rather than stay mired in the problem, advance to the level of the solution.  

 

Taking responsibility helps you heal the abandonment wound that is bleeding through.  You heal it not by wallowing in the feelings, but by picking yourself up by the bootstraps and becoming proactive on your own behalf.  Nobody was there to do that for you when you were young, but now you’re an adult, capable of taking yourself in hand and becoming your own best friend and nurturer.  

 

Responsibility’s starting point is personal awareness.  So, when a workplace conflict has that old familiar ring to it, recognize that it is because it is replicating a past emotional experience, and that this “bleeding through” means that YOU, however unwittingly, have played a part in the conflict (through subtle forms of self-sabotage), even if your grievances are justified.  You’re not a needy child now.  You’re not a kid in high school craving approval.  You are an adult who can turn this around.  You can avail yourself of powerful tools – mental exercises – that help you flip it.  

 

Maybe you do have a tyrannical boss whose personal biases cause her to undervalue you.  Maybe your colleague truly does have Borderline Personality Disorder and unjustly blames everything he feels on you.  These are the externals we can’t control.  There are people out there who have disastrous personality disorders… or are incompetent but manage to smell like a rose… or who are unstable basket cases… or have authority conflicts or jealousy conflicts and put you in no win positions.  Remember, each person has his or her own issues from the past bleeding through, staining their perceptions and reactions both to you and the workplace.  

 

You can’t change them or will them to react differently to you.  You can only deal with yourself.  Yes, you have a right to feel miserable when you have been maligned, but remind yourself that remaining mired in the resentment only embeds you further in the victim role.    

 

So flip it.  Stop sabotaging yourself in the workplace.  Burst in the door filled with renewed energy, confidence, generosity, and goal-directedness.  Become who you need to be to blast through the contaminated environment and victimy miasma you’ve co-created and change the dynamic.  Seize new ground.  

Categories: Uncategorized

STOP ABANDONING YOURSELF AND REACH YOUR GOALS

STOP ABANDONING YOURSELF AND REACH YOUR GOALS 

By Susan Anderson © Dec 7 2011, posted May 1 2012

 

Do you sabotage your relationships?  Your long range goals?  Your diet?  There are myriad ways we all abandon ourselves, forsaking our true needs and goals on a daily basis.  Many of our (Outer Child’s) self-defeating patterns are aimed at our love-lives; others at our careers or life styles.  

 

Self sabotage has everything to do with self abandonment.  

 

Self abandonment is what happens when you love yourself ONLY ENOUGH to give yourself immediate gratifications, but NOT ENOUGH to postpone those gratifications and give yourself what you really want.  So you fall into old habits and let your Outer Child run your life: 

  • You grab for the second piece of cake rather than delay that gratification to achieve your true goal of becoming trim and fit.   
  • You overreact with insecurity or rage toward your lover rather than postpone that impulse and remain open to a healthy, adult exchange of feelings.   
  • You run up your credit card, numb out in front of the TV, or avoid career goals.  

 

When you hold yourself in high enough regard, your Adult Self is empowered to take charge and lovingly shepherd you outside of your comfort zone where you take forward reaching actions that are good for you in the long run, rather than indulge in avoidance, procrastination, and other short term fixes.   As a self-loving adult you

  • remain self possessed in your love-relationships even when things heat up inside
  • stick to your diet even when tempted
  • make that awkward phone call to open up a career opportunity even though the easy road would have been to procrastinate and justify it with excuses like fatigue, unfairness, or too much competition.  

 

Look how many millions of people love themselves ONLY ENOUGH to take the easy road:  Eat now, diet tomorrow; spend now, pay tomorrow; cling now, cry tomorrow.  

 

When you practice unconditional self love, you forgo your complacency at work, your sweet tooth at mealtime, and your temper in relationships.  Instead, you build steadily toward all of your long range goals.  

 

Hot to reverse self abandonment?  Well, it doesn’t happen by osmosis or by reading about it, although your Outer Child will try to con you into holding out for the magic bullet.  No, you must get on the program to resolve your ambivalence toward yourself and take actions that inculcate unconditional self love (self esteem, self regard).   The program involves behavioral steps that function like physical therapy for the brain. You change incrementally, steadily reversing self abandonment and reaching your goals.    

Related Articles:

DO YOU SABOTGE YOUR LOVE LIFE?  How and Why 

HOW TO STOP SABOTAGING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS  Twelve Tips for Overcoming Your Patterns

INSECURITY – IS IT HIM OR ME?  Is He (or She) Pulling Away, or am I Overreacting? 

 

INSECURITY – IS IT HIM OR ME? Is He (or She) Pulling Away, or am I Overreacting?

December 27, 2011 1 comment

Susan Anderson © Dec 9 2011

Sometimes you just can’t tell.   Is it your old insecurity acting up again, or did you pick another emotionally unavailable lover?  If the relationship doesn’t work out, you’ll say you should have trusted your gut.

But wait a minute… you’ve already figured out that you can’t trust your gut because you’d feel insecure at the beginning of ANY relationship especially if you really like the person.  We’re all like that.  Being strongly attracted to someone creates high emotional stakes and makes us crave constant reassurance.  If only there were love-insurance, we’d all buy it!

So if you can’t go by your gut, how can you tell?  When you can’t come up with a clear answer, then you’re asking the wrong question.  The better question is:  “How can I hold myself in such a way that I can let this relationship play itself out to see what its potential really is?”

To this question there IS an answer.  To remain self possessed, you must take 100% responsibility for your own emotional security instead of laying this need at your lover’s feet.  It is not his (or her) responsibility to make you feel secure.  It is YOUR responsibility.  Remind yourself frequently: ONLY YOU can make yourself secure.  Don’t lay it on your lover.  ONLY YOU can develop emotional self reliance.  It’s nobody else’s job but YOURS.

Don’t expect to accomplish this task perfectly.  You become self assured imperfectly – the way all of us humans accomplish this type of thing.  Even making a small improvement can make all the difference in your love life.

This change (which is really a seismic shift) begins with accepting the challenge: Feeling insecure with your lover places you exactly where you need to be to work on what you need to work on.  Use it as an opportunity to increase self assurance.

Here’s how it works. The more you’re attracted to someone, the higher the stakes.  The higher the stakes, the greater the insecurity.  The greater the insecurity, the harder to accomplish emotional self assurance.  The harder to accomplish, the more emotional strength you gain from the effort.

There are hands-on exercises that absolutely make it possible for you to give yourSELF emotional security – especially when you’re freaking out and panicking over a new relationship!  Don’t expect to become self assured just by wanting it; you have to DO something.  DOING means getting on program and practicing exercises that strengthen your ability to give yourself assurance.  Remember: You don’t have to become perfect at it, just self possessed ENOUGH to let the relationship be what it is, without losing yourself in the process.  Make the more important thing your own growth.

Related Articles

HOW TO STOP ABANDONING YOURSELF AND REACH YOUR GOALS

Categories: abandonment, Outer Child

HOW TO STOP ABANDONING YOURSELF AND REACH YOUR GOALS

December 14, 2011 3 comments

By Susan Anderson © Dec 7 2011

Do you sabotage your relationships?  Your long range goals?  Your diet?  There are myriad ways we all abandon ourselves, forsaking our true needs and goals on a daily basis.  Many of our (Outer Child’s) self-defeating patterns are aimed at our love-lives; others at our careers or life styles.

Self sabotage has everything to do with self abandonment.

Self abandonment is what happens when you love yourself ONLY ENOUGH to give yourself immediate gratifications, but NOT ENOUGH to postpone those gratifications and give yourself what you really want.  So you fall into old habits and let your Outer Child run your life:

  • You grab for the second piece of cake rather than delay that gratification to achieve your true goal of becoming trim and fit.
  • You overreact with insecurity or rage toward your lover rather than postpone that impulse and remain open to a healthy, adult exchange of feelings.
  • You run up your credit card, numb out in front of the TV, or avoid career goals.

When you hold yourself in high enough regard, your Adult Self is empowered to take charge and lovingly shepherd you outside of your comfort zone where you take forward reaching actions that are good for you in the long run, rather than indulge in avoidance, procrastination, and other short term fixes.   As a self-loving adult you

  • remain self possessed in your love-relationships even when things heat up inside
  • stick to your diet even when tempted
  • make that awkward phone call to open up a career opportunity even though the easy road would have been to procrastinate and justify it with excuses like fatigue, unfairness, or too much competition.

Look how many millions of people love themselves ONLY ENOUGH to take the easy road:  Eat now, diet tomorrow; spend now, pay tomorrow; cling now, cry tomorrow.

When you practice unconditional self love, you forgo your complacency at work, your sweet tooth at mealtime, and your temper in relationships.  Instead, you build steadily toward all of your long range goals.

Hot to reverse self abandonment?  Well, it doesn’t happen by osmosis or by reading about it, although your Outer Child will try to con you into holding out for the magic bullet.  No, you must get on the program to resolve your ambivalence toward yourself and take actions that inculcate unconditional self love (self esteem, self regard).   The program involves behavioral steps that function like physical therapy for the brain. You change incrementally, steadily reversing self abandonment and reaching your goals.

Categories: abandonment, Outer Child

Is Your Partner Still on the Prowl?

October 12, 2011 Leave a comment

You’re in a committed relationship. Or so you thought. But do you get the feeling that one of you is hedging your bets? Does your mate still act as if he or she is interested in meeting new people? You can sometimes suspect that your partner is still open to this possibility by the way others respond to him or her.

It’s pretty painful if your partner is still shopping, because it means that you’re being compared to others. It’s as if — despite everything you have worked for in your relationship — you’re really a commodity and can be easily traded in for a better or newer model.

This is often what is behind the commitment-phobic personality: These individuals aren’t ready to throw their lots in with yours because they’re remaining open in case there is someone better out there.

If you suspect your partner is hedging or pulling away because of this, it might be helpful to use your best finesse to call him or her on it.

You don’t have to come on like gang-busters. Ask something like, “I feel like you’re not fully celebrating our relationship. Is it possible that you are still ‘shopping’ for a partner?”

Even if your mate denies this, you’ve had a chance to plant a seed.

Remember: Mature people don’t shop — they care about who they’re with, and that’s more important than finding someone better.

Addicted to Chasing Unavailable Lovers: Outer Child is a Notorious Abandoholic – Part 2

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Outer Child is a Notorious Abandoholic

© Susan Anderson 2010

The emotional pendulum swing

Abandoholism is driven by both fear of abandonment and its correlate fear of engulfment.

Fear of abandonment: When you’re attracted to someone, it arouses a fear of losing that person. This fear causes you to become clingy and needy. You try to hide your insecurity, but your desperation shows through, causing your partners to lose romantic interest in you. They sense your emotional suction cups[1] aiming straight toward them and it they run to avoid getting trapped (engulfed).

Fear of engulfment: at the opposite end of the spectrum. It occurs when someone is pursuing you and now you’re the one pulling back. You feel engulfed by that person’s desire to be with you. When fear of engulfment kicks in, your sexual and romantic feelings shut down. You no longer feel the connection. You panic – it’s about your fear of being engulfed by the other person’s emotional expectations of you. You fear that the other person’s feelings will pressure you to abandon other potential romantic options.

Fear of engulfment is one of the most common causes for the demise of new relationships, but it is carefully disguised in excuses like: “He just doesn’t turn me on.” Or “I don’t feel any chemistry.” Or “S/he’s too nice to hold my interest.” Or “I need more of a challenge.”

Abandoholics tend to swing back and forth between fear of abandonment and fear of engulfment. You’re either pursuing hard-to-get-lovers, or you’re feeling turned off by someone who IS interested in you.

What is Abandophobism?

Abandophobics are so afraid of rejection that they avoid relationships altogether.

Abandophobics act out their fear of abandonment by remaining socially isolated, or by appearing to search for someone, when in fact they are pursuing people who are truly unattainable, all to avoid the risk of getting attached to a real prospect – someone who might abandon them sooner or later.

There is a little abandophobism in every abandoholic; the two outer child patterns can be interchangeable.

For both abandoholics and abandophobics, a negative attraction is more compelling than a positive one.

You only feel attracted when you’re in pursuit. You wouldn’t join any club who would have you as a member, so you’re always reaching for someone out of reach.

How do abandoholism and abandophobism set in?

These patterns may have been cast in childhood. You struggled to get more attention from your parents but you were left feeling unfulfilled, which caused you to doubt your self-worth. Over time, you internalized this craving for approval and you learned to idealize others at your own expense. This became a pattern in your love-relationships.

Now as an adult, you recreate this scenario by giving your love-partners all your power, elevating them above yourself, recreating those old familiar yearnings you grew accustomed to as a child. Feeling emotionally deprived and “less-than” is what you’ve come to expect.

Why does the insecurity linger?

Recent scientific research shows that rather than dissipate, fear tends to incubate, gaining intensity over time. Insecurity increases with each romantic rejection, causing you to look to others for something you’ve become too powerless to give yourself: esteem. When you seek acceptance from a withholding partner, you place yourself in a one-down position, recreating the unequal dynamics you had with your parents or peers. You choreograph this scenario over and over.  It becomes a repetition compulsion, otherwise known as an ‘Outer Child Pattern.’

Conversely, you are unable to feel anything when someone freely admires or appreciates you. For more about abandonment, go to www.abandonment.net For more about abandoholism, read Taming Your Outer Child (2010) and WORKBOOK: Journey from Heartbreak to Connection (2003).

Categories: abandonment, Outer Child
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