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Is Your Outer Child In Your Way?

This week my inbox is full of people complaining about their oppositional, obnoxious Outer Children. These hidden saboteurs have been wrecking havoc in people’s lives and making them look bad – making them fat, broke, pregnant, and lonely. It goes like this:

Here you are, a perfectly decent well-adjusted person, but your Outer Child seems to have Borderline Personality Disorder and also suffers from ADHD. How could this be so? Yet the destructive tirade you flew into yesterday seems to suggest it, and so does the fact that you can’t seem to stay focused on your goals.

What is this self-sabotage all about? What does it mean when the behaviors you choose sabotage your relationships and forestall your dreams?

When your Outer Child starts to act up more than usual, it means there’s a rift in your relationship with yourself. Big You is out of touch with Little You. When your adult self and your inner child are out of alignment, Outer Child gains power and acts out your neglected needs and feelings however it wants – to hell with your goals. Bottom line: If your head and heart remain disconnected, you can expect Outer Child to become more and more emboldened to butt into your life.

“I’ve quite smoking over a thousand times, and Outer Child keeps going back to it.”
“My Outer Child litters my life with unfinished projects.”

The antidote is to create a deeper internal bond. For this, you need power tools.

When my life gets hectic, my Outer Child becomes obstreperous. Lately I’ve had trouble sticking to my diet. In this regard, my Outer Child is stealthiest at night – it begins trolling the kitchen for something to stuff in its mouth and then the next morning, it conveniently avoids the scale.

Now tell me, how is this behavior supposed to help me with my goal to lose 10 pounds?
So what am I to do, but use one of Outer Child’s specialized tools – namely “Big You Little You” – to repair the apparent rift.

Doing the Big You Little You exercise gets you instantly in touch with your innermost needs and feelings. You discover what you want and feel in your heart of hearts. You gain access not just to your inner child, but to the inner child within your inner child – the tenderhearted stuff that going on down deep. It allows you to administer to these internal needs with self-love, self-compassion, and self-nurturance – not just intellectually, but emotionally and behaviorally. Through this process you, the Adult – not your wayward Outer Child – gains the power and makes the moves.

When you open up a dialogue between Big You and Little You, you’re not always learning something new about what’s been simmering and festering inside of you. Sometimes you already kinda know what’s causing you to grab for the quick fixes – to oversnack, overshop, oversleep, overwork, overdrink, and overthink. Rather than surprise you, the feelings you get in touch with have that all too familiar ring to them. But whether the feelings you encounter down deep come as a surprise or you’re already aware of them, the advantage is that now they are in your face. The exercise puts them front and center on the radar screen of your mind, where they blink and beep out to you, nudging you to do something about the conditions you have placed yourself (your inner child) in. Through this process, you gain the motivation you’ve been sorely needing to work toward your goals, step by step.

Up to now, you’ve been seeking substitute indulgences for these yearnings that, in the end, only make things worse. When you forsake your goals and dreams and grab for substitutes, you abandon your dreams. This is called self-abandonment. For example, I know intellectually that popping a helping of leftover chicken in my mouth late at night is my way of quieting the noise of need. I’ve been so busy lately and I’ve committed so much self-abandonment, that my Outer Child has become even more uncooperative than usual. Said Outer Child has also been blocking my efforts to actually sit down and DO the Big Me Little Me exercise by using its favorite ploy: PROCRASTINATION. In fact, writing this blog is just another clever way my extremely resourceful Outer Child has of procrastinating.

So now that I’m onto it, I’m going to write a dialogue starting right now.
Big: What’s going on Little?
Little: Silence
Big: I know I’ve ignored you lately, but I’d really like to hear from you…
Little: Silence
Big: I know I’ve been neglectful. This time I’ll listen and do something about what you really want..

The rest of the dialogue is too personal to post on a public blog, but if you see me tomorrow, I’ll probably be a little glowier from self-love, less hectic, and hopefully a few ounces lighter. And if I do it as an ongoing regimen for a while, you’ll actually see change.

  1. September 13, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Susan maybe outter child thinks procrastinating is writing this blog, BUT you sharing all this is inspiration and helps me ground and Get back on track, Blessing for the healing work you have created. lov dd

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