Archive for January, 2011

Abandonment and Outer Child

January 19, 2011 1 comment

Abandonment has everything to do with Outer Child patterns – how they developed and how to overcome them.

If you want to overcome your most deeply entrenched self-defeating patterns, you must heal your abandonment wounds.

No, you don’t need 500 hours of psychoanalysis. You just need to learn how to use the program’s power tools – easy-to-perform exercises that you incorporate into your daily life. They are like physical therapy for the brain. As you practice them, you see change – and heal from the inside out.

I developed Outer Child (along with fellow psychotherapist Peter Yelton ACSW) when I was writing my first book on abandonment, looking for ways to help people overcome the aftermath of heartbreak and loss – those pesky patterns of behavior that interfere in our relationships.

Outer Child’s strong connection to abandonment is because most of Outer’s patterns were born during earlier times of loss, rejection, hurt, disappointment, self-doubt, disconnection – in short – abandonment. Outer’s primary role is defending (over-defensively) against the insecurity and fear seeping out of your old wounds. In fact, our most automatic, knee-jerk defense mechanisms, especially the maladaptive ones, are driven by abandonment fear.

This subliminal but ever-present fear not only triggers Outer to act out in our love relationships, but the residual insecurity causes Outer to take everything to the extreme – sleeping, watching TV, drinking, spending money, cluttering, procrastinating. For example, hoarders report that what motivates them to surround themselves with so much stuff is the subliminal fear that they’ll be left all alone with nothing and no one to care about them.

Learn more about abandoholism – the infamous Outer Child pattern of being attracted only to the available. Pre-order TAMING YOUR OUTER CHILD: A Revolutionary Program to Overcome Self-Defeating Patterns

San Quentin Prison: An Outer-Child Repository

January 11, 2011 1 comment

I traveled to California to meet with the prisoners at San Quentin—all “lifers” experiencing the ultimate consequence of Outer-Child behavior. My purpose was to add Outer Child / Abandonment components to programs that help them transition their lives—even if those lives are lived behind bars. I was apprehensive about what impact the environment would have on me. San Quentin has the country’s largest death row (150 years of executions by hanging, gassing, and recently lethal injection). It turned out to be mind-bending, but not in the way I expected.

The men I met with were those involved in the prison’s ongoing personal growth programs. What struck me immediately was that they were already in advanced stages of “Outer-Child awareness” and “Abandonment Recovery.” The men told me about the serious crimes they’d committed, where they were coming from emotionally, and what character defects and misguided “male role beliefs” had led them to act out so destructively. They’d committed these crimes during teenage years, hopped-up on drugs and alcohol. This is when Outer Child grabs control, follows through on impulses of the pack, anesthetizes pain by excessive bingeing, and can act out with depraved indifference to consequences.

In discussing their lives with me, these men displayed a level of transformation beyond anything I’ve encountered on the outside. It’s possible that a few of them were Outer Children disguising themselves as self-reckoning Adults. Outer Child, after all, is adept at “talking the talk” to avoid having to “walk the walk.” But there was genuine sentiment here: soul-touching transcendence.

The special conditions of prison life, coupled with the quality programs unique to San Quentin, must no doubt account for the men’s transformation. Prison is a contained environment—a laboratory where humans are routinely punished, rewarded, reinforced, conditioned, modified—a place where men are kept “off the street,” away from the distractions of the outside world, where they become subject to controlled variables, i.e. “time” heavily laden with consequence, structure, accountability, and community (most prisoners are never alone or on their own). What better environment for trying out new technologies of personal growth and rehabilitation?

Only a small percentage of men participate in San Quentin’s exemplary programs, yet this sparse community of support and outreach is enough to slowly change the culture of the prison, creating momentum that inspires more and more men to move forward toward productive lives.

My New Book, TAMING YOUR OUTER CHILD, Hits the Bookstores on January 25, 2011

January 5, 2011 3 comments

A Revolutionary Program to Overcome Self-Defeating Patterns

Improve your love life, stay on a diet, end procrastination – and reach your goals!

Taming Your Outer Child: A Revolutionary Program to Overcome Self-Defeating Patterns

We all have self-sabotaging tendencies, but what we don’t know is why.  What makes us break our diet, date the wrong people, or have that third glass of wine when we told ourselves we’d only have two?  What makes someone like Elliot Spitzer or John Edwards risk all they’ve worked to achieve with outrageous and selfish behavior?  The answers all lie in a revolutionary, prescriptive program to help readers curb their self-destructive behavior.  In TAMING YOUR OUTER CHILD: A Revolutionary Program to Overcome Self-Defeating Patterns (Ballantine Books Hardcover, on-sale January 25, 2011), veteran psychotherapist and theoretician Susan Anderson introduces us to our Outer Child, the long-overlooked part of one’s personality that is responsible for unhealthy and unwanted behavior.

Most of us have met our Outer Child once too often.  A menacing older sibling to your emotionally needy Inner Child, Outer Child acts out and fulfills your legitimate childlike needs and wants in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in counter-productive ways.  It goes for immediate gratification and the quick fix in spite of your best-laid plans. Outer decides to watch the game when you’ve resolved to clean out the garage.  Outer yells at a work colleague when you promised yourself you’d think before you speak.  In TAMING YOUR OUTER CHILD, Anderson brings clarity as to why we make the choices we make – and shows that “lack of willpower” is not to blame.  She offers a paradigm-shifting program to tame Outer Child’s destructive behavior and embrace a life of happiness, connection, fulfillment, self mastery and self love.

TAMING YOUR OUTER CHILD will help successfully put the adult – you – back in charge so that you can stop the self-sabotage and get on with fulfilling your dreams and living life.

“This book will be an enormous help to anyone looking to let go of past disappointments and self-recrimination and get on with the essential work of healing, building boundaries, and acquiring skills to reach your goals.  I hope you will read it and do the exercises it provides.”
John Bradshaw, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“With a program designed to undo primal fears, [Anderson] tackles such topics as lowered self-esteem, lovesick feelings, food urges, diet, chronic depression, procrastination, heartache and a primary source of conflict with relationships…readers under stress who are desperate for help will view this book as a valuable tool for healing.”
Publishers Weekly

Categories: abandonment, Outer Child