Home > abandonment, Outer Child > Charlie Sheen as Poster Child for Outer Child

Charlie Sheen as Poster Child for Outer Child

Charlie Sheen-in-recovery seems to make him seem the ideal poster child for Outer Child. But does the public really hope rehab gets him to stop? Do we really want Charlie Sheen to Tame his Outer Child? After all, he’s one of the most highly paid TV actors, so it’s clear people adore him, as much as they enjoy going tsk tsk to his behavior. Charlie obviously has a very strong, obstreperous, pleasure-seeking Outer Child, but the bigger story is about us – the thrill our own Outer Children get vicariously when he breaches the rules of decorum.

Outer Child is the self-sabotaging part of the personality – the impulsive, pig headed, self-centered part we all share. Outer is an older sibling to our innocent Inner Child. Whereas Inner Child is all about feelings, Outer Child is about behavior – specifically acting out behavior. Outer acts out our Inner Child’s primal feelings and desires in ways that tie our lives up in knots and prevent us from reaching goals. Outer is the part that breaks our diets and gets attracted to all the wrong people (i.e. “bad boys” like Charlie). Outer says yes to a third glass of wine when our Adult Self had decided on a two-drink maximum.

Charlie Sheen’s Outer Child brings out the Outer Child in each of us: Outer as voyeur; Outer as finger pointer; Outer as holier than thou; Outer as secret envier (“How come he can get away with this and I can’t?”); Outer as sheep following the herd (“Hanging out with porn stars under the influence must be fun, where can I get some?”); Outer as executioner (“I hope he goes to jail”); Outer as wannabe (“Charlie Sheen is my teacher – I’ve learned that all I have to do is act un-phased about my deeds – appear to enjoy the notoriety – and people will love me for it)”

We can only wonder what’s going on inside Charlie’s Inner Child. What demons might lurk within his psyche that make him need to party so outrageously and at such risk? We tend to brush these considerations aside though, because Charlie Sheen is Outer Child’s champion. Our own Outer Children want us to believe that we too can binge on our favorite guilty pleasures (food, booze, sex, TV, shopping, procrastinating, cluttering, napping, gambling, you name it) and not suffer consequences. This is the impression Charlie’s antics create, to wit: No matter how much he reportedly partied the night before, he was always on time for work, fully composed and professional in his conduct toward his job, as well as responsible and open hearted toward his colleagues and friends. His take on it: “I’m having fun… I’m making two million per week… I show up for work. What’s the problem?”

The public has always been fascinated with celebrity misbehavior. Lindsay Lohan’s behavior grabs our attention in a rubber necking, car-wreck kind of way, whereas Charlie’s style of acting out turns us into front row ticket holders. What might he be up to next? It’s hoped that he’ll top the last incident and live to laugh about it. Many would be crushed if Charlie were sent to prison or worse – not for unselfish motives, but because it might cause doubt that we too can throw caution to the wind someday and act out our own forbidden Outer Child desires.

If given half a chance, our Outer Children might try to sabotage Charlie’s recovery. We enjoy being spectators of his outlandish, wild abandon too much to care about what’s in his best interests. Of course, we, as Adults, would never want to interfere in his rehab. Our higher selves want what’s best for our champion, right? Here’s hoping his closest friends, colleagues, and supporters have strong Adult Selves and don’t enjoy Charlie’s devil-may care Outer Child too much to truly help him gain control of his life, rather than feed him subliminal messages that undermine his efforts.

Susan Anderson, author of Taming Your Outer Child: A Revolutionary Program To Overcome Self-Defeating Patterns And Reach Your Goals and www.outerchild.net

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  1. susanj
    February 17, 2011 at 4:22 am

    This was a timely posting, and spot on about my Outer Child’s desire for vicarious thrills or ego-driven righteousness while observing the misdeeds of others, in this case, Charlie Sheen. It was interesting that with these latest reports about him calling the radio station and issuing veiled ultimatums to his employer/network, I found myself being much less amused by his antics and more appalled that his behavior is affecting the lives of so many others who work for the show, individuals who no doubt have worries about paying their rent or buying food if their hiatus stretches on for an indefinite period of time. What an example of the selfishness of the addict and the narcisissm of the Outer child run riot. This series is probably the best thing that has happened to Charlie Sheen. It is also the worst. Two million per episode and the star of the show – money and grandiosity – are two of the worst entitlements for an Outer Child/Addict. I hate to think this about anyone, but I have started to believe that nothing or no one will get through to him, and that his antics will result in his early death. A sad thought for his father, mother, children, loved ones and friends, and a terrible waste of life. I feel no sense of superiority in writing this, only sadness.

  2. DMT
    May 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I started reading Taming Your Inner Child a couple of weeks ago and have felt noticeable changes in my level of happiness and contentment with life. The past week I have been having dreams about Charlie Sheen which made me laugh to myself after waking up. In the first one, He was belligerent and I was trying to be the good sober friend getting him home. In the second one, I was driving belligerent Charlie Sheen home although he was a little more compliant this time around than the first. After reading this I sense my progress with the book and my dreams are going hand in hand in a way.

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