Posts Tagged ‘acting out’

Charlie Sheen’s Outer Child is Speaking Out (way OUT)

Charlie Sheen’s Outer Child seems to be in a snit. It’s a sign of at least two of the following three things:

1. His Outer Child doesn’t like having to go through withdrawal from both drugs and his show.
2. His addiction is fighting his recovery and we are witnessing a relapse with virulent denial.
3. He’s having a manic episode, even if he never has been bi-polar before. Otherwise, where did his filters go? Had he really intended to make a Semitic reference? He seems out of control, with his Outer Child thrusting forward full throttle.

Outer Child is universal to all of us – it’s the part that self-sabotages. Outer can gain the upper hand when we least expect it, such as when we’re determined to stick to a diet, and Outer smuggles cookies to our room. Or we vowed not to lose our cool, and Outer swoops into the middle of our calm “discussion,” and starts shouting and bringing up grievances from ten years ago.

What exactly is Outer Child? The framework is simple. You have an Inner Child representing your most basic feelings and needs – the urgings of your soul. You have an Adult Self looking out for your Inner Child’s best interests and following your goals. And whatever you do that defeats your goals and frustrates the needs of your Inner Child, well, that’s your Outer Child – the part that acts OUT instead of acting responsibly – the part that interferes in your best laid plans.

When your Outer Child is OUT of control, it means that your Inner Child is too neglected and needy and your Adult Self is too weak. The antidote is to strengthen the Adult Self so that it (you) can take better care of your Inner Child’s feelings and desires in appropriate ways.

But this task is especially challenging for people who have addictions and compulsions. They need an exceptionally strong Adult Self to contend with the powerful impulses and urges constantly bombarding them. Someone in Charlie Sheen’s position faces the difficult task of becoming a Super Adult Self who must guide his own person to safety through a turbulent, tormenting sea of cravings and discomforts. If he’s in the midst of a manic episode, this first has to be quelled before he can hope to find the path.

One of the problems is that whether he wants it or not, Charlie gets a great deal of positive reinforcement for the behavioral escapades and verbal excesses. To wit: we can’t help but attend to the “reality show” entertainment that his antics provide. Most of us get a vicarious kick from his out spoken (to put it mildly), wayward Outer Child. Considering Charlie’s unconditional popularity and considerable financial resources, where is he supposed to get the motivation from to white-knuckle is way through treatment and recovery? What would motivate him to leave Shangri-La on his own recognizance and enter a communal boot camp, and or get on medication? And when he gets to the right setting, what’s he supposed to do for pleasure?

So here’s hoping he can find quiet moments amidst the mania and compelling media drama to look within and find that Strong, High Functioning, Guiding, Wise Adult Self – to help pull him through. -Defeating/dp/0345514483/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top


Trouble Letting Go of Your Ex?

September 17, 2010 3 comments

Several people wrote in about the painful dilemma of trying and failing to emotionally let go of their exes. They feel extremely intolerant toward themselves for being so stuck.
This continued torment and clinging to their exes is completely involuntary, not subject to conscious control of their cognitive minds: “I try to stop thinking about her, but I can’t seem to stop the feelings.”

This represents the mind/heart disconnect we all struggle with in so many areas of our lives: “I know I shouldn’t eat this cake, but I can’t resist it.” I like to call this impulse-ridden part of the personality Outer child.

Outer child has a will of its own and acts against an adult self’s best intentions. Outer child is different from Inner child in that whereas Inner is all about feelings, Outer is all about behavior – ACTING OUT behavior. You can think of Outer as your inner child’s annoying older brother.

The reason I introduce Outer child is to explain some of the unconscious motivation of “difficulty letting go” Outer is born of unconscious motivation). Underneath all of this pining way is Outer’s self-spite. There is a lot of self-spite in hanging on to someone who no longer wants you. Unconsciously, Outer is saying, “If I can’t have my way (can’t have her back), I’m going to cry, pout, and be miserable all day. So there!”

Outer can make you miserable and depressed and wish you were dead because it is acting out its anger at the only person it has at hand – namely YOU. It is angry at your ex for ending the relationship, but it’s taking it out on YOU. In fact, Outer is so mad, it refuses to let you be happy or let go.

Outer’s anger can seethe for a long time and send your life into a tailspin – all in a primitive, convoluted attempt to get even with your ex. In other words, Outer can behave like a spoiled, self-spiteful brat toward yourself to “punish” the other person (even though it winds up punishing YOU).

As children we “punished” our parents this way: We went up to our rooms and kicked and wailed and pouted to make them suffer, even when they weren’t listening. In fact that made us bang our heads against the wall all the harder and to hurt ourselves all the more to try to make them suffer. We also wanted to get them to pay attention.

I know it might seem preposterous that adults could be as illogical and primitive as a child. But consider the fact that children behave this way when they feel powerless to do anything else. Outer developed within the personality in the quest for power – yes, primitive power. Outer wanted power and self-spite is an emerging Outer child power ploy.

If the hell you are going through has anything to do with pining for someone who has rejected you , I hope you consider self-spite as a possible source. It will help you locate the fulcrum and adjust it.

Examine your emotional history for early incidents of self-spite toward your parents. If you can find this childish mechanism and recognize it, you can now, as an adult, take yourself in hand, and remind yourself that you don’t always get you what – that sometimes you really ARE powerless – and that punishing yourself will not bring her back. Letting go will come easier.