Posts Tagged ‘Inner Child’



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:


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? 



Nevermind Your Inner Child; Tame Your Outer Child

June 9, 2011 2 comments

Getting ready for summer, I am doing daily dialogues with my outer child.  I’m wondering if using this self awareness tool (outer child) might help some of you also.

What is outer child, you ask?

Well, you’ve already met your inner child.  But whereas your inner child is all about feelings, Outer is all about behavior.  Outer is the self-sabotaging nemesis of your personality – the part that breaks your diet and gets attracted to all the wrong people.

I use outer child when I know I’m going to be tempted to do some self-defeating things.  In my case,  this means overeating (and gaining weight that is very hard to loose).

In keeping tabs on my outer child, I’ve learned how overcome many other self-defeating patterns over the years.  I’ve managed to improve my relationships and become (or act like) the self-possessed adult I’ve always wanted to become.

I’ve written extensively about outer child in Journey from Abandonment to Healing or Journey from Heartbreak to Connection.  I’ve taught people to perform their own “outer child work” during my intensive abandonment recovery workshops.

To help you get in touch with your own outer child, let me explain:  Outer is the impulsive, obstinate, self-centered nine-year old within all of us.  Outer wants what Outer wants now, and isn’t particular about how it goes about getting it – and that includes taking out bad moods on innocent bystanders in your life, drinking too much, spending too much money, or binging on fattening food when you, the adult, is steadfastly sticking to a diet (or so you thought).

Outer child wreaks havoc in our relationships, because it’s born of unresolved abandonment.  Outer acts out our inner child’s fear of abandonment.  For example, it aims its emotional suction cups at our prospective partners and scares them away.

Another thing about Outer is that it fights change – especially change initiated by you, the adult.  Outer balks at doing the right thing and only wants things that are bad for your health, figure, or bank account.

In my case, I’m hoping that by once again, dragging Outer out of the bunkers and into the daylight, I can get to subvert its mission, rather than letting it subvert mine (which is to maintain my figure, my relationships, and my self-respect).  I hope the same for you.

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

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.

When Your Relationship Ends: Do You Blame Yourself?

June 28, 2010 1 comment

Blaming yourself for your relationship’s failure to thrive is a most painful type of regret. Beating yourself for losing someone’s love is true agony.

People often blame themselves for breakups, believing that their insecurity is what drove their partner away.

Another thing on which people blame their breakup is their own personal defects. They believe that their lackings, inadequacies, faults or negative behaviors drove away the person they love. They feel as if they’ve been condemned to involuntary aloneness as a form of personal punishment for their shortcomings.

People also blame the breakup on their supposed unworthiness. They feel they are lacking enough personal power to hold a person’s love. In short, their pain during the breakup is coming from feeling unlovable, that they’re somehow inherently lacking some essential ingredient of personal value. Otherwise, why would someone have thrown them away?

The truth is, we are all needy — especially when we are attempting a new relationship, and especially when the person we are attached to isn’t fulfilling our basic need for trust and security.

Unless we feel a mutual love and attachment coming from the other person, we can all become insecure and exhibit behaviors that are extreme and can drive the person further away.

The first step is to accept our humanness — neediness and insecurity are part of the human condition (even if most people don’t admit to them in public).

The task is to accept yourself, warts and all.

Don’t expect to be perfect.

Don’t expect other people to validate your worth. You must do that yourself, even at this painful moment when you are believing yourself unworthy of a relationship.

Stop looking to your ex to accept you. You must take 100 percent responsibility to give yourself the esteem that you need (that’s why it’s called self-esteem).

Your task is to give yourself security; it’s nobody else’s job — especially not your lover’s. Only you can do this. And as you do, you will become emotionally self-reliant. Write your ex a thank you note for motivating you to finally develop self-regard and self-respect.

Taming Your Outer Child: Overcoming Self-Defeating Patterns can now be preordered.

Do you have an outer child?  Go to to see the checklist and learn more about self-sabotaging your *relationships *diets and *finances *etc. and what to do about it.