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Posts Tagged ‘patterns’

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.

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Am I Still Attracted to the Unavailable?

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Someone wrote to me describing a dilemma that is very common. You finally realize that you’ve always been attracted to the wrong type of people, and now you’re attracted to a new person. The bind: Am I still in the pattern or is this one new?

It’s hard to tell at the beginning of a relationship, because usually both parties remain a bit of a mystery for a while. Will she lose interest as soon as I get attached? Will he change his mind about me? So, due to the unknowns, “beginnings” create the right chemistry for people who are attracted to the unavailable.

What also makes it hard to tell is that when you’re pursuing someone, you tend to put your best food forward. Your “evil tendency” to lose interest as soon as you become sure of him or her — isn’t showing. Your new partner’s tendency to get in over her head and then pull back — isn’t showing. So you play it out to find out if you’re still in the pattern.

Pursuing someone who is “hard to get” has a whole different feeling than getting involved with someone who “isn’t going anywhere.” If you’re abandoholic, the latter feels a little getting sucked into a vat of peanut butter.

Pursuing someone who is slightly out of reach might feel more like gliding through air with a welcome breeze against your face, than getting sucked up against a sticky, gooey surface. The slight breeze is the person resisting you – keeping you at arm’s reach – blowing you away. But this is the feeling that you might associate with “passion” or “being attracted” or even “being in love.”

This pattern is hard to break because it involves being able to gain this insight, and then changing your values. And even after you’ve done a great deal of work on it, it still involves playing out a few beginnings before you find someone whose “staying power” you can deal with.

Stuck in Relationship Patterns

We all know people who are stuck in patterns. They’re alone and unfulfilled because they keep pursuing unavailable partners. When someone comes along who is genuinely interested, they push him or her away because they feel no attraction. Their lives are caught up in cycles of abandonment.

Why do we keep repeating the same patterns over and over and what can we do about them?

Step 1: Admit that you have the problem. This is an enormous step because it’s so easy to disguise it by telling yourself that you “just haven’t met the right person.” The truth is that even if the right person came along, unless he or she made you feel that old emotional hunger, you wouldn’t be attracted to him or her.

Step 2: Accept how futile it is to go through life being attracted only to unavailable people and running away from people who are genuinely available. Owning up to your pattern will create a turning point in your life.

Step 3: Recognize that you’re not alone. Millions of people like you are caught up in these patterns and don’t know how to get out.

Step 4: Be determined to break this pattern. Determination is absolutely necessary because this is a very hard problem to break. There is a way out, but insight alone won’t change it. You have to actively work on it.

Step 5: To keep you on track, consider seeking help from a counselor, trusted friend, or sponsor. Writing in a journal also helps. Be rigorously honest with yourself and others.

Step 6: Re-evaluate your old belief system about who is a “good catch” and what love is. Many of your values are undoubtedly left over from high school or from growing up with your parents.

Step 7: Once you identify faulty values, discard them. They have become bad emotional habits, so you must challenge them actively in your journal, in discussions with others, and in your everyday life.

Step 8: Redefine what love is all about. Mature love involves not constantly pursuing hard-to-get lovers, but mutual caring, trust, respect, sharing, and commitment. Seek a relationship instead of romance.

Step 9: Be realistic. Change won’t happen overnight. Your body is conditioned to feel turned on only when you feel insecure; otherwise you sexually and romantically shut down. You (and your body) have temporarily lost your capacity to appreciate mutual attachment. It takes time to retrain yourself to respond to new cues.

Step 10: To guide your journey, remain open to your own truth. Being rigorously honest with yourself and significant others helps your higher self to emerge — a higher self no longer stuck in patterns.

Step 11: Take positive risks. Reach out to activities and people beyond your usual circle to practice your hidden interests and capabilities. Become your higher self by sharing your changing values with others.

Step 12: What do you do when you slip back into the pattern? Understand what causes you to be attracted to the unavailable and summon the will to change it.

Why are you love-challenged? Because past heartbreaks have caused your wires to cross. You’ve come to confuse insecurity and longing with love. Your emotional pendulum swings between fear of engulfment and fear of abandonment. Insecurity has become your favorite aphrodisiac. Only you can uncross those wires. Re-examine your values, challenge your old beliefs and relearn how to love.

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

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