Much as its great to be connected to our inner child, having an ‘outer child’ control your life is problematic.. I am not sure if abandonment therapist Susan Anderson is the first person to coin the term but having a look at the Outer Child checklist is enlightening for many of us who are still in the process of emotional arrest and trying to ‘grow ourselves back up’ to use a term coined by therapist and recovering addict, John Lee.
I am still working on my abandonment wounds and fears in close personal relationships, my boundaries still need work and I its taking some time to find mature responses to global emotions that festered and remained unmirrored from childhood.. I found the following item 65 on her 200 point check list interesting. and it resonated for my last relationship :
Outer child has a favourite feeling : anger. In fact, all of the other feelings like sadness, hurt, loneliness, well they all make outer angry. Anger is the outer child’s excuse to act out.
I was thinking that disappointment must be added to that list as well, as when disappointments hit anger can be an avoidance reaction to having to take said disappointment square on the chin and work through associated feelings with out rolling over, collapsing, criticising, shaming or blaming self or others.
Today I was thinking of the expression “to fight fire with fire” for sure sometimes we have to throw off the attacker but sometimes a dose of fire on fire only leads to a massive flare up which only ends with everything getting burnt to ash.. in the end adult containment is what is needed, along with the capacity to hold, non react and process, while looking for a more workable solution… This process is coming for me at age 58 going on 5 or 6 is slow.. but I am grateful for that check list of Anderson’s to get more of a handle when the younger more dysfunctional me has taken control of a painful or difficult situation.