Friday, February 10, 2012

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy: Endings

I feel surprisingly better today. Warning: Super long post today. I’m venting.

Without further ado… I am well and thoroughly done with Friend and his wife. I know I came to this conclusion last week, and I meant that, but I had planned on just sort of letting it fade off into nothingness. Yeah, so in actuality I ended up slamming the door shut on it. I was done, but I hadn’t told him that, and was still open to the idea of discussing what the problems were. I got myself back into a more emotionally reasonable place, not hyper emotional, not dissociated and detached, just sort of normal. I explained with greater accuracy how I felt last year, that I’d been healing all this time and that I had needed certain boundaries in our friendship. I have absolutely no impulse control when it comes to physical contact. In the moment all I know is that it feels good and I want to feel good, however the emotional attachments I have to that kind of physical affection are not healthy when I’m trying to focus on simply friendship and not dredge up past romantic feelings. By not allowing physical contact for the last 4 or 5 months in our friendship I was really coming to a better place and was happy with the direction things were going. The last time I was over I was actually in a very good place mentally and emotionally, and relaxed enough to kick back with Friend on the couch. Of course, you may remember, that as soon as I did this he began massaging my feet and my calves and running his hands up and down my legs all the way up past my knees. This is what triggered my emotional flip out on him. I explained that. In just about those term. These are boundaries I need and I needed him to not cross them.  At the end I also told him that I have a hard time talking about things like this, because I’m afraid that if I express my emotional needs, people will judge me poorly and leave me. I have a lot of abandonment trauma so it’s difficult for me to place myself into an emotionally vulnerable position with people.

So what did he respond with?

For the last year you let me believe things were ok. You came over, you hung out, we talked all the time. You even seemed to be getting along just fine with [the wife]. I didn't assume you were close to her but you seemed to like talking and were friendly to her. But then I find out it was all a lie.

I'm hurt and, honestly, confused. Right now my main thought is, it shouldn't be this hard to be friends with someone. I shouldn't have to feel like I'm constantly walking on eggshells and dancing around issues I wasn't even told existed.
I need time, and I need space to sort things out. We aren't healthy for one another and I don't know if we ever will be.  Please don't contact me anymore.
-Friend-

Who wants to guess how I felt after that? Pissed. The Fuck. Off. Of course I didn’t listen to him either. I did reply pretty impulsively but if anyone has ever seen me ticked off before, my clarity of mind is really pretty astounding. Here’s what I wrote if you’re interested…


Tell yourself whatever you need to in order to make yourself feel better.

I told you quite a long time ago how I felt about your wife. In fact I think I still have that conversation. At this time last year I told you how hurt I was {by what happened}. That I still wanted you in my life, but that I wasn't dumping my emotional turmoil on you, wasn't a lie, it was a lack of trust in our friendship and something I chose to work on in therapy instead. It was very personal grief that I do not feel comfortable sharing with people.  You like to push away uncomfortable things, but that doesn't mean you weren't informed.

You're right, it shouldn't be so hard. It's been very difficult for me for the entire last year and yet I continued to give you and your wife a chance. I felt this was worth it even though you hurt me terribly.  I was civil and acted like an adult, instead of crying over something that I knew couldn't be changed, nor wanted to change after some time had passed and was healing. Most of the time I did enjoy hanging out with you, I did enjoy your company. We had fun and shared a lot of good times.  Life throws hurdles at people, I was dealing with them for the whole of last year, making things work and healing. You can't seem to be presented with them for even a couple weeks without fleeing.

My first letter was letting go of feelings that I had a long time ago. I haven't constantly held onto these feelings, but when you triggered me with your actions the last time I was over, they did come flooding back. It was time for me to deal with them, with you, now that I thought we were in a stable place and I have been in a better place mentally. I needed to let those go in order to move back into a place that was ok.

After everything we've been through and been there for each other with, I get one half assed e-mail and an "I can't deal with the consequences of my actions so please don't make me face myself" letter? I'm sorry I ever loved  you. I'm sorry I trusted you. I'm sorry that I cared so much about our friendship that I put my feelings aside in order to continue being friends with you. All while I actually made an effort to bring myself to a place where I could truly appreciate what we had again. Progress that I was making beautifully, btw, for the last 4 or 5 months now.

Grief over the loss of an intimate connection is a natural and painful human experience. I'm sorry that I couldn't get over mine on a time table that was more acceptable to you. I am allowed to grieve. I am allowed to be in pain. I was well and truly healing from these things. You triggered me, I decided it was finally time to get this out of my system, so that we could deal with it and avoid it happening again in the future. I have every right to talk when I am ready to talk. And not before.

That I didn't tell you every emotion that was going through my mind at every moment was not a lie. That was my business. Business that you did not have any right to. What goes on with me, is my privilege to tell people. You have no entitlement to my thoughts or emotions. It's not a lie, to not trust someone with vulnerable feelings because they've proven that they cannot be trusted to care for you. I may have still been hurting at points, but that never changed the fact that I still valued our friendship.  I would not have bothered to bring any of this up, I would have simply walked away, if I didn't feel there was some value left in this. Being friends, I believed that if I told you about my issues, you would be willing to talk to me about them and work through them. Clearly I overestimated you.

Trying to turn this around on me, and make it my fault, is passive-aggressive and abusive. That is not ok and frankly I'm disgusted. I have had enough abusive people in my life and I didn't expect that of you.

You don't usually walk away from people? I've seen you do nothing but this over and over. I suppose I shouldn't expect you to treat me any better.

"Don't contact me again". Please learn to be an adult and handle your problems directly instead of constantly running away from them. The passive aggressive facebooking is unnecessary as well.
I think you've well and truly proved the kind of person you are at this point. My taste in people is tragic. My problem is I believe people. I give people too much of a chance. I hear what people say and give them the benefit of the doubt that they can actually be the kind of person they say they are. Except people rarely have even a mildly accurate picture of themselves. They glorify themselves in their own mind and then can't deal with reality when it shows them the truth in their own mirror. I know I have problems, I know I'm far from a perfect person, I know I make mistakes, but at least I'm not afraid to face them, or myself.

I'm sorry I wasted so much of my life believing you were someone you are not.

Good-bye

Anyways. So it didn’t end how I was expecting it to, but after the initial shock of it I feel better. Therapist was shocked at his response considering how I described him so highly. I think my idealization phase is over. The man is a coward. Whenever life throws anything even remotely difficult into his path, his solution is to turn tail and run away until the problem disappears. Therapist was proud of me for my final response to him though. I sent it to Roommate as well and, having much the same experience with him, thought it was well stated. I put up with a lot. A LOT. Of peoples bullshit. Once I’m done though. I’m done. And I don’t hold back.
Therapist wishes that he could have shown more emotional maturity instead of running away from his feelings. She thinks his reaction to what I’ve written him is because it forces him to face aspects of himself that he tries to deny. He likes to tell himself and others that he has this crazy code of honor and duty. Except that only applies when things are taking care of themselves. Honor comes from doing the right thing, even when it’s difficult to do. Which he apparently isn’t capable of.  He wants to believe things of himself, but I very clearly showed him how he is not these things by the way he acts and by the way he’s treated me. 
She also thinks that he was afraid I would walk away so was trying to be the one that left first. Hah, sorry buddy. Too late.
She’s worried that I’ll personalize this. How do I not personalize this? I was good enough to fuck. Good enough to play around with when times were good and good enough to take care of everything he needed when he needed something because his wife sure wasn’t going to do it for him. But when I needed something in order to fix a problem, sorry, that’s too much trouble. Friendship? Doesn’t sound like it.
She thinks that I may have overloaded his senses. He may be reacting defensively and lashing out, but in time he may revisit my words and realize the reality of the situation and hopefully offer an apology. I certainly hope not. She thinks it would have been better had he said he needed time to process everything but would get back to me in a month or two when he had time to really process. I think that would have been worse. The uncertainty, the guessing, that’s the bad part. When I don’t have a solid answer, that’s when I can’t stop the ruminations. No thanks. Even if he’d wanted to take his time, I don’t need to hold out hope for something that hasn’t been good for me. A solid decision is better for me. Plus, the longer we don’t talk, the more of a stranger he’ll feel to me. He already feels like someone I barely know. He’s a familiar face and name but I don’t have any feelings directly attached to our interactions. Not right now. And the longer he’s out of my life, the harder it’s going to be for me to remember why I cared in the first place. There’s a reason a lack of object constancy is a defense mechanism.
Also, the very last thing I said in my previous letter was essentially, “You know I have abandonment trauma, this is the worst thing that could possibly happen”. Ok, I’d already made the decision to leave so this may have been a bit manipulative on my part because I did want to see how he’d react. I was honestly expecting some kind of discussion because previously he’d said he wanted to work on things. I wasn’t expecting: This is too much effort, good-bye. Asshat. So when Therapist thinks he may eventually come back around and offer an apology, all I have to say to that is ‘fuck you’. This was a deliberate statement of “I want to hurt you”.  There is no coming back from that.
None of it matters anyways. Therapist kept asking me how I feel. I don’t. All she would do is nod. This is how I deal with abandonment. I shut down. I retreat to a place inside to protect myself from the pain. This is something I should have done a long time ago though. I’ve been on the verge of walking away from this friendship so many times but letting go is terrifying. Sometimes having painful conversations, getting awful responses, is the best thing that can happen. It made it very easy for me to let go and now I don’t have to waver between figuring out if I should stay or if I should go.
"Jerk" = proof of emotional restraint.
I played the “I hate [how] you [treat me], I can’t leave” game with him for a really long time. The contradiction there is what drives me to madness. Passing into, “I hate you, get the fuck out of my life”… feels much better. There’s no discrepant emotions there.
I spent so much time, so much money, doing stuff for them. Therapist kept trying to get me to remember the good aspects of our friendship; the things I can positively take away. I don’t want to remember the good things right now. Right now I want to be angry.
In retrospect I do realize this is me only seeing him in a solid black light, but it’s emotionally less painful to do so. When I’ve had a little time to process things I’ll start trying to remember the good things and see if I can actually remember the positive emotions associated with that. Attempt to not split this thing up? Right now, I just can’t. Remembering that someone else has their good qualities too, makes me think about how I wasn’t good enough for them. It makes me focus on what is so bad about me that they could let go so easily. Angry is better. Black is better. For now.
I’m getting the urge to move my life again. I figure when it comes time that I decide I can’t live in New York anymore it’ll be one less tie binding me here. The people here are just, shitty. Roommate is a really decent person. I know they exist, but the shear number of people here just makes it hard to weed through the douchebags. I get so tired of trying with people. All I want, is some reciprocity. Is it really too much to ask that someone care about me in a way that is comparable to how I care about them?

Therapy last night was a lot of me being very pissed off, gnashing my teeth, and wiping my hands of stupid people forever. Ya know what, letting go isn’t that scary after all. At least not in this case. Being full of rage probably helps.
I went home after therapy and made Tech-Boy a strawberry-rhubarb pie (his favorite). It’s his birthday tomorrow =) The plan is to go out of state. We shall see, we shall see. He was surprisingly receptive to the whole debacle this week. I mean, I toned it down and didn’t get into a ton of detail because that’s a long ass story. But when I thanked him for listening he just smiled and quoted somebody that said “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason… because listening is twice as important.” Or something along those lines. He also didn’t try to “fix” the problem. Just let me talk.
I feel relieved.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ruminations

Whirring. Whirring. Whirringwhirringwirring. Round and round we go. I can’t get these thoughts  out of my head. I keep replaying scenes, scenarios, and situations over and over. Each time slightly different. Events tweaked ever so slightly creating wildly differing outcomes. None of them are any good though. They’re all unhappy. At worst they are emotionally vulnerable and devastating. At best they are angry. Very angry. These run away thoughts can spiral me down into an even deeper depression than I’m already in. They can also work me up into a rage-tastic frenzy.
A thousand thoughts going in a million different directions at approximately the speed of light, all at the same time.
I’m talking about mental ruminations. I have no idea why I do this. I have no idea why I can’t control this. The harder I try to focus on something else, the more rebellious my brain tries to be.  Thoughts of walking to the corner store for an ice cream run me straight into some situation of insanity walking into me, out the door, and confrontation abounds.  I beat myself up as I beat in someone’s face and dig my own mental grave either way.
Ruminations are a way of responding to distress. They’re composed entirely of repetitive thoughts that only focus on that distress; the causes and the potential consequences.
Usually my ruminations are far worse than anything that happens in reality. They’re destructive fantasies that bully their way into the forefront of my mind. I know these things will never happen, but the emotional connection created by them is very real. And very unhealthy. They make me doubt myself. They make me see ulterior motives in the people around me. They make me paranoid.
Not only is there a monster under my bed, but it’s plotting with my best friend behind my back, has an uzi stock pile and is holding my cat hostage. All I wanted was to have a polite conversation~
This is something I’ve always done. Ever since I was young.
Rumination is more common in people who are pessimistic, neurotic, and who have negative attributional styles. The tendency to ruminate is a stable constant over time and serves as a significant risk factor for clinical depression. Not only are habitual ruminators more likely to become depressed, but experimental studies have demonstrated that people who are induced to ruminate experience greater depressed mood. There is also evidence that rumination is linked to general anxiety, post traumatic stress, binge drinking, eating disorders, and self-injurious behavior.
Thanks, Wikipedia! You’ve just described a good chunk of my existence. Ick.
With all the repressed emotions and pent up resentment that I’ve been harboring towards Friend and his wife, and my attempt to actually talk about this with him, I’ve been unable to stop the mental tailspin.
Generally I have two ways of dealing with this. 1. If the thoughts make me depressed, I drink. I know it’s self-medicating and unhealthy, but I NEED my mind to slow down. 2. If the thoughts make me angry, I run. I lace up my awesome bright orange Saucony’s and hit the treadmill. This is constructive and a healthy way to release my emotions. I prefer the angry ruminations. They make me feel stronger. They charge me up. They fuel my desire to make things better. The depressing ones just make me sad and I have a much harder time getting unstuck when I’m mired in a thick grey cloud of depression.
Fortunately I recognize that these thoughts aren’t actually based in reality. I may have a mental fight with Friend, but it’s not one we’ve actually had so I don’t interact with him as if it is. This hasn’t always been the case. Especially if I’m paranoid and second guessing someone’s motivations with me. It’ll make me withdraw. Or trip my hair line trigger of a temper just a bit quicker. I’m prepped and ready to react already before something has even happened. That sucks. It’s not good for anyone.
It helps for me to write them down. To see where my mind is going, get it out, and let them go. The more important the situation is, the more emotionally charged, the harder it is to release though. And right now, I’m pretty charged.
It makes it so hard to focus. Concentration is nonexistent. I feel useless.
There has to be a better way. I’ll look into and let you know what I find.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Letters

Hello Dear Readers,

Today I don’t have it in me to write. As prepared as you can be for some things in life, it never seems like you can be prepared enough. Heartbreak never gets easier.

Fortunately, I would like to introduce you to a very dear friend that does have it in her to write. Who, in fact, has written an incredibly moving novella that she would like to share with you. The novella is Letters from a Bipolar Mother by Alyssa Reyans. Her story is compelling and extremely relevant to those of us that have struggled with mental illness. Your story may not be the same, but the emotion she describes might be familiar.

The first novella in the series, Letters of a Bipolar Mother, deals with mental illness and depression. I explore in depth what I experienced during my psychotic break and share the aftermath which led to my being separated from my children.

I know how difficult it can be to live inside an all-consuming darkness. I wanted to give a voice to those who have not only survived depression, mental illness, and abuse, but also let them know they are not alone. The only way the stigma of mental illness can be removed is by people coming forward and talking about it. I hope by sharing my experiences I am able to help others.

Today and tomorrow she is promoting her book and would like to offer this tale to you FREE of charge, downloadable from Amazon.  < ----- Just click on that link. I encourage you to support her.

Love,
Haven

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Recognizing The Outer Child

While I’m talking about The Journey from Abandonment to Healing by Susan Anderson, a while back I talked about the Outer Child. Her book specifically focuses on abandonment trauma, not necessarily Borderline Personality Disorder, but as most of us have clear abandonment issues I think it’s very applicable. She hypothesizes that we have 3 parts to our personality: The Adult Self, The Inner Child, and The Outer Child. The Adult Self is that rational, functional human being that we strive for as a healthy person. The Inner Child is the vulnerable part of you that needs to be nurtured and cared for. Now, Outer Child is a little devil. I mentioned before:


Outer Child acts out your inner child's feelings - especially your abandonment feelings - without giving you, the adult, a chance to intervene. When you feel hurt, angry, or insecure, Outer acts out these feelings in ways that sabotage your relationships. Outer works like a bungling undercover agent in trying to protect (overprotect) you from abandonment. Stealthy, quick, and misguided, it intercepts love before you ever know what happened.

We all have ways of feeling about certain things that happen in our lives. These feelings often correlate to very distinct behavior, and often those behaviors are destructive. That’s the Outer Child taking over. Learning to recognize the behaviors of our individual Outer Child is one way to increase our Self-Awareness. When we understand the behaviors that come with this part of our Self that acts out, it’s easier to mitigate these behaviors and choose a healthier way to respond to situations. Even if it’s just to take a step back and not react at all.

So what does the behavior of the Outer Child look like? Here’s an inventory of 100 things that Outer Child might do, think, or feel. It’s not complete because everyone is different, but you should get the idea and begin to form a clearer picture of what your own Outer Child looks like.


1.       Outer child is selfish, controlling, self-centered part of all of us.

2.       Outer child encompasses all of the outward signs of the inner child’s vulnerability – all of the scars, the warts, the defenses that show on the outside.

3.       Outer child is developmentally around seven or eight. Self-centeredness is age appropriate for the outer child.

4.       Outer child wears many disguises, especially in public. Since other people’s out children are usually well hidden, you may think you are the only one with an outer child.

5.       Outer child is the hidden Chuckie of the personality. Even the nicest people we know can act like a seven-year-old with a full blown behavior disorder when they feel threatened enough.

6.       Outer child is developmentally old enough to have its own little executive ego (much to our chagrin). It’s old enough to forcefully exercise its will be not old enough to understand the rights and feelings of others. (Inner child isn’t old enough to have its own ego, so it has to appropriate ours).

7.       Outer child steps right in and takes over, even if we had every intention of handling a particular situation in a mature, adult manner. Outer child handles things is own way, leaving us holding the bag.  

8.       Outer child can dominate your personality if you’ve had a history of repeated abandonments. Many abandonment survivors of childhood are mostly outer child.

9.       Outer child throws temper tantrums and goes off on tirades if it feels criticized, rejected, or abandoned. If Outer seems emotionally disturbed, it’s because of what you’ve been through. Don’t blame your outer child – it doesn’t react well to blame.

10.   Outer child takes revenge against the self. It sees itself apart from self and creates a schism between Big (Adult self) and Little (Inner Child) whenever an opening presents itself.

11.   Outer child likes to blame its faults on your mate. It tries to get you to imagine that your unacceptable traits belong to your mate.

12.   Outer child doesn’t like to do things that are good for you.

13.   Outer child would rather do something that will make you fat or broke rather than thin or fiscally responsible.

14.   Outer child is a hedonist.

15.   Outer child talks about your friends behind their backs.

16.   Outer child thrives on chaos, crisis, and drama.

17.   Outer child enjoys playing the victim.

18.   Outer child distracts you when you’re trying to concentrate.

19.   Outer child loves to play martyr.

20.   Outer child is a world-class procrastinator.

21.   Outer child makes huge messes that take forever to clean up.

22.   Outer child makes you late for appointments.

23.   Outer child loses things and blames it on others.

24.   Outer child can find an excuse for anything.

25.   Outer child tries to look cool and makes you look foolish.

26.   Outer child is the yes but of the personality.

27.   Outer child is reactive rather than active or reflective. – I am much less reactive now. At least in behavior. The feelings are often still there but I am getting better at controlling the manifestation of them.

28.   Outer child explodes when it encounters difficulties with its own abilities.

29.   Outer child can never be wrong.

30.   Outer child hates asking for help. It’s stubborn, ornery, blind and pigheaded.

31.   Outer child acts like a tyrant but is secretly a coward, afraid to assert its needs.

32.   Outer child acts gracious when a friend steps on one of your toes and then holds onto the anger for the next twenty years.

33.   Outer child specializes in blame; if it has an uncomfortable feeling, somebody must be at fault.

34.   Outer child uses crying as a manipulation.

35.   Outer child criticizes others to keep the heat of itself.

36.   Outer child has a phony laugh to cover up stray feelings.

37.   Outer child acts on its own, rather than consulting us, the adult.

38.   Outer child needs total control to avoid having to feel inner child’s feelings, especially hurt, loneliness, disappointment, or loss.

39.   Outer child can’t stand waiting, especially for a significant other to return your call.

40.   Outer child doesn’t form relationships – it takes emotional hostages.

41.   Outer child doesn’t like to show its vulnerability; it keeps it injuries hidden. -- !!!!!!!!

42.   Outer child will demand, defy, deceive, ignore, balk, manipulate, seduce, pout, whine, and retaliate to gets its needs for acceptance and approval met. It doesn’t see this as a contradiction.

43.   Outer child has a favorite feeling: anger. In fact, outer child’s only feeling is anger. – Anger is my deadly sin.

44.   Outer child has a hole in its pocket when it comes to either anger or money. Both must be spent right away and damn the consequences!

45.   Outer child wants what it wants immediately. Yesterday.

46.   Outer child wants to get right in the middle of things when you try to start a new relationship. It becomes more reactive, more demanding, more needy than ever before.

47.   Outer child may be found in our mates. Sometimes we marry a person who can act out our own outer child wishes. Hopefully, our mate’s outer child doesn’t act out against us.

48.   Outer child may be found in our children’s behavior. When we get into power struggles with one of our real children, we find ourselves battling our own outer child. Sometimes we secretly encourage or real children to fulfill our outer child needs. They act out the anger we don’t want to own.

49.   Outer child goes off on a rampage if it detects even the subtlest signs of abandonment. This leaves Little in jeopardy, unprotected.

50.   Outer child strives for its own self-interest while pretending to protect Little. But your outer child wants one thing only: control.

51.   Outer child is a people-pleaser with ulterior motives. It will give others the shirt off your back. And what have you got to show for it? Nothing. You’re left cold and naked.

52.   Outer child is not old enough to care about others. Only you, the adult, can do that.

53.   Outer child tests the people it looks to for security – to the limits.

54.   Outer child tests new significant others with emotional games. Its favorite is playing hard to get.

55.   Outer child can be very cunning, putting its best foot forward when pursuing a new partner. It can act the picture of altruism, decency, kindness, and tolerance.

56.   Outer child can also be seductive, funny, charming, and full of life. When it succeeds in catching its prey, it suddenly becomes cold, critical, unloving, and sexually withholding. Outer child makes us pity the person willing to love us.

57.   Outer child is the addict, the alcoholic, the one who runs up your credit cards and breaks your diet.

58.   Outer child enjoys breaking rules. Your best friends may have very dominant outer children living within. Their rebelliousness might be what you enjoy most about them.

59.   Outer child actively ignores you, the adult, especially when you try to tell it what to do.  Outer child just goes right on doing what it wants to do. – 99% of the time I can look at my life situations, logically reason my way through the best decisions and courses of action to take, and then with full knowledge of what is best for me, go right ahead and do what I know is bad for me anyways because it’s what feels good in the moment. I do this All. The. Time.

60.   Outer child strives for independence. Maybe someday your outer child will become independent enough to leave home, but don’t count on it.

61.   Outer child gains strength during dormant periods. Then, when you feel vulnerable, your outer child acts out, jeopardizing the new relationship.

62.   Outer child tries to defeat the task of intimacy, which is to get your inner child to become friends with your mate’s inner child. Intimacy is when you nurture each other’s inner child and don’t take each other’s outer child too personally.

63.   Outer child loves to hook up with your mate’s outer child. They instantly get into power struggles. It is futile to try to control each other’s outer children. Your best bet is to find something for your outer children to do other than interfere in the relationship. If you can’t ignore them, send them out to play.

64.   Outer child has enough vanity and pride to try to conquer an emotionally dangerous love, one who is potentially rejecting, distancing, and abandoning.

65.   Outer child thinks emotionally unavailable people are sexy. – This is beyond true for me. It’s almost romantic law.

66.   Outer child is attracted to form rather than substance.

67.   Outer child wants what it wants – emotional candy. This goes against what’s good for Little, who needs someone capable of giving love, nurturance, and commitment.

68.   Outer Child seeks all the wrong people. It can’t resist a lover who won’t commit. – On some level this seems safer because there’s no real threat of true intimacy.

69.   Outer child refuses to learn from mistakes. It insists upon doing the same things over and over.

70.   Outer child developed during the rage phase of old abandonments when there was no one available to mitigate your pain.

71.   Outer child becomes most powerful when Big and Little are out of alignment.

72.   Outer child believes laws and ethics are for everyone else.

73.   Outer child obeys rules only to avoid getting caught.

74.   Outer child can dish it out but can’t take it.

75.   Outer child can be holier than thou.

76.   Outer child loves chocolate and convinces you that it’s good for your heart.

77.   Outer child beats up on other people’s inner children – especially the inner child of a significant other.

78.   Outer child bullies its own inner child. -- Big Time. I’m much worse to myself than I am to anyone else.

79.   Outer child tries to get self-esteem by proxy by chasing after someone who has a higher social status.

80.   Outer child can deliver a subtle but powerful blow if it perceives a social slight, no matter how small.

81.   Outer child covers up in public. Some people are better able to hide their outer child than others. Of course, some outer children are easier to hide than others.

82.   Outer child can’t hide from your closest family members: they know. That is what intimacy is all about: the exposure of your outer children.

83.   Outer child can express anger by becoming passive. A favorite disguise is compliance. Outer child uses compliance to confuse others into thinking that it doesn’t want control. But don’t be fooled; outer child is a control freak.

84.   Outer child finds someone to take for granted and treats them badly without having to fear rejection.

85.   Outer child expects new significant others to compensate it for all of the hurts and betrayals inflicted by old relationships dating all the way back to childhood. – This is one I have to think about. I never thought about this before but something in there rings true.

86.   Outer child protests against anything that reminds it of being on the rock (abandoned).

87.   Outer child refuses to stay on the rock. Unlike Little, Outer climbs down, picks up a hatchet, and goes on the warpath.

88.   Outer child has a chip on its shoulder, which it disguises as assertiveness.

89.   Outer child is like the annoying older brother who constantly interferes in the guise of protecting you.

90.   Outer child doesn’t obey the golden rule.

91.   Outer child obeys its own outer child rule: Get others to treat you as you want to be treated, and treat others as you feel like treating them. -- For me the opposite is true. I treat people exactly like I wish they would treat me, in hopes that they will treat me that way, but I always choose the wrong people, the emotionally unavailable people, to do this for. This results in hurtful resentment more often than not.

92.   Outer child needs to be disciplined, but don’t expect limit-setting to go smoothly.

93.   Outer child provokes anger in subtle ways, then accuses others of being abusive. Outer loves to play the indignant injured party. (Gaslighting).

94.   Outer child submits so it can seethe at being dominated.

95.   Outer child knows how to wear the white hat (play the good guy).

96.   Outer child is master at making the other person look like the bad guy.

97.   Outer child behavior ranges from mild self-sabotage all the way to criminal destructiveness.

98.   Outer child can gain control so early; the individual doesn’t develop any true empathy or compassion for himself or others. The extreme outer child is a sociopath.

99.   Outer child needs to be understood, owned, and overruled by an airtight coalition between the inner child and the adult.

100.                        Outer child holds the key to change. Inner child beholds our emotional truth, but can’t change. When you catch your outer child red-handed, wrest the key from its hands and unlock your future.

From here it’s possible to separate feelings from behavior. People often use feelings as an excuse for unacceptable behavior, but the truth of the matter is, these behaviors are almost never ok.


I’ve highlighted in green some of the Outer Child behaviors and thoughts I’ve recognized in myself over the years. They don’t all apply anymore, but I’ve noticed them at one point or another. Which ones do you see most strongly in yourself?


*Both my Inner and Outer Children like a lot of colors =P

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