UNRESOLVED HEARTBREAK, LOSS AND ABANDONMENT LEAD TO OUTER CHILD PATTERNS: What to do?
Do You Have Abandonment Issues? Do you have love addiction? How do Your Old Abandonment Wounds Lead to Self-sabotage? HELP IS AVAILABLE!
Abandonment has everything to do with Outer Child patterns – how your patterns of self sabotage developed and how to overcome them. That's why we invite you to visit our sister site abandonment.net or the Help Center from that site. 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. Our most most automatic, knee-jerk defense mechanisms, especially the maladaptive ones, are driven by this 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 Outer Child and Abandonment at abandonment.net. Also read Taming Your Outer Child:Overcoming Your Self-Defeating Patterns; Journey from Abandonment to Healing; The Abandonment Recovery Workbook; and Black Swan: 12 Lessons of Abandonment Recovery .
SUSAN ANDERSON'S WORKSHOPS AND GROUPS FOR OVERCOMING ABANDONMENT AND SELF DEFEATING BEHAVIORS
Outer Child groups and workshops gain their depth and dynamic from zeroing in on the issue of abandonment – the source of most self-defeating patterns. Hearbreak, loss, and abandonment left unresolved can lead to self-sabotaging behaviors.
For instance, your Outer Child issues may be driven by love addiction -- a common pattern stemming from unresolved abandonment. Did your breakup leave you addicted to abandonment? Or perhaps the pain and anxiety from unresolved abandonment triggers you to sabotage yourself in other ways like over eating or overshopping or over people pleasing?
The good news: The three self help tools of the Outer Child program bring powerful healing energy to the source of self sabotage -- primal abandonment -- and propel your life forward. Groups help you practice these self help tools in a positive, safe, caring settting -- and motivate you to apply them to your daily life where you see positive change in action. Group support intensifies and enhances recovery through positive peer pressure.
Do you have Love Addiction? Abandonment Addiction? Attracted to the Unavailable? Need an Emotional Challenge? Pursue Hard To Get Lovers? Does this keep you in chronic abandonment?
You’ve heard of food-oholism, work-oholism, shop-oholism and, of course, alcoholism. Now here comes another, most insidious, addictive pattern – abandoholism. Abandoholism is the tendency to become attracted to unavailable partners. Abandoholism is one of Outer Child’s most dastardly patterns, and it is shared by millions. Yes, millions are in chronic heartache.
Abandoholism is similar to the other “oholisms,” but instead of being addicted to a substance, you’re addicted to the emotional drama of heartbreak -- going through a breakup. You pursue hard-to-get partners to keep the romantic intensity going, and to keep your body’s love-chemicals and stress hormones flowing – an intoxicating brew to which you become both physically and emotionally addicted.
INSECURITY IN RELATIONSHIPS -- a sign of love addiction AKA abandoholism
Abandoholism sets in when you’ve been hurt so many times that you’ve come to equate insecurity with love. When your wires get crossed like this, unless you’re pursuing someone you’re insecure about, you don’t feel in love.
Conversely, when someone comes along who wants to be with you, that person’s availability fails to arouse the required level of insecurity. If you can’t feel those yearning, lovesick feelings, then you don’t feel attracted. Your Outer Child has taken hold and got you caught up in a pattern of pursuing unavailable partners. You’ve become neuro-biologically addicted to the high stakes drama of an emotional challenge and the love-chemicals that go with it.
This abandonment compulsion is insidious. You didn’t know it was developing. Until now you didn’t have a name for it: Abandoholism is a new concept.
If you are a hard-core abandoholic, you’re drawn to a kind of love that is highly combustible. The hottest sex is when you’re trying to seduce a hard-to-get lover. Insecurity becomes your favorite aphrodisiac. These intoxicated states are produced when you sense emotional danger – the danger of your lover’s potential to abandon you just when you start to attach.
At the other end of the seesaw, you start to turn off and shut down when you happen to successfully win someone’s love. If your lover succumbs to your charms – heaven forbid – you suddenly feel too comfortable, too sure of him to stay interested. There’s not enough challenge to sustain your sexual energy. You interpret your turn-off as his not being right for you.
If you’re an abandoholic, following your gut is probably what got you into this mess in the first place. Your gut gets you to pursue someone who makes your heart go pitter pat, not because he’s the right one, but because he arouses your subliminal fear of abandonment. And your gut gets you to avoid someone who is truly trustworthy, because he doesn’t press the right insecurity-buttons to create the aphrodisiac.
Enrich your mind. Follow your wisdom. But until you overcome your abandonment compulsion, don’t follow your gut – it will only get you into trouble – because your gut tells you that unavailable people are attractive.
The emotional pendulum swing
Abandoholism is driven by both fear of abandonment and its correlate fear of engulfment.
Fear of abandonment: When you’re attracted to someone, it arouses a fear of losing that person. This fear causes you to become clingy and needy. You try to hide your insecurity, but your desperation shows through, causing your partners to lose romantic interest in you. They sense your emotional suction cups aiming straight toward them and it they run to avoid getting trapped (engulfed).
Fear of engulfment: at the opposite end of the spectrum. It occurs when someone is pursuing you and now you’re the one pulling back. You feel engulfed by that person’s desire to be with you. When fear of engulfment kicks in, your sexual and romantic feelings shut down. You no longer feel the connection. You panic – it’s about your fear of being engulfed by the other person’s emotional expectations of you. You fear that the other person’s feelings will pressure you to abandon other potential romantic options.
Fear of engulfment is one of the most common causes for the demise of new relationships, but it is carefully disguised in excuses like: "He just doesn’t turn me on." Or "I don’t feel any chemistry." Or "S/he’s too nice to hold my interest." Or "I need more of a challenge."
Abandoholics tend to swing back and forth between fear of abandonment and fear of engulfment. You’re either pursuing hard-to-get-lovers, or you’re feeling turned off by someone who IS interested in you.
 Emotional Suction Cups coined by Peter Yelton ACSW
Abandophobics are so afraid of rejection that they avoid relationships altogether.
Abandophobics act out their fear of abandonment by remaining socially isolated, or by appearing to search for someone, when in fact they are pursuing people who are truly unattainable, all to avoid the risk of getting attached to a real prospect – someone who might abandon them sooner or later.
There is a little abandophobism in every abandoholic; the two outer child patterns can be interchangeable.
For both abandoholics and abandophobics, a negative attraction is more compelling than a positive one.
You only feel attracted when you’re in pursuit. You wouldn’t join any club who would have you as a member, so you’re always reaching for someone out of reach.
These patterns may have been cast in childhood. You struggled to get more attention from your parents but you were left feeling unfulfilled, which caused you to doubt your self-worth. Over time, you internalized this craving for approval and you learned to idealize others at your own expense. This became a pattern in your love-relationships.
Now as an adult, you recreate this scenario by giving your love-partners all your power, elevating them above yourself, recreating those old familiar yearnings you grew accustomed to as a child. Feeling emotionally deprived and "less-than" is what you’ve come to expect.
Recent scientific research shows that rather than dissipate, fear tends to incubate, gaining intensity over time. Insecurity increases with each romantic rejection, causing you to look to others for something you’ve become too powerless to give yourself: esteem. When you seek acceptance from a withholding partner, you place yourself in a one-down position, recreating the unequal dynamics you had with your parents or peers. You choreograph this scenario over and over. It becomes a repetition compulsion, otherwise known as an ‘Outer Child Pattern.’
Conversely, you are unable to feel anything when someone freely admires or appreciates you. For more about abandonment, go to www.abandonment.net For more about abandoholism, read Taming Your Outer Child..