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Taming Your Outer Child: Overcoming Self-Sabotage and Healing from Abandonment

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Take Control of Your Life Chances are, you’ve already had run-ins with your Outer Child — the self-sabotaging, bungling, and impulsive part of your personality. This misguided, hidden nemesis blows your diet, overspends, and ruins your love life. Your Outer Child acts out and fulfills your legitimate childlike needs and wants in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in co Take Control of Your Life Chances are, you’ve already had run-ins with your Outer Child — the self-sabotaging, bungling, and impulsive part of your personality. This misguided, hidden nemesis blows your diet, overspends, and ruins your love life. Your Outer Child acts out and fulfills your legitimate childlike needs and wants in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in counterproductive ways: It goes for immediate gratification and the quick fix in spite of your best-laid plans. Now, in a revolutionary rethinking of the link between emotion and behavior, veteran psychotherapist Susan Anderson offers a three-step program to tame your Outer Child’s destructive behavior. This dynamic, transformational set of strategies — action steps that act like physical therapy for the brain — calms your Inner Child, strengthens your Adult Self, releases you from the self-blame and shame at the root of Outer Child issues, and paves new neural pathways that can lead to more productive behavior. The result is happiness, fulfillment, self-mastery, and self-love.


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Take Control of Your Life Chances are, you’ve already had run-ins with your Outer Child — the self-sabotaging, bungling, and impulsive part of your personality. This misguided, hidden nemesis blows your diet, overspends, and ruins your love life. Your Outer Child acts out and fulfills your legitimate childlike needs and wants in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in co Take Control of Your Life Chances are, you’ve already had run-ins with your Outer Child — the self-sabotaging, bungling, and impulsive part of your personality. This misguided, hidden nemesis blows your diet, overspends, and ruins your love life. Your Outer Child acts out and fulfills your legitimate childlike needs and wants in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in counterproductive ways: It goes for immediate gratification and the quick fix in spite of your best-laid plans. Now, in a revolutionary rethinking of the link between emotion and behavior, veteran psychotherapist Susan Anderson offers a three-step program to tame your Outer Child’s destructive behavior. This dynamic, transformational set of strategies — action steps that act like physical therapy for the brain — calms your Inner Child, strengthens your Adult Self, releases you from the self-blame and shame at the root of Outer Child issues, and paves new neural pathways that can lead to more productive behavior. The result is happiness, fulfillment, self-mastery, and self-love.

30 review for Taming Your Outer Child: Overcoming Self-Sabotage and Healing from Abandonment

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is a great book if you tend to sabotage your own efforts. It puts the "outer" child in his or her place - the part that is still mad about slights from childhood etc...the part that says, I was _____ed in childhood so now I can't______ , or I have a free pass to ______ (put off deadlines, overeat, over drink etc). and says... Outer, I know you mean well and are trying to speak for me, but you are actually messing up the things I want to do, such as getting a job, keeping a partner, being hea This is a great book if you tend to sabotage your own efforts. It puts the "outer" child in his or her place - the part that is still mad about slights from childhood etc...the part that says, I was _____ed in childhood so now I can't______ , or I have a free pass to ______ (put off deadlines, overeat, over drink etc). and says... Outer, I know you mean well and are trying to speak for me, but you are actually messing up the things I want to do, such as getting a job, keeping a partner, being healthy, etc... and then it brings in the "Adult", which, yes, is like the old TA - Parent Adult Child --- but give this book a chance to stand on its own w/o comparing with the old PAC ideas, because they bring in the Adult as a combination of things - both objective and loving - the person in you that can talk to "outer" and say, Look, I am in charge now and I am helping "inner" (your base line inner child that just has needs and is feeling hurt, alone, scared, etc.) to get what s/he needs - your version of help is not what s/he wants so now I am in charge - but I appreciate your energy and all your efforts to stick up for "inner".... and so on... the part that I liked most was the concept of seeing your "inner" you as a child on the corner without a family and then "adopting" her. And talking to her to assure her that you will keep her forever and never abandon her. It explains that each time we overeat, procrastinate, act out and alinate our partners, etc, it is like we have "abandoned" our inner self - let the "outer" child take over, like an unruly older sibling that has no brains but just lashes out trying to stick up for us....

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zooey

    Edit June 2020: Almost one year later and I think it’s unfair to give such an opinionated review while I haven’t worked through the entire book (and to even accuse her for not knowing what’s she doing, I take that back and removed it from the original as it was inappropiate). Still never read the whole thing. Edited original: Don't like how she splits the person into three parts and makes you do dialogues between big and little all the time. Doesn't get to the core. No background theories in why Edit June 2020: Almost one year later and I think it’s unfair to give such an opinionated review while I haven’t worked through the entire book (and to even accuse her for not knowing what’s she doing, I take that back and removed it from the original as it was inappropiate). Still never read the whole thing. Edited original: Don't like how she splits the person into three parts and makes you do dialogues between big and little all the time. Doesn't get to the core. No background theories in why we become self sabotaging and fearing abandonment, which means no opportunities to gain more understanding in our own psyche. Each chapter is short and has no deeper insights provided whatsoever. It feels like she's touching the surface of the problems, advising you how to pull weeds but not roots. If you deal with the problems of self sabotage and fear of abandonment in repetitive compulsion I would advise you to pick up the books Adult Children of Emotionally immature parents by Lindsay C. Gibson and Healing the Child Within by Charles L. Whitfield.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This book introduces you to your Outer Child - that part of you that throws tantrums, reaches for a second cookie, and blames others when things go wrong. Through a series of exercises (visualizing, writing, and dialogues) you get to know your outer child and learn how this part of you prevents you from achieving your goals. You develop empathy for the outer child - it`s only trying to protect you - and learn how to meet its needs and curb its self defeating patterns. The book teaches you how to This book introduces you to your Outer Child - that part of you that throws tantrums, reaches for a second cookie, and blames others when things go wrong. Through a series of exercises (visualizing, writing, and dialogues) you get to know your outer child and learn how this part of you prevents you from achieving your goals. You develop empathy for the outer child - it`s only trying to protect you - and learn how to meet its needs and curb its self defeating patterns. The book teaches you how to apply this to interpersonal relationships as well as to personal achievement goals such as finances, diet, and exercise.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Schulman

    This is by far the most helpful self-help book I've ever read-it's like years of therapy distilled into one program (and I say that as a therapist). It helps supply this missing link between insight and behavior to begin positive change. This is by far the most helpful self-help book I've ever read-it's like years of therapy distilled into one program (and I say that as a therapist). It helps supply this missing link between insight and behavior to begin positive change.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sam Bates

    Great book. I will admit it seems a little hokie to divide yourself into three parts. Inner child, outer child, and adult self, but it truly works and you can dig deep into your feelings and learn how to let you inner child become alive.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie La Bue Robles

    Enjoyed new insights from her research. Never thought about a teenage self that would self-sabotage. Easy to understand writing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    An expansion on the "Journey from Abandonment to Healing" concepts of inner child work that then focuses on the "bratty" outer child. Good activities to help slow down the knee-jerk reactivity of trauma survivors who used overly protective coping techniques that spiraled out of control and grew unwieldy. Great for learning to remove judgement (see above's comment of "bratty") and strengthen ability to redirect unhelpful "outer child" protector parts. Recommend for those with codependency issues, An expansion on the "Journey from Abandonment to Healing" concepts of inner child work that then focuses on the "bratty" outer child. Good activities to help slow down the knee-jerk reactivity of trauma survivors who used overly protective coping techniques that spiraled out of control and grew unwieldy. Great for learning to remove judgement (see above's comment of "bratty") and strengthen ability to redirect unhelpful "outer child" protector parts. Recommend for those with codependency issues, after reading the foundational "Journey..." first.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Wilde

    Transformative. Life-changing. Powerful. At first, writing the dialogues felt hokey, but I found myself having conversations I didn’t even know I was feeling. And getting in touch with how you’re really feeling gives you an opportunity to think of ways to change that and take better care of what you really need in a way that propels you forward instead of stuck. I’m a sucker for self-help and development and this book really felt like something different than others that I’ve read. Highly recomm Transformative. Life-changing. Powerful. At first, writing the dialogues felt hokey, but I found myself having conversations I didn’t even know I was feeling. And getting in touch with how you’re really feeling gives you an opportunity to think of ways to change that and take better care of what you really need in a way that propels you forward instead of stuck. I’m a sucker for self-help and development and this book really felt like something different than others that I’ve read. Highly recommend to people who aspire to be more self-aware and happier individuals. All the heart eyes emojis for this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh Mattern

    If you want to learn how to get out of your own way and learn how to accomplish your goals, this is a great book for you. But first, you're going to have to get comfortable with some exercises that might seem strange, like talking to your inner child and your "outer child." You're probably familiar with the concept of an inner child, the part of you that holds your most basic needs like to be loved and cared for. The outer child is that part of you that wants the pizza anyway, that procrastinate If you want to learn how to get out of your own way and learn how to accomplish your goals, this is a great book for you. But first, you're going to have to get comfortable with some exercises that might seem strange, like talking to your inner child and your "outer child." You're probably familiar with the concept of an inner child, the part of you that holds your most basic needs like to be loved and cared for. The outer child is that part of you that wants the pizza anyway, that procrastinates when you should be working, that eats way too much cake. This book is all about learning to embody your adult self and not let the outer child take control.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adaora Allure

    Many self-help books offer to help us nurture and parent our inner child. Susan Anderson offers very practical insights into how our ever-present Outer Child may be aiding our Adult selves in self-sabotage and hindering us from truly "adulting." Her numerous years of practice make her quite the subject matter expert and readers will surely strike a chord with relatable client testimonies. Tips and techniques abound helping retrain your brain. Many self-help books offer to help us nurture and parent our inner child. Susan Anderson offers very practical insights into how our ever-present Outer Child may be aiding our Adult selves in self-sabotage and hindering us from truly "adulting." Her numerous years of practice make her quite the subject matter expert and readers will surely strike a chord with relatable client testimonies. Tips and techniques abound helping retrain your brain.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susanna Della Penna

    This book was recommended to me. I found it to be mostly common sense.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Connie D

    Up to page 59. Interesting book especially if you're up to journaling through it. Up to page 59. Interesting book especially if you're up to journaling through it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    Oh, bother. This is one of those read it because it is good for you. It was recommended by a friend and indeed she was correct that it was a pertinent read for me. Lots of items to work on.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Taylor

    Definitely had some aha moments while reading this book. Something about the author’s voice annoyed me, but the concepts were useful.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Fatima

    Don’t fall to yourself, or deem yourself incapable. Likewise, don’t assume you are biting off more than you could chew. Just accept the feelings as feelings and push through your fears, get on with your life and have a little faith and some courage. Don’t let outter child use your breakup to gain new ground. Rising to this challenge will do more to promote your emotional growth that avoiding it will. Because while you are avoiding your fears are secretly gaining strength, not melting away. No mat Don’t fall to yourself, or deem yourself incapable. Likewise, don’t assume you are biting off more than you could chew. Just accept the feelings as feelings and push through your fears, get on with your life and have a little faith and some courage. Don’t let outter child use your breakup to gain new ground. Rising to this challenge will do more to promote your emotional growth that avoiding it will. Because while you are avoiding your fears are secretly gaining strength, not melting away. No matter what your outter child is up to, to prevent you from the new relationship, it’s time to stop avoiding, worrying, self-blaming and get your adult-self take the command. Stages of abandonment: shattering, withdrawal, internalizing, rage and lifting

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    If you are familiar with inner child work, Anderson's work adds one more step, which is dealing with the Outer Child. According to Anderson, the Outer Child is the part of ourselves that can sabotage us and prevents us from moving forward, leaving toxic relationships, or fulfilling our dreams. This work reminds me of Parts Work and makes sense, however, the suggestions aren't easy or natural and take time to get used to. I would have given this book more stars but I think the information started If you are familiar with inner child work, Anderson's work adds one more step, which is dealing with the Outer Child. According to Anderson, the Outer Child is the part of ourselves that can sabotage us and prevents us from moving forward, leaving toxic relationships, or fulfilling our dreams. This work reminds me of Parts Work and makes sense, however, the suggestions aren't easy or natural and take time to get used to. I would have given this book more stars but I think the information started to get repetitive and could have been scaled down a bit. Anderson has something here when it comes to self-abandonment, getting in touch with one's feelings, and stopping self-defeating behaviors.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ana Maria

    Some good insights, but hard to slog through and badly written This is essentially my review in a nutshell. It took me an absurdly long time to finish reading this not very long book (a year!) because while the exercises can be helpful, the neuroscience is almost garbage, the prose is eyeroll inducing and not compelling, and the author congratulates herself on her program hundreds of times throughout, making it read like a sales pitch. I picked up a good idea or two but I would like most of that Some good insights, but hard to slog through and badly written This is essentially my review in a nutshell. It took me an absurdly long time to finish reading this not very long book (a year!) because while the exercises can be helpful, the neuroscience is almost garbage, the prose is eyeroll inducing and not compelling, and the author congratulates herself on her program hundreds of times throughout, making it read like a sales pitch. I picked up a good idea or two but I would like most of that time back.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Garrett Rodgers

    Recommended A close friend recommended this book as he claimed it would, "give practical measures to reverse self-destructive behaviors, rather than simply identifying them and their source(s)." I have been in counseling for almost 15 years for depression and anxiety and while it has helped me in a journey of healing and growth, this book quickly closed the gap and eventually surpassed my experiences in dealing with the self-destructive behaviors. It is a marvelous concept and I'm glad I picked th Recommended A close friend recommended this book as he claimed it would, "give practical measures to reverse self-destructive behaviors, rather than simply identifying them and their source(s)." I have been in counseling for almost 15 years for depression and anxiety and while it has helped me in a journey of healing and growth, this book quickly closed the gap and eventually surpassed my experiences in dealing with the self-destructive behaviors. It is a marvelous concept and I'm glad I picked this book up.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Uma Dwivedi

    this book isn’t like, bad. it just doesn’t say anything particularly interesting or new and a lot of it reads like a sales pitch for a particular program so idk. to be fair, i’m also an extremely overcontrolled person, so the advice here about “taming your outer child” wasn’t particularly relevant to me. it was however somewhat helpful for me in thinking about some of my more undercontrolled characters

  20. 5 out of 5

    Geraldine Snell

    Great tools and language for journalling, separation therapy and using the 'outer child' as a helpful scapegoat for most self-sabotaging / gremlin / immature behaviours but sometimes a bit long-winded and repetitious, would have benefitted from exercise checklist at end of each chapter but then I suppose it's not a workbook. Great tools and language for journalling, separation therapy and using the 'outer child' as a helpful scapegoat for most self-sabotaging / gremlin / immature behaviours but sometimes a bit long-winded and repetitious, would have benefitted from exercise checklist at end of each chapter but then I suppose it's not a workbook.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Has some good advice but I wasn't into the writing style. It was a little slow. Has some good advice but I wasn't into the writing style. It was a little slow.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Orlando

    Hokey, but all self help books are

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hanh Nguyen

    This book dives deep in better understanding how our outer child acts out. Fantastic book if you’re looking to better understand your own internal battles and how to work through them.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pria Acharya

    I’ve found this concept to be very helpful for healing, self-development and growth. It’s a significant add-on to needed inner-child work.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nishant Saurabh

    It does help with identification of certain issues, the prognosis is good, but the advice offered is time beaten journalling, visualisation and detachment of self.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tristy at New World Library

    Endorsements: “An enormous help to anyone looking to let go of past disappointments and self-recrimination and get on with the essential work of healing, building boundaries, and acquiring the skill to reach your goals.” — John Bradshaw, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child “With a program designed to undo primal fears, [Anderson] tackles such topics as lowered self-esteem, lovesick feelings, food urges, diet, chronic depression, procrastinatio Endorsements: “An enormous help to anyone looking to let go of past disappointments and self-recrimination and get on with the essential work of healing, building boundaries, and acquiring the skill to reach your goals.” — John Bradshaw, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child “With a program designed to undo primal fears, [Anderson] tackles such topics as lowered self-esteem, lovesick feelings, food urges, diet, chronic depression, procrastination, heartache, and a primary source of conflict with relationships, ‘enormous emotional suction cups.’ She also examines brain activity and factors preventing the body's production of such ‘yummy neurochemicals’ as oxytocin and vasopressin....[R]eaders under stress who are desperate for help will view this book as a valuable tool for healing.” — Publishers Weekly “Groundbreaking.” — PsychologyToday.com “Shows that self-defeating behavior can be changed without in-depth examination and resolution....A helpful scenario, requiring determination and commitment, for dealing with difficult issues. This will appeal to readers seeking change.” — Library Journal “The outer child is a bratty, angry drama queen who is responsible for unhealthful and unwanted behavior, according to the book. Anderson's three-prong outer child recovery program consists of dialoguing, guided visualization and action steps. The second half of the book addresses special applications for the program, such as dieting, procrastination, debt and depression.” — The Washington Post

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leah Whitehorse

    Possibly one of the best personal development books I have ever read. I had so many 'aha' moments as I worked through the various sections and absorbed the author's wisdom and experience. The exercises are cumulative and set a foundation stone for continuing work. I've recommended this book to so many friends and clients. Possibly one of the best personal development books I have ever read. I had so many 'aha' moments as I worked through the various sections and absorbed the author's wisdom and experience. The exercises are cumulative and set a foundation stone for continuing work. I've recommended this book to so many friends and clients.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrienne

    I found some interesting tips like the one about visualization. This book is suitable for those who have a lot of emotional turmoil. It tackles a lot of heavy issues.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patty

    I won't rate this book, because I didn't read very much of it. I don't remember why. I won't rate this book, because I didn't read very much of it. I don't remember why.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jaret Manuel

    Very repetitive but there are powerful writing aspects.

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