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Susan Anderson - Taming Your Outer Child

We all have 3 psychological parts of ourselves that come up at different points:

Inner Child - This is our authentic-selves, our feelings, core needs, ability to celebrate, etc. A 4-year-old doesn't have all of the filters in-place yet and will be honest about exactly what they think/feel. It's the part of us that many abandon and ignore due to messages learned growing up from stories of being harmed. At the core of this model is the idea we all learn that we are not enough, we don't measure up, and we learn that we have to hustle for our self-worth.

Outer Child - We all have behaviors at times that don't serve us or work for us. We self-sabotage, get reactionary, lash out in anger, are perfectionistic, want quick fixes, become defensive, become a master of disguise, etc. It's a mentality of scarcity even if things are abundant.

Adult-Self - The responsible part of ourselves that pays the mortgage, goes to work, takes care of what needs to be done. Growing up, our parents ideally would offer support, care, comfort, empathy, responding to the child's needs etc. This adult part can become disconnected from the inner child and not tend to core needs. A lot of us find ourselves in therapy when the outer child is driving the car and taking us in directions we don't want to go in. The goal is to begin to operate out of abundance toward ourselves instead of out of blame/negative energy.

There is a useful writing exercise that can be used to start to connect the Adult and Child parts. Begin by grabbing a notepad and writing out a conversation/dialogue between Adult you and Child you. The idea here is to start with Adult you and your dominant hand, ask the Child how he/she is. Then switch hands and write out a response with your non-dominant hand. Then go back and forth between the two hands (Adult and Child). The goal is to spend time engaging both parts of yourself as if they were different people starting a new relationship. What would your inner child say to Adult you if he/she were allowed to really say what the core feeling is?

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