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Author Topic: Discussion What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?

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Discussion What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
OP: February 18, 2019, 07:52:42 AM
When we first come here the first thing we are told to do is ‘DETACH!’

Huh???  This word was too much for me.  It was too theoretical, too enormous and beyond my confused and distraught mind to comprehend.  Apparently, it was the go-to tool for my survival.  OK...  What is it and where do I get it?  Amazon?  Costco?  A self help book?   I got there in the end but I sorely wished there were some practical guidelines to start me off. 

Though not many are as slow and confused as I was at the beginning, I do see some newbies struggling to understand what and how of Detachment. 

Maybe we could first share what Detachment means for us personally?
After that, we could talk about what we did in practical terms to gain detachment. 

I will start.
I have the following definition saved in my MLC library.  It helped me understand the meaning of the word.

Emotional detachment is a decision to avoid engaging emotional connections, rather than an inability or difficulty in doing so.  In this sense it can allow people to maintain boundaries, psychic integrity and avoid undesired impact by or upon others, related to emotional demands.  As such, it is a deliberate mental attitude which avoids engaging the emotions of others.

This detachment does not necessarily mean avoiding empathy; rather it allows the person space needed to rationally choose whether or not to be overwhelmed or manipulated by such feelings.




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« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 07:55:28 AM by Acorn »
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#1: February 18, 2019, 08:06:44 AM
Fake it until you make it.

Detachment is like an onion it has different layers and you keep peeling them back until you get to the center.
That can take quite a long time to be honest.

Detachment is related to the Gift Of Time because it takes lots of it.

Keep the discussion going!!
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#2: February 18, 2019, 08:13:41 AM
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You cannot will yourself to detach, which is why I find the advice to detach so discouraging. Detaching is something that will happen to you eventually without you trying, not something you do. I'd rather people be told that detachment is a state you will eventually reach and it will bring you relief once you do. Otherwise you are just frustrating people and making them feel like failures because they will NOT detach quickly in most cases. I've reached that state but even now I cannot tell you how or when, just that it's a destination you reach, not a process you must follow to get there. Therefore, I think that I would have to disagree with that definition you posted above because it seems to suggest that it is something you can turn on and off like a light switch.
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« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 08:16:25 AM by GonerinGhana »

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#3: February 18, 2019, 08:25:03 AM
...it's a destination you reach, not a process you must follow to get there.

And I don't see it as either/or. It is a destination we reach, yes, AND there is a process. Or, rather, there is a *practice*.

Like OP said, the "fake it until we make it" is the way toward the destination. In the beginning, while we are still in unbelievable pain, we need to start displaying a detached demeanor toward the MLCer. Eventually, our inner state aligns with the action we have been taking.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#4: February 18, 2019, 08:25:09 AM
You cannot will yourself to detach

I respectfully beg to differ, Goner.  I had nothing but my ‘will’ to detach to start off with.  I wanted to detach, I looked for the meaning and the ways to do it, worked hard with whatever I thought would help me, and I was able to detach.

If people feel like failures when they remain firmly bondaged to their MLCer’s emotional state, that is one way of looking at it.  It would be more beneficial to see the attached state as ‘I have more work to do in the Detachment department’ and try to focus on it more. 

I don’t think detachment falls into our lap.  TIME may eventually help dull our attachment but we need detachment sooner than that.

Anyway, I would like to focus on eveyone’s interpretation of Detachment, not if it is possible to attain it or if it is under our control.   I personally think is IS possible to attain and it IS under my control.  After all, detachment is a state of MY mind and it is under my auspices.

This discussion is on the premise that we CAN attain detachment. 

Fake it until we make it it’s one of the ‘how’.
Shall we talk about what ‘detachment’ means, first? 
O boy, do I sounds like a school ma’am!  But, we have to have some order and coherence, no?

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« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 08:29:26 AM by Acorn »
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#5: February 18, 2019, 08:34:28 AM
Very timely given the recent squall about me lol.

I found I DID detached things in order to be less exposed to things that kept me attached. So, yes, a bit fake it until you make it. That is still probably the best I can do...and it took me ages to do that. I kept hoping the normal version of my h would reappear for the longest time, even if it was a version that didn't want to be married to me!

Like you I wanted (eventually) to detach bc the situation was damaging me too much and achieving nothing that I could see.

Doing detached, and limiting things like contact and shopping etc, does reduce the number of connecting threads. So do things like getting divorced, selling houses, throwing stuff away, taking rings off. Tbh, I am not sure I will ever be completely emotionally detached from someone I loved for 20 years but I can make detached decisions regardless of how I feel and that seems good enough. I genuinely have no idea of how I would feel or react were my xh to ever reappear or want anything from me, but as that is not a challenge that seems likely from what I can see, i don't spend time thinking about it.

For me the essence of detachment is two things:
- accepting my xh's right to make his own choices and life path even if I don't like them
- being able to make decisions without being inappropriately skewed by focusing on someone else
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« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 08:38:58 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#6: February 18, 2019, 08:56:58 AM
Acorn, this isn't really answering your questions but this is something I found from Hazelden's recovery blog and thought this may help people to understand why it's important to detach with love. 
This was written with alcoholics and drug addicts in mind but I think it's very helpful for MLCer's various addictions as well. 

1. Detachment lets fresh air into your relationship. If you’re involved with an addict, chances are your relationship has become unhealthy. In our efforts to rescue our loved ones from their self-destructive choices, we often resort to nagging, scolding, crying, threatening, shaming, or other damaging behaviors that create conflict and tension. All that stress gives addicts one more reason to use – one more excuse for turning to substances to cope.

2. Detachment allows addicts to face consequences of their choices. Wouldn’t it be great if we could learn important life lessons simply by being warned about negative consequences? If that were the case, we’d all make fewer mistakes and have fewer regrets to look back on. Unfortunately, most of us have to learn through experience, which means facing the consequences of our choices. That includes addicts. To fully comprehend the negative effects that substances have on their lives, they have to suffer the consequences of their choices.

3. Detachment saves addicts from the harmful effects of enabling.  Enabling means doing for others what they could and should be doing for themselves. When we try to solve their problems and soften the pain that addiction is causing them, we’re preventing our addicted loved ones from taking a crucial step towards maturity: facing problems and learning from success and failure. When we enable, we keep our loved ones perpetually dependent and immature.

4. Detachment empowers the addict to behave like an adult. Addicts tend to get stuck at the age they were when they started using. That’s because addiction limits their exposure to the kinds of experiences that promote emotional growth: preparing for a career, finding a job, forming meaningful relationships, developing a moral belief system, and becoming financially self-supporting. When we detach with love, our addicted loved ones have the opportunity to look inside themselves to develop the resources they need to build satisfying lives.

5. Detachment allows addicts to experience the satisfaction that comes from personal accomplishment. Sometimes, when we solve problems and find solutions for our addicted loved ones, things turn out well. The problem is, it’s our accomplishment, not theirs. They don’t get to experience the satisfaction and build the self-esteem that come from knowing they did it on their own.

6. Detachment deprives addicts of a convenient scapegoat when things go wrong. Sometimes, when we solve problems and find solutions for our addicted loved ones, things go wrong. When that happens, our addicted loved ones can point the finger of blame at us: “This is your fault. You set this up and now look what happened.” Even if it’s the addicts who turned a wonderful opportunity into a disastrous mess, our involvement makes us the target of their anger and disappointment. Instead of looking at their own role in the outcome and learning from the experience, they look at us.

7. Detachment reduces the shame our addicted loved ones feel about themselves. Most addicts don’t like themselves very much. On some level, they know they’re messing up their lives, but they don’t know how to stop. Their sense of shame grows deeper every time they see us look at them with disapproval, every time they disappoint us. Shame is one of those damaging emotions that can keep addicts stuck. One way we can stop contributing to their shame is by detaching from our expectations of them and allowing them to find their own way.
 
8. Detachment is an expression of love. Far from being a selfish act or an act of giving up, detachment can be a powerful expression of love. When we detach with love, we are expressing our belief in our addicted loved ones. We’re saying: “I believe you have the inner strength and intelligence to handle this yourself. I believe you’re going to find your way through this.” What could be more loving than that?
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#7: February 18, 2019, 09:25:33 AM
I tried the fake it til you make it early on because everyone was implying that things will get better if you just detach.

My H totally saw through it and even called me on it. That's when I realized you simply can't fake it or will it. Or maybe he just knows me too well. But anyway, it made me feel a bit silly.

It was only when I truly detached without trying to detach that he sat up and took serious notice and started to shape up.

And anyway, I think you would agree that being ourselves is for the best. And i think whatever level of detachment we are at is where we are at and our spouses just have to accept that because they created the situation we are in. There's only so much self-control one can have with an MLCer's antics.

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« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 09:29:41 AM by GonerinGhana »

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#8: February 18, 2019, 09:29:23 AM
Thank you, everyone, for your comments.
Thunder brought up another point to discuss.  Now we have 3 points.

In summary, these are the questions we are dealing with in regards to Detachment.

1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?  (In your own words or a quote that best describes your thoughts)
2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?
3. What positives did Detachment bring you? (Prompted by Thunder.  Thank you!)





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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#9: February 18, 2019, 09:32:34 AM
This is good advice on a really important topic that I learned far too late.  I tried , but in reality was so attached and dependent I couldn’t even truly understand what detachment felt like at a gut level.  Trauma makes the whole thing worse because it’s effects are so destabilising.  I read that therapists sometimes suspect the betrayed has traits of borderline personality disorder because  the effects of ptsd mimic the disorder.  I am sure I displayed them.  I was utterly traumatised and my functioning was compromised.  It still is to an extent.

I certainly couldn’t will it.  I could will myself not to text or call, but that’s barely a baby step and is to do with action not emotion.  .  It took a physical move away from the city we lived in for me to achieve a real measure of detachment, and I took another leap when I filed for divorce, which was hard for me, but I felt that I had no choice if I was to regain self respect.  I’ve written before that a MC couple I saw suggested it was time  I ‘take back my power’ for my own sake.  I’ve improved further since and I believe I still have a way to go.

My therapist said she think I will probably consider H to be my H for the rest of my life - even if I were to meet someone else.  That’s quite a sobering prospect, but its implications ring true for me at this point, even though I will be divorced within the next few months. 

My university  tutor on my psychotherapy  course said he is an advocate for divorce in such cases.  We didn’t discuss why as I had just said that, for me, symbolically,  I had to be divorced if H insisted on still seeing an ow.  He just agreed with me, but I’m guessing, if I were to ask him, that he might say that for someone like me , it is difficult, in psychological terms, to become autonomous to any real degree  while still married to a currently unfaithful spouse , even if in name only.  And autonomy is another word for detachment really
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#10: February 18, 2019, 09:34:40 AM
Oops I posted before Acorn’s summary - but I’ve kind of covered her points.  I think detachment is the ability to live one’s own life and before and after d day, a lot of us have become not-so-good at that.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#11: February 18, 2019, 09:36:16 AM
I just recalled an incident that sums up what detachment means for me. I went back and found the post where I talked about it from late 2017. Here's the relevant part. I recall at the time I was washing dishes and I continued to wash dishes and barely even turn my head to look at him through the whole encounter:

Quote
MIL had a new chicken coop built. In the evening I told him I didn't like it.

The next day he tried provoking me in about 2 or 3 different ways, and failed to get a rise out of me. So he came and shouted at me, "If you don't like the chicken coop, you can leave!" I said, "Why would I leave? I mean it's not like I am living in the chicken coop." He said, "I told you before, leave!" I just burst out laughing and he left the room frustrated.

As an aside, he tore down the NEW chicken coop and built a better, bigger one last year. At one point he threatened to make me live in it.  :D
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#12: February 18, 2019, 09:55:25 AM
My very first lesson in detachment was perhaps the hardest in the first couple of months when I thought 'all' I was dealing with was a h who was severely depressed.
My then h was telling me frequently that he was self harming and suicidal. No one else would believe me and he was then living 150 miles away and would not talk to me f2f.

I still remember how hard it was to accept that if he made that choice, and I had done everything practical I could to encourage him to get the help he needed, there really was nothing I could do. And I needed to let that sink in to my bones.
Ironically my mother was also threatening to kill herself at the same time. For about a month I felt
like an amateur offshoot of Samaritans   ::)
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#13: February 18, 2019, 10:15:30 AM
It's an interesting question you ask, Acorn.

I think developing detachment was completely central for me. But it was something I was actually schooled in as a child - one of the oddly mixed blessings of growing up Hindu and collectivist, perhaps? I heard it so often: "Put your heart and soul into your own effort, then let go! Don't get attached to results!" "That's not your room - it's A room, and you don't get to bar the door." "I'm just my soul, my body is a set of clothes that I'll have to change someday."  Developing object permanence is not easy to do when your mom informs you your books, toys and clothes will of course go to the next younger cousin as soon as you grow, so don't get so attached to your things...

I had forgotten about all that. Naturally got attached to my things as an adult. Got attached to the people in my life. Got probably unhealthily attached to my H.

I remember, in the stupor of my H's MLC, foggily reawakening to those memories. Remembering how to let go. Going back to a place where there was not one thing in this world that I actually needed (OK food and shelter, but this house? You can take it, I'll be fine. That plate? You can smash it, your problem not mine. You leave me? I may want you, but I don't need you). I could offer help to my drowning H, but I couldn't control the result; it was never in my hands. So step back and let it unfold. Strangely empowering, like Marie Kondo-ing my life. I still have whispers of that feeling now, even after my H is back and my world isn't under active threat. Makes me hard to shake, I think. Or maybe just my give-a-firetruck-o-meter is broken.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#14: February 18, 2019, 10:31:13 AM
What a great way of looking at it, Osb.
I found my knee jerk reaction after losing both my parents and my h was that things carried huge significance for me..sometimes quite small things that smelt of them or had their handwriting on it....I held on to the things bc the people were lost and it felt unbearable.

I notice now that I have a quietly growing wish to have less, to slough off some of that skin and some of my old life with it. Hmm...Marie-Kondoing ones life is an interesting idea...I wonder if that is like another kind of Detachment from our old life or our ego maybe?
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#15: February 18, 2019, 10:46:30 AM
To be very honest...….I don't think I'm fully detached.
Maybe it takes longer for some people and others not so much.
I believe it does take will and effort and some sense of unlearning since......most human beings are conditioned and programmed to not detach.



However the true detachment that’s inspired by Zen Buddhism means deep involvement in life – because there is a lack of attachment to the outcome.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#16: February 18, 2019, 10:49:43 AM
Treasur, I remember my grandfather used to ask me sternly, if ever I expressed a desire for something (ice cream? a necklace? a ride on a pony?), "Do you need that? Or do you just want that?"  And if I could prove that yes, I did actually need that, then we'd happily go off and get it (usually books - to him, those were ideas, and you can never have too many ideas).

My grandfather is long gone, but I thought about that question a lot during my H's MLC. And also as we reconciled (do I need this marriage? Do I want it? Or just want to not feel shame at its passing?). Decided in the end that I'd rather be with my H because I want him, than because I need to be married (or need my H). But that took a lot of Marie Kondo-ing, and hard grandfather questions inside my head.
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"You have a right to action, not to the fruit thereof; shoot your arrow, but do not look to see where it lands."  -Bhagavad Gita

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#17: February 18, 2019, 11:11:18 AM
I suppose the Marie Kondo bit is also about Joy though isn't it? Often lost for a while as LBS and so important to reclaim. Some artist said, not sure who, maybe William Morris, that outpr homes should only contain things that we need functionally or that are beautiful....bit the same principle I guess.

I find books hard to give away...my then h did too...but with the advent of Kindle, I have fewer but the ones I do have matter a great deal. Ideas are definitely better than a pony  :)
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« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 11:12:58 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#18: February 18, 2019, 02:54:32 PM
Detachment was kind of elusive in the beginning. It was a very strange concept for me - I just couldn't understand what it meant.

As time went on and I failed to detach (or at least, I couldn't see it), I found that I was learning to get out of the way of hurt. I learnt to look the other way, I learnt to hide myself when h. was around, I learnt not to ask questions of my children when they came back from being with him and gradually, very gradually I managed a kind of detachment.

Nowadays, I see detachment more objectively - when my s25 was born, he was in hospital for heart surgery and I observed the doctors and nurses dealing with him. I now know that they were detached, they were doing their jobs without attachment. Once my son showed that he was going to make it, I observed these professionals soften towards my son, they would stop by his incubator and touch him, they would smile at me when I sang to him and explain the procedures. A doctor told me on one of the last days that the distance (detachment) I observed was very necessary for them in the beginning because they needed to do their best to save him but they could not get involved emotionally with a baby they weren't sure was going to make it.

So, I see detachment as letting go of the emotions, owning my own emotions and allowing others to own theirs, whether it be anger, sadness, frustration, despair...When I need a time out, I go to my safe place and deal with what is bothering me, sorting through what belongs to me and what does not.

I am, by nature, a private person and I think this helps me - I am also a conflict avoider, so I let go easier ;)

I probably will never totally detach from my beloved, however, I leave him be and I am fully aware that he has to work things out himself. If I help him, it is because he has asked and I am able to help not because I feel obliged to. I am not a fixer anymore and that is the best thing that has come out of detachment.
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« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 02:56:07 PM by Mitzpah »
M 61
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S 31
D 28
BD 13 Dec 2010
Divorced 27 Feb 2015 (30 years marriage)

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#19: February 18, 2019, 03:01:13 PM
1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?  (In your own words or a quote that best describes your thoughts)
2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?
3. What positives did Detachment bring you? (Prompted by Thunder.  Thank you!)

1 - No longer be dragged into the MLCers emotional issues and other issues concerning the MLCer. Live my own life. Detachment means peace and quiet to me.

2 - I start by cutting contact with Mr J, getting further and further away from his and his MLC. Think my detachement come from it.

3 - Many. Peace, quietness, space, freedom, joy. Not having to deal with a crazy MLCer, not caring for the crazy MLCer.   
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#20: February 19, 2019, 01:40:39 AM
1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?  (In your own words or a quote that best describes your thoughts)
2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?
3. What positives did Detachment bring you? (Prompted by Thunder.  Thank you!)

1 - Letting be, then letting go (of lots of things not just my h or my m)

2 - stopped asking someone who didn't want to talk (about anything) to me to do so which reduced my contact with whatever was going on in his head or life

3 - a clearer unfogged view of my own wood and trees, the beginning of peace.

For me, limiting contact and now NC was essential to trying to detach at all. I think I was just too enmeshed with my h as part of who I was and my perspective on my own life and his contribution to my own trauma.  Difficult to do though when the divorce process and unravelling the practicalities required some level of exchange and decision making by both of us that affected our individual lives. And the crazy wasn't going to stop unless I did go NC (bc it wasn't my crazy)  and I wasn't able to be emotionally detached enough to simply not care about the crazy.

Did NC/limited contact help others detach or not?
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« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 01:43:57 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#21: February 19, 2019, 02:24:11 AM
I really like and understood what thunder wrote.   take mlc out of it.  look just at the addict.   you do everything you possibly can for the addict then one day you realize you can not help them.   it may take awhile , it may take you doing everything you possibly can for the addict until you realize you can not do one thing.  it may take months or years to reach this point . but when you have had enough there is nothing left to do  but detach. you have to let them go. I did this with my d27. I think the major difference is the addict of a drug is a drug not a human such as ow.   one who can talk and manipulate with actions.   thats the part that is the hardest because we try to beat that other human(ow)  with our reasoning to an mlcer . and it doesn't work.  a drug does not walk and talk in the real sense of a human.  i sometimes think if my h was just a coke addict , i know it would be easier to let him go and hit bottom but when its a ow it makes you feel rejected and not good enough . you feel in competition. you can't compete with coke.


   i hope this makes sense.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#22: February 19, 2019, 06:47:03 AM
Many of you generously shared your thoughts on Detachment.  Thank you!
I really like the format that Anjae and Tresur used to answer the questions succinctly.
You could either follow that format or share your flow of consciousness with everyone.

Just to reiterate the questions re Detachment:

1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?  (In your own words or a quote that best describes your thoughts)

2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?

3. What positives did Detachment bring you? (Prompted by Thunder.  Thank you!)

What do you think?  Please share!
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#23: February 19, 2019, 07:09:48 AM
OK - this May will be 10 years since bomb drop. and 7 years since my divorce  was final.

From BD to divorce I was posting on DB and then here.
I thought I was detached as that was the advice I was given.
I had pretty much limited contact with my STBX,
I thought I was detached BUT after my divorce was final I
had major physical issues.
My head was spinning with dizziness and I was not happy.
I could not continue to live with these issues.

I think this was the start of a new level of detachment that was deeper inside the onion layers.

So nothing I DID exactly but as more time went by I accepted my situation and the dizziness started to subside and
the stress was starting to go away.

I think Admiral Stockdales quote is a good one here
Quote
In a business book by James C. Collins called Good to Great, Collins writes about a conversation he had with Stockdale regarding his coping strategy during his period in the Vietnamese POW camp.[20]

I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.[21]

When Collins asked who didn't make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied:

Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.[21]

Stockdale then added:

This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be

So if you replace POW with LBS/MLC you end up with the same advice.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#24: February 19, 2019, 07:58:04 AM
KB, I understand what you are saying about the addiction being a person, but honestly I see no difference.

What ever the addict is addicted to there is still nothing you can do to help them, so detaching is still the wise thing to do.

Yes a person can influence them with words but I feel coke can influence just as easily.
It's the high the addict is after, doesn't matter who or what it is, you can't compete with it.

They have to deal with their addiction on their own.  Addicts are weak.  Until they reach their rock bottom they will keep being influences.  But they are still 100% responsible for their action.

He will have to be the one to decide to kick his addiction (ow).  You know this has nothing to do with you, right?  It really has nothing to do with her either.

In the case of the alcoholic, they have a disease.  In MLC they do not have a disease, they are just screwed up in the head.  Not a thing you can do to help him or change him, except let go and detach as much as you can.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#25: February 19, 2019, 10:53:45 AM
This isn't about detachment, so sorry to detour, but I am always confused about addiction to a person.  I get the high of infatuation and how at first they feel a sort of euphoria. And as much as we don't want to admit it, those are real feelings.  But then after time passes, does it get to the point where they despise the person but can't stop being with them?  I mean, that's what addicts and alcoholics say, at first they liked getting drunk or high because it made them feel better.  But after a while, they grew to despise the alcohol or the drugs and knew they were really hurting them but they couldn't stop.

So it would make sense that the MLCer would grow to truly despise the OP but for some reason not be able to leave them.  I have a hard time believing that for some reason though.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#26: February 19, 2019, 12:06:56 PM
1.
My goal of detachment:  To lift myself up and find a calm place where my wife’s spinning life could be observed, but not felt.

2.
No contact for 5 weeks followed a couple of months later with a journey of mourning the person she was thru travel to places of importance in our life together.  At each spot I spent enough time to lock in those wonderful memories and feelings.  Before leaving each place I took whatever time was needed to mourn her as if she had died.

3.
I am calm when I see her/them.  I am able to listen to her with little to no jealousy, pain or anger and speak freely, kindly, but freely with her about what she is doing and going thru. Detachment is allowing me to get back to the person I was and at times I even notice a better me shining thru the clouds.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#27: February 19, 2019, 12:46:11 PM
This may look a little different for those of us with live-in wallowers. It's kind of hard to get to "not my circus - not my monkeys" when you're living in the big tent. But I think OP is right - it's a matter of layers.

1. What does Detachment mean for you personally? 
It's a method for preserving my own mental health and staying out of the way so my W can (eventually) resolve her own crisis.

2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?
a. Realize that this is not a problem I can fix
b. Learning to trust in God (I'm a slow learner)
c. Worked on my own hobbies and physical health.

3. What positives did Detachment bring you?
a. Better mental, physical and emotional health.
b. More control - I'm not as tossed around by every wave of W's crisis.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#28: February 19, 2019, 01:13:32 PM
This isn't about detachment, so sorry to detour, but I am always confused about addiction to a person.  I get the high of infatuation and how at first they feel a sort of euphoria. And as much as we don't want to admit it, those are real feelings.  But then after time passes, does it get to the point where they despise the person but can't stop being with them?  I mean, that's what addicts and alcoholics say, at first they liked getting drunk or high because it made them feel better.  But after a while, they grew to despise the alcohol or the drugs and knew they were really hurting them but they couldn't stop.

So it would make sense that the MLCer would grow to truly despise the OP but for some reason not be able to leave them.  I have a hard time believing that for some reason though.

I’m  not sure how it feels.  I don’t have addictions to substances , except maybe Cadbury’s chocolate - and I don’t despise it; if I eat a whole Family bar I’m more likely to despise myself. 

Process addictions were explained to me as triggers.  So I decide to shop on Saturday.  The purchase is the least of the addiction.  The pleasure starts with deciding where I will go.  What I want; what shops I will Visit.  I look through brochures or websites.  These all are addictive actions and bring anticipatory pleasure.  .  The final purchase is not the point of it all. 

I think addictions to people are probably a bit different again.  I imagine it feels a bit like being with friends and finding myself drawn into conversations and activities that I’m not proud of: gossiping maybe, or vandalism or whatever.  .  It isn’t the persons fault because I joined in willingly, but I know it is t good for me and I don’t like myself much  afterwards and I vow not to do that again.  But somehow I do.

I must agree though Nas, chocolate aside, I simply don’t get the kind of pleasure from any of these things which would make me go back again and again and destroy my life for their sake.  I remember that well after his affair stopped being physical, I found an email from my H to his ow who had found another older man.  The email was infantile.  Utterly unbelievable.  He was mortified as I tried to understand what it was he got from an email exchange which seemed to be written by twelve year olds.  It wasn’t even explicit although it tried to be sexy.  He hung his head and said “ you wouldn’t understand.  You wouldn’t do it”.  I think things really work differently in their minds.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#29: February 19, 2019, 01:36:53 PM
I continue to learn from everyone’s post.  Thank you...  I hope others, especially newbies, find the discussion helpful. 

May I encourage you to continue to share you thoughts on those 3 questions re Detachment? 

I found this observation helpful.  Detachment: not to be attached to an outcome. 

Perhaps we could discuss what ‘outcome’ menas for LBS and how attached we are to them.  Well, that’s after we’ve put some effort into answering the 3!

OP, I find your quote thought provoking - Have faith that you will prevail, but with reality in mind. 
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#30: February 19, 2019, 02:10:19 PM
This isn't about detachment, so sorry to detour, but I am always confused about addiction to a person.  I get the high of infatuation and how at first they feel a sort of euphoria. And as much as we don't want to admit it, those are real feelings.  But then after time passes, does it get to the point where they despise the person but can't stop being with them?  I mean, that's what addicts and alcoholics say, at first they liked getting drunk or high because it made them feel better.  But after a while, they grew to despise the alcohol or the drugs and knew they were really hurting them but they couldn't stop.

So it would make sense that the MLCer would grow to truly despise the OP but for some reason not be able to leave them.  I have a hard time believing that for some reason though.

I think you're not addicted to the substance per se. You're addicted to how it makes you feel. Or not feel. And then you reinforce that with habitual behaviour, so the anticipation that Nerissa talks about. And then with a substance it becomes a physical addiction. But, from friends I know who are recovering addicts, they have all said the physical addiction was surprisingly easy to break. It was the habits and the psychological one that was tough...andvwhen they stopped using, they still had to tackle the issue that underlay the addiction need in the first place.

So I suppose with a person, you could grow to despise them or even hate them as a 'weakness' but your struggle would be about how it made you feel or what you got to avoid feeling. Breaking it would be a dual challenge. Plus the shame of the addiction too I guess.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#31: February 19, 2019, 02:24:24 PM
For me, what took a good while for detachment to start was that Mr J was a super clinger and tried all he could to be close including causing all sorts of problems, including legal ones.

Like Treasur said, it is hard to detach when we are in the middle of things.

I never tried to help him. From the start I told him there was nothing I could do for him. I really couldn't. Mr J had a level of MLC insanity that left it clear nothing I would do would work.

The drug of a MLCer often is not OW/OM, but their MLC lifestyle. That is the case for Mr J. It is his djing/clubbing/MLC lifstyle that is the drug and supply the high. He has many adoring fans that keep the addiction running.

Of course OW was hurtfult and a problem, especially OW2 who took care of the legalities for him. He had a bit of a high with OW1, but it didn't last. OW2 was never much of a high, more the knightess in shinning armour rescuing the poor broken MLCer.


The addiction is usually to what the substance makes a person feel. Or better, to the chemicals released and targeted as well as the changes provoked by those. In the case of heroin the susbstance has severe body consequences making its withdrawal very taxing physically (as well as emotionally and at brain level).

Addiction doesn't just target the brain, it can target the body/parts of the body. We have neurons other than in the brain, we have glands other than in the brain, etc. It can become a real complicated mess.

With OW/OM, the addiction could come, for example, from arguments. Or, while the affair is secret or recently in the open, the chemical cocktail that comes with it. Later on, something else could be leading the addiction. A MLCer could grow to despise OW/OM and stay with them. Some may, and some may not. Think about non-MLC dysfunctional relationships. People can stay in those for many years. I think it is similar with MLCer and alienator.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#32: February 19, 2019, 02:42:54 PM
Very good answer, Anjae.

It does explain why they stay with the alienators long after it makes no sense.

I do think their low self esteem also plays a role in it.  They may feel, after all the destruction they have caused this is all they deserve.  They lack the energy and courage it takes to make things right, it's just easier to stay.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#33: February 20, 2019, 02:38:27 AM
My point thunder was it takes a while to detach. While my d was using , i did try to help her in many different ways. tough love, all love , truth darts, encouraging words and on and on. I finally had to LET HER GO. that is what i am saying in this mlc stuff. It takes a while , but detachment is there.
I myself be in recovering , did continue to drink even though i loathed it and hated my life. It took by bottom to be an emotional breakdown.  So i do believe mlcer continue even though they may hate their life and despise ow/om.  They are very fearful of change.  I was for sure. I was so afraid I was going to fail at sobriety.
any how my point again is that it takes a while to detach from an addict. you and everyone else can see that their life is going downhill and damaging but an addict will continue to lower their bottom with justifications and lies in their head. saying things like "well i still
 have this or that".   or " I'm not that bad"  and the ow /om also agrees with the mlcer . So when most people may think or say you are ruining your life and the ow man is still putting them on a pedestal  , How does an addiction to a person end?
where as an addiction to an actual drug can't put that mlcer on a pedestal. its all in the mind of an addict.  the person is real . making real statements and comments.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#34: February 20, 2019, 02:40:44 AM
So to make this strictly about detachment
 When you ACCEPT  that you can do NOTHING  for the addict/ mlcer is when you will begin to detach . in my opinion.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#35: February 20, 2019, 03:04:15 AM
It's a reminder too isn't it that understanding WHY someone is an addict is useless while they are still addicted? Accepting that they are an addict, with the full standard bag of addict behaviours, and letting them go is hard but all you can do.

Understanding their perspective on WHY - or indeed them hearing yours - is probably only relevant if you have some active involvement in supporting their recovery. And if they are in recovery and want your support. Pretty similar to what we hear from those who are reconnecting/reconciling.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#36: February 20, 2019, 04:28:26 AM
They are very fearful of change.  I was for sure. I was so afraid I was going to fail at sobriety.

Interesting. MLCers were not fearful of change when they left and changed everything. They were very much looking for it. It took Mr J four or three months since he got involved with OW1 to leave and less to get involved with her. I have what they wrote to each other while he was still home. Here and there he hesitate, but he carried on, left, has been on his MLC for over a decade.

If it was so easy and took him such a short time to throw away twenty years, it should be easier to throw away less than twenty years. Or at least, as easy.

Think OW2 is no more. And has been no more for a few months. For Mr J it is his djing and MLC fans who put in on a pedestal. There are thousands of them. Those people like photos of him drunk on the floor, etc. However, people far more famous than Mr J, with millions of fans, left their addiction/crazy life behind. His problem is, I think, he never went that down. He manages to function.

What would MLCers be afraid to fail at? Leading a similar life to the one they lead before?

I do know it is easier, and faster, to fall into addiction than to come out of it. But MLCers do seem to have a very easy time getting rid of their previous life.

There is as much as we can do for a MLCer as for an addict. Nothing. At least not until they are ready to really start to change.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#37: February 20, 2019, 09:41:11 AM
Not fearful of leaving..... that's when the addiction (replay starts) the fun, excitement 
   its the coming out of it that  is hard.  when you are close to bottom    or at bottom   that's when the fear comes in .    or is it just easier to continue the addiction life then do the hard work    hope that makes better sense
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#38: February 20, 2019, 10:03:18 AM
That's exactly what I said, KB.

They have to have the courage to want to change, without it a lot of them just stay because it's easier.
Convenient.  No real work to do, and with your XH he also knows he doesn't want to get sober.  At least not yet.

He knows he would need to quit using if he came back home or it would never work.  It would be detrimental to your sobriety, which I am so proud of you for.
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"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#39: February 20, 2019, 10:45:57 AM
When you ACCEPT  that you can do NOTHING  for the addict/ mlcer is when you will begin to detach . in my opinion.

This is what it means to me too. Of course, I am trying to not only detach from my MLCer H, but also the life we shared. In a way, that has been the bigger challenge for me. There have been may times when I am actually grateful H is not in my life now b/c he is such a mess. But then I will hear about an event he was at with OW, and it brings me down, thinking that should have been me. So, do I really miss H? Or the life? I think I need a clean break form both in order to detach. To say goodbye to that life that I am no longer invited to be a part of. And for me, that has been much more difficult than just letting H go. If he went away, moved out of town, and I never had to hear of his comings and goings, I do believe my life would be better right now. But that is my issue to overcome. Not his. When I can hear of him being somewhere without me, and I have no positive or negative feelings about that, that is when I will be detached.

Now....when that will happen, who knows. That is where the "What are you doing in order to detach" question comes up. For that, I just say, focus on my S, focus on my career and slap myself upside the head whenever I start monkey braining about H and his shiny new life.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#40: February 20, 2019, 05:29:22 PM
Not fearful of leaving..... that's when the addiction (replay starts) the fun, excitement 
   its the coming out of it that  is hard.  when you are close to bottom    or at bottom   that's when the fear comes in .    or is it just easier to continue the addiction life then do the hard work    hope that makes better sense

It does.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#41: February 22, 2019, 02:30:46 PM
Great topic!! And one that should hopefully be helpful for newbies. I'm only 18 months in but I no longer consider myself a newbie  :)  I have learnt so much over the past few months!!

1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?
  To me detachment is pretty similar to the definition in Acorn's first post. It's about creating the space to be able to react rationally to other people's feelings and emotions rather than being derailed by them. It's to be able to observe other people's emotions and feelings without feeling the need to fix them or change them.

2. What did you do to gain a measure of it? This was very hard but essentially I convinced myself that my H REALLY REALLY wanted me to let him go and the most loving thing I could do was to respect his wishes, despite being completely contrary to what I wanted.. I resigned myself to the idea that I couldn't stop him or his crisis and I couldn't make him love me again.. So I set him free, I stopped contacting him unless it was completely necessary and I asked him to do the same. I always kept the contact cordial, light and friendly but he wanted me out of his life so that's what I gave him. It's still a struggle at times but it gets easier as time goes by.

3. What positives did Detachment bring you? An enormous amount of peace! It was liberating.. It really did show me that staying away from the roller-coaster meant I could start picking up the pieces of my life and start getting things under control... even enjoy some aspects of my life. I'm not indifferent to H's crisis, I have a lot of empathy, love and compassion for him but I don't necessarily do anything about it. It made me understand the concept of being the lighthouse. 

I think detachment has to be a conscious effort. It's about choosing not to engage in the emotional drama of the MLCer.. At the beginning it's impossible but as we start understanding MLC and all the behaviors that come with it, we can start learning to take a deep breath and not let it get to us (Easier said than done but practice, practice, practice)

I think it's easier to detach with certain type of MLCers though.. If you have a live-in or a clinging boomerang, the constant contact will probably delay the detachment process.. I have neither, my wallower completely withdrew from me, I could see he was conflicted only on occasion so that made my detachment a lot easier.
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H gets engaged with OW - Oct 2019
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H marries OW - March 2021.. We are not divorced!
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#42: February 22, 2019, 03:25:42 PM
Great thread Acorn, thank you.

I would like to put a 'like' on One day at a time's response because I agree with everything she said.

1) From your first post I also felt drawn to;
This detachment does not necessarily mean avoiding empathy; rather it allows the person space needed to rationally choose whether or not to be overwhelmed or manipulated by such feelings.
Maybe this is also what Treasur means when she talks of seeing her own wood/trees.

2) I have slowly learnt to accept that this is H's journey and there is no 'better' way toward enlightenment.  My alcoholic yoga teacher (sober 25 years) is a living example of the fact that the road to personal freedom is sometimes really ugly.  In seeking detachment I have chosen to attend Al-Anon, see an IC and read.  My new fave book is "Women who love too much". HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

3) I have gained a measure of peace and self love too.  I now also realise that I display 'isms' too and that Al-Anon is a good place for me to be.  Many of us are fixers from way back.  What are we avoiding looking at in ourselves that makes it easy to focus so much on our MLCers.  This is our opportunity to indulge in some brave introspection. My AA friend told me that they used to love the night when the Al-Anon meeting was held next door because they always brought great food!!
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#43: February 23, 2019, 02:58:11 PM
Thank you, everyone, for your comments.
Thunder brought up another point to discuss.  Now we have 3 points.

In summary, these are the questions we are dealing with in regards to Detachment.

1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?  (In your own words or a quote that best describes your thoughts)
2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?
3. What positives did Detachment bring you? (Prompted by Thunder.  Thank you!)

What does Detachment mean for you personally?
Here is the definition I wrote

Quote from: Detachment by RCR
Detachment
An emotional level wherein your emotions are no longer intertwined with someone else's emotions and actions; it is a detachment from the ego and its emotional reactions and not a disconnection from the core person within. It creates a gap between the emotions of individuals, thereby allowing the freedom to release to and embrace one's emotions without concern of the effect on others, or without feeling guilty for someone else's reaction. Detachment returns power to each personal core.
I have always known there are problems with that definition even though it rings true for me. It often feels too academic or clinical and thus may be difficult for many to understand.
Acorn, I love the definition you use, what is your source/where did you find it? It feels like mine, but seems easier to understand.

Emotional detachment is a decision to avoid engaging emotional connections, rather than an inability or difficulty in doing so.  In this sense it can allow people to maintain boundaries, psychic integrity and avoid undesired impact by or upon others, related to emotional demands.  As such, it is a deliberate mental attitude which avoids engaging the emotions of others.

This detachment does not necessarily mean avoiding empathy; rather it allows the person space needed to rationally choose whether or not to be overwhelmed or manipulated by such feelings.

What did you do to gain a measure of it?
Yoga
Meditation
Prayer
Hypnotherapy—specifically requested detachment
Chose Peace
Chose Joy
Acceptance of MLC
Not something I did, but something that helped… I had a firm belief in the outcome from my Knowing and could thus let go of wondering what was going to happen to my marriage. The challenge was not knowing how or when!
I also did focus a lot on my MLCer. His being a Clinging Boomerang probably enabled that, but I deliberately focused on him and/or on MLC, struggling with many of my actions as feeling right for me even though they were not what I would recommend for others. Do what I say and not what I do did not feel fair when I was advising!

What positives did Detachment bring you?
Let me wander for a minute…
Yesterday I was thinking of my best friend Lingy—okay, I think of her all the time because she is forever in my heart. Lingy and I met through Jim Conway’s chat and learned we were lived less than an hour apart. She was in my life from late 2005 until her death at the end of 2009, a mere 4 years which spanned Chuck’s MLC. She died only a few months after I moved home after our last year of separation in prep for a full reconciliation.
The positive detachment brought me is that I was able to choose, accept and embrace joy even as a Left Behind Spouse. My friendship with Lingy was like no other. She was a little sister to me—one who happened to be 20 years older than me! My love for her is and was full and complete even while I was experiencing loss and upheaval.


I just recalled an incident that sums up what detachment means for me. I went back and found the post where I talked about it from late 2017. Here's the relevant part. I recall at the time I was washing dishes and I continued to wash dishes and barely even turn my head to look at him through the whole encounter:

Quote
MIL had a new chicken coop built. In the evening I told him I didn't like it.

The next day he tried provoking me in about 2 or 3 different ways, and failed to get a rise out of me. So he came and shouted at me, "If you don't like the chicken coop, you can leave!" I said, "Why would I leave? I mean it's not like I am living in the chicken coop." He said, "I told you before, leave!" I just burst out laughing and he left the room frustrated.

As an aside, he tore down the NEW chicken coop and built a better, bigger one last year. At one point he threatened to make me live in it. 
To me being able to laugh at the absurdity instead of taking it personally and feeling hurt by it is an ideal litmus test for detachment. It also can throw an MLCer off kilter and be a momentary breakthrough for them since our response is so unexpected.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You cannot will yourself to detach, which is why I find the advice to detach so discouraging. Detaching is something that will happen to you eventually without you trying, not something you do. I'd rather people be told that detachment is a state you will eventually reach and it will bring you relief once you do. Otherwise you are just frustrating people and making them feel like failures because they will NOT detach quickly in most cases. I've reached that state but even now I cannot tell you how or when, just that it's a destination you reach, not a process you must follow to get there. Therefore, I think that I would have to disagree with that definition you posted above because it seems to suggest that it is something you can turn on and off like a light switch.
I do not really agree, but find this interesting and you make a point.
If we are focusing on detachment with extreme effort and energy, then are we attached to the outcome of detachment? Irony!

In the beginning I thought I had trouble with detachment and was publicly resistant. I told everyone I did not believe in it. Jim Conway validated this for me and told me to Surrender instead. Well, Surrender is certainly important, but I now understand it as a higher state of release than detachment. Now, looking back I don’t think I actually had a big problem with detachment, I was doing it without calling it anything. Part of my official resistance was not understanding what it is…like many I associated it with disconnecting myself from Chuck—severing not my emotions from his, but those emotional ties that hold souls together—not just romantic.

I did Fake It To Make It and Chuck did notice, asking why I was acting that way—so perky. So I was honest with him, I told him it was a coping mechanism that was necessary for me to face each day. Well, I was not always so honest if the perkiness was meant for him rather than simply for my coping. Fake it ‘Til you make it does not have to be about fake perkiness and pretending everything is fine, it can simple be a form of professional compartmentalization. If you go on a job interview (or simply to work), are you going to get emotional, cry on the person who is now not likely to be your new boss, tell them your problems…? Interview Mode can be a form of Fake It ‘Til you make it.

The time I often recall when I did not let him see behind my façade was when he was first moving out of the house and our neighbor-friend was there helping him move. Chuck said something to him about how I was acting—not a complaint, but wondering about my cheeriness. A few minutes later while Chuck was out at the car I stopped our friend and I was visibly shaking and said “you know it’s fake, right.” He was a good friend and said he knew and later gave me a book that was quite helpful. Though he was helping Chuck move his stuff, he was always a supporter of my Stand.

As a writer and coach I have struggled with how to explain detachment and offer practical steps. I do have a Practical Applications to Detachment article that is part of my manuscript, but for me it does not sing like I want it to, rather it is one of those parts that is just a check box for having included Detachment. One of the difficulties is whether to merge or include or how to discuss the different detachments—the Buddhist idea along with Emotional Detachment.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#44: February 23, 2019, 05:26:58 PM
Not something I did, but something that helped… I had a firm belief in the outcome from my Knowing and could thus let go of wondering what was going to happen to my marriage. The challenge was not knowing how or when!

RCR, I have the same belief/intuitive "Knowing."  Always have, always will.

Thank you X a million for alerting me to know I am *not crazy* for feeling this way. 

The challenge is trying to counterbalance our "Knowing" with the mantra, "Live like he's never coming back."  How can/do we accomplish both?

Thank you again, for EVERYTHING. 

You're doing God's work....every day.   

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« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 05:28:48 PM by megogirl »

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#45: February 23, 2019, 05:59:38 PM
Detachment to me was the realization that whatever XH felt or did had no bearing on how I needed to live my life. He was a bug in a terrarium. Mind you, I actually had a bug in a terrarium (4th grade project for my son that was supposed to last 2 months) that lived 2 years because even though I was not emotionally attached to it, nothing in my care or my kids care will be neglected.

How did i achieve a measure of it? A little at a time, as i observed his behavior  and modified my own.  I set boundaries that if he crossed, he got the consequences. He only tried crossing a few times. He knew i meant what i said. Really, what did i have to lose by taking care of me?  And while I filled my life with distractions until I could separate my outcome from XHs outcome, I still did laundry and made meals and was couteous and kind and asked about his day. My detachment came when I decided to be in charge of me. It started a few months after BD, but I wasn't fully detached until nearly 2 years in. So it was a decision and a process and time for me.

How did I gain a measure of it? It started with finding distractions from the hurt. Driving off road with people who actually cared if I lived or died, unlike XH seemed to be. Coloring. Hiking. Anything I enjoyed that gave me true pleasure, if only for a short time. There was no fake it till you make it for me. There was find what I like and do that for me to get to my destination. But I know that about me. I'm not good at pretending, but I am good at finding something real I like.  It's amazing what driving through dangerous terrain with complete strangers who treat you better than your own husband does will do for your mental state. As I found my personal center, I could step back and look at my XH as an interesting thing to observe, because that guy was not my husband. So I could still care about this new guy in my husbands shell, but my love was not for him. I would never have given this guy a second glance.

And here I am today. I stood until. My until was the divorce. As far as I'm concerned, I did everything I could think of to save my martiage since he was home for 18 months,  but he had his own plan in place to file for divorce as soon as S turned 18 so he wouldn't have to pay child support. So I'm good with how it played out, but I was a lucky one. I could support myself and the kids, I had enough time to completely detach before divorce.

 The guy XH is now is no one I want in my life. Might he become someone I would? Maybe. And that's how I know I'm detached. I don't want to talk to him just like I don't want to talk to other people who disrepect me. But I don't rule anything out if he should ever approach me with any intent of getting back together and if I were still attached, I don't think I could get past his prior actions. I would like to believe there will be consequences for his actions, but if there aren't any, meh!  I have too much gong on in my own life to care about that. Should he call and ask for help, I will still give it expecting nothing in return. He's still a bug in a terrarium right now. Interesting if I see him do something, no matter to me if I don't.
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« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 06:00:50 PM by OffRoad »
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#46: February 23, 2019, 07:49:41 PM
For many years I had the knowing. Like RCR did not knew when or how. Then the knowing vanished. I don't know why, but it did. I still think Mr J will come out of his MLC, but that is all. My love for him also vanished. Again, I don't know why.

I believe in MLC and accept Mr J is having one. I become more and more joyful since I cut contact with MLC more and more.

The it is not personal does not apply when there is physical violence, court cases in which the MLCer keeps taking the MLCer to court for this, that and those and MLCers who deliberately try/want to destroy the LBS. It is personal. For some reason the MLCer does really see the LBS has an enemy that must be eliminated. It has to do with the MLCer, but it is a personal attack on the LBS.

We should be more vigilant with those type of MLCers since they are quite dangerous. The advice for LBS with those MLCers has to be a little different, especially when it comes to the LBS safety. Those MLCers also leave scars and a trail of issues other MLCers do not.

Mr J has been providing laughs for over a decade. The latest is him in a DJ photo with a t-shirt that read "Mess is More". You bet. His MLC t-shirts have been amusing. There was the baby pink one with the bright neon logo three sizes too small, the "I have battles in my heart" (Battles are a band, but, still ...), and countless others. There has been glassless him, blind as a mole, crossing the capital's trafic and ranting mad at buses, cars, people. His social crusader phase with matching ranting, the horrible clubbing music he plays, etc.

Crisis Mr J is not someone I want in my life. If he become someone I would? I don't know. Not a problem I have to worry about. If Mr J calls asking for my help and will tell him to call SIL or his non-MLC best friend. There is nothing I can help him with that SIL or his non-MLC best friend will not be able to help him.
 
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#47: February 23, 2019, 10:06:05 PM
I wonder if, as RCR says, there are actually different kinds of detachment.
And we reach them at different stages in our own situation and our own progress.
Of course the detachment challenges are different too with different 'types' of MLC behaviours.

What seems clear is that most of us struggle with it, understanding what we should be aiming for and if we are doing it 'right'. So, this thread is a really useful discussion for LBS at all stages.

Maybe RCR that lurking chapter needs a dust off  :)

I know that there was a time when I couldn't let go but I could let it be.
And that having less contact made it much easier to detach emotionally from the MLC stuff
And that detaching from the MLC version of my h has always felt easier than emotionally detaching from the person I used to know, the 'core person' as RCR calls it....but less contact makes it easier to doubt if the core person still exists in there at all too which is sometimes confusing.

My recollection is that detachment sort of creeps up on you unawares...that you suddenly feel it and go 'oh look, that's that detachment thing I've read about, nice'  :)
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#48: February 24, 2019, 01:18:31 PM
Less contact making it harder to know if the real person still exists ... Maybe, maybe not. I had tons of close, too close, contact with Mr J after BD and for a few years afterwards. At times it was hard, if not impossibke, to see the real him. Very early on, when he was getting deeper into the tunnel, his old self would still show a lot, then MLC monster would come up, then MLC depressed person was present. At times within minutes.

Then, the core person showed less and less. With barely any contact, at times there is a version a little closer to who he was, other times the nasty MLC self shows. Is the real he/the core person still somewhere in threre? I don't know. The main difference is that, with very little contact I don't have to deal with the constant changes and drama.

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« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 01:54:41 PM by Anjae »
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#49: February 24, 2019, 01:48:16 PM
Good point, Anjae.
Seems to me that often it is our exhaustion with the relentless drama that pushes us into really detaching.
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H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#50: February 24, 2019, 02:02:43 PM
Seems to me that often it is our exhaustion with the relentless drama that pushes us into really detaching.

I think so. Or a combination of things that may be different for each LBS.

A clinger is exhausting. I deal with clinger Mr J for a long time, including when I was already back home. It was hell. Yes, I could see bits of the real him, but I also had to deal with tons of drama. It wasn't doing me any good.

On the other hand, a MLCer may not go anywhere and the core person is gone during deep crisis. When my wallower cousin had his MLC we had no idea who that person was. Where was the real him? No idea. We only knew he was angry and depressed, then totally depressed and weird. He never went anywhere, but he was unrecognizable.

Even after he hit rock bottom we did not knew if the real him was ever going to show again. My friend who is a psychiatrist was my cousin's doctor after he crashed. My friend didn't knew if my counsin's depression was going to go away and if he was going to come back to normal. He told us we needed to wait two years. That if, after two years (of what we call rock bottom) he would not be back to normal, he never would.

My cousin come back to normal and, indeed, we was only back to normal, two years after rock bottom. Was my friend right that if my cousin was not back to normal in two years he would never be? I don't know.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#51: February 25, 2019, 11:34:10 AM
Thank you everyone, for sharing your thoughts on Detachment.

Acorn, I love the definition you use, what is your source/where did you find it? It feels like mine, but seems easier to understand.[/size][/color]
Emotional detachment is a decision to avoid engaging emotional connections, rather than an inability or difficulty in doing so.  In this sense it can allow people to maintain boundaries, psychic integrity and avoid undesired impact by or upon others, related to emotional demands.  As such, it is a deliberate mental attitude which avoids engaging the emotions of others.

This detachment does not necessarily mean avoiding empathy; rather it allows the person space needed to rationally choose whether or not to be overwhelmed or manipulated by such feelings.

I googled the entire quote and it was from ....................Wikipedia!  ;D
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#52: April 22, 2019, 05:31:46 AM
I would like to bump up this thread. 

The further I get from ABD, the more conscious I am of the huge role Detachment played in my journey.  That was a single most important ingredient in eventually being able to live my life joyfully despite my H’s MLC-related craziness.  I highly recommend Detachment!

So, please feel free to share your answers to the following questions:

1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?  (In your own words or a quote that best describes your thoughts)

2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?

3. What positives did Detachment bring you?
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#53: January 18, 2020, 02:34:32 AM
I am bumping up this thread after having read some posts that show that there is a bit of mix up between Detachment and Distancing; not only mixing up the two, but also propagating misinformation which can potentially be harmful to LBSs, especially the newbies.

If you would like a refresher on these two terms, here is RCR’s excellent article addressing them:

https://loveanyway.theherosspouse.com/2015/05/25/detachment-versus-distancing/

Here are some excerpts.

(Detachment is) An emotional level wherein your emotions are no longer intertwined with someone else’s emotions and actions; it is a detachment from the ego and its emotional reactions and not a disconnection from the core person within.

........

In general, detachment is about separating your emotions from those of another person. Since the words distance and separate can be used synonymously, some people may use the word distance when discussing detachment and the confusion continues!  When your emotions are attached, one person’s emotional bursts yield an emotional reaction in the other person. Reacting is uncontrolled; when you are attached to your MLCer, their emotions create your emotions. Detachment helps you respond rather than react.

...........

Detached, you are not only more available to help yourself, you can better tend to your MLCer with empathy.

.........

Detachment does not have to mean you become aloof or cold toward your MLCer. This may be what happens initially while you are learning what it is to be detached and while you may also try to put more space between you when attachment is a temptation. But detachment allows you to care without caring being a risk to your heart and emotional stability.


—————

I can give you my personal testimony that Detachment was one of the most important ingredients in maintaining and expressing my understanding, love and empathy to my suffering MLCer. 



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« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 03:15:28 AM by Acorn »
Feb 2015: BD. 
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#54: January 18, 2020, 03:18:37 AM
Looking back, the single most important key to detachment for me was acceptance.
Accepting all of it and standing in each day at a time just as it was, regardless of my opinion of it.

In my situation - bc I was under 'attack' by others actions I couldn't control and bc I was too vulnerable at that time - I had to do distance first to find detachment. Which is not necessarily true for everyone. It just was for me bc I was drowning.  And tbh there was a big time lag between the two, months probably, maybe a couple of years. But I learned surprisingly that I could find more empathy the more emotionally detached I was bc I was no longer invested in the outcome or needing my voice to be heard as I had before probably.

So, for me, the steps were distance (for self-protection), acceptance (to figure out what was real and true for me) and then slowly detachment came. And it did bring peace, some forgiveness, more empathy probably along with less of a need to judge in the sense of approving/disapproving, and a sense of feeling clearer and stronger in myself.

I suppose that detachment meant that a lot of things which had mattered very much ceased to matter much at all. But a few things that 'belonged' to me mattered much, much more.
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« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 03:24:37 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#55: January 18, 2020, 05:13:19 AM
- I had to do distance first to find detachment. Which is not necessarily true for everyone

Distance - as in very low contact or no contact was essential for me before I could do anything very constructive.  I expect it is true that some people are able to detach quickly but I’m not sure how many.  I sometimes wonder that if I had been so ‘together’ and emotionally mature and whole as to detach very quickly, whether I would have ended up in this situation or at least been quite so blindsided, since, for me, with hindsight, There were red flags  I was in denial about, or excusing and when I attempted to have a talk, I didn’t press or insist when deflected.

That may not have altered his route necessarily, but a bit less complacent trust and emotional dependency and a bit more responsibility for myself would have reduced the damage to all
Of us. 
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#56: January 18, 2020, 07:49:22 AM
Thanks for reviving this thread. It gave me a chance to revisit where I am at a year later.

When this thread was first started, as I described in previous posts, I was detached.

But when I read this again, I realized I am not longer detached. My H has reached a point where I can be emotionally vulnerable and assertive and he doesn't run away from it. I was compelled to do it after he made a remark during a fight about how "We haven't had a relationship in a long time." That was a wake up call for me. I realized that my detachment was partially to blame for that and so I decided to reverse it.

I do not shy away from telling him how I feel about him and how his behavior affects me. I still get defensiveness and denial from him, he's definitely not ready to take responsibility for what he has done or show an remorse but he has engaged in some positive actions in response that show he does understand what I need from him and is trying to deliver some of that.

I think if I hadn't put myself out there and been blunt with him, he would have continued on with the status quo indefinitely. I guess I should say I am a sample of one, but I am very glad I stopped detaching and began to reattach myself to him.

In thinking about all this I remembered this article from HB:
https://thestagesandlessonsofmidlife.org/how-you-can-still-love-while-remaining-detached/
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#57: January 18, 2020, 07:53:35 AM
I currently have an at home MLCer. So interaction every day.

1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?  (In your own words or a quote that best describes your thoughts)
Detachment for me, is delineating personal meaning from my H’s words and actions. It’s not emotionally investing in an outcome....of anything, the marriage, his crisis, a conversation and interaction ect. It’s separating me and my ability to be okay, safe, happy, content from the actions or words of another person. It’s surrendering control or even the ability to influence the outcome of anything but my own words and actions and thoughts. It is detaching emotionally from the marriage.

2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?

Grieve the losses. First by accepting that my H, who I was to him, my marriage our family, life as I knew it was gone. Then grieving the loss of what all those things meant to me. Grieving the loss of the roles I had held and their personal meaning to me.
Finding the root of what bothered me, or upset me, or caused an emotional reaction in me and then letting go of the expectations I was holding that caused the emotions.
Accepting the end of the marriage meant grieving the loss of all the expectations I had for H for his treatment of me, for his interactions with S15.
Examine my motivations for any interaction with H, and taking time outs to work through my emotions and let go of things before allowing interactions.

Internal self talk. Not letting me take things personally, make things about me, or assign meaning to things that were out of my control.
Taking all my hurts and frustrations and injustices to God. Telling him about my struggles and questions and doubts and fears.

3. What positives did Detachment bring you?

The ability to see things more clearly. Emotional stability. More clarity of thought and choice. The ability to focus on myself more. It allowed me to focus solely on me and my feelings, thoughts and needs and wants. The ability to respond rather than react. Perspective. Self regulation. The ability to separate my compassion and self worth and self love and general happiness from other people’s feelings, emotions, words or actions.
The ability to listen. A sense that no matter the situation I was okay. Trust in myself. A more consistent version of myself that wasn’t dependent on what was happening to me or around me to feel safe, or in control.
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EA discovered 3/31/2019
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Status: I’m done. Stbxh remorseful, texts and apologizes a lot, is in therapy and several treatment teams.
“God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his.” C.S. Lewis

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#58: January 18, 2020, 10:11:12 AM
Thank you for posting that article, NYM. I have found a lot of HB's articles very useful and your sharing of how you detached and then saw the need to re-attach (and were able to do so) may be very helpful for others with long term live in MLCers or those reconnecting. And it is probably a reminder that detachment and love and compassion are not mutually exclusive. And that when you are stronger and clearer, or the situation changes, you can choose to attach again.

Right now some of the debate on other threads seems to be that detachment equates to distancing and that both get in the way of empathy. I have seen others post in the past that they fear detachment will irretrievably shut off any love they have towards their spouse. It seems as if this is not necessarily so.
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« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 10:15:36 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#59: January 18, 2020, 12:54:21 PM
Quote
1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?  (In your own words or a quote that best describes your thoughts)

2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?

3. What positives did Detachment bring you?
.

I guess if I look back to the beginning of my journey with BD and finding HS, being advised to detach was a WTF moment for me. Detach was interpreted as "its over, let it go, be done with it and get on with a new life". Almost like "give up ". And ( at the time) I was not in a "give-up" frame of mind. I remember thinking that there is no one in this universe that will understand me , if "detach" is the advise I should follow. How could I possibly detach?

But I did detach in actual fact although it was a result of deep emotional shock, inability to see him or talk to him , fear of the pain it caused. I suspect it was protecting myself from any further interaction with monster ...it truly nearly killed me . I was ZERO contact when he moved out...I would NOT even answer his texts or phone calls. I couldn't . Nothing.  I know that is not the true meaning or idea of detaching, but in my case it is what happened.

What Treasure posted on the very 1st page , is what I have printed and keep at my desk . I remember reading it and finding meaning and understanding and something to learn. It was only when I mixed the word "acceptance" into my thinking that I found ways to detach ( in a healthy way) .

Despite what many may believe , detachment is very very important in reconnecting...I practise detachment/acceptance often. It does give me peace to read over and over . I was given a copy of that at Al Anon. It is regarding addicts ...but it applies to many circumstances .

https://www.hazelden.org/web/blog-people-in-recovery.eight-reasons-why-detaching-with-love-is-good-for-your-addicted-loved-one.5003069.view

For me, it was about practise over and over and over. It was recognizing the freedom and actual relief that comes with acceptance. It took a long long time to understand ...but I continue to practice .
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#60: January 19, 2020, 07:04:00 AM
More and more, I think Acceptance is the key that unlocks whatever kind of detachment we think we need to find to be ok. And Acceotance is an incredibly difficult thing bc it has so many layers. Small things and really big things. And for a while, perhaps quite a long while, life keeps giving us reminders of the gap between how it was and how it is so there are more new 'firsts' to Acceot. Like an endless dry biscuit or a nasty tasting medicine. Until, with time, there is more of the new normal and less new stuff to Accept perhaps.

It also occurs to me that detachment works both ways. That it isn't just detaching from them, it is also detaching ourselves and our lives from them. Reclaiming and removing their access to the things that matter to us bc they have become people who can't be trusted with those things.

Detachment is also about ceasing to care about their opinion of our choices and our lives and our feelings. Again, time helps with that too. We do new things, go to different places, make new friends, experience things that don't involve them, make choices without them getting a voice or vote. Less brutally and suddenly perhaps than they did, but gradually there is more of us and less of them in our lives. But to do that, we have to Acceot a whole bunch of things we don't want to and a whole bunch of things that make no sense to us at all. Even to accept our own mistakes or misjudged priorities as we stumbled through this.

I truly think it is difficult to detach without reaching a certain capacity to Accept.
And in some of our situations, we were faced with really quite extreme or far from normal things to try to Acceot or limited information that trickled out over time.
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« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 07:05:50 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#61: January 19, 2020, 11:21:52 AM
I think it needs to be specified that acceptance really means acceptance that this is reality and that the only thing we control is ourselves and what we choose to do about it. Acceptance does not mean accepting poor behavior or letting someone else trample our boundaries.

I sometimes think people think acceptance is like "It's not their fault. If I just weather the abuse, they'll see how wonderful I am, so I'll show acceptance."  Loving unconditionally doesn't mean letting people trample your boundaries or abuse you either. Loving unconditionally means you love them enough to make their own choices after you tell them "I will not be screamed at. I'm going to the other room until you can talk without screaming"

I haven't had and real contact with XH since dropping off S a year ago Christmas. At that time, he still acted like he would burst into flames if he so much as touched anything I had touched, so I had to pass S's gifts and bags only to S. I was still polite and courteous, but did say "Since you won't touch anything directly from me, how about we just set up a fire line where you are at the trunk of your car, H, so you don't have to jump everytime you get near me?" He started to get angry, then realized my assessment of the situation was correct and I stood at my car, handed things to S and S handed things to XH who put them in his car.  The whole interaction was beyond foolish and only happened because i am not allowed to drop S at the house where he lives with his father.  I can do this with getting upset that xh wont touch anything ive touched ( how crazy is that?), or being angry at the absurdity where i am not allowed to even park outside the house where MY SON lives because accept that this is the reality of the situation and the only thing I control is me.

Detachment means giving up trying to control the outcome. It means knowing you cannot control the other person, loving anyway, only allowing yourself to be treated as you deserve to be treated, ignoring stupid stuff when it's not important, and standing up for the things that are. It means you are your own person with your own thoughts, not just half of a marriage. (Or somebody's mother or father). It means allowing people to make their own crappy choices, but you still get to say "That crappy choice hurts me." And you get to decide what you want to do with that hurt.

It still hurts me that my son chooses to live with a person who would throw away his spouse like a used tissue, and xh's live in GF  with "questionable morals" as S20 puts it, but I find its more about me being worried he'll think this is normal behavior and I will feel like I failed him. But the very fact that when I asked S if the gf treated S well (As that was all I cared about), S's response was "She has questionable morals" told me I really did well by S. He is aware this is not normal, but choosing to stay with his father during community college for his own reasons. I can't control him. I accept that, I love S anyway. The kind of detachment that comes with setting your grown children free to fly on their own.

Detachment is not a bad thing.
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« Last Edit: January 19, 2020, 11:25:06 AM by OffRoad »
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#62: January 19, 2020, 11:23:20 AM
Someone in Al-anon gave me some great advice: "when you want to detach from something negative, attach to something positive".  To explain further, be kind to yourself.  Bring the focus back to us and little by little, we get in that habit.  What kindness can you do for yourself today? Talk to a friend, get a manicure, massage, buy yourself flowers, take a drawing class etc...  It's really about taking so much focus off the circus monkey drama and refocusing on things that you can control that make you just a little happier.  (In the beginning, it may be just trying to distract yourself for a few seconds from the almost unbearable pain). But it does become a habit.  Another good tool someone gave me:  "How would you act and react if you were completely over him? What would you say and do? What would that look like?"  That helped a lot.  This is a hard road, be kind to yourself. 
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#63: January 19, 2020, 06:19:06 PM
Detachment for me was to stop hurting for what my husband is doing to himself, myself and our family.
It was unimanigeable at the begining. Everyone would say this is not about you.... but it was hard because i was feeling hurt and it was affecting me. It took a long time for me to see that if my husband was going to go thru this and come out it had to be on his own. Nothing i did or said helped him, in fact i think i added time to the process because i waited to detach. I believe it is something you must decide to do. To take action and detach.

I believe on what Old Pilot said in the beginning...Fake it until you make it.. If i was to wait until i feel like detaching i would be attached until now.

I made a conscious decision to stop reacting to my husband. It was hard the first few days i didnt think i could make it alive, but its been 5 months. I stopped asking questions and i never heard hurtful things again!!! I stopped offering ezplanation about my life and i stopped receiving absurd suggestions!

I havent asked questions, i haven't offered information about me or my life, i simply respond to any text to the point and respectfully.
When a home issue comes up I hire someone to fix it. I accepted that although this situation wasnt my choice it is how my life is at this moment and im trying the best i can.
I benefit from acting like that because i'm no longer feeling pain 24/7. Im able to focus on my life instead. I have a few amazing friends who are always available for me to vent and i no longer look for opportunities to call,text,email or drive by my husbands father's house.

I always have a plan for the kids and i for the weekends and we dont change or plans anymore.
Now im trustring that my husband will make the best possible choice on his own. If he doesnt i will be just fine.

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#64: January 20, 2020, 03:52:55 AM
Nice update Lbs1.   :)

I believe once we accept there is nothing we can do to change their mind, and let go, it gets easier.
Things get calmer and your life gets better.

Driving by their house, snooping on them only keeps us stuck.

You sounds really good.

Hugs

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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#65: January 20, 2020, 07:34:32 AM
Interesting to read about distancing vs detachment... I understand the difference but at least in my case, I only achieved detachment after distancing.. The distancing wasn't my choice, it was H's. He moved abroad a year ago and stopped communication with me bar the odd mail about practicalities... At the beginning I thought this was the worst thing that could happen to me/us... But looking at it now, it was great for me... It brought detachment and my ability to look at the situation with realistic eyes... And reality for me was that H was well and truly gone. He had a new life, in a new country and a new bride to be.. He became a person who I didn't recognize anymore and I certainly did not love that new person. I accepted the death of the H I knew and the relationship we had... 

I'm not sure if it was the distance, the lack of contact, the detachment, the acceptance or a bit of all but I got to a point where the love was gone and the idea of having my H back felt like complete fantasy for me.. As if I was hoping for a dead man to become alive again... It also helped me to see my marriage for what it was and that things were not as "perfect" as I made them up to be at BD... It made me see that things that I had accepted for YEARS were not good for me and how they affected me as a person...  I started to think that maybe this was meant to happen for me to find a person better suited to be with me.. I know this might be very controversial but I started to think that maybe the thing I was most afraid of was change... Specially a change that I didn't ask for..

So at least in my case, it feels like detachment pushed me to live my life and erode the feelings I had for H. He got what he wanted, I'm out of his life and I wouldn't even consider myself an iffer at this stage.
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H - 46 (40 @BD1)
M - 46 (40 @BD1)
Together 15 years, M 8 @separation
No kids
BD1 - 26th Aug 2017 (Not happy, life has no purpose)
BD2 - 22nd March 2018 (Marriage is over, we want different things, confessed EA with someone 12,000 kms away although "she means nothing")
H moved in with parents 11th May 2018 (I asked him to leave as couldn't handle the EA rubbed all over my face)
H moved abroad 29th Dec 2018, not sure if OW will join him or if they are still in contact.
Confirmation H and OW are together, presume PA  - 3rd June 2019
H gets engaged with OW - Oct 2019
H "finally" asks for divorce - Aug 2020
H marries OW - March 2021.. We are not divorced!
Divorced - Dec 7th 2022

"One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change"

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#66: January 20, 2020, 01:19:39 PM
1. What does Detachment mean for you personally?  (In your own words or a quote that best describes your thoughts)

Detachment to me has become more of a position of being neutral in regards to H.  I can observe and see the things he does, but I don't have to have a reaction to them.  I can be kind, supportive yet remain neutral in feelings.   When I do react, I am able to quickly gain control of my thoughts, my emotions and any other part of me that could be negatively affected. 

2. What did you do to gain a measure of it?  I measure detachment by maintaining control of myself.  Responding vs reacting.  Pausing or even exiting a situation as needed.

3. What positives did Detachment bring you? (Prompted by Thunder.  Thank you!)   Peace.   I have peace.  I have control of me most of the time.  Acceptance...definitely acceptance came quickly or maybe detachment and acceptance happened hand in hand.  Either way....I have peace. 

I also noticed that with the acceptance my growth and development of dealing with everything grew exponentially.  I addressed my issues.  I quit running from triggers and faced them head on which brought panic and anxiety under control.  I no longer operate at the speed of light.  It is ok to sit and savor the moment or take the time to think through things before addressing them.

I read that there was confusion with distancing.   I still distance as I need to.    H is more in contact now after a dry season.  Contact continues increasing.  I recognize that I can't always deal with him and his bouncing.  When this happens...I distance.  I reply slower when needed.  I don't take the call but I'll respond with a Busy....I'll call you back later.  If it is an emergency....let me know.  (I use the same text for my clients...hehe). 

I also will distance when I have doubts about what H is telling me.  Although I want to believe him....I can't yet and if something seems fishy...I back away and let him to it.  I do that for me...not to punish him.  I need to control me and sometimes that control is in the form of distance until I am ready to deal. 

Sometimes I just distance from everyone.  I have found that I crave alone time.  Especially after crazy days in the office.  I just want to go and veg.  I will distance from everyone...friends, family, H.....this is my time that I need to recharge.  Once recharged....Watch out because I'M BAAAACK!
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10.29.17 BD-Moved out to OW/A began in  6.17
3.5.18 OW moved away/H moved in with F
3.19.18  H moved home
7.14.18  Moved to be with OW
9.4.18  Moved back-At Parents 
11.1.18  OW back.  H living w/her in D's basement 
11.18 - H started visiting on holidays
11.26.18 Call from H.  BIL died suddenly.
1.19 - H announced  that he moved to sisters
2.19  H volunteers to house and dog sit whenever.
Spring 19  H visiting house and doing chores on a regular basis
7.20 OW2 Confirmed  5 hrs away 
Summer of 2020 Less help with chores
Early Spring 2021 - helping with chores again then stopped and is getting more distant gradually
9/21 distancing growing worse...hardly see or hear from H
4/22 getting in touch more but sporadically

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Detachment....all flavours welcome
#67: March 02, 2020, 06:35:03 AM
 It occurred to me this morning that we all talk about detachment a lot.....and mostly find it very difficult....and perhaps find different flavours of it.

Imho some level of detachment is a key survival tool for all LBS, so I wondered if a refresher discussion might be useful.

Not so much about defining it, but perhaps just sharing our practical experience of different flavours of detachment. Newbies can tell us what is most difficult about it.....vets can tell us about their path towards it....those with kids can talk about how they manage to do it when the MLCer does have visitation....how detachment works with different kinds of behaviours from vanishers to liveins to boomerangs....all those different flavours we have figured out as we go. In the hope that someone else might go aha ha, that could help me, worth a try  :)




My thoughts....
Practically for me detachment is when none of my thoughts and actions were contingent on what my xh did or didn't do. Including the old 'what I think he might be thinking' game lol.
And it took a surprisingly long time, years.

In my case, different flavours came in stages.....doing detachment came before feeling detachment. And feeling detachment took much longer. In my situation, practical things helped....limiting contact, separating bits of my life where I could practically and financially including social media links, learning it was a waste of time to ask questions about anything really also helped bc it meant I just decided for myself. I suppose I stopped behaving as if there was a We.

Looking back, I think I was trying to detach from multiple things at the same time....my h, my m, my normal expectations, any outcome that involved my h, some of my own emotions and beliefs. In my case, the stickiest bit of detachment was actually about detaching from any assumption that my xh would behave a bit like he used to be. And that he cared about me at all, even a tiny bit.

Limiting contact was necessary for me to detach. It might not be so for everyone, but that was how it was for me. I think contact with anything WTF just made it more difficult for me to regain my own sense of normal on the other side of the street  :) I also think, in my case, that some of the things that came with divorce helped....separating stuff, moving to another house, not having anything important resting on him saying yes, no or nothing.

I'm not sure if being divorced made a big difference to me. Maybe bc by the time it happened, there was a lot of water under the bridge? Idk. I don't know what other people's experience of that is. I suspect that my xh's remarriage killed some bits off too lol.

I also accept that there is a tiny residue of emotional un-detachment which pops up now and then. It never makes we want to do anything with it but I tend to observe it....silly things like I still remember when his birthday is, or get the odd waft of old love from nowhere, or see something and think 'oh, my h would like that....oh, silly me, he's long gone'  ::)....I suppose I accept a residue of attachment in my head to my old h as something quite normal (well not for MLCers tee hee) but I also notice that my reactions now, say if I found out he was seriously ill, would probably be different than even a year ago. That detachment flavour is a kind of 'I don't wish him harm' but I also don't feel strongly either....as if there is just a bigger and bigger river between me and him. He's far away on his side and I am here on mine. I probably do have those moments of 'how on earth did this come to be' after the kind of relationship we had for so long....but detachment means I don't fight against it now.

Some pretty bonkers events really pushed me to detach and go NC at one point. Which was the right thing to do for my safety and sanity, so I have never regretted that. Some level of detachment I think, maybe the first flavour we hunt for, is about protecting yourself from further emotional damage.

But I think there is a deeper longer wider reason too.
I don't believe (jmo) that most of these folks have some grand plan to hurt us. I think they just will if it gives them what they feel they need at a given time. And they don't usually care much, if at all.
But they know us, often for years and years.
So sometimes they take the very best parts of our character (often the bits that they used to like the most) and use them as weapons against us. We get hurt more by our own kindness say, or our natural sense of responsibility, or our optimism or commitment to our family. Detaching helps you to protect those bits of you imho, bc if they are used to hurt you for a long time, you can start to doubt the value of them in yourself as a person. Just a thought.


What has your experience been of some of the different flavours of detachment, and your own path towards it?
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« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 06:37:25 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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Detachment....all flavours welcome
#68: March 02, 2020, 01:35:41 PM
What an interesting discussion T......

For me, for now.... detachment is two parts.
1. A man of purpose: To go after what I want/need to do so that the future is bright, and I haven't squandered what time remains just sitting. There's work and dreams and things to do. That can't be stopped for anyone. I have to go this way, and you're free to join when you're up to it.... and I'm saving a place for you.

2. Emotional juggernaut: Invulnerable..... unstoppable.... able to shrug off all direct damage. A rock, an anchor and a "Determined Stanchion". A light in the dark. To maintain one's self no matter what is happening as the world twists, bends and swirls around your orbit. There is only one calm in the middle of the storm...... me.

To me and for me..... that's detachment (maybe different later).

I think that it's very sweet that you still have things popup in your mind about Ex-H..... no matter what happens, there is always some form of love which endures even if it's small. As they are a mirror, it is a small comfort to know that they also harbor this little spark which is never extinguished (and I know this to be true).

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Detachment....all flavours welcome
#69: March 02, 2020, 04:47:50 PM
Thank you Treasur, what a good idea for newbies especially.

My MLCer was/is a high energy replayer monster.  I didn't want to detach, did a couple of rounds of ugly crying and begging, but him being so cruel made it easer.  I have kids with him so couldn't go full no contact but went dim and dark.  I had to do a lot of "act as if".  Some advice I got:  Whatever he says or does, think about how you would behave if you were completely over him and he was just someone from your past.  I latched onto that.  I didn't know how to be in this world at that time, so that gave me a script.  I feel a lot like you, Treasur.  I "acted as if" long before I felt any kind of detachment.  I still on occasion think about things I'd like to share with him.  A good movie, something someone said, etc.   In the beginning, I do remember being so upset that I kind of hoped that I would somehow end up in the hospital or something bad would happen (not too bad!) so that I would get his attention.  Now I truly feel like if I ended up in the hospital or something, I really wouldn't want him there.  I have my friends and others I can rely on. 

So back to your original question, how to detach?

Act as if you are already over them - just someone you used to know.  Just keep playing that part.
Do the next right thing for yourself and kids.  Don't focus on any more than that. What is the next thing to do and then do it.
Surround yourself with good supportive people. This forum was a life saver for me.
Truly it just takes time.  The first few months for me were maybe the most painful in my life.  Just keep being good to you and you will feel better.
Praying for him somehow made me feel better.  I visualized him surrounded by a healing blue light. 
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Re: Detachment....all flavours welcome
#70: March 02, 2020, 07:14:06 PM
Hi Acorn-

Thank you for giving a place where we all can share.  I see myself in each of these posts so far ;)

Because trauma was inflicted upon my daughter and I and brought to our home in the daytime by the AP's husband beating on my front door and trying to get in my patio door wanting my husband at any cost, I was spun around and forced to act swiftly and quickly.  So my first actions looked like:

1) Take pictures of distraught husband (hers) and call my neighbor quickly.  He left phone numbers in my mailbox and notes, not only to me but my neighbors.  Once I was able to get him out of the community, with the help of my neighbor we acted quick.  I called ex-H, he wouldn't take my calls. I called his co-workers and left the message with him that way.  He never came home.  When he did call later he said he wasn't talking about anything. OK??? Wake up call begins. Time to detach until we can talk.

2) Meanwhile, I contacted the AP's husband and reviewed a lot of what I needed.  Photos's text, etc. Told him to stay away from my family. Don't call anymore.   Then I contacted a lawyer, who had me get to the bank.  I took what was required for my daughter and I and the rest had to settle out in court. We filed an emergency order to get temp. possession of the home and my daughter.  I called the police.  I filed reports. Enacted a no trespassing on all parties and warned my then husband.  As only in MLC style, he only cared when he realized the accounts took a hit.  He was later fuming that he and she thought they were getting the house and my daughter and that failed. Had a great attorney.  Took a little bit to get the AP's husband to stop calling, so when the attorney's were going to handle it, he finally got the message.  It was more shock and needed someone to pair with in trauma and I wasn't having it, nor desired it in any form.

3) I had monster at least the first year non-stop.  So detachment for me was key to maintain my strength and not do anything to lose our daughter or the home. I 180'd quickly, she and I counseling and started healthy boundaries and detachment.  As soon as he got out 3 months later, I changed everything and reduced him to a drop off and pick up.  It was another monster season.  I let him have his fit and he knew with the new cameras installed outside the home, he better walk a clean line. He was livid because he had all these preconceived notions on how little bit he was going to give me.  How we had to have these special rules and do things together at school for the daughter, like sit together in front of old friends.  How I had to pay this bill and that bills, blah..blah...blah...his mind was brewing in narcissism down to convincing me that I would be OK in a condo.  Insert one of Ursa's pics - lol.  I just nodded and on the inside I was thinking you just wait mister.  Things will NOT turn out as a favor from you to me.  It will be a favor from above and you'll be paying a long time. And so it was.  I can humbly say, EVERYTHING he set out to think he was entitled to, fell on it's face.  I was actually entitled to more and no stone was left un-turned. This helped me to detach in a healthy way.  I wanted to think he had our best interest and it was a breakdown.  I woke up fast.  Wiser and stronger because of detachment.

4) After the first year whenever he would be given a chance to come in for a quick minute or he'd want to help around the home (it was for daughter) he would start fuming and getting mad.  After my 3 strikes rule, I said you can't be in the home anymore. I'd make him leave right away. Of course, he had to say a few choice words to have a dramatic effect. I took away the privilege since he was disrespecting me and my home.  That went on until divorce settled.

5) I walked away from him at the courthouse, he followed me and I never looked back. Then he spent the next year punishing by withholding all the things he was required to give. So I spent money on a few more orders to get him to comply or be held in contempt going forward.  So, I again took the privileges of him coming to the home and anything for our daughter, he had to meet out. Then I started to feel so much better overall when court was done.

6) Last year I was hit with the feeling now it was time for me to deal with how I truly felt about things.  After all, he left, still no explanation, no apology, but he could only tell our daughter he wasn't giving up the AP. He would have touch and go's via the parenting app, but I stayed business like and detached. I ran into him at the store and I had tears in my eyes and asked if he had anything to say?  He said "No, I'm OK with everything".  Like we could just be friends as nothing happened. So I left stunned and thought, OK...that's where my standing took a shift. That's when another level of detachment kicked in, but not in a mean way.  More of what kind of person would be so cruel and still strutting around like he's a peacock?  I never put up with these types of guys in my dating years and I knew this was not what God wanted me to live with at all.  I would lose myself if I didn't keep moving forward.

7) I spent almost a year of working through my feelings without him knowing anything.  The holidays, the birthdays, everything it was grueling, but I tried to go do something opposite than sitting at home.  My counselor said create a new memory on those days.  So I did. Before I knew it I had joy, a spring in my step. The only detachment I had left to work on was trying to get through a whole day without thinking about him like this was a bad dream.

8) Now, I have realized that he can't see all he is doing, as I didn't years ago.  I realized it wasn't personal, but he had to stay away as the monster is the opposite of the guy I knew for 28 years.  This person, only had his best interest in mind. In time, as many of you have posted, he would have to prove himself with his actions and words lining up. I can say I am not the person to take him back at this point, but I would love to be back in the position of understanding and listening as he still has much sorting on the journey ahead.  I have no doubt it will hit him hard.  I agree that being mean and cruel to someone trying to find their way out isn't the answer.  The time will come for me to say what I need for him. 

I like SS's story from a Christian perspective on the type of person I want to be towards anyone that I love. All in that love thy neighbor approach.  I want to continue my boundaries and let him in based on how he is moving in the tunnel and is putting in the work. Not make him my idol. Not be abused by him or his new choices.   I will always love him.  We miss him, but I do not like nor trust this person he is today. So I have to practice receptivity without letting him hurt or destroy us any longer.  I do believe he will crash very soon.  Until that time, now I will continue on as if he is not ever going to see me again in this lifetime.  Soon enough my daughter and I will be leaving the state and he will have what he has wished for.  Nothing of us will be here.  He is shocked as he thought I would be moving after graduation once I sold the home, but not leaving the state.  This time will help her and I to grow in our own ways in a new life.  If he should ever call and want to talk, he knows he can as long as he takes ownership of what he has done and has the tough talk and puts in the work, nothing less.  He understands that I will not let him come back as friends and have two women in his life. I deserve better.  I will always wish him well. Now I need to stay detached to keep healing my inner person who was crushed beyond measure. I will be handling him at the best pace for me at that point.  If he chooses that I'm not worth it or he doesn't have it in him, I respect that and he must continue on.  For me, I would not have lost anything as I have been rebuilding the new me.

I thank you all for being real on this site and showing me the way to keep moving through on many days I didn't think I could do it.  He will never know for a long time how hard it has been.  That's OK..I've grown into a new me and I wouldn't have had that if all this hadn't happened.  My daughter and I have a bond that he can't break.  He doesn't see her much at all now.  I told him "Cats in the Craddle" sir, "Cat's in the Craddle".  Those words echoed on him as he monstered again.  Some things need those truth darts. He must find his way out and start the journey back to his new self, if he chooses not to get stuck.

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« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 08:51:41 PM by Ggg4life »

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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#71: March 03, 2020, 12:42:02 AM
Oooh...thank you to whoever linked this thread to the old one....very useful, thank you.  :)

I suppose what I see in this thread is that there are legitimately different flavours for different people at different times. Which is ok.
And that it means different things to different people. Which is also ok.
And that perhaps some of it we can create and some of it unfolds. Which is ok too.

On a practical level, I was not able to be emotionally detached enough when I first started dealing with the practicalities of divorce. I thought I was, but I wasn't and I took some damage financially bc of that. I am in awe of folks like Ggg who did that bc truthfully at the time I couldn't. Looking back, I needed to ask for help, to borrow a more detached brain from a wise friend for a little while. I wish I had known to do that and I would encourage any newbie dealing with divorce stuff to consider it. A L is a L....but a wise friend can ask questions that you might not consider at the time. And if you know a vet LBS who lives near you, I'm sure many of us would happily lend you a spare bit of brain for a couple of hours lol.

In my experience, the more I looked at a current reality and the more honest I could be with myself, my changing perspective also changed the nature of my un-detachment by itself sometimes. That there is a process over time which seems to have its own rhythm.Goes back perhaps to NYM/GiG's point about an on/off switch or not?

I'm not sure that beating myself up about not being detached 'enough' ever made any significant difference to how I actually felt, even if it sometimes pushed me to act in ways that unhooked me from some things. And I do occasionally see people on HS really giving themselves a tough time over not 'feeling detached enough'. Oh, and also being sometimes a bit scared that if they detach, they will lose other feelings along with it or be forced to do x or y as a consequence that is not what they want.
I'm not sure that is how it works actually.
But, if you are doing so, you might want to stop beating yourself up for not feeling x% of detached by y time bc I don't see much evidence that this changes the reality of how you actually feel at a given point?

And posts here also remind us that we have different versions of detachment about what we are prepared to keep a door open to. Which is ok too.

I also found to my surprise that detachment had nothing at all to do with love. And everything to do with my wants and old expectations.

My version of that is that I absolutely hope and pray that my xh heals from whatever broke him. And I have no wish or need to contact him again, or even know if that happens. Or any desire to contribute any part of myself to it. My door is closed, at least for now. I think of us as strangers on entirely separate and detached paths. I remember moments a bit like Family said when I still felt as if it was his business when I was seriously ill or that it might be mine if he was. And then I noticed when i stopped feeling that way.  I acceot that others see it differently in their own situation. Which is ok too.

Another question....and it might not be a question for newbies.....
Looking back, how important do you think it was for you in navigating this to find some version of detachment?
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« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 01:04:48 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#72: March 03, 2020, 04:20:26 AM
Quote
  I also found to my surprise that detachment had nothing at all to do with love. 

Important  point, Treasur.

I would define detachment as essentially untangling my emotions from H's.  I can tell you with some confidence that detachment allowed space in my heart for love, understanding and compassion for this person in excruciating emotional pain.   

I remember being confused about the term 'detachment,' and thinking this was something else missing and wrong in my life and I have to get it by hook or by crook.  I realized after awhile that I had been intuitively detaching from H by not taking his angry and reactive words personally without knowing the term, 'detachment.'

When I read newbies' threads, some of them have been detaching already, and very well too, without calling it such. 

On the other hand, some who are not newbies and even declare that they are detached, the descriptions of their daily thoughts and actions show that detachment is a fleeting thought.  Even if you do not interact with your MLCer but thoughts related to him rule your day, you are attached alright.  It really does not matter if you are post BD 3, 5, 10 years. 

The term 'Detachment' still appears to me rather esoteric and idealistic, and requires too much conceptual thinking; especially for the newbies who may be landing on HS in great confusion and anguish. 

I wonder if there was a simple phrase that is easier to understand and more practical than 'you must detach.'   

Just my thoughts. 
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« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 08:34:38 AM by UrsaMajor »
Feb 2015: BD. 
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

H never left home.

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#73: March 03, 2020, 04:40:23 AM
Quote
I wonder if there was a simple phrase that is easier to understand and more practical than %u2018you must detach

Disengage? Unhook? Step back? Ease away? Unpick? Unravel? Idk.
For me, unhook was probably the closest word to how it felt. Like Velcro. Or like unravelling the twisted strands of a strong rope perhaps, bit by bit.
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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#74: March 03, 2020, 04:50:12 AM
Hi Treasur-

Your recent post reminded me had he not posed such a blantant disrespect upfront, I can say with 100% certainty I would have been operating slower to minimize and justify as I tried to get my bearings.  It seems to be the under current in theses stories to protect yourself and the family first.  If we see things for what they are, the truth lies in their actions.  I would have believed him and settled for much less. 

From there WE can navigate and steer our ship with these poor kids and the MLC'r can deal with their consequences. As we leave the shore of destruction to rebuild a healthier life for those in our boat, the MLC'r can sit in their mess and truly see and feel how out of control their life is.  On our new island, we can become the lighthouse only if we are whole in time.  They must cut the ties to their mess, get in their own boat and cast off into the abyss of very choppy seas.  Some will get tossed overboard and some will not make it and go back.  Sooner or later those demons will chase them into the place of change be it good or bad.  In the meantime, the LBS can take solace in knowing their MLC'r doesn't get to call the shots and 9 times out of 10 they are only manipulating their level of ' helping' us to financially secure themselves for what they know is going to be a BIG hit.  God Bless you all!! Together we start building better days in spite of what comes our way.   ;)
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#75: March 03, 2020, 05:18:34 AM
Well said, ggg. Events do sometimes force our hand or head and that is not always a bad thing.

Quote
As we leave the shore of destruction to rebuild a healthier life for those in our boat, the MLC'r can sit in their mess and truly see and feel how out of control their life is.

For me, detachment also entailed not making assumptions - positive or negative - about how my xh's life is. Bc truthfully I don't know. He became a vanisher who refused to talk to me so, with time, I simply had less factual information. And I chose not to look for it. There is a temptation, perhaps to salve our own wounds or confirm our own beliefs about what happened or look for signs of 'progress' or see some kind of karma bus justice lol, to assume that my xh is the same mess as others post here when they have concrete experience of that. To assume he feels or thinks x or y bc other people post that their spouse said they did. Or indeed the opposite.

As I posted on another thread, I know what I knew. I know my then h fractured in some extraordinary and big way. I knew some things about what he did after that. And I know that there were/are a ton of things I don't know and it's ok now that I don't. Growing detachment removed a lot of my need to know but I was desparate initially tbh. And much less need to pretend I could guess now. I just don't know.

Detachment for me meant not knowing , not looking and tbh seeing it as irrelevant to my life. My ship is my ship either way. And if he is bailing his ship out in choppy waters or basking with owife on a beautiful yacht with calm seas.....it really doesn't affect my little ship now at all. Took me a very, very long time to honestly feel that way but finally I do.

I didn't feel that way a year ago when I sent him a HB text but I started to about idk about six months ago (when he sent me a Mr Sadz email I ignored bc i had nothing to say and three months ago when I threw away irreplaceable one-of photos that the old him would have wanted but I didn't). So, it took me about 3-3.5 years to stop caring about his ship at all either way, a long time. There will not be another HB text this month lol. And that all feels pretty much like ultimate detachment to me, or close enough for me.

Reality used to be very painful. Now reality is my friend.
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« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 05:42:02 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#76: March 03, 2020, 05:41:16 AM
Detachment for me was putting myself first and not letting anyones emotional storm influence me. I am solely responsible for my happiness and when you give someone else that power in a relationship you become dependant, needy and hurt when things don't go your way. I think we all do it. Wanting to trust someone to be vulnerable with our life. Detaching is not being phased by whatever others do. You simply stop giving a $h!te about them if they bring you down or make you feel bad. But how do you get to this point? You do what you wanna do for yourself with less regard for others. The right people won't mind you being yourself. CARE LESS for others. Take care of yourself more. Listen to your head, NOT your heart. Act on a way of thinking, NOT feeling.
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« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 05:42:48 AM by STP »
M57 XW55
S31, S29, S24, S22
BDs 11-09 & 4-16
D 10-16

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#77: March 03, 2020, 06:19:54 AM
STP, to me what you are describing feels more like Indifference, not detachment.
"stop giving a $h!te about them if they bring you down or make you feel bad."

I guess, for me, maybe a better way to say it is Detach Emotionally.
Which to me means you can still love them, you still care about them, but their words no longer have a negative impact on you.

They blame you for something and you know it's not true so you let it go.  It doesn't effect you.  In one ear, out the other.  Sorry you feel that way, and go on with your day

It can take a long time to get to reach that kind of detachment, in my opinion.  You can't just will it, it happens when you are tired of being hurt and blamed.
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#78: March 03, 2020, 06:31:17 AM
Detachment for me was putting myself first and not letting anyones emotional storm influence me. I am solely responsible for my happiness and when you give someone else that power in a relationship you become dependant, needy and hurt when things don't go your way. I think we all do it. Wanting to trust someone to be vulnerable with our life. Detaching is not being phased by whatever others do. You simply stop giving a $h!te about them if they bring you down or make you feel bad. But how do you get to this point? You do what you wanna do for yourself with less regard for others. The right people won't mind you being yourself. CARE LESS for others. Take care of yourself more. Listen to your head, NOT your heart. Act on a way of thinking, NOT feeling.

I don%u2019t know, most of the above sounds like an apt description of MLCer to me. 

Even sounding narcissistic and indifferent to others?

Some of it almost verbatim of what my H said during high replay. 

 
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« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 06:33:55 AM by Acorn »
Feb 2015: BD. 
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

H never left home.

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#79: March 03, 2020, 07:50:44 AM
Only thing I want to add is before detachment has to come a full and clear understanding of the boundaries of self and the other. What I mean by this is that a lot of times people confuse empathy/caring/love with the need to take on the emotions of the other person. One version of this is if we see a friend of loved one in pain we may want to "fix" it so they don't hurt. Rather than the ability to just empathize, feel with and for them, but hold that the pain is theirs, not ours.

This to me is an important prerequisite to detachment. Because if we can build up our bounds clearly, which also includes a complete separation of our feelings from the other person and being responsible for our feelings and not theirs, then it become a little bit easier to detach. When we love someone or have a relationship ideally we selectively make these bounds a bit more permeable and "take on" their feelings and care for how they are. This is obviously not advisable with a disordered person, as their disorder makes it hard to maintain the boundary.

So we, the LBSes, have to put up incredibly solid bounds in order to detach and be able to be around our MLCers without damage. That may be scary because people think they no longer "love" the person when they do that. But that is a good indication that they were confusing other interactions (including codependence) with love. And that is yet another great place for us to focus and grow in my opinion.

edit: wanted to add that this also extends to when people confuse being "nice" or "kind" or "caring" with codependence, being a fixer, or inadvertent controlling of their loved one. For example "I have always been a caring and kind person, therefore I can't help but to..."
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« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 08:18:22 AM by marvin4242 »
No Kids, 23 years at BD1 (4 years), married 21
First signs of MLC Jan '15
BD 1 Jan '17, BD 2 Mar, Separated Apr, BD 3 May,BD 4 Jun '18
First Sign of Waking up-Dec '17, First Cycle out of MLC Mar '18-Jun ‘18, Second cycle Jul '18-??
Meets OM Jan '17 and acts "in love," admits "in love" Jun '18, asks for divorce Jul '18

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#80: March 03, 2020, 08:32:45 AM
Once again Marvin, I agree with you.

It's very important to understand fully what detachment means, and doesn't mean.
You hit it spot on.
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#81: March 03, 2020, 08:34:30 AM
I found 'respect' was an easier aim than 'kindness' while I was trying to detach.
Not that this was always easy, but my 'kindness' could drift too easily into excusing the unacceptable (to me) or a kind of self-righteous 'nannying' when I would behave as if my h did not know his own mind. Which may have been true-ish, but it was disrespectful, arrogant and foolish to think I had the right to tell him what it was lol.

Respect looked like not lying (even if I was judicious with truth and started to say little), not doing things in order to hurt or shame him and ultimately respecting that he had the right to do what he thought best for himself. Including ending our marriage. It was a shame that he couldn't treat me with the same respect, but it was as it was.

I think respect is closer to deep love for me than kindness. And ultimately, when he asked me to let him go, I respected us both enough to do so. If some post-crisis version of my xh comes to see that as a loss or his 'fractured' mistake, then that too will be as it is. I had very little voice in how things unfolded. I think in a funny way treating my xh with respect was a mixture of rebellion and love in a way that kindness would not have been.
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« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 08:36:12 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#82: March 04, 2020, 04:41:33 AM
Treasur: great perspective. From my view respect has to start with clear boundaries between two people, and then it moves into detachment in the form that as you said you “let him go.” That is both emotional and physical detachment almost in embodied. And its very close to what I said to my sister in law at one time when she was confused, I told her I respected her sister enough to respect her wishes and let her go, even if she is wrong and in pain.

On another note I had a reality check on my own detachment yesterday. After 18 months of pretending I don’t exist my wife suddenly reached out and talked to (at?) me for 2.5 hours. I had not seen or heard her voice in 1.5 years, and it was interesting to see her. I was not distant, nor was I upset, nor was I happy. I did not feel connected, but I was not talking to a stranger either. She is still in pain and confused and agitated, but it was all hers. My energy level was even, and by the time the call ended nothing had changed in my life emotionally or in any practical sense. It was almost impact less. She even mentioned coming to visit, and I have already put it out of my mind.

Maybe this is an good acid test of detachment?
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No Kids, 23 years at BD1 (4 years), married 21
First signs of MLC Jan '15
BD 1 Jan '17, BD 2 Mar, Separated Apr, BD 3 May,BD 4 Jun '18
First Sign of Waking up-Dec '17, First Cycle out of MLC Mar '18-Jun ‘18, Second cycle Jul '18-??
Meets OM Jan '17 and acts "in love," admits "in love" Jun '18, asks for divorce Jul '18

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#83: March 04, 2020, 05:14:00 AM
Hi Marvan-

That is great you were receptive in kindness when she reached out.  Baby steps of peeking in and back into the tunnel.  That sounds like a healthy detachment on your part.  I pray you keep getting many more opportunities to pave the way.  Staying the course for yourself as you are doing, is beneficial to everyone in the long run.  Great job! God Bless!! GGG
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#84: March 04, 2020, 07:53:30 AM
Well, interesting, Marvin. As you say, a test of your own detachment. And as you say, talking "at". (So I'm guessing your W's Me Me level was still upper quartile lol) And I guess possible too that detachment in the moment and detachment over the next few days might not be quite the same bc hey, we LBS cycle sometimes too a bit right? Normal.

Out of interest (if you want to share) was the 1.5 years previous NC from your choice or at the request of your w? And why did you agree to talk/listen? No judgment implied btw....we all learn here that we learn and adapt as we go  :) Did you feel she wanted anything from you which was a potential threat to your current level of detachment? Or indeed any of those sneaky little expectation beasties that sometimes creep up on us LBS lol.....
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#85: March 04, 2020, 08:30:13 AM
Out of interest (if you want to share) was the 1.5 years previous NC from your choice or at the request of your w? And why did you agree to talk/listen? No judgment implied btw....we all learn here that we learn and adapt as we go  :) Did you feel she wanted anything from you which was a potential threat to your current level of detachment? Or indeed any of those sneaky little expectation beasties that sometimes creep up on us LBS lol.....

Completely legit question, I documented my entire story over the first 1.5 years at another site. Brief version is I figured out very early what was going on, I went back into therapy, I detached (over time) and removed all pressure and stress and continued with my life while my wife was going through her various cycles (throughout BDs). I have remained as non reactive as I can and really have been living my life without any push or pull from what she does. I try to remain civil, kind, and will accommodate her unless it is crossing a boundary and/or is harmful to me.

Last BD was 1.5 years ago, after she had cycled back much closer and was showing a lot of signs of her old self. We had just spent 3 meetings at various places where she was much more herself. She was even back home and was saying things like “why did I think this place is so bad?” Then we parted ways and I went to LA for a trip and she went back to visit with OM. We met back home after two weeks. She arrived after me, late one night. Then she avoided me for a day or so. When I ran into her the next morning I asked “hey do you want to grab dinner” and she responded with “no I think we should go our separate ways, so plan whatever you want for dinner.” And she was back to full on shark eyes and complete reversion to complete disassociation. The trigger may have been a cousin who was her age committing suicide during that time, or it may have been a squirrel who looked at her funny. But I simply asked her “is this what you want, because its not what I want.” She said yes but was completely acting strange. She went shopping and got me things after that, she said she wanted to say goodbye to the “house” but when I asked “can I say goodbye before I leave” she said “sure if you want.” So complete MLC clown logic. From that point she avoided me completely, would not talk to me by voice, would only send text as she wanted. My basic approach for contact is I match her exactly wherever she is. Because of my own set of skills to detach I didn’t need NC to protect myself, it is rather keeping a complete boundary whenever we do interact. If she is superficial I remain superficial. A few times she has cycled closer to self awareness and has talked I have matched her exactly and only answered questions asked. I have never offered advice, not told her what is going on, or what she should do. Well almost never, there was one time where she was being very mean and I called the OM a hippy! We have had numerous times where there have been long conversations, which really was her just talking and me listening. Sometimes for hours. There were a couple of times where my old wife returned and we actually had deeper conversations (but not about what is going on with her). And a lot of just ranting/venting from her and me smiling and nodding.

So brief version (hah) is it was her choice, she just disappeared. I never pushed it. When she texted I would respond, but almost always she ended the brief trail of conversation. So this was her doing. I have no agenda, no plan, no dream that this will work out. This is just someone who I care for deeply, who I shared 23+ years with, and will help if and when a day comes that she seeks it. No expectations. My life has moved on without her and that is the direction its headed.
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No Kids, 23 years at BD1 (4 years), married 21
First signs of MLC Jan '15
BD 1 Jan '17, BD 2 Mar, Separated Apr, BD 3 May,BD 4 Jun '18
First Sign of Waking up-Dec '17, First Cycle out of MLC Mar '18-Jun ‘18, Second cycle Jul '18-??
Meets OM Jan '17 and acts "in love," admits "in love" Jun '18, asks for divorce Jul '18

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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#86: March 04, 2020, 08:38:04 AM
This thread could not come at a better time for me as the last 2 months I been been focusing on my own detachment.

Detachment for me has come in many, many layers in the last 4 years.  Just when I think I have been detached I find myself caught up in the antics of my H and start to cycle with him.  At BD I think I was the poster child of what not to do.  I did not detach, I did the opposite.   I hyper attached.  I've come to realize now how much our marriage was based on a codependency. My thinking back then was if I detached I would lose a part of me.  I continued to let things happen.  My H is a clinger live in and never really monstered.  Most of his replay took place in another state that he traveled to 2 times a month.   He had set up 2 different lives.  He would come home and tell me he loved me (Sometimes) and go back to the OW and his other life.  I lived 2 years in complete pain believing all of his lies because after all we were one person and he wouldn't do that to me.  He became so different.  I was lost and thought that if I detached I would be even more lost.  BD #2 happened 2 years in and I realized then I had to start detach before he ruined me.  Since that time I have taken the steps.  Baby steps, but steps. 

Detachment for me has not just been about detaching from my H but attaching to myself.  It has been a long and sometimes painful journey to take a look at myself as a separate person.  I've had to go back into our 32 year marriage and dissect things and change myself and my thinking.  I think Treasur wrote on Kits thread something about figuring out what belongs to me, what belongs to my H and what belongs to God,  This is what I'm really trying to do right now.   
I want to tell all newbies that you will figure out what detachment means when you are ready.  It has taken me 4 years to get to a place today where I'm practicing it daily and it has brought on a whole new level of peace and understanding.   It's a work in progress that I don't think should ever end even if there is reunification. 

I want to thank everyone who is sharing on this site.  I continue to learn things often. 
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#87: March 04, 2020, 08:42:54 AM
Quote
Detachment for me has not just been about detaching from my H but attaching to myself. 

What a very wise and useful way to see it, Roo. Thank you for sharing that.
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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#88: March 04, 2020, 09:31:51 AM
I think in beginning for me my mindset of detaching was all physical. I wouldn't speak to her. I wouldn't touch her. Well with a live in that didn't work. I still road the emotional rollercoaster of when she came back and forth like a yoyo .

It became an emotional detachment. That works for me.
She could do and say her crazy crap and got to where I didn't care. I looked at everything she did and said as fake. Only way I made it.
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#89: March 04, 2020, 09:43:14 AM
You make a very good point Helping.  There is a huge difference between physical detachment and emotional.  I thought I was detaching by staying away from him when I could and stopped doing his laundry  :).   I was stuck in trying to give myself physical detachment with a live in MLC'r  for quite awhile, emotional detachment has taken much more time and work!
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#90: March 12, 2024, 07:12:30 AM
Bringing this discussion thread back to life based on request from Author and the current "35 pages..." discussion on detachment
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#91: March 12, 2024, 09:26:56 AM
Thank you UM for digging up the old thread! 

While searching for the Detachment thread, I found an excerpt from one of RCR’s blogs in another thread. This is gold in my opinion.
…..

RCR:

But your healing, that is within your control! Healing is empowering; there is no downside.

Education

Identify the problem. This can take a while. In the moments, days, weeks and maybe even months after Bomb Drop you may have searched for a purpose or reason. What has happened to my loving partner? Did we have problems that were this serious in our marriage? What is going on? Why is he/she doing this feeling this way? Who is that madman in my husband’s/wife’s body? These are the questions you ask over and over as you try to understand and make sense of this shock. They grip you and send you off on tangents as you find something that fits pieces, without quite fitting everything.

Is he a narcissist?
Is this an exit affair?
Is she right, did we have a bad marriage?

Now that you have identified the problem—midlife crisis— you finally have something to learn about that may help your situation move forward by educating yourself just enough to answer your basic questions: what’s happening, what does it mean, why is this happening, what can I do…?

Then stop! Or redirect more energy toward your personal education or learning and your own Mirror-Work rather than midlife crisis, because focusing on the latter could keep you attached to the situation and your MLCer and prevent you from progressing forward in a healthy and positive manner.


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« Last Edit: March 12, 2024, 09:34:53 AM by Acorn »
Feb 2015: BD. 
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

H never left home.

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#92: March 12, 2024, 12:19:03 PM
We can surmise from the quote above that detaching from the situation and MLCer frees some energy toward LBS’s own mirror work. 

It is my view that one of the first steps in mirror work is to fully accept the facts as you see right in front of you — your spouse (as did mine) told you your marriage is kaput; he loves you but not in love with you; he left physically or emotionally (while living under the same roof); ‘friend zoned’ you, etc.

Acceptance is essential and a necessary first step to detachment, which I see as an integral part of mirror work.  It may also be beneficial to consider the scenario where LBS may have fully accepted indisputable and unvarnished facts and yet remain firmly attached to MLCer, the minute details of the situation and the outcome, and that is where LBS’s hard work of detachment is, I suggest. 

I would not be presumptuous to suggest that everyone will be able to detach just because some of us did.  Nor would I suggest that other LBSs can not attain detachment through hard work just because some of us could not.  The main thing is to be informed about detachment and give it a try.  You may be pleasantly surprised at what you are capable of in terms of emotional strength and growth. 

I wish you nothing but the very best!

((((HUGS))))
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#93: March 12, 2024, 01:18:16 PM
It is my view that one of the first steps in mirror work is to fully accept the facts as you see right in front of you — your spouse (as did mine) told you your marriage is kaput; he loves you but not in love with you; he left physically or emotionally (while living under the same roof); ‘friend zoned’ you, etc.

"The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes." Everything else is pure theory.
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#94: March 12, 2024, 01:21:28 PM
I agree with Acorn about finding a way to accept the reality of what’s in front of your nose as the current reality. It may or may not be a future reality, and it wasn’t your past reality, but it is actually how it is right now. Hard to do, but important, I found.

The weird twist to detachment that lasted longer than my attachment to my marriage, or even my h, was difficult to put words to. But I think it was a kind of attachment to that part of my own history and sense of it as part of who I am. I didn’t know what to do with some of those things, but I fought a solid rearguard action against detaching from them tbh lol. I think that got me stuck and hurting for quite a long time, maybe longer than was good for me. A feeling that I didn’t want to just bin bits of my own life history just bc my then h seemed to have done so, but bc he had, I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Still not sure about some of it tbh. And not sure I have detached from all of it either, even years on.

Hard to describe. I think I’d like to feel differently than I do about those 20+ years of my life….but I’m not sure how or how to do that. Anyone else struggle with that kind of detachment?
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« Last Edit: March 12, 2024, 01:23:01 PM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


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#95: March 12, 2024, 05:32:58 PM
For me, it started with need to detach from my MLC'er W out of necessity.  But, as I dove deeper into the concept of detachment, I discovered through reading the christian mystics that our perceived need for security, affection, and control are false realities that we must detach from in order to be truly "happy".   This has led me on a path of prayer and daily exercises of silence and stillness.  Not only has this began to address my attachments to my W, but also deep areas of lifelong anxiety that are just beginning to unravel.  It's been the most profound experience of my life by far...   All thanks to my MLC W (most likely STBXW)...  ::)
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« Last Edit: March 12, 2024, 05:39:52 PM by Hopeful5 »

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#96: March 12, 2024, 06:32:46 PM
I agree with Acorn about finding a way to accept the reality of what’s in front of your nose as the current reality. It may or may not be a future reality, and it wasn’t your past reality, but it is actually how it is right now. Hard to do, but important, I found.

The weird twist to detachment that lasted longer than my attachment to my marriage, or even my h, was difficult to put words to. But I think it was a kind of attachment to that part of my own history and sense of it as part of who I am. I didn’t know what to do with some of those things, but I fought a solid rearguard action against detaching from them tbh lol. I think that got me stuck and hurting for quite a long time, maybe longer than was good for me. A feeling that I didn’t want to just bin bits of my own life history just bc my then h seemed to have done so, but bc he had, I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Still not sure about some of it tbh. And not sure I have detached from all of it either, even years on.

Hard to describe. I think I’d like to feel differently than I do about those 20+ years of my life….but I’m not sure how or how to do that. Anyone else struggle with that kind of detachment?

Very much so.

It has been helpful to me in being able to slowly move forward, to so firmly believe now (not just in my head but in my bones) that what he chose to do really really had nothing to do with me or our marriage. That we had a very good, but very average marriage. That we were just poodling along like everyone else... and then, due to how he was feeling about himself and his life at that time (that he hadn't shared properly with me), he just... broke. He lost all interest in our life and thought getting a new one would make him happy. Getting a new life meant he needed to find a new woman. So he did. I see this very clearly now. I think he might see it too but it would be far too hard to unravel everything now for him. And I think his new life, though not the magic happy he thought he was going to, is OK enough for him to keep on keeping on there. I think I've now mostly accepted that this is how our story ended. Incredibly sad but nothing I can change. I think I will always feel attached to him; and feel like he feels like he's attached to me. I'm OK with that. 

I am still left though with a faintly squirmy kind of feeling about those 20+ years; like there might be something scary that is hidden. But I just don't, and likely will never, know. I know I'd prefer not to know (my gut shouts 'nope!' when I think about it). Which is a yuck feeling all of it's own. I guess what I really struggle with is whether I should struggle with that squirmy feeling or just leave it be and ignore it!

I had a conversation with my SIL a year or so ago where I said it might have been easier (how could one know?) if he had died instead of losing the plot and running off.  She thought that was going a bit far. But I asked her "He has re-written our history and there are still some unanswered questions about what he lied about and how long he had been seeing OW (and if there were others earlier than her)... SO WHAT DO I DO WITH MY MEMORIES?!! If he had died I would still be without him, but I wouldn't have all THIS kind of messy trauma to carry around. All my memories are now tainted with whispery question marks. Where do I put them!?". She said she hadn't thought about it that way before (which is common as we all know unless you've been there).

I completely agree that acceptance of current reality is what we should be aiming for. It is a very long slog trough the trauma and I'm not sure there's a map for how to do it well/quicker. It's taken me nearly 6 years and I'm still only 'mostly there'.  :-\

You are right, it is hard to describe this feeling of still being attached to something that you're not quite sure of. I don't know yet what to do with my little remnant squirmy feeling. And I'm not sure I need to do anything with it. For now it is on a shelf, up over there to the left in my mind. As I get more and more distance from 'that life' over time I think I am coming closer to just accepting that I won't ever get those answers and that, for me, those answers don't really matter as they won't change what happened or what is happening. I loved 'that life' and loved (love) my husband. And I know he loved (loves) me. Nothing that happened can change the majority of that.

I think for me working things out is facilitated by time and distance. I know some people here say you can't heal unless you actively 'do the work', but I've always been a 'go with the flow' type of person and things have always fairly passively resolved themselves for me. Under all the pain and the all the massive swirling WTF panic over the past nearly 6 years, my core-personality (the Ever that mostly runs the show) always knew I'd be ok eventually. That we all (all the different bits that make up Ever) just had to cling on until the waves calmed down and we popped back up and righted ourselves. I guess you could say I actively moved forward and kept taking little tiny (often miniscule!) steps forward (and back and forward and back and forward etc etc). But I don't think I was actively trying to 'think different' or 'detach' or 'accept'. I just kept moving forward and waited until I thought differently, detached more, accepted what had happened. Not sure if I'm making sense (haha, I'm never sure about that!). 


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« Last Edit: March 12, 2024, 06:38:10 PM by Evermore »
M: 53 (48 @ BD), H: 55 (51 @ BD); Married 20yrs, together 23yrs
D: 24 (19 @ BD), D: 22 (17 @ BD), 'Extra D': 22 (17 @ BD)
BD (that I didn't recognise as such) Easter 2018
BD 9th Sep 2018
OW - he (supposedly) met her in the pub a week before BD, told me about her a week after BD. Thinks 'their planets have collided' because 'their eyes met across the room' and they had an 'instant connection'. Lives with her. Is building a life with her.
Jun 20: H plans to buy a block of land and build a house with her (never happens).
May 22: Movement... (likely T&G? Time will tell I guess)
May 23: Yep, definitely a T&G last year. Still have contact but very minimal. He is a long way away from me these days. He doesn't seem particularly happy in his new life... but he's still there soooo....

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#97: March 12, 2024, 10:34:56 PM
I can’t even remember what she was like.  It’s only been 2.5 years but I struggle to remember the loving woman she once was.

Perhaps when we’re D and we haven’t seen each other for months will those nostalgic, Disney feelings return, or at least have a chance to.  But living with an at home wallower. I can’t even pretend to remember those feelings I once had.  There’s just not a second for me to let them in before something bad happens again.  Living with an alien stranger does not leave much room for those feels. 

I think after a brief bout of depression I reached acceptance.  But then genuinely felt indifference for a long time.  I think since then I’ve healed somewhat and it’s turned back to detachment as I still care about her outcome.  But back then I felt nothing. 

What I’m trying to say is the word detachment is so overused here but I think it means something different for everyone.  For me it meant my love being extinguished and I was terrified when I felt it happening.  But now being on the otherside of “detached”, whatever they means, I’m here to tell future LBS that it will be ok.  Genuinely.  It’s not all roses. But it is more peaceful.

And as for “thinking” myself into detachment or trying to make it happen. No $&@#ing way!  I knew exactly what I needed to do but you can’t just wave a wand and make it happen. It genuinely was a function of time and the result of certain external events.  It’s something you can’t force. 

So if you’re trying to detach.   Try not to pressure yourself or force it.  At least for me, sample of one, I needed time, and I detached naturally without my control when the time was right.  A year. Two years?  You’ll detach when you’re ready.  You will just know it.

Genuinely my fellow LBS. It will be ok. 


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#98: March 13, 2024, 12:15:56 AM
For me it took years, literally.  Probably longer than for anyone on this forum.

I remember back before this forum existed, when my mess began, the advice was also to detach -- I was desperately trying to work out what that was, how to do it, all that.  I became frustrated when all my active efforts (GAL, meditation, self-care, etc.) didn't magically result in this state of bliss. 

It was a slow, slow process for me, but eventually even I got there, I think. 

For me getting to the acceptance of what reality was made the difference; that eventually meant stepping away from my MLCer, but even that took me a long time.  Having 3 children with special needs didn't help, I kept wanting him to be involved.  I remember when RCR told me to take off the MLC lenses, and look at what was there -- I didn't really want to, because I wanted to see the person that I always believed was the sweetest, kindest person on the planet, but really what I saw was a selfish, entitled mess. 

All those things that treasur writes about -- how to reconcile our own stories about life the way it was, about what happened, -- also apply to me.  I now think that it is very possible that I had a covert narcissist (or whatever the best description of that is), and that when he broke, it all came flooding out.  I remember at the very beginning a therapist telling me that we all have these little selfish tendencies, but normally we keep them in check.  He said that "something" (MLC, who knows) in effect "gave him permission" to let that side of himself take over.  This could have been temporary, which is why I hung on to MLC as the thing, hoping that it would eventually be over, but in the end every time he could have made the decision to step up, he made the decision to run further. 

I had to look at reality, so for me that meant stopping contact. 

And since then it's still been a slow process, but I can finally say that my own emotions are no longer tied to his rollercoaster.  I'm still sad about it, and still not entirely sure what our life together really was (which is very sad, because I truly loved it, and him), but with that dreaded word, time, I've now built a life that is my own, mine and my children's. 

I do now know that what happened was entirely due to what was going on within him, that however imperfect I was, it wasn't about me or our marriage. 

So what is now talked about on this forum so much, the acceptance of what is, I think is important.  It doesn't mean kicking them to the kerb, it doesn't mean not loving them, but it does mean learning to set boundaries so that we don't go under along with them. 

And accepting that it does hurt.  It would be odd if it didn't.  And it still feels weird when I do hear something, or see a picture, but no longer with the pain. 
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#99: March 13, 2024, 01:28:00 AM
I wanted to add to the above.  First of all I think it was marvin who wrote about the covert narcissist shattering, I just wanted to flag that I noticed that.  I didn't  come to my conclusions based on his writing, but I wanted to note that I used his phrase!

I also wanted to add that for me, understanding, or at least trying to understand MLC (or whatever it was) was very important, not in that it made me focus on him (which it did, certainly in the earlier years), but to help me understand that it wasn't all about me or our marriage.  Until I got it through my head that I wasn't completely nuts, that I wasn't all bad, I couldn't start to heal (for lack of a better word). 

The forum in the earlier years focused more on MLC, and I did find that valuable.  I think that we need to go through every step of the process ourselves as LBS, so for me, jumping to whatever "reality" was at the time couldn't work until I had gone through all the other steps, trying to understand, etc.

(I also think that I had PTSD, undiagnosed, but it kept me in a state of fear and trembling for a number of years, which slowed things down for me...)

Yes, for years I did believe that my job was to be there for him, but alongside that I slowly realised that I couldn't be if I wasn't in good shape myself.  And that slowly morphed into letting go more and more.  And my children definitely took priority over my MLCer. 
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#100: March 13, 2024, 02:43:48 AM
I think this is such a rich thread. This is something we all uniquely share and so, for me, it's really important to read other people's experiences. And weirdly reassuring that most of us, despite being treated horrendously, still found (find) it hard to cut the dealer of bad deeds out of our emotional lives. If at all. For me, there has been a really frustrating cognitive dissonance. Seeing clearly the behaviours but not being able to marry them to the person I knew all those years.

And as for “thinking” myself into detachment or trying to make it happen. No $&@#ing way!  I knew exactly what I needed to do but you can’t just wave a wand and make it happen. It genuinely was a function of time and the result of certain external events.  It’s something you can’t force.   

I relate to this. What has helped me is to keep telling myself to have Zero Expectations. This is an easy mantra for me, and when I feel myself going into the psychic realm of speculation, I repeat it and then try to insert some white noise into my brain  :) I am just over 1.5 years in, so I am fresh out the gates in this fun run we call MLC, but I am gradually reshaping my life, filling the hole left by my H with new experiences and love from family and friends, old and new. There is still pain, but now, I can genuinely say, I have more joy than pain and I like my life.

I also really respond to Evermore's 'squirmy' feeling about the past. I guess, after time, we can see the dynamics of the relationship much clearer, see ourselves and our spouse's roles and personalities. I always knew subconsciously that my H was the more passive player in the R - in many ways he kind of grafted onto my life, because he never really had a strong sense of direction. I was the navigator I suppose, and we went on many exciting adventures because of my job. But I would have done the same things with or without him. I know this. Not true the other way around though. So I don't regret much in that respect, but I do have lots of fuzzy question marks now about the depth of his love. At this point in time, I feel like I was a good navigator for him, until I wasn't.

For many of us, our spouse was the person we matured with, and so, for me anyway, I don't have another significant romantic relationship to compare it to. I can only know the marriage I had with H. That's something I think I need to reflect on as part of, not detachment, but maybe moving and evolving forward.
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« Last Edit: March 13, 2024, 02:45:26 AM by KayDee »

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#101: March 13, 2024, 03:44:46 AM
We can surmise from the quote above that detaching from the situation and MLCer frees some energy toward LBS’s own mirror work. 

It is my view that one of the first steps in mirror work is to fully accept the facts as you see right in front of you — your spouse (as did mine) told you your marriage is kaput; he loves you but not in love with you; he left physically or emotionally (while living under the same roof); ‘friend zoned’ you, etc.

Acceptance is essential and a necessary first step to detachment, which I see as an integral part of mirror work.  It may also be beneficial to consider the scenario where LBS may have fully accepted indisputable and unvarnished facts and yet remain firmly attached to MLCer, the minute details of the situation and the outcome, and that is where LBS’s hard work of detachment is, I suggest. 

I would not be presumptuous to suggest that everyone will be able to detach just because some of us did.  Nor would I suggest that other LBSs can not attain detachment through hard work just because some of us could not.  The main thing is to be informed about detachment and give it a try.  You may be pleasantly surprised at what you are capable of in terms of emotional strength and growth. 

I wish you nothing but the very best!

((((HUGS))))

It’s actually something I never thought too much about before, but the importance of really separating “acceptance“ and “detachment“ as two very distinct separate activities might have helped me in the very early days. Trying to force myself to detach from something that I was struggling to see as reality was very difficult. In nonattachment there’s the concept of “self as context” that has been key for me, and the idea that experiences, thoughts and feelings are ever changing. Having a fluid perspective on things takes a lot of practice, for me anyway, but starting from a place of acceptance makes it possible.

Change occurs constantly throughout our lives and we barely perceive it because it happens organically - and incrementally. But this change, it truly is like a bomb dropping onto our lives and demolishing everything all at once. For many of us, It’s not just the loss of our partner, but the loss of many of the things we have come to rely on as foundations in our lives: our homes, many of the comforts of every day life, our stability, our sense of safety, and we had attachment to all of these, and sometimes we can detach from some aspects easier than others. It all *feels * unacceptable. It all feels unfair, because it is. It’s completely understandable to be rocked by all that. I think sometimes when we think of “detachment,” we think it means we should no longer have feelings about it, that it shouldn’t hurt at all anymore. But I believe detachment is more about recognizing that we are still our core selves even without the things that we were attached to that are now gone. It’s about moving forward, which can happen in steps, and sometimes it’s going to hurt, but the key is to keep moving forward. I think this experience in a sense will always be there, and having feelings about it makes us human. So if you still find yourself shedding a tear now and then, it doesn’t mean you’re not detached. It means you experienced something.
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« Last Edit: March 13, 2024, 04:07:50 AM by Nas »
“The desire to be loved is the last illusion. Give it up and you will be free.” ~Margaret Atwood

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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#102: March 30, 2024, 10:50:18 AM
I want to add in my simplest terms on detachment is that I found like Treasur  hanging on to  pieces of my old life and not wanting  to let go of it.  Wanting to save my MLCer , but also my children. The affects of what was happening to everyone’s lives. When I Finally let myself off the hook of trying to be the sole savior of the situation it all changed. He was going to do what he was going to do. I can’t make someone change how they feel ( whether it is real or deluded)  why was I fighting so hard to keep someone who was telling me they didn’t want me?

I  also couldn’t change that I may be taking a hit from my kids and their pain that is unfairly directed at me. The biggest thing that helped me to detach besides time of course,  was the reality of my expectations. I knew how I would handle it  and  when my XH, Daughter, Son, in-laws didn’t react or respond I was only hurting myself by my own expectations of how  “I” thought they should be based on my own morals or character.  Accepting the situation and that you can only control yourself with no expectations. It was always there, but understanding how I was affecting myself and also how I and I alone could not save the life we had.

We hear so early on detach, detach. DETACH!!!!, but I think it is different for us all. You have to really look at what is affecting you the most on all others interactions with you.  In each situation  that you have anxiety or get upset, that tells you everything to know about what “you” are doing to hurt yourself .
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There is almost something harder about someone being alive and having to lose what you believed to be true of them than someone actually dying.

Indefatigability - determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose
perspicacity- a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight

Married July 1991
Jan 2018 BD1 moved out I filed for Div/ H stopped it
Oct 2018 moved back
Oct 2020 BD2
Feb 2021 Div-29 1/2 years
July 2021 Married OW
Feb 2022  XH fired
May 2023 went NC after telling XH we could not be friends
Aug 2023 XH moves w/o OWife

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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#103: March 30, 2024, 11:13:59 PM
To me, detachment and acceptance felt different. To me, detachment happened with actions I took and with time. After each action, I felt a bit of relief from the intense pain. For example, when I defriended him on Facebook, I had a lot of anxiety build up to do that, but huge relief once it was done. When I had emails go to a folder that I could check at set times when I could go for a run afterward, then I felt relief. When I would redirect my thoughts with math problems, I felt relief. When I did enough snooping to identify OW and then stopped snooping, I felt relief. I began really paying attention to what caused me pain and took steps to stop that if I could.

Every step slowly helped me claw my way out of the abyss and stabilize me, inch by inch. That was detachment for me.

Acceptance was realizing that he is a grown adult and he could choose his path even though it was not a path I wanted him to choose. He could choose another person, place to live, etc. That is his right. Hard to accept, but I came to accept that.

Acceptance was also realizing that there was no going back to how things were. Even if he "came back", things were irrevocably torn, different, and that healing took time and work and there was no snapping back to what was. That was gone.
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« Last Edit: March 30, 2024, 11:25:30 PM by Reinventing »

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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#104: April 01, 2024, 01:19:49 PM
I want to add in my simplest terms on detachment is that I found like Treasur  hanging on to  pieces of my old life and not wanting  to let go of it.  Wanting to save my MLCer , but also my children. The affects of what was happening to everyone’s lives. When I Finally let myself off the hook of trying to be the sole savior of the situation it all changed.

I  also couldn’t change that I may be taking a hit from my kids and their pain that is unfairly directed at me. The biggest thing that helped me to detach besides time of course,  was the reality of my expectations.

We hear so early on detach, detach. DETACH!!!!, but I think it is different for us all. You have to really look at what is affecting you the most on all others interactions with you.  In each situation  that you have anxiety or get upset, that tells you everything to know about what “you” are doing to hurt yourself .

This has been the hardest for me for sure in terms of acceptance and detachment > the kids.   As a LBS, we're often blamed for EVERY wrong thing that ever happened in the relationship (and then some).  When the kids get pulled into the middle and that's all they hear from he MLC spouse, it warps their perception of the LBS spouse.  It's frustrating to no end, and so incredibly sad to see them pulled into a false narrative, and taking part in the MLC's resentment / bitterness. It leaves the LBS spouse in a very difficult position.  We so badly want the kids to see that the MLC's issues are the true source of all of this, but at the same time the LBS actually has empathy and doesn't want to hurt the MLC spouse, or pull the kids into any more turmoil.

Detachment and acceptance in this situation is very difficult. I'm finding it almost impossible. How does one accept that the MLC spouse may behave like this forever moving forward? How does one accept that the MLC spouse may behave like this for years to come?  My thought is that I don't want to fight this battle.  If the kids chose to buy into her false narrative and embitter themselves against me then it's out of my control. Somehow I need to accept that this may be a reality moving forward, albeit a very painful and difficult one.

At some point there needs to be a lot of patience and trust that the truth will somehow prevail...

This is some crazy monk level detachment and acceptance here.
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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#105: April 01, 2024, 08:46:43 PM
I need to know what to do with the kids too.  I have stood by my MLCer.  But if she spins the false narrative to the kids and hurts my relationship with them.  I will take a flamethrower to everything around us.   I will not stand by while she spins that garbage to my kids….   For better or worse.  I will not let it happen. 

What’s the best way to handle this type of situation and minimize the carnage?
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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#106: April 01, 2024, 10:22:18 PM
Quote from: Hopeful5
This has been the hardest for me for sure in terms of acceptance and detachment > the kids.   As a LBS, we're often blamed for EVERY wrong thing that ever happened in the relationship (and then some).  When the kids get pulled into the middle and that's all they hear from he MLC spouse, it warps their perception of the LBS spouse.  It's frustrating to no end, and so incredibly sad to see them pulled into a false narrative, and taking part in the MLC's resentment / bitterness. It leaves the LBS spouse in a very difficult position.  We so badly want the kids to see that the MLC's issues are the true source of all of this, but at the same time the LBS actually has empathy and doesn't want to hurt the MLC spouse, or pull the kids into any more turmoil.

Detachment and acceptance in this situation is very difficult. I'm finding it almost impossible. How does one accept that the MLC spouse may behave like this forever moving forward? How does one accept that the MLC spouse may behave like this for years to come?  My thought is that I don't want to fight this battle.  If the kids chose to buy into her false narrative and embitter themselves against me then it's out of my control. Somehow I need to accept that this may be a reality moving forward, albeit a very painful and difficult one.

At some point there needs to be a lot of patience and trust that the truth will somehow prevail...

This is some crazy monk level detachment and acceptance here.
Regarding the relationship between our spouse and our children, we can do nothing : we can be sad when it worsens, but it is not our responsibility to fix it or to save them.
Then, regarding our relationship with the children, yes it is our responsibility IMO to be a stable and affective parent who provides a healthy environment to them. I don't believe your assumption is true : kids hate when someone badmouths one of their parents, so IMO they will never buy false narrative.

Quote from: WHY
I need to know what to do with the kids too.  I have stood by my MLCer.  But if she spins the false narrative to the kids and hurts my relationship with them.  I will take a flamethrower to everything around us.   I will not stand by while she spins that garbage to my kids….   For better or worse.  I will not let it happen. 

What’s the best way to handle this type of situation and minimize the carnage?
At this time, I have not experienced my spouse spinning a false narrative to the kids. I think this would be a dangerous thing to do for her and she would have to face the bad consequences if she makes this bad choice. If this happens, the best move would likely be to do nothing.
From my pov, my wife has no influence on my relationship with our children and I don't have on hers.
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M 44, W43. Married 18 years, together 21
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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#107: April 02, 2024, 02:30:43 AM
I need to know what to do with the kids too.  I have stood by my MLCer.  But if she spins the false narrative to the kids and hurts my relationship with them.  I will take a flamethrower to everything around us.   I will not stand by while she spins that garbage to my kids….   For better or worse.  I will not let it happen. 

What’s the best way to handle this type of situation and minimize the carnage?

You stand by your own truth and don't take the bait. Calmly and clearly state your truth and let the wild-a$$ed fantasy world implode on itself.....

How did the old lady in the "Wendy's" commercial say it? "Where's the Beef?"

If the narrative is false, it can be proven false....
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
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BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#108: April 02, 2024, 07:23:42 AM
It’s a tough old life lesson imho, one that comes along with detachment, to realise that one has pretty much no control at all over what anyone else says, thinks or does. What you CAN control is what you say, think and do. That’s it.

So, given that, I’d put the feelings about flamethrowers to one side, understandable though these feelings might be right now.

Have a non specific kind of phrase you use with your kids and others if they bring up things your ex/wife says….something like ‘well, people often see things differently from each other at times’. Or the Queen’s ‘recollections may vary’  :)

Say very little about your ex/wife, good or bad, to anyone involved especially your kids. Just bc you think it does not mean you are obliged to say it out loud. :)

Trust that your kids are capable of making their own judgements based on their own experiences. It may be a bit up and down in the short term, but you keep doing you consistently and give them time to see who you are. Jmo.

My perspective on detaching and accepting was pretty much the same as Reinventing described.
It is a process that can take you to some strange places and not always where you assume you’ll come to rest. It did seem to take an extraordinarily long time until I really honestly felt over the mountain on the other side, and I did not have kids or therefore any kind of ongoing contact.
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« Last Edit: April 02, 2024, 08:38:43 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
#109: April 02, 2024, 11:20:45 AM
I like Reinventing's explanation too. I also think detachment means different things as you go through the LBS journey. When you are dealing with an MLCer every day, when they're a clinger or still in-house, it's just as much a physical process as a psychological one. Later it may be way more the latter.

We do detachment in so many other relationships - our friends are gonna do what they're gonna do whether we approve or not, people with kids, definitely our parents or other extended family are people we naturally set boundaries with that are appropriate - but this one is different. We purposely built a *union*. And many times we think we know them better than they know themselves. That in itself is a lesson in this. As Treasur said, we don't control others, nor do we truly know what is going on inside of them.

Now I see healthy detachment like a business owner. There are companies where founders share leadership. That seemed to be our families before. All working together to build this common goal by utilizing the specialties and strengths of the individuals as something that makes the sum greater than its parts. But now we are sole proprietors. We may have "joint ventures" or "strategic partnerships" in the form of co-parenting or assets we continue to share. In those very different relationships, the individuals may be cooperative for *some* common goals, but the agenda for each is now truly unilateral.

That's why it's good to remember that your MLC spouse or former spouse is no longer working toward the attainment of YOUR goals. There is no shared vision or mission. They don't have an investment in your success or failure anymore. And this is whether they ever snap out of it or not - you have to face it as it is right now. It sucks, because you probably, at least for some time, care about their success or failure. You feel it is still tied to yours. Detachment helps you settle the psychological assets so you know that you have your own back, that it's okay for them to have theirs, and for you to be protected from any psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual, or financial fallout from any of that.
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