Author Topic: Discussion What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?  (Read 1807 times)

Offline AcornTopic starterTopic starter

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Discussion What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« on: 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.




« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 07:55:28 AM by Acorn »
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Offline OldPilot

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #1 on: 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!!

Offline Not Your Monkey

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #2 on: 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.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 08:16:25 AM by GonerinGhana »

Online RedStar

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #3 on: 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.

Offline AcornTopic starterTopic starter

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #4 on: 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?

« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 08:29:26 AM by Acorn »
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Online Treasur

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #5 on: 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
« 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.
Healing and growing found here https://littleplotbythesea.wordpress.com

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

Offline Thunder

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #6 on: 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?
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."

Offline Not Your Monkey

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #7 on: 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.

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

Offline AcornTopic starterTopic starter

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #8 on: 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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Offline Nerissa

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #9 on: 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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