Author Topic: Discussion What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?  (Read 1804 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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Online 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 »

Offline 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

Offline Nerissa

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #10 on: 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.

Offline Not Your Monkey

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #11 on: 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

Online Treasur

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #12 on: 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   ::)
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 osb

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #13 on: 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.
"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

Online Treasur

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #14 on: 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?
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 heroIam

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #15 on: 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.
“In the end, you’ve got to be your own hero because everyone’s busy trying to save themselves.”

Offline osb

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #16 on: 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.
"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

Online Treasur

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #17 on: 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  :)
« 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.
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

Online Mitzpah

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #18 on: 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.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 02:56:07 PM by Mitzpah »
M 58
H 58
S 27
D 24
BD 13 Dec 2010
Divorced 27 Feb 2015 (30 years marriage)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11

Offline Anjae

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #19 on: 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.   
Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

Online Treasur

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #20 on: 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?
« 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.
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 Keep believing

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #21 on: 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.

Offline AcornTopic starterTopic starter

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #22 on: 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!
Live-in MLCer
Feb 2015: BD.  H has a Nuclear meltdown. 
Oct 2015: ILYBIANILWY.
Apr 2016: Affair discovered
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

Online OldPilot

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #23 on: 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.

Offline Thunder

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #24 on: 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.
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 Nas

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #25 on: 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.
Married 8 years at BD, together 16.
BD March 2015
H moved out July 2015
I found out about OW March 2016 (She went to high school with H, long distance EA since September 2014, became PA November 2015)
H moved 1100 miles to live with OW June 2016
I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer June 2017
H became a vanisher

Offline Granite

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #26 on: 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.

Offline PJ Will Be OK

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #27 on: 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.
"I'm slowly learning to expect nothing and appreciate everything."

Together 28 years, married 27
Two adult kids, ours

BD #1: 2016 - EA
BD #2: 2018 - FA
W moved out - June 2019
OM#3 - July 2019
W asks for divorce - August 2019
Divorce final - September 2019
Card-carrying member of the Iffer Party

My thread: https://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=11093.0;topicseen

Offline Nerissa

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #28 on: 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.



Offline AcornTopic starterTopic starter

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #29 on: 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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Feb 2015: BD.  H has a Nuclear meltdown. 
Oct 2015: ILYBIANILWY.
Apr 2016: Affair discovered
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

Online Treasur

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #30 on: 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.
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 Anjae

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #31 on: 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.
Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

Offline Thunder

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #32 on: 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.
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 Keep believing

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #33 on: 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.

Offline Keep believing

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #34 on: 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?
« Reply #35 on: 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.
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 Anjae

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #36 on: 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.
Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

Offline Keep believing

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #37 on: 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

Offline Thunder

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #38 on: 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.
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 KeepItTogether

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #39 on: 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.
Me 48
H 47
S12
BD 5/16
H Moved out 6/16
OW--yes. Worked for H. EA turned into PA while I was in chemo. On again/off again like every high school romance

Offline Anjae

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #40 on: 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.
Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

Offline One day at a time

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #41 on: 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.
H - 42 (40 @BD1)
M - 42 (40 @BD1)
Together 15 years, M 8 @separation
No kids
BD1 - 26th Aug 2017 (Not happy, life has no purpose, "we have problems")
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

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

Offline hopeandfaith

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #42 on: 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!!
BD's in May 09, Sept 12 - suspected OW
Left home Jan 12 2013
OW confirmed Feb 2013
Moved home April 11 2014
BD again in April 2017 - clinging. 
Moved out July 2017
D19, D17 and S15

Offline Rollercoasterider

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #43 on: 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.

Online megogirl

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #44 on: 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.   

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

Offline OffRoad

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #45 on: 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.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2019, 06:00:50 PM by OffRoad »
When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

Offline Anjae

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #46 on: 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.
 
Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

Online Treasur

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #47 on: 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'  :)
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 Anjae

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #48 on: 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.

« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 01:54:41 PM by Anjae »
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Online Treasur

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #49 on: 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.
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 Anjae

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #50 on: 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.
Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. (Marilyn Monroe)

Offline AcornTopic starterTopic starter

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #51 on: 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
Live-in MLCer
Feb 2015: BD.  H has a Nuclear meltdown. 
Oct 2015: ILYBIANILWY.
Apr 2016: Affair discovered
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

Offline AcornTopic starterTopic starter

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Re: What is Detachment for you? How did you do it?
« Reply #52 on: 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?
Live-in MLCer
Feb 2015: BD.  H has a Nuclear meltdown. 
Oct 2015: ILYBIANILWY.
Apr 2016: Affair discovered
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

 

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