By LINDA BRANWELL
Last Saturday’s column was on co-dependency. I discussed how some of us may have developed a habit of worrying, reacting or trying to control others.
Maybe we have lived through situations that were chaotic, and obsessing and controlling was our answer to “keeping things in balance,” or at least preventing them temporarily from getting worse.
Such behaviors continued because we may have refused, or may have been afraid, to “let go.”
This article discusses “detachment,” and, like co-dependency, it might be another unfamiliar term that is often used and misused.
Nevertheless, detachment is an effective way to stop codependent thoughts and behaviors.
Experts repeatedly tell us that detachment is not detaching from the person whom we care about, but from the agony of involvement. It is not a cold, hostile withdrawal, nor is it a despairing acceptance of people’s problems.
Detachment, as defined by most experts, is letting go, or detaching oneself with love from a person or problem.
In other words, we still accept the person, but we disengage ourselves mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically from their behavior or entangled problem.
Codependent people have a belief system that tells them “I can’t detach,” or, “It would be terrible if”¦,” or “I have to try to help (control) the problem…,” or “The problem/person is too important to me…,” or “I have to stay involved.”
The idea behind detachment is that people are responsible for themselves, that we allow them to face the consequences of their actions, and that we stop trying to fix them or their problems and changing things we cannot change.
Detachment involves living in the present and letting go of regrets from the past and fears of the future. Detachment also requires faith in God and releasing our cares and burdens to him.
He can do more to solve the problem than we can. So, let’s stay out of his way and let him do it.
People may ask when they should detach. It is when a person feels they have done all they can do to support the person or help them in problem solving.
We need to learn to stop worrying and live with the situation or without it and realize that, as a friend once said, “Enough is enough.”
If you know of someone who is struggling with codependency or would like to learn more about detachment, encourage them to visit hazelden.org, read “The Language of Letting Go,” by Melody Beattie, or seek professional counseling.
Branwell, a licensed independent social worker with a specialization in chemical dependency, is owner of Espero Wellness & Counseling Center Ltd., Findlay. If you have a mental health question, please write to: Mental Health Moment, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay, OH 45839.
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