How do you "Detatch"?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Joe Mama, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. Joe Mama

    Joe Mama New Member

    Hello, I have been fighting with my 31 yo daughter for a couple of years, after having a great relationship. She was married with two beautiful children, but is now divorcing and seeing someone the same age as her Dad and I, (Daddy issues). I do not agree with everything she has done and is doing, but after reading that article on detatchment I think I need to just let her live her life and shut my mouth, as hard as it is. My question is, how do I detatch? It is breaking my heart for myself, her children, and her exhusband to be.
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  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Joe Mama, I'm sorry you are going through this difficult time. You have found a good place to find support and advice.

    Regardless of whether we have a good or bad relationship we have to let our adult children live their own lives. When our children live in a responsible manner, life is good but when they start behaving in ways that make us take pause we can become obsessed with going into "rescue mode"

    For many of us here like myself, our adult children have been "difficult" since their teens.
    It must be very painful for you to have had a good relationship with her and now to be fighting.

    Detaching is not something that happens overnight, it takes time. Start with limiting contact. Does she call you daily? If so, you don't need to answer every time she calls, let it go to voice mail. For myself I only communicate with my son via private messages on Facebook. Detachment is accepting that your adult child is going to live a life that you don't approve of and there is nothing you can do to change it. It is what it is.

    You need to make sure you are doing good things for yourself. As I said before, it's easy to become obsessed with our adult children and allow ourselves to get caught up in their chaos. It's like we've been sucked into some kind of vortex. We can get to where all our time, energy and sometimes money is going to our adult child and we stop living our own lives. An important part of detachment is taking your own life back.

    You say you have a couple of grandkids. Detachment can be a little harder when there are grands involved. How old are your grandkids and do you have a good relationship with them? Sometimes when a parent starts to detach and pull back from their adult child they will try and use the grandkids as a pawn. They might say something like "if you want to see the kids then you better give me money" or some other type of "blackmail"

    Something that works well when detaching is having prepared statements to use. For myself, when my son will try and "guilt" me into helping him I keep my responses simple and short.
    Son: Mom, it's freezing out I have no where to go and I'm going to starve to death.
    Me: I'm sorry you are having such a difficult time. I'm sure you will be able to figure it out. I love you.
    Son: You don't care if I live or die.
    Me: I'm sorry you feel that way. I love you.
    Son: You are such a *&%#!!!
    Me: I have to go now. I love you. (then I hang up)

    I have learned over the years that if I allow him to draw me into a debate I will be left feeling completely depleted and confused. I will no longer allow my son to hold my emotions hostage.

    I hope you will keep posting. This is a great place to vent your frustrations and concerns and no one will judge you.

    I wish you well.

    ((HUGS)) to you...........................
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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I learned how to be the perfect (exaggerated) mom to an adult child from my mother I law, may she rest in peace with the other true angels. Two words. Well three. Shut up and accept.
    Their choices are none of our business anymore. Nothing annoys adult children more than a bossy, controlling, opinionated parent telling them what to do and criticizing their choices.
    Unless she is asking for money or lodging from u, stay mum. Let her learn herself. Maybe her decision will work out and then you will be the bad guy.
    Let her be her age.
    I didn't mean to be harsh. I just know that adult kids are adults. They want your love and support unconditionally. If u have nothing nice to say, don't. If they as your opinion just say it is not your opinion that matters, it is how they feel.
    You jeopardize your relationship when you get too pushy with your opinions. Would you have liked your own mother to tell you what to do at her age?
    Grin it and bear it and bite they tongue. There may be things about her husband that she has not told u. It sounds bad but u don't live with her. If u get too outspoken she may not let u see your grandson. Don't do that. This is her issue, not yours whether it is hard to watch or not.
    Big hug
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  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Hi JM and welcome,

    I'm sorry you are having these issues with your daughter and that your relationship is strained.

    I have a 29 year old son and a 25 year old son (almost 26!). My younger son is who brought me to this site about 2 years ago. My older son has basically been a delight but if you read some of my recent posts, you'll see that he and I and his fiancee have gotten crossed up over their wedding plans.

    There are many things that have been stressful for me surrounding their wedding, and many things I don't agree with and understand. I could go on and on. (lol!)'s the deal. It's their lives. Not mine. I don't have to agree with what they do. If I don't agree with their decisions, it IS my choice to set my own boundaries about what I will and will not put up with.

    For example, I don't want to hear all of the problems they are still having with the wedding. If they do start talking about it when I am around, I have several choices. I can ask them politely and kindly to "let's talk about something else if you don't mind." I can change the subject myself, again politely and kindly. I can get up and busy myself with something.

    The last one is the one I adopt the most. I don't want to stir the pot and make any of this about me or what I want.

    They are grown people. They have a right to live their own lives, make their own decisions and of course, make their own mistakes, and that is a necessary step in growing up.

    I know that you and I can see more clearly, at times, than they can, but it's still none of our business and it's not ok for us to continually let them know what we think and how we don't agree with what they are doing.

    I don't know about you, but having a good relationship with my son and his wife-to-be is way more important than, well, almost anything. I have learned that the pathway to that is keeping my mouth shut, putting a smile on my face, minding my own business and showing up on time on the wedding day in a cooperative manner.

    Our kids are going to hurt us with their words and their actions, and the things they do and decide will test us, whether they are "good" kids or "not so good". I have had experience with both.

    Their life is their own journey. They must walk it, however they decide. It's not ours to walk.

    Hang in there. It's all about detachment. I used to read that post on detachment at least once a day.

    We're here for you. We understand.
  5. SuperG

    SuperG New Member

    Welcome JM :). I'm dealing with a nearly identical situation as yours. I keep reading and rereading the advice here. I urge you to do the same. Come here to vent and read. It definitely makes you feel less alone.