What does detachment look like to you?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by scent of cedar, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    For those who are successfully detaching...what does that look and feel like?

    What self-talk do you use?

  2. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    For me it is just letting go. I talk to her when I can but I don't ask much so that I don't get drug in or under her drama. I stay out of her way and allow her to do whatever she wants. For me I just move on like she doesn't exist in a way. I don't expect anything therefore it doesn't hurt as much when I don't get anything. Basically right now other than monetary support we have no contact and all the monetary stuff is set up on auto pay so I don't deal with it either.

    I hate it!!! I would love to be her mom but at the same time I realize I can't right now. Hopefully some day she will need me again and when she does I hope I am big enough to let it go and move forward.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Interesting inquiry Cedar. I think it looks different when your child is an older adult. For us here in PE, I think we are facing a possible detachment from our adult kids that may be more dramatic then parents still involved in their kids detox, or trying to find mental help for them or who are still needing to turn over more rocks and exhaust whatever efforts they think are necessary because their kids are a lot younger then ours.

    And, we're older too, we're looking at this from a very different vantage point...........we just have less time to waste, there is more emphasis on the present moment and the recognition that our own lives are on the other side of the mountain...........

    For me I think after the majority of the emotions subsided, it felt weird for awhile. I was in a kind of strange new land. It felt like a part of me was unhooking from a massive energy field where most of my energy had been stuck for a long time. There was an initial sense of relief and calm which vacillated with feelings of loss.

    As time has gone by, as each event surfaced where I might have gone into enabling mode and didn't, I gained strength and resolve. I don't know if this is common for everyone, but because I've had to detach from most members of my family and have been doing that for quite some time, I've had a very clear sense of liberation and freedom from the role of care-giver/enabler/rescuer. There's been a lot of joy involved with that........laced with some sadness too.

    That freedom translates into many other areas of my life, not just with my difficult child.

    Detachment looks like I have no relationship with my daughter. When I made the connection that there was a huge amount of energy going towards her and none coming back, that changed a lot for me..........in pulling back all the energy I was exerting for my daughter, I had quite a bit more for my own life. So, one clear component is I have more time, more energy, more money, more head space that is not cluttered with thoughts about her and her needs. Since I have had a history of caring for the members of my family and my difficult child was the last in my enabling career, this has had a large impact on my life.

    Dstc is right, it is about letting go. Letting go of not just the sense of parental responsibility, but a friendship with my daughter, any kind of connection at all, my hopes for her, letting go of my fear about what will happen to her, how she will survive now and when I am gone...........letting go of my own self blame and self judgment that I did this or could have stopped it..........it's a whole lot of letting go.

    Where I am now is leaning into acceptance, the deep down knowledge that I am completely powerless and this is what it is, there is nothing else I can do. I still have hope that she will pull it together, but none of my life depends on that. As I mentioned in another thread I've become good at looking at this through a certain lens which enables me to not get stuck in the sad parts, because it is sad, but I can't allow myself to dwell on that. Particularly because I know my daughter doesn't, she is living the life she has chosen and I think that represents a certain freedom to her.

    For awhile the first thought I had upon waking was of my daughter and there was angst.............and the last thought I had at night was about her............and there was angst...........but not now. I made a lot of hard choices as we do here and over time, all those choices added up to more time spent without any angst. It's definitely been a process, it's been almost 2 years now............it was one step forward and one back...........

    Now, I have a lot of days which are hopeful, optimistic, happy, calm and hold new possibilities. The knowledge of setting boundaries, seeing the truth, speaking the truth, learning about myself and my own issues has placed me in a new place in my life which I am still learning about. Part of the connection with my daughter was not at all healthy for me and I think that's true for her as well. I've broken that connection. It remains to be seen if we have the capacity to forge another............but whether we do or we don't, I feel as if that broken connection has offered me a sense of wholeness and health I just didn't have before.

    I think I was in a delusion of my own making, trying to make the situation into something it wasn't. It was hard for me to accept how it really was. Seeing the truth of it, with A LOT of help and seeing my part and ultimately letting go has offered freedom which has cleared a lot of dust out, cleared the decks so to speak.

    I believe acceptance of what is is the healthiest place to land. Acceptance takes away the judgments, what ifs, fears, the past, the future...........it's all okay, it is what it is, I have no power to change that for anyone else............it takes the weight off..........lightens the load............

    My self talk now is much kinder. I have less expectations. I nap more. I speak my truth MUCH more. I have the capacity now to express my anger immediately and appropriately. The old editing I used to employ is GONE. My thoughts are mostly positive and don't involve my daughter much. When she pops in to my mind, I gently push the thoughts aside, those thoughts don't go anywhere but into a familiar hole so I've learned to bypass it.

    I think as we've discussed before, I choose to be happy. I choose to not dwell on what I have no control over. I choose to let go of thoughts that go nowhere. I choose to focus on what is good, what I CAN do and let go of the rest. "Misery is optional." As I say that I realize that I am practicing living within the serenity prayer. It's like the space between breaths in meditation...........where peace resides.

    I just thought that it's sort of like a pendulum...........I swung all the way to the side of enabling my daughter...........then I went back and forth for awhile...........enabling to detachment..........back and forth.............and then it seems, it all slowed down into acceptance........where I am presently hovering....... some days I slip into an odd place, but for the most part, I hover right there in the middle now.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm there, but I'm not emotionally involved anymore. My life goes on no matter what choices my adult children make. It takes a looooooooooong time to get there!
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Several things came immediately to mind, so I'll write them out without too much thought. Detaching, for me personally, means:

    - reminding myself frequently that 'this is not my problem.'

    - reminding myself that my grandkids are not my kids, and therefore the way they are being raised is none of my business (this can be tough, when I see choices that may damage them emotionally " but there's nothing I can do about it, except love them as a grandmother).

    - reminding myself to give advice only when asked. This grew out of giving advice that was never taken anyway, leading to frustration for me, so I remind myself that it's a waste of time and energy to give unsolicited advice. This was both the hardest, and most freeing part of detachment for me.

    - along with not giving advice, I had to remind myself not to DO stuff for my difficult children. I stopped sending phone numbers, I stopped emailing them links to articles and websites, I stopped researching options for them. I just, stopped. They're adults " they can find this stuff. When I gave it to them, they just ignored it, anyway. Or lost it, and asked me for it again later. If one of them actually asks me to look something up, that's ok. Otherwise, I'm done researching for them. Why bother? This goes back to my therapist's infamous phrase that I've shared here many times: 'you're working harder than she is.'

    - reminding myself that I made some pretty dumb mistakes when I was a young adult, as well. I survived. No, I wasn't mentally ill or addicted to substances (although I was certainly depressed), but still " I made some pretty awful, cringe-worthy choices.

    - reminding myself that dwelling on guilt is a waste of energy. What's done is done. This is doubly true when someone is trying to project guilt onto me " I refuse to own it.

    - reminding myself that my difficult child's choices are not mine. They are not a reflection on me. They own their own choices, and I have no business taking ownership of them or feeling responsible for them " or feeling responsible for convincing them to make different choices.

    - likewise, reminding myself that my difficult children are not me. They don't think like me. They don't do things like I would. They are their own individuals with their own thought patterns. Expecting them to think or act like I would in certain situations is another waste of energy. Whenever I think, 'but I would NEVER do that if that happened to me,' it's a trap! 

    I couldn't have come to any of these conclusions without the help of a fantastic therapist, though. I think that is key to anyone needing to practice detachment " a strong, in-person support system to help guide them through it.
  6. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    For me it's like the seed of a beautiful flower that I planted and nurtured and now...it's time to get out of the way to stop blocking the sunlight and let God do His handy work.

    It's such a process though...but I see even in our Country's foundation the words have been layed out...because each "individual" has the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.
    If they are to "pursue" than I must get out of the way so they can take "their" next step...not mine.

    It's so hard.
    The other night after my difficult child was abrubtly discharged from psychiatric hospital, his truck wouldn't start...so I drove to the city and helped him jump it. He then ask me "What do I do? Where do I go". I gave him a suggestion of going to his PO if "it were me". I told him "Your life is in your hands".

    Also at night before I go to sleep I pray. I pray that as I reach out and hand difficult child over to the care of God (one more time) that it is not "my will" but God's that will be done. I see myself handing my baby over to the Creator.
    That is how I sleep at night.

    I am not there yet...this whole "detaching thing" is painfully difficult.
    I am trying to see, adopt, the philosophy of who rightfully holds the keys and should take owndership of difficult child choices. Is this my problem? or his? Is this "My solution" or his? If his life is truly in his hands...then I have to keep my hands off of it. I am not responsible for the outcome. I am NOT responsible for the outcome.

    I have done all I should...my difficult child is 24 now and has 3 beautiful children who he should be accountable to...who HE should be responsible for...how is he to do this if we keep propping him up all the time? He HAS to learn to be a survivor and find that internal drive to move forward one step at a time and find success in doing so.

    Thank you for making me think this morning. It helps to put it into writing and see what is rightfully difficult child's and what is mine.
  7. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I agree it is an extremely painful process. For me it was like a death of sorts. My son started at a very early age and life at my house was living hell. I had my son in so many programs and I was so stressed out all of the time. His friends, maybe him, went so far as to steal my Christmas presents from under the tree.

    He was court ordered into rehab twice and he told me that he was very close to prison time, but was sent to rehab instead. I can honestly say that my life was so painful I had A LOT of 'what in the h*** did I do to deserve this thoughts.

    My difficult child was doing much better after 25, or so I thought, and then he was laid off 3 times in one year. This snapped me back into the enabling mode without even realizing it. I was right back in the middle of the drama just like before, only this time I had enough 'knowledge' to know that I was not helping and that the relationship would continue to drain me if I let it. Even with this knowledge it was so draining that I slipped into a depression, but I kept plodding along and each day I felt a little better. I focused on ME and the positives I have in my life.

    I had to accept that my dreams for my gifted son were my dreams and not his. I cherished the good times when he was small and I always will. The adult drug version is a liar and a thief, extremely self centered. I have seen what he is like off drugs and I enjoyed his company, I have let him know this. I let him know that he is a good person that can have a better life when he wants it. And then I stopped talking about it. My son will weave all kinds of stories to make it sound like he is on the right path - so I don't ask. I have stopped the constant questions of 'why', I don't think there really is an answer. I have finally accepted that my relationship with my son will be a long distance superficial one.

    I agree that it is much different for the older adults than the younger ones. I accept now that my son may spend the rest of his life as he is now and some days that does hurt more than other. For the most part I am peaceful and accept this as his choices, his life.

    in my opinion, the facts that 1) he lives a distance away 2) there are no grands involved makes my relationship with difficult child easier for me. I completely untangled myself from the drama and I made sure girlie had zero contact with me. I still hold onto the hope that one day.......

    I also recommend counseling and support for families going through this painful period in life. We need someone to guide us and let us know it's OK to put ourselves first for a change. Like RE posted, I changed and I can see positives changes in my life. I will never allow myself to be snapped back into the drama, chaos, and enabling that was my life.

    So for me, detachment is acceptance for things we have zero control over, and if you want money get a job and earn it!
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I agree that it is just letting go. I feel like I clawed my way to the other side. One day, I had so much pain, I had to do what they do in AA...I reached for my Higher Power and said "I give this to you." I'm OUT. I hope for the best...but it is out of my power, out of my hands, I surrender. I no longer wish to be subject to this roller coaster from hell. It is rare now that I have t pain (and never great pain) due to difficult child's bad choices, etc. I have my brief moments of (WT?) but I never, ever, ever ever let them last long. I am human...so, I have my brief moments. That is all I allow myself. I do not intend to be or pretend to be a robot. But, that is all I allow myself...brief moments. NOT in my best interest otherwise. I move forward and am thrilled to do so. For me, this is detachment. Life is good...this is my choice.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This thread is relevant to what happened to me tonight. 35, 36 tomorrow (his birthday) called to whine and b**** about how hard it is for him to "wait" for the final outcome, which he already knows, but there are little things he is concerned with such as whether or not his child support will go down because his ex is making a lot more money now. As far as I'm concerned, his big battle is over and I don't really care about this piddly stuff and him whining about it is very annoying to me. I stayed on a minute or so then said, "Look, you got what you wanted. Your going to have to wait like everyone else does." I did not say it unkindly. But he was pretty unkind when he said, "Well, f*** you, you have no compassion..." *click* I hung up. WTH? I no longer am concerned he will kill himself, not that I could stop him if he really wanted to and I am not going to listen to him whine about minor stuff. The scary part is, if any of my other kids would have spoken to me that way, I would have gotten off the phone and cried, it would have hurt so much. Of course, they wouldn't talk to me that way, but if they had, even one time, I would have been devestated.

    I have detached so much emotionally from 35 (soon-to-be 36) that it didn't even phase me. I went on with what I was doing, greeted a few trick or treaters and didn't feel anything at all over 35. I am so used to him and his garbage mouth that I can hear him and not even feel bad or angry or anything. I just feel....normal. He is no longer in a crisis due to mental illness and I am no longer going to listen because of the fear of suicide on his part. You know what he's getting tomorrow for his birthday? A text from me that says, "Happy birthday. Love, Mom." That is more than he gives anyone else.

    I guess you can really get to the point where they can bombard you with abuse and it bounces right off of you. Since he is no longer in any danger to himself, I am no longer even a little bit invested in listening to his crapola. Detachment rocks! :)
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    2 phone calls a week from prison.......and that's okay Mom don't put any money on my commissary I know you can't afford it - I'll limit my phone calls better. Hey if I write you it's .49 a letter! Better yet Momma..... How about if we email..? It's only .25 a reply instead. THATS the face of detachment!
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I read this thread last night... some wise words here! For me detachment is about letting go like others have said. It means letting go of control.... realizing that you cannot control the situation and you cannot control the outcome. That in fact nothing you do might make any difference. Ultimately I think detachment is acceptance of all of that and knowing that what is, is.

    I find it easiest to detach when I feel angry at difficult child and hardest when I feel sad about difficult child and all that he has lost.

    To me it is not so much about what I do or dont do for him, but more about how I am doing. When I have a healthy dose of detachment then I am living my life, enjoying my life, and am not thinking about him and what is happening to him all the time. When I am struggling most with detachment is when I feel obsessed with his situation.

    So when I get into that obsessive place I need to find good healthy distractions and I need to find a way to put a stop to those ways of thinking. this means when the guilty thoughts creep in I say to myself "Dont go there" and I dont anymore.

    And more than anything I need to do things in my life that I enjoy and that make me happy.

    I found it hardest to detach when he was homeless and on the street because I was so worried about him....but I did learn to still enjoy and move on with my life most of the time. It easiest to detach when he is safe and in a program of some sort. When he was in jail it was ok at first and then started to drive me crazy because nothing was happening and I found myself having to advocate for him with the system which of course brought me right back into the mix.

    So yes detachment is a process that we go in and out of I think. I dont think it means at all that we have to cut off all contact, or that we have to stop loving them, it is more about how much we let them and their problems affect our lives and get in our way of having a good life.

  12. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Very wise words everyone.

    In my case, I try to treat detachment the same way I delegate at work: "Once I hand this off to you I no longer own this. It is your responsibility. If you need help, advice or guidance, I'm here, but this is yours from start to finish. Now get to it." Coupled with one of husband's favourite sayings from his days in the aerospace industry: "Your screw-up does not equal my emergency."

    It's a difficult tightrope to walk. With difficult child's functional deficits, there are some things he will simply never be able to manage on his own. That said, I think we owe him the opportunity to try, and fail, and try again if necessary. In part to find out exactly how much of life he can handle, but also to give him a better understanding of things.

    Here's an example:
    difficult child was given a free ticket to our local NBA team's basketball game a few weeks ago. He was supposed to meet a friend from work smack in the middle of downtown just after rush hour. difficult child assured us that he would be fine taking the subway to meet his friend, but the sports complex is right next to the main transportation hub with trains leading all over the province, the country AND to the U.S., as well as the local subways. difficult child has a tendency to get terribly lost and confused in situations like that, and in that train station he could end up just about anywhere if he gets on the wrong train. So...in this case husband decided to drive difficult child downtown and pick him up again, even though he had to drag the mini-Monster-Tots with him. That made sense to me, and falls within my definition of "helping, not enabling".

    For that same event, difficult child invited another friend along. husband agreed to drive both of them to the game, and drop Friend off at her home afterward. He also bought them dinner on the way (and drove them back and forth from our house to the restaurant and back twice, when they forgot things at both destinations. Of course, the friend didn't have a ticket to the game, and husband didn't know that until the last minute. Neither difficult child nor his friend (also a difficult child) even thought to mention it. husband scrambled around and managed to buy another ticket for the game at the last minute. I thought that was going too far, it was "enabling, not helping". husband and I had a long talk about that, and agree that it's time to stop bailing difficult child out stuff like this.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    My detachment phrase this week is:

    "This is now".

    It's not before. It's not the future. It's right now and I need to enjoy it. It seems to be helpful.
  14. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    The phrase running through my mind and heart lately has been:

    "I never wanted to feel that way again. Not then, not now, not ever again.

    So, I changed."

    I saw it on FB.

  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is such a difficult issue for me because I have a very hard time disengaging from difficult child. Now the other two - pretty much easy peasy. I can honestly say I dont worry much at all about Jamie. At least I dont worry about his financial issues, where he is, how he is paying his bills...nothing like that. I do have that worry in the back of mind always because of his job. When you wear a sheriff's uniform, you are a target. But now, Jamie is part of my support team.

    We have been resigned to the fact that Billy most likely will never move out on his own. That's okay. While he isnt paying us as much as he probably should be, and he rarely cleans at all, he does help out in other ways. I can always count on him if I need him. He will run errands for us if we really dont feel like going out.

    I cant say that about difficult child. I used to not be as worried but I am now. However since he just moved out and he isnt up under my butt all the time I can even put him more to the side. He is still a problem for us. Like just yesterday or the day before he took his father's screwgun home with him and when his dad went to take it out at work, it wasnt there. He doesnt ask things like that. In reality if he needed to do something with it, I could have taken it to him while his dad was sleeping and then brought it back. Its very irritating. I just realized right now that he came in here a little while ago and now my phone is missing. He took it with him. That really ticks me off because I am needing to make phone calls today. Im also waiting on a phone call and he wont tell me if they call me.
  16. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    There is much good information on how we get to an emotional place where detachment is possible in Stressbunny's thread.

    Right now, things are very calm at our house. Part of what happens to parents of troubled adult kids IS that sense of calm. All those defenses we built up to protect ourselves from the intense anxiety that attends loving a child in danger soften and disappear, over time, like callouses do.

    Stressbunny's thread has some important things to say about self, and about self respect.

    That seems to be one of the keys to the ability to remain firmly seated in our own lives while loving someone who is self destructing ~ which seems like a pretty apt description of detachment.

    What I want to do is to be able to cherish my kids without judging them and without judging myself for where they are in their lives. It seems impossible. Given that this is my intent, I am sure I will get there...but I still can't figure out what that looks like.

    Stressbunny's thread got me thinking about the concerns appropriate to me for this time in my own life. The spiritual work required to remain present, to see and to celebrate without flinching, without grasping, when all of life is tinged with that foretaste of loss we become so familiar with as we age.

    It's so difficult to see anyone, let alone our own children, confused and in pain.

    There is so much guilt too, at having enough when, no matter what we do or how often we leap in to save them...the kids don't. And yet, I know of people who don't make much money, yet they seem to manage their lives very well on what they do have. Their parents are where they go for the feeling of family, and they contribute fully to the celebration.

    This understanding is one of the few things I know, for sure.

    So, these are children who, though they may be younger than mine, are adults.

    This is an area of intense vulnerability for me ~ that the kids have so little. But what in the world do you do when someone you love repeatedly has nothing? Not so easy to turn away, no matter how many times you have bailed the person out in the past.

    Not when the person is your child.

    All of this has something to do with that piece Recovering posted here about the way things are supposed to look being the problem.

    That is true, and though the reality is that the kids throw things away ~ money, time, driver's licenses, lease agreements, clothing ~ it is human nature to help. We are all walking a kind of razor's edge, when you think about it. If we don't help, we suffer in our own eyes, wondering who we have become, and whether anything is worth becoming someone without compassion. If we do help again and again and again, we suffer in a different way, feeling really stupid, feeling used and resentful and ~ well, you know the drill on that one.

    It's a strange situation we find ourselves in. There is nothing simple about it. And at so many levels, it is our own survival that is at stake.

    Challenge, on multiple levels.

    I liked what Stressbunny said about viewing her son as an adult.

    But it's kind of like this: There are some people who will hold the door for you. There are some who ignore you and slip through, letting it close in your face. I invariably hold the door. I will go out of my way to smile and hold the freaking door, though I am never, ever going to see that person, again.

    Most people will go out of their way to hold the door, to welcome the stranger, to share what they have (cookies, gum, candy).

    So, that partially explains why this concept of detachment is so difficult to envision, or to act on with clarity.

  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    By Stressbunny

    "Cedar, Thank you for explaining that. I have only recently begun to operate more easily from a healthy place. Now that JT is grown, I am working on taking a step back and viewing him as an adult, versus the child he was years ago. And, as an adult, he should be expected to function at a higher level. After all, he is exerting his will over his own life in every possible way. I can't control his choices (so hard for me sometimes), but I can control mine. I can't take over for him, but I can pray for him. I can't really have peace that everything is going to be okay, but I can learn to accept the uncertainty that life inevitably brings. I can't function in the same capacity as a mother to JT as I did when he was a child, but I can learn to take care of myself now, after so many exhausting years. Sometimes I don't sleep well, and I wake up with high anxiety, and I remind myself that I am strong and that I can cope; one day at a time.

    In terms of applying this to JT's junk (massive loads of it) that he wishes to park in my house for some indefinite period of time, I realize that I wouldn't allow anyone else to do this. I know it would stress me out to have so much clutter and mess in my garage or basement, or spare bedroom. So, I am working on not feeling so obligated to do so much for JT. He has treated me so poorly, this past year especially, that I have come to feel like an enabling domestic violence victim, where the "violence" is the emotional pain I allow him to inflict upon me. I am finally in a position where I feel strong enough to set my boundaries and allow him to leave my life, if he so chooses, and accept that this may happen, as painful as it is. I'm better off respecting myself in the long run."

    Read more: http://www.conductdisorders.com/for...oving-bio-mom-wad-kicked-55652/#ixzz2kOZ7ebvY
  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, I also thought Stressbunny's response was very good and belonged here in this thread. I didn't want to move it out of her thread so I cut and pasted it here so others could view it in this context as well.
  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, I have been thinking about you and wondering how you are.............I'm glad to 'see' you.......

    Your post reminded me of being in that last codependency therapy group I was in..........I would talk about similar feelings as you stated and then listen to what others had to say, what their perception of my situation was, their take on it and their protection of ME, not my daughter.............it always helped me to get back on level ground. I had to keep being reminded, over and over, that I was powerless to do anything with my daughter and that I had to take care of myself. I believe for us older gals, that 'taking care of ourselves' is a concept we don't just easily fall into. Taking the focus off of "the other" and putting it on us is what codependency recovery is all about.

    So, as it is here, the way we can see into each other's lives, but sometimes can't see our own clearly......the first thing that jumped out at me was you struggling with your kids not having 'enough.' You may be looking at that from your frame of reference of what 'enough' is.........I'd venture to say they look at that differently. Or they would do something about it. They may have enough, they may even have more then you. I don't think enough is defined by how much money we have, sometimes it's defined by how much freedom we have. Our daughter's gave up the life we envisioned for them for the life they wanted...........I don't think my daughter thinks in any way the way that I do, I have suffered much more for her life then she ever will.............and I do my best to let that suffering go because as time has gone by I have noticed that while I think about what she doesn't have, she is having dinner out with friends............or I think about her not paying her bills and she finds a way to do it...........she is not suffering over her life, I am. She's busy living her life. She operates on a totally different wave and my perceptions of that can easily turn into fear because I judge her situation as not being good enough, or right, or healthy, or normal, or sane, or whatever........so I've learned to pull back from that thinking...........to stop judging her life as 'not enough.'

    I see my daughter in anxiety and distress which could easily (for me) be remedied..........but for her, she needs to do it her way. I have to step aside and let her, it's her life to do it her way even if I think it should be done a different way. It's tough, I'm not always there, but it's a lot easier lately.

    As time has gone by I have had to recognize that I look at her through the only lens I have, my own truth and my own value system............but my daughter doesn't live in my truth and my value system, she lives in her own and believe me, I could judge the heck out of that and sometimes do..........but it works better for me if I back up and recognize that in a certain way, this is the ultimate letting go of control..............when it's your child..........when you can do nothing to help them.............when all your efforts fail................when it continually harms you to keep trying................that's when I fell right into the serenity prayer and understood it from a deeper level..............that's where the freedom lies, in acceptance. Just like the 5 stages of dying, acceptance is the final frontier.

    I was reminded often in my group that there is a darker side to what we may call compassion........and that is when you step in to assist, or help, or support, or give but you do it from a place of feeling sorry for the person, from a step above them, not from an equal place. I had to think about that because it comes from inside of us, and it is part of the rescuer's job jar.........a one-up position which feeds the ego not the soul. Rescuers, enablers and codependents get a lot of applause for helping others, for 'sacrificing' ourselves for others............which is why it's such a difficult concept to let go of, we get a lot of mileage out of being that great guy..............it's interesting to examine our motives..........I found that what I was calling compassion and feeling pretty good about, got some holes shot into it and made me rethink a lot of my positions. People don't want us to feel sorry for them, that feels bad, they want us to be there with them and understand.........there's a difference. Only you can go inside yourself and figure that out. It changed a lot for me though. It was a pretty big part of my own healing too.

    Detachment is a huge part of what we do here with our adult kids. But acceptance is what we have to end up doing for US.
  20. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Thank you, Recovering, for posting Stressbunny's piece here.


    And Recovering? It's made me very happy to "see" you again, too!