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Post Info TOPIC: Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 5


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Book Study: Codependent No More - Chapter 5
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Detachment

The author spent some time considering the topics for this chapter - the first chapter regarding the solution.  She chose detachment not because it is most important, but because it is what we need to do first and what we need to do most frequently.

Attachment

"When a codependent says 'I think I am getting attached to you,' look out!  He or she probably means it."

The author starts by describing how codependents attach.  It is not the normal way people connect with others and their surroundings.  It is becoming over-involved.  It can be excessive worry which means we are putting our mental energy into it.  It can be obsession which involves our mental, physical and emotional energy.  We may stop being ourselves and simply react to our surroundings the way we think they want or the way that we think will change them.  We may also become emotionally dependent on people or be caretakers.

In this chapter the author is going to focus on worry and obsession.  These are wasted energy.  They do not solve problems.  We spend so much time trying to solve or worry about other peoples' problems, we do not take care of ourselves and our lives.  It also means that we are not solving our own problems and become detached from ourselves. 

Obsession is an awful thing to experience or watch someone else experience.  The object of obsession is all they think about, all they talk about, it is controlling them.  If you have ever been obsessed you know about the gut wrenching anxiety, worse than fear as it lasts longer, that consumes us and propels us into controlling behavior.  We think that this obsessing is solving things, but it is not solving anything or serving any purpose. Some may not even be aware they are obsessing, this may be a way of life, this may be the only way to feel alive. 

A Better Way

"Exactly what is detachment?  What am I asking of you? (The term, as you may have guessed, is more jargon.)"

First, the author discusses what detachment is not . . . it is not severing all emotional ties with those in your life or the things that happen to you.  It is not ignoring your responsibilities or holding back our love. 

What she describes as detachment is being responsible for ourselves and letting others be responsible for themselves.  It is no longer trying to solve problems that are not ours and doing these things with love.  It is living in the present and not carrying guilt from the past or worrying about the future.

It is also about accepting reality and having faith that things will turn out like they are supposed to.  It is having trust and faith in ourselves, others, and our Higher Power.  "Detaching doesn't mean we don't care.  It means we learn to love, care, and be involved without going crazy."

Once we detach we can achieve some peace and find solutions.  Even if you are living with chaos you can learn to detach with love and take care of yourself.  The author states that as the book continues she will give specific examples of how to detach, and she believes that with practice it truly can become a habitual response.  It may take time, it may come slowly, but the saying from AA and Al-Anon of "HOW" Honesty, Openness, and Willingness are all that are needed.  She also states that she hopes that as we learn detaching that we can do it with love.  "I think it is better to do everything with an attitude of love."  But, sometimes that is not possible.  If that is the case she states that it is better to detach with anger than to not detach at all.  This will give us distance to work through our resentments rather than staying in the confusion and anxiety of attachment and obsession.

When should you detach?  When you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by thoughts of a person or problem you are dealing with.  When you feel the anxiety build and think you HAVE to do something.  "A good rule of thumb is: You need to detach when it seems the least likely or possible thing to do."

"Detach.  Detach in love, or detach in anger, but strive for detachment.  I know it's difficult, but it will become easier with practice.  If you can't let go completely, try to 'hang on loose.'  Relax.  Sit back.  Now, take a deep breath.  The focus is on you."

Activities

1. Is there a problem or person in your life that you are excessively worried about? Write about that person or problem.

Write as much as you need to write to get it out of your system.

When you have written all you need to write about that person or problem, focus on yourself. What are you thinking? What are you feeling?

2. How do you feel about detaching from that person or problem?

What might happen if you detach? Will that probably happen anyway? How has staying "attached"--worrying obsessing trying to control -- helped so far?

3. If you did not have that person or problem in your life, what would you be doing with your life that is different from what you are doing now? How would you be feeling and behaving? Spend a few minutes visualizing yourself living your life, feeling and behaving that way -- in spite of your unsolved problem.  Visualize your hands placing in God's hands the person or problem you are concerned about.  Visualize His hands gently and lovingly holding that person or willingly accepting that problem.  Now, visualize His hands holding you.  Al is well for the moment.  All is as it should and as it needs to be.  All will be well - better than you think.



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I used to get pretty emotionally attached to people ... anyone, co-workers, children, parents ... now it is not so bad.  I don't let their moods or decisions affect me as much as I used to.

In some of my previous relationships I have gotten too emotionally attached, my happiness depended too much on them.  If I got unhappy, my defense mechanisms kicked in (survival from childhood) and I detached WAY too much, still do.

Working on communicating to get through that shut-down reaction.  Still a work in progress and still suffering from the results ... but I am hopeful.  At least I see it now.

My goal ... don't be so dependent emotionally on my partner and don't detach when we hit rough waters so they think I hate them.

One Day at a Time.



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Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.   ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. ~St. Francis of Assisi



Guru

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Great study material! Great way to start the day!

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I relate to so much of this it's overwhelming. I cannot currently imagine detaching from Momma. Even though logically it makes sense, that it would help balance out. I'm not sure this is a step I can do yet, because I feel all my source of happiness is attached to her. If I detach then what do I have left? Emptiness

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ape130,
Seems like your making progress, logically the steps and information is starting to make sense to you.
Just like a ship or a train can’t turn quickly. Learning and applying this new healthy behavior takes time. Give yourself credit for at least realizing there is a problem and you’re looking at some options to correct it. I’m envious of you younger folks on here. I went through half my life before I hit the wall that finally woke me up to this condition called codependency.

My wife of 10 years died suddenly, me and my kids age 7 and 9 were out working at a rental house on this particular Sunday. In the afternoon, I called my wife to ask what type of sandwich she wanted from Mc Donald’s for dinner. No one answered. I stopped and bought happy meals for the kids and what my wife normally liked to have.
When we got home, we go to the back door to enter the house; this door is left un-locked during the day. I sent my kids in with the food so I could put some tools away. My kids came running out with-in a few seconds with a scared and worried look on their face, saying something wrong with mom. I had them stay outside and went to check on my wife. I found her dead lying on the kitchen floor.
My point for sharing this part of my life is this. My wife was my world. I was so codependent at this time in my life that taking my own life seemed like a reasonable option. Thankfully I had my kids that needed me, and I felt a stronger obligation to raise them. I still did not identify myself as being codependent at this point. Six years later, after my break-up with my last GF. I finally sought out help to be told I was codependent. It finally started to make sense why I just went through life not knowing why I had no close friends. The people I did know were as codependent as I, and had a lot of drama throughout their life. I run from drama now.

If I had a choice concerning my wife final days. I would have rather had a little more time to say things I didn’t say often enough. But, now that I am healthier concerning my codependency. I think God; handle the process perfectly for where I was at that time in my life. That whole event was totally out of my control.
Keep up the good work, smile often.

PS. Thanks for posting, as it keeps me accountable to reviewing this information. I admit I’m as lazy as the next guy.lol

Peace


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Thanks for responding, andsorry for your loss. ..I am extremely grateful that I now know I'm codependent. Far better than not having a sense of direction. I think I'm going to try wrapping my head around detachment more before doing anything, and then talk to my therapist. I still find it funny that it was Momma who said she thinks I'm codependent and the therapist didn't recognize it himself

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I just got the book and just got done reading this chapter. Wow! This chapter is pretty powerful. I thought I was really detaching, and there are some ways that I am, but lately there are times I keep reacting and causing myself a lot of grief. Some of my detachment hadn't been in love, and also has not allowed God into the equation as much as I should. Let go and Let God applies here!

There was also a list for when I need to detach that I'm using as a checklist if I find my insanity growing. I'll share this list as I found it truly helpful:

When to detach:
- When we can't stop thinking, talking about, or worrying about someone or something
-When our emotions are churning and boiling
-When we feel we have to do something about someone where we can't stand it for another minute
-When we're hanging on by a thread and it is fraying
-When we believe we can no longer live with the problem that we've tried living with
-When it seems the least likely or possible thing to do.

I made a list of things that I would do if I didn't have the person I am attached to in my life. Earlier today I was reflecting (at work of all places) what I did before I met my spouse, when I was single and made my own decisions. I recalled missing the days I performed (I'm a musician)...a lot. I probably haven't really in 10 years. It was a very important part of my self-expression and release. It's funny I thought of that before getting this book today and reading about detachment (God/HP moment).

At the end of the chapter was a visualization that lends itself beautifully into a meditation. And that's what I did. I felt this shell around me break and fall off. I felt that I can detach in love with my spouse, giving to God the problems she's facing and with me feeling loved and accepted, even though I've done so many wrongs. I have also been inventorying (if that's a word) with Step 4, which is another topic, but so many walls I feel already have been taken down, and I'm ready to live my life again. I call this a breakthrough for me. I have a lot more work to do, but I have more peace than I've had in a long time. Thank you!


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