Although it’s painful to see our loved ones be self-destructive, detaching allows us to enjoy our life despite another person’s problems and behavior. Attachment and caring are normal. It’s healthy to get attached to someone we love and care about, but codependent attachment causes us pain and problems in relationships. We become overly attached — not because we love so much but because we need so much. We need someone to be and act a certain way so that we can feel okay. Managing and controlling, reacting and worrying, and obsessing are counterproductive codependent patterns. We can become over-involved. The antidote is to detach and let go.
What is Detaching?
Detachment implies neutrality. Detaching is a way of separating the unhealthy emotional glue that keeps us fused in a codependent relationship.
What Detaching Isn’t
It doesn’t mean physical withdrawal. Nor is detaching emotional withdrawal, such as being aloof, disinterested, emotionally shut down, or ignoring someone.
Detaching doesn’t mean neglecting family responsibilities or leaving someone. Although physical space or separation may be useful as a means of setting boundaries and centering ourselves, this is not what detaching means. For example, some people decide to not have contact with someone because the relationship is too painful.