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Old 08-27-2008, 06:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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detaching with love

All,

I'm curious about detaching with love, and some of the precepts of al-anon. How do you let go? How do you keep the craziness from engulfing your life if you're not ready to leave yet? This is my problem with the AW. I don't have a good idea of how to let go and let god.

It's most likely because I'm a conflict avoider. I don't like dealing in screaming, yelling, or anger matches, which is always what occurs. I have severe problems getting my mind around the goofy crap that the alcoholic says or does. Since I can't understand why it happens, it scares me.

Any personal stories about how y'all managed this trick?

Redd
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Isort of detached while still living with xAH. At that point in time I knew nothing about what I to do but sort of accidentally detached. xAH lived in that house as roommates rather than a married couple. We rarely spent time around each other. I didn't argue wih him. I didn't tlak to him. But I couldn't stay and detach as I have now come to understand it. I left. Its what worked best for me.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Since Iím still working on that myself, I canít say too much. But, basically, it shows you how to accept the fact that you canít control what another person does. It shows you that you CANíT get your head around the goofy crap they do, so stop trying. Itís amazing the peace that comes when you make this realization. Iím not totally there yet, but I have my moments, and they are wonderful, and increasing as I practice more and more.

I, too, HATE conflict. But, you start to realize that they know this, so they create it in an effort to intimidate/manipulate you. Once you see it for the game it is, it loses its power to affect you.

Check some out, and see what you think. I know in SE MI thereís lots to choose from. If you need help finding one, Iíve got a directory. (Donít mean to get too personal, but I know I had a hard time finding the motivation to get to that first one. My girlfriend dragged me with her). Never know till you try!!

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Old 08-27-2008, 07:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I personally think detachment only works if you are dealing with certain personality types (the kind of A who just isolates and drinks in the garage type). My ex **** all over most boundaries I set up and became abusive. Money stuff? He could have cared less as long as he had enough for beer but if he didn't watch out. If I tried to leave the room when he was quacking or refused to listen to him he would flip out. If I left the house to get away from him he would try to lock me out (he "borrowed" my house keys then would not give them back). If he was not the center of attention he made everyone around him lives hell. The only way to deal with someone like that is to get them out of your life IMO.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I personally think detachment only works if you are dealing with certain personality types (the kind of A who just isolates and drinks in the garage type).
Yeah, that was my xAH. He isolated himself upstairs in the bedroom most of the day and when he would come downstairs in the evening, I would sit in the same room for a while but there was little intereaction between us. He preferred to ignore me, to isolate himself from everyone for whatever reasons.

I think if there had been constant drama, anger, and certainly if there had been any danger, I would have left much sooner than I did.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I detached from the craziness...don't know how much "love" was involved.

I decided that number one, I would not have any conversations that normally would escalate into loud arguments with my A while he had alcohol in his system. If he tries, I remind him of this boundry and walk away. In the 26 years we have been together...he has never opened mail or paid a bill, let alone know where we stand financially. Since I have set my boundaries, he has started opening mail and decided to "debate" our financial matters. I have offered to sit down and show him everything and share our finances with spread sheets and bank statements (while he is sober)...needless to say, he has refused several times. The information is available to him any time he wants to review it...the mail is left on the counter and bills and finances are on the desk.

I do not buy his beer on normal supermarket runs like before...I no longer buy beer at all. I no longer make sure he has cash in his wallet at all times...if he needs it he has to get it himself.

I cook dinner for the family, I no longer serve him. He is welcome to eat what I cook or fend for himself. I continue to do laundry for all, since it is more work for me to sort out and seperate his from the rest. I no longer do yard work as I never got it right in the first place (his opinion). I do what I have always done to maintain a clean and welcoming home environment especially for the kids.

I visit my family, taxi my kids, go to church, see friends and visit the library when I want to....all things he has tried to control in the past.

I'm sure there is more, but this was my most important start for my recovery.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My AH is like Hadenough's...he was loud and obnoxious. He acted like a drunk teenager. He would probably sense that I was unhappy about the drinking and try and pick fights with me. There was no detaching with him. I wish he was the type of drunk that just went to sleep somewhere...no he almost got more amped up.
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Old 08-27-2008, 07:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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In my opinion, the conflict that is created by the countless arguments serves as kind of a deflection of the primary issue.

My ex-spouse always seemed oddly relieved when we would argue as then it became an issue between him and I whereas the real issue of alcohol was between him and him and my issue of dealing with the alcoholism was between me and me.

I think theotherone described the actual mechanics really well. That's just what I did as well although it is NOT EASY. I found the holidays and family gatherings most difficult. I had a lot of difficulty getting over the anger too. Eventually we split up.

Now that 10 years have passed my ex-spouse and I get along fine. He's still not in recovery but my husband and I have had him over for holidays etc several times as it just seemed like the right thing to do. I see him more as a victim of a disease now.

Now I am dealing with my son and his alcohol issues so I have to brush up on these techniques I had sort of forgotten about.

This week I've decided to stop trying to tell my son what to do to solve his problems! Someone told me in another thread that MOM = masking tape on mouth....LOL!
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Old 08-27-2008, 08:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Redd...I too am new to this...however, whenever the AH goes out and is gone all night...I don't call, don't query, don't fret. I simply enjoy the house nice and quiet. I used to worry about accidents, arrests, and so on when he would disappear. Also, when he starts with his manipulation at home or says something to bait me. I look at him, but don't answer. I do not accept the invitation to the argument. Still it is difficult because it requires dedication and practice, and it is never perfect the first time around.
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reddmax View Post
It's most likely because I'm a conflict avoider. I don't like dealing in screaming, yelling, or anger matches, which is always what occurs. I have severe problems getting my mind around the goofy crap that the alcoholic says or does. Since I can't understand why it happens, it scares me.

Any personal stories about how y'all managed this trick?
For me, it's not a "trick." It was a total, complete overhaul of my beliefs and thinking.

Have you heard of the three A's? Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. Detaching is an action, but you cannot jump directly to action without the first two. It's a progression. It seems like you are in the awareness phase, but maybe not quite 100% on the acceptance yet. That would make it very difficult to take the action. As long as you are still "trying to get your mind around her goofy crap," then maybe you still think that if you can just understand WHY she does what she does, there will be something you can do to prevent it or change it. I had to get my mind around the fact that I was never going to understand the alcoholic, never going to convince him to behave in a way that I considered to be "right," before I could detach.

You can't rush to the action before you move through the awareness and acceptance.

L
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Old 08-27-2008, 09:11 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Detaching with love was hard for me. I detached with indifference. In my situation I had already lived with an alcoholic as a teenager so I had little patience for doing it again. I also had my own children from a previous marriage to consider and I had no desire to subject them to an alcoholic step mother. For me detaching with indifference was a coping mechanism for me until I could change the living situation.

LTD is spot on with the three As. We each have our own progression through them.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:11 AM   #12 (permalink)
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My AH is an isolator, although that was not always the case. He acted out and engaged me in several insane situations. Then I made it clear that I was done. When he realized that the marriage was kaput for me, he just isolated. To argue about our marriage would have meant there was the possibility of discussing feelings. Feelings are avoided at all costs. Expressing how he feels inside is avoided at all costs.

Thus, he quit hassling me completely.

I agree with LTD; it is a process, and I was hung up on the "acceptance" phase for quite a while. I wanted to understand why AH was behaving as he was, why he said the things he said. Then I realized that it didn't matter. I doubt AH had a clue why he was acting out. Even if he had some idea, his brain was so scrambled from the booze, it wouldn't make any sense.

For me, detaching with love meant I felt compassion for someone who had given his life over completely to alcohol to the point that he had no reality left within himself. A great deal of my anger towards him started to wane. Then I just left him in the care of God. His addiction wasn't my business. It wasn't my responsibility.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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In my opinion, the conflict that is created by the countless arguments serves as kind of a deflection of the primary issue.
Amen, AH is the king of redirection.

I detached in hopes of saving our marriage. I knew if he kept hurting me it would never get better. So, I moved out of our bedroom and limited time with him. The hurting did lessen, but where a *normal* person would have been able to grow a relationship, AH just filled our sparse interactions with his crazy nonsense. The detachment did allow some of the brainwashing to fall away and I was able to see with clear eyes what was really happening. It made it easier for me to take the next step.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:27 AM   #14 (permalink)
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for me, detaching with love boils down to me recognizing my limits, and my needs.

If a relationship is draining and unhealthy for me, my limits of energy will tell me that it no longer works.

I must love myself enough to detach, or separate, myself from that person.

Remaining detached is when I stop watching the other person, measuring their progress.
I do so because, on some level I know it is a true act of love for them that I get myself and my agenda out of their way so that they may adjust, correct, and find the growth that is perfect for them, not me.
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Old 08-27-2008, 01:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I personally could not have learned to detach with love while living with an alcoholic who was in-your-face, yelling, following me around, etc. I'm not capable of that. My relationship turned into that, and I had to end it. With some distance, I could once again feel compassion for him as a damaged human being. But while he was screaming, breaking things and threatening me, I couldn't. I'm no Buddha.
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm no Buddha.
lol....at first, the Buddha wasn't a buddha either. That's why he had to detach from his family and friends and go sit under that tree for so long~
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Old 08-27-2008, 06:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Mine always wants me to watch TV with him, but we hardly ever talk. He usually falls asleep in minutes. When I detached he did not like it one bit and threw drunkin tantrums, but I kept at detaching and found that it restored some of the sanity I thought I had lost.
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I've been trying at this as well. I'm not so sure it's working for me or that I'm going about it in the right way. I've been ok at detaching.. it's the with love part that I struggle with. The more detached I get them more I realize that I'm just not in love with him any more. Maybe it's codie, but if I have to remain uncaring to things that are going on in my significant others life, then that's not love. Maybe I have the definition screwed up but I would think it's natural for two people in a relationship to spend sometime wondering and caring about the others well being.

I've quit trying to figure it out, I've quit thinking that maybe it will change. I've gotten better about not paying attention to the quacking, but once I put all of these things together I essentially just feel like I'm trying to imagine he's not there and I don't care what he does. It just doesn't feel like love.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:47 AM   #19 (permalink)
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When I detached from my AH I was able to look at his actions and see what was REALLY happening as opposed to believing his words. It hurt to see the truth, but now it is very liberating to know what the truth is and that I'm not crazy. Like most alcoholics he would say one thing and then do the opposite and then tell me I was imagining things or "nuttin' up". He would blame me, but I knew the truth and he couldn't convince me otherwise anymore.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:50 AM   #20 (permalink)
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lol....at first, the Buddha wasn't a buddha either. That's why he had to detach from his family and friends and go sit under that tree for so long~
True, true. But he also knew it was the right thing to learn to do, so was worth the tree-sitting, the demons swirling around him trying to change his mind.

I guess I was never convinced that staying with my X - who had a completely different set of values, to put it nicely - was the right thing to do with my 80-odd years (if I'm lucky) on the planet. Maybe that's the difference.

Stay with a yeller, an abuser, a cheater? No amount of detachment in the world could drown out the cries of my true self, wasted in a relationship like that.

Om.
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