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detachment feels cold and uncaring

Old 10-17-2010, 03:49 AM
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detachment feels cold and uncaring

but i have no choice anymore. I trust nothing that is coming out of the alcoholics mouth. he said he's been going to meetings for about 3 weeks now, but that means nothing to me because i realize that has happened over and over and over again for the past 20 years, off and on.
My detachment feels like i just don't really care what he does, nor should I because i have enough on my plate right now, trying to pack and get my things together, taking care that all my paperwork is in order, selling what i can to get money to be able to search for work and pay for my move and trying to avoid any confrontations, or attacks while the alcoholic (who is currently underfoot to show how "good" he can be) attempts to be friendly and helpful. Is it wrong for me not to want to have anything to do with him? is that unkind? not that I care to alter how i feel for him...i'm just wondering if I should question my way to protect myself personally. I know when i try to respond to anything he says, he jumps down my throat, so i've begun one word answers of yes, no, or I don't know, and leave it at that. it feels so odd to me, but i know it is safest for me too.
I have an underlying anger that i can't shake right now, but i think it is healthy for me, so i can continue to pack and get the eff out of here!! i can't wait to be gone and away and be able to breathe without worrying that anything i say will spark a nasty, sharp response from an alcoholic in the throws of trying not to drink....i've been there too many times. I wonder if i should try to stop remembering what that was like, but i honestly think it is good to keep myself removed and separate even if it does feel cold and uncaring, because i honestly don't care to fight anymore. there is no more "dancing the alkie dance" left in me! I just want out and i'm doing it, finally...i'm so excited and i have to keep it to myself....can't wait to leave....it's coming quickly but certainly not fast enough! Is it wrong for me to feel like i just don't care anymore what he is feeling? or have any interest when he tells me things about what he is doing to try to chase sobriety? I could care less.....really *holding up hand* talk to the paw because the ears don't care anymore!! I feel like he is trying to manipulate me and i'm laughing inside because it is just pissing me off that he is so fake and can't be honest.....it is really helping me get out of here and it won't come soon enough!!! I am so grateful for finally realizing that i have to go and going!! I look forward to my own space, without anyone making me walk on eggshells....i think i'll need that space to heal and maybe then my feelings will become more balanced? that makes more sense to me, not that i want to give in, i don't, but i don't want to feel like i'm callous and mean, becuase that is not my way......time...i need time to heal, does that sound right?
thanks for letting me vent!
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:06 AM
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I don't think detachment is cold or uncaring. But I understand it can feel that way after years of enabling. You are just refusing to feed his adiction. To me that is caring, for both him and you.
I feel detachment towards my RAH, but in the same time I feel empathy for him. My refusal to be engaged in crazy A things in my opinion is a loving thing. You're letting him experience the consenquences of his actions, IMO that is the greates thing you can do for him, while doing the right thing for yourself.
Take care
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Old 10-17-2010, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by missphit View Post
Is it wrong for me not to want to have anything to do with him? is that unkind?
No.

I think you're just at the "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" stage. No one who watches Gone with the Wind thinks, when Rhett walks away, "Oh, but poor Scarlett--what will become of her without Rhett? He's being so unkind!" No--we ALL know that they will BOTH do fine--separately, and that Rhett is right to stop chasing that rabbit down the rabbit hole.

Wish him well, and stay in that space in your head where that detachment is coming from. You're doing great!
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:19 AM
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OT in response to solomio -" I guess I am the only one then who did wonder about scarlett and thought rhett should be more understanding" ohno! I am really that backwards? ( i am really going to look at that)

missphit - detachment may feel cold when you are not used to doing it - after a while it starts to make great sense and a lot of relief. sounds like what you are doing makes great sense and takes care of you. Letting your husband figure out his part is up to him.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:36 AM
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thank you! I can see where you are both coming from and yes, after all the years of being entangled it feels so cold to just say, it's not my problem, when he tries to talk about something. this morning he mentioned that he is worried about his future.....and i'm afraid it made me terribly angry....i jumped and spoke before i was able to stop myself and said it is a shame he waited until now to worry about his future, because i can no longer include that in anything i am concerned about. I have enough to worry about with my own future. It felt weird, but i was so mad that he waited this long to say those words.....i'm so finished with the worry and dance.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:48 AM
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One of my fave Florida sayings is "shoot the gators closest to the boat first." There'll be time enough to deal with those that are farther away. Right now, I think you are doing what you need to do to survive another day and move onto solid ground.

It is impossible to actually love a person who will not reveal who they really are. I suspect that all along your love has been for that false self that us alcoholics are so very good at building and maintaining. Perhaps one day he'll stay sober long enough, and get honest enough to be who he really is....and it's only then that he can be loved or even accept love from another.

Until that time, I'd suggest that all you hear from him is blah blah blah...meaningless noises that have little or no bearing on reality. Alcoholics live in la la land...not in reality.

And if you need to feel cold and uncaring right now....go with it. You can make a 9th step amends later on if necessary. <G>

BTW....since I am empathically challenged, I think of detachment as solitude and I am most comfortable with it. <G> I refuse to make anyone else's problem my problem....anyone else's pain, my pain.

"No....I do NOT feel your pain....keep it to yourself ".... is my general attitude. Share love, not fear. Joy, not pain. I can detach from the pain and problems of others, while still sharing my own love, joy and happiness with them. IOW....I guess I'm saying that I won't put up with anyone else raining on my parade.....

blessings
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:09 AM
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nothing wrong with you....it's all completely normal.

After awhile that detachment will feel like a favorite warm cuddly sweater around you.
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:26 AM
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There is a good brochure at Alanon that describes detachment. It begins along the lines of "Detachment is neither cold or uncaring...."

It is, however, a new, unfamiliar experience to the loved one of an alcoholic. It is not the norm for us. We have lived our days obsessing over the next action/inaction of our alcoholic. We began to sacrifice our needs as we focused on meeting the needs of an alcoholic. We were sure we could love them into a healthy lifestyle.

When I became aware of my actions, I started looking for ways to change. I was living in reaction mode. I needed to learn to live my life is "response" mode. It was time to change the dance music.
Just because the A did x, y, z - doesn't mean I need to continually react with a, b, c.

By detaching with love, I am allowing the alcoholic to continue x, y, z. It is their choice, their life. With detachment, I am able to put aside my knee jerk reaction of a, b, and c that I have used for sooooo long. I am now able to pause, be patient and respond in a way that feels right for ME. (progress, not perfection)

It is a gift I give myself to practice responding instead of living in reaction. I can get to that place by detaching from the behaviors of another.

This is from Alanon. It is printed in the Courage to Change as Today's Reminder. The quote is from Alanon: Family Treatment Tool in Alcoholism

" Detachment is not isolation, nor should it remain focused on not enabling the sick behavior of the past. Detachment is not a wall; it is a bridge across which the Alanon may begin a new approach to life and relationships generally."

It is akward, uncomfortable and feels like isolation at first. It feels like you are ignoring the elephant in the room. But gradually, as your focus shifts from the elephant in the room you find yourself less 'attached' to the elephants behavior and more focused on your personal journey.

may you find peace as you continue to follow your path of recovery
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:35 AM
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missphit, I completely understand your concern about seeming cold. I too am feeling bad for not feeling bad as I am planning to move out in 4 days. It's funny because I can look at your situation and see that clearly you are doing the right thing to save yourself and your own sanity and peace of mind. Your AH chose alcohol over your marriage, and now you are just choosing yourself over his addiction. It's harder to apply the same truths to your own situation.

The detachment is a coping mechanism because no one can sustain a daily alcohol fight. It's just too exhausting, and it doesn't get you anything besides self-doubt, or false hope, or frustration, or a host of other negatives that you just can't sustain on a daily basis. The great thing about being on my own that I am looking forward to is truly living , rather than just coping.

Good luck, I know you can do this!

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Old 10-17-2010, 07:50 AM
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Maybe your "Give a Damn's Busted".


YouTube - Jo Dee Messina - My give a damn's busted

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:10 AM
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True Coyote!

It may also be a case of: FYR

"F**k You Reflex"

Prognosis: healthy recovery
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:11 AM
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I am uncaring about what a drinking person says. So, what?
What I care about is that I would rather not hear any of it at all for even one tiny minute.
That doesn't make me a bad person...it rather makes me much happier and therefore much nicer to be around.
(unless you are drinking, of course, but then it's sort of difficult to be around me...cause I don't go there if I can possibly help it.)
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:27 AM
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Do they care when they lie to you? Do they care when they manipulate and deceive you so they can continue their love affair with the bottle? Do they care when they lie to their children, making promises they never keep? Do they care when they disrupt the entire family daily? Do they care when they get behind the wheel drunk and drive to the liquor store?

No.

My give a damn is definitely broken.
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:37 AM
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oh yes, i think my "give a damn" is definitely in the shop for adjustments! hahaha. thanks for your responses.....the words of wisdom are invaluable and I am excited about my moving forward. I just can't wait to be outta here. i'm getting all my ducks in a row to follow me out so i don't have to come back. you are all so wise! this is new territory for me and I definitely like not worrying about reacting, but learning my own boundries and acting accordingly! thanks, everyone!!
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Old 10-19-2010, 03:14 AM
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Misphit,

I am happy for you, for your upcoming freedom.

enough is enough.

best of luck to you,

hugs
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:06 AM
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What if you put that love, devotion, compassion and loyalty you feel towards your A into yourself?

What if instead of worrying about him, his needs, his feelings, you worried about yours?

What if instead of spending money, time, energy on him, you spend it on you?

You are like me in that we want to take care of others. Guess what? We are not the all powerful beings that we would like to be to be cure all's for our loved ones. I understand your feelings that you are being cold. I once felt that way too. You know what my A did when I detached? Replaced me with someone as sick or sicker than he is. That is how much he loved me. Couldn't be alone.

I think that when we get enmeshed with people and let them treat us poorly (this includes treating themselves poorly), we are not loving to them or us. I think of my life now as living what I would like to see in another. Be the person I want be and have in my life. Someone who is sick is not capable right now of being that way and when we engage them or enable them, we set them back in so far as taking care of themselves.

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Old 10-19-2010, 08:20 AM
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for me - detachment is not letting my feelings be determined by the actions or feelings or circumstances of another. It doesn't mean I don't care, it means that I don't make their feelings and actions and circumstances all about me.

I don't think this is cold or uncaring, in fact I have come to view it as more caring than the alternative.

If someone has a problem and is sad or worried and I take on that sadness and feel it, and cry and worry for them: does that help them at all, in any way lessen their burden? or does it mean that now I need comforting and calming down and have made myself the focus of attention? not on purpose, but still.

I don't believe it is caring to take on the emotions of another like a big overcoat, it doesn't lessen their burden and may increase it because my reaction is now a factor too. Empathising means understanding not living the feelings/situation/problems of another as if they were ours; which doubles misery rather than relieving it.

not caring is also entirely fine. We don't have to care. we can be angry and not want to know. it's a protection mechanism.
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