Detach Yourself To Protect Yourself From Abuse
Daily Herald September 28, 1991
Detaching can help you deal with problems that are created by others. This method is helpful when dealing with people who are close to you emotionally, such as spouses, parents, children, or adult siblings. The closer you are to someone, the easier it is to become wrapped up in their problems. Their problems become your problems, emotionally. The more you respond to their problems as if they were yours, the more you tend to overact emotionally towards them.
To detach means to step back, at least on a temporary basis, from being emotionally involved with someone. It's a way to become more objective about how you see a situation. But its impossible to be objective with something if you're involved in so deeply that you, yourself, are or become, part of the problem. The following ideas are adapted from the fellowship of Al-Anon. They can help people un-stick or detach themselves from situation where they have to deal with difficult people who are emotionally close to them.
- Choose not to suffer because of the actions of others. If others blame you for something, that's their choice. But it's your choice whether you agree with them and accept that blame. You're responsible for what you do. You're not responsible for what others do, even if they try to make you feel such.
- Choose not to allow yourself to be abused because someone else has a problem. If you're used as an emotional punching bag, choose to avoid that person. If you're used as a physical punching bag, you have the right and responsibility to pass on that information to the police.
- Choose not to do for others what they can, and need to, do for themselves. As long as you will take care of adults, who refuse to take care of themselves, they get away without doing so.
- Choose not to cover up for the mistakes or misdeeds of others. The more you cover up, the more others will avoid being responsible for themselves. Despite how much you love them or care for them, covering up for them is destructive, both to them, and to yourself, as well.
- Choose not to try to manipulate for others. They may be manipulating you. You don't help when you try to manipulate back, despite your best intentions. Two wrongs don't make a right.
- Choose not to react to a crisis, which someone else sets up for you. Don't let yourself blow up at someone, when that is exactly what they want you to do. For if you do, they'll blame you totally for the very situation that they set you up to react to.
- Choose not to stop a crisis from occurring to someone, if this crisis is part of a natural course of events, resulting from their actions. Many people only learn by facing consequences. They don't learn when others talk, beg, promise or even bribe them. By not protecting people from the effects of their own actions, you let them bring on their own crisis, as a natural consequence to their own foolish or immature behavior.
Detaching is neither kind nor unkind. It's a way to protect and take care of yourself when others are being unreasonable. You have the right to detach yourself, since your most important right you have is to take care of yourself.