Learning to detach
How to Tell It’s Time to Let Go of That Relationship I Psych Central
Whether it’s a complicated romantic relationship or a toxic one with family, there are times you just have to let go.
We’ve all experienced relationships that felt too involved or emotionally draining. These unhealthy relationships can be draining both mentally and physically.
Sometimes, detaching from them is the best way to take care of your mental health and well-being.
There are several reasons you may need to detach from a relationship.
If there’s physical or verbal abuse, if the relationship is causing you undue stress and anxiety, if you’ve noticed a change in your mood when around that person — these are just some of the reasons why it may be time to consider detaching yourself emotionally from that relationship.
But whatever the reason, understanding why you need to detach and how to do it can help you move on in a way that’s best for you.
There are a couple of ways to think about detachment.
It can mean avoiding certain people or situations that are causing you stress or anxiety, which can sometimes lead to “emotional numbing,” or the dampening of emotions.
Or, it can mean building and maintaining boundaries to preserve your mental health. By setting clear boundaries in your relationships, you can avoid the feelings of stress, anger, resentment, and disappointment that often build up when limits are pushed or ignored.
Now that you have a better idea of what emotional detachment is, it’s also a good idea to understand what detachment is not.
It doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to feel or that you lack emotions, nor does it mean you lack empathy. While emotional detachment can be a symptom of depression, voluntary detachment isn’t an indication that you have depression.
Rather, it’s about building healthy boundaries to make your expectations clear and establish what behavior is comfortable for you and what is not.
While some people view voluntary detachment as “rude” or “unfeeling,” that’s rarely the intention of the person detaching from the relationship.
There are several reasons why people may feel they need to emotionally detach from a relationship — whether that’s an intimate relationship or a complicated family one.
Some of those reasons include:
- past experiences (neglect, abuse, or trauma)
- personal choice
- medication use, such as antidepressants
- other mental health conditions, such as PTSD, depression, or a personality disorder
When deciding whether to detach from a relationship, identifying your reasons for detaching can be helpful in your decision making.
If you can’t figure out why you’re detaching, consider reaching out to a healthcare or mental health professional. Talking with someone may help you determine why you’re doing it and how to do it in a way that’s best for you.
Detaching from a relationship doesn’t mean you’re abandoning that person or that you’ve stopped caring about them.
It can mean taking a step back to evaluate how that relationship is affecting you and your mental health.
Do you obsessively worry about that person all the time? Do you try to rescue them from making choices you don’t feel are healthy?
Do you feel that you have to tell them what to do all the time? Does that person do the same to you?
Taking responsibility for another person’s actions and behaviors can be tiring and overwhelming at times. In the same way, having another person trying to tell you how to act and behave can be equally frustrating.
Detaching can give you the emotional space you need to take care of yourself. Sometimes, caring too much about another person’s life and problems can have a negative impact on your own emotional and physical health.
You may start to have headaches, lose sleep, or be more irritable. Excessive worry can lead to anxiety, fear, or panic.
So, when do you know it’s time to let go?
When your health depends on someone else’s actions and behaviors, it may be time to consider letting them go.
Now that you’ve made the decision that it’s time to let someone go, how do you actually do it? Here are some things you can try.
Identify the reason
Ask yourself why you’re now deciding to detach from the relationship. Having a solid reason to let go is important.
Without a strong reason, you may cave in and stay in the relationship. When identifying the reason you want to get out of the relationship, try to focus on the things that are progressive, rather than one-off issues.
For example, try to focus on the fact that your feelings for that person have changed over time, not that you got in your first fight.
Release your emotions
Releasing the emotion you feel about getting out of a difficult relationship is an important step in the process.
Whether you choose to cry, dance, or take a kickboxing class, it’s a good idea to release these emotions rather than bottle them up. By having an outlet for these emotions, you’ll be able to release the tension and avoid saying something you’ll regret.
Don’t react, respond
When leaving a relationship, there will inevitably be a difficult conversation.
During that conversation, the other person may say something that causes you to have a reaction. Reaction is a split-second decision and often can lead to regret.
Instead, take a deep breath and respond thoughtfully. By allowing the other person some space in the conversation and letting yourself take a moment to think more clearly, it’ll be a more productive conversation.
Just like smoking, quitting a relationship cold turkey can be painful and a shock to your system.
In some cases, you might consider starting small, slowly removing yourself a little at a time.
For example, start by one day deleting pictures of the two of you. Another day, delete their old messages. As you gently let go, your emotions will stay in check.
In other cases — like if the relationship is traumatic or involves domestic abuse or mistreatment — moving slowly may make things worse and cause more distress. Consider talking about next steps with a professional who specializes in these types of relationships.
Keep a journal
As you let go of a relationship, you’ll feel some big emotions. While it can be difficult to talk about them with other people, it can be helpful to work through your emotions in some way.
A journal can be a great way to process your feelings in a healthy, cathartic way.
Meditating can train your awareness and attention, which can be especially helpful during a highly emotional break-up.
Meditation can also increase your focus, reduce your stress, encourage calm, and help reduce negative feelings.
Be patient with yourself
Walking away from a relationship that was important to you can be challenging. So, try to give yourself some grace and patience to move on.
Remember that you can learn how to have healthy attachments. It’s all a process, and you can enjoy the journey along the way.
If you’re focused on looking at what your relationship used to be like, it will be increasingly difficult to walk away from it. It’s natural to look back and see only the best in a person or a relationship.
But looking back will leave you stuck in the relationship.
Instead, look to the future. Think about your future happiness, rather than glorify the past.
If you’re in an unhealthy romantic relationship that involves abuse or mistreatment, there are some additional steps you may want to take.
Try to avoid sexual contact
Try to stop all sexual contact with the person you’re leaving. Sexual contact can strengthen your attachment and make it nearly impossible to successfully leave the relationship.
Try to stay away from alcohol or drugs
As tempting as it might be to temporarily forget about the pain and work of leaving a relationship, alcohol and drugs provide only temporary forgetfulness of the problem.
They won’t solve the issues and can actually be more harmful, as they can contribute to your attachment to the relationship.
Instead of looking for an escape in alcohol or drugs, try to face your feelings and the relationship head-on.
Consider joining a support group
Remember that you’re not alone. There are support groups available where you can share your experiences with others who’ve been in your shoes.
By joining a support group, you’ll connect with a group of people who know what it’s like to escape these types of relationships and can offer guidance and support during your journey.
If an in-person support group is too overwhelming for you, consider a virtual one.
Consider asking for help
Having the support of loved ones can play a role in you successfully leaving an unhealthy or harmful relationship.
Consider asking people you trust for their support and love during this challenging time. Explain that you might need them more during the coming months and communicate your challenges.
Remember: They love you and want to help.
If you’ve experienced an unhealthy relationship that involves abuse or mistreatment, seeking help from a licensed mental health professional can be beneficial to your mental health.
It will allow you to process your experience and come out the other side stronger and more able to form healthy attachments in the future.
If you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship, consider that it may be time to let that relationship go.
This, of course, is easier said than done. Sometimes it’s hard to leave because you’re so entwined with that person, and sometimes it’s hard to leave because the other person doesn’t want to let you go.
Remember that detaching doesn’t mean you’re cruel or selfish.
When it comes to your emotional health, taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for your overall well-being.
Practicing Detachment for a Happier Life
Often we attach ourselves—and our ability to be happy—on a desired outcome, only to find ourselves disappointed when that outcome doesn't happen. Learn how you can let go and start living from a place of happiness.
Detachment reveals the great paradox of life: In order to acquire something, you have to relinquish your attachment to having it. When you recognize that the only genuine source of security is living as your true self, then you can more easily detach. But what exactly is meant when we talk about detachment?
What Is Detachment?
The Oxford Dictionary defines detachment as “a state of being objective or aloof.” Being objective is powerful in practicing detachment; however, being aloof is not terribly useful. When you become emotionally aloof, you are disconnected from your feelings. You are not really getting involved in decisions, actions, relationships—life. I recommend you get entirely emotionally immersed in whatever it is you want.
True detachment allows for deep involvement—because of the lack of attachment to outcome. The trick is behaving like an Oscar award-winning actor playing a role: become fully emotionally immersed and recognize that you can step outside of the character and be objective. The emotions in that moment are just as real as your dreams, goals, and plans. But you can step outside of them if you need to. This ability to recognize that you can step outside and reflect—to detach who you are from a desired outcome—is what true detachment is.
As author Ron W. Rathbun wrote, “True detachment isn’t a separation from life but the absolute freedom within your mind to explore living.”
Clues You Are Attached
When you are attached to an object, a goal, a dream, or another person, you can feel that, “If I don’t have that, I won’t be whole.” This creates feelings including:
What Do We Attach to?
Many people are attached to relationships, money, social status, jobs, and more. Basically, anything you can use to describe who you are can be a sign of attachment. I might say: I am a blonde, mother, wife, daughter, and sister who is physically healthy and socially vibrant. I am a teacher, a writer, a speaker, and a student. However, if my brother dies and I was no longer a sister, I am still me. If I change what I do and stop writing, I am still me. Recognizing that the “me”remains without all the descriptors is the goal.
How to Detach: 5 Steps
1. Observe your mind: Become aware of what kind of thoughts you habitually think. What things or descriptors do you identify with most? Become a student of self and heighten your awareness of where attachment happens more frequently for you. Recognize attachment comes with an emotional charge. Notice where you feel this in your physical body. It’s different for each individual and learning your patterns is a useful tool in creating change.
2. Distinguish between ego and actuality: Your ego might tell you that not getting the job you want has ruined your career. The actuality is: you are disappointed because you didn’t get something you wanted. Nothing has changed except your thoughts about your future potential. The actual situation is the same as it was prior to not getting the job and you can still advance your career.
3. Embrace uncertainty: Only a willingness to embrace the unknown provides security. As Deepak Chopra says, “Those who seek security in the exterior world chase it for a lifetime. By letting go of your attachment to the illusion of security, which is really an attachment to the known, you step into the field of all possibilities. This is where you will find true happiness, abundance, and fulfillment.”
4. Meditate on it: Meditation is a vehicle to help your mind release patterns of thought and action that no longer serve you. Spend some time in meditation each day and watch how the patterns in your life begin to change.
5. Don’t beat yourself up for falling into old habits: The first step in making change is recognizing what it is you want to change. Instead of getting frustrated or disappointed when you fall back into an old habit, celebrate that you are now noticing when you repeat the pattern of thought or habit. In time, this will allow you to transform your behavior.
When you begin living a life that starts with happiness from an internal place rather than attaching your ability to be happy on external conditions, then you have understood detachment. Remember, it’s a practice. Happiness is the journey and not the destination, or as Wayne Dyer said, “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”
Expand your consciousness with guided meditations and personalized practices in the Chopra App, available now.
Aviatus: Classical skydiving training program
Classical training program developed in the USSR and distributed on the territory of the former Soviet Republics.
Jumps according to this program are made by the student independently on educational and training round parachutes, usually D-1-5U or P-1-U. The free fall time increases gradually up to 30 seconds.
In the process of training, you have to make about 30-40 jumps, and in small drop zones this can stretch for several seasons. nine0003
Stages of training according to the classical program
Pulling the cover
Jump with forced opening of the satchel on parachutes D-1-5U or Junior. The student does not need to pull the ring: the parachute tether is attached to the cable in the plane. When the parachutist separates from the edge, the halyard pulls the red cover from the canopy and the parachute fills up.
The tasks of the jump are to work out the "motor" squad and get to know the dome.
The main difficulty at this stage is to overcome fear and take the correct posture: "asterisk" or "box". The body position should be symmetrical, the most important thing is to control the legs. nine0003
Students master this stage in different ways: many successfully complete the task in one or two jumps, others need ten jumps.
Jumps are performed on D-1-5U parachutes also with forced opening of the pack. But the halyard does not pull the cover off the parachute, it pulls out the ball pilot chute, which is already followed by the cover and the canopy is filled.
The time from the moment of separation to the filling of the canopy is about 5 seconds, and if the student fails to separate correctly, he can get tangled in the lines, twist somersaults (and more than one), hit the side of the aircraft. nine0003
After working out the correct separation, the task is to simulate manual opening. During the 5 seconds that the canopy fills, the student must find the parachute ring and simulate its pulling out, maintaining the correct posture and stable body position.
Free fall time gradually increases from 5 to 30 seconds. The parachute already has to open on its own - pull the ring.
These jumps are very interesting - the student begins to feel the flow, learns to control the height and time of the jump, breaks into a random fall (for example, a corkscrew - amazing sensations, like on a devilish carousel;)
Oak, as the D-1-5U parachute is affectionately called, forgives all mistakes and allows you to safely learn to lie on the stream.
A set of exercises in free fall
After mastering a stable free fall, an equally exciting stage begins - performing spirals, somersaults, working out the “under the tail” separation and in the BP.
These jumps can already be performed on a P-1-U parachute - it is lighter and more maneuverable than fail-safe oak, its canopy is sewn from the same fabric as the canopies of parachutes of the "wing" type. nine0003
Students separate from a height of 2000 meters, and the instructor, if necessary, can jump nearby and film the exercises on camera.
Test consists of four parts:
- you need to separate correctly (on the motor or under the tail),
- perform a complex in free fall (usually left and right spirals and somersaults),
- simulate a wave and throw a jellyfish, while maintaining a stable body position,
- and land on a given area. nine0058
The instructor jumps with the student and films the whole process from the moment of separation to the opening of the parachute.
It is very important to perform the exercises confidently and dot between them: left spiral - stabilization, height control - right spiral - stabilization, height control - somersault.
After a successful test, the student undergoes additional theoretical and practical training: he learns the principles of controlling a wing-type parachute, the rules for building a landing approach - "boxes" and passes a "cut-off". nine0003
The first wing jump is performed using the simplest, safest and largest parachute: Accurate or Crossbow for example. The student separates from 1500 meters, stabilizes, falls for about 10 seconds and drops the jellyfish.
Often, to secure a student on landing, for the first jumps he is given a helmet with a built-in walkie-talkie and prompted from the ground when to make an extreme turn and a pillow. But it’s better to rely on your own strength - the connection sometimes goes wrong, the instructor can be distracted or the wind is so strong that you have to land on an alternate site. nine0003
Winging is a beautiful conclusion to a long and difficult training in the classical program. After completing the course, you can make single jumps and choose which direction of parachuting to study next.
My story on the classical program
- Training jump with a round parachute
- Special cases in the air
- Parachute refusal in the work
- LAMSISTION for obstacles
- Canopy extinguishing after landing
- Parachute system packing Junior )
- D-1-5U parachute stowage for jumping with manual opening of the knapsack
- Composition and operation of the P1-U parachute system
- General information about PPK-U devices
Separation from parents in adulthood: what is it in psychology
Understanding what separation is in psychology, why it is important to separate from parents in adulthood and what techniques to use for this. Separation stages, signs and consequences of incomplete separation - in the article by Anna Krymskaya, clinical psychologist and co-founder of the YouTalk online service
What is separation from parents
Finished reading here
Separation in psychology is the process of separating a child from his parents, when he gradually becomes an independent and independent person. At the same time, his relationship with his parents from a hierarchical one, in which he occupies a subordinate position, passes into an equal relationship between adults and adults.
The separation process starts at birth and ideally ends by 18-20 years of age. During this time, the child must go from complete dependence on the mother to the ability to provide for its existence and control its own destiny. Every year there is an expansion of the zone of independence and responsibility of the child. He makes more and more decisions, faces their consequences, goes through crises, gains experience, gradually becomes independent in various aspects of his life. nine0003
If a person has a home, a family, a job, but he cannot refuse anything to his parents because of a feeling of guilt that arises, he did not separate
understanding what is going on is very important. According to psychoanalyst Margaret Mahler, one of the principal investigators of the separation process, it is successful if the father and mother have a sufficient degree of autonomy, and also have a reliable connection with the child, allow him to openly express his feelings, encourage his actions, create a safe environment, explain bans and so on. nine0003
In this process, the parents themselves will have to adapt to the changing reality and look for new ways to interact with the maturing child. You will have to stop treating him like a little one, respect his right to his own views, opinions and desires, trust decision-making, even if you do not agree with them, and in the end admit that the child knows better than they what to do with his life, and let him float freely.
Separation has four components: functional separation implies the ability to ensure one's existence, emotional separation - to make decisions based on one's desires, value - to have one's own picture of the world, conflict - not to feel guilty and defend one's point of view in case of disagreement with parents. A completed separation implies that all these points have been completed. nine0003
If a person has a home, a family, and a job, but he cannot refuse anything to his parents because of the feelings of guilt that arises, he did not separate. Another may completely erase his parents from his life, not communicate with them, but in his heart experience childhood grievances and blame them for his failures - in this case, separation also did not occur.
Stages of separation
In the first months of life the baby is completely dependent on the mother and does not know how to do anything. Then he begins to perform simple actions himself: sit down, walk, eat with a spoon, copy adults. Parents should let him explore the world and his possibilities and not try to do everything for him so that he can separate from his mother. nine0003
In three years the child realizes that he is a separate person with his own desires, which may not coincide with the desires of the parents. The main words of this period are "No" and "I myself." The child shows his will, is stubborn, objects, does not obey. If at this age you try to force him into submission and “good behavior” at any cost, you can crush these sprouts of independence, and a passive, weak-willed person will grow out of him who does not know what he wants. Parents should support the child's desire for independence, allowing him to make age-appropriate decisions, such as choosing clothes. nine0003
At the age of from 4 to 8 years socialization begins: the child learns to build relationships with peers, he has his own social circle. Parents cease to be the only source of information about the world. The child should learn basic self-care skills: clean his room, help in the kitchen.
Between the ages of 8 and 12 children get to know school, they have classmates, teachers, interests outside the home. At this age, the volitional sphere of personality develops: this means that the child learns to get together and do what is necessary. He should have areas of responsibility: do his homework on his own, have a circle of household duties. This gradually prepares him for adulthood. There is no need to control, remind, impose help: the child should have the opportunity to face the consequences of his laziness or forgetfulness and draw conclusions for the future. nine0003
12 to 18 years old The most difficult stage of growing up: adolescence. The child begins to notice the shortcomings of the parents, their authority in his eyes falls. But the influence of the environment, peers, on which the teenager is guided in the first place, increases. There is a "rebellion": children stop obeying, protest against restrictions, control, interference in personal life, demand recognition of their adulthood and independence. During this period, it is important to listen to the teenager and find compromises. He should have his own space where he sets the rules: you can’t enter his room without permission, he decides when to clean it. Parents must learn to trust the child, give him the opportunity to make decisions independently and be responsible for his actions. nine0003
18+ . If the previous stages of separation were successful, then by this moment the matured child is ready for separation. The process of growing up will be completely completed only by the age of 24-25, but a person is already able to take responsibility for his life. Often just at this time, children go to school or find work, begin to live independently.
Why separation is needed
Separation allows a person to become the master of his life, freely dispose of it and receive satisfaction from it. A person becomes independent and gains self-confidence. He can direct his energy towards achieving his true goals, rather than trying to live up to someone else's expectations. nine0003
In the process of separation, a person learns to build personal boundaries. This skill is necessary for an autonomous personality, it makes it possible to build healthy relationships in the family, with friends, with colleagues at work. In the future, a person will be able to respect the personal boundaries of their own children and support them during growing up and separation.
Separation is a two-way process involving both children and parents. The task of the first is to separate, the second is to let go
As a result of emotional separation, he acquires freedom of behavior and decision-making. By the way, separation from parents does not mean coldness or deterioration of relations: on the contrary, it is after separation that a new stage in the relationship between parents and children as independent adults can begin, when relationships are not built on duty or dependence, but simply on the fact that people feel good with each other . nine0003
What factors hinder the process of separation
Separation is a two-way process in which both children and parents participate. The task of the first is to separate, the second is to let go. But sometimes, either the children do not want to get off, or the parents consciously or unconsciously hinder this process.
On the part of children, the habit and convenience of being comfortable and profitable with their parents and using their resources, especially if they encourage such behavior and continue to serve them, can become inhibitory factors. In an atmosphere of comfort, it is difficult to form an impulse to separate. Sometimes problematic relationships in the family or various kinds of addictions can serve as an obstacle: children seem to change places with their parents and take care of them. Also, an obstacle to separation is the anxiety and fear of an already adult child that he or she will not cope on his own, will not find a loving partner, will not succeed. nine0003
Parents themselves often slow down the process of separation in every possible way. They are too anxious and overprotective, do not allow the child to face problems on their own. Some perceive the child as a personal project and try to control his every step "on the road to success." Such a child is doomed to constantly "justify expectations." The unfulfillment of parents also sometimes slows down separation: most often this happens with mothers who have no achievements outside the family. Their world centers around the child; taking care of him, they feel in demand. If the child tries to separate from the mother, she will lose the meaning of life, remain lonely and useless. Therefore, such a mother will oppose separation in every possible way, often manipulating the feeling of guilt. nine0003
There are parents who are afraid of growing old: they think that until the child becomes an adult, they themselves will remain young. Emotional unavailability, an atmosphere of indifference in the family, as well as conservative values that imply the power of parents even over adult children and respect for elders who a priori “know better” can also serve as an obstacle.
These factors can cause a person to get stuck at some stage and not be able to complete the separation.
What threatens incomplete separation
The consequences of incomplete separation greatly complicate life. The self-esteem of such a person is unstable, because it is based not on his own achievements and ideas about himself, but on someone else's opinion. A person depends on the assessments of others, constantly seeks approval and is prone to conformism. He does not do what he needs or wants, but what he will be praised for.
Overprotection or, conversely, dictatorship in the family does not allow a person to learn independence. Learned helplessness develops: a person is not able to make decisions, is passive, not self-confident, doubts his strength and ability to change something. nine0003
Lack of personal boundaries does not allow building healthy relationships: a person can dissolve in a partner, start living in his interests and lose himself
It is difficult for such people to fulfill themselves and build a career. They do not have an understanding of their goals and desires, they can endlessly and unsuccessfully "search for themselves. " Even if such a person, at the direction of his parents, receives a profession in demand, he will not have intrinsic motivation, so he will always lose to colleagues who are motivated and know exactly what they are doing and why. nine0003
Finally, incomplete separation leads to problems in personal life. Interfering parents in the affairs of a couple can damage even the strongest feelings. The absence of personal boundaries does not allow building healthy relationships: a person can dissolve in a partner, start living in his interests and lose himself. People with an incomplete separation often repeat parental scenarios in relationships, such as divorce, infidelity, or domestic violence.
How can you recognize an incomplete separation
- Financial dependence
This is not only about money, but also about the free use of any resources and services that cost money outside your home: living at your parents’ living space, household services such as cooking, washing, cleaning, regular help from grandmothers and grandparents in childcare. Such "gift" help turns a person into a debtor, makes him feel obligated. Parents have leverage of influence and pressure, the right to demand participation in decision-making, with which it is difficult to disagree. nine0003
- Inability to let go of the past and accept the present
A person feels resentment towards his parents, expects repentance, apologies, correction from them. Or seeks to prove they were wrong by underestimating him. In this case, relationships with the family and the experiences associated with them occupy a disproportionately large place in the life of an adult.
- Guilt and fear of disappointment
Emotions and mood of parents have a great power over an adult child: a displeased voice, a reproachful look make him suffer from guilt. A person is so afraid of upsetting his parents, offending him with a refusal, not living up to expectations that he is ready to sacrifice his own interests for their sake. In relatively mild cases, the child cancels plans for the evening and rushes to help them hang a picture; in severe cases, he chooses a profession approved by them instead of one to which his soul lies, or an adult daughter never marries because she cannot leave her mother alone. nine0003
- Violation of the child's personal boundaries
Parents do not notice that the child has grown up a long time ago and continue to interfere in his life. They can demand a report on affairs, control, give unsolicited advice, ask tactless questions about personal life, comment on appearance, weight, lifestyle - of course, "with the best of intentions" and "with the best of intentions."
What separation techniques to use to separate from your parents
If you find that an incomplete separation process is making your life difficult, it is important to seek professional support. The psychologist will help make the separation process as quick, easy, and painless as possible for you and your parents. There are several important stages to go through:
- Become financially independent: start earning money on your own, live separately, stop relying on the help of your parents, then you can set your own rules in communicating with them.
- Work through grievances and accept parents as they are. The past cannot be changed, but the present and the future are in our hands. Parents are adults, formed people, they have the right to live the way they want. It is better to give up trying to change them and instead direct your energy towards achieving positive changes in your own life. nine0058
- Learn to build healthy personal boundaries. To speak directly when you do not like something, to respect not only your own needs and limitations, but also those of others. Establish communication rules: talk when and as much as it is convenient for you personally, designate topics that you are not going to discuss, limit the flow of instructions and valuable advice.