Detachment is my nemesis. All kinds, it seems.
You’ve heard plenty of the anxiety variety here, the up-against-the-wall, waiting-fort-the-other-shoe-to-drop, how-can-I-possibly-live-through-this that calls for stepping back (at the least) and withdrawal from the circumstances (in the extreme), i.e. minding my own business.
I hate it when that happens. But I am happy to report that my adult offspring has made a turn into recovery that inspired the former response (for a change), not the latter. Earlier this week we enjoyed one luscious afternoon and evening, which included the “most significant other” who remarked that the difference in a sober personality and a using personality was like day and night. (Sound familiar, anyone?)
Clothing and items stored in our basement two weeks ago on that sad and horrid weekend were sorted through and organized, laundry done, a meal of white chili enjoyed, my home-made hummus wholly consumed, topped off with apple crisp and hot tea. Moreover, all shared good vibrations.
mother-heart glommed on to it all! I have been over the moon all week, which recently triggered this observation: I am not being one bit detached — any more than I was two weeks ago when my offspring appeared to be careening downhill and me as well. I have basked in every nuance of the ostensible “return,” and have dared to hope that a journey of 1,000 miles has begun with a single step (Thank you, Lao-tzu!), a corner turned.
Drawing from my own 12-step recovery process, I decided not to beat myself up for feelin’ good, and to focus, instead, on a burgeoning “attitude of gratitude.” Not a bad plan: abundance (of gratitude) over lack (of detachment) is a good thing. I’ll take that any day over being driven by anxiety and terror, BUT…
This morning I uncovered a gem in COURAGE TO CHANGE that highlighted the flaw in runaway feelings for this parent, or any parent, with the addictive behavior of our daughters and sons. I had “acted as if someone else’s life was more important than mine.” HELLO! That is clearly an occupational hazard that comes with being a parent, and the crux of why this book was written. Most of us would lay down our lives to protect, let alone save, our children in harm’s way — hence our liability for codependence. This is also where healthy detachment from the good and the not good can be illusive.
So, I pass this observation along from Chapter 9 in my book: “Codependent behavior literally distorts who we are, just as addiction can morph loved ones into people who are shockingly unrecognizable.” We can be vigilant for our children when they are babies, and even when they are grown. If their well being fundamentally surpasses our own, however, and begins to drive our responses, we have entered codependent territory.
“Learn to identify the codependent behaviors in yourself and how they are impacting dynamics with your child,” I continue. Ask yourself whether your own self-esteem is involved? How about narcissism, being the rescuer on the white horse? Yes, it’s good to feel good about who we are and what we can do for ourselves and others, BUT…
When our feet are no longer grounded in the reality that nothing is either all good or all bad, we are in for a wild ride, or a crash. A balanced view employing this “ism” from the backpack of goodies I have furnished parent readers for our bizarre journey will hold us in balance on any given day: THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE. Yep. That will keep your feet on the ground.
— Barbara Victoria