In Loved Ones of Alcoholics, Relationships

How many times have you caught yourself obsessing about something someone said or did to you? How often do you find that you allow others to influence your mood or day? And how often do you feel the need to explain yourself repeatedly and force the other person to see your point of view?

Although most of us are likely to find ourselves relating to any or all of the above, those behaviors do not often create inner peace or strengthen the connection within a relationship. Instead, it can often perpetuate or intensify the negative emotions we are experiencing or the argument we are having.

Therefore, it can be useful to practice detachment as it helps us to let go of our obsession with another’s words or actions. It allows us to take a step back and separate the person from the behavior. By doing so, we are less likely to personalize something hurtful. For example, if an alcoholic in the midst of drinking (or a loved one in the midst of anger/sadness/etc.) is verbally hurtful, you can allow it to make you feel bad and/or try to obtain an explanation for why they said such things OR you can recognize that their current behavior is not a true reflection of who they are or how they feel. Again, you can challenge yourself to separate the person from the behavior.

It is important to note that by detaching, you are not excusing, enabling, or rationalizing the behavior. You are merely giving yourself the right to not be effected by another’s unhealthy behaviors or engage when they are not in a healthy state of mind. In any given moment, you can choose to let go of your obsessions, disengage from the person or situation, and choose to protect your emotional well-being. And you can always readdress the situation and share your experience when all involved have calmed down and are able to engage respectfully.