First of all, you cannot remain “just friends” with someone you are detaching from. You must know this is a permanent solution to a very real present problem. If you are reading this, it’s because you realize how serious the situation has become. You are at a crossroads. This is the point where you must make an important decision. It is not easy nor is it for someone who just needs space.
Detachment will come at the point where it is too late to salvage any part of the relationship or where you can no longer tolerate something that is too unhealthy for you to remain in the situation. It comes to the point where it will feel like an amputation. Like an amputation, it is a necessary step to save your emotional and even possibly your physical and mental life. Some of you may willingly sacrifice your lives socially temporarily to prolong the unhealthy attachment but ultimately it will cost you more sacrifices than you are willing to offer.
Detachment isn’t just for romantic relationships. Detachments can be for unhealthy friendships too. These are very common as well. You may have even come to the point where you are just stalling for time. My friends, your life is too valuable and your time is too important to just stall. You could do so much more with freedom and independence. You got to have guts to go through with this thing though. The mental anguish is powerful and is previewed before the detachment comes because there is fear. You must have the courage to change your life’s direction regardless if it leads away from people that are part of your present but really belong in the past and maybe they don’t even belong there.
You may feel like you are violating a trust or that you are disappointing the other. This is normal. It is a fear, not of rejection but, of the unknown. It is the fear of what may or may not happen. Your first responsibility is not to the other but to yourself. You must steward your life and your life’s purpose responsibly. God has entrusted you with a wonderfully capable body, a sharp mind that can analyze complexities, and talent that can benefit whole groupings of people. Don’t let that be squandered in an unhealthy attachment to a vice, relationship, or organization.
Sometimes you need to detach from an entire community. Sometimes a community of family or friends that you have come to be fond of, not for their ideals but for the friendships you have with them, is not a healthy place to be. Detaching from a community may be necessary. You can sever the tie that binds you to the community without disconnecting the powerful friendships that were created in it. See, when you detach, you are rejecting certain future expectations and ideals that are thrust on you. You are not rejecting the person. You can reject their value system though. For the sake of their dignity, explain the purpose of the detachment. They have certain expectations and values that are too intolerable for your conscience to accept. It is good to try to emphasize this concept.
How do you detach?
A clean cut. Be direct. Be honest. Be clear. This is the most honorable way for you and for the other. They may have their way but it is not your way. They may have a vision for your life but they are ultimately not responsible for casting the vision for your life. You are. When there are two visions, the paths will diverge. So what to do now?
Get rid of your past.
“Ok, how do I get rid of my past?”
Throw it away. Delete it. Set it on fire. Then never speak about it again. You can also beat it to pieces with a baseball bat. Whatever it takes just let it go. Forever. Forgive yourself for some of your reactions. Forgive yourself for letting yourself dwell on the pain. Acknowledge there are somethings that you can control but most things you cannot control. You just can’t. Learn from the pain and move on to greater health and greater self-worth. Pick a way to get the past erased then do it. Get rid of the old mementos. The cards. The letters. The photos. Get rid of it. Enjoy who you are and your life right now. If you don’t like your life right now, change something.
You are in charge of your life. I promise you. One day, you will be able to talk about your past self like it was somebody else. You won’t have all the negative feelings tied to your heart when you speak of those memories. It will be more possible for you because who you were in the past isn’t who you will be in the future. You will have changed but first you must begin the process of permanent change now. Many people can’t talk about themselves in the past because the person they were is still the person they are. They would be incriminating themselves so they just don’t bring their past up. Changed people aren’t afraid to admit their failings. They were lessons that they learned. They are not the same.
Don’t let being victimized trap you into a victim mentality. You can overcome this. You still have choices to make and dreams to pursue though it may not seem like it at the moment. Believe me, there are dreams that can still come true and those are absolutely worth fighting for. Not only are those dreams worth it but you are worth it. You deserve for all the dreams that have been given to you to come true. God doesn’t give you a desire just to dangle it in front of you like a carrot. It is to inspire you to get moving. So get moving. Get after it. Sometimes, in order for you to delete your past, you must let go of some personnel. You need to detach. Free yourself! You were made to be free. Like a bird. You were meant to fly. Fly baby fly!
Clarification: Marriage is sacred and worth fighting for. This is not to promote divorce. This also is not something to support parents and/or guardians abandoning their responsibilities to someone in their care especially the unborn, young children and/or the elderly. This is for those people involved in unhealthy connections that lead people away from the gifts and callings that God has given them.
- Fabian Lopez