Detachment (With and Without Anger)…

Erin Schaden
5 min readJun 6, 2023

I am here. Needing, somewhat desperately to detach from a couple of people in my life, unfortunately I live with them and that makes detachment quite difficult, not impossible, just excruciating.

I am aiming and working towards detaching without anger but I am not there. And I am not there because I am pissed. Rightly so which doesn’t really help but it makes me feel better. Justified anger is still really just anger with a good excuse.

I want these other beings to change their behavior. But I have been unwilling to change my own so we are trapped in this vicious cycle. And I am pretty confident I can speak for all of us when I say, no one is happy.

I am a good boundary setter, and a poor boundary maintainer. I set them all the damn time, but I fail to maintain them which has resulted in the instant crisis de jour.

It has been very hard for me to accept that I am the one that has to change in this regard. I have to be the heavy, the “bad” guy. I have to put other things first instead of trying to maintain civility and peace. Peace at any price really isn’t all that peaceful.

I have so much fear around this. Holding this boundary or that one. It is truly difficult to keep my balance in all this teenage turmoil. I feel unsafe in my home due to people being invited in that I do not know and do not trust. I get zero assistance from the kids unless I nag, nag, nag and then threaten. And still, I am not likely to get any kind of compliance. Mostly I am blown off, ignored and then not treated very well. And it hurts. Like a lot.

I love my children and have done everything I can to be a good mom to them. I think this is why the way and manner in which they treat me hurts so much. I have done so much and in the end, they just don’t care, feel entitled to more and completely dismiss me.

And the most painful part of all of this is that I set this dynamic up and have maintained it. Me. I am the problem. So are they but I am the parent, the one who is supposed to be in charge. And I am, but it doesn’t really feel that way because I am always accommodating them to keep this elusive, tenuous peace.

I see this now.

And it makes me not want to get out of bed today. Just pull those covers up and disappear for a day, or two, or twelve.

I can’t and won’t do that. But I want to.

Sometimes it feels like I have made no progress at all. And while I know that is only a feeling and not accurate, the feeling is pervasive and overpowering.

I guess where I am in the process, the lifelong process, of taking my life back from all the people I have allowed to control it, directed it and to some degree, manage it. I have sub-contracted my life to others and now resent them for it. And, yes, for fuck’s sake, I see that I am the cause.

Not of their behavior, that is theirs. I cannot control them, even though the law says I am supposed to. But I am the cause of my own suffering here because I choose immediate peace for long term suffering most of the time. I have not, thus far anyway, been able to maintain boundaries that are good for all of us. I give in, give way and capitulate far too often with now seemingly devastating effects for all of us.

So I am working on detachment. Right now with hurt and anger, which I am working to change into just detachment. Allowing them to bear the brunt of their actions and inactions and stop all the nagging that only makes us all crazy. And really does absolutely nothing to change the status quo.

I can still love the person(s) without liking the behavior. And I can see that I do have another option other than to rail at them or get all pissed off. That is my shit. Not theirs. I can just not pick up after them, not wake them up, not remind them and then dole out consequences when the time comes, thoughtful, narrowly tailored consequences instead of my usual “I am just so fucking pissed right now you are grounded FOREVER” consequences that no one, including me, adheres to, or really even believes.

Detachment isn’t easy and feels like I am disconnecting from two people who I do not really want to be disconnected from…but I can see that my own sanity requires me to take a step back because I am making myself crazy and alienating them more than they already are.

The only real big issue I have in detaching is that I have no idea how to do it. I know how to be pissed, I know how to not be pissed. I know how to nag but I am not sure I really know how not to. So just for today, I am going to just try to keep my mouth shut. Speak less and listen more. Just try my best not to engage in all that previously, like yesterday, caused me to over engage and become responsible for their failure to take actions they know they are supposed to do, have the ability to do, but still just choose not to.

I will own fully, and in advance, that I am not enjoying this life lesson. I feel ill-equipped for the journey and want desperately to just go back to what feels normal, except that normal doesn’t feel good either. So I am in that tight spiral of needing to change and not wanting to change. And what brings me a small measure of comfort is this: I only need to want to change .000001% more than I do not want to change for actual change to take place. I do not need to make sweeping, grand changes. No, just small ones that place me where I can hold a better opinion of myself and my conduct.

Change always feels like you are stepping off the rim of the Grand Canyon. But in reality, I am just stepping off the curb. The detachment curb. I want this to change, I need this to change and so I have to change myself, one moment at a time just for today. And with this, I can make progress, tiny inroads to living differently with my children. And, at least for today, it all starts with detaching myself from them with as much love and peaceful abiding as I can.

Wish me luck…wish us all luck.



Erin Schaden

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