Functional detachment 

According to the psycho-types there are different ways to bond in an relationship pair. I think broadly speaking the “types” reflect a behaviour under any emotionally stressful situation – it’s just that relationships are emotionally stressful so the typing is played out. 

I have broadly classified the types as the “anxious attacher” and the “anxious detacher”.

The attacher clings under times of stress; holding more tightly for fear of losing control, trying harder than ever to get the ducks in a row.

The detacher lets go under times of stress; releasing control over everything for fear of not being able to control anything. Surrender. 

I have been wondering which is the more functional, or neither, or whether there’s a third (or more) I don’t know about. 

I realise an inability to detach comes with various solutions to the problem. Which indicates we (as humans) must need to detach at some level. Bearing in mind here I don’t mean detachment just from a person, I mean detachment from an emotionally stressful situation per se. 

One solution to “cause” a detachment event in someone that is naturally resistant (an attacher) might be drugs. Alcohol, cocaine, dope, dunno – anything that causes the brain to detach and not have to deal with the emotional situation. 

Another solution to provoke detachment under duress is logic. In facts and rationale there is a release of control – you can’t argue with the laws of nature. 

There are some detachment mechanisms that are useful and some that are damaging. It seems to me then that functional detachment is the best position. 

Furthermore, the detachment should allow for a period of fallow followed by growth. Any detachment that is simply avoidant isn’t really helpful. Alcohol induced detachment for example is likely a quick fix followed by self loathing. 

Detachment can also be forced by “reattaching” to another person. My guess is this behaviour can be  identified when the “another person” is a random or at least someone you don’t know well. The detachment in which case comes in the anonymity. Or the creation of a new seperate self. A detachment from an actual reality.

I feel right now a strong desire to detach from an emotionally stressful situation. You might notice a process in that i am generating all this logic. In fact now I know when I start to get over analytical that I am likely upset. It is working to an extent – the rationalising – but it’s exhausting. I can also feel a strong desire to “attach” to someone else, a stranger or someone i don’t know well. I know there, I will be able to surrender my emotional situation completely and I will feel great relief. This is a pattern of behaviour I have been desperate to understand and I am very glad it is finally revealed to me. 

The process that I want to follow including attaching to another  bothers me. Firstly it’s lazy. Secondly it’s boring, and thirdly (in no particular order) it’s hurtful – to many stakeholders including my own self on some level. I reject it wholeheartedly. 

The most functional process is a period of detachment in which there is time for healing. An actual detachment and retreat into the self. A temporary separation almost like an emotional “sleep” so that the feelings can wash and whirl and then settle. 

This requires trust in yourself. I am ashamed to find I do not trust in myself. But trust requires effort so it’s time to start building it. 

This must also involve surrending all control over the external. And trusting that everything will be where you left it. Reassurance would help. And that’s what an email or a hug is for. And if it’s not there when you get back, also being ok with that. It’s useful to know it was so easily dissipated anyway. 

To be honest I am not far off being able to do it (functionally detach), and writing about it like this really helps. 

  

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One thought on “Functional detachment 

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