Changes in a Life ~ 2

Coping With Life's Transitions ~
Marriage, Affairs & Relationship Discussion Forum ~
My last post ~ 'It is what it is' I say to myself with a smile .... 2-5-06
Coping With Life's Transitions ~
Letting go is a decision ~ 2
Trust ~ 2
Expectations-Boundaries-Accountability & Anger ~ 2
How & When & Why ~ 2
Healing, Forgiveness, Moving on ~ 2
The Sedona Method ~
Toxic & Difficult Relationships -Personality disorders ~ 2
Things to try ~ Things to learn ~ Ways of Looking at Things ~ 2
Metaphysical Points of View ~ 2
Internet relationships ~ 2
Love, Lovers, Friends & Friendship & their Relationships ~ 2
When It's Finally Over ~..OR..~ When it's Over, Finally ! ~ 2
Considerations & Perspectives to stretch your mind ~ 2
The Music ~

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Coping with Life Transitions

By Educational Resource Information Center,

ERIC Digests

ERIC Digests: Short reports on topics of interest in education by the Educational Resource Information Center.

ERIC Digest

ERIC Identifier: ED350527
Publication Date: 1992-04-15
Author: Brammer, Lawrence M.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Personnel Services Ann Arbor MI.

This Digest was created by ERIC, the Educational Resources Information Center.
For more information about ERIC, please contact ACCESS ERIC at 1-800-LET-ERIC


This digest covers representative models of life transitions with their counseling implications. It also presents selected coping skills and attitudes with which to manage such changes effectively. A transition is a short-term life change characterized by a sharp discontinuity with the past. Thus, transitions have identifiable beginnings and usually definite endings. Examples are job changes, disabling accidents, marriage, birth, divorce, victimization, death, moving and travel. These transitions can be positive experiences, such as a vacation, or painful and tragic such as losing a relationship. Such changes usually are experienced as losses; hence, transitions thrust the person into mourning. A transition can be voluntary or involuntary, and it can be on-time (as in retirement), or off-time (as in the fatal illness of a child). Excluded from this definition of transition are developmental changes--growing from childhood to adolescence, for example--and broad social or political changes.

Three Ways To View Life Transitions: Metaphors From Classical Literature

Bridges (1980) uses metaphors, mainly from classical literature, to describe transitions over a lifetime. The journey, for example, is a common image. Homer, the classical Greek poet, describes in vivid images Ulysses' decade of travel changes. A counseling implication of this type of image is to encourage clients to see their individual and serial transitions in terms of personally meaningful metaphors, and as significant learning events on their lifelines.

Social Interaction Model

A second way of characterizing a life transition is Schlossberg's (1984) social interaction model. She characterizes a transition in terms of its type, context, and impact. She states that a transition must be examined in regard to:

  • The way a person appraises the transition event;
  • The nature of the transition itself;
  • The coping resources present at the time of the transition;
  • The personal characteristics of the person and the environment (social supports, for example).

These interacting variables then are studied to ascertain the balance of current and possible assets and liabilities. They also are linked to developmental characteristics of the person, such as identity, age and maturity. A counseling implication of this model is that the counselor must do a thorough assessment of these variables to determine where the person is now in relation to the transition, the balance of coping assets and liabilities, and what resources can be marshaled to help that person cope satisfactorily.

Predictable Overlapping Stages

A third model construes the transition as a process consisting of fairly predictable stages that overlap one another and that often recycle through earlier stages (Brammer, 1991). These stages are adaptations of the literature on death as described by Kubler-Ross (1969) and Parkes (1972). Hopson (1981) has adapted this model of the grieving process to transitions in general.

The stages begin with the entry experience of confusion and emotional discomfort, along with shock if the loss is unexpected and severe. Following this initial reaction is a brief period of sadness or despair, often alternating with relief and positive feelings. In a divorce, for example, the person experiences alternating feelings of sadness over the dissolution of the relationship, but also some relief that conflict and ambiguity are lessened.

Unless the loss is severe, a period of stabilized moods is experienced. Defense mechanisms such as rationalization, denial and fantasy, for example, are mobilized. Previously learned coping skills and resources such as one's support network are tapped. But this stabilization is usually short-lived as awareness of fears for the future and anger at the transition emerges. Self-esteem usually plummets and feelings of sadness, dread, or depression take over.

The length of this feeling of depression depends on the person's perception of the severity of the loss, availability of coping resources, and cultural attitudes about the appropriate length of grieving. The person is encouraged to perceive this time as a healing period and relief from pressures of work and responsibility. Self-nurturing and frequent interaction with the support networks are important, but each person must discover his or her own method of getting through this painful period.

One goal is to let go of the past person, thing, job or value and take hold of a new object or relationship. These attitudes and resources, combined with the passage of time, enable the person to regain self-confidence and self-esteem. The person begins to look to the future with optimism and hope. If this process of healing and taking hold is successful, this stage emerges in a renewal phase characterized by setting new goals, making plans, and initiating actions. Thus, growth is enhanced through continual renewal efforts.

One counseling implication of this model is the importance of determining where people are in this process model after the transition has begun. In the first stage, much support is needed to help people get through their initial shock and the disruption of their lives. People need to understand the confusing feelings of despair and hope following initial reactions to the transition event. When the subsequent short stabilization period is experienced, methods of sustaining hope and self-esteem, as well as inoculation from depression, are needed. Since change frequently is injurious to physical health also, people need to be cautioned to maintain optimal health. Counselors need to be alert for indications that the person is letting go of the past and is taking hold of the new, so that reinforcement of these efforts at healing and renewal can be given. Thus, the renewal process and the trend toward growth and recovery can be accelerated and maintained.

This process often does not proceed in nicely calibrated phases, and people often recycle through the process. The sequences of these phases are not always predictable. For example, some people might spend years grieving the losses from their life transitions. A key criticism of this process model is that it is often oversimplified and the orderly progression of the stages for all people in transition is taken for granted.

Coping Attitudes and Skills

Coping is viewed in the psychological literature as a form of self-initiated problem solving. Thus, it is clearly distinguished from adjustment and psychological defense, which are fairly automatic responses to change and threat. Similarly, transformational forms of personal change often come about through intense life experiences over which people have little control. Skillful "copers" are effective in appraising the possible threats and dangers in the change event, and can choose among alternative courses of appropriate action (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984).

Attitudes contribute to a satisfactory coping response. A key attitude is to view change as a normal part of living, as opposed to a view that the transition is some kind of terrible curse, unlucky event, or unnecessarily difficult problem to solve. The effectiveness of viewing the transition as a challenging event, even welcoming it as an opportunity for creative growth, has much support in research (Kobassa, 1979). A man, for example, who sees his company about to reorganize and consolidate decides that he will use this transition event to move toward the career he always wanted--a business of his own. Thus, he viewed this move as a challenging opportunity.

People who perceive themselves as being in control of their lives, and to a large extent over the events in their lives, are among what Kobassa (1979) calls "hardy copers." A related attitude in the hardy copers' repertoire is commitment--knowing their values and goals, as well as having the intention of pursuing them diligently. In other words, they know who they are and what they want. The transition is perceived as just another hurdle to jump along life's raceway. They are willing to take responsibility for their actions and do not blame others for the transitions that inevitably come into their lives. When becoming ill, for example, they are willing to look for flaws in their own lifestyles as well as to look for external physical causes.

The length of time required for satisfactory resolution of a transition depends on a number of mediating factors. Some key ones are:

  • The meaning that the transition has for the person;
  • The extent to which the person is aware of and expresses feelings about the transition;
  • Previous experiences with transitions and learning from them;
  • The availability of support systems;
  • Counseling;
  • Personal coping skills.

Coping skills can be classified in various ways, but a simple list that incorporates several subcategories follows:

  • Building and utilizing support networks;
  • Cognitive restructuring, or reframing;
  • Solving problems in the rational, intuitive, discovery, and systems modes;
  • Managing stress responses and stress-inducing events.

All of these skill clusters are teachable (Brammer & Abrego, 1981). The key goal for counselors who are helping people cope with threatening personal change is to teach them the skills they can use to conceptualize the nature of their transitions (e.g., as a fairly predictable and understandable process) and the skills to cope with various stages in the process. The principal goal would be self-management of their transitions since they are such a common part of human existence. A second goal would be to help people inoculate themselves against the unwanted consequences of their transitions, such as depression, hopelessness, chronic grief, and self pity, or awareness of being in crisis and out of control.


The goals cited above can be reached not only through learning specific coping skills and attitudes, but also by acquiring knowledge about the nature of the transition process through engaging in a self-inquiry when the transition ends. This inquiry includes questions such as, What did I learn about myself, others and the nature of transitions as a result of working through this transition? The anticipated outcome is that people would be able to manage their own transitions effectively without outside help.

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One of the themes that I have come back to again and again during this season of my life is the idea of surrender.  For my life to date, this is about as foreign an idea as you could possibly imagine.  My self image is as someone who can make things happen, as a driver, as a ready-fire-aim kinda of person.  Surrender is a sign of defeat for me, an admission that I have no control or no value.

This Fall, I had a series of experiences where I could really surrender to God, to the world around me, to people who held me and loved me.  Don't get me wrong - this was at once scary and incredibly freeing.  I find myself breathing more, listening to life a bit more and even surrendering in the small moments of traffic jams and down DSL.

Yesterday, I spent a day with 140 other people listening to Don Bisson talk about surrender.  It helped a lot to take some time to think and pary about surrender.  The notes for this are below.

Don Bisson: Surrender



Ego: center of consciousness, deals with identity that is inherited & nurtured, logical

 Neurotic ego: fear, anger, control, entitlement

 Main function: choice maker for outer world

 Need strong ego to let go

 Psychology helps develop a strong ego

 Self: center part of psychic whole-ness, that dimension that is already in harmony w/ God

 Freedom, acceptance, compassion, energy

 Unseen power which carries us beyond our capacity to know

 Connected to an intuition that we have known before

 Gift of spirituality is the connection between ego & self

  We can not get it all – go with what sticks

 Most of life is conjugating 3 verbs: to want, to have, to do 



 Keeps us in perpetual unrest, driven by weak ego

The Nature of Surrender

Surrender at the heart of most religions & the center of psychological health

 w/o, ego becomes violent, self-violation, control

 each surrender is profound, unique & irrepeatable

 affirmation then consistent fulfillment moment by moment

 Surrender is not abandonment

For men, surrender often means failure or abandonment

for women can often translate to submission & ultimately to abuse & invasive power

 Surrender can be seen as a dance, being led & leading, moving together & apart

 Dance of choice & grace

 God waits for salvation to take place (Marian example)

 Divine initiator humbly waits for a response

 Grace moment: permission “let it be done according to your word”

 We typically do not really know what we are saying YES to

 After our response comes mystery & adventure in the world we live in

 Prayer or any practice is the medium through which we surrender

 The actual practice does not matter

 When we profoundly surrender, you can not take it back

 Memory of event anchors our whole being

 Ignatian: surrender as a function of being in relationship w/ God

Sufi: surrender deeply active & deeply passive, non-logical

 Can not let go of what you do not have

 First phase of life: acquisition & achievement

 When we get close to a deep surrender, we often react as if we’ve never done before

 May in fact be deeper & more frightening, but not new

 The more intimate the surrender, the more fearful the ego becomes

 Social dimension of surrender: ripple effect on environment & community

 Seed has to die before the plant will grow

 Reign of God is in peace, love & justice

Dorothy Day: when I feed the poor, I am called a saint; when I ask why they are poor, I am called a communist

I can not say that I love a God I do not see when I do not love my neighbor that I do see

 Invitation to surrender is non-linear, often recursive and reveals a different person

 Unlike bike riding, it does get easier – always new territory

 Deeply feminine quality that drives to be, rather than only do

 Coming to crossroads is a natural part of life

 Key moments: painted into corner

 Unless we surrender, these crossroads stay with us & fester

 Alternative is physical, emotional & spiritual illness

 Difficult phrase: the will of God (often seen as static & singular)

 Image: in a safe, we must find the combination

 Often seen as being contrary to all that we want

 Contrast with ego’s fear that will opposes us or wants us to suffer

 We are the vessel that holds the will of God

 Subtle, intuitive, evolving

 Runs across ego’s fear of living out our deepest desire

 Mired in mystery & what can be called the deep self

 Fulfilling our destiny is living out God’s deepest desire for us & our deepest desire

 Surrender is allowing, drawing from our dignity to allow God to enter & move in our lives

 By the nature of who we are, our relationship with God begins w/ God

 All spirituality is responding to God, not conjuring

 Active human permission for something to take root & form

 Like the permission a lover gives another to come close

 Being strong enough to surrender, strong for compassion

 What makes us most human & most able to connect to the Divine

 When we are unable, we are debasing who we are

The Mystery of Surrender

Allows consciousness to move into the darkness (not out of it)

Our danger is that we live too much in our mind, inflating our knowing

 Feminine: more rooted in the body, nature & the earth

 Surrender does not take place between the ears, but as a full person

 Sacrament of the present moment: Every moment is the home of surrender

 Two images of surrender

Ego-centered self: a pig screaming on way to slaughter

Ego mature & rooted: man or woman standing within themselves & allowing their destiny to emerge

 Not stoicism or aloof, but standing & allowing

Whether we like it or not, we are constantly letting go

 Distinction between collapse & surrender

 Collapse: being engulfed, fall unto unconscious powers, move towards hopelessness

Surrender: embracing & allowing a new cycle, implies birthing & new life, conscious response to

 Surrender: ship which takes off, eventually lets go of rudder, allowing forces & powers to set direction

 Process of surrender & healing: no longer be an echo of what was done to you

 Surrendering: letting go pain that often defines us, wholly inadequate for who we are

Life is not about me, but how I relate to life in a community

 Need for independence keeps us from letting go

 Need for interdependence as the way in which we weave together

 Surrender initiates synchronicity, meaningful coincidences

 Unifying interior & outer world

Schools of Surrender

Invites us to radical inaction, almost heroic in the capacity not to act (rather than societal norm)

 Yet inaction still demands choices in order to stop

Strong enough ego to recognize need to stop, grounding to see opportunity for something new

 Human experience is school for surrender

Focii: love & infatuation, grief & loss, addiction & recovery

 Initiation into deeper soul relationship w/ God


Never the answer, but an invitation that shows us the human struggle for unconditional love

 Brokeback Mt: tagline “love is a force of nature”

 Actually shows the power of infatuation

 Infatuation is a fuel, a beginning, an introduction to deeper longing

organized religion fears the fuel of infatuation

society idealizes infatuation & does not know what to do w/ the fuel

point us to a need for meaning, fuel for the journey

 Surrender is about transforming the longing into greater depth, not eliminating longing

 Infatuation illuminates our hunger for God, provides wisdom & compassion, isolated in our strength

Loss & Grief

Grief is an ongoing process in which the aspects of myself that I have denied or controlled come up, with body taking over mind

Grief reminds us that nothing (that I have or am or are in relationship w/) is permanent

 Reminds us of the many death & losses that happen every day

 Schools us in letting go, encompassing every facet of ourselves

 When we are in grief, it has me rather than me having it

 Riding the wave

 Grief is particularly hard for men – our society does not give permission for it

 Men pull out the fuses in order to avoid dealing with grief

 Major way of learning to let go

 As we grow older, loss becomes more central to our lives

 If we choose to avoid, we become more frenetic & run away from truth

Addiction & Recovery

In recovery spirituality, 1st 3 steps are all about surrender

 3rd steps (surrender) depends on admission of “I can’t”, recognition that “God can”

 In addiction, ego is being oppressed by a force greater than self

 Root of any addiction is idolatry, putting trust in something greater than ourselves

 Re-orientation of surrender, from surrender to addiction to surrender to self, God & community

 Narnia: White Witch gives Edmund candy – archetypical candy

 Obedience to addiction & capacity to surrender all to maintain addiction


most addictive society in the world, compelled to buy as a way to define ourselves now

 We must be discerning to who/to what we surrender to

 Our souls are programmed to surrender

 If we surrender to the wrong entity, we become slaves

Gifts & Limits of Psychology Around Surrender

Psychology: important modern construct to help us on road of life

 Specifically to help & heal the ego, reveals aspects of inner world

 Danger is that the [point becomes to strengthen ego

 Jung: religion is the capacity to endure the irrational

 Christianity is intrinsically & explicitly irrational

 A point exists in faith that is beyond ego & reason

 Healing does always translate to be in deeper touch with whole self

 Teresa Avila: in last stages of faith, even the butterfly dies

 Dark side of God: that which is beyond our comprehension

Narnia “Aslan is wild, but good”

 Even definition of good is beyond our comprehension

 Suffering overshadows language of religion and psychology

 Jungian “love wound” eroded trust in love and shifted Jung’s intimacy & ability to surrender

 Mystic: one who surrenders to mystery of love

 Point is to integrate subconscious, rather than surrender to subconscious

A Brief Guide to True Unhappiness

By Dr. TRuth

What follows is a guide for those who, in spite of the beauty, wonder and majesty of the world around them, persist in self-defeating and destructive behaviors.

While most of my writing deals with attempts to be happy and joyful, I really can’t neglect those who, despite the love and bounty that is available to each of us, choose the opposite path.

Unfortunately, the following beliefs and behaviors are widely practiced, and are very effective in making not only ourselves but those closest to us really miserable.

1. Be a perfectionist.
Don’t allow or tolerate mistakes in yourself and others. It is important to be especially hard on those closest to you because they are dependent on you for praise and approval.

2. Compare yourself with others.
Remember, the grass is always much much greener on someone else’s lawn. Contentment and joy lie completely out of your own reach and always will come to others before they come to you because they are probably more deserving, smarter or better looking. Never evaluate yourself according to your own progress. Watch others and see how well you stand up when compared to them. After all, other people’s values and standards are always more important than your own and can really make you unhappy when they don’t go along with yours.

3. When in doubt, chicken out.
If you really want to be unhappy, it is super important not to confront your fears and doubts. No one will really know that you might feel bad or inadequate and you can’t possibly look foolish if you stay within your comfort zone. Avoid risk-taking or self-challenging behavior at all costs. If someone confronts you, whine. That is the most effective way of shirking responsibility. On top of that, you will get nowhere fast.

4. Avoid responsibility completely.
If something goes wrong, absolutely blame someone else. That way, you can avoid people getting mad at you because it will always be someone else’s fault. If things go wrong, it will never be about something you did and you can get away with just about anything.

5. When overwhelmed-slack off!
Don’t ever work too hard to accomplish a goal. It probably won’t be worth it anyway. You can always nap or watch TV. It’s hard to lose contact with soap opera plot lines. They do get so complicated that they require almost complete and undivided attention. Paying attention to their stories as they unfold allows you to keep abreast discussions about the characters and you will be able to discuss them intelligently. Besides, hard work takes effort and why should you expend yourself unnecessarily.

6. Spend money freely and without restraint.
Buy yourself whatever you want. Don’t hold back. It’s really important to wear the latest trends in clothes and to have the latest technology in gadgets and equipment. because these things make life important and more meaningful. We all know that material goods and happiness go hand in hand so why be self-limiting. Go for it.

7. Hold grudges.
The world is out to get you. People are mean and those who have harmed you deserve to suffer. Take revenge and never let go of any real or imagined hurt. Collect injustices and pay back all unkindness. Not letting go of pain is the way to go to stay stuck in suffering and will really prevent you from moving on. Forgiveness and letting go is way too taxing.

8. Take everything personally.
It really is all about you. People probably have little else on their minds except making your life miserable. All slights that come your way are intentional and purposeful. Never give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

9.Blame your parents for the condition of your life right now.
This way, you can escape responsibility for taking charge of your life in the present. This rule goes right along with not forgiving and letting go.This way, you can accumulate pain and remain immobile. Mom and Dad really did it to you and it is all their fault that you have problems functioning.

10. Lastly, see everything as black or white, good or bad, heaven or hell.
Being inflexible and rigid will help you see things the way eight year olds do. You won’t have to worry about going with the flow, dealing with others effectively, growing up, or understanding the way life works. It also allows you to condemn other’s behavior because you won’t have to deal with confusing ambiguity or ambivalence.

Remember, if you follow these rules, you will be truly unhappy and will make not only yourself but those around you, your family and friends, truly miserable.

Opting to utilize these destructive beliefs will absolutely prevent you from living well and from maximizing your true potential as a magnificent and evolved human being. The choice is yours.

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Tools for Handling Control Issues

Developing Detachment



What is detachment?

Detachment is the:

  • Ability to allow people, places, or things the freedom to be themselves.

  • Holding back from the need to rescue, save, or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional, or irrational.

  • Giving another person "the space'' to be him or herself.

  • Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people.

  • Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person, place, or thing.

  • Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.

  • Establishing of emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence.

  • Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering.

  • Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern, and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing, or controlling.

  • Placing of all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life.

  • Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point.

  • Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them.

  • Ability to allow people to be who they "really are'' rather than who you "want them to be.''

  • Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you.

What are the negative effects not detaching?

If you are unable to detach from people, places, or things, then you:

How is detachment a control issue?

Detachment is a control issue because:

What irrational thinking leads to an inability to detach?

  • If you should stop being involved, what will they do without you?

  • They need you and that is enough to justify your continued involvement.

  • What if they commit suicide because of your detachment? You must stay involved to avoid this.

  • You would feel so guilty if anything bad should happen to them after you reduced your involvement with them.

  • They are absolutely dependent on you at this point and to back off now would be a crime.

  • You need them as much as they need you.

  • You can't control yourself because everyday you promise yourself "today is the day'' you will detach your feelings but you feel driven to them and their needs.

  • They have so many problems, they need you.

  • Being detached seems so cold and aloof. You can't be that way when you love and care for a person. It's either 100% all the way or no way at all.

  • If you should let go of this relationship too soon, the other might change to be like the fantasy or dream you want them to be.

  • How can being detached from them help them? It seems like you should do more to help them.

  • Detachment sounds so final. It sounds so distant and non-reachable. You could never allow yourself to have a relationship where there is so much emotional distance between you and others. It seems so unnatural.

  • You never want anybody in a relationship to be emotionally detached from you so why would you think it a good thing to do for others?

  • The family that plays together stays together. It's all for one and one for all. Never do anything without including the significant others in your life.

  • If one hurts in the system, we all hurt. You do not have a good relationship with others unless you share in their pain, hurt, suffering, problems, and troubles.

  • When they are in "trouble'' how can you ignore their "pleas'' for help? It seems cruel and inhuman.

  • When you see people in trouble, confused, and hurting, you must always get involved and try to help them solve the problems.

  • When you meet people who are "helpless,'' you must step in to give them assistance, advice, support, and direction.

  • You should never question the costs, be they material, emotional, or physical, when another is in dire need of help.

  • You would rather forgo all the pleasures of this world in order to assist others to be happy and successful.

  • You can never "give too much'' when it comes to providing emotional support, comforting, and care of those whom you love and cherish.

  • No matter how badly your loved ones hurt and abuse you, you must always be forgiving and continue to extend your hand in help and support.

  • Tough love is a cruel, inhuman, and anti-loving philosophy of dealing with the troubled people in our lives and you should instead love them more when they are in trouble since "love'' is the answer to all problems.

How to develop detachment

In order to become detached from a person, place, or thing you need to:

First: Establish emotional boundaries between you and the person, place, or thing with whom you have become overly enmeshed or dependent on.

Second: Take back power over your feelings from persons, places, or things which in the past you have given power to affect your emotional well-being.  

Third: "Hand over'' to your Higher Power the persons, places, and things which you would like to see changed but which you cannot change on your own.  

Fourth: Make a commitment to your personal recovery and self-health by admitting to yourself and your Higher Power that there is only one person you can change and that is yourself and that for your serenity you need to let go of the "need'' to fix, change, rescue, or heal other persons, places, and things.  

Fifth: Recognize that it is "sick'' and "unhealthy'' to believe that you have the power or control enough to fix, correct, change, heal, or rescue another person, place, or thing if they do not want to get better nor see a need to change.  

Sixth: Recognize that you need to be healthy yourself and be "squeaky clean'' and a "role model'' of health in order for another to recognize that there is something ``wrong'' with them that needs changing.  

Seventh: Continue to own your feelings as your responsibility and not blame others for the way you feel.  

Eighth: Accept personal responsibility for your own unhealthy actions, feelings, and thinking and cease looking for the persons, places, or things you can blame for your unhealthiness.  

Ninth: Accept that addicted fixing, rescuing, enabling are ``sick'' behaviors and strive to extinguish these behaviors in your relationship to persons, places, and things.

Tenth: Accept that many people, places, and things in your past and current life are "irrational,'' "unhealthy,'' and "toxic'' influences in your life, label them honestly for what they truly are, and stop minimizing their negative impact in your life.

Eleventh: Reduce the impact of guilt and other irrational beliefs which impede your ability to develop detachment in your life.  

Twelfth: Practice " letting go'' of the need to correct, fix, or make better the persons, places and things in life over which you have no control or power to change. 

Steps in developing detachment

Step 1:    It is important to first identify those people, places, and things in your life from which you would be best to develop emotional detachment in order to retain your personal, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. To do this you need to review the following types of toxic relationships and identify in your journal if any of the people, places, or things in your life fit any of the following twenty categories.

Types of Toxic Relationships

( 1)      You find it hard to let go of because it is addictive.  

( 2)      The other is emotionally unavailable to you.  

( 3)      Coercive, threatening, intimidating to you. 

( 4)      Punitive or abusive to you.  

( 5)      Non-productive and non-reinforcing for you.  

( 6)      Smothering you.  

( 7)      Other is overly dependent on you.  

( 8)      You are overly dependent on the other.  

( 9)      Other has the power to impact your feelings about yourself.  

(10)     Relationship in which you are a chronic fixer, rescuer, or enabler.  

(11)     Relationship in which your obligation and loyalty won't allow you to let go.  

(12)     Other appears helpless, lost, and out of control.  

(13)     Other is self-destructive or suicidal.  

(14)      Other has an addictive disease.  

(15)     Relationship in which you are being manipulated and conned.  

(16)     When guilt is a major motivating factor preventing your letting go and detaching.  

(17)     Relationship in which you have a fantasy or dream that the other will come around and change to be what you want.  

(18)     Relationship in which you and the other are competitive for control.  

(19)     Relationship in which there is no forgiveness or forgetting and all past hurts are still brought up to hurt one another.  

(20)     Relationship in which your needs and wants are ignored.  

Step 2: Once you have identified the persons, places, and things you have a toxic relationship with, then you need to take each one individually and work through the following steps.  

Step 3: Identify the irrational beliefs in the toxic relationship which prevent you from becoming detached. Address these beliefs and replace them with healthy, more rational ones.  

Step 4: Identify all of the reasons why you are being hurt and your physical, emotional, and spiritual health is being threatened by the relationship.  

Step 5: Accept and admit to yourself that the other person, place, or thing is "sick", dysfunctional, or irrational and that no matter what you say, do, or demand you will not be able to control or change this reality. Accept that there is only one thing you can change in life and that is you. All others are the unchangeables in your life. Change your expectations that things will be better than what they really are. Hand these people, places, or things over to your Higher Power and let go of the need to change them.  

Step 6: Work out reasons why there is no need to feel guilt over letting go and being emotionally detached from this relationship and free yourself from guilt as you let go of the emotional "hooks'' in the relationship.  

Step 7: Affirm yourself as being a person who "deserves'' healthy, wholesome, health engendering relationships in your life. You are a GOOD PERSON and deserve healthy relationships, at home, work, and in the community.  

Step 8: Gain support for yourself as you begin to let go of your emotional enmeshment with these relationships.  

Step 9: Continue to call upon your Higher Power for the strength to continue to let go and detach.  

Step 10: Continue to give no person, place, or thing the power to affect or impact your feelings about yourself.  

Step 11: Continue to detach and let go and work at self-recovery and self-healing as this poem implies.

``Letting Go''  

  • To ``let go'' does not mean to stop caring.

  • It means I can't do it for someone else.

  • To ``let go'' is not to cut myself off.

  • It's the realization I can't control another.

  •   To ``let go'' is not to enable,

  • but to allow learning from natural consequences.

  •   To ``let go'' is to admit powerlessness

  • which means the outcome is not in my hands.

  •   To ``let go'' is not to try to change or blame another.

  • It's to make the most of myself.

  • To ``let go'' is not to care for, but to care about.

  •   To ``let go'' is not to fix, but to be supportive.

  •   To ``let go'' is not to judge,

  • but to allow another to be a human being.

  • To ``let go'' is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,

  • but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

  •   To ``let go'' is not to be protective.

  • It's to permit another to face reality.

  • To ``let go'' is not to deny, but to accept.

  • To ``let go'' is not to nag, scold, or argue,

  • but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

  •   To ``let go'' is not to criticize and regulate anybody,

  • but to try to become what I dream I can be.

  •   To ``let go'' is not to adjust everything to my desires

  • but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

  •   To ``let go'' is to not regret the past,

  • but to grow and live for the future.

  •   To ``let go'' is to fear less and LOVE MYSELF MORE.

Step 12:  If you still have problems detaching, then return to Step 1 and begin all over again.


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