Detaching with Love

“If you wanna be free, be free…”

I have a Sunday morning ritual of reading Postsecret.com. I think of it as how I’d like church to be (disorganized religion) – a community of people sharing their experience, strength, and hope. It’s an anonymous fellowship of people all around the world. Some of us whispering and some of us screaming, “This is what it’s like to be me.”

I go there because they’re the kind of people I love most – misfits like me who have the guts to share their secrets because we’re tired of being ashamed, beaten down, and broken hearted.

So here’s my secret: Today I celebrate a number of amazing mothers: my wife, my mother in law, friends who are beautiful to their children, and the two moms I’ve had who did not birth me but instead chose me as their son…

…but I will not be calling my mother today. I have not sent a card or flowers.

My contact with my family of origin is limited to occasional email contact that they initiate. It’s all I can do – all that I am willing to do.

My choice was not made lightly. I’m 48. For 37 years I held out hope that we would be the family I had always wanted. Mental illness, depression, and unresolved grief and loss left my heart exposed and easily broken anew.

My brain creates a soundtrack for my life. Each contact with my family of origin resulted in Cheryl Crow singing, “You don’t bring me anywhere but down.”

I could say that I walked away but the truth is I just stopped walking toward.

Too many of us feel obligated to our families of origin. I encourage folks to think about where we learned that. .

In my heart of hearts I hurt for my mother. In her mind I am an angry son and my choice not to maintain contact and connection is bewildering to her.

I’m not at all angry. I’ve resolved my past and grieved it extensively. I choose people like me who love Fully. Recklessly. Passionately and most of all.. . Unconditionally

I do love you, mom and I do want for you to be happy, joyous, and free. This is what it means to me to detach with love.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.