Detachment – feeling of not being emotionally involved.

Detachment can be used when we need to detach from a person in our lives that is having a less than positive impact on us or when we need to detach from emotional pain or thoughts that are sending us down the rabbit hole.

From a young age, we are programmed to fit in at all costs. 

The ego is fragile. Rather than processing our triggers and emotions in a healthy way, our ego can be quick to create elaborate tales that keep us stuck in our wounded stories. Our wounded stories become our truths — false truths that prompt us to take too much to heart (Ghandi).

Our inner voice can be critical. It can twist and turn things until we feel bad about ourselves. This is the case when we feel triggered by something someone else says or does. Even when they aren’t ill-intentioned, our inner narrator may distort their words or actions so that we believe we are under attack. The result leaves us feeling defensive or ashamed.

I would describe myself as sensitive and, mostly, empathic. Throughout my life, I have felt offended, hurt and misunderstood by others more times than I can count. I have fallen out with people, defended myself like an ally cat and cut all ties with long term friends over it.

Thankfully, at some point, I decided that my sense of worth was not up for grabs. Not by anyone but myself.

Extreme or unhealthy Detachment


This is an inability or an unwillingness to get involved in the emotional lives of other people. While this detachment may protect people from stress, hurt, and anxiety, it can also interfere with a person’s psychological, social, and emotional well-being.

Emotional detachment can occur as a coping mechanism when people are faced with stressful or difficult situations. In other cases, it can be a symptom of a mental health condition.

When we need to detach ourselves

  • When we feel a lack of control of our emotions
  • When we feel overly focused on someone else and disconnected from ourselves
  • When we feel overly focused on emotional pain or embarrassment or shame
  • When we are experiencing confusion within a relationship

Detachment is not a method of dissociation in attempts to not feel discouraging emotion, it’s a way to disconnect from a potential outcome of a situation in order to focus on the present and the reality of a connection or relationship.

It is looking objectively at a situation and learning how to let go when something isn’t serving you anymore.

Listening to a podcast, where Ram Dass gave a famous anecdote about the way you catch a monkey in India.

 Stages of Detachment - Learn How to Let Go

You drop a handful of nuts into a jar with a small opening, the monkey puts his hand into the jar, grabs the nuts, and then finds that he can’t get his fist out through the opening.

If the monkey would just let go of the nuts, he could escape. But he doesn’t.

Attachment leads to suffering, Ram Dass concluded. It’s as simple as that: Detachment leads to freedom.

Detachment is not about external things

Tips that have helped me with learning detachment include:

  • Give yourself space and time to think before reacting.
  • Pay attention to your accomplishments rather than your failures.
  • Make yourself feel good about things.
  • Connect with your goals, prioritise what comes first.
  • Set and maintain boundaries away from the situation that allow you to think introspectively.
  • Listen to your emotional needs and find an outlet to express them whether that be through talking to someone else or journaling.
  • Be patient with yourself; don’t expect overnight results.
  • Prioritise yourself over others.

Practice Compassion

When other people attack, blame or give their unsolicited opinions, it can be very triggering. Instead of being reactive and adding fuel to the fire, find compassion.

We don’t know what other people are going through. Each of us has a private world that nobody can begin to fully understand. Yet we are all walking a human journey.

Sometimes it’s tough to feel compassionate towards others. But having compassion doesn’t mean you must abandon yourself or your emotions. It’s not about excusing other’s bad behaviour. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and process them — that’s your act of self-compassion.

Points to remember about detachment

When we detach, we focus on ourselves and work to stay in the present.

Remember that detachment isn’t a negative thing nor is it meant to punish others – it’s simply a strategy we can use to gain distance and relief from others. It’s part of our self-care plan.