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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Powers, LMFT

Detach, It is not my fault!

I walked out of my front door and on the sidewalk in front of me was a beautiful butterfly. He was not moving. I bent down to touch him and could see that one of his wings has broken off. I realized, then, he could not fly. He was struggling to walk, I felt helpless, and I could not help him in any way. I was torn with the mixed feeling of joy and deep grief. Joy to see a butterfly, because I don’t see the big ones any more and he was large and had beautiful colors on his wing. Mixed with deep grief, that I had not seen a butterfly in a long time, and it registered at an unconscious level, the possible extinction of this species.

My grief originates from my fear of what I imagine will occur in the future. Yet, I know there is only this moment in time. Perhaps, it would have been better if I had not known about butterflies. Then, I would not be grieving over their loss. Grief is a form of love.

Many come to me in times of grief and deep pain from their loss. I sit, and listen, and feel helpless, as I did with the butterfly. And, yet, we find comfort, knowing that we all connected on an unconscious level with a universal grief. Many ask themselves, “Is it my fault, that this loss is occurring?” I asked myself, “Did I have something to do with the extinction of the butterfly?” My complacency could have made it happen. Do I have an unconscious anger towards myself, which I camouflage with denial and distractions?

I see the world in a massive state of denial, as the scientists wave the red danger flag. The earth is in a state of an emergency. What, I say? No way. It is a beautiful day today; I went to the pool to swim, no one talked about that, so it must not be true. So what! I can’t do anything about it now. It is too big. Then, I ask myself, is this a global denial problem? Is this like when someone comes in my office and says, I am addicted to Xanax, and alcohol but I don’t want to follow your directions, because it is not that bad, even though, my doctor told me my liver is bad and I need to quit drinking.

There is a generational blame from years past, yet, knowing this, it is not by fault. I cannot keep taking on the responsibilities of past generations. I become angry. Why is the butterfly becoming extinct? My anger turns inward. I become attached to the anger, which gets back to the fear of what is to come.

Then I acknowledge this faulty thinking. I see my attachment to the responsibility, and detach. As I do with the client who comes in with an addiction problem that does not want to change. I detach from them. It is not my fault that you remain in denial. It is not my fault that the butterfly is becoming extinct. I let go, “It is not my fault”.

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