The Detached Role

Steve Arterburn

Tom’s a clerk in a hectic government office.  In the midst of all the daily pressures, he’s regarded as one of the most even-tempered workers in the department.  He’s quiet and efficient, and he never seems to get riled at anything.

Tom spends his energy herding his emotions because he feels they’re his enemy.  Deep inside he believes that his father didn’t like him as a boy because he was too much of a crybaby and a ‘fraidy-cat.’ Since he perceives that he lost his father by being too much of a sissy, Tom isn’t about to expose his emotions as an adult. His controlled emotional detachment also keeps him distant from his wife.  In the past, whenever Tom showed any signs of being troubled, angry, or fearful, she’d ask him what was wrong.  His usual response was a curt, ‘Nothing!’  So she’s learned not to ask.

Detached men like Tom find it difficult to live out the values they profess because they ignore their heart, which is the center from which values come.  Often detached men will become addicted to work, money, football, alcohol, or drugs.

Are you like Tom?  Do you stuff your sense of defeat inside, thinking you should be able to ‘take it?’  Are you emotionally frozen?  Perhaps you’re so dead inside you have little to give a relationship.  Is your spouse enduring a frustrating relationship because you insist on suffering your losses alone?

You can change. Start by connecting with others. Find a safe person that you can talk to. We were meant for connection, not detachment.