The concept of Attachments and Detachment as a way of life is complicated, and needs much consideration before it will be clear what it’s all about. I am not even sure I can explain it clearly, but I am going to attempt it. First, you must know that there is an unhealthy detachment of the soul that is common in those who suffer psychopathy, or those who make us suffer with their sociopathy. With this form of detachment, it is often seen that the person involved cannot form the appropriate bond with other humans that allows for empathy, the putting of oneself in another’s shoes in any situation. When we lack this ability, we become completely self-centered, caring not one whit about the well being of others. These people are often cruel, even when they do not mean to be. Even when these folks have children, everything in their lives will be about themselves, not their offspring. It is eerie to see this in operation, as you may see a child badly injured where the parent is more worried about how they look than how the child is faring.
This is NOT the healthy detachment from outcomes and situations taught by the Buddha, for, in the Buddhist path, one is taught to care about all human beings, not just offspring, as though they were part of one’s inner circle. Yet, at the same time, one is taught to surrender control of others in order for them to learn from their own experiences, good or bad. Even here, there is a balance that is necessary, for to allow one’s child, or another soul for whom one is responsible to go into a dangerous situation without proper preparation, or even to go at all, if the child is small, would be tantamount to malignant neglect. That is why it is very necessary to understand that one needs to travel a path of balance, or the middle way, as the Buddha called it. By keeping to this middle way, one is able to see clearly when intervention is appropriate, and when interference is clearly without merit.
The place where this healthy detachment comes into play is when a person makes a choice, all facts presented, that is against one’s advice. Here, for one’s own sake, as well as for the others involved, a type of detachment must occur that will allow the other to make their choices and learn. This is not easy for a parent, or at least should not be, even when necessary. But it is appropriate. Here is the difficulty, when the child has reached the age where their life choices can lead to sorrow, a parent must speak to the choices, as objectively as possible, then step back and let the adult child make their own decision. This is the same anywhere you have a responsibility to make sure an individual is informed of the consequences of their actions. You must detach from the outcome, here, for your own well-being, as well as the well-being of others around you. Nor should the child or others believe that you will be available to rescue them from the situation their own choices have led them into.
This healthy detachment allows you to go on living your life without the burden of carrying the weight of decisions that are not yours to make.I am extremely aware of the difficulty of such a situation, but, so was the Buddha. To remain attached to outcomes here will naturally lead you into feelings of anger and frustration. This disturbs your peace, do not allow it to do so. You have seen to your responsibility, and as long as you have done the best you know how in the situation. I have favorite prayer that is a mantra for me in times like these. It is commonly used in AA, and is the very best attitude to have when you are in the midst of such times.