Ultra-Independence is a Trauma response
Updated: Nov 9, 2020
We all look at independence as a strength.
"Oh look at Sarah and how independent she is, she doesn’t need anyone to help her financially or emotionally. She has it all worked out for herself."
On the outside yes, and a level of independence is important for all of us, but when it becomes part of your survival mechanism then we have a problem.
Independence can start to instill in us that we do not need anyone else, that we can do everything ourselves and we can walk this world without the help of others. Independence is great to a healthy extent but can be detrimental when a person becomes so independent that they fail to ask for help when they really need it.
Let’s call this extreme independence = Ultra-Independence
Ultra-Independence can stem from trauma growing up, possibly in a household where you had to take on a care giver role to your siblings or parents. Or a home where your parents were distant, abusive or narcissistic towards you or other members of the family. You watched or felt this abuse and promised yourself that you would never allow anyone to treat you or those around you in the same way.
Bullying by other kids can cause one to go inward and believe it’s best to just fend for yourself and not rely on friends to stick around and help.
The grief of a failed love affair, an abusive or narcissistic lover or losing a loved one can onset Ultra- Independence where you stop allowing others into your life, you refuse to date as you believe being on your own and reliant on yourself is much better than allowing someone else in, as they just might leave and break your heart.
Grief of the death of a loved one, can cause us to not allow anyone into our lives, the fear of them dying outweighs the joy of their company and we would rather not rely on their love or friendship.
Ultra-Independent people tend to be the rulers of the family and household, they run the show, and take on all the responsibilities and decisions at home because they don’t trust others to make the correct decisions, this results in far too much responsibility on one person that can cause one to become overwhelmed and unable to cope with the pressure anymore.
We can become so used to doing everything ourselves, making all the decisions, paying our own bills, fixing all the issues that arise by ourselves without anyone’s help, that asking for help becomes terrifying. Even admitting that we are not coping is something an Ultra-Independent person will never dream of admitting because that implies that they need others to assist them, which is out of the question.
Ultra-Independent people also tend to take on codependent relationships, as they feel their independence allows them to fix everything and therefore can fix others and it feels safer having someone need them, than a person who will try help them. A normal independent partner scares a Ultra Independent far more than having a codependent that allows them to keep their control.
To an extent Ultra-Independence becomes codependency on ourselves……….we beat ourselves up if we cannot fix a situation or do all the things we need done ourselves, we become so hard on ourselves and expect to be super heroes all the time. This results in internal anger and disappointment, the same as we would get angry with someone in a co –dependent relationship. These emotions and demands on ourselves, eventually lead to stress and burnout.
So how do we stop this?
- Trust – don’t give up on others, trust that not everyone is going to let you down, there are people out there who truly want to help and are there to listen.
- Build relationships – and I mean really build relationships, not distant friendships where you just tell them how great everything is, how busy you are etc. but where you actually talk
- Give small tasks to others – at work, to your family and to your friends, they are so used to you picking up everything and doing it, that they might be surprised when you hand them a task, start small so that you are not too scared and with time you will be allowing others to do more for you
- Say no – no to the additional tasks, no to the family who asks for too much, no to the lover who is dependent on you, just say no, and create space for yourself
- Ask for help – this is the toughest, actually admitting that you are not currently coping with everything, this might come as a shock to your partner, work colleagues or friends. The only way you will get to this step is by building trust, so you feel comfortable calling on this person for help. Go to a friend or your partner, in most cases they have just been waiting for you to ask for help from them
- Let go of what happened in the past, work through the emotions you felt as a child, teenager or in your adult life, talk about them with a therapist, to understand and allow yourself to let others into your life.
- Avoid co-dependent relationships, look for partners that can manage fine on their own, and learn to allow relationships to share the load of life.
- Meditation and affirmations – deep breaths, relaxation and affirmations that you are good enough, strong enough but also human and you trust and call on the universe and others to help and protect you when you need it. Remind yourself to walk this road together and not alone.
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