How To Inform if Your Want To Be Self-Ample Is Truly Poisonous Hyper-Independence—And What To Do About It


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Self-sufficiency is, in loads of cultures, a trademark of profitable adulting. And the attract of being perceived as a self-made success could make independence the final word purpose. Maybe you’ve witnessed it in a good friend who smiles away each provide of assist. (Virgo a lot?) Or perhaps you’ve discovered your self striving to keep away from asking for help. It’s solely pure to take action in a world the place dwelling alone is the fascinating commonplace (for uncoupled adults), solo journey is on the rise, and creating your personal profession or aspect hustle—launching that podcast, publication, or channel from scratch—is closely praised. However what occurs when self-reliance goes too far? Enter: hyper-independence.

The urge to always do it your self can simply go unexamined, and what was as soon as a reluctance to ask for assist can change into a close to lack of ability to take action. As soon as you end up teetering towards the latter, it’s probably that your once-healthy stage of independence and self-sufficiency is on the verge of turning into poisonous hyper-independence.

“A hyper-independent individual takes their sense of independence to the acute and chooses to not search assist or steerage from one other individual when in want.” —Katrina Leggins, LCSW, therapist

A hyper-independent individual “takes their sense of independence to the acute and chooses to not search assist or steerage from one other individual when in want,” says therapist and self-care educator Katrina Leggins, LCSW. Typically, this individual’s refusal of help comes at their very own hurt or detriment, she provides, as a result of they’re pushing away help at instances once they may genuinely use it.

Actually, that’s to not say that making an attempt to determine issues out for your self—and studying from the errors that inevitably occur whenever you achieve this—isn’t a helpful and worthwhile high quality. Nevertheless it’s necessary to tell apart between these wholesome self-help tendencies and behaviors that contain striving for independence to a fault.

Why is hyper-independence problematic?

To grasp the potential results of hyper-independence, it’s helpful to think about its origins. Based on naturopathic physician and holistic nervousness coach Courtney Paré, ND, hyper-independent behaviors usually start as a protecting mechanism, designed to supply an individual with a way of security. So the (defective) considering goes: In the event that they aren’t reliant on anybody however themselves, they’ll have full management over the outcomes of their life.

Over time, this protecting mechanism can invite a bunch of repercussions, together with “a rise in loneliness and burnout, which additionally raises the danger for creating nervousness and despair,” says Paré.

Although hyper-independent of us would possibly assume they’re defending themselves from being let down by others (in the event that they don’t ask for assist, they’ll’t be dissatisfied once they don’t obtain it), “they’re really stopping themselves from creating wholesome and fulfilling relationships,” says Paré. It’s solely by way of taking part within the pure give and take of serving to and receiving assist that you may develop a way of intimacy and connection, in spite of everything.

Even those that initially really feel happy with their self-sufficiency will finally lose steam, says Paré. However slightly than let others understand how they’re feeling—whether or not that’s exhausted or lonely or anxious—hyper-independent individuals are likely to proceed to self-isolate, which might have lasting results on their well-being, she provides. An April 2023 evaluate of analysis on loneliness and mortality discovered that social isolation is linked to a better danger of untimely dying.

What are the important thing indicators of hyper-independence?

With the ability to adequately acknowledge poisonous independence is step one in stopping additional escalation. Beneath are a couple of key indicators of hyper-independence, in response to Paré and Leggins:

  • Having issue delegating
  • Turning into suspicious or irritated when individuals present an effort to get to know you
  • Preferring to work alone slightly than in a bunch
  • Partaking in perfectionistic tendencies
  • Needing to remain busy on a regular basis
  • Refusing to ask for or settle for assist from others
  • Struggling to share wants or feeling pissed off or resentful when different individuals share their wants
  • Discovering it difficult to be susceptible
  • Not with the ability to belief
  • Partaking in coping behaviors to numb emotions

Moreover, one of many largest early indicators of hyper-independence is an aversion to feeling or being perceived of as needy, says Leggins, which feeds into the tendency to keep away from asking for assist. “Typically, hyper-independent individuals determine because the ‘reliable’ or ‘sturdy’ good friend or accomplice,” says Leggins, which is why it’s necessary to take notice for those who (or a cherished one) current as extremely succesful in practically each state of affairs.

The hyperlink between hyper-independence and trauma

A dialog about hyper-independence isn’t full with out mentioning the position of trauma. As famous above, hyper-independence usually springs from a protecting mechanism—and the necessity to defend one’s self (in any respect prices) might come from having skilled a traumatic occasion.

“It’s important to focus on that hyper-independence can develop from trauma or modeled conduct the place the individual learns that self-reliance is the one option to cope or survive,” says Leggins. Think about an individual who had an emotionally abusive mum or dad or one who failed to fulfill a core want. Over time, they might internalize that asking for a have to be met is futile or may put them at emotional danger, main them to cease asking. That tendency can then be troublesome to show off in maturity, even once they’re in a relationship with somebody prepared to fulfill their wants.

As a substitute, this individual might default to not counting on anybody and equally resist anybody counting on them. “They don’t need to be let down once more and need to defend themselves,” says Leggins, emphasizing that the concern of others disappointing or hurting them generally is a sturdy motivator to remain guarded and wholly self-sufficient.

Steps to take to counter hyper-independent tendencies

Studying the right way to heal hyper-independence can enhance your well-being and shut relationships, romantic and platonic. For Paré, it begins with redefining what it means to just accept help and softening dominant ideas round independence. “In case you consider accepting help is an act of braveness, power, and development [rather than a sign of weakness], your mind is more likely to get on board with the thought,” she says.

Altering your perception system is a course of that takes time, although, which is why Leggins suggests easing in at a tempo that feels protected with reflective actions like journaling. Extending self-compassion and beauty is a extra fruitful technique than anticipating an instantaneous mindset shift.

“In case you consider accepting help is an act of braveness, power, and development, your mind is more likely to get on board with the thought.” —Courtney Paré, ND, naturopathic physician

You may additionally want to look at the basis reason for your hyper-independent tendencies to be able to work by way of them. “In case your hyper-independence stems from childhood trauma, for instance, working with a trauma-informed therapist who presents trauma-focused cognitive behavioral remedy, EMDR, or somatic remedy may help,” says Paré.

Leggins additionally highlights the significance of group care. Studying to belief your internal circle, leaning in your group, and being open to the concept that real help exists, are all ways price embracing. “Begin difficult the hyper-independent conduct by pushing your self to make small requests from shut associates or relations,” she says. Ultimately, bigger requests for help will really feel extra pure and fewer daunting.

To assist reinstate your skill to belief others, you may also think about volunteering, says Paré, “which is a good way to witness how connecting and fulfilling it could actually really feel to work with different individuals towards a typical purpose.”

As you tackle these new behavioral habits, it’s necessary to acknowledge that feeling some discomfort and apprehension is regular. “Whereas there is at all times the chance that you’ll get let down or damage, there may be additionally an enormous chance that you’ll really feel supported, cherished, and linked,” says Paré. “And the extra cherished and linked we really feel, the extra geared up we’re at dealing with life’s inevitable ups and downs in wholesome, sustainable methods.”


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