When we use the word independence, usually we are implying that it’s a positive quality or even a strength. True independence empowers us to act rather than let others or our circumstances dictate our lives. It’s about taking responsibility for our own lives. There is nothing wrong with being self-reliant and independent. It’s the ultra-independence to an extent of never asking for help that is an issue.
The inability to ask for help and receive support stems from trauma. Let me explain why.
Ultra-independence is an armour to protect our hearts from vulnerability, abuse, neglect, betrayal, loss of self or disappointment. In other words, it’s an armour that developed as a result of experiences that hurt us.
It could be the loss of our loved one and the decision to never risk that type of heartbreak again.
It could be trauma from the parent who was absent due to divorce or a parent who was never home from working multiple jobs to provide food and shelter for the family.
It could be pain from the superficial relationships which were lacking a true heart to heart connection.
It could be lies, betrayals and disillusionments that we experienced.
It could be the moments when we needed help the most, only to be left on our own.
It could be the fear of losing ourselves in another.
It could be trauma connected to our previous experiences with asking for help and its negative consequences. When accepting help from someone was a transaction with invisible strings attached.
It could be the moments when we were shamed or made to feel guilty for asking for something.
Ultra-independence And Lack of Trust
Ultra independence can develop as a result of experiences that made us conclude that people, the world or even ourselves can’t be trusted.
That we can’t trust ourselves to choose trustworthy people and read red flags. That we can’t trust others and the world to have our best interests at heart.
And so we decide it’s better to do everything on our own. We decide that we don’t need anybody else. In doing so, we will prevent potential disappointment or pain.
It could even be a wound that was passed down from previous generations.
The issue is that when we build the walls to protect ourselves from pain, we end up imprisoning ourselves within these same walls.
When we cut ourselves from potential pain, hurt or betrayal, we also cut ourselves from potential love, joy or connection.
When we assume that others and the world will fail us, we can unconsciously recreate the situations that make us feel betrayed to reaffirm that core belief. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This is why it’s beneficial to become aware of these wounds and patterns so that we can intentionally choose to work through them and change them to what we prefer.
Not one of us came here so we could live our lives carefully. For if we live our lives too carefully, we will simply find that we have arrived at death safely. I decided long ago that kind of life was not for me. That was also a good decision. A decision that has led me to more scrapes and bruises but also more meaning and wonder. And as a result, I have learnt that the person who doesn’t risk anything, risk everything. ~ Teal Swan
I remember one day when I fainted and couldn’t stand back up on my two feet. It felt so uncomfortable to ask for help that I would rather remain helpless on the ground than to request for help.
I burst into tears from my own feeling of helplessness and vulnerability. My tears tasted like pain, self-importance and fear of looking weak. It was only at that moment when I realized I couldn’t continue like this anymore. My protective armour had cracked.
It doesn’t have to get that far for us to change.
Difference Between Dependence, Independence, Ultra-independence, Interdependence and Codependency
Independence is the paradigm of I-I can do it; I am responsible; I am self-reliant; I can choose.
Dependence is the paradigm of you- you take care of me, you decide for me, it’s your fault, it’s the government’s fault, etc.
Interdependence is the paradigm of we-we can do it, we can cooperate.
Ultraindependence is the paradigm of I don’t need anyone else. I will do it all by myself.
Codependency is the paradigm of I need someone or something else to complete me. I need people for approval to affirm my sense of identity and inner security. I need another person’s weakness to fulfill my need.
Healthy independence is a noble pursuit but it is not the ultimate goal.
Life is, by nature highly interdependent. ~ Stephen Covey
We can see it in our ecosystem. The definition of the ecosystem is an area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscape, work together to form a web of life.
When I am interdependent, I am self-reliant and capable, but I also realize that if you and I work together, we can accomplish far more than, we could ever do alone.
If I am emotionally interdependent, I derive a sense of worth within myself rather than deriving it from others, but I also recognize the need for love and for giving and receiving love from others.
If I am intellectually interdependent, I realize that two brains are better than one.
Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve greater outcomes. To achieve synergy.
It’s important to point out that the stepping stone to healthy interdependence is first developing healthy independence. This requires a level of self-mastery and developing a strong core of internal security. Jumping from dependence right into interdependence is more likely going to result in codependent dynamics.
To sum it all up, disappointments don’t need to lead to bitterness, isolation or ultra-independence. They can lead to more self-awareness and better discernment.
If one thing didn’t turn out the way we wanted, it doesn’t mean that all things or all people are going to be the same.
To find out more about how our wounds affect our adult lives, read this article.