Understanding Hyper-Independence


When faced with distressing circumstances, some may learn to cope by evading dependence on others, aiming to protect themselves from further harm. This self-reliant quality may appear to be admirable. However, independence may not be a choice for all but rather a survival mechanism. Being independent is viewed as a fairly positive trait, in spite of this, if taken to an extreme, hyper-independence may form. Hyper-independence can be defined as an excessive form of self-reliance in which an individual instinctively avoids seeking support or assistance from others. Such a mindset may lead one to struggle in maintaining healthy relationships and impede emotional connections. Although most cases of hyper-independence are a result of trauma, not all hyper-independence is trauma-induced, and not everyone who experiences trauma develops hyper-independence.

Hyper-independent individuals tend to always rely on themselves, they are their own best friend and best company and usually spend time completely on their own. Some may perceive this isolation, but truthfully, it is a fear of connection. Therefore, being hyper-independent can be a form of self-protection for people who are incredibly emotional. Such people who turn to extreme self-reliance have been constantly let down or betrayed by people who they may have initially trusted, so they have learned to come to their own rescue as nobody ever has. Moreover, they have been neglected and invalided in ways in the past that has made them feel unsafe which has led them to crave stability, control and safety. Although they would like to rely on someone else when needed, their past selves are still unhealed and scared of doing so.

Hyper-independent people may appear to be heartless individuals, but it is quite the contrary. When someone who they would like to share their love with enters the picture, they will do so on a deep level. It may take some effort out of them to do so, but they are incredibly emotional and loving when they feel secure. Contrastingly, by pushing people away and not allowing them to come close, they avoid heartbreak. Nevertheless, it prompts contemplation to consider what life is if not caring for others and at one point it may be necessary to let your guard down for someone you deem is worth it.

Being hyper-independent is almost like granting yourself a badge of honour. You can always get things done and you trust yourself. It is simply going to be up to you, if you desire to have  things done properly, you will have to do them yourself. Though this thinking is a form of hyper independence, it originates from a place of fear. It is the underlying cause of trust issues and why being vulnerable is seen as a weakness. It is also why receiving any sort of love or material things may be difficult for you to accept, because when you receive such compliments, it challenges your self-worth and you may not feel deserving of such things. Nevertheless, it is still essential to allow yourself to receive applause and credit when deserving of it.

It is incredibly important to consider that hyper-independence is not something one is born with, they are made that way. The necessary emotional validation may have not been received at a certain point in their life, and instead of asking for it, they found it easier to just find it within themselves. With that being said, hyper-independent individuals grow up being accustomed to being let down by those who were supposed to love them most. Due to the hindered ability to trust others by people systemically failing you, eventually they determine that they do not need anyone. In reality, however, they do need people, we all do.

Featured image by: Manhattan Mental Health Counseling

Hana Abulkheir
Hana Abulkheir
Second year behaviour and social science student from Egypt but primarily lived abroad. Interested in mental health in well-being.

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