Last month I wrote about the trauma response labeled hyper-independence as a general topic. To review, hyper-independence is when autonomy and self-reliance has been taken to the extreme. These people typically have a fear or extreme discomfort with allowing others to support or assist them, even if it is to their detriment. They may be unwilling to lean on their partner for emotional support, feel they need to do it all at work and home, and rarely ask their partner or extended family for support. Hyper-independence itself is a survival trait developed through intergenerational, childhood, or adult adverse experiences with the key issue being trust.
When speaking about women, there is another factor that must be considered, and this is the generational oppression of women. The 1848 Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention marked the beginning of the women’s rights movement in the United States. Women of the silent generation empowered their daughters of the baby boomer generation because they wanted more for them as battles were being won. These women of the boomer generation told their daughters of Generation X they can be and do anything, they do not need a man to be successful, they are strong and should be independent, and must keep fighting for rights. The pattern continues, generation after generation, with good intention of passing the torch to someday win the fight. It is unfortunate we must keep fighting to be seen as equal, but it is the reality we grew up in and now live in.
Women gained rights to work, vote, have financial autonomy, and much more in just the past 100 years. However, men continued to press the traditional responsibilities upon women such as raising the children, cleaning, cooking, coordinating activities and calendars, and even finances of the home while also expecting them to work a full-time job. This evolution has created the “Super Woman” label that some traumatized women wear as a badge of honor. What does this do to our perspective of the world and our place in it? It tells our subconscious to take note that we cannot trust men, men see women as weak, we cannot show weakness, asking for help is weak, and we must do everything ourselves to define our value.
There are women who see this hyper-independence as something to be embraced but in reality, it is a lonely existence. More women have challenges connecting deeply with anyone unless it is their children and taking on so much for a long period of time becomes mentally and emotionally strenuous.
To review, the signs of Hyper-Independence are:
- Overachieving / Overcommitting
- Refusing to Delegate or Ask for Help
- Guardedness in Relationships
- Mistrust of Other People
- Few Close or Long-Term Relationships
- Stress or Burnout
- Dislike of “Neediness”
What do you do if you suspect you are hyper-independent?
- Start taking small, manageable steps toward allowing others to help or support you.
- Heal and eliminate the fear of relinquishing control.
- Delegate some tasks and carve out time for self-care.
- Change and healing is uncomfortable, so be ready to accept that.
- Identify how you can practice relying on individuals in your support system.
- Forgive those who may have contributed to your trauma.
Emotional Freedom Techniques, Hypnotherapy, and Cognitive Behavior Therapy can help in this change journey. Remember, this is not a blaming exercise but rather a healing exercise. Vulnerability is healthy for all genders and should be socially accepted in our culture. Maybe some of the tragedies we are witnessing would not have if only we asked for help. I have helped and am still helping many women heal so they may live their lives fully with the quality human experience their spirit deserves.