Mental Health

The Link Between Hyper-Independence and Trauma

The truth is, we all want a little independence in our lives. We want to decide who, what and where we will spend our time. We also don’t want to spend every second meeting the demands of others. Life should be adventurous; we all want to experience new things! Yet sometimes, we struggle with our hyper-independence, especially if we have experienced trauma in the past. What’s the connection? Why do you feel trapped, trapped by your needs?

What Is Hyper-Independence?

Hyper-independence is a personality trait that causes people to refuse assistance from others when they need it. People with this trait believe they can do everything themselves and do not like asking for help from anyone else.

If someone needs help, they will try to figure out how to solve the problem without help from anyone else before deciding whether or not they should ask for assistance with their situation.

This can manifest itself in many different ways, including:

  • Refusing to commit to a long-term relationship because you want your freedom
  • Being unwilling to compromise on anything, even small things like where you eat or spend time together
  • Being unable to accept help from others, even when it’s offered without strings attached

People with hyper-independence might:

  • Prefer playing video games over hanging out with friends
  • Have few friends and have trouble keeping friendships going
  • Be less interested in socializing than others his age
  • Feel uncomfortable around people he doesn’t know well or in large groups

Signs of Hyper-Independence 

The signs of hyper-independence are:

  • You have a hard time asking for help, even when you need it.
  • You would instead do it yourself than ask someone else to do it for you.
  • You don’t like asking for favors or help from others, even when it would be helpful.
  • You need to work on delegating tasks to other people and letting them do their jobs without your constant supervision or input on how things should be done (even if they are better at doing that particular task than you are).
  • When someone offers to help you with something, you usually refuse their offer because you don’t want to bother them or take up their valuable time by asking them for assistance.

Hyper-independence is characterized by an intense desire to be free of dependence on others, even those most trusted and loved. It’s not just a fear of relying on others but an actual need to be independent and self-sufficient at all costs.

Such people often come off as cold and distant because they fear being vulnerable to others. They may believe that if they let their guard down and become too close to anyone, they’ll be hurt or disappointed.

Some people with hyper-independence grew up in homes where they were expected to do everything on their own. For example, suppose their parents left them alone for long periods or didn’t show much interest in what they did during the day. In that case, this can lead to a deep sense of isolation and loneliness that translates into an intense desire for independence later in life.

In most cases, hyper-independence is not a conscious choice on the part of the person affected by it. However, some people choose to live their lives this way because they feel that being alone makes them happy and fulfilled.

People affected by hyper-independence may have difficulty developing social relationships because they dislike being dependent on others for help or support. They may also struggle with forming intimate relationships with others due to their lack of trust in others and difficulty trusting their judgment about whether someone is trustworthy or not.

What Causes Hyper-Independence?

Hyper-independence is a condition where an individual is unwilling to work with others and is overly reliant on their efforts. Some factors can cause this condition.

Lack of social skills.

Hyper-independence can be the result of a lack of social skills. People with this condition may not know how to communicate effectively or build relationships with others. This can lead to social isolation, and they may lose interest in interacting with others.

Unpleasant childhood experiences.

People subjected to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse during childhood may also suffer from hyper-independence as an adult. These experiences can cause them to mistrust others and make them reluctant to form close relationships with anyone else.

Low self-esteem.

People who don’t like themselves very much might also have trouble accepting help when it’s offered because they feel like they’re not worthy of receiving it in the first place. They may also worry about being taken advantage of by others if they let their guard down too much.

Is Hyper-Independence a Trauma Response?

Hyper-independence is a typical response to trauma. It can be a protective mechanism to avoid further harm or pain.

After experiencing trauma, people often feel like they need to be hyper-independent and self-reliant. They may not want help from others or want anyone to get too close to them because they fear being harmed again.

Hyper-independence can also signify that they don’t trust themselves or other people. They may believe they will be let down or hurt if they allow themselves to rely on others. This is especially true when the hurt person was betrayed by someone they trusted, such as a family member or friend.

This kind of thinking can affect their relationships with others because it prevents them from having healthy relationships in the future (such as with friends or romantic partners).

Does Independence Hurt Relationships?

The answer to this question depends on what you mean by “independence.” There are two types of independence:

Independence as an attitude where you are self-reliant and do not need others for your happiness and well-being. Independence as an action where you are self-sufficient and can take care of yourself without the help of others.

We all want to be independent in both senses, but it’s important not to confuse them. If we confuse them, we may end up in a paradoxical situation where we depend on other people, yet we feel that we are not dependent on them at all! This type of hyper-independence is terrible news for our relationships!

The first way hyper-independence affects relationships is by causing people to feel like they cannot rely on anyone else. This can be especially true if they have had issues with relationships in the past or were raised by an overprotective parent who did not allow them to make decisions for themselves. This can lead them to believe they have no one to turn to when they need help.

Another way hyper-independence can affect relationships is by making people feel like they cannot ask for help when needed because it makes them seem weak or incapable of doing things on their own. This can be especially true if they have been taught from a young age that asking for help is a sign of weakness and should be avoided at all costs.

The third way hyper-independence affects relationships is by creating unnecessary problems for couples because both partners try to do everything themselves instead of working together as a team. This can lead them down paths where one person thinks something needs to be accomplished while another thinks something different needs to happen instead.

Treatment for Hyper-Independence

Treatment for hyper-independence in adults usually involves counseling and psychotherapy. The goal of treatment is to help the patient recognize how their behavior affects others and how it prevents them from developing meaningful relationships with others.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can effectively treat hyper-independence because it helps the patient identify negative thought patterns that lead to this behavior. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) also helps patients identify their emotions and teaches them tools for coping effectively with stressful situations.

How to Help Someone With Hyper-Independence?

Hyper-independence can be harmful in relationships, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes, people who tend to be hyper-independent are influential, independent individuals who have a hard time depending on others because other people in the past have hurt them.

If you’re dating someone hyper-independent, you can help them improve their relationships by showing them that you care about them and want to support them in any way possible. Here are some ideas:

  • Understand the root of their independence

The first step in improving your relationship with a hyper-independent person is to understand why they’re so independent in the first place. This can be challenging because they might need to learn themselves! However, if you listen carefully when they talk about their past experiences, you can figure out what caused them to develop this trait in the first place.

For example, suppose someone grew up around people constantly criticizing them for failing or making mistakes. In that case, they may have developed a fear of failure that caused them to become overly cautious about trying new things or asking for help from others.

  • Don’t try to control your partner’s behavior.

You may feel like your partner needs to change their ways, but if you try to control how they act or don’t act, it will only push them away from you further. If your partner doesn’t want to talk about something that happened during the day or doesn’t want to talk after work, don’t push them into having a conversation just because you think it will be good for both of you. It’s okay if they want some time alone after work — sometimes it’s just what we need!

Don’t assume they’ll automatically agree with your ideas. They might not even consider them at all. Instead, ask them what they think about something before presenting it as fact. Give them options to have some input in the decision-making process.

  • Give them space. 

Hyper-independent people need their own space and time alone to recharge their batteries. They can become drained by too much interaction, so give them the space they need to recharge their batteries without feeling guilty or anxious about it! If they seem especially tired or irritable, suggest going out together later or hanging out after work — but don’t push them into making plans immediately if they don’t seem up for it.

  • Don’t take things personally.

The hyper-independent person may initially seem cold or aloof because they don’t want to let anyone get too close. Don’t take this personally; instead, try to see things from their perspective and realize that they aren’t trying to hurt you — they’re just afraid of getting hurt themselves!

Things to Consider When You Are Hyper-Independent

If you’re hyper-independent and want to improve your relationships with others, here are some things you should consider:

  • Ask for help.

If you find yourself struggling with something, don’t be afraid to ask for help from others. It’s OK to ask for assistance when needed because everyone does at some point in their lives.

  • Let someone else take the lead sometimes. 

When someone else offers to do something instead of doing it yourself, allow them to do so without feeling guilty — even if it’s not how things would usually go! This can help build trust and rapport between two people and give each other a chance to connect on another level beyond just doing things for each other.

  • Accept compliments — even if they seem silly or unnecessary!

Everyone needs encouragement and validation from time to time; if someone tells you something nice about yourself or your actions, accept it.

Related Read: How to Deal With Injustice Trauma?

Final Thoughts

Hyper-independence is a coping mechanism for trauma. The person can leave their trauma behind by doing something that causes them to forget the feelings associated with their trauma. Whether hyper-independence is a useful coping strategy remains to be seen, but it does serve as a method of distracting oneself from deep emotional pain. 

And that’s why I think hyper-independence can be contagious: when one person is immersed in hyper-independence, they might subconsciously draw others into the mix.

References

  • Cronholm, P. F., Forke, C. M., Wade, R., Bair-Merritt, M. H., Davis, M., Harkins-Schwarz, M., Pachter, L. M., & Fein, J. A. (2015). Adverse childhood experiences. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 49(3), 354–361. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2015.02.001
  • Perrotta, G. (2021). Affective dependence: From pathological affectivity to personality disorders: Definitions, clinical contexts, neurobiological profiles and clinical treatments. Health Sciences, 2(2021). https://doi.org/10.15342/hs.2020.333
  • Ryan, J., Chaudieu, I., Ancelin, M.-L., & Saffery, R. (2016). Biological underpinnings of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder: Focusing on genetics and Epigenetics. Epigenomics, 8(11), 1553–1569. https://doi.org/10.2217/epi-2016-0083

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Hi, I am Happy. I'm a professional writer and psychology enthusiast. I love to read and write about human behaviors, the mind, mental health-related topics, and more.