Trauma is something that stays with you, but it doesn’t have to run your life. There is no shame in asking for or accepting assistance; everyone needs it occasionally.
What is the connection between hyper independence and trauma? For a variety of reasons, trauma can result in the development of hyper-independence. Not everyone who experiences a trauma will react in the same way, and in fact, some people start to think that their trauma has rendered them incapable of independence.
Read on to find out more about hyper-independence, including what it is, how to deal with it, and other topics.
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What Does “Hyper-independence” Mean?
For those who have endured interpersonal trauma, hyper independence is a coping mechanism. Hyper-independent people do not rely on others to complete tasks, do not ask for assistance, and frequently avoid receiving support when it is possible, even to their detriment. As a result of not having their fundamental needs met by others, they have learned through their own lived experiences—typically beginning in childhood—and have taken this lesson to its logical conclusion.
As they grow older, children who have learned that being completely independent will increase their acceptance may find it difficult to delegate tasks to others. Additionally, it develops from a pattern of disappointment or being abandoned.
As we learn to cope by doing things on our own, refusing to ask for help, or not sharing our needs, a pattern of being let down by those we expect to support us slowly erodes our sense of self-worth and self-esteem. When we avoid seeking help, the trauma of our unmet needs can reoccur. Hyper-independent people frequently experience loneliness and a lack of safety when speaking up for their unmet needs.
Extreme Independence versus Hypervigilance
Hypervigilance keeps people constantly on the lookout for potential threats as a subconscious state, which is the main distinction between hyper independence and hypervigilance. Hyper independence, on the other hand, is the deliberate and conscious decision not to accept assistance. People frequently experience both trauma reactions at the same time.
Signs Of Hyper-independence
Although hyper-independence can take many different forms depending on the individual, some symptoms include:
Over-achieving: Hyper-independent people may overcommit to work or personal projects to the point where they are unable to handle the workload on their own.
not asking for assistance or delegation: When they are stressed out or overburdened, hyper-independent people find it difficult to ask for help or delegate tasks to others.
Relationships characterized by caution Close relationships are by their very nature symbiotic, and a hyper-independent person will find it difficult to lower their guard and open up to the other person.
Secretiveness: Hyper-independent people frequently keep to themselves or are reluctant to divulge personal information that might be used against them.
Having little faith in other people Some people become overly independent out of fear that others will disappoint them or betray their trust.
limited close or long-term relationships: It can be challenging for hyper-independent people to establish and uphold friendships and romantic relationships because they are unable to open up to others.
Stress or burnout: Because they find it difficult to delegate or ask for assistance when they do, hyper-independent people frequently take on more than they can handle, which can result in increased stress or even burnout symptoms.
Negative feelings toward “neediness” People who are hyper-independent may not only not want to depend on others, but they may also resist or resent being relied upon by others.
A traumatic event is one that a person encounters and is unable to deal with in a healthy way. It may be upsetting, distressing, or life-threatening. Traumatic incidents can be isolated incidents, like a car accident or a natural disaster, or they can be recurring and chronic.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are long-term, stressful events that occur during childhood and may lead to trauma symptoms in adults. ACEs have been linked to physical illness, anxiety, depression, and even early adult mortality.
The brain can go into “survival mode” when someone experiences trauma.” This implies that they make decisions about their behavior based on what will keep them the safest at the time. Our brains are designed to keep us safe and alive, so we frequently continue to operate in survival mode long after the traumatic event has passed, even when doing so is neither adaptive nor beneficial.
We are actually so good at surviving traumatic events that our genetic expression can change in response to trauma, passing the trauma response to our progeny through intergenerational trauma.
Why Does Hyper-Independence A Trauma Response?
For a variety of reasons, trauma can result in the development of hyper-independence. Not everyone who experiences a trauma will have the same trauma responses, and in fact, some people begin to believe that they are incapable of independence as a result of their trauma.
Mistrust Of Others
Reluctance to trust others can also lead to hyper-independence. The trauma survivor may have endured abuse at the hands of their caregivers. As a result, they might associate asking for help with being abused by someone else, which can make them feel uneasy.
Feeling Undeserving Of Social Support
Hyper-independent trauma survivors may feel they are unworthy of support or assistance from others. They may have been instructed that asking for assistance or receiving support is unacceptable, leading them to become overly independent in an effort to avoid having those needs.
Some people experience trauma that includes times when their needs were not met; as a result, they may exhibit hyper-independent traits in an effort to survive. They learned from the abuse they received that they are solely responsible for taking care of themselves. They might think there is no point in asking for support or assistance from others because they cannot or will not be helped.
Hyper-independence is occasionally a strategy for dealing with uncertainty. Hyper-independence may be a strategy used by trauma survivors to regain control over their surroundings. Many trauma survivors experience a loss of control as a result of their trauma.
How To Overcome Hyper-independence?
You are not alone if you have ever felt the urge to distance yourself from others out of a sense of dread at being let down. After a trauma, it is normal to feel hesitant about exposing oneself emotionally because emotional wounds take time to mend.
But trying to handle everything on your own can be draining. And occasionally, though it’s difficult, accepting extra help can be beneficial for your physical and mental health.
Consider the following if you want to try something a little different:
- When you have a tendency to resist assistance, think about trying to figure out why. Is it motivated by the desire to handle things on my own?
- If you accepted the help that was offered, picture how things might turn out.
- Keep in mind that asking for assistance says nothing about your capability or overall independence. Everybody requires assistance occasionally.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) may be able to assist you in resolving the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that have developed as a result of your trauma or PTSD.
Therapy aims to help you develop healthy coping mechanisms, strengthen your relationships, and ultimately make progress toward healing. Here are some articles on trauma-focused evidence-based therapies.
How Can You Help A Loved One Who Is Hyper-independent?
There are ways you can support a loved one even though it can be challenging.
“It is important to understand that just because a person experiences a strong emotional reaction to trauma, it does not imply that they are “weak,” according to Hammond. However, how a person manages trauma can give you a glimpse of their coping skills.
Help Them To Create A Community Of Trust
It’s critical to realize that your friend or relative may not readily let people in, even if you believe they are trustworthy, because hyper-independence is linked to a lack of trust.
It can also support the idea of your loved one keeping their inner circle small, if that’s what they need right now, in addition to making sure that you show up in ways that feel healthy to the both of you.
Check In With Them
It can be beneficial to be present but not intrusive for someone who has hyper-independence as a reaction to trauma.
“Make sure they understand how much you value them and that you are available to them should they need to talk. According to Hammond, some people require multiple check-ins to realize that someone else is concerned, while others may respond and engage in a more in-depth conversation.
Realize That Everyone Is Different
It’s essential to provide support in ways that will be useful to them because support does not come in one size to fit all. The most effective way to do this is to be upfront and ask your loved one directly for help.
Trauma can be all-pervasive, and since we are all unique, we deal with it in different ways. Any trauma response is a means of coping and survival in an upsetting and unfair circumstance, which is an important thing to keep in mind.
Consider talking to a therapist or counselor to help you identify the source of your trauma and build more effective coping mechanisms if you’ve noticed that you consistently reject support and help from loved ones, even when it would be helpful.
Read More: Why Does My Life Suck And What To Do?