Hyper-Independence: Is It a Trauma Respons

Hyper-Independence: Is It a Trauma Response?

Do you avoid turning to others when you need help or support? Do you think you can handle everything on your own? Are you extremely self-reliant, even if it causes you to feel exhausted and burned out most of the time? 

If you’re able to answer “yes” to all of the above, you can probably be considered a hyper-independent person. 

Hyper-independence occurs when an individual relies solely on themselves to get things done. They tend to spend most of their time alone, which can have a negative impact on work, relationships, and overall quality of life. 

While there are several potential reasons why someone might be hyper-independent, it often stems from trauma. 

What Are the Signs of Hyper-Independence?

In addition to spending time alone and not asking for help, there are some common signs of hyper-independence that can help you indicate whether it’s something you struggle with. Some of the common signs include: 

  • Not trusting others
  • Being a perfectionist
  • Dealing with extreme stress
  • Very few close relationships

It should come as no surprise that people who are hyper-independent are also often more susceptible to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Hyper-independence causes you to carry a lot of weight on your shoulders and keeps you from giving it to anyone else. As a result, you’re likely to burn out quickly while worrying about being perfect, and you’re likely feeling both hopeless and helpless much of the time. 

You can also be emotionally hyper-independent, which tends to be a closer tie-in with traumatic events. Emotional hyper-independence can make you feel like you don’t have the choice to ask anyone for help or support. You might think you have to handle your emotional distress on your own and push through mental hardships without anyone by your side. 

How Trauma Leads to Hyper-Independence

Hyper-independence can be a response if you’ve experienced any kind of neglect or abuse at any stage of life. Maybe you had a parent who didn’t meet your needs or emotionally abused you. Maybe you were in a violent relationship with a friend or romantic partner. 

Whatever the case, the trauma caused by those relationships and attachments can cause you to become hyper-independent. You might think there’s no one in the world who can be trusted, so you solely rely on yourself to get through even life’s toughest challenges. 

When you’re going through a traumatic event, you learn to rely on yourself because you can’t rely on the person who is supposed to care for you. Unfortunately, that often leads to a lack of trust in just about everyone else, too. Your need for survival can quickly turn into hyper-independence, causing you to push away others — even those who truly want to support you. 

Some of the most common symptoms of hyper-independence caused by trauma include isolation, feeling unworthy, and experiencing thoughts of self-harm. 

Using Hyper-Independence as a Coping Mechanism

In many ways, hyper-independence is a way to cope or protect yourself. If you experienced trauma from someone, you might think that staying away from others or not trusting anyone else will protect you from getting hurt again. 

While it’s not impossible for hyper-independent people to have relationships, those relationships are often strained by things like a lack of communication and emotional distance. 

If any of these signs and symptoms sound familiar, it’s important to understand that you don’t have to go through life alone. No one deserves to experience trauma at the hands of another person. Unfortunately, it happens far too often, and leaves the victims to reap the repercussions for years. 

If you feel like you’re dealing with hyper-independence as a trauma response, don’t hesitate to reach out to Integrative Psychotherapy Group for help. Therapy is often the best way to better understand the root of your trauma. In doing so, you can start to move forward.