There’s a meme or a quote that I’ve seen floating around recently that speaks to the idea that “extreme independence” is a trauma response. I find this an interesting discussion to have because as with most things, if I was to question whether that was true, the answer that I would come up with would most likely be, well, it depends.
From a nervous system perspective, the ability to be independent and to both survive and do well in independence is both necessary and healthy. After all, the ability to cultivate healthy boundaries and to be able to leave situations that don’t serve us requires the fundamental belief that we are able to go it alone. Without that, we are stuck in a cycle where a relationship or situation is fulfilling a “need” in us which means our involvement in it is no longer a choice but a dependency.
To me, independence, and dare I say, extreme independence is far from a traumatic state of being. It’s saying, here I stand, taking up all the space that is owed to me and knowing that I can turn to myself to meet my needs and wants in the world. From there, I can actively choose to engage with, love, relate to, serve, and join hands with anyone and anything of my choosing, and I can do so with my whole heart- because I am both free with them and free without them.
Shunning or rejecting help or refusing to be with others is not the same as independence. This is not a choice-ful action based on self-understanding and sovereignty but an expression of unconscious concern. In this state, I don’t feel safe with you, but I also don’t feel safe with myself. It’s full of hard edges and soft centers that are fearful of emerging. But it’s not independence. Nowhere near it.
“Let’s go our separate ways together”- I like this sentiment the best.