11 Ways To Overcome Hyper Independence Trauma 2024 (+Signs, Test & Psychology)

You’ve encountered challenges and you pride yourself on your independence – your ability to be self-sufficient and deal with most challenges on your own. However, when is independence detrimental? 

Hyper Independence Trauma
Photo by Guilherme Stecanella on Unsplash

Hyper-independence is extreme independence, even when it is not helpful, when you truly need help or support from others.

Keep reading for ways to overcome hyper independence trauma.

Let’s dive in.

1. Workaholic Tendency

This can be a recurrent trait. The obsession with keeping busy most of the time is habitual behavior in the hyper-independent person. 

Having such high work goals also serves as an excuse to avoid other commitments. For instance, friendships, families, and partners.

2. Hermetic Or Reserved Personality

Hyper independence will have you behaving like cold human fortresses, hiding and repressing everything. It doesn’t matter how many tormented moments, you’ll never share with anyone what you feel or what worries you.

Your physical space and emotional sphere are remarkably private.

3. Relationship Issues

If you’re hyper independent, you have great difficulties living with other people. In the workplace, you’re in disagreement with others making it difficult to carry out group projects.

You have trouble sharing ideas, coming to agreements, and you find it difficult working in teams.

As far as relational matters are concerned, you’re rarely able to maintain a long term partner or friendship. You often make unilateral decisions and feel unspeakably offended if what you suggest isn’t done.

4. Needing Someone Or Being Needed By Someone

Another thing defining hyper independent people is feeling suffocated when you start to need someone. After all, love means experiencing the desire to be close to another, to share time, life, and experiences.

Emotional attachment is something that you want to avoid at all costs. You’d rather not need anyone or for anyone to need you. Only in this way do you avoid the risk of being injured or betrayed.

5. Overcoming Trust Issues

Taking time to overcome trust issues is essential. Working through them to learn how to manage disappointment is a crucial step to building trust. Allow yourself to experience the beauty of faith and confidence in others once again.

6. Meaningful Relationships

Having people who can show up for you will only be actualized if you allow others to do so for you. You likely have people in your life who care about you and want you to be supported, so allowing yourself to feel vulnerable to them is crucial.

7. Delegate Tasks

Recognize that others are also capable of accomplishing tasks. Challenge yourself to delegate a job and keep track of your emotions. Giving tasks to others can also show you that letting others do things for you can be safe.

8. Say No

It’s essential to know your limits. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to. We can do a lot independently, but we may not have the capacity for it. Let yourself off the hook and say no so you can preserve your energy for when you need it.

If you’re feeling run down, it’s harder to ask for help.

9. Ask For Help

Asking for help could feel scary, yet it’s the first step to seeing how others can show up and support you without letting you down. Each of these steps includes an element of risk-taking, but the rewards of knowing and feeling supported can be worth the risk.

10. Avoid Codependent Relationships

For a hyper-independent person it could feel like you’re carrying the weight of managing the relationship if it’s codependent. You could feel overwhelmed by the needs of the codependent individual and take on more to avoid hurting their feelings.

It can be even harder for the other person to stop being codependent if they’re being taken care of by a hyper-independent person.

11. Work Toward Interdependence

Humans are wired to connect with others, and work together in community. Working towards forming interdependent relationships is healthy as it lets you enjoy others’ support in a meaningful way.

Developing interdependence can be accomplished through forms of treatment like interpersonal therapy.

What Kind Of Trauma Causes Hyper Independence?

The only known cause of Hyper independence is trauma. According to research there seem to be other causes, however they are yet to be found.

The trauma responses can result from significant emotional damage, potentially caused by abandonment, broken trust, or betrayal. 

When someone experiences emotional or physical trauma they tend to respond to the pain through hyper independence. This is because after being so deeply hurt they don’t want to take any chances of feeling hurt again and they can’t trust anyone as they can themselves.

People with hyper-independence can be difficult to form connections with and tend to avoid companionship, preferring to live much of their lives in solitude. Similarly, hyper-independent people tend to be hostile to sharing emotions, maintaining relationships, and admitting defeat. They will do all they can to avoid asking for help.

Is Being Hyper Independence A Trauma Response?

Hyper independence is a trauma response often stemming from childhood trauma. When children are young, they lean on their caregivers for social and emotional learning.

Trauma Response
Photo by Louis Galvez On Unsplash

This helps them soothe their negative feelings through emotional regulation and teaches them to use healthy coping mechanisms. They rely on their caregivers to be seen, heard, understood, and have their basic needs met.

When a child makes mistakes, they inherently look forward to being supported.

If caregivers are inconsistent with their presence in the child’s life or consistently absent, this can be a traumatic event and children learn to cope on their own.

Hyper independence is just one of those coping mechanisms for the trauma of physical and emotional neglect. Any additional abuse or exploitation further feeds this coping mechanism.

What Are Signs Of Hyper Independence?

While hyper-independence can manifest differently depending on the person, these are some signs of hyper-independence.

1. Over-achieving

People who are hyper independent may over-commit to work or personal projects to the point they’re unable to manage the load themselves.

2. Refusing To Delegate

Hyper independent people struggle to ask others to help them when they’re feeling overwhelmed, or they’ll be unable to pass tasks on to someone else.

3. Guarded In Relationships

Close relationships are interdependent by nature, and a person who is hyper independent struggles to drop their walls and let the other person in.

4. Secretiveness

Those who are hyper independent will often keep to themselves or feel reluctant to share personal information that could be used against them.

5. Mistrusting Others

Sometimes, a person with hyper independence worries that others will let them down or betray their trust.

6. Few Close Or Long Term Relationships

Since they’re unable to open up to other people, it can be difficult for people with hyper independence to form and maintain friendships and romantic relationships.

7. Stress Or Burnout

Since people with hyper independence struggle with delegating or asking for help when they need it, they often take on more than they can handle. This leads to heightened stress or even burnout symptoms.

8. Disliking “Neediness’

In addition to not wanting to rely on others, people who are hyper independent may resent or resist others relying on them.

Is Overexplaining A Trauma Response?

Over-explaining is a post traumatic stress disorder response designed to avoid conflict. The logic here is that if a person does anything and everything they can to please the person trying to hurt them, that person might not follow through with abusive behavior.

Our primal responses for trauma are fight, flight, and freeze, and fawning is a way to circumnavigate the need to do any of those altogether.

These trauma responses are immensely taxing on our nervous systems, so the body attempts to protect itself by fawning. It’s like putting on a mask and hoping the abuser doesn’t recognize you behind it.

The need to over explain yourself typically stems from post traumatic stress disorder originating from a trauma in childhood. If the person felt they were abandoned in some way, they learned to please others so they wouldn’t leave them.

Someone can be so polarized by the fight, flight, and freeze responses that over-explaining behaviors develop unconsciously during childhood.

Hyper Independence Trauma Symptoms

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you are hyper independent as independence is something we often strive for.

However, if you need to do things on your own, even if it may be harder, more time intensive, and costly, it could be a sign of poor coping.

Other potential signs that you might be hyper-independent include:

  • Individualizing things
  • Refusing help when offered
  • Refusing to ask for help
  • Unable to delegate tasks
  • Needing to know every detail of a task if you did delegate or had a job/assignment taken away

Hyper Independence Psychology

Hyper Independence is often also called Ultra Independence.

This can stem from the grief of a failed love affair, an abusive or narcissistic lover can create fear leading you to stop allowing others into your life. 

You believe you can only rely on yourself much better than allowing someone else in, as they just might leave and break your heart.

Grief of the death of a loved one, can cause you to not allow anyone into your life, the fear of them dying outweighs the joy of their company and you would rather not rely on their love or friendship.

The fight-flight-freeze response is familiar to many people. We’ve all been in a situation where we can feel those instincts setting in. Any minor confrontation will likely make you tense, a little sweaty, and short of breath. This all happens when your body senses danger.

Ultra Independent people tend to be the rulers of the family and household. You run the show, and take on all the responsibilities and decisions at home because you don’t trust others to make the correct decisions.

This results in far too much responsibility on one person that can cause you to become overwhelmed and unable to cope with the pressure anymore.

Hyper Independence Signs

Independence can start to instill in us that we do not need anyone else, that we can do everything ourselves and we can walk this world without the help of others.

Independence is great to a healthy extent but can be detrimental when a person becomes so self sufficient they fail to ask for help when they really need it.

1. Feeling Undeserving of Social Support

Trauma survivors who experience hyper independence may believe they don’t deserve support or help from others.

They might have understood it’s not acceptable for them to need help or receive support, so they become hyper independent to avoid having that need.

2. Past Neglect

Some traumatic events include going through periods when their needs were not met. They can develop hyper independent tendencies in an effort to survive.

The neglect they experienced taught them they must be self sufficient. They might believe others cannot or will not help them, so there is no point in seeking help or support from others.

3. Mistrust of Others

Hyper independent people can feel a reluctance to trust others. The past trauma might have been abuse by their caregivers.

This can lead to feeling unsafe asking for help, as they could pair the concept of relying on another person with that caregiver.

4. Coping Mechanism

Many trauma survivors experience a loss of control as part of their trauma, and hyper-independence might be a way that they seek to regain a sense of control over their environment.

How To Overcome Hyper Independence

There are two clear ways to overcome hyper independence. It’s all dependent on your determination to do so. 

Hyper Independence
Photo by Jason Hogan on Unsplash

1. The Task-Trust-Ask Method

Task, trust and ask are three things a hyper-independent person struggles with the most. So here’s what you do:

  • Assign a task to someone. Resist the urge to do it yourself even when you know you can. (task)
  • Once the assigned task is complete you will start building a trust in another person (trust)
  • Once you‘ve started to trust the person, it’ll be easier for you to ask them for help again next time. (ask)

2. Check your Ego

Once you have identified yourself as a hyper independent person make sure you keep your ego in check. Let’s say you have a task at hand to be completed, your ego will tell you that you can do it all by yourself.

At that point, question your thoughts, can you really do it all by yourself? What will it cost you in energy, time and quality? This will help you accept the idea of tasking it to someone else.

Hyper Independence Childhood Trauma

Hyper independence can be post traumatic stress disorder from an experienced trauma growing up, possibly in a household where your parents were distant and/or you had to take on a caregiver role to your siblings or parents.

Maybe you experienced abusive or narcissistic behavior towards you or other members of the family. You watched or felt this abuse and promised yourself that you would never allow anyone close enough to treat you or those around you in the same way.

Bullying by other kids can cause you to go inward and decide it’s best to just fend for yourself without relying on any friends to stick around and help.

You may experience the following symptoms:

  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme sadness or depression
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dissociative feelings
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches

Having experienced trauma, you may find that many things bring on a trauma response. People may experience extreme physical or emotional reactions to trauma reminders even when not in danger.

Hyper Independence Woman

Hyper independence trauma stems from negative experiences from our previous relationships. It’s natural for people to depend on other human beings for mental and physical health. 

Problems can arise with a significant partner, friends, family, and even at school or work when you’re overly independent.

1. With a Partner

Hyper independence can leave the other partner feeling isolated, not wanted, or valued. It may make your partner less willing to share, making it harder to maintain healthy relationships.

2. With Friends or Family Members

Hyper independence can leave friends and family perceiving that you may be upset with them, and though you may not be, it can make it harder for you to go to them for your needs and further validate your feelings of needing to be alone.

3. At Work or School

In a professional setting this can be self-destructive behavior setting you up to fail long term, be excluded from projects and events, and have others view you in a negative way. 

If you are in a position of power but you never delegate appropriately because of hyper independence, it could cause a lack of trust among your colleagues and subordinates.

It can also leave you without allies in the workplace or classroom. This can lead to a lack of balance between professional and personal lives.

There are treatment plans for you, if you’ve been through a traumatic event in past experiences that has left you overly independent.

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.