#1 Reason You’re Hyper Independent in Life, But Codependent in Love
By Bethany Dotson
After working with and speaking with hundreds of women in my career, a common question always arises.
“When I’m NOT in a relationship, I’m very independent. I don’t feel the strong need to have
someone in my life.
In fact, when I do begin dating someone…they often seem more eager and even clingy at first.
The beginning often feels like a whirlwind. They often move very fast while I’m trying to pace the relationship.
Eventually something shifts…and I wind up being the clingy person, chasing to get my needs met and spending many months or years hoping he or she changes.
I then learned that I’m codependent.
But how can I be codependent…when in other areas of my life I’m hyper independent??”
Let’s explore this.
The main theme between being hyper independent in LIFE…but codependent in love boils
down to ONE WORD.
Trauma and Hyper Independence:
Unhealed childhood trauma for many, surfaces in adulthood as hyper independence.
This is because somewhere in the past, she learned that caregivers were unreliable, unavailable or even abusive.
She may have taken on more responsibility as a child than needed. Being the emotional sounding board for a parent. Or caretaking younger siblings because of an abusive or addicted parent.
She may have received messages from other family members or even teachers, that you have to “fend” for yourself.
All of this can create a strong sense of hyper independence later in adult life…because
subconsciously she doesn’t feel safe relying on others.
This type of early childhood trauma can also lead her to being an overachiever. Many psychologists state that the #1 sign someone was raised with a narcissistic parent…is that they wind up becoming an overachiever in adulthood.
Because she never felt valued or ENOUGH as a child, she subconsciously took on the meaning that “something was wrong with her.”
And as a way to compensate and “deal” with this feeling…many turn to being extremely hard workers.
Double majoring in college. Working 2-3 jobs. Taking on extra projects at work. Often taking on more responsibility and struggling to say no.
All because she’s desperately trying to feel enough…by achieving for others.
(See how easily this could lend itself to being a magnet for narcissistic relationships?)
Sadly overachieving and hyper independence don’t lead to feeling secure or independent inside the walls of an intimate relationship.
Trauma and Codependency:
Once she eventually meets someone who she feels chemistry for, the relationship tends to follow a predictable pattern.
Easily becoming emotionally attached…often prematurely, before she truly knows someone.
Ignoring red flags, that usually present very early on, if not immediately in the relationship.
Making big commitments like moving in together or blending households early in the
Minimizing bad behavior that increasingly intensifies over time.
Feeling more and more disconnected from her partner.
Spending an increased amount of emotional energy hoping things get better.
Adjusting her behavior to fit the relationship.
Trying to convince her partner to change, seek counseling or resolve his emotional issues.
This codependent pattern allows her to replay the old tape of trying to get her needs met by overachieving, caretaking others and taking on too much responsibility for the relationship’s outcomes.
The irony is that the more codependent relationships you experience…the more this emotional trauma feeds into the hyper independence you exhibit in life.
The best way to transform this pattern in your life is by working with a trauma-informed coach or therapist who specializes in complex trauma recovery…the root cause behind codependency and dysfunctional relationships.
A well trained expert can help you rewire the trauma programming in your brain and body, help you feel more relaxed and safe in relationship settings, communicate your needs more clearly and address conflict head on, productively, without resorting to people pleasing or sidestepping your boundaries.
Bethany Dotson is a Trauma-Sensitive Somatic Therapist and Relationship Coach