6 Things Only Strong, Hyper-Independent Women Will Understand

Hyper-independent strong women often exhibit certain traits and behaviors in their lives and relationships. While independence can be a powerful asset in one’s life, there are times it can also be more maladaptive than self-protective. In certain contexts, your hyper-independence can be channeled powerfully so long as it is also balanced with safe social networks and self-care. Here are some behaviors and traits you may only understand if you’re a hyper-independent woman.

You have trouble asking for help and trusting others.

Perhaps you’re the empathic confidante and go-to person for all your friends, and the strong, powerhouse leader who takes charge in every situation no matter the context. But when it comes to asking for help yourself or trusting someone to lend a helping hand? You have a bit too much pride. You’d rather be the problem-solver and figure out everything on your own, even when you’re experiencing the worst ordeals of your life. You may not trust that people will show up for you in the way you deserve, and to be fair, you may have had plenty of evidence in your life to suggest this. It’s important to strike a balance between problem-solving and seeking out safe connections and resources. You deserve the same compassion you give to others so freely.

You’ll do anything to avoid feeling overly dependent on anyone.

You got to hand it to them, hyper-independent women know how to walk away from toxic relationships and people with an ease that often shocks people, especially if these people underestimated them because they are often friendly and generous. That’s because their fear of dependence often overrides their fear of abandonment. They may be nurturing and giving, but that doesn’t mean they want to become entangled and reliant on someone toxic to dictate their life for them. They don’t want to feel emotionally entangled and enmeshed with people who they feel they can control them, so often, they’re able to do what many people struggle with in a more immediate way—detach from toxic people— because their fear of being controlled by a relationship allows their natural survival instinct to choose themselves to remain intact. For many women, their conditioned people-pleasing tendencies reign because they are instilled by society and this can make it difficult to leave and detach from toxic people, understandably so. Hyper-independent women may be self-protective, but they are often right when it comes to their instincts. Sometimes, however, hyper-independent women can stretch too far in the direction of isolating themselves from others entirely just to avoid this sense of dependency and this can be harmful to safe relationships that would benefit from more closeness and trust.

You don’t settle easily for anything, whether it be in friends or relationships — so you tend to have very high standards when it comes to your dreams and love life.

Women who are used to being on their own and managing everything effectively — from creating abundance in their finances and living situation to skyrocketing success in their careers and education to having thriving social networks — are not the types to easily settle for less than the love and appreciation they know they deserve. Outsiders may call them picky and high-maintenance, but they’ve proven time and time again that if they have to do something on their own, they can and they will. They design their own lives on their own terms and are accustomed to living fulfilling lives without needing anyone. They know the value their presence and assets bring to any situation and they know they give their all when they are really invested in something or someone. That is why lackluster friendships and half-hearted relationships are rarely appealing to them and they are selective about the types of people they allow into their energy and space. They won’t waste their time and energy pursuing what doesn’t benefit them.

You genuinely love being alone.

There are many different reasons why hyper-independent women may have developed hyper-independence. Some women become hyper-independent as a trauma response or way to keep themselves safe, especially if they grew up as children with no one to protect them and could only rely on themselves. Maybe you’ve had a series of turbulent relationships that taught you being alone was more peaceful than being with the wrong people or witnessed how relationships drained the people around you growing up, so you’re careful about who you let into your life lest you become emotionally dependent or enmeshed. Or you grew up with strong role models that taught you never to rely on a man or anyone for that matter to achieve your goals, so you took the initiative to be a self-starter.

Perhaps your chaotic childhood wrecked your nervous system so you spent years in chaos in adolescence and now spend your time in adulthood in recovery by detoxing from other people. Or maybe you’re just naturally built to be introspective and introverted, often withdrawing into a rich inner world of creativity that doesn’t require the input of other people. The point is, every hyper-independent woman usually has their reasons for why they are the way they are. Whatever your personal story may be, people need to realize that when you say you love being on your own, you genuinely mean it. There is nothing more joyful and peaceful to you than savoring your alone time. You feel at home hibernating from the outside world and you’re the type who can be single for long periods of time without feeling fussed, even if you have many romantic options.

You know that letting go of control can be freeing, but you’re still highly resistant to the loss of control.

Hyper-independent women love to have a sense of control over their environment and circumstances, perhaps because some of them had a lack of control throughout their childhood. They have a need to know how life will unfold, because unpredictable circumstances means they have to yet again take the driver’s seat in figuring out how to navigate yet another maze their own. They would rather pre-plan and anticipate what will happen next, and ensure that they are the ones who get to make their own decisions. While they have the resourcefulness to navigate anything and everything, it’s usually more freeing for them to release as much resistance in certain situations and surrender at times to what is occurring, while also finding like-minded community to support and validate them. Radical acceptance of what is can actually help them at times to release their suffering of how they would like things to be and instead take aligned action when inspiration strikes instead. Take yourself out of your automatic “problem-solving” mode and get into a more mindful stance of observing your thoughts and emotions without the need to resolve anything just this moment.

You stretch yourself thin for the sake of perfectionism — but you low-key kind of like it.

This is the part many people may not understand, but hyper-independent women often love stretching themselves thin due to their perfectionistic overachieving to an extent. Taking on multiple projects at once? Allowing yourself to be burnt out and stretched thin? Helping several people at once? Ah, the adrenaline rush! This kind of chaos is often addictive for the hyper-independent woman because it keeps her mind busy from confronting past traumas or current issues in her life, but of course it can become ultimately unhealthy when taken too far. You can still be a high achiever but remember that it is just as important to prioritize sleep, rest, and have breaks. These will actually boost your productivity, but nonetheless your worth does not rest on how productive you are. Remember that you’re not responsible for taking on the problems of others, or putting more on your plate than you truly feel capable of. You have always been and are already worthy, just as you are.

Shahida is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University. She is a published researcher and author of Power: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse and Breaking Trauma Bonds with Narcissists and Psychopaths. Her books have been translated into 16+ languages all over the world. Her work has been featured on Salon, HuffPost, Inc., Bustle, Psychology Today, Healthline, VICE, NYDaily News and more. For more inspiration and insight on manipulation and red flags, follow her on Instagram here.

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