Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

As an only child (and no cousins my age), I’ve always had to be independent. Naturally, over the past 20 years, I’ve become comfortable with being alone. I used to think that I was just an introvert but as I’ve grown up, I realized I struggle with hyper-independence. Hyper-independence is when someone tries to do everything by themselves without asking for help whether they need it or not. Some other symptoms include problems with delegating, having your guard up in relationships, and not trusting other people. After failed relationships and lots of reflection time, I came to the conclusion that I am a victim of being too independent. 

I understand that being able to be alone is a rare, important trait to have but at what point does it become unhealthy? I used to pride myself on the fact that I never needed anyone, but why did I think that was a good thing? I didn’t think it affected my life that much until my recent breakup that opened my eyes. I was TOO independent. I could never ask for help even when I really needed it and opening up about my feelings was more of an ick than a relief. Here was this amazing, perfect guy that I couldn’t fully let into my life because it made me feel weak. 

I knew that if I really wanted to tackle this, I would need to take a dive deep into my feelings and decipher why I felt weak. In one of my communication classes, we’re learning about Social Learning Theory, which is the phenomenon that children learn their behaviors from those around them. Since I only grew up around adults (aside from school and sports), I mimicked their behaviors subconsciously which led me to act really mature at a young age. I thought that adults didn’t ‘have’ feelings. I never took the time to reminisce about my feelings because I never saw those around me express their feelings. On top of that, my parents are both strong, independent individuals and I felt pressure to act exactly like them. Since I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that they aren’t able to be strong and independent without them having each other to balance them out. The reason why they are able to act so self-sufficient is because they are constantly helping each other out in the background. 

Outside of romantic relationships, hyper-independence also affected my friendships. The whole point of having friends is to have a support system when you need it, but if you aren’t able to express that you need it, you isolate yourself. I found myself disconnecting from my friends when I needed them the most because of my fear of looking weak and dependent. Luckily for me, my friends are patient with me and know that I’ll come to them when I’m ready. 

I’ve started to remind myself that my feelings are valid and it’s healthy to release them because I’m trying to break my bad habits and grow as a person. I’ve started to talk to my friends about how I feel, delegate small tasks to those around me, and be more open with new people. It’s hard to unlearn behaviors that I’ve learned since I was a child but once I do, I’ll be a healthier, happier version of myself. 

Hi!! My name is Ariana and I'm currently a third year Communications major here at UC Davis! My writing for HerCampus mainly consists of women's health and wellness as well as food reviews. I love to explore the outdoors with my friends and play volleyball on the weekends. I'm always open to new song recommendations and day trip ideas! I hope you enjoy my articles :)