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The Drawbacks of Too Much Independence

The Drawbacks of Too Much Independence


The Drawbacks of Too Much Independence

Independence is a good trait, however, being too independent can lead to problems. Just as too much dependency can lead to problematic relationships and codependency, being independent to a fault has downsides of its own. Everyone needs healthy relationships to live their best lives. Even those in romantic relationships or who have a large circle of friends can feel lonely if these relationships lack affection and connection.

The American Psychological Association (APA) found that over the course of COVID, loneliness levels rose 5% while social circles shrank. Loneliness and too much independence have both psychological and physical effects. Loneliness can lead to depression, alcohol and drug abuse, sleep issues, personality disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, aging, cancer, and overall poor health.

According to the Survey Center on American Life, we need four or more close friends to stave off loneliness and isolation. When we avoid loneliness, we avoid most of the mental and physical health issues listed above. Additionally, we gain better stress management, support for personal growth, and a greater sense of belonging and security.

Men may be hit particularly hard by recent increases in loneliness. Only 27% of men have six or more close friends, and 15% report having no close friends at all. There are many reasons for this friendship recession, including discomfort sharing feelings, inability to be vulnerable, less likely to seek emotional support from friends, less likely to do the work to invest in friendships, lower marriage rates, more frequent and longer-distance moves, and fewer opportunities for workplace friendships.

Anybody can find themselves struggling to balance independence and a healthy social life. Personal or world events might separate us from loved ones physically or emotionally or make it hard to find the time, space, and mindset to form bonds in the first place. Sometimes, mental health issues can create isolation. Trauma might play a role in being hyper-independent.

Hyper independence is taking being independent to a fault to an even lonelier and more frustrating degree. It’s an insistence on doing everything by yourself, regardless of the emotional or physical toll it takes. It makes asking for help feel impossible. It’s often a response to past or present trauma that could be causing additional mental and physical health symptoms.

If you’ve experienced abuse in the past, you may no longer find it easy to trust people or believe you can rely on their support. Neglect or abandonment may have taught you to be hyper-independent to survive. Survivor’s guilt may leave you convinced you don’t deserve help, support, or love. Or hyper-independence may stem from a desire to feel in control after feeling a complete lack of it.

To overcome complex and often co-occurring mental health issues, you can’t do it alone. You need the support and help of compassionate, professional mental health professionals and peers in recovery. The Meadows is here to help you gain a balanced life and healthy connections with others. Please reach out for yourself or a loved one today.



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