When independence becomes a handicap

I grew up incredibly self-sufficient and independent. A very handy life skill indeed. From a young age I was able to look after myself and everyone else around me. But as time went on this independence became linked in my mind to my survival, turning it into a need and becoming a handicap in many ways.

This is one of the things from my past I have worked hard to gain insight into and eventually master. But when I’m not looking…or conscious for those of you who read this blog regularly, it takes over and runs amok leaving burning buildings and up-turned cars in its wake.

You can connect the dots here. Not needing anyone, or others feeling like you don’t want or need them, can cause many issues in many different types of relationships. The problem is that the real me, the conscious me, wants to connect with people. This me wants to spread love to everyone I come in contact with and receive just as much love in return.

Unconscious me or auto-pilot me, the one acting from my past and in the only way it knows how, is fiercely independent and won’t let anyone add to my life in any way. Or for that matter get close enough to even try. This creates an ongoing tug of war.

For many years I was totally driven by my past, not having learned to release it and consciously choose how I wanted to be or create my life. This left me constantly trying to connect with others but as soon as they started getting close I’d either run far far away or push them so they did the dirty work. This extended to jobs and every area of my life. I was a commitment-phobe and I was powerless to change. I saw relationship after relationship fade away as auto-pilot me took over.

Now the thing we must understand is that our automatic reactions and habits, even the ones we see as debilitating or frustrating, are our unconscious mind trying to protect us. You see our unconscious mind is still stuck very much in the past and colouring each of our experiences with this. And because it is stuck in the past it remembers all of the pain we endured during these earlier experiences and wants to avoid us experiencing this pain again.

Further than that, our unconscious is a primal part of our bodies that still thinks we are being chased by dinosaurs and acts like every stress is a physical threat to our lives. It has not evolved to know that emotional stresses are not a physical threat, so when our unconscious registers a stress of any kind it kicks our fight or flight reaction into play TO SAVE OUR LIVES.

This means that when we are not consciously living, we are run by a system that although well meaning, treats every situation like it is life or death. Even when consciously we want something with all our being, if our unconscious smells a threat we have very little power to stop this fight or flight reaction unless we are consciously living.

This is an incredibly strong drive to fight against. It is like trying to overpower a parent whose child has been seriously harmed…good luck! So be kind.

You will automatically react in this way but each time you’ll get faster and faster at picking yourself up on it. Sure there’ll be times where you don’t realise you have fallen back into the pattern but life has a way of snapping you back into consciousness when you spend much of your time like that.

For me, this is one I am still learning to master in some areas of my life, while others I am totally conscious within. And I’m thankful for those reality shocks when they occur. As nasty as they can be, they allow me to be conscious again, clean up my messes and recreate the situation how I choose. This is true power and how I choose to live my life.

Much love,


4 thoughts on “When independence becomes a handicap

  1. Kel says:

    You’re so right! Independence isn’t inspired by love but by a tangled mass of fear. I’m often driven by the unconscious, but each time I become aware of my actions, I take time to acknowledge and be grateful for the connections I have with friends and family… and to be open to new connections. I have a long way to go but I’m learning that it’s not a weakness to put my independent habits aside. Thanks for the reminder!

    • mindfullyme says:

      Hey Kel,
      You are very welcome! Good on you for being brave enough to delve into what causes this for you. Sounds like you are doing great!
      Much love,

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