My Journey to Healing Counter-Dependency (Radical Self-Reliance)


I humiliated when I said “I’m fine. I don’t need anyone”.

Counter-dependency is exaggerated self-reliance stemming from a fear of based on other people and an failure to trust others.

I am a recovering counter-dependent. On my healing trip, I discovered that I adopted exceedingly avoidant behaviors as a result of getting physically and emotionally ruin by toxic parents. As a survival strategy I used to “numb out” and stop feeling something, so I would never experience that pain again.   Based on Dr . Barry and Dr . Jane Weinghold in their guide “The Flight from Closeness, ” counter-dependent characteristics are incredibly pervasive in the United States that they seem like normal behavior.  

If you are counter-dependent, you will avoid asking for help at all costs. The word “needy” triggered suppressed rage in me and my behaviors and decisions were devoted to avoiding suffering at all costs. Linking and bonding with people in my experience involved great risk of being abandoned and I despised feeling vulnerable. I protected myself by building an impenetrable wall to keep deep emotions within and kept everyone else out there. This defective behavior has been automatic and mostly subconscious.

I am not a therapist and also have no clinical training. I have already been on a healing journey for several years and have developed a passion for sharing what I have discovered with the sole goal of helping others.

At the rear of the “Pseudo-Independent” Mask

Although I was blind to it for most of my life, counter-dependents are actually controlled by fearfulness and build fiercely independent lives that are focused on being totally self-supporting in all aspects. Felicia Durling, founder of the Center 4 Life Modify, emphasizes in her weblog that a child raised in an emotionally abusive environment gets aware at a very early age that it is too dangerous in order to trust your parents, eliminates attaching to them, and inhibits reliance on them by not really turning to them when cantankerous, suffering, or needing ease and comfort. This survival tactic appeared to have helped me cope as a child by avoiding rejection, indifference, or refusal and seriously impaired my ability to work as an emotionally healthy mature.

I was trained to perform well and present myself as the perfect child with perfect behaviors and admirable accomplishments, in order to receive any attention at all. As a result of this insecure attachment to my parents, We believed expressing needs and feelings meant I would end up being abandoned or rejected. Therefore i kept up the “I’m fine” façade, while inside sensation empty, frustrated, and on your own.

This is how the counter-dependent sit affected me as an adult:

  • I was living a very unbalanced life by identifying only with my perceived strengths and built everyday routines around them
  • Evolved into an unfavorable perfectionist who devalued, prevented, and ridiculed anything I used to be not good at
  • Daily life experiences consisted of mistake-avoiding transactions and I was hooked on proving my self-worth
  • I was overly competitive, judgmental of myself yet others, and extremely sensitive to criticism
  • Extremely impatient and easily frustrated, and overreacted to the point of tantrums when things didn’t go as planned
  • Hyper-focused on activities, busyness, achievements, and anything else that kept me cut off from feelings

Counter-dependency is not healthy autonomy, also called interdependence. Interdependence means accessing real feelings, comfort with asking for assist, having a clear sense of self, knowing who you are, and exactly what you want. Interdependence is motivated by genuine emotional intimacy while also maintaining a strong sense of self. It is far from rooted in fear.

Gregg Henriques, Ph. G., author of A New Single Theory of Psychology, explains that counter dependency is an avoidance mindset driven simply by hiding vulnerability, rejecting help from others, and rigidly keeping an emotional distance. On the surface, it looked like I had developed it all together. In reality, We lived in hyper-reactive setting, had no idea who I was or what I wanted, and even though I had many superficial human relationships I was secretly isolated, anxious, depressed. Twice in my lifetime, I hit rock bottom, tough, because “living this way” was no longer an option.

The Healing Process

This is how I started and strengthened the healing process from counter-dependency:

  • Recognized that the entire family going back over 100 years saw no value in attunement and link. I believe it is your birthright to be truly seen from the people who brought you into this world. Once I saw how far back the emotional mistreatment traveled it enabled me to develop self-compassion for what I didn’t get but earned. Self-compassion is the best medicine intended for shame.
  • Became aware of and knocked throughout the defensive, protective walls I built and acknowledged the role I played within my own misery. This part was the “it gets even worse before it gets better” part. Research has shown the particular “cure” for counter dependency is pain and responsibility. I started by facing shame and fear head-on.
  • Gradually obtained life balance and genuine inner strength. Avoidance and numbing out is not an indicator of strength. Real strength is being able to feel your pain and openly express it. I don’t have to be ideal or over-accomplished in order to feel good. I now know how to create inner peace by gracefully acknowledging what I cannot control plus taking care of myself.
  • Learned about generational trauma plus inherited trust issues. This particular fear of trusting people failed to start with me. It was rammed down the throats of everyone that came before me plus embedded deep into us system. I have learned no one is out to get me. These are battling their own unhealed trauma and their behavior is not related to me.
  • It’s a marathon, not a run. Change takes time. The pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of healing. Unlearning toxic household patterns is a difficult but worthwhile investment and will improve the quality of your life.

I use devoted thousands of hours on research to unlearn defense mechanisms, end toxic family patterns, and today appreciate the value of relying on others in a healthy way. The healing journey never ends. Chiseling away at the defective behaviors caused by a false counter-dependent self is not a quick procedure. I still have more work to do to achieve an interdependent mindset and occasionally suffer setbacks. It takes courage and perseverance but I am living proof that change is possible. The stuck can stop here.

The article My Journey to Healing Counter-Dependency (Radical Self-Reliance) made an appearance first on Possibility Modify.

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