No need to fuss, I got it. Never mind, I got it. It’s alright, I got it. No problem, I got it. I got it.
This is what I find myself saying all the time. It seems it makes people feel better. Interesting.
For one reason or another, I find myself taking care of things by myself and it’s happened for years.
But what triggered all this?
A couple weeks ago, I ran into this combined word I had not seen before. Hyper-independence.
I looked into it and a lot made sense. Ultra-independence is another term for it.
From what I found, it’s basically a trauma response to abuse.
In my case, it wasn’t something like sexual abuse or something that major.
However, abuse can take many forms, even when we don’t realize it.
I was the first born daughter of an accountant and pastor father and homemaker mother. I have 3 other siblings.
As it has happened in many families, my parents were the strictest with me but not with my other siblings.
They were the good obedient ones, I was not.
I had a brain and used it. I was inquisitive, knew when something added up and when it didn’t.
Because I was the first born though, I had to set the example, be the example, represent the family, I was constantly on the spotlight.
My parents meant well, I’m not mad at them. Do I agree with everything? No, not really.
Mother relied on me the most because father was always busy with work and church.
I was the go-to for everything while I was being grilled for a lot as well. It wasn’t easy.
It was a difficult period of time, which included bullying from different sources in different forms.
At the peak of it all, I broke down, found myself a therapist and got my head straight.
I remember telling someone the walls of my castle were thick and tall.
I had turned my survival mode on and that’s how things worked from then on.
This went on for 30 years, until I meet husband.
I move from one country to another. Husband was an alcoholic. We also had infertility issues.
It only lasted 8 years. The first 4 were bad, the last 4 were the worst.
While drinking, the bullying and the verbal abuse though were the worst.
Maybe he apologized once or twice, not sure. I can’t remember any apologies.
The day after we met, he put his wallet on my hands and said, you’re in charge.
He was either asleep, working or drunk, so I was indeed in charge.
Whatever happened, sort it out. Got feelings? Sort yourself out.
The kid happened on the second in-vitro on the 6th year.
Difficult pregnancy, complete placenta previa, constant Braxton Hicks.
I was in nursing school and husband was making it beyond stressful.
The night before the kid was born, husband went on a binge with a cruel mode.
I woke up to a massive bleeding on week 35, 911, ems, emergency c-section, nicu for 2 weeks.
Went back to school. Keeping the kid out of his reach when drunk was the hardest.
That’s when it became physical.
Nursing graduation happened. Husband passed away the week after.
Husband died without a will. Sort that out. Sorting his life before me as well.
Packed the house, sold the house, moved everything to much smaller house.
After the kid was born and after husband died, mother came over, stayed for a month to help.
Mother by herself is another post. For now, those where very stressful months.
The neighbors were very helpful but there’s only so much they can do.
I probably asked for something once or twice to friends and met resistance.
For those 8 years, I shut down my feelings, and when on this-is-what-you-have-to-do-to-survive-and-keep-kid-and-dogs-alive mode.
Now it was another kind of survival phase we entered, and I was the sole responsible adult in the house.
It was just me and the kid until the boyfriend happened.
Relationship was good, then it wasn’t. He was there but not available.
Whenever I asked for help, I got crankiness. So no help there.
Illegal drunk driver t-boned me, physical therapy for months while still working full time, while being a mom.
Baby girl dog passed away. Hail happened. Dealt with house and car hail destruction.
Packed house. Moved back to old neighborhood.
Boyfriend left. Baby boy dog passed away.
Kid went into a depression. Quit beyond stressful, had a sabbatical year to help the kid.
Went back to work. The whole china virus thing happened.
A lot of lego-like life blocks got sorted out.
The kid and I became closer and stronger through this time.
However, the realization that we couldn’t just go to others and ask for help was obvious.
See, someone you love dies, and everybody comes and says, whatever you need let me know!
But that’s a lie. It’s something people say but they don’t mean it.
I know because I asked for help and I was told, well let me see because I have this or that going on.
I asked and if they helped, there was pissing and moaning, complaining, manipulation, blackmail.
Thank you, I got it. Don’t even worry about it, I got it. Forget I asked, I got it. Just leave it, I got it.
I love my family, but it has been a difficult 46 year relationship with them. It still is.
I cared about husband, but his alcoholism, verbal abuse, death was something alright.
My brother once said to me, you don’t seem to need help, you’re strong.
Strong? I had to. I had to get a thick skin and shield around me.
I had to be strong to deal with my family and others.
I had to be strong during husband. I had to be strong after husband.
There was no one else to hand over anything. Nobody, except my neighbors.
They helped a few times during sober moments.
They helped a couple times during drunk moments.
There was no crankiness or hesitancy in their help.
It was a precious what do you need, here I am.
No bringing it up afterwards, no talking about how they went out of their way to help.
Just friendly help. Beautiful.
Holding on to the stress, to the embarrassment, not sharing what’s happening puts a strain within.
You learn to live with the stress. You manage it.
I remember boyfriend telling me I was on high alert the whole time.
How could I not?
It was layers of stress, of bullying, of verbal abuse, of doing it all by yourself because there’s nobody else.
Maybe it would be different if the whole family lived in town. But they don’t.
Husband’s family are 6 hours away by plane. My family are 6 hours away by car.
Sharing anything with my family, it’s just calling for unnecessary stress most of the time.
Sharing anything with husband’s family, just a regular response.
Conversations have turned into how the weather is like and how much the grass has grown.
I’m seriously too old for this shit. I’ve gone through more than enough to put up with this shit.
I have found I’m more at peace with the kid and myself dealing with our lives by ourselves.
I have realized that whenever I open my mouth with family or some people, my stress levels sky rocket.
I either fix stuff myself or call and pay somebody to do it for me.
A cranky or resistant response or hesitant response, it just shoots stress down my spine.
On good days, husband would take care of the front yard or back yard, he would fix something.
It gave me some comfort to know he was there, drunk or not.
But at what cost?
Fast forward, I run into hyper-independence or ultra-independence. That was me.
I became the fixer, the closer, the organizer, the manager and more since a very early age.
I heard somewhere that dumb people are happier. I remember wishing I was dumber.
But I’m not. I’m quite the opposite.
There are many reasons why people become ultra-independent.
There are also ways ultra-independent people can ask for help.
Article after article suggest that ultra-independent people need to trust others, to ask for help, to learn to let go.
I’ve tried. Over and over. No thank you. I’m at peace with the kid and the dogs in our home.
I’ve found toxic people, narcissist people, self-serving people, unreliable people, liar people.
People who don’t really mean what they say. These are the worst.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. I have no idea where my village or mariachi are.
I have single mom friends, with family around and involved. I’m happy for them!
I sort of found a village, but it didn’t really work out.
Part of me hopes I’ll someday have that kind of support around us.
The other part is not really sure.
Is our inner peace more important or the people around us more important?
I’m a compulsive helper. The ones that know me, know I’m a helper.
I will help right there and there, and I move on.
My validation is the kid. He already started noticing flaky fake people.
When a 10 year old seconds your motion without you saying anything, yep, your gut is right.
Sorting my head out with the therapist before I was 30 helped me survive the last 14 years.
Holding on to God all these years are the main reason I haven’t lost my marbles, faith and hope.
I would much rather take care of my world by myself than to trust others.
Somehow I’ll find myself with a village made up with orphan people, like us.
Maybe someone will show me that I can relax and trust them.
The village or the someone have not happened yet. Yet.
God will bring either when the time is right.
In the meantime, I see nothing wrong with being ultra-independent or hyper-independent.
Ultra-independent within the walls of our thick and gigantic castle walls.
Photograph: Middleham Castle 2007 By CJW – CJW, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2831364