Dependence and independence

Did you know that dependence and independence are closely related?

Those who strive to be independent only deny their dependence. Let’s start by defining the two words.

  • Being dependent is depending on someone else or something else for our own happiness.
  • Being independent is acting like you don’t need anyone.

Nobody likes to admit that they need others in order to be happy. Some are so against the thought of being dependent that that they decide to entirely rely on themselves. For example: a woman watched her mother be very dependent on everyone around her. She could do nothing alone and didn't like being alone either. The daughter decides (consciously or not) to be the opposite of her mother: she doesn't ask for help and does all her tasks herself, even if she has a full time job. She (her ego) finds all kinds of excuses for why her husband or children can't help; like saying that she wants her children to enjoy their childhood instead of having to do chores like she did (to help her dependent mother). She is convinced that she is being a good mother. A better mother than her own…

This kind of woman is always frustrated, stressed and thinks that motherhood and marriage are not easy. She often has a sore back. She realizes that she rarely complains, but when she does, she hastens to say that it makes her happy and consoles herself that one day the children will be away from home.

Deep down inside, she would love for her husband to see everything she does for them, have pity on her and offer to help. It would be a true proof of love for her. Her kids and husband are so accustomed to being served, they don't even think of offering their help. Every time they do, she says that she'll do it and is happy to do it alone.

Her children and husband act according to her decision. She doesn't realize that nothing will change in her life until she changes something inside of her. The day that she will realize that she is as dependent as her mother was, she will be able to change her decision of always being independent and come to accept her mother.

By doing everything herself, she thinks she's independent. What she doesn't realize is that she is dependent of her husbands’ and kids’ dependence of her!

What she should strive for is to become autonomous. Here is my definition of an autonomous person. It's a person who has the power to act freely and, above all, to decide for on their own what they want. If they can't get what they want by themselves, they are able to ask people for help. To feel good, they don't need the endorsement nor the continuous presence of someone else.

What does this woman need to do to transform her emotional dependency into autonomy?

1- Make peace with her mother.

2- Share with her husband and her children what she discovered about herself.

Everything will change at home. She will be happy to help her family because it will be her choice and not just to be the opposite of her mother. When she needs help, she will be able to ask for help. If someone says “no” to her request, it's important to know that others aren't obliged to help. She will just have to find help elsewhere.

Lise Bourbeau

Learn to be happy

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