Carolina Chanis

Mar 25, 2022

When your desire for independence is rooted in people pleasing

Do you isolate when you are struggling? Will you do whatever it takes so you don't become a burden?

I follow @thecareertherapist on Instagram and she recently posted something about "Never Being a Burden can look like..." and it really made me think.

As a self-proclaimed Rebel Princess, this is a new perspective on an old problem. My desire for independence is enmeshed with what she calls "covert codependency".

Basically, the way I remain connected with my family is by playing the role of the one that no one has to worry about.

This can reach ridiculous peaks, like shutting off all communications when I am sick. If it's truly a life or death situation, I will let you know. Otherwise, I would like to rot alone, please. At the same time, I get depressed, because I start to think that I don't have people who can take care of me (BEHOLD THE IRRATIONAL SELF IN ACTION).

Illness brings this behavior into the spotlight. It's the ultimate vulnerability, and I still prioritize being stoic and put together. The only reason anyone knew I was sick last week is because I didn't think it was going to be this bad and I jokingly posted something on Facebook.

I appreciated those who reached out, and at the same time I wish I had kept my mouth shut.

I'm not saying that all desire for independence is some sort of codependent behavior.

What I'm saying, we are complex beings and until you have a look, things just get enmeshed and you end up doing weird, self-sabotaging shit.

It makes sense that I don't want to be a burden and I take it to the extreme when I am ill.

I am the eldest, and that alone turns you into the responsible child who doesn't bother anyone.

My childhood was also defined by my cousin's long fight against cancer.

There was no particular moment where I was told that it would be easier for the adults if I just grew up. I just assumed, "this is how I will help".

These are the types of stories that the Rebel Princess keeps living as an adult. Her desire to be fiercely independent is partially coming from a fear of being a burden. What ends up happening is that she might get that independence, but it doesn't look or feel good at all.

It's an independence that feels lonely and restrictive because your mind cannot conceive a scenario where you can be independent and also surrender and let someone else carry the weight of the world for you.

So, if there's a takeaway from this...we are always living some kind of story. There's no escaping this. All we can do is release the stories that don't help us and adopt new ones that do.

Carolina Chanis

Letting you in on the process of healing from perfectly hidden depression and the courage it takes to create without the torment of the inner critic.

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