On Being Fiercely Independent
Mr. MPB & I chose to make our home in a city without any family here. We love our freedom. We love our independence. Some would say we are fiercely independent.
My parents knew this about me as a small child, and seemed to have been smart enough to let me do my thing because to tell me what to do would have led to an epic meltdown. Not to say they never intervened, just that they only did when they needed to. They raised their children to be independent thinkers and to learn to live with the consequences of their actions. This is something I am grateful for, and highly value in life.
As a teenager, after my mom and sister died, I was really left to my own devises. There was a time where I was virtually living on my own while my Dad was spending time with my now step-family. Then, once we all lived together, I continued to do most things on my own without much input from my parents. I learned to be independent almost as a way of basic survival. While in many ways it was an unfortunate lesson to learn as a teenager, I have learned to live on the foundation that:
there are no guarantees that those you love will be there for you, so you’d better be prepared to take care of yourself.
Mr. MPB also chose a life of independence as he went out of province for university. We met and somehow we just clicked. We have formed a strong bond that almost screams it’s us against the world. We function as a very cohesive team, but we do so without a lot of support from those outside of our marriage.
That said, while being independent may be viewed as a character strength, I’m not convinced that being fiercely independent is.
Recently, we were asked by our counsellor why we don’t ask people for help more. And this has been on my mind constantly lately. Truth be told, I’m sick and tired of being let down by people I love.
In the past, when I’ve asked for help, I’ve been told no.
- As a teenager, my Dad broke more promises to me then he kept. I learned that people wouldn’t live up to their word, and I learned that I was not a priority. I learned that if I wanted something, I needed to make it happen for myself.
- One time, I asked my parents for to drive me to a miscarriage medical procedure as Mr. MPB couldn’t do it and I wasn’t allowed to drive home. Their response was essentially that it wasn’t a good day for them, but if I could have the date changed they would do it – funny thing about medical procedures in Canada, you don’t get to choose the date or time, and they know this.
- Recently we asked my parents to attend an event that really mattered to us, and they declined.
- If we ask Mr. MPB’s parents for advice/help, we are told that what we are doing is completely wrong, and we are idiots for it. Their advice is always to let them make them our decision as they know best. Really, it feels like its there way or not at all.
At some point, we stopped asking. We just stopped. I guess, we gave up.
By doing everything ourselves, we’ve become even more independent. And essentially by becoming more independent, we’ve eliminated any reason for them to help.
Maybe we are caught in a bit of a chicken and the egg situation.
If I’m being fair, maybe our family doesn’t head our rare calls for help because we’ve pushed them out for so many years by simple things like choosing to live in a city far away, and not asking. We’ve made such an effort to live on our own, doing things our way, that now our families don’t know how to help. Or maybe they just don’t want help now because they’ve become accustomed to not having to help?
I’m not saying that it’s all our fault or all their fault. I really don’t know.
But, after years of living fiercely independent, we are starting to experience the downfall. And today, I cannot help but wonder, is there such a thing as being too independent? And, how do we raise our children to want to spend time with us as adults, rather then do what we’ve done and push our parents out?
If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please click the follow button on the side or return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.