I just came across a blog called Flying through Water: Finding your Inner Penguin where the author, Nikki, asks other bloggers to respond to her Penguin Prompts. Her current prompt asks us to talk about independence in whatever way we are inspired to do so.
Coincidentally, I just wrote something in my journal the other day about viewing myself as this strong, independent woman and how that contributes to my tendency to withdraw from family and friends when shit gets tough for me. Right after I finished writing about this, I came across the following passage in the Reich and Lowen tradition (don’t ask me what that is, I just came across this when looking up what an “oral character” is) describing characteristic attitudes of the communicator (oral).
“The communicator operates with an inner feeling of needing to be held, supported, and taken care of, but these feelings are usually consciously denied and a reaction formation espousing independence and responsibility is strongly in place. This can lead to an exaggerated show of independence which does not hold up under stress.”
How do they know me so well?!
I tell the college students I work with all the time that being an independent learner doesn’t mean that they can do everything by themselves. It means that they know when to ask for help and where to find resources. You would think that I would have learned by now that when I’m feeling most like withdrawing and “espousing… an exaggerated show of independence” is when I most need to reach out for support. It doesn’t make me weak or not independent, quite the opposite, it makes me stronger and happier and more able to function as a healthy, independent person.