Independent Woman: Independence Builds Barriers
Independence builds barriers… For the independent woman, this might surprise many of you and I believe it’s an important aspect of today’s modern relationship that we must look at within our own lives if we desire healthy, happy and fulfilling relationships. It’s become readily clear to me through observing my own life and the lives of the many men and strong independent women I’ve worked with over the years, that the “independence” so radically promoted by the original women’s movement, and by today’s societal conditioning, has wrecked much havoc in our intimate relationships… and in our offices for that matter.
Please know that I am immensely grateful for the changes created for women and society as a whole as a result of the Women’s movement. At the same time, I recognize that while the movement gave us equality, power, pay, and independence, in exchange for those freedoms most of us traded health, happiness, romance, passion, friendship, fulfillment, and more.
It is absolutely true that for the first time in evolutionary history, women are no longer dependent on men for their inherent survival. Hallelujah! And, it makes me cry sometimes as I watch the parade of women I see that now believe they have to do it all… They have to be everything to all people all the time. Simultaneously, women have been so conditioned that weakness is unacceptable that we’ll do anything to prove our strength… and we have a society filled with exhausted women.
Women, how often do you feel exhausted before you ever get out of bed?
Men, how many women do you know that push themselves to the point of utter exhaustion and then go into a fit of exasperated rage or collapse in a pile of frustrated tears?
I know I’ve been one of those women. When I prided myself on being a strong independent woman, I thought I should and could do it all. I can’t. There’s always a trade off. I read recently in the book, “Taming your Alpha Bitch” about how we as women are trying to do so much that we’re always trading off one thing for another. They talked about how we women will finally get ahead in our businesses, and then we wake up and can’t button our jeans. Or our relationship is thriving and our professional life is struggling. I soooo know the reality of these challenges.
Similar conditioning has existed for men as well. Our society chastises “softness” in men and criticizes them for any semblance of “weakness” that might arise. This has cost us so much.
For all of us – men and women alike – it is our vulnerability and openness, combined with our willingness to give and receive that allow us to thrive in life and celebrate in love!
It’s time for all of us to open up to the possibility of choosing healthy and conscious DEPENDENCE…
There’s another cause, beyond the societal conditioning of “be independent no matter what,” for those of us who have experienced some form of abandonment in our lives. We will often say, “I’ll never let that happen again.” “I’ll never get attached like that again… I’ll never let someone get that close again.” And then we strive for more and more independence, creating wider and deeper chasms between those we might otherwise love deeply… or be loved by.
Before I conclude, I’m in the process of reading a new book called, “Vagina” and it talks about recent scientific research that may prove that women are actually “wired” for connection… that our bonding, even our “addiction to love” may be pre-wired into our biochemistry and our sexual nervous system. The implication is that all the judgements we’ve had of women who seem to compulsively want love may be in vain. Or that those of us women who have almost “fought” ourselves to be stronger, more independent… are fighting a never-ending uphill battle. These bonding behaviors may prove to be biological and necessary for a healthy working society. I’ll share more as I learn more.
So no matter how it started for you, the “independence strategy” runs in all of us and it’s time for us to drop the barriers. It’s time to reconnect and enjoy the gifts that we can give one another. Men and women, the masculine and feminine, actually complement each other in life when we allow ourselves to serve and be served by others. Giving becomes receiving. Receiving becomes giving. Remember… in order to receive you have to surrender some of your independence and allow someone – a man or woman – to help you, to support you.
If you ask for help… if you open your heart to support… it does not mean you are weak or dependent. It means you’re strong and powerful… and becoming even more so.
To be complete I must note, we’ve heard for years about the unhealthiness of co-dependence in relationships. This is true… when “I HAVE to have you or be with you” or when my emotions or sense of well-being are dependent on your emotions, we cannot create healthy authentic relationships. This is true and we must move forward from here.
Once we have found our independence and grounded ourselves in it… then dependence and vulnerability become critically important components of passionate and fulfilling relationships. This healthy dependence arises from two people who are first comfortable with themselves and honest about their needs and desires.
Then they chose inter-dependence and vulnerability with each other.
So find your independence…know you have it… and when appropriate… choose to surrender it in exchange for deeper support, love and intimacy… and even power!
And if you want to know more, A LOT MORE, about this masculine feminine dance and how to have deep soulful connection and chemistry, join me at the Soulful Relating Retreat.
In love, light and ecstasy,
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.
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April 28-30, 2023
April 28-30, 2023
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Good article Joanna, much to chew on… In my experience and work there seems to always be a pursuer and the one pursued. (The endless dance of Psyche and Eros.) And I remember the first time how shocking it was to see how quickly these roles can switch in a relationship with the pursued now in the role of the pursuer and vice-versa. We talk a good game of "interdependence" but we never arrive. Not fully. The Dependent and the Independent both have a resistance and fear of vulnerability. The Independent, as you point out, is struggling with intimacy and letting someone in, while the Dependent, paradoxically, is struggling with being more Self-Reliant. The Dependent fights to keep up an elevated sense of passion/attraction in order to maintain the connection and avoid that deep look within, whereas the Independent is keeping the fire dampened down, so as not to be engulfed by the white hot flames of desire. "Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame." The goal ultimately is for the Independent to allow for vulnerability and to have the trust in other (and self-reliance) that you won't drown in flame and for the Dependent to realize they won't disappear (lose their identity) in the deeper waters farther from shore and that their lover will be there when they swim back to shore. It's funny how we need relationship to test both of these polarities in order to find our Self-Reliance and Intimacy with another. Maybe another way of thinking about Interdependence is that it's full of Intimacy and Self-Relaince.
I also liked the part about softness. I work with men and impotency issues and often encounter the belief that you have to "be strong" in oder to maintain an erection and yet it's just the opposite… erections happen from blood flowing freely in the body. From letting go and un-hardening of the arteries. We men are taught that we have to "ground and pound" our lovers into sublime submission and there is something to be said for a righteous fucking… but that's not all there is. Tons of men out there hopped up on Viagra and missed the invitation to another way of being in the world.
From Rag-Dolling to Impotence… And everything in-between. 🙂
Thank you for the great response Matt!! Very insightful and I'd say very on target. The contribution is much appreciated!
I grew up with a single mother who was friends with other single mothers. Several of them had their own businesses. I often heard them bashing men and saying things like, “I don’t need a man to be happy.” While ontologically true, many of them attempted to enter into relationships with men or other women even and tried to hold on to that aspect of their identity. Long story short it doesn’t work. But, because I saw it throughout my childhood, I could easily identify when someone I was with was running that program.
Unfortunately, part of that program is not wanting to hear from other people that one can improve at something. We falsely believe we can fix ourselves. “Self-help” is an irresponsible term IMO. If you are reading a so called “self-help” book written by someone else, you’re not helping yourself. That author is helping you. And if you read these books, you will see that it is full of advice and tips that they learned from other people who helped them. So where the f***, did the independent being who can help themselves illusion come from? I’ll tell you this, it is killing everyone and everything slowly. So thanks for questioning it. You’re saving the world.
Right before my dad died he told me that his biggest regret was that he thought he was an individual for most of his life. How crazy is that? “In-divide-you-alls” don’t exist. We’re interdependent whether we want to lie to ourselves about it or not. And we can’t help ourselves. You even need trees and other plants for oxygen. The Bootstrap Lie is the worst. A Mormon buddy once told me that in their teachings, the Satan tricked humanity by convincing us that we could help ourselves so that we’d think we didn’t need God or each other. That’s the Fall. Anyone who’s really fallen will tell you that they needed help to get up. When you don’t accept help to get up, you’ll try to bring others down with you. Take the help when it comes. It’s probably the best thing you can do for everyone.