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  • Writer's pictureGail Debono

strength as a weakness

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

Those who are perceived to be the strongest people, are those who don't need anybody's help, who couldn't care less about others' opinions, who are capable of doing everything on their own; they are the ones who have no problem showing up at a new theatre group, introducing themselves, and settling in. They are the ones who are able to spend a life alone, to take care of all their own needs, and be completely self-sufficient.

Most would admire them, thinking "This. This is what I aspire to be."; what most people don't realise is that as a species, we are social animals. Humans thrive in groups. To elicit the help of others, in exchange for our own strengths is in our genetic code. Living life in any other way is a trauma response. The people we so admire for their strength did not chose to be that way, they were reprogrammed into it. Their life experiences led them to deduce that the best way forward was not to expect anything from anybody and therefore not to ask for it. These thoughts are more often than not accompanied by thoughts of "People don't have time for my questions", and "Why would anybody want to help me?".

These negative thoughts, stem from past experience. The strong person will have tried to coexist in their world in the past, and would have been let down, sometimes by caregivers, other times by friends or family members, sometimes by everyone, repeatedly. As a result, these people learn to be successful alone - that much is true, but they also go through life aching to reach out to others, managing to fit in to group activities superficially, yet failing miserably when it comes to any deep interaction, and going through life feeling desperately lonely. When they do enter relationships, they tend to attract those who value their independence, and who continue to solidify their ideas of lack of self worth when it comes to demanding others' time.

They avoid discussing their needs and feelings because they have learnt to think that nobody would understand or care. They don't call friends to ask them out, for fear of being rejected, spending most of their free time alone. As a result they seem aloof and arrogant, although this is more often than not a response to the fear of rejection, and therefore it is a way to ensure that they don't seem like they need anybody, despite the fact that they are often dying to reach out.

When they do socialise, they tend to gather with like-minded people, patting one another on the back for their achieved sense of independence, but these relationships are also superficial and only stand the test of time because they don't really challenge one another at any semblance of depth. Strong independent people are uncomfortable with others showing too much affection, or care, because they don't feel worth the effort, and as a result, interpret it as fake. So... next time you are around someone whom you perceive to be strong and fiercely independent, find a way to show them you really care, and let it be you who restores their fate in humanity. And if this blog post feels like a personal attack, perhaps it's time for you to reach out to the world around you and realise that when you weren't given the time of day as a child, it was not you who was unworthy, but rather those who were charged with giving you the attention you warranted and deserved.

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