What is Dependence?
Dependence is basically the act of leaning on others, rather than doing things yourself. There's a time for dependence (when we're learning) and there's a time for independence (to branch out on your own).
I was talking to a very special young lady of thirteen recently, and we were discussing all the great experiences and the feelings of safety that she now has in her life. She was a “homeless child” from about the age of ten until twelve, and I mean totally on her own to face her day to day survival. No father or mother. No one to depend on, no one to count on. Her immediate goals were to find food and a maybe find a safe place to sleep at night.
I know it is hard to believe, but I know it was true because I would talk to her almost daily while she was on the streets. She wanted so badly to find a home, and she allowed me to help her. She worked so hard to get off the streets, as something inside of her drove her forward against so many obstacles. I was truly amazed at her fortitude and perseverance.
So, one might think, now that she is in a family and has been adopted, all is good in her new world. And, to be sure, she is very appreciative of her new family and new life.
However, as we talked recently, she shared with me one very important point that has her scared. She is realizing that the longer she is off the streets and has left that life behind her, she has felt weaker as she has realized her potential for dependency.
She never felt dependent before. She was scared, but she was strong and resilient.
She had to fight many battles being on the streets, but she did what she had to do and KNEW she could do whatever it took. She had faith and trust in herself, because she saw she could survive. Even as she decided she needed to get off the streets, she saw herself take on the steps needed to do that. She reached out to me. We created a plan together. But, it was her alone that took the steps we discussed. She never would allow herself to be dependent on me. “Tell me what I need to do, but then let ME do it. I do not want anyone controlling my life”.
Now that she was in a loving home, her fear of becoming dependent truly scared her. There were so many things she had come to love like her new parents and siblings.Hot meals and a mattress to sleep on, and her own room. However, she also witnessed weakness around her. She saw people doing harm to others and no one doing anything about it. Why would a person still be with another person who hurts them, says ugly things, treats them badly ?
On the streets, if you hurt somebody, there were consequences. There were rules of survival. There were territories, even for dumpsters to find food. So you found another source of food, another dumpster. You did what you had to do ! But in some way, you still felt strong knowing and seeing that you did get through another day.
But in the civilized world, she saw people freely giving up their independence, accepting so much less than what they wanted.
People in unhappy relationships, but settling.
People in jobs they hated, but accepting they could do no better.
People who are being abused emotionally, physically or sexually, and no one doing anything about it.
People going on disability who are not sick. People on food stamps and who are capable of working.
“ I do not want to become weak. I do not want to be dependent in that way. That is not why I wanted to get off the streets. I do not want to lose my pride, my edge. “
I predict that this young lady is going to do great things !
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist. Coach
Blog : www.RuledByFear.com
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