Women who are fiercely independent on the surface but insecure underneath usually display these 6 behaviors

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Ever met a woman who just seems to have it all figured out? Like she walks into a room and you can practically feel her confidence and independence from a mile away.

It’s pretty impressive, right? You might even think she’s got this secret formula for being unstoppable.

But here’s the scoop: some women who come across as fiercely independent and successful may actually be really insecure underneath it all. 

Insecurities aren’t a sign of weakness; they’re just part of being human. But whether you’re looking for a role model or simply wondering how to support the independent women in your life, it’s key to distinguish between true independence and those masking insecurities.

As someone striving to be a successful and independent woman, I’ve been taking notes of fiercely independent women and I’ve noticed something interesting. Even though they seem self-reliant, many of them show signs they’re dealing with hidden insecurities.

Today, I’m diving into their behaviors, to shed some light on the whole strong-on-the-outside but sometimes unsure-on-the-inside thing. Whether you totally relate or you’re curious to understand the independent women in your life more, we’re about to peek behind the curtain.

Let’s get into it and see if any of this sounds familiar to you or someone you know.

1) They struggle to ask for help 

Picture this: you’re working with a woman who embodies independence. It’s like she can do anything. She’s the go-to person for solutions, always ready to tackle the next big thing. 

But then something super simple trips her up.

When she’s the one in need, she can’t seem to ask for help. It’s like she’s paralyzed. She’d rather struggle alone than just reach out and ask for someone’s help even though she helps everyone around her. 

Does this sound familiar? Maybe this describes you perfectly. Or maybe it makes you think of a powerful woman in your life. 

There are lots of different reasons why a woman might struggle to ask for help, maybe she’s counter-dependent or perhaps she’s afraid of being rejected. She might even be worried about being judged.

All of these things stem from some underlying insecurity. 

When a fiercely independent woman can’t ask for help, it’s a telling sign that she’s silently battling some insecurities. Why not show her some support and let her know it’s safe for her to ask for help every once in a while?

2) They strive for perfection in everything they do

Another thing about these super independent women is that they really want to get everything just right, all the time.

It’s like they’re always pushing for 100% perfection in whatever they do, whether it’s at work, at home, or even just planning a night out. 

But here’s the kicker: this drive to nail everything perfectly isn’t just about wanting to do a good job. It’s more about not wanting to mess up and feel judged for it. 

Psychology writer Sophie McBain sums it up pretty well when she says, “Perfectionists are defensive and insecure, hampered by a fear of failure and an inability to celebrate their successes.”

They’re scared of failing and don’t really know how to pat themselves on the back for the wins they do have.

If you know a self-reliant woman who always goes above and beyond to make sure everything’s just so, it might be a sign she’s dealing with some insecurities. 

3) They try to control every area of their life

Being independent is one thing, and being obsessed with controlling everything is a whole other ball game. Do you know a woman like this? It’s like they have to micromanage every detail of life, from big decisions down to the smallest tasks. 

This isn’t just about being organized or having things done a certain way; it’s about the need to control every little detail and being afraid of what might happen if you let go even a little.

Take my friend Amy (don’t worry, it’s not her real name). To the outside world, she’s got it all figured out, juggling life’s demands with grace. But behind closed doors, it’s a different story. She admits that the thought of not being in control sends her into a panic. 

Every dinner plan, every weekend trip, even how she plans her weekly grocery list, she has to be in control. It’s her way of trying to avoid any little surprises. 

This need to control everything, to avoid leaving anything to chance, is a telltale sign of underlying insecurity. She doesn’t trust herself to handle what life throws at her, she tries to control everything so that she can be prepared. 

But here’s the thing: life is inherently unpredictable. No amount of control can change that. So, when you see someone who can’t seem to let go and relax, remember, it’s often their way of coping with the uncertainties that lie beneath their confident exterior.

4) They’re constantly busy 

Do you ever notice how some people are always busy? It’s almost like they can’t sit still. 

For those who seem super independent, this non-stop action could be hiding something else, like insecurities. Being busy all the time might help them avoid facing those little doubts or fears that pop up when things get quiet.

Does this remind you of anyone, or does it hit close to home for you? 

Some research shows that being seen as busy can make someone feel more important or successful, which might be why they keep their schedule packed​. It’s also a way for them to avoid dealing with deeper issues. 

So, if you or someone you know can’t seem to find a moment of peace, it might be worth considering if this busyness is real or if it’s a way to dodge feeling insecure. Recognizing this could be a step toward finding a healthier balance.

5) They rarely open up and show their emotions

When someone is fiercely independent, it might seem like they don’t need anyone and are always fine, but we all have feelings, right? 

Hiding true emotions is another sign of hidden vulnerabilities. 

Brené Brown, an expert on vulnerability, says that building meaningful connections, finding your purpose, and being your true self all start with vulnerability.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

If someone you know seems extremely independent and rarely opens up emotionally, it could indicate they’re masking insecurities. Embracing vulnerability, as Brown advises, isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a step towards authenticity and deeper relationships.

6) They suffer from imposter syndrome

Did you know that even the most seemingly self-assured and independent women can experience imposter syndrome? It’s where individuals doubt their accomplishments and fear being exposed as a fraud. It’s surprisingly common. 

When it comes to independent women, imposter syndrome often looks like not giving themselves enough credit and thinking they just got lucky. They might not feel like they truly deserve their success, always worried about being found out.

Many accomplished women, such as Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou, have openly discussed their struggles with imposter syndrome throughout their careers, highlighting how widespread this issue is. 

A lot of self-sufficient women know all about imposter syndrome and do their best to hide their self-doubt, revealing that a tough exterior doesn’t always reflect what’s inside.

Final thoughts

Turns out, being super independent is not just about being strong on your own. Sometimes, challenges and self-doubts are hiding behind that independence. 

Whether it’s hard for you to ask for help, or you’re pushing yourself too hard to prove something, it’s okay. Recognizing these signs in ourselves or others is a step towards understanding and supporting each other better. 

After all, being truly strong also means knowing when to lean on others.

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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