Man, I just don't see how.
You don't see it because you don't want to see it. You simply cannot believe it - you spent 5 years of hell in a low-paid profession with no job security, and the thought that Poles might have something positive is ghastly to you.
Communism not long ago, people weren't even able to travel, or couldn't afford to do so.
Common myth. Poles (along with Czechoslovaks, Hungarians and East Germans) had plenty of opportunity to travel to other Socialist countries.
Limited funds for years and years which simply exposes you to "less".
What has that got to do with being individualistic?
Limited international media exposure, especially those that don't speak English, which was nearly everyone until the 1990's.
English was quite widely taught even before the 1990's. If you'd actually met educated people in Poland, you'd know that English wasn't as inaccessible as one might have thought.
On paper, Poland is a recipe for "Vanilla". If Poland seems invidualistic to you, you probably need to travel more.
On paper, yes. But as a culture? I refer you to Gummi's answer -
the integrity of subsequent Polish states, especially compared to Poland's neighbors with their "zu befehl" on one hand
They are a very, very individualistic society. They can't even agree on things such as standardised dress at work!