Damaged trust

The only way to relearn how to trust, is to trust another person. Give them the chance to hurt you, but hope that they don’t. (Now to keep the comments from coming that I know will – that doesn’t mean completely 100% trust strangers for no reason.) We can’t always keep people from hurting us. If they are the type to hurt us, it’s not our fault. Some simply haven’t learned not to hurt another, or how to communicate properly and inevitably hurt those closest to them. Maybe without meaning to.

In many ways we can equate this to how dogs behave with humans who’ve abused them. Again and again they trust that the human won’t hurt them. After a while, it may come to break and it will take a lot of hard work and time to show them that yes, humans can be trusted. Even while still holding onto something in the back of them which remains hesitant. But by then they have decided to trust that this person won’t hurt them. Maybe all aren’t bad.

The problem with having trust issues and having had our trust broken by people is that we have learned to expect the pain. We have learned to expect someone to break that trust. There is a problem in that though. When we expect something, we tend to receive it. That’s why I say it’s important to give people trust while hoping they don’t hurt you.

Not everyone is worthy of that trust. You walk up to a stranger in the dark alley and see them holding a knife at you. Common sense there. You wouldn’t think they intended to help you. But then instincts play a role. What if they happened to see someone behind you who was intending you harm? And it was a person who looked completely different? As if they were the ones you should trust?

Again, use your instincts, but place some trust, hope that they won’t hurt you. We can’t always stop someone intending us harm from that intention. We can hope that they’d choose better. But just because the past has shown you many people shouldn’t have been trusted doesn’t mean you are the one with the problem. It doesn’t mean the future person you come across is the problem. The problem are the individuals who’ve hurt you. They were the ones who broke that trust. It doesn’t mean the next one will. It doesn’t mean you should stop trusting people. People are inherently good.

I get it. I’ve been there. Most of the people I placed my trust in have broken it. And I am the one likely to trust a stranger in a dark alleyway not to harm me.  I can’t help it. No matter how many times I’ve been hurt, I prefer to see the good in people. Because I believe everyone is capable of it. We don’t know their story.

But when we go into situations always expecting and believing that someone will hurt us, we’ve already written the story. We’ve already said that we too have become the problem. Because then it does become we who are the issue. People can hurt us. People will. But to place that on the shoulders of a new person, of someone who’s never hurt us, who’s never given us reason not to trust them.

That’s on us.

It means we’ve allowed that pain to rule us. Those who’ve hurt us are still hurting us. They aren’t the ones with the trust issues. They aren’t the ones suffering. We are. And we’re making all those around us suffer with us too.

Communication is key.

It’s been said time and again. And it’s important to point out. Communication is vital to someone who’s been hurt. No, someone can’t say “you can trust me,” and everything will be great. But being there when the insecurities rise. Communicating and ensuring that you know their stance, their feelings, their intentions, etc., that can go a long way to helping us to relearn to trust, and to trust that person.

If someone isn’t interested in that? That’s a huge red flag that you should pay attention to. If they put you down for it? That is a big deal. If they don’t take it seriously and don’t want to help you through it, they aren’t being a friend to you.

The biggest experience personally that left me raw on the trust scale was a so-called best friend who (not going into too many details) after a two years of getting closer, let me find out what I meant to him. Never told me about it, acted two-faced (I later discovered), and showed me what he really thought of me. But after that experience, it left me extremely raw on the trust scale. I also learned that some talk about the future and forever and it turns out that they have a time limit on that term.

As in, if this individual doesn’t do x, y, and z, by a certain date we’re done. That basically states that their love comes with conditions.

So for me, communication and connection is vital. Being completely open and honest is a requirement in my world. I’d rather someone tell me what they are feeling, what they sense, so we can work it out, versus the disconnect. That “I don’t care” attitude. The one where they pull away just enough to where that distance grows. People with trust issues are hard work. I am hard work. But even after all this, I’ve learned something important about trust.

When we stop trusting people, we’re saying we no longer have hope. We’ve become as cold as those who hurt people, as those who’ve hurt us. Because to trust another person and hope they don’t hurt us, takes great strength.

That doesn’t mean constantly berating them and harassing them about friends, about where they’re going. Because that means you’re not trusting them at all. That means more about you and says you’re placing all that previous person’s actions on the new one’s shoulders. Have they earned it? Have they given you any reason not to trust them? Talking to them is one thing. Beating them over and over every single day, day in and day out is an issue you need to deal with. Not them. People only have so much patience.

Even the strongest need a break. I admit fully that my insecurities get the best of me at times. I have been hurt deeply by those I trusted. But to have someone to vent that to when they get so bad I can’t keep them in. To have someone to talk to me and reassure me that it’s okay when it gets bad? When I finally break down and I find a patient and understanding, very steady person there to admit that too? The amount of healing that happens is something you don’t get from someone who’d put you down for it. It helps.

For me it takes a drastic effort to open up that way to someone. To a man. To ask for help. To admit, I’m feeling insecure. Others may have learned as kids to. They may have had those relationships where they could. I haven’t. One thing I’m learning is that we can only do so much on our own. To heal pain that has happened in relationships (platonic, friendship, romantic) we need a solid and steady partner there when we get weak. We need to be able to open up and find we’re listened to, we’re not condemned, we’re not judged.

It bears repeating the only way we get over trust issues is to place our trust in another person and hope they don’t betray it. Believe that they won’t. Trust that they won’t. Because not everyone is out to hurt us. 99% of the world can hurt you. But that doesn’t mean that next one will. And that one good person in your life? Can change your entire existence and the world along with it. As can you for them by honoring them with that trust, and not automatically assuming they’re the same as the rest.

This is an ongoing battle for me. I keep a lot in. I can’t help it. It’s been trained into me to do so. To open up to people is still a struggle and takes a lot of courage on my part. To let people in takes a massive amount of effort. To reach out to another? I may as well be scaling a mountain. I keep to myself, only allowing so much of me out. I’m open . . . to a point. Having had your trust broken, don’t expect it to take second to get over. One moment to erase the past. But don’t dwell. Don’t live in that mindset and allow people who have long since left your life (I’d hope) to still rule you now. And if they are still around then don’t let them infect your other relationships. Don’t allow them to hold you back from being as great as you can. Trust yourself. Trust others. It may take time to build. It may be hard work, but it’s worth it isn’t it?

To be happy?

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