I’m starting to realize I have a major problem when it comes to trusting people in both platonic and romantic relationships. I’m always so skeptical about people’s intentions, assuming I’m being used and not really cared for. I do have a past that involves trust being broken multiple times and I feel it haunts me in current relationships. How do you learn to trust again?
Learning to trust starts the moment we are born. We gather information from our parents and how they meet our needs consistency and honestly, as well as, how we see them interacting with others. So, if your early years began with regular situations of broken trust, you are going to struggle with it throughout your future. When unfortunate events happen later in life, all of the childhood wounds flood back in making it harder to forgive, let go and move on.
Even if you had the perfect childhood, you can be conditioned to trust less as you age. Trauma in a relationship or the workplace can rock your belief system around trust. For example, a cheating lover, a backstabbing co-worker, or a lie a friend has kept from you, could result in questioning what you believed to be true about the world and people.
Insecurity in yourself also impacts your ability to trust others. Struggles with your personal self worth cause you to believe you aren’t good enough to receive love and affection. So, you are skeptical when people treat you lovingly, looking at it as deceitful and not honest.
With all of that, your foundation for trust becomes weak.
A huge portion of learning to have more trust is an active decision to do so and a willingness to work hard to change. You need emotional intelligence and the ability to turn the magnifying glass onto yourself.
I wrote a quote while struggling with the scars of my past, “Somedays I feel like my past pulls me under while other days I realize that because of it, I stay afloat.” When looking at your personal hardships regarding trust, don’t take it with a negative perspective. It will only cause frustration and insecurity. There are plenty of positive lessons that come from past experiences. It isn’t about erasing them, it is about using them to strengthen.
I believe it is important to look back and investigate the moments when you lost faith in trust. Understanding how you ended up where you are now helps to better identify triggers and manage the emotional reactions you have to them. I struggle with identifying if my lack of trust is my gut telling me to be careful or if it is a projection of past pain on current situations. So knowing my triggers aids in better interpretation of distrust.
One of my dirty little secrets is that I love proving my pain right. I subconsciously sabotage relationships and then use it as justification for my negative belief systems. It is a terrible habit but my “Shadow Self” fucking loves it. It momentarily feels so good when you get to point and think, “See! I knew they were using me!” However, it only brings more damage and deepens trust issues. Try to catch yourself and stop this from happening.
If you have a new partner and worry about trust, have an honest conversation with them about it. Don’t be ashamed if there are things you still struggle with. You can’t assume they will be able to read your mind so you must be transparent with expectations and what you need to feel secure. A caring partner will want to meet you where you are at to keep the relationship healthy while helping you heal.
Always be ready to take a step back whenever you feel trust dissipating. The ability to pause so your emotions don’t run away with themselves will help create the shift towards being more conscious rather than falling into old trust patterns. Remember that we often punish people in the present for the actions of others in the past and by doing so, we only cause unnecessary hurt to them and ourselves.
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My Life in Yellow is not a licensed psychologist or health care professional and the advice within this column does not replace the care of psychologists or other healthcare professionals. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a health/medical professional. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.