Four questions about trust.

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Trust is the basis of any kind of relationship: friendly, romantic, work, and family. Remove trust – and it’s over, all the communication will fall apart like a house of cards. 

Today, we will answer the four most common questions about trust. 

1.  I don’t trust anyone at all. What does it mean? 

Perhaps, and most likely, you have a problem with basic trust. People form the basic trust in their early childhood. 

In normal circumstances, caregivers act reliably and predictably towards the child. They are able to understand the child’s signals (for example, crying, screaming, general excitement), they can correctly interpret the signals and adequately satisfy the needs of the child (we are talking about the very early childhood). This cycle is repeated many times during everyday interactions.  

The child experiences this cycle of interaction with the caregivers countless times during her first year. Based on these experiences, she forms certain internal models of the caregivers’ behavior, that allow her to predict their actions and her own actions in the context of attachment.  

For example, the child may notice that when she is scared and crying – her Mom will pick her up and comfort her. When she is screaming because she is hungry – her Mom will feed her. When she is smiling – her Mom will smile back. When she is bored – her Mom will play with her. Etc. This way the child understands that the caregiver is available and will respond to her needs with certain actions. 

That is, if the adults behave in a healthy, reliable, correct manner, the child will feel safe. The baby knows that her needs will be satisfied. This feeling becomes a stable part of her psyche. Based on this feeling, the child will build her own self-image as an image of a good and worthy person. 

Or it may be that the child is crying, and the parents yell at her in response, and perhaps even spank her. And this is repeated time and again. Over time, the child will stop crying. She will hold back her tears because she can predict that it doesn’t work – no matter how much she cries, nobody will comfort her. And if the child is smiling but nobody smiles back – she will stop smiling. Etc. 

The models of behavior that help the child to survive in her environment will get reinforced. In such circumstances, the child will not feel safe. Feeling safe is impossible when your needs are not properly satisfied. 

In other words, if during the everyday interaction with the caregivers the child’s needs are not properly satisfied, or satisfied rarely, this has a negative effect on the child. The basic trust is not formed. People will be perceived as unreliable. 

2.  I was deceived once, and now I am wary of everyone. What to do? 

This is probably also an issue with basic trust. Because if it were strong, the dishonesty of a certain person would be perceived as “this happens, people are different.” But in this case, it looks like the seed fell on fertile ground. 

What to do about it? You need to work on forming basic trust (this needs to be done with a psychologist). And you need to learn to trust appropriately. What does it mean? Something like this: you should not suspect someone who is honest and should not ignore the true signs of deception. 

3.  Can trust in a relationship be rebuilt after betrayal? 

Yes, it can. Provided that the following prerequisites are met:  

  • The deceiving party took responsibility for their dishonesty.  
  • The lying stops. 
  • Both parties work on restoring trust. First, they agree on what is necessary for that, identify specific actions, and follow through on their agreement. 

4.  How can you tell if you can trust a person? 

From first glance – you can’t. Trust is a choice. People enter relationships with a certain credit of trust. And, by the way, both parties are at risk equally. 

Then, as the relationship develops, you can notice whether the person takes your boundaries and your agreements seriously.