So, how can we notice that the process of trusting is deformed or distorted? Let’s consider the following real-life examples.
Even if everything is going well in Elizabeth’s life, she thinks that this cannot last long. The world is going to throw some monkey wrench into her life: her friend may betray her, her boyfriend too, she may get fired… What else to expect in a world where everyone for themselves? The most important thing is not to let your guard down.
Natalie is very certain that one should not open up to people. The safest way – is not to show your emotions and not to get close to people. People may betray, humiliate, insult, or use you. Has something like this happened to Natalie? No. But she is still fairly certain on some subconscious level that something like this is likely to happen.
Time and again, Tony falls in love with unavailable women. With women who already have a relationship or are married, or with those who live in a different country. He starts relationships that for obvious reasons soon become unsatisfactory. Time and again, he “learns” that you shouldn’t trust anybody. All the women move on with their lives after “giving” him some hope…
Angela trusts everyone. To her, friends are all people whom she met just yesterday. She doesn’t quite understand how trust works since she’s never had a relationship based on solid and justified trust. Therefore, she always makes the same mistake by getting too close to people too quickly.
Evan is very suspicious of people. In everyone’s actions, he sees warning signs that everything is bad and one should never trust this person. If the woman he just met is being late – that means she is hiding something. If she doesn’t pick up right away or answers his message after some time – she is obviously rejecting him. If his girlfriend doesn’t want to have sex today, that’s it – the relationship is over, she doesn’t want him anymore. And then Evan starts checking his girlfriend’s phone and monitoring her behavior. Surely, he finds “obvious” signs supporting his suspicions.
All these people have certain problems with trust. If they leave things as they are – there is a risk that they will not be able to build a normal relationship. This doesn’t apply just to romantic relationships, but to relationships of any kind. All our communications and our approach to the world are built on trust.
It is not hard to see that a person has problems with trust if you know where to look.
Here are some signs:
- Being certain or having premonitions that someone will definitely betray or injure them. They act under the influence of these thoughts.
- Or vice versa – they give the credit of trust to all people under any circumstances. Even to those people who showed themselves not trustworthy. And then they get a confirmation – “I knew it!”.
- Trust is a process, it needs time to develop. As a rule, people need to deserve it. But when a person’s boundary of trust is deformed or washed out – anybody can enter. The person doesn’t have the experience of creating real trustworthy relationships.
- A person is not able to open up to another human being because they always feel that “they may betray me or use me”.
- All their relationships are superficial. The person can talk about the weather or nature, but never about things that really matter to them. This area is not safe.
- “Do not get attached, do not get attached, do not get attached to anything” – this is a slogan of people who have problems with trust. It is “tattoed” in their brain that betrayal is inevitable. And that means that a horrible loss will happen. Therefore, they need to keep everything and everyone at arm’s length.
- Accusing other people (aloud or internally) when they interpret some situations negatively. For example, if a friend is not ready to share his problem – how could he not trust me! A colleague invited too late to a party because she was busy – surely she doesn’t want to invite me! I am not going to go. Period.
- Internal feelings that others don’t understand or don’t accept them. It is phrased not as “I am not being open enough for others to get to know me” but “they don’t understand me”.
Try to analyze your relationship with the world – it is not hard. You need to take a sheet of paper and without thinking finish the following phrases:
– Most people… – People who volunteer… – If you help someone… – If I get in trouble… – If you trust people then… – In difficult situations I… – My future seems to me… – If you don’t trust anyone it means… – The most important thing in relationships with people…
If you analyze the answers you will see and understand YOUR personal picture of the world.
If it turns out that you are certain that nobody can be trusted, that you should always expect a blow from life or people around you – it is important to analyze if this viewpoint is helpful or if you need to reconsider it and understand where it came from.
There is nothing objective in our lives. Everything is subjective. Everything is influenced by our beliefs, convictions, worldviews, and personal experiences. This is why we need to correct views that make “our” world sad or dangerous. And this will make our lives better.
Can you regain basic trust? No. It is not possible to return a plant to the state of seed and grow it anew, in the right way.
No, no, please do not sigh in disappointment “so why are we talking about it then?”
Can you learn to be open, stop being afraid, start trusting, and get rid of beliefs that dampen all the lively emotions in your relationships?
Absolutely! It is quite possible to change your patterns of behavior. The first step would be to admit that the present patterns don’t quite work for you.