“Every time I’ve trusted people in the past I’ve been let down, so now it’s easier and less painful to just rely on myself.” as this thought floats across your subconscious, you begin to feel lonely again, and then angry. It shouldn’t have to be this hard in relationships, any relationship which includes friendship, to let your guard down without getting hurt. Sadly, it is a work in progress and you’re about to give up.
Why is it difficult to trust?
Sometimes, we hold onto anger like a hot coal. Yes, I got that from Buddha, but he goes on to say that you are the one who gets burned. You. Think about it. You are mad at your spouse. You have been mad at your spouse for years. He/she probably doesn’t even know why you are angry anymore. All you do is constantly talk about it with your friends. You have not left the spouse yet, instead you stay behind your wall of resentment letting it spill out into all others areas of your life. Work. Friendships. Children. And finally, your mind. It’s all-consuming to the point that no matter what anyone does to help you, you cling to that grievance and bitterness until you look up one day and you are all alone.
You have to decide how to get your life back and ask yourself some hard questions.
- Is the past holding you back? I know that people in pain lash out. But sometimes, enough is enough. Are you trapped in a victim mentality? Do you lash out at others and operate on low self-esteem all the time? Your past experience with broken trust might stem as far back as childhood and you are dragging it around daily. It is weighing you down. You have become almost unrecognizable to your friends and they are desperately trying to lighten the load you carry, but you won’t let them. You are the victim here and unfortunately, your past hurts are now dictating your present and maybe even your future. Only you can control what is happening within you. No one else.
- Are you harboring unrealistic expectations? Here’s an interesting thought…do you have unclear expectations and perhaps have not ever voiced them? Unspoken expectations in any relationship will likely not be heard. Hmmm. Think about that. Trust is huge in a relationship whether or not you realize it and it has to be addressed openly and calmly. However, oftentimes people don’t try to address it until it is way too late. For example, I would have rather have had an awkward conversation than be at the front desk checking in when someone said “Sorry I missed your party last night. We couldn’t make it over.” And yet my friend had told me she was going to bed when I asked her what she was doing that night as I was trying to make plans with her. I felt shame wash over me in that moment…my face actually got hot. She was standing right beside me and lied to me. I was not worthy of the truth? That hurts.
- Are you defensive instead of honest? Do you still harbor some resentment from childhood that makes you feel you have to come up with elaborate stories? Look back at your role models, the people around you, your beliefs…were you lied to as a norm and so have come to accept that you can’t trust people? If you constantly think you can’t trust people, anyone actually, and are always holding part of you back for fear of getting hurt, you will not experience fulfillment in any of your relationships. They will feel slightly empty and the only thing to do about it is to finally trust someone with your biggest fears no matter how scary they are. We can only love someone we trust and trust is actually one of the building blocks to any relationship. All your interactions with people in life use trust as a foundation. Think about your performance at work. If you don’t trust your boss and you think he’s got dirty unethical business practices, are you more likely to work harder? No you’re not. You are going to leave work every chance you get.
The people who cannot trust are architects of their own misery. They begin to see fault where there is none…even if they know you are an honest person. Part of that is because they don’t know how to be truly honest with themselves. It is very difficult, but not impossible, to rebuild a relationship after trust is broken; however, one thing is clear. It takes both parties and you cannot continue to go down the same path. You have to reign in your old actions, your old ways, your old responses that might be vague. You have to be clear and have honest expectations. You have to build your friendship or relationship up, and use good energy because trust me when I say this, the other person knows when you are lying or hiding something from them and it starts to wear down any good relationship. For more help, see the tab Head|Heart|Health Club for a supportive group.