THE NECESSARY NEED FOR TRUST
It is a normal human need to want to be in happy, meaningful and positive relationships however sometimes it may be hard to trust new relationships if we have experienced negative, hurtful and harmful things with people in the past. Trust is an essential part of a healthy relationship to work well. We need to trust that the person will be respectful, caring, honest, fair, and reasonable with us etc. Of course no relationship is perfect, and there are times when things may not go right. However, when things do go wrong, it is important that we can also trust that we will be heard and understood; that responsibility is taken for; and effort and action is taken to put things right.
BAD EXPERIENCES WITH TRUST
Sometimes we respond to bad experiences with trust by withdrawing from social contact, or over protecting ourselves from further hurt and harm. These behaviours can be helpful in the short term however sometimes they can also lead to further difficulties in the current relationship, or difficulties in securing healthy relationships in the future. Sometimes we find it hard to let go of someone who is too negative in our lives, we fear being alone, or finding new relationships, or even hurting that person. Unfortunately, whilst we are staying in negative relationships we are less likely to encounter or be finding new healthy and positive relationships. Stay in negative relationships also means that we are subjecting ourselves to further pain, distress, unhappiness, and loss of self esteem, and confidence etc.
DEALING WITH TRUST ISSUES
When things go wrong with trust we can initially talk about our disappointments, hurt, and grievances with the expectation and hope that things will be acknowledged, and changed. Where words are not effective it is sometimes necessary to address self care, and set limits or consequences which will be carried out – for example if someone is speaking to you abusively, you may need to say that whilst this is the case you have to leave the room until you can be spoken to reasonably. Of course this needs to work both ways.
So how do we trust again? Everyone is different on what they need to do to trust again, or how long it might take to regain trust. Sometimes it may not be appropriate to trust the person again, or it may feel reasonable to offer another chance. As noted initially, when trying to move on again within a relationship, it is important that both people are willing and actively working together. The other person ideally needs to be providing you with what you need within reason to make the necessary changes. It is also necessary that you can give that person the best chance to make amends eg by not continually referring to the past, or judging the person with negative expectations.
TRUST AND BOUNDARIES
Some trust issues are about things which are generally fixed and unchangeable, eg how you want to be treated; behaviours you will never accept; things you will never be prepared to do; and so they fit in with your fixed and unchangeable boundaries which keep you safe, and healthy physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Some trust issues may be protected by flexible boundaries where certain limits are set initially whilst you are regaining trust, or settling into a new relationship. These flexible boundaries can be changed as you experience: feeling respected, cared for, honesty, fairness and reason; and/or positive changes in behaviour on a consistent basis over a sufficient period of time. Also see > self care.
TRUST AND THE PAST
Sometimes difficult experiences in childhood mean that we have a more difficult time of trusting people in general and may be experiencing an inner hurt child. As with the above issues, it can be helpful to explore this in counselling. Negative and unhelpful thoughts, feelings and behaviours can get in the way of developing workable, and positive relationships. By exploring these experiences and gaining further awareness, insight and change, you can be helped in addressing issues around trust.