I would bet money that not a single person reading this hasn’t had their trust broken, shattered, ripped at the seams or stretched so far it might not ever feel or look the same again.
The reason I’m so sure of this is because trust is what underpins our relationships. All of them. As we begin to know a person, and that relationship grows, trust also blossoms. Trust is like a seed – As it shoots up and becomes stronger, it begins to entwine the people in the relationship. This doesn’t happen overnight, and neither should it. Deep trust is shared and developed over time, not just given.
Trust makes us feel safe because it is like an insurance policy:
I trust you to love me,
I trust you to be honest,
I trust you to look out for me,
I trust you to take care of me if I am sick,
I trust you to keep your word,
I trust you to support me,
I trust you to stay in my life,
I trust you to be happy for me and have my best interests at heart,
I trust you to accept me as I am…
But how do you trust again – if a trust has been compromised?
How do you trust again – A PERSON who broke your trust?
How do you trust again – YOURSELF? Your judgment of others?
In the Oxford online dictionary, trust is defined as both a noun and a verb:
Noun: Firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
So, we develop a sense of confidence when we believe a person is trustworthy.
Verb: (To) Believe in the reliability, truth, or ability of.
So, we are relying on someone, when trust is a verb, and this is the platform on which reputations, relationships, and businesses are built.
Trust is one of the heavyweight qualities in life. It’s built over time, it is a bond and when it exists, it allows love, intimacy, and loyalty to flourish.
We often think of unconditional love as being the best kind of love to share and receive from others. Unconditional love should always happen with parents and children. It means, “I love you for who you are.”
Where is this going and what has it got to do with trust again?
Simple: Love can be unconditional. But relationships have conditions. And one of these is that you can TRUST the person. That, in your own unique relationship, love will present itself in predictable ways:
However, although your love might be unconditional. Your respect isn’t. Your trust isn’t.
When you stop and consider that trust underpins your dealings with others, an absence of it breaks down what you had. It happens though. We get let down and get hurt – and there is nothing worse than having someone piss in your pocket while they tell you it’s raining. Trust affects many facets of our dealings with others.
We may love someone. But we may also recognize that we cannot trust them. That possibly we don’t even respect them.
Why? Because the bond isn’t established. For example, children from abusive homes grow up not knowing how or who to trust. They are let down. They are often unloved. They are not important. Their needs aren’t recognized. They learn to take care of themselves. Or, sadly, sometimes feel so undeserving, they accept whatever treatment they get. And find this pattern repeating itself later on in life.
Just because someone is family, doesn’t mean you necessarily love, respect or trust them. Sometimes you do love them, but you know in your heart, they aren’t someone you want to be close to, share life with or emulate.
People who grow up in abusive homes have been deeply hurt in ways most of us can’t imagine. They do learn to establish VERY high standards when they look for people to trust.
Having been let down and getting someone’s trust happens slowly. You must earn it. Prove it. Over time, and through actions, a person can slowly gain the trust of those who have grown up in places where they cannot trust their caregivers.
These are the lessons broken trust teaches us. Keep. Your. Standard. High. However, it can be hard to let your guard down and allow people to get close or love you when you have been subject to abuse as a child.
But it can also happen to us in adulthood. Our friendships, work associates and romances can bring us the most unexpected and hurtful experiences. All relating to trust. You don’t think you will ever know how to trust again.
You can learn to do it though. It starts with self-love, learning to love who you are and knowing you are worthy of being loved. It is learned by not accepting things that dishonor you, don’t make you feel good or violate you.
Work at this, and you will be as Natasha says, a “Jedi” at trusting your gut. Because that is your compass. Intuition speaks loudly when we are in danger, and if you have had your trust broken…
- Look at the actions. They must match words.
- Look for consistency. Are they a person with integrity?
- Look at how they treat others. If it’s not congruent with how they treat you – move on.
- Listen to your gut. It NEVER lies.
Don’t feel like you have to look for the good in others automatically. It is ok to wait awhile. Anyone trying “used car salesman” techniques, beware!
Quick sells, hard sells …. these aren’t part of a healthy relationship.
Anyone who declares love for you, very early on… Move on.
Anyone suggesting soul mate connections very early on… Run.
If someone sounds too good to be true – they are too good to be true. Keep running.
Here is the thing: Healthy people don’t pressure you. They will make you feel good when you are around them. They won’t be pushing you. There will be no rush.
Follow these guidelines and you will weed out people who are dishonest, have hidden agendas and who are most likely, self-serving and unreliable. The hardest thing for people coming from abusive relationships though is developing the boundaries they need to protect themselves. These alert you to red and pink flags and tell you instantly when something is off.
When someone breaks your trust, it can leave you devastated and reeling in pain. It can feel like your whole world has been shattered and everything you thought you had – has gone.
No matter how much we are hurt by someone breaking our trust, we need to always remember: WE are responsible for our own happiness. And we alone, are the one we will always be with.
If you find yourself wanting to close off from others, feeling full of resentment and anger, take notice of those feelings and realize they are telling you something. You need to let go and move on.
How to trust again?
Now before you start “Oh here we go. I don’t want to forgive that f*cktard. He deserves a lot of things but one of them is not my forgiveness…” Just breathe for a minute.
Forgiveness is not about you ex…. it’s about YOU.
If it makes you feel any better, I struggled with the concept of forgiveness for years. Terribly. The profanities I would think of to describe those people who had hurt me; the re-living of events again and again in my head. And then the scenes I would conjure up in my mind, of potential revenge and how I was going to act if I saw this person again or the text I would send if they ever contacted me again… it all kept the pain alive. And I was emotionally exhausted and drained from it.
What’s more, I am not a mean person, and getting revenge is something I do not do. Being rude to others and playing mind games is not where I want to be at. The only one suffering was me. And the thoughts were not even reflective of how I live my life. They were full of unresolved anger. I was stuck.
The Bottom line is… Forgiveness is for YOU. It doesn’t cancel out what someone did to you.
It doesn’t water it down, excuse it, or eliminate it. It is not a free pass or “get out of jail” card.
It does not mean you tell the person it was ok to do what they did. It means YOU let go of the pain and realize what happened to you, was not love based. The reason you are upset is because you feel violated. You let the crap go, so you can move on and heal.
The best way I can honestly think of expressing it is using Natasha’s analogy of flushing the toilet. Don’t look at the crap inside the bowl. Don’t complain that it smells and makes you sick when you stir it more. Flush!
And wash your hands.
When we forgive someone, we are not telling them it was ok. We are telling ourselves that we are ok.
We will get through this. We are allowing ourselves to acknowledge that someone treated us badly, but we are walking away because we deserve better.
We do not like how we feel and we are not willing to stay in a place of pain.
We learn to trust again, by letting go and trusting again. Yes.
We learn to trust again by trusting again.
We can walk away from a person who has abused our trust. This is healthy. That is how you communicate to someone their behavior was unacceptable to you. If you do this, the other person must learn to accept that. Broken trust often breaks the relationship it damaged, because sometimes the people in it cannot resolve the chain of events, the emotional pain or the betrayal is just too big to work through.
The most important part in the question how do I trust again? is that you recognize you want to, and you make choices about how you will move forward.
Betrayal is a deep wound, and we are often baffled as to why people choose to do the things they do, especially those who we believed in, shared our lives with, and who were important to us. The fact is though, someone else’s ability to NOT be trusted isn’t a reason for you to not move on and look for the trust and love elsewhere.
How do you trust again if trust keeps being broken?
First, you need to examine the patterns in your relationships and listen to those patterns over the apologies. If you constantly seem to attract guys who are unfaithful and lie, that means there are behaviors that are running on repeat.
If you often feel double-crossed and are fed up with a friend and their excuses, there are patterns revealing themselves here.
Healing takes time. Especially if patterns are showing up. The plus? Patterns show you where the work needs to be done. Are you ignoring your instincts? Living for the good times? Too scared to stand up for yourself?
If it helps, remember we teach people how to treat us. So if you don’t like what you are seeing or feeling, you need to trust yourself and move on. Work on what you are accepting – but don’t actually want. Trust your instincts.
How do you trust again if you love someone and they made a mistake?
By this, I am referring to someone you are in an intimate relationship with, who breaks your trust, but tells you what they have done before you find out from anyone else.
When someone is truly sorry, you will know. People who are genuine about their love for you, and who have a genuine love for you, will not take months or years to admit they did the wrong thing. It won’t take you gathering evidence and showing them what you’ve collected. They will tell you very quickly after it happened.
This is because they KNOW that they have broken an agreement between you, and they regret it. They know telling you will hurt, but they value you enough to admit their actions and they are owning them. The truth is less painful than living a lie.
This is where you get to choose. Do you move on, or do you accept their honest apology? Do you walk away, or work through it?
When you have made a huge investment in a person, and you share a great deal together, including a history, sometimes losing all of that when a mistake is made, is not worth it. Trust can be re-established, but it takes time, and it means both parties have to be vulnerable and not blame shift.
Sometimes people do truly horrible, cruel, and unforgivable things to others that they are not sorry for. They are brutally cold and ruthless. There is nowhere to go from here – but away.
Sometimes people do things that are out of character, and as awful as they are, they deeply regret those actions and want to make amends. This is where the love you share with someone, can rebuild shattered trust. Together, you can achieve a new closeness. Betrayal is NEVER easy, but it counts for something when the person who betrayed you, owns it. Sometimes people need a level of darkness to really see the light. There is no one set answer for trust in any relationship because, like love, it is deeply personal in how the bond is made.
The most important person to love when you have been betrayed is always yourself. Natasha has written so much about self-love because this is the quality that keeps you afloat when storms hit. Self-love means we take good care of ourselves, connect to our values and boundaries, and stay true to them.
We can love others, rely on them, build a life with them, invest in them and still hurt them. We are not always infallible. I always think that what someone’s intent is, is bigger than what they actually do sometimes.
Because intent is purposefully choosing to act a certain way. What lies behind it, is what tells you about why they do what they do. Why they made certain choices. Regardless of whether it is dishonesty, withholding, disloyalty, or being unfaithful, it cuts deeply when communication breaks down and unhappy events unfold.
Broken trust in a relationship CAN be repaired, and reconciling can build a better foundation for the future. If there is strong love involved with both parties, and a true remorse from the one who messed up, forgiveness is needed by both to move forward.
Remember, forgiveness sets you free. It doesn’t take away what has happened but trying to reconcile while being unable to move past a betrayal, means you won’t actually repair the relationship.
Sometimes people do things – and you don’t understand why. When you gain their perspective, especially when it makes no sense from yours, sometimes you can see how it was about them and not you.
Try and see them, as a whole – yet flawed, person. Don’t just focus on the transgression. There are many wonderful things you love about them, and this is one negative. If you have always trusted them and they have always been good to you, can you accept this and move on? Are they usually a person of integrity? This is very different to a person who is consistently living a life of dysfunction and pushing their agenda of egoic gain.
The hardest part about trusting again is trusting yourself. Can I do this? Am I worth being loved properly? Will I cope alone? Feeling hurt, ashamed, and scared are not helpful emotions. You will be in a triggered state, and your emotional compass will be all over the place. Often, it takes more strength and courage to stay than to walk away. Although you should always leave if you are being emotionally and physically abused. Always.
Trust is such a hard topic to write about, in terms of the depth of it. It’s like trying to dip your toe in water but seeing it for the ocean it really is. That is why you need to trust and love yourself first, because only then can you love and trust others. Trust is never able to float your boat if you can’t recognize it in yourself.
Trust is always about ourselves first, then others. Cultivate it in yourself first and foremost. Be a person of your word. Follow through and be consistent.
Keep your word. The world is full of bullsh*t and fake promises. One of the best ways to keep that at bay is, to be honest and tell the truth.
Part of this is about being open. Being genuine and truly listening. Sometimes people listen to respond. But sometimes you just need to listen – to understand. Openness paves the way for strong communication and acceptance. These are two beautiful things. Grow them.
Be a walking and talking version of integrity. Keep away from shallowness and gossip. If someone confides in you, don’t break that confidence. Don’t allow negative emotion to cloud your judgment or dictate your behavior. Control your emotions and realize…
What others say and do is their stuff. What you say and do is your stuff. There is a huge difference here.
To end, I will tell you that I have been deeply hurt in the past with broken trust.
I felt unloved, unimportant and discarded. I tried very hard to just build a new life, but I was emotionally damaged, and I didn’t know how to fix it. At my worst, I felt I was colorless, not even noticed. I continued to accept less than what I deserved, sometimes because it was a familiar place and it was better than nothing. But when you experience what people with strong core values have to offer, it becomes second to none.
Suddenly when someone respects you and treats you with love and kindness, you get it. Suddenly people’s bullsh*t is illuminated, and you see it for what it really is. You get sick of the excuses, sick of being short-changed and used.
I believe the minute you feel worthless around someone, that’s a red flag you cannot trust them.
If in a great relationship, something happens, but you are made aware of it, and the other party wants to repair the damage they have done, I think that is a beautiful thing borne out of a true error. Notice I said error, not errors. Repeat performances tell a different story.
If you are being disregarded, shelved, overlooked, uncared for, betrayed in many ways with lies and hurtful actions; then even if you love someone, you might need to reassess if they deserve your love and respect. They don’t always go together.
I was talking to Natasha recently about how I would sum up my life. I told her the saying “Fall down seven times – stand up eight” was a good fit in some ways. I used to think I was a weak person who was stupid because of this.
But that is such a powerful little saying. Because it means you have spirit and you won’t quit. You don’t fail when you keep trying. And each time you get up, you are stronger, wiser and your fall is softer.
It is also primal. Think of how you learned to walk. You stood up, you fell down. You kept doing it. Babies don’t care if they fall down. They just find another way to stand up and try walking again. Then one day… they are off. Two feet firmly on the ground.
This is you. This is me. This is all of us.
How do you trust again? By investing in the one thing you need to trust most: Yourself.
Be that person full of strength and integrity.
Be that person who can speak their truth and follow their heart.
Be that person who won’t compromise their own values because other people’s values don’t match.
Be that person who uses their gut to sense shadiness.
Notice the shadow when you should be seeing light.
Most importantly… be open, allow others in, because if you try too hard to protect yourself, you will end up lonely and isolated. Remember, the way to trust again – is to trust again.
Realize you have lost very little when someone isn’t who they appear to be – also be grateful for the freedom they have given you by learning this.
When someone dishonors you, they really dishonor themselves. If they don’t seem to be sorry for what they have done, they aren’t.
When you are full of self-love and you trust your instincts, good things happen. There is no rush involved in getting to know someone. You can open up and share yourself with them when it feels right. Someone who respects you will be accepting of that.
We learn the most from the things that go wrong in life. We grow, develop and become stronger. Resiliency flourishes and we become wiser. We develop compassion and learn about what we really want and value in life. Be strong, be real and give yourself permission to live by your standards.
When you trust yourself, it becomes easier to trust others, because you have defined it and what it means to YOU.
Always be true to yourself. Never sell yourself short. Because when others try to – you will become instantly aware.
When life doesn’t go as planned, you feel let down that things haven’t evolved the way you hoped…
You will get another chance. If you fall down, remember, you only have to stand back up…
Trust yourself to do that.
Written by: Natasha Adamo team member, Lorelle.