I’ve been thinking a lot lately about deception, the conflicting feelings associated with being lied to and how, when trust is broken in a relationship, although it’s never okay…
Is it ever repairable?
Trust is the foundation of every solid, healthy, mutual, and enviable relationship out there. If you don’t have trust in your relationship, there will never be an actual relationship – only the idea of one.
Without trust… passion, meaning, intimacy, and connection cannot exist. No matter what you do or how enthusiastically you search for it with no pants on.
And without all that, what do you really have other than toxicity?
We usually confuse the emotional paralysis that we’re experiencing with “being committed,” “in love,” “not being selfish for once,” “weathering the storm,” “not giving up or quitting,” etc., when really, we’re just a not-so-undercover (or cute) doormat; an ATM for excuses without an ounce of dignity left in our emotional bank.
When trust is broken in a relationship, the foundational crack that is that lack of trust, immediately becomes the ONLY thing that needs to be focused on or else, the house comes crashing down.
If you don’t have your health, it doesn’t matter if you have all the intelligence, money, degrees, looks, wardrobe, charisma, charm and opportunity in the world, right?
Trust is the definition of optimal relational health. If you don’t have it, nothing else matters.
It doesn’t matter how amazing all of the surrounding factors are, how mind-blowing the sex is or how enticing the potential. Where there is an absence of trust, there’s an absence of reality (and an abundance of “pulling-the-wool-over-your-own-eyes-in-hope-of-the-toad-turning-into-a-prince,” delusion).
And where there’s an absence of reality… there’s an absence of a real relationship.
Trust is the nucleus, the “control center,” of all relational cells. And yes, just like there are relationships, friendships and even marriages that exist without trust, there ARE cells that exist without a nucleus – these are very basic, simple cells known as bacteria. Bacterial cells need absolutely nothing to thrive and multiply other than an unhealthy environment. The relational equivalent to a bacterial cell is known as that thing your relationship became once the trust was broken: toxic.
Deception of any kind robs your relationship of having the nucleus it needs to live a healthy life.
But, I have to admit… It’s really easy to sit here and type away about how any hint of deception should never be tolerated and that when trust is broken in a relationship, you need to immediately bounce and never look back.
It’s not so easy when you’re in the thick of it, being lied to by the one person who you wanted so desperately to be “it;” the one who you can’t help but see all the good in – the person who has your heart.
What do you do when trust is broken in a relationship?
How do you proceed when your gut senses deception that directly contradicts with what your heart wants?
I have not only tolerated, but I’ve excused deception and have chosen to believe the most asinine, outrageous and hindsight-laughable bullsh*t you could ever imagine. I’ve had people tell me versions of the truth, and while they were doing so, straight-up acknowledge my allergy to bullsh*t, the pain that this “misunderstanding” has caused me and even the “harder to believe,” aspects of their own story.
Why was I so quick to tolerate and excuse in the past?
I used to think it was because I really loved the other person and that it was some inverted sign of maturity because I was choosing to “work through it,” at the expense of my dignity. I also wanted to avoid being viewed as a drama queen.
Now, looking back with self-awareness, the ability to be vulnerable, and so much less of an ego, I continually tolerated and excused deception (in others and in myself – YES. I used to compulsively lie). This was all due to un-dealt-with trauma and shame from my past. Which made me a sitting duck for believing lies that were just as obnoxious as the ones I was telling myself.
I was unable to let go of how I wanted things to be because I couldn’t see them for what they currently were.
All I could see was a barking cat. It was too painful to acknowledge that the cat was actually meowing (and not barking with a French accent). It was too embarrassing to face all the time I had wasted, wondering whether or not I could hear – and even apologizing for my inability to recognize a meow with a French accent.
Nowadays, I’ve retired as sergeant of The Gotcha Police. I no longer get emotional orgasms from playing detective, catching people red-handed and then, getting my a*s kissed because they were caught.
I’m sure a lot flies over my head, but ultimately, because people can’t help but communicate who they are, they eventually unfold and the truth now holds a higher value than my subscription to potential. I’m more reliant on my gut than I am on words. I’m happier. I’m calmer. And I no longer feel guilty for assuming that I’m dealing with a duck if it’s in a pond, quacking and has feathers. I’m not so ashamed to connect the dots in a way that correlates with reality – as opposed to someone else’s version of it.
If I notice deception, I bring it up in the most clear way possible, AFTER I’ve had some time to process it. Once I address it, I’m then able to make a rational decision that I feel good about acting on. I used to need to catch people in the same kind of deception that I would to engage in with myself because for a moment, it allowed me to feel like I wasn’t as contradictory as I knew (and I’m sure everyone else knew), I was.
Deception no longer triggers me into a month-long “discovery phase,” back-and-forth, “I’ll never be enough,” journey. Frankly, it bores me. I don’t have the time for it. And I no longer feel guilty about not wanting to continue a relationship in which doing so would mean that my intuition would need to be ignored.
When trust is broken in a relationship, you need to press the STOP button immediately.
Although there is a great deal of shock and pain, your disgust by the other person’s contradiction needs to outweigh your level of desperation.
Desperation is not cute, never sexy, nor does it EVER garner respect.
And if you’re desperate, you won’t be able to make the right decision with how you want to proceed.
No level of deceit is ever excusable. And no amount of desperation to hang onto the threads of truth in an unbelievable fable should ever require you having to be THAT desperate.
Just like where there’s horse sh*t, there are always flies… where there’s a liar, there is always an enabler.
Stop enabling other people’s deception to impulsively jumpstart your own self-deception. Pull the plug and know when you need to flush.
As far as what to do when trust is broken in a relationship, make sure that you first have a healthy relationship with something that I have always struggled with: Intention.
I used to always fall hard for the “it wasn’t my intention,” explanations.
When someone says something to you that just doesn’t add up and your gut knows it (whether it’s just partially untrue or completely untrue )…
They are trying to control your reality by minimizing their exposure (and subsequent consequences), maximizing your empathy, and concealing the one thing that you are always entitled to: the truth.
If they start to defend or deny in any way, not only can this rapidly progress into gaslighting, but at the very LEAST… it’s a window into their OWN issues with control, trust, respect, and honesty. It’s an indicator of just how low their self esteem really is.
As far as what to do when trust is broken in a relationship, remember this: It’s SUPPOSED TO be heartbreaking. Deception hurts, and when you’re in the process of connecting the dots, it’s about as painful and unnatural as having to perform open-heart surgery on yourself. You obsess over every word and playback every scenario. At times, you’ll feel like your senses are deceiving you because they are. EVERY sense will attempt to deceive you except your gut.
Your life will speak for itself no matter how much you try to justify your decisions with excuses rooted in “I am not enough.” When you choose to buy into the deception of others, you will drain your life, your spirit, and your soul of substance. You’ll deprive the world of the gift that is YOU.
When trust is broken in a relationship… I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to be kindly honest and own your truth than it is to waste more time playing True Or False with an adult baby.
It’s okay to no longer want to roll in the mud of bullsh*t and pretend that you’re in a marble-lined, saltwater pool.
When trust is broken in a relationship, own the narrative independent of your value. The moment you stop arguing with reality and own your truth…
That’s the moment you are no longer emotionally obligated to accept deception. Yes, you’ll still be hurt, but you will see it for what it is: THEIR karma, YOUR northern star – pointing YOU on YOUR way.
I’ve never been deceived or lied to in my life more than I’ve lied to and deceived myself. I kept subscribing to a self-limiting story that created a dependence on being emotionally dependent. This allowed others to control what THEY wanted me to be exposed to in what was supposed to be OUR relational environment.
When trust is broken in a relationship – not this post, not your family or friends – ONLY YOU can decide what you’re 100% comfortable with as far as how you want to proceed.
No one can tell you what’s best for you, especially the person who caused the breach in trust. No matter how you choose to proceed, here’s the one thing you should always do when you feel like you’re being deceived and things just aren’t adding up – Take a moment to stop and process the information before you react. “Where there is reactivity, there is a wound.” Don’t give someone who is totally fine with lying to you, a roadmap to your wounds.
Stay on your white horse, rely on your instinct, and be the enviable class act instead of the certifiable banshee.
Don’t feel guilty about hitting the STOP button until you are both clear as to what happened and feel respected on BOTH ends.
You deserve so much more than a version of the truth…
And the world deserves so much more than just a version of you.
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.