How to let go of trust issues
Most of us have been deceived, mistreated, or taken advantage of by another person at some point in our lives. The feelings od disappointment, betrayal, anger, and hatred can be harbored while eventually turning into disease within the body. Some people have an easy time recovering from these situations and have little difficulty trusting in the future. Many of us can shrug it off, and chalk it up to a learning experience. However many of us, however, find it challenging to trust again as a result of the pain from the pain of the past. Taken too far, it’s easy to become socially isolated, shut down, and not trust people at all.
While it can be hazardous to blindly trust everyone, not being able to trust anyone can be equally problematic. Humans are social creatures, and that requires interacting with others in order to be at our best. A lack of socialization and distrust can lead to many mental health conditions as well as phobias that can further impact your physical health.
Here are some techniques that can be used to be able to forgive as well as trust again and move forward in your relationships:
1.)Find the source. No one is born untrusting. Who trusts more than a baby does? Something has happened to cause distrust to become your modus operandi when dealing with others. It may be several situations from your past. Recognizing the past hurts, who was involved, how you felt, what you thought, and most importantly what you learned can allow you to forgive and move on with your life. In my practice, I often work people through these emotional as well as mental pain and anguish formed from past hurts, and trauma.
2.)Examine and question the past. Observing yourself in various situations can provide you insight as to your life. Some healthy questions to ask yourself:
- Is the reason for my general distrust rational?
- Did I overreact?
- Was I simply too trusting too soon?
- Is my distrust the result of one bad experience that’s clouding my judgment?
- Was I naïve?
- Is this person trustworthy?
- What have I learned from this situation?
3.)Keep the past in the past. Harping on old hurts is a sure way to prolong your suffering. Did your ex cheat on you 5 years ago? That’s one person, a single instance, and 5 years ago. Let go and move on. That can be easier said and done, especially if you have bee hurt by a parent or you have experienced similar hurts again and again. Look at patterns of behavior. Look at what choices that you made in those relationships and what beliefs and false beliefs that you have made up, such as I deserve to be treated this way, or I always attract unhealthy partners as an example.
4.)Learn. If you believe someone burned you in the past, what are some ways to avoid a similar situation down the road? Completely withdrawing is an effective, but excessive, solution. It is a strategy that people use to avoid being hurt, however this is not a long term solution to have a fulfilled life. It can eliminate some of your challenges with others, but it also eliminates much of the pleasure to be found in life, too. Learning from your mistakes in relationships, taking personal responsibility for your part, and not choosing to engage with people that do not love as well as support you can be helpful in your personal growth and self development.
5.)Go slowly. Some people trust way too much or way too little. Often, the best solutions are found near the middle. Until someone has earned your trust, trust them to meet you at the movies and 7:00 PM, but avoid trusting them to hold $1,000 for you for a few days. I often will do an exercise with a circle in my office with people. On the outside of the circle, I have them write new people they have met, in the inner circles they depict acquaintances, friends, and then close friends. How you operate with a new person or an aquinsatce is going to be drastically different than how you interact with a friend. Distinguishing your personal boundaries with these various relationships can serve as a guide to helping keep you safe and supported in relationship.
- Beyond a certain point, allow people to earn your trust. Avoid sharing your deepest darkest secrets right away. Trusting and being silly don’t have to go hand-in-hand. Also recognize different people serve different things in relationships. Meaning some people are great to talk to for business matters, while others may be better suited for personal matters. It is key to recognize that one person may not serve all needs and expectations one person to serve all of your needs not only is unrealistic but can also be emotionally challenging.
6.)Question the present. If you find yourself feeling untrusting, ask yourself if it’s justified. Often times if you suspect something in a relationship, trusting yourself in your intuition can be helpful instead of second guessing yourself. There is always a reason why your alarm bells are going off in your mind, body, and spirit. Some of the questions to ease your worries could be:
- Do I have a reason not to trust this person? Why do I feel this way?
- Am I unfairly pre-judging this person?
- Am I attempting to trust too much too soon?
- What are the consequences of this person letting me down?
- What are the consequences of not trusting this person?
Sometimes second guessing yourself can lead to further challenges, which is why if you suspect something it is best to trust yourself in the process.
7.)Be more trustworthy. In many cases, those that struggle to trust others aren’t very trustworthy themselves. A thief expects other people to steal. Cheaters expect others to cheat. It’s common to project our shortcomings on others. Strive to be trustworthy and many of your trust issues may disappear. Look at areas in your life where you do not operate in integrity. Do you lie about simple things, do you not pay your bills on time, or are you not being truly honest about how you feel about things? We attract who we are and so if we want to attract those people that are trustworthy, we must be trustworthy.
8.)Reconnect. When you’re ready to reach out to others, make an effort to start with the most trustworthy people you know and branch out from there. Start slow and ensure that the persons words and actions are congruent. If they say one thing and do another that is red flag that they may not be trustworthy. This can create many issues in the relationship to include distrust, withholding communication, and can create distrust in expectations.
- If someone has repeatedly violated your trust, consider removing them from your life. This isn’t always possible, but sometimes it is. Surround yourself with the people that you deserve in your life. This can also be for family members as well. Sometimes it can be difficult to let go of toxic family members yet it is key to only have those in your life that are going to support and love you.
Trust issues can be painful and challenging, but choosing to be alone is also painful and challenging. By examining your past objectively, you can start down a path that leads to meaningful and enjoyable relationships. A lack of trust can lead to feeling isolated, depression, anxiety, and even shame associated with taking on another persons actions. Getting to the bottom of these feelings, processing through the grief, and transforming your view of these experiences is helpful in the healing process.
Taking small steps toward reconnecting with others can have a profound effect on your life. If you have a challenge with forgiveness, letting go, and moving on please feel free to reach out for a mind-body medicine appointment.