I’ve been reading a book titled “Daring to Trust” to work on my trust issues. I do think I have some trust issues but I also recognize the state of my relationship really impacted that issue of trust. What I’ve learned so far….
When we feel unsafe with someone and still stay in that relationship, we damage our ability to discern trust worthiness in those we meet in the future.
Trust in someone means we no longer have to protect ourselves. We trust in their good intentions.
If we are suspicious of people who are indeed trustworthy, we lose connections with people who really matter to us.
Self-trust is always to be placed first in our ability to care for ourselves.
Touching is central to trusting. Many of us are touch-starved. We may have suppressed our need for contact and communion -which is form of despair about finding what we need in others.
Such needs are fulfilled in an atmosphere of the five A’s which are attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowing. Being loved and cherished just for ourselves and being in relationships that honor all of these. The quality of allowing is especially important to our growth , making room for us to experience our lives fully with no restrictions on the range of our emotions, self-expression or choices.
So we have to work on making intimacy and other growth needs a priority because our body has survival mode as its primary default setting. This explains why we might stay in a relationship that is not working: we imagine we need it on a survival level.
Our need is then not to be filled, only to be enriched. Henry David Thoreau said it this way “I will come to you, my friend, when I no longer need you. Then you will find a palace,not an almshouse.”
As adults, we learn to find fulfillment in ourselves, in our friends, in our family, in our pets, in our career, in our spiritual program, in nature, and in any other resources we discover. We then do no rely on a partner or any person for more than 25 percent of our need fulfillment. No one is meant to live with just one resource.
As we mature, the opinions will matter less because our own resources have grown beyond them.
Now we must trust ourselves as devoted caretakers of ourselves.
The love that has strings attached does not register in us as love at all but as a reward for meeting expectations.
When we love someone, we automatically want that person to be happy and free of suffering. This shows we always knew how to practice loving-kindness. Now all we have to do is apply this kind of loving-kindness to ourselves, to others and to all beings.
Now the goal is to play where both win, rather than only one. In a relationship, both partners are meant to play together as just such a team. Trust happens when we notice we are with a partner who is committed to playing with us for our mutual victory…
We play with reciprocal attentiveness and each of us backs the other up. It will take letting go of self-centeredness in favor of sharing authentic love to play like that. This means each partner can trust the other and each partner is trustworthy toward the other.
Wise adults begin relationships not with the romance phase but with an investigation phase. We check out the other, looking to see if they are trustworthy, have the ability to give freely the five A’s (attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowing)and possess the qualities that are important to us.
Unhealthy relationships – She makes me feel so good that I forget my uphill battle with self worth. I am dependent on her now to help me feel good about myself and she dare not go off duty because I can’t provide that for myself.
When we have an adult outlook, this does not lead us to turn on those who do not come through. Instead, we say “ouch” aloud to them, grieve our loss and move on without trying to get back at them.
Since trust takes time to develop, it is important for us to protect our boundaries in a new relationship.
To whom shall we go?
A healthy relationship is one in which each partner can securely go to the other when that need arises.
Our primary object of trust will always be the person who fulfills our primary needs.
We can rely on the one who loves us to pay attention to us, to accept us as we are, to appreciate and value us to show us affection in appropriate ways and to allow us to live freely without attempting to control us.
A trustworthy partner is the one we can go to who will stay with us to work through a conflict. The focus being working through the conflict not making sure you win. Mutual trust means “I can be in conflict with you but with no sense of threat”. I will still be here when the smoke clears and so will you.
A healthy relationship consists of continual addressing, processing, resolving and integrating struggles.
When that program is not in place for both parties we have no basis for trusting that relationship can work. There is no commitment when avoidance and denial take the place of addressing. We have no bond when refusal to show feeling or explore issues cancels our chances at processing our concerns. There is no contentment when a conflict in a relationship is not resolved but smolders instead. Then our experience cannot be integrated in our lives as an opportunity to grow.
In an insecure attachment to someone our nervous system is always on the lookout for non-attunement, a deficiency of the five A’s (attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection and allowing). Those disruptions of the smooth continuity of intimacy have to be repaired if a relationship is to succeed. Delay leads to an erosion of trust. This is why addressing relationship problems is so necessary in the building of trust. A commitment to a continual mending of failures by making amends for them is what makes trustworthiness real.
For instance, an affair helps us avoid the dissatisfaction we feel in our relationship. It can be used to avoid the uphill work of healing it by addressing, processing and resolving the real issues in the primary relationship.
How can we know when it’s wise to trust a partner?
- Sincere work on letting go of ego for the success of the relationship
- A continual giving of the five A’s, shown by attunement to our feelings.
- The abiding sense that the relationship offers a secure base from which each partner can explore and a safe haven to which each can return.
- A series of kept agreements.
- Mutuality in decision making.
- A willingness to work problems out with each other by addressing, processing and resolving them together. This includes a willingness to declare our pain about what is missing in the relationship and our appreciation of what is fulfilling.
Otherwise we have to live on guard and our ego has to grow proportionally as our protector albeit always afraid underneath.
People with a long history of betrayals of trust tend not to be trustworthy. They may be abusive or controlling instead.