You Really Can’t Trust Anyone, Can You?
Photo by monster; creative commons license
For months, I’ve noticed how many people around me have trust issues, and I’ve also noticed that these trust issues didn’t just pop up over night. They’ve been there for years, through series of relationships, maybe all the way back to childhood. They’re still there because they’ve never been healed–only torn open and deeper by subsequent relationships.
Don’t get me wrong–I’ve been there myself. I’ve done the work, the deep shadow work necessary to heal and believe in others and in myself again. I’ve learned to trust myself again, and it didn’t happen over night. I’ve learned to trust others again, and that certainly didn’t happen over night.
By the end of my marriage, I didn’t trust men. Any men. I would have been happy to have them all flown to the moon and left there. Without suits or oxygen. If I’d been bisexual, I would have given them up entirely. Then again, I sorta did give them up entirely. By the time I filed for divorce, I was content in the knowledge that a man might never ever touch me again, not even to shake hands. I can trace the basis for those feelings back to childhood, but my adult relationships just compounded the original damage.
It wasn’t just that I didn’t trust men. I also didn’t trust the family and friends I’d had during my marriage, largely because they knew and saw things and let me think I was crazy. I culled most of those old relationships, but I didn’t want to be someone who couldn’t trust so I tried again with new friends. They let me down, too. I WANTED to trust but I still knew in my heart that I couldn’t trust anyone.
Eventually, as I came to heal the old wounds, I start to acquire new friends I could trust. It took a long time to cultivate this new garden, and I did it carefully. I was very solitary in that chore, not aggressively seeking out people just for the sake of having people in my life.
The same was true with men. I felt the need to socialize, but I knew I didn’t need men. I still don’t. I did finally come to understand that I could want a man without needing a man, and though I’d known that intellectually, I needed to understand emotionally that needing and really desiring something is not the same thing and not an equal “weakness,” as I often see needs as being.
I took my time in the dating world. Embarrassingly so, but I’m glad. I didn’t do the promiscuous thing. In fact, I waited over 3 years before I let another man touch me because I just didn’t trust…couldn’t trust. And I still found myself disappointed. He had his own trust issues. After that, I waited another year and more because I could really lower my defenses and let someone in, this time trusting at a level I never had before.
That’s because I did the work…the hard work…to get to the point of trusting again. It wasn’t all the crappy men I kept meeting (okay, it was, but it wasn’t). It was that I didn’t trust anyone else and hadn’t worked through my trust issues to get to that point.
That’s what I see in all these troubled relationships around me. People jump out of one relationship and fear they’ll be thought poorly of or socially ostracized if they don’t immediately have someone waiting in the wings to take the place of a wife or boyfriend. So they find someone new within a matter of weeks or months and repeat their previous relationship(s) with the next person. Same issues, same arguments, same pain. Hollywood is quite good at making us feel we have to be in a relationship. Just look at all the stars who “race” to be in a new, highly publicized romance before their ex can be! They don’t take their time; they don’t do the work to heal. They simply repeat.
My own life lesson is centered around faith, around trusting that I’ll be taken care of, no matter what. That I’ll be fine. And I am frequently tested.