Trust

This is such an important issue for trauma survivors, and it is *so* difficult. We have trouble trusting even those we love most. When we do form trust, it’s precarious. It can be jilted so easily, and sometimes not at all by the person in question. Sometimes (usually, in my case) it’s our perception of a simple circumstance as indicative of a need to protect ourselves from further damage or to protect those we love from us. We often see ourselves as forces of destruction. It’s much easier to assume that all those bad things done to you were done because *you* are this evil person who doesn’t deserve to breathe. As odd as that probably sounds to people who did not grow up in trauma situations, taking the blame on yourself is easier than letting yourself believe those people you loved and trusted so much did things to you because of a fault in *them,* not something you did.

That initial person– the small child who has no knowledge of how things work Out There– can only base her perceptions on her world. The parents (or parental figures) she sees in her earliest existence form her thoughts on trust. Because she is so small and defenceless, this child must depend on her parents to survive. Even though she is still too young to conceptualise it, she places all of her trust on those parents. She assumes inherently that they will take care of her. When that trust is broken through trauma, the child’s concept of trust centres only on its ability to be broken. Every relationship thereafter is affected by this initial trauma.

More than anything else, this is the aspect of being a trauma survivor that bothers me most.

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2 thoughts on “Trust

  1. Yes, the destruction of my ability to trust probably bothers me too more than any other aspect of my childhood abuse. The thing is, you can’t just will it back. Once it’s gone there’s not much you can do about it.

    I’ve lived my life going from one extreme to another: trusting those who were not worthy of even an ounce of trust, and questioning the motives of everyone and trusting no one, even when there was no reason to be so distrustful. Along with losing my trust “muscle” my perceptions became so distorted as a child. I hadn’t the ability to figure out who was or wasn’t trustworthy.

    I hate that this happened to me, I hate that it happened to you and all the others out there who limp along, their ability to experience healthy trust crippled for life.

    Thanks for posting this; it’s such an important issue.

    • Glad you found the post helpful. Like you, this issue makes me *incredibly* angry. It’s one of those phenomenally unfair bits about surviving child abuse. Thanks, as always, for your insightful comments. I really look forward to reading what you have to say. I’ll be talking with my therapist in about a week on this very issue. Hopefully, she’ll have some suggestions that might start me on the long road towards at least some semblance of healthy trusting abilities. I’ll post things as I learn them. My best to you.

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