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Trust

Question:

I have an extremely difficult time trusting people. Though this is for good reasons (past lessons learned) it is causing me much angst in my present relationship. I have been engaged for almost a year now, and I truly love him. I want to trust him, but I am just too afraid to. I am not sure if I can let myself. I feel like if I let my guard down and begin to fully trust him that one day I am going to find out everything has been a huge act and I will be left with nothing but another broken heart, only worse than I have ever felt before. I have heard that the more you love someone, the more power that person has to hurt you. I believe that is very true. I cannot take that kind of pain, but how can I ever be comfortable and completely happy if I cannot allow myself to trust? I need your help with this.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
  • ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
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Answer:

All you are saying about trust here is true enough. And yet – you are focused solely on the negative side of things, on breaches of trust and how painful they can be. It makes complete sense that you’d not want to trust if that is all you can see when you think of trust. Yes, when you trust someone, they can hurt you. But, allowing yourself to be in a position where someone can hurt you doesn’t mean that they will. The positive side of trust means that you can relax into the arms of the person you trust, that life can be easy and that you don’t have to be (too) vigilant all the time. Long term trusting relationships do exist! Your past lessons learned aside, there are people out there who are trustworthy. If you fail to discriminate trustworthy people from others who will take advantage of you, you will have missed out on very important intimacy experiences that can really enrich your life. The other thing to re-evaluate is whether or not you are selling yourself short when you say “I cannot take that kind of pain”. You may not want to take on that sort of pain load, but you have in the past and you have survived. And you may be much stronger than you give yourself credit for being. You may find that you can trust people more because even if they turn around and do something hurt you, they won’t be able to really knock you off your center for too long. If you are strong and centered inside, and have a good healthy support network of friends and family to fall back on, you can afford to trust others more simply because you have a cushion if something goes wrong. Why not explore these issues of trust with a relationship counselor, therapist or religious leader (your choice). You’d have nothing to lose by seeking counsel and you might get some things sorted out better in your heart. Good Luck to you, – Anne

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