"I have a hard time trusting people."
"I never feel like I can trust my husband (or wife)."
It is very common for me, in my work as a counselor, to hear the above statements. Trust issues abound in relationships. However, resolving trust issues is not about getting another person to be trustworthy. It's about you become a trustworthy person with yourself and learning to trust yourself.
Becoming Trustworthy With Yourself
How often do you promise yourself you are going to do something and then don't do it? For example, we often promise ourselves to:
- Get the taxes done on time.
- Catch up on email, phone calls, and other correspondence.
- Eat better.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Stop reckless spending, gambling, or whatever puts us in financial distress.
- Stop getting angry.
- Stop giving ourselves up.
- Lose weight.
- Get more exercise.
- Get more sleep (or sleep less).
- Get together with friends.
- Clean up the house, or clean up the clutter.
- Be on time.
- Watch less TV or spend less time on the computer.
- Meditate or pray.
- Take time for ourselves.
- Finish a project.
And so on...
If you promise yourself you will do something and then you don't do it, you are not being trustworthy with yourself. This would be like promising a child something and then not doing it. Eventually the child would learn not to trust you. The same applies with your inner child. If you promise yourself -- your Inner child -- that you will take care of yourself in some way and then you don't do it, your inner child learns that there is no loving inner adult to trust. Since many of us project onto others our own inner issues, it is likely that if you are not trustworthy with yourself, you will project untrustworthiness onto others. You will continue to distrust others as long as you are not behaving in a trustworthy way with yourself and with others.
Many of us grew up with parents who did not trust our feelings and perceptions. We might have been told that what we felt and what we experienced was wrong.
Mother: Put on a sweater. It's cold outside.
Child: I'm not cold.
Mother: You're just a child. What do you know? Put on a sweater.
Mother: Go give your Uncle Sam a kiss.
Child: No, I don't like Uncle Sam. He's creepy.
Mother: Of course you like Uncle Sam. Now go give him a kiss.
Child: My teacher is really mean to me.
Father: I'm sure your teacher is very nice. If your teacher is mean to you, it must be your fault.
Child: Daddy, why are you angry at me?
Father: I'm not angry.
After a while, we learn to discount and mistrust our feelings and perceptions. We learn to give our authority away to our parents and other adults, deciding that others must know more about what we feel, want and perceive than we do. We abandon our inner knowing and stop trusting ourselves.
I have worked with many people who felt deeply betrayed by someone, only to discover in the course of our work together than they had betrayed themselves by not listening to themselves. I often hear statements such as:
"I knew when we first met that Frank was lying to me about his money situation, but I didn't listen to myself. I believed him instead of believing myself, and now I'm stuck with all this debt."
"I had a feeling that Katherine was having affairs even before we got married but I didn't listen to myself. The last thing I ever wanted was to be divorced with children."
We can often feel in our bodies what is true and what is untrue, yet many of us don't listen to these inner messages. Instead, we put our trust in others and then feel betrayed when others let us down. When we choose to listen to and trust our own inner voice rather than give our power away to others, we will no longer put ourselves in positions to be used and betrayed.
How often have you ignored yourself when something didn't feel right, only to later discover that you really did know that something wasn't right? How often have you heard the voice of your inner or Higher Self and discounted it, only to regret it later?
Your trust issues with others will be resolved when you develop a consistent Inner Bonding practice and learn to become a trustworthy adult with yourself - following through on what you say you will do and trusting your inner knowing. It will be harder for others to get away with unloving acts toward you when you learn to trust yourself.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
Take our free Inner Bonding eCourse at http://www.innerbonding.com/welcome.