Trust & Betrayal
I don't have anyone I can trust.
At some point during your life, whether it was a few years ago or only a few days ago, or perhaps it’s only just happened; someone’s actions have affected you so greatly, that you find yourself unwilling to trust anyone.
It could be something quite small that causes you to mistrust people;
Maybe you shared a secret with your friends about that cute boy you have a crush on who sits near you in the class room? Maybe someone told.
Or a close friend of yours posted an unflattering photo of you online. You have no idea why they did it, because they had to know it would make you feel bad.
Or perhaps you’re struggling with schoolwork and one of your friends spread it all over school that you’re not too clever and now people are making fun of you.
Maybe you asked your best friend to approach someone you have a romantic interest in to put in a good word for you, only to find that they asked them out instead?
Before it happened, you shared jokes, interests, your most intimate secrets with your best friends, a parent or even a person you thought was your most trusted mentor and now it feels like they stabbed you in the back.
Or it could be something major;
You get beaten up at home and have to hide the bruises.
Your scout-master is doing bad things to you and he’s threatened you not to tell anyone.
Your care-giver drinks all the grocery money away and you’re always hungry.
If you can’t trust your parents to keep you safe, who can you trust?
You trusted them. You thought they would have your back, be on your side and then it all went wrong. Now you’re asking yourself if you can’t trust them, who can you trust? You decided that the answer was no-one.
When we were babies and small children we trusted everyone. We didn’t know that people could hurt us. We trusted that our parents, our extended family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, would keep us safe. Some did a better job of it than others. We didn’t understand that trust was something that should be earned. The people who looked after us when we were little earned our trust by feeding us, keeping us warm, making us feel safe and they did this day after day for years.
When you made friends at school, there were lots of reasons why you ended up with the circle of friends you did, but mostly, it came down to chance. You were in the same class. You rode on the same bus. You were in the same sports club, or choir or band. Chance put you together and you ended up liking each other and decided to be friends. If you thought about trust at all, you would have to say you trusted your friend. You thought he would always stick up for you and be on your side.
Some friendships are never really tested. You just go along nicely, nothing bad ever happens and everything is fine…until it isn’t.
Your friend changes. They still act friendly towards you but they’re getting involved with other people and they’re people you don’t know or don’t like. You feel excluded. Your friendship isn’t the same. Then you find out that he’s talking about you behind your back. You feel betrayed. Your trust is broken and you feel angry and sad and hurt and humiliated all at the same time. You swear to yourself that you will never let anyone ever do that to you again and before you know it, you have an issue about trusting people.
Trust has to be earned. It’s earned by making small agreements and keeping them. You need to earn their trust, just as much as they need to earn yours. You earn trust by always doing what you say you’re going to do. By always treating other people the way you expect to be treated yourself. You earn trust by sticking up for your mates and you earn trust by letting them stick up for you. It’s a constant juggling act. Sometimes you’re the person doing the trusting and other times you’re the one being trusted and a lot of the time, it’s both at once.
The tough part happens when one person outgrows the relationship that you have between you. They have changed in small ways and you haven’t noticed or you haven’t changed with them. Their priorities are not the same as they were and your friendship isn’t as important to them as it once was. They are gradually finding new people to trust and the understanding you had with each other isn’t valued as much as it was.
What can you do?
You can decide what’s best for you and then move forward. You choose another person or people to befriend and entrust. You gradually build trust with them, often testing where they’re at in the relationship and whether they are truly worthy of your trust. No-one is perfect and I can absolutely guarantee there will be times when people will let you down.
When this happens, all you can do is choose whether to forgive them or not and then move forward, with or without them.
It seems strange and a bit sad to say, but sometimes betrayal is a growing and learning experience. Once you’re over the initial shock and disappointment the betrayal has caused you, you’re left to think about what happened, what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening to you again. The best answer is to keep trusting. Just make sure that the people in whom you place your very valuable trust are worthy of it. If they’re not, you need to find at least one person who definitely is.
If you’re having trouble trusting people and don’t know where to turn, please contact me. I can help you or find someone else who can. You don’t have to trust me, even though I'd like you to. You just need to take one tiny little step in my direction.
Contact: David Gillman - The Mindset Mechanic