Rebuilding trust, or learning to trust someone again, can be a difficult process, but it will ultimately help you heal from the emotional damage and allow you to form strong, healthy relationships once more.
Should I Trust the Person Who Hurt Me?
If you’re debating on repairing your relationship or letting the person go, here are some questions you may want to consider:
- Is it possible to have a rational discussion with this person, or will they be defensive or manipulative?
- Do you feel like you’re “walking on eggshells” around them in order to avoid angry outbursts or criticism?
- Have they taken responsibility for their actions and displayed empathy for you?
- Are they stubborn or self-righteous, believing that they’re always right?
Steps to Start Trusting Again
- First, know that it is possible to forgive, even if it may feel impossible right now.
- Remember that forgiveness is a choice, and it doesn’t mean you should forget or excuse the hurtful behaviors of others.
- Think of people in your life who have hurt you or let you down, and write down their names from those who hurt you the least to the most. Then, go through the list and make the decision to forgive them one by one.
- For this step, Enright asks, “How are you doing in terms of your anger? How have you been denying it? Are you angrier than you thought you were? What are the physical consequences of your anger?”
- After recognizing the uncomfortable feelings of anger, most people are ready to commit to forgive others. Acknowledge that the person who hurt you is human and imperfect, and consider their own struggles that may have played a role in their hurtful actions.
- Once you look at someone in a different light, you will likely be calmer, less angry, and feel the anger slip away. Take your time to reflect on this process, your emotions, and the person who let you down. You may find that the situation isn’t as unrepairable as you thought!
Signs of Trust Issues
Trust issues may also stem from childhood or during teenage years. Having neglectful parents, a dysfunctional home life, being bullied by others, or other events can cause someone to constantly “have their guard up.” Other traumatic events such as being in an abusive relationship, experiencing a serious accident or illness, or losing a loved one can cause so much emotional damage that the person has difficulty trusting anyone. Someone with significant trust issues may be consistently wary and distrustful of others, and may display some of these signs:
- Lack of intimate relationships or friendships.
- Distrust that interferes with relationships.
- Suspicion or anxiety about others.
- Fear of physical intimacy.
- Believing that other people are lying to them, despite having no evidence.