Trust is a crucial aspect of any relationship and having someone—such as a family member, loved one, or friend—shatter it can leave the victim completely heartbroken and devastated.  

But is there a way to heal from the pain? Can trust that has been broken be rebuilt? Is it possible for someone to get close to you and your heart again?

I am Dr. Debi Silber and welcome to another insightful episode of A Dose of Dr. Debi.

Today, we will be discussing how to regain confidence in yourself and others, and learn what it takes to feel safe, trust, and love again. 

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

In This Episode

  • Understand what happens when trust is broken     
  • Discover the 4-step trust rebuilding process        
  • Find out how you can learn to trust again


Hi there, Dr. Debi here, another Dose of Dr. Debi. So today I wanted to talk about trust, and if you have trust issues, I get it. The shattering of trust is so foundational. It rocks you to your core. It shatters your sense of safety and security. So if you’re wondering why is this affecting you so much? Why is it hitting you so hard? That’s why. The very person or the very people who gave you that sense of safety and security could be the very ones to shatter it and take it away. It’s devastating, and it leaves us with trust issues until we heal them.

What so often happens is, trust is shattered, and we’re so uncomfortable with that feeling. We just want it to go away so we’re like, “Forget it, I’ll just trust that person again.” And we wonder why it backfires and we wonder why we, we are struggling with this whole idea of trust.

I have a four-step trust rebuilding process. Of course, in the book Trust Again, I go through it in much greater detail, but I wanted to share it with you because I think this could help get you started with trusting again.

So, the trust rebuilding process is four levels. When trust is shattered. A few things happen. Obviously, we don’t trust the person who was lying, deceiving, we don’t trust them. But we don’t trust ourselves either, because we think things like: “I’m a bright person why did I not see? How did I not know? How could this go on right under my nose?” We have all of these questions, and because trust is so foundational, it shatters the very foundation, so it has to be rebuilt from the foundation. So, the way to build trust with a rock-solid foundation, you would need to start by rebuilding that very foundation. To do that starts with something as simple as something that you are so sure about. Something that you could be so sure about is how we start rebuilding level 1.

I’m talking about something as simple as “Will the sun rise?” And every morning you check, “Will the sun rise? I don’t know. I don’t believe it.” You look up into the sky and sure enough, there it is. Maybe you still don’t feel you can count on that so you check again. Sure enough, there it is. And you see it. You do that enough times until you can feel really comfortable and confident in knowing that yes, the sun will rise.

Now you have a foundation to stand on. From that space, you need to learn to trust in your wise inner guide, in your intuition, in your gut. What happens is, you get that gut feeling that something doesn’t feel right, but your mind talks out of it. So we have to learn, again, to trust the gut.

I had a mentor once who said that your gut is 10,000 times more perceptive than your mind. But we listen to the mind and it’s like this unruly 10-year-old who is just making all kinds of demands, who doesn’t know better, but because it’s carrying on, we listen. Our intuition will never speak to us that way. It speaks in a soft, gentle way. You know when you get that feeling that knowing but we turn it down? We don’t trust it, we don’t listen, but we need to strengthen that again.

So how do you do that? You want to get a sense of what trust feels like for you and it’s different for everybody. So, choose something that feels like trust, and real, and truth to you. Maybe two babies laughing, a dog wagging his or her tail. What is it for you? What does that feel like? What does trust feel like for you? How does it feel in your body? Open, expansive, loving? Whatever it is, remember that feeling, because that’s what trust feels like for you.

On the other hand, what does a lack of trust feel like for you? What does deception, feel like for you? Get that felt sense where do you feel that in your body. Does it feel tight? Does it feel close, constricted? How does it feel? Think of D-Day (discovery day) or whatever it is for you where you felt that feeling of what a lack of trust feels like. How did it feel? That’s what a lack of trust feels like for you.

So now you know what trust feels like, and you know what a lack of trust feels like. So, when you’re going about your day, and you’re speaking with someone, which feeling are you getting? When someone is telling the truth, everything is aligned. The thoughts, behaviors, actions, the mannerisms, what they’re saying, feeling, the energy being sent, is all aligned, is all congruent. But, have you ever noticed those people where they’re saying something, but you’re getting a very different energy? Maybe the words are okay, but the energy, the body language the mannerisms don’t match? It’s incongruent. Maybe they’re smiling, but their eyes aren’t smiling. It’s not like a Botox thing, it’s like a weird creepy thing. Trust that. Everything needs to be congruent.

So, now you know what trust feels like and you know what a lack of trust feels like. You’re strengthening your wise inner guide, you’re strengthening your intuition. That would be the second level. If you’ve strengthened the very foundation, so you know you have something to stand on, then you strengthen your intuition, your wise inner guide, now from there you go to the third level. The third level is rebuilding trust in yourself.

You need to rebuild trust in yourself because after the shattering of trust, after betrayal you don’t trust your own decisions, you don’t trust your own judgment, you don’t trust yourself. So you need to learn how to do that again. So to do that you give yourself little tasks, and little things to do and you do it. I’m going to drink that glass of water and then you do. I’m going to make that phone call and then you do. I’m going to go to sleep 10 minutes earlier and then you do. I’m going to work out today and then you do. I will not call my ex and then you don’t. Whatever it is, you’re learning and you’re teaching yourself that your word is law. If you say something, you mean it. You trust yourself. So when you say something. That’s the rule.

So think about it. Now you have a foundation to stand on. You trust your gut. You know what truth feels like you know what a lack of truth feels like. You trust what your gut is telling you. Now you trust yourself, you could feel that sense of safety and security, it’s almost like you have these invisible bodyguards around you.

Only from that space do you now carefully and cautiously trust in others. Do you see how when you do it this way you have a bit of a base? You have some safety and security around you. But what we often do is we don’t do those other three levels, we just want to go back to trusting the very person who hurt us, and we wonder why we don’t feel safe. That’s one of the reasons why it doesn’t work.

I look at trust like a brick wall. And that brick wall can take decades to build the only way I know it can be built is brick by brick by brick. Every opportunity someone has to show that they’re trustworthy represents a brick in that wall. Then in that one earth-shattering moment or series of moments (death by 1000 cuts), many lies, whatever it is, the wall is completely taken down. So that’s why people ask me can trust be repaired? I don’t think so. Can it be rebuilt? Yes, it can. But the only way it can be rebuilt is the same way it went up the first time, brick by brick by brick. So that’s why it takes time. That’s why trust is sacred and precious. And that’s why we take such a hit when it’s shattered. But here’s what also happens. We just want to be okay with that person again because this feels so awkward or uncomfortable.

Let’s say, the betrayer, or the person who shattered trust, they broke that brick wall. And then, we’re the ones who were affected by it and then we say the equivalent of “It’s okay, I’ll rebuild it.” What’s that about? No, trust is a process. Trust is sacred. To build trust, it’s intentional; to rebuild trust, that takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of work for the person, whose trust was shattered to be willing to allow for that other person (if they’re willing if they want to). You can look at the pile of bricks and say: I don’t have the least bit of interest in watching that thing get rebuilt and walk away. If you want to stick around to watch that be rebuilt, however, you have to be willing, and the other person has to be a really good bricklayer.

Every opportunity showing that they’re trustworthy represents one brick in the wall and it’s going to take time to rebuild. So, that’s the four-step trust rebuilding process I go through, it’s so much deeper in Trust Again: Overcoming Betrayal and Regaining Health, Confidence, and Happiness. If you want to just try, just download a chapter, you can do that too by clicking right here. What I’m going to do is give you a free chapter so you get a sense of what the book is like, and then if it resonates with you, you can always grab the book. The whole idea in the book is I go into so much more detail of that four-step trust rebuilding process, the five stages of betrayal to breakthrough with experiential activities, moving you through the five stages, you have all of my study participants’ stories in there. So, this way you can see who you resonate with my stories in there. And, and this way you see you’re not alone. You’re not crazy, you can heal from all of it.

If you’re enjoying the show, I hope you are, subscribe, rate and review. And please tell anybody who could benefit to join us. So here we are A Dose of Dr. Debi, as part of the From Betrayal to Breakthrough podcast. I’ll see you next time. Bye.


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199: Healing with EDMR w/ Karen Million