You want to confide in your friend but you’re not sure she won’t share your deeply personal feelings with someone else.
You’d love to be a team player and a collaborative partner at work but if the person you trusted the most proved untrustworthy, how can you trust your boss, coworker or partner?
You want to be more open and vulnerable with your partner but you don’t feel safe.
Trust. It’s something that is so foundational.
When trust is shattered, it is really hard to feel safe and secure because trust sets the foundation for our sense of safety and security. So, when that person or people who created that sense of safety and security are the very ones to shatter it, it’s traumatizing.
So many of us don’t regain that sense of trust and we walk around feeling unsafe, insecure and anxious.
Can you repair trust? I say no. Can you rebuild it? Yes.
Imagine trust being like a brick wall. That wall is built brick by brick by brick and it can take a long time. Every opportunity someone has to show they’re trustworthy represents one brick in the brick wall.
So now imagine the person who built that brick wall shatters the entire wall in one soul crushing and painful moment. Now, the person whose trust was shattered, has every right to look at the brick wall and say; “I don’t have the least bit of interest in watching that thing get rebuilt.” That’s completely fine and with that, they heal themselves and move along. However, if they’re willing to watch that brick wall be rebuilt, the person who shattered that brick wall has to be…a really good bricklayer.
The only way it can be rebuilt is the same way it went up the first time, brick, by brick by brick. Every opportunity that person has to show that they’re trustworthy represents one brick in that brick wall. So, you can see why it would take a lot of time and effort.
Now, what I see many people doing is this. Trust has been shattered. The person who shattered the trust is kind of nonchalant about the whole thing, and the person whose trust was shattered thinks; “This is so hard, so painful, they’re not doing any rebuilding so I’ll rebuild the brick wall” because they’re in pain and it’s uncomfortable. They don’t like the feeling and they just want the painful emotions to go away.
When the person whose trust was shattered is the one who builds the brick wall, you can’t feel safe, you don’t feel secure, your level of anxiety is always high because you don’t know if you can trust that other person.
Left unhealed, we lose trust in ourselves too. We don’t trust our judgment, our discernment, and our ability to know if we’re making decisions that serve us best. Taking it a step further, if we don’t trust the person who we gave our trust to, and we don’t trust ourselves, how can we trust in anyone or anything else?
We’re taking all of this on during the Trust Again Challenge . In these times, we do not feel safe, we do not trust, and we need to get back that sense of trust and safety. When we don’t rebuild trust, it impacts every area of life. It prevents us from the relationships, joy and fulfillment we want most.
With the shattering of trust, we find ourselves stuck. In the 5 Stages from Betrayal to Breakthrough (one of the discoveries made in my PhD study) this is so common to Stage three, the most common place to get stuck. Transformation doesn’t even begin until Stages four and Stage five. If you’re having trust issues, there’s a good chance you may be stuck in Stage three and you are holding yourself back from the transformation that you deserve. The hardest part has happened already, you owe it to yourself to move through the Stages. So, if you have any kind of trust issues, know that there’s a really good chance you’re deeply rooted in that Stage three (it’s not your fault, when you know about the Stages, it’s easy to see why we get stuck there). The good news is, there’s a predictable and proven way to move through all of it.
If you’re struggling with trust, there is no reason to stay stuck. You’re holding yourself back from the love, from the intimacy, from the connection you so rightfully deserve. It’s time to love again, feel safe again, trust again.
CEO and Founder, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute