Rebuilding Trust in Others

Life Is Full of Changes

Everyone changes over time- this is just a part of life. We go through puberty, early and middle adulthood, then late adulthood. Throughout these years, we learn a lot about ourselves and the people around us. If we are lucky, we don’t lose a lot of people along the way. If we are even luckier, we find people that we can trust and that trust is never broken.

In a previous post, The Day After I describe the pain of losing not only someone I loved deeply, but also touch on losing people that I thought were my friends. It’s a crushing blow to lose people that you partied, laughed and cried with. I thought they would be with me when I really needed them the most. Instead, I got nasty text messages, and flat out told that it was not about me after being asked how I was doing. That was just the beginning.

Great friends, right?

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The Black Hole

While I was in the black hole of grief, I barely left my house. I can count on both hands how many people I talked to regularly, on one hand I talked to daily. I was so crushed by people turning their backs on me I wouldn’t let anyone else in. I blocked everyone I’d worked with (except a very select few) and their friends on my Facebook. I changed my privacy settings to the tightest settings there are. I just wanted to be left alone. I didn’t trust anyone at this point.

Thanks to therapy, I have been able to work on this. I still don’t trust easily, and I don’t think I will ever trust others as I did before this happened. My Facebook settings are still the way I set them two years ago, but a few people got unblocked. One was unblocked when her husband died about a year after Jake. I felt awful about her husband’s death and I sent her a message.

Working Out the Tangles

My mind was pretty tangled at this point. How was I supposed to trust anyone? I couldn’t even trust my own husband, much less anyone else near me.

I talked a lot and went through one person or situation at a time. Otherwise I got overwhelmed. Lots of tears were involved and I went through quite a bit of candy. The biggest part of the tangle, of course, was Matthew.

My biggest fear was that he would go back to being the jerk that drove me to where I was years ago. I wasn’t about to go back there. This has not happened, but I am equipped with the tools I need if he ever does. I don’t think I will ever get rid of that fear, it will always stay in the back of my mind. I learned that this is okay, but to not let it cloud the good times. There are so many of those.

I’ve also learned how to communicate better, even though it can be really hard. This remains a work in progress and probably will be for a very long time. I also had to learn to just let Matthew be nice to me without ulterior motives. This was a tough one for me to tackle, and even now, can be a struggle, but I use a lot of self-talk to get through it.

Friends? That’s a funny one. If I wasn’t already talking to you, you could forget talking to me and everyone that was talking to me was pretty much sworn to secrecy about me. A few of my friends still worked with those that turned on me. I couldn’t do much about this, obviously, but I asked them to not say a single word about me to anyone if asked. My thought was, if they cared that much, they shouldn’t have turned on me. (I know, the pettiness was real, but I didn’t care.) My friends respected this. New friends? One. That’s really about it. I picked up a couple of acquaintances at places I worked at afterwards, but true friendships? I struggled. I didn’t want to open up to people because I didn’t want to have people turn on me again, and quite honestly, I was content with the friends I had.

The one friend I made is Sara. I’ve talked about her before in a few different posts, but if you missed those, here’s the short version: she is one of Jake’s cousins and we met at his visitation. We have talked just about everyday since and she’s amazing. Our daughters are best friends.

One of my bigger issues is trusting people with my feelings, because by losing those friends, I had all my trust thrown back in my face and that hurts. I tend to not talk a lot when I’m having a bad day but I’ll joke all day long. Rachel gave me a very good tool on this one: If I’m thinking I should talk to someone about it, then do it. It’s probably important enough to talk about.

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The Bigger Things

I decided to keep my circle small and I’m okay with this. It’s comforting and I know who I can trust. I kicked everyone else to the curb.

How can you rebuild trust in others?

  1. Be patient with yourself. This is not an overnight thing.
  2. Surround yourself with supportive people.
  3. Cut out those who you know you can’t trust- the super negative, all-out flaky, and anyone who has seriously hurt you previously.
  4. Give people a chance. This is different for everyone, but let people in- just not all in at once.
  5. Deal with and let go of the anger towards those that you can’t trust. Moving forward will feel a lot better.

Trust is a very important thing in life. Some people just don’t get how fragile it is.

Have you had to rebuild trust in others? How did it go?

Pics courtesy of Unsplash

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8 thoughts on “Rebuilding Trust in Others

  1. Lori says:

    Trust is an extremely fragile thing. And when trust is broken it is hard to recover, but as you said it is vital we not allow the fear of mistrust to keep us from living a fulfilling life. Rebuilding trust has helped me avoid “victim” mentality. Life happens, people change and others don’t but we can always choose how we respond to those changes.
    #WanderingWednesday

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nip it in the bud says:

    It must have been so hard to be experiencing grief and then feeling the pain of unsupportive friendships. Hard to walk away but the right thing to do. It’s always about other people and that’s why trust is so important so you don’t carry that pain into new relationships. I always feel that you have to let go of the wrong relationships to make room for the right ones. All of those old friends letting you down led you to Sara and how wonderful your daughter got a best friend out of it too :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rose Barnett says:

    I totally get you. I have so much trouble trusting others after I’ve been hurt so many times. It does take time, so I totally agree with #1. I would’ve loved to learn a bit more about the main points under how to rebuild trust. Who is Matthew? Was that an old friend or bf? #WanderingWednesday

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amachinistswife says:

    Oh my goodness I can relate with this so much. I struggled with trusting my husband completely because of things in my childhood. There was always a motive with my dad and still is to this day. So I’ve struggled with this when it comes to my husband. Slowly I’ve learned to let go and to trust him. I also keep my circle small……. like 3 people small. It’s easier for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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