While many of us are taught to project an image of success, perfection, and strength, there is much to be gained from owning and even sharing your own weaknesses or vulnerabilities. By acknowledging our ability to practice vulnerability, we can actually empower ourselves and learn to connect with others more authentically. When you put up emotional walls and defenses, you may be blocking yourself from fully experiencing life. Yes, it is true that trusting people can end in emotional pain, but without being willing to take the risk to trust, you might miss out on some of life's greatest joys. If others have hurt you in the past, this article will outline what you need to know in order to trust again.
Can I Trust Again?
When it comes to trusting someone again, it is not an impossible task. Peer reviewed studies and research shows that you can trust anyone with practice, and most people can be trusted in the right circumstances—even if they have been untrustworthy in the past. Of course, this concept is easier said than done, since you have to be sure that a relationship is set up for complete honesty and openness. This relationship work can take a lot of effort. Just know, you are not alone in your unwillingness to trust others; keep reading for more information on facing and working on trust issues.
Facing Trust Issues
If you have trust issues because you have experienced broken trust in the past, you may project this fear onto those around you. As the hurt part party, this reaction to bad behavior makes sense in many cases. But, you may unintentionally close yourself off from others with good intentions—people who want to form connections with you. If you feel that you are just waiting for someone to let you down or stop liking you, then you may not have healed from trust issues. When we fail to give another person a fair chance and are expecting others to make mistakes or hurt us in the beginning of a new relationship, we can fall into a self-fulfilling prophecy. By pushing those who may be healthy influences away, you may even be reinforcing the belief that the world is a scary, dangerous place filled with people meant to do you harm. You might challenge yourself, and ask whether you are creating walls around you.
When we conceal our vulnerabilities or run away from them instead of working to rebuild trust, we miss an opportunity to learn or grow; and we may unintentionally shut ourselves off from others. Taking an overly protective stance can lead to constant worrying about what others think or what might happen in the future. It also takes away from our ability to be present within the moment.
However, if you have been hurt by others in the past, it's only natural to feel concerned about whether or not it's safe to trust. You may accidentally see false red flags in small things because of previous negative experiences, become convinced that bad things happen always, and want to end things before you become vulnerable. After being hurt and betrayed, it makes sense that it can be difficult to trust again. However, there is hope that this can be worked through and overcome.
We all need some degree of security, stability, and consistency in order to trust people and feel safe. If you have lost the trust of someone close, such as the trust of a family member or a partner’s faith, then you may need to learn to practice self-care by protecting yourself emotionally—from abuse, manipulation, or conflicts—by limiting your contact with certain people and setting good boundaries. This can be a part of the healing process as well.
One way to let those barriers down is to ask yourself, truthfully, if you have been hurt in the past, and if this might be influencing your relationships as a result. If you have been hurt, but think that you have dealt with these feelings, you might consider seeking professional help to examine, come to terms with, and begin to heal from your past. Understanding how the past influences your current relationships can help you become more aware of you triggers, fears, and defense mechanisms. If you are afraid of being rejected or abandoned, try to remind yourself that there are many other people who will embrace you as you are. Engaging in the therapeutic process can also help you establish a deeper relationship with yourself, where you let go of internal judgment and criticism and learn self-forgiveness and compassion. Psychology today has the tools to allow you to begin the process of rebuilding trust with others in a safe setting. Here are a few truths that can help you overcome fear of trusting:
It's normal to have these kinds of fears, but it becomes problematic if they prevent you from fully living life, taking risks, and pursuing your dreams. Most of us stay away from risks to some degree, but when we fail to take risks completely, we are less likely to experience positive changes or move towards our dreams. Fear of failure, rejection, or embarrassment may be holding you back, and if you let these fears be stronger than your willingness to have new experiences or heal, you may feel stuck and uncertain that change is possible.
How to Re-Learn Trust
If you are afraid to take a risk and trust because someone has hurt you before, that is a perfectly normal reaction. However, when these fears become too intense, begin to influence you negatively within your day-to-day life, or prevent you from forming deep connections, it is a problem you need to fix. It is possible to learn to heal and regain trust, so here are a few tips for building trust with people who are worthy of it.
Learning how to trust again, or starting to trust someone you care about again, is important to you moving on with your life and being happy. If you have tried the steps above but have little to no change in your ability to trust, do not be alarmed. It can be a slow process, and you shouldn't go it alone if you don't have to. When you feel ready to take on this process in order to experience the truly good times, mental health experts are ready and willing to be by your side to help you understand this issue and work on solving it as well.
Trusting Again With BetterHelp
There is a growing body of research suggesting that online therapy can help those with concerns about trust in relationships. A study published in Counselling Psychology Review, a peer-reviewed research journal, found that online therapy can help promote trust in those seeking help. Specifically, the report found that the potential anonymity provided by internet-based platforms helps patients open up more quickly. This information is in line with research proving that online counseling is useful when managing a number of mental health issues, including those related to communication and relationships.
As outlined above, online therapy can help you work through feelings of mistrust. There are a variety of tools that at a therapists disposal that can be tailored specifically to you, including tools like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, talk therapy, and the Gottman Method from the Gottman Institute, which focuses on a research based approach to relationships. With BetterHelp, you can match with one of thousands of licensed professionals, which means you’ll have a better chance of finding a counselor who knows exactly how to help you with trust issues, as opposed to only those in-person therapists in your area. And if you choose to, you can remain completely anonymous, which may make it easier for you to open up. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Tamara is such a kind, listening and caring person. She helped me a lot to open up about my feeling & problems and it was surprisingly easy to just tell her everything, which was really hard because of my trust issues. She really understands and remembers the thing you've told her. I consider myself very lucky to be assigned to her, thank you so much for everything Tamara."
"As someone who struggles with talking to people and emotions, I was extremely hesitant to start counseling let alone do live sessions. I was able to open up immediately on my first session with Jessica. She was patient and calm with me which gave me the sense of trust I was looking for. She has a gentleness in her voice and empathy in her eyes that could put anyone at ease. She asks questions in a way that gives her the info she needs but allows you to open up as well. I'm so thankful I was matched with her and would highly recommend her! Thank you Jessica for being amazing."
Learning to trust again can be a process that takes time and patience. Talking to a professional therapist can help you trust yourself again and rebuild healthy relationships. Trusting someone is a major part of the human experience, and you can get there—all you need are the right tools.
Below are some commonly asked questions on this topic:
1. How do you regain trust again?
2. How do you get over trust issues?
3. Is it possible to trust again?
4. How do you rebuild trust after lying?
5. Can you love someone you don’t trust?
6. How do u fix a broken relationship?
7. Can you fall back in love with someone you fell out of love with?
8. How do you fix trust in a relationship?
9. Should you stay in a relationship without trust?
10. Why do I have trust issues?