Trust May NOT Be What You Think It Is
Today I want to talk about ‘Trust’ and how it can sabotage otherwise very healthy relationships.
How does it work?
Well, let’s start by looking at what Trust is and how it works in us in both dysfunctional and functional ways because, baby, that sucker can be incredibly dysfunctional.
There are a couple of pieces to pull together here so you get the full picture:
1) Trust is a Noun, a Belief, and a Decision. The definition of trust from Google is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? A firmbelief.
What I want you to get here is that it is a Belief, which means that, at some point, you made a Decisionthat this person was worthy of Trust. It isn’t a fact or an absolute truth, it’s a judgement call that you made.
2) Trust is a Value. At the Master Practitioner level of NLP, we do what is called a Values Elicitation where we list out a person’s Values and then order them to find out which ones are most important and most controlling in any area of their life.
It is very powerful because, it turns out that, Values are the very deepBeliefs we hold about right and wrong, good and bad, and we use them to construct our life and then to judge whether we, and everyone else, is living well or badly.
Often, very often, when we are doing relationship work in a Breakthrough, one of the top Values is Trust. For me, it was #1. In other words, what that person Values is Trust and what they are looking for, and judging their relationship for, is a strong Trust. And that sounds okay too, doesn’t it? Trust is important, right?
Unfortunately, it isn’t what it seems.
In fact, Trust is what we technically call a ‘sneaky Away From‘ and what that means is that when we say we really Value Trust and create relationships based on Trust, what we are really saying is that we are terrified of our Trust being violated – and we’ve been burned before so we know what that feels like! – and so we build our relationships on this fragile need for there to be a perfecttrust in our relationship.
Sadly, that’s impossible. There is only one Being capable of preserving perfect Trust and it isn’t you, me, or your partner.
(it’s the Divine, in case you were wondering)
So every time our partner violates our Trust – and it will happen, over and over again – our expectation of perfection is violated and our fragile Trust is broken and our hearts are bruised.
What does it look like when our Trust is violated? Well, it’s the big things like a flirtation with someone else, financial deception, and, of course, the soul-destroying betrayal of an affair.
But, it’s also the little things like forgetting to pick up milk, not putting the kids to bed clean, and not calling when they said they would.
Over time, and, yes, it does build as one hurt piles on top of another, we begin to look at our partner with distrust because ‘if they really loved me they would never hurt me this way’ and as distrust mounts, love diminishes. Finally, we wonder why we ever thought they were the ‘right one’ for us anyway.
This is often where marriages dissolve.
But, you see, our expectation of perfect Trust is a lie planted in us in ancient times.
It is dysfunctional to expect perfection of anyone. Remember? The definition of trust is a firm belief, not perfection.
(Perfectionists!! I’m looking at you. You know who you are. This is just one more way that the life-destroying addiction of perfectionism sneaks in and ruins everything.)
And our terror of betrayal and need for perfect Trust is ultimately a reflection of every place we have ever betrayed our Self – and that has been many, many times in many, many ways, hasn’t it?
So, we show up in this brand new relationship and plunk our fragile, beautiful heart on the table in front of the One and ask them to be very careful with it because, after all, we have been hurt before, and we ask them to never ever hurt us because we just couldn’t handle the betrayal.
And they do their best to be perfect because they really do love us.
But then they falter. And they forget the milk. And they feed the kids chips for dinner.
Of course they do.
They’re only human. Just like we’re only human.
And just as you betray your Self by plunking your heart on the table and putting the responsibility for its care on another, they will betray you by not being perfect.
And because you are already on the edge from a thousand small betrayals, when the big betrayal happens (if and when it ever does), or when even the hint of a big betrayal rears its ugly head, your Trust snaps and the relationship ends.
There is another way.
In part 2, we’ll talk about what healthy Trustlooks like and how it could work differently in your relationships when you stop punishing everyone for not being perfect and accept that we are all fragile, beautiful, fallible humans.