Trust Issues Controlled My Life

We’ve all likely heard the common term, “trust issues.” It’s almost always used as online slang, or a  dark-humoured meme which discusses the underlying issues many of us have. Urban Dictionary describes it as “When a person has trouble trusting others due to betrayal or other personal reasons...this can be with anyone, from relationships to friendships.” 

There are varying degrees to trust issues, with some individuals who experience the phenomenon severely enough that it affects their relationships and friendships to a large extent. Others who may have trust issues feel they are manageable day-to-day. Either way, none of it is easy.

It’s especially difficult to recognize these issues within yourself, nevermind in friends or family. It’s easy to bury them, to put them away and try to move past them. there are however, ways to overcome trust issues and rebuild that faith in others, and more importantly, yourself. You have options, and you aren’t alone!

Many of us have felt this way

Hi, I’m Cassandra, and I have many, many trust issues. Mine stem from an experience I had in high school that involved people I cared very deeply about, and had known for a very long time. These friends ended our friendship without so much as a goodbye. It was like my whole world crumbled overnight. I won’t pretend that I had absolutely no role in it, as I’m sure I did. It was just hard to watch so many people I love walk away so easily.

The thing is, I forgive them. I know that we were young and naive. What’s stuck with me though, wasn’t their words or the stares I got in the hallway. It’s that now, I truly believe that everyone is going to walk away. That’s not to exaggerate or be dramatic - from the bottom of my heart, I am convinced that everyone I love will leave me at some point or another. 

Sometimes I find myself pushing friends and family away to “save” myself from heartbreak, or in the middle of a panic attack, convincing myself that everyone is going to leave me. Earlier this year, I broke down in front of my best friends and asked if they were going to leave me too. That’s when I realized the extent of these emotions inside me. It’s something I’m working on every day, and I want others to know that they aren’t alone in these experiences. Trust issues are very real and can control your life.

Processing what caused our trust issues

There can be multiple causes of trust issues. It could be a bad breakup, friendship betrayal, family drama, or just general disappointments/let downs. These causes are where the lack of trust for others can stem from. This could mean not being open to future relationships, not making an effort to cultivate friends, not going out to see friends/family, etc. Often times, though, it’s subtle signs, such as mentally and emotionally keeping everyone an arms-length away, being less outgoing than you might’ve been before, running from potential significant others out of the fear of being hurt, and so on. 

It’s important to recognize these signs in yourself. As difficult as it may be to reflect internally and feel these emotions, pushing them aside won’t make them go away. They will manifest in new forms, in different ways than you were expecting. 

Seeing these symptoms in yourself, acknowledging them, and working through them is the first step to overcoming trust issues.

Okay, so what now?

You have options! This isn’t forever, and there are ways to work through it.

  1. Give yourself “me” time. Doing this will allow you time to reflect on why you feel like this, the situations that propelled these emotions, and how you can respond to your trust issues. I started running to help calm my thoughts and help me work through what I was feeling. Finding a hobby, sport, or even just having a bubble bath can clear your head and allow your emotions to be let out.

  2. Therapy. I won’t lie, I’ve been to therapy on occasion to deal with my trust issues. It can be very healing and helpful to understand how to cope with your fears and emotions surrounding trust issues. Sometimes saying it out loud is all you need. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth it. 

  3. Talk to family and friends. Your family and friends want to be there to help you. Have conversations with them about your experiences and your emotions. Tell them about how you’re feeling. Let them check-in on you and help you through this.

Moving on

You deserve a life free of anxiety, fear, and pushing people away. You deserve people who love you, who will listen, and who will stay. The only way for that to happen though, is if you let it. You decide to let people in or not. You decide to let someone love you or run from what could be. You decide to let others be there for you or shut them out. You decide. Let your decisions be ones free of past experiences, trauma or trust issues. It’s what you deserve, and it’s possible.

Take it one day at a time. I’m still not totally free from trust issues, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m standing, smiling, and loving because I choose to. Choose you.

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