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7 Signs of Trust Issues & What You Can Do About It – According to Therapists

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Finding out where your trust issues come from and how to get rid of them is a long road. If you or your partner have trouble trusting others, sooner or later you will run into this. But fear of commitment can also cause problems in non-romantic relationships, so with family or friends. Below are some common signs of someone with trust issues. We also give you some tips on how to deal with it and what you can do to trust others more.

General signs of trust issues:

1: You avoid steady relationships

According to psychologist Nicole Beurkens, people with trust issues often have trouble committing. Relationship therapist Michael Moran explains that this stems from a fear of opening up and showing up: if you struggle to trust people, a safe and meaningful relationship seems totally impossible.

2: You assume people are trying to hurt you

Beurkens and Moran both see that people with trust issues often live based on the idea that people do things on purpose to hurt them. They have a hard time accepting gestures, compliments, or love in general—because they just can’t believe it’s genuine and have no false ulterior motives.

3: You isolate yourself from others

Because of such assumptions and the fear of committing, Moran says, people with trust issues withdraw as soon as they see any problems. Once you believe you can’t trust people, it becomes less important to build new friendships—and maybe even something to avoid.

4: You don’t let people know about yourself

When you do interact with people, you reveal as little as possible about yourself. Maybe even in front of your best friends. “The gut feeling is often ‘I’m afraid I can’t be myself with you. I’m afraid you won’t accept me as I am . Or I’m afraid you won’t let me into your life,” Moran explains.

5: You’re looking for a fight

If you are suspicious and assume the worst, you are more likely to react to strong reactions and you will get into an argument more quickly , even about small things. “You can think of those reactions as the part that sticks out of the water,” Moran says. There is another iceberg of trust issues floating under the water, which others can bump into in all kinds of ways, which damages your trust again and again. “That iceberg defines who they are, and that affects the partner as well,” he adds.

6: You’re Overprotective

Beurkens notes that trust issues can also lead to overprotective and overly watchful behavior towards yourself and people you care about. Perhaps you are always defensive and constantly think about the worst-case scenarios for your relationship, or you start to think of doom when someone seems to be making fun of you.

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7: You prefer to keep closed

Trust issues can make it difficult for you to open up. “If things go wrong in the relationship and who I am doesn’t seem quite welcome or I don’t recognize myself in the other person, I start to close myself off,” Moran says. So you might feel that you aren’t accepted or appreciated, even when you can’t pinpoint a reason for feeling this way.

Why do people have trust issues?

Trust problems arise because of what we are going through now or have ever experienced. Our childhood, and especially our relationship with our parents, plays a major role in how we view relationships today. This idea forms the basis of attachment theory. Beurkens sees in her practice that someone who was betrayed, abandoned or abused in her youth often develops trust issues later in life.

“Everyone gets difficult things from their childhood, the human experience is simply not perfect,” adds Moran. “For example, if someone was raised with a distant father , then this person thinks that their ‘god’ – as a child your parents are god – is emotionally unavailable.” We remember that feeling and can sometimes lead to what is called an insecure attachment.

Beurkens further says that trust issues “can also arise when an adult in the relationship is betrayed or hurt by friends, family and/or romantic partners.”

Cheating is therefore a common cause for trust issues. Being cheated on like this, and all the other things that make you lose your trust, can lead to bonding issues. Moran explains it this way: “A real attachment problem goes right back to trust: something happens in the relationship that causes the hurt partner to decide on some level, ‘You’re not safe and I can never trust you again’.”

How do you overcome trust issues?

You can overcome your trust issues if you are patient and willing to take risks. Finally, three tips:

  1. Process pain from your past

“The first, important step is becoming aware that you have trust issues,” says Beurkens. “It is also very valuable to work through deception, pain and other causes so that you can better understand them and not experience them over and over in similar situations in new relationships.”

Moran and Beurkens see therapy as an indispensable element in this, especially if you carry deep wounds and you really have trouble trusting people. “But some people also manage to process their past well and rebuild their confidence through books, online support groups, and the like,” notes Beurkens.

  1. Learn to take risks

A big part of the job of overcoming your trust issues is learning to take risks. “Everyone makes mistakes from time to time,” says Beurkens, “and everyone will disappoint you at some point. That doesn’t mean they can’t be trusted.” And it’s important to recognize that “when someone has hurt you, you can feel it deeply and at the same time move forward and have other healthy relationships in your life.”

Mindfulness can help you stay in the present and teach you “to look more objectively at what’s happening so you don’t get swept up in emotional assumptions,” she says.

  1. Work together as a couple

If you are already in a relationship, get your partner involved! Your partner can help and support you in your recovery process. For a couple to move from distrust to trust, Moran says, both partners need to be open, mindful, and involved.

Trust is a very important foundation for any relationship, romantic or not. If you can’t trust the people around you, you feel very isolated and lonely. But if you manage to overcome your trust issues, your relationships with the people you love can finally blossom.

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