Trust; the one thing that is so hard to earn and yet so easy to lose. By definition, trust is the belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc. When someone earns your trust, you open yourself up to them, you allow yourself to be vulnerable. You allow that person to break down all your walls, and you trust them to be your protector. So what happens after that someone destroys that trust? When the one that was supposed to protect your heart and soul infiltrates it themselves? Damaging it more than you could ever have imagined? Some would say “the walls go right back up!” But actually, the reality is that the walls do not go right back up. Because; now this person knows ALL your weaknesses. They know all the “right things” to say and do to keep you in that vulnerable state and keep you from rebuilding those walls.
So what happens when you leave that situation? You say to yourself that you will never be vulnerable to another individual ever again. Your walls go up, but it is even deeper than that; because it is as if you not only build your walls up but you build an entire fortress around yourself. You vow to yourself that no one will EVER hurt you like that again.
As a domestic violence survivor, I know I immediately built my fortress. Not a single person could get in. Not even my own family, and I am not sure that they even realized it. It is like a subconscious act of survival. Nothing in and nothing out. Walls up like the impenetrable walls of Jericho. Not allowing anything to enter, and not willing to let go of what is left inside. Scared of being vulnerable again, yet not realizing I was only doing more damage to myself.
Trust is a big issue for a survivor to deal with. It goes hand in hand with love ( Please read “Love Afterwards” ). In order to trust another individual, you need to regain trust in yourself first. Just like you can only truly love another person if you first love yourself. What do I mean by this? Trust in yourself that you are able to make right decisions. After all, you did make the right choice when you left the abusive relationship right? Also, you have to re-learn who you are now. You are not the same person that you used to be. And again, in order to trust yourself, you first have to love yourself.
Don’t forget that this is all a process, it all takes time. You can take however long you want to, and anyone in your life that is worth keeping around will respect that. Also, keep in mind that you are human, and we all make mistakes. If and when you make a mistake dust yourself off, learn from it and move on. Do not beat yourself up over making a mistake. Mistakes make us grow. Work on you, during this time to get to know the new you. Instead of looking for someone to fill any voids, you fill them yourself. Find the things that make you happy. Find the hobbies and activities that you enjoy most. Figure out your like and dislikes.
Be sure to surround yourself with positive people. Those who only want what’s best for you and want to see you happy. You do not need any negativity right now in this fragile time of your life. Any negative people must go. This is vital and crucial for your well-being and growth. Negative people will only set you back and add to your lack of trust.
In time, you will learn to trust again. Remember with each part of your healing process you must take it one day at a time. Trusting yourself with goals and achieving them. Trusting each and every decision you make for yourself. As well as trusting yourself to see the signs and red flags. You have to trust yourself in knowing that you are much wiser than you were before. That you survived a horrific and traumatic experience.You trusted yourself enough to go through with the plan when you left the situation, now trust yourself in knowing that you can make the right decision through any tough situation.
Here are links to some books on learning how to trust yourself: