In my marriage, my distrust was more of a challenge and it took some time for me to recognize it. Regaining trust was like learning to ride a bicycle that had only one wheel. How I perceive love, comfort, support and protection from my husband is completely colored by my childhood experiences.
Most conflicts have been based to some degree on trust and betrayal.
- Are you going to be there for me when I need you the most?
- Can I trust you will listen to me when I am upset?
- Will you share difficult times with me, not just fun and joy?
- Can I trust you will not leave me when I get out of shape after childbirth?
- Will you respect me?
- Will you accept me when I make mistakes?
I am working on the computer. All of a sudden I am not able to continue my project. I hit a wall with my writing and there is no way I can finish in time. I am in a panic. I frantically call my husband for help. He responds, "I am busy. I can't help you now." I respond, "But I need help now."
My anxiety soars. "Sorry, I am in the middle of something," he says. My frustration and anger erupt like a volcano. "You are never there for me when I need you!" I shout uncontrollably. At that point my younger self, the one betrayed by her mother, has kicked in. A major fight seems unavoidable.
My husband and I have a particular pattern in our interaction when conflict surfaces around trust. I attack my husband, he defends and justifies. At that point it is really hard for him to be responsive to me. If I settle down, I make a different kind of request of my husband and acknowledge my pushy behavior as a reason for his defensiveness. He can then listen to my frustrations and feelings of not being supported. Our emotional bond is reestablished.
I recognize now that my mistrust was disguised as anxiety and my angry outburst was fueled by fear. By being responsible for my own feelings, I allow my husband to be more responsive. And I must not forget how it occurs for my husband. When I raise my voice, he feels in trouble. He also feels guilty about his inability to be there for me. "I feel guarded and push you away," he has told me.
As Dalai Lama said, "Trust only comes by showing genuine concern for other person's well-being."
By sharing and listening to each other's vulnerabilities with empathy and acceptance, there is no more need for justification. When justification stops, blame disappears and a sense of trust develops.
As distrust leaves me, I can risk being vulnerable with the people I love. When I am able to go beyond my fear (abandonment and rejection) and take the risk to share, there is freedom.
The more either trusts themselves, and
The more either trusts the other,
The more their trust in each other grows,
And the more they trust themselves and each other.
More on trust issues from YourTango:
- Confronting Your Trust Issues
- Handling A Girlfriend With Trust Issues
- Why Women Are More Likely To Cheat