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Author Topic: overcoming trust issues?  (Read 493 times)
caughtnreleased
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« on: June 23, 2013, 06:49:10 PM »

So having recently started therapy, I'm coming to realize I have some major trust issues.  I suppose this is not unusual given the rather stormy/emotionally abusive relationships of my past, including a fully diagnosed pwBPD.  I really want to work on these trust issues, as I am incredibly conscious of just how much they hold me back.  Anyone have experience to share, where you've been able to overcome this?  I have more or less been on long-time single streak for several years, only dating people who I know I am not compatible with and really don't allow to get close to me. The only person who did get close in recent years was the pwBPD, as he essentially just tore through my boundaries, which I actually appreciated because its lonely here behind my boundaries. Of course, on the other hand, had I let things continue with him, I probably would have come out with even more dammage.  Anyone have experience working successfully through these issues?
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waverider
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2013, 07:20:40 PM »

I think this is closely related to dependency, or rather fear of dependency. You may not have enough faith in your ability to stand alone whilst involved with others. Do you feel the only way you can be strong and self capable is if you are physically alone.?

An analogy I often think of is:

I am a tree, my roots are grounded in my own patch of earth (my reality). My branches reach out and intertwine with those around me. I am not a branch of anyone else's tree. I am an independent entity, I will not wither as a result of any rot in those around me, I have my own healthy core, it is not dependent on others. I need not fear intertwining my limbs with those around me, as I am me, I am not a dependent component of anyone else
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2013, 07:27:54 PM »

Hi unhooking,

I did have similar trust issues so understand very much where you are coming from in terms of holding you back. Everybody is different in how they deal with things, some people carry those issues for a very long time while others brush them off immediately and get back out there straight away. It's something I worked through with my T because I tended to trust everybody, allowed people to cross my boundaries and while some people acknowledged and respected that, others didn't and that is what leaves us open to abuse.

The important thing is to remember, the only person you can trust is yourself. That's not to say everybody else is untrustworthy because there are many people out who are very trustworthy. It just means, you cannot control someone elses thoughts and feelings, the only control you have is over yourself.

It's perfectly natural to trust people but there is such a thing as trusting too much or being too sceptical. My T was concerned that because of the abuse I have suffered over the years, I would reach a point of closing off completely and having too many boundaries that I didn't allow people in. Based on what you are saying in your post, that is something you have come across but the important thing is there is a way through this.

You mention you have boundaries and I have no doubt, these boundaries are ones you have put up to protect yourself from getting hurt. You also recognise that you find people you aren't compatible with and don't allow them to get too close. A bit of advice I was given was that in relationships I tend to go for what feels familiar and therefore comfortable. It's familiar because I'm subconsciously used to the abusive patterns from my past and keep connecting to those same feelings in a relationship when in fact I should be looking for the very opposite. If it feels too familiar, take a step back. If it feels uncomfortable, it might be a good thing. The important thing is having control over your own boundaries and knowing when to say no.

In terms of not allowing someone to get too close, maybe reassess your boundaries and see which ones you want to keep and which ones are holding you back. I know for me, part of it was the worry of rejection so I would push aside red flags because I felt someone liked me for who I was. Dealing with that worry on a personal level has been a great help. I joined a dating site, not to jump into a relationship but to work on my own boundaries. I made it very clear in my post that I'm not looking to jump into a relationship but to find someone who shares common interests, start a friendship, go out and do the things you can't do with friends and family, take things slowly and eventually see where things lead. The prospect of either a great friendship or a relationship.

There have been those people who are desperate for a relationship and despite me saying no, still insist on trying to get through those boundaries. There are others who don't want to take their time, so I have faced up to rejection there. And finally there are those who have listened to what I have said, respected what I have said and still want to continue to get to know each other. There has been a mutual respect because some have asked if I'm only looking for a casual relationship because they aren't interested in that and when I explain that I'm not trying to play the field and that the slow approach is between getting to know someone and also taking time to continue to get to know me, they become a lot more relaxed. Some people don't want that and we have said our goodbyes, others are still talking.

The important thing with all of that is maintaining your boundaries, and the more you do, the more confident you feel. The more confident you feel in yourself the more you have mutual respect with someone. Only you can dictate the pace of your life and do what you feel is most comfortable for you. If someone is good, they will respect that in you because as I discovered myself, a pwBPD or an NPD is desperate to get their next fix so they won't hang around if they have others on the hook. Likewise though, if you go too slow, you might put some good people off so you need to find a balance that you are comfortable with.

So my advice for you is to look at all of your boundaries, figure out the ones essential to you. Work out where you want to be going forward with your life because the past is an experience in which we learn lessons from but we shouldn't let it dictate our present or our future. The boundaries that aren't that important, relax them or let them go and start by taking little steps forward. A good person will respect your boundaries and anyone who tries to tear through them, you can take a step back and say no because they are your boundaries and you are in control of them  

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caughtnreleased
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2013, 08:26:23 PM »

Waverider, yes I think there is definitely a fear that if I become attached, and therefore vulnerable with someone, I will not be capable of enforcing my boundaries.  In a past relationship, I started off strong with boundaries (or at least I thought so), but through sustained emotional abuse they were slowly and gradually worn away, to a point where I felt completely powerless, to have my boundaries respsected, and to walk away from a relationship that I thought I might salvage through some kind of behaviour change on my part. I guess based ont his experience I question my ability to walk away from someone that I am emotionally attached to, no matter how they might treat me.

 

Murbay, thank you for your feedback.  I think you are right on... . the problem in the end is whether I can trust myself to stand up for myself and enforce my boundaries when they are being crossed.  I think right now the answer is no... . or at least I am not able to strike the right balance. Either I have too many boundaries, and don't get involved with anyone so that no one has even the slightest chance of challenging my boundaries, or I am not able to enforce them in the long run with someone that I am emotionally attached to (although this has not been tested since the last relationship that I mention above, essentially the last time I actually trusted someone which has been several years).  Thank you so much for your insight.  I guess the next step is to reexamine some of my boundaries... . I guess that is a bit more difficult to define... . I'm not really sure what it is that is keeping EVERYONE out.  Right now I just look at most people, focus on their flaws and dismiss them.
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2013, 09:00:07 PM »

the problem in the end is whether I can trust myself

Building on what Murbay is saying, this statement above I have found to be very true. Trust issues seem to dissipate the more we trust ourselves.

I guess the next step is to reexamine some of my boundaries... . I guess that is a bit more difficult to define... . I'm not really sure what it is that is keeping EVERYONE out.  Right now I just look at most people, focus on their flaws and dismiss them.

Asking yourself what your values are is helpful in establishing your boundaries. What can you live with, what can you not? Focusing on flaws of others is part of this process. We have been hurt, it's a self preservation that takes over while we are getting to know ourselves better. There is an interesting side effect to working on ourselves, the more we get to know ourselves the more we recognize behaviors in others. Unhealthy behaviors tend to stick out like a sore thumb. There is a balance here that is something to strive for, no one is perfect, to be flawed is human. Working on recognizing our expectations, of others and ourselves helps.
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“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” ~Jacob M. Braude
KellyO
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 03:43:42 AM »

One T who treats codependent people in my country wrote something that helped me greatly:

"Accept that you don't trust now. It is OK not to trust. You will trust in time, but you are not there yet. It is perfectly OK not to be there yet".

I felt BAD about not trusting. And that leaded me in situations where I blindly trusted people who shouldn't be trusted, and so I got abused and used all over again. I believed trusting makes me better person. It did not. It was fake trusting, and it leaded me in not trusting myself anymore.

So now I'm learning to trust myself. It is a good start.
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waverider
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 04:29:34 AM »

One T who treats codependent people in my country wrote something that helped me greatly:

"Accept that you don't trust now. It is OK not to trust. You will trust in time, but you are not there yet. It is perfectly OK not to be there yet".

I felt BAD about not trusting. And that leaded me in situations where I blindly trusted people who shouldn't be trusted, and so I got abused and used all over again. I believed trusting makes me better person. It did not. It was fake trusting, and it leaded me in not trusting myself anymore.

So now I'm learning to trust myself. It is a good start.

Does your T practice Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)?

This is a good way of thinking you are what you are, it is good to accept yourself otherwise you put to much pressure on yourself.
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KellyO
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2013, 06:24:28 AM »

Heh, he is not my T... . but he is well-known in my country. I don't really know what kind of therapy he does, but I know he was trained in USA, and he brought the whole concept of codependency with him. He has done good job and helped many. His parents were both alcoholics. This is only book from him I could find in English:

www.amazon.com/Courage-Surrender-Tommy-Hellsten/dp/1587613204

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winston72
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2013, 11:15:41 PM »

This is a profound topic that underlies much of my vulnerability to disordered people.  Or, better said, that hampers my ability to enjoy life fully as it influences much more than just my engagement with disordered personalities.  That is just an area that is most acutely inflamed and painful and as such becomes the pathway to healing.

I have been in therapy for a bit longer than a year.  A few months ago I became aware that I did not deeply trust my T.  I acted like I trusted him, I was trying to, but I slowly became aware that I expected him to think I was a goof and a fool for falling in love with my uBPDx and that ultimately he would withdraw from me.  It has been a surprising revelation.  If I have trouble trusting my T, which is virtually be definition a safe relationship, than it is no wonder that I have trouble trusting people in my daily life.  And, like one of the other posts mention, I try to deal with this by behaving as though I trust people.

And, another post highlights that self awareness and learning to trust oneself is what leads to building genuine trust with others.  This is so very true... . so deeply true.  And it is awfully hard to learn how to do.  For me it is the simple discipline of being genuine with myself by accepting what I am actually feeling... . but that is strangely so hard.  But I am encouraged that I have a simple pathway forward that I can activate and is within my ability and control.

This has been a wonderful thread for me.  Thanks to all of the contributors.
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