When Trust is Broken

I’ve been pondering this experience we call trust lately and wondering how it is even possible a person you have grown to love, care about, trust and feel safe with for over a decade, can suddenly flick a switch within themselves and become someone you have never seen before and do not even know?

Did you unintentionally trigger a wound they have not yet healed? Did you get too close and their irrational reactive behaviour is a protective barrier designed to push you further away? Were they just wearing a mask of manipulation the whole time which suddenly fell off? Were they just incapable of being honest with themselves and you all along? Does such behaviour allow you to fully trust them ever again? Do you start beating yourself up thinking there is something “wrong” with you?

You can ask yourself these and a multitude of questions, the answers to which can only be hypothetical possibilities for without honest communication from the person concerned you have no understanding of behaviour you have never seen or heard before. Your intuition knows something is definitely “off” and at the end of the day, it’s all you can truly rely on as you attempt to make sense of why another behaves as uncharacteristically as they do.

Many who have experienced the shock, pain, grief and loss that comes with broken trust become hardened and claim they will never trust anyone ever again. So where does that lead us all really? Does it lead to isolating and protecting ourselves, too afraid to open our hearts ever again to others, fearing our trust will be broken again and we will experience being hurt, yet again? Does it lead to self medicating with a vice of choice to numb the pain of our wounds? Does it make us hyper-vigilant to the point we start to experience anxiety about how we act, what we say, how much we share of ourselves or our resources ever again?

Or is it all just a very shocking painful experience, designed to move us totally out of our comfort zones when another breaks our trust which actually contains a rich gift of wisdom and knowledge? Is it an opportunity for growth and learning to perhaps recognise sooner any red flags? Or to tune in better when things just don’t add up to make any logical sense so that we can make better choices? So that we can learn to trust our own intuition more fully?

Whatever the answers are, one thing is certain, trust for me is like a china plate that once smashed by another’s words or actions, no matter how that person tries to glue it back together again, the relationship that once was so full of love, safety, support and trust, is never the same.

Copyright C. O’Connor, March 2020.

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