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Thursday
Aug252005

Trust

A long time ago, in therapy, I began hearing women speak about trust and how they could never trust anyone. That the more trust they put in a person, the more they were disappointed/hurt/abused by them (lots of this was in therapy support groups). Over time, I found huge, gigantic, enormous red flags fly up whenever a new friend says, "I can never trust anyone, but I trust you," because I am doomed to join the ranks of the un-trustable. And I always disappoint. We ALL always disappoint.

I see this phrase, this "everyone in my life disappoints/abandons me," as a clever and subversive manipulative tactic at creating a stranglehold on the person - causing the beloved to tip toe around conflict and difficulties lest they become one of the ranks of the distrusted, furthering the "friend's" anger at the world. For those of us with a tendency towards co-dependency, the phrase is a set-up, mapped out from the "Hi, my name is...."

I once dated a lovely, beautiful woman, over 6 feet tall if she were able to stand. She'd been crippled in a freak Jeep accident and left a paraplegic. Gorgeous and witty, she made this trust comment the second time I sat with her in her room. Oh, not me! I vowed. Never. I am a loyal friend.

And then she started getting weird. Showing me her stash of heroin in case she wanted to kill herself, snotty snipes at my being fat, asking me probing questions about her disability and how would I have sex with her, etc. Whether these were defense mechanisms or she was truly just fucked up, I wanted to run - fast and far. But, I didn't. For too long. By the time I chose to get out of her tightening web, my self-esteem suffered and I felt incredibly guilty for abandoning her. Her parting words, as many, many of us recognize:

See, you are no different than anybody else. You can't be trusted either. (She threw in her own personal line: No one will ever love me because I am crippled.)

When someone is eloquent in their pain of abandonment, making it make sense and being kind about it (somewhat), does it make that recognizable statement any less hurtful?

Not to me.

I know these people feed on me (I speak mostly about women because it isn't generally men that talk to me about trust issues) because of my own sense of inadequacy and they know - they KNOW - I will struggle, perhaps fall back in line (theirs), and work extra hard to "earn their trust" again when, in fact, I had done nothing at all for them to scream TRUST BROKEN!

Now that this is happening in birth, it is sooooooooooo dramatic and soooooooooooo hard to take care of my psyche while not "damaging" theirs. I have terrific walls with much of birth work - keeping my stuff separate and protecting my heart - but this is one area where I am continually challenged.

I really like what I wrote yesterday.

Is trust earned only in retrospect?

Off to work.

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