I have just ended a long term relationship due to a breach of trust. This has, however, added to my increasing lack of trust in other people -- which was little to begin with. Why should and how do I learn to trust people again?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
As a child, I was the scapegoat for anything that went wrong in the house. As such, I was pretty well physically and emotionally abused. Since then, anytime I have managed to build a group of friends, I have inevitably become a scapegoat at some point, ending my relationship with the group. I have been fucked over by friends I'd previously bent over backwards to help a number of times. I have moved to other cities, built new groups of friends, and gone through these situations with all of them.
My last two long term relationships, which, combined, have lasted the past ten years, were with women who took advantage of me and were abusive, both emotionally and physically, and I've had to end both of them due to being cheated on repeatedly in each relationship. During this most recent relationship, which lasted five years, I was attempting to become friends with her friends, and I thought things were going well, but these are the people with whom she was cheating on me.
I have had the same roommate for the past five years, too, and, over the past year, he has made a number of decisions that work to his own and our other roommate's benefit but are detrimental to me; when I've informed them of this, I've been dismissed as being difficult. Whenever I voice complaints that others' choices are hurting me, I am discounted as being argumentative, even though I rarely state any kind of disagreement with anyone.
Over the past ten years of therapy I have significantly improved my self esteem, but this has had no bearing on people treating me like a doormat, even should I protest. I am in my mid thirties and, at this point, I really have no reason to trust anyone anymore. I have had a single loyal friend for the past fifteen years, and, presently, that is the only friend I have. And I have never been so naive as to just trust anyone. I try to be kind and patient, and I tend to focus on the good in people. I have never been fighty or argumentative, and I rarely make decisions without seriously considering how they might affect those around me first.
I have been told to assert myself when I feel as though I'm being taken advantage of, but this has always led to people dismissing me as argumentative. I have been told that this happens because I lack self esteem, but I have a fair amount of self esteem at this point and nothing has changed. Even before this breakup, due to treatment by others who I'd thought were my friends, I'd decided to trust people less, to the extent that I didn't want to attempt to make new friends. Now, having had to break up with my closest friend for the past five years, I honestly don't have a reason to trust anyone anymore.
How have you learned to trust people when consistently given reason not to trust anyone?