WHEN YOUR TRUST ISSUES ARE F*CKING YOU OVER.
Learning how to trust another is one of the hardest parts when it comes to the dating scene, especially if you've had to deal with infidelity, deception, and broken promises in the past. Being human means we have to face this type of heart wrenching pain at some point in our lives, whether it happened recently or years ago, we need to find our way towards healing. I've suffered so many years dealing with trust issues and I still trip up now and again if I'm being honest but I like to think I'm in a much better position than I was in comparison to say 3 or 4 years ago. I'll never forget how shocking and outrageous my behaviour was back in the day... emotional trauma is no joke, and can hit even the most grounded people with incredible power. But to whoever is reading this, I want to say that it's possible to trust someone again but it will require a long and hard trek back to get there.
Constant fighting in a relationship is likely fuelled by old wounds, sometimes we won't be aware of its existence and influence but the impact will be obvious. Old wounds usually get to work when certain moments in our present triggers past memories that are still attached to us. When this happens, we react to the current situation as though it's an old one. To briefly walk you through the science behind these triggers, we all have a small gland near the base of our brains called the Amygdala. It plays a role in learning the things that have hurt us or that have caused us pain in life, the Amygdala's job is to rush the chemicals through our bodies that put us into fight or flight mode. This all happens faster than our brain is able to process information, so if you've been hurt because someone violated your trust in them, then you're going to automatically feel threatened whenever you find yourself in a similar situation — and you'll begin responding in fight or flight mode.
The best way to think about our Amygdala is by imagining it as a smoke alarm in your house. It doesn't know the difference between an actual fire or when you burned your toast but it'll go off regardless. And when it goes off, you don't automatically call the fire brigade and evacuate the house... rather you investigate and see what the issue is and where it's coming from. You determine if there is a real danger or not, then silence the alarm. It's handy to think of our trust issues the same way. Your Amygdala will be going off whenever you find yourself in situations that are similar to when you have been hurt in the past, and you job is to acknowledge the alarm and silence it (or at least mitigate it as much as possible since our brains are far more complex!)
When I find myself "losing the plot" and hashing out farfetched stories in my mind, I try my best to pause and think about something else or do an activity to keep my brain occupied. Sometimes (call me crazy) I even talk to myself or have an inner dialogue as a way to manage my thoughts. It can sound along the lines of:
"Okay, I think I'm magnifying things. Why am I doing this? I'm acting like this because... Why do I feel like this? I feel like this because... How I'm feeling right now reminds me of the time when I got hurt before, but this isn't the same situation and I'm not dealing with the same people. I should trust and continue to do so until I'm given a valid reason not to. If I'm still in this state within the next 48 hours, I will talk to him openly about it."
I've found self talk satisfies my inner alarm, it acts like a small speed bump and slows down my racing thoughts. Many experts have encouraged self talk as it allows your brain and your rationale to catch up to the urgent warnings of your Amygdala.
HOW ELSE CAN I MANAGE MY TRUST ISSUES?
There are so many things you can do to help overcome your trust issues, I'm sure you've read or seen loads of books, articles and social media posts, so I'll avoid putting together (yet another) extensive list. However, I'd like to share a few things that I've done (and will continue to do) which has helped me work through my problems with trust: Therapy helps
I've been to therapy before and it felt good to speak to someone objectively without any pre-judgement, especially if you're one to bottle things up. Many of us view therapy as a negative but actually it takes a lot of courage to look at yourself in the mirror and make the decision to seek help. Remember that you don't have to do everything on your own! Build your self esteem When you're confident in yourself, you'll naturally invite trust and inspire confidence in others. If the past has made you feel insecure in yourself, you may feel like you're unworthy of your partner or scared they'll find someone better than you. Understand that these are your own insecurities and may have nothing to do with your current partner. It's vital to raise your self-esteem by acknowledging your strengths, develop yourself as an individual, not just as a partner in a relationship. Do things that make you feel good about yourself, and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. We all have a right to be happy, so why get in the way of your own happiness? Be open and honest about what you've been through
It's difficult to disclose the details of how you've been hurt in the past, a lot of the time I just want the conversation to be over and done with because I feel a level of shame and embarrassment but having this deep chat is key for setting up a healthy foundation in a new relationship. It's especially true when it comes to handling trust issues because you want your new partner to be aware of what actions might be triggering for you in a relationship. Offering your heart out freely will come with risk, there's no doubt about that but we're all human, we're built for connection —I'm yet to find a person who doesn't want to experience joy and love in their life, but in order to get to the destination we have to find a way to get past our trust issues. We have one life and we can't afford to waste any more time repeating the same behaviours and getting the same results! Set yourself free from the emotional baggage, I wish you all the best on your journey. All my love x