The reason we struggle with trust is that we feel like we’ve been betrayed. It’s a crappy weight to have on your shoulders. Similar to its other invasive cousins’ anger, guilt and resentment, losing trust keep you from getting your life back.
But like all the other feelings, you have the power to break free from their hold and regain control of your life. Let’s discover how!
Trust and the Source of Betrayal
Many times, a lack of trust comes from a sense of betrayal—which is exactly what you feel the end of a long-term marriage. Whether the betrayal was from simply growing apart, or from more insidious things like abandonment, abuse, or infidelity, it’s no wonder you may feel like you cannot put your faith in anyone anymore.
As if that’s not bad enough, loss of trust can be nasty because it makes us doubt ourselves during a time when we deserve to be strong. The inability to trust actually has a stronger blow-back on us, because it makes us lose confidence in ourselves, it turns our world upside down as we begin to question what we can really depend on, and as we work to start over and get our lives back.
As difficult as this may seem though, there is one thing you must remember—the source of your betrayal sucks, but it does not get to define the rest of your future.
What happened to you does not define you
This tenet is true with everything you experienced during divorce, but is one we tend to forget. When we were betrayed, we tend to view the work differently. We may think that everybody is out to get us, that we can no longer trust any of our relationships, and that we will not be able to depend on or trust anything in our lives again.
But as painful as betrayal has been, it is not your death sentence. It does not mean that nothing good will come your way again, or that you will not be able to heal. If anything, betrayal during your divorce, no matter how crazy or earth-shattering it may have been, actually shines a light on the toxicity of that relationship and showing you that you deserve better than to be in a state where you cannot trust.
The next time that the hurt from mistrust creeps into your thoughts, you must remember the following:
- Trusting yourself is the foundation to trusting again
- You are not alone in this world
- There are people who love you
- There are people who are rooting for you.
Exercise: Trust Again After Betrayal
If learning to trust again is something you have been struggling with as you continue to heal and move on after your divorce, take a look at this simple exercise for a kick-start! As usual, during our Surviving Your Split exercises, I have provided some examples from my own experience that you can use to get you started.
You may have noticed during the exercises on recent blog posts that the examples I give during the exercises are referred to as The Love Mindset. The sooner we can start thinking and framing the proactive measures to take our lives back in the frame of love for ourselves, the more accepting and loving we become of ourselves as we continue to take our lives back. J
Answer the following questions:
What and who can I depend on that I sometimes overlook?
This can be simple. Take a look at my examples below!
The Love Mindset: It may not seem like much, but I know that my dog Oliver is always there for me. Whenever I come home after a long day of work or if I’m feeling sad, he can always sense it and he comes over with his tail wagging as he sits in my lap to snuggle.
My little sister has always been there for me. As we have gotten older, she has become a confidant, and shoulder to cry on, and a thinking partner when I am struggling with a problem.
What will I do to acknowledge and celebrate those things?
The Love Mindset: I will continue to care for and spoil Oliver, who brings so much love into my life. And the next time I talk to my little sister, I will let her know how much I appreciate her.
How will I embrace those things when I am triggered and feel mistrust and betrayal as I continue to heal?
The Love Mindset: When that wave of mistrust washes over me—which is many times when I think about the marriage—I will put that feeling on pause, and then remind myself of the many beautiful things in my life that I can depend on. I will list those things, and if I am physically near one of those things, I will reach out to them.
For example, I will hug my dog and take him on a walk to clear my head. Or I will text my sister to see how she’s doing. Redirecting the negative feelings of betrayal into something positive will gently remind me that there are people and things in this life that I know I can depend on, who also depend on me. I will celebrate that trust and focus on that love instead.
What to Reflect On
Now, it’s your turn! Who are the people and things in your life that you can depend on, and how can you draw on their energy to heal and build trust again? What will you do this week to celebrate the confidence you have in them?