Archive for February 12th, 2008

Statue (c) Lynda BernhardtI frequently hear child abuse survivors say that they cannot trust another person. As with other areas of life, child abuse survivors tend to see the ability to trust as an “all or nothing” thing. However, the truth is that most people, whether child abuse survivors or not, rarely trust another person with 100% of themselves.

I used to say that I could not trust another person. My therapist would counter by pointing out that I trusted my husband to provide for our family financially. Before I got to the “yeah, but…,” my therapist would stop me and point out that this is trust. He said that I do not have to trust one person with all of my needs in order to trust. As long as all of my needs to trust were getting met, why did it matter whether they were met by one person or by twenty different people in twenty different ways?

A fellow child abuse survivor explained trust in a different way. She said that she trusted the waitress to bring her food after ordering a meal at a restaurant. She trusted the mailman to deliver mail to her mailbox. Therefore, it was incorrect to say that she did not trust anybody because she did trust certain people with certain tasks.

I reached a deeper level of healing when I recognized that the person I most needed to trust was myself. I needed to trust that I would be okay even when other people let me down. The more I have grown to trust my ability to handle the actions or inactions of others, the more I have felt comfortable in trusting others. So, ultimately it was my trust in myself that led me to the ability to trust others with different parts of myself.

I doubt I will ever fully trust another person with every part of myself, but that is okay because I do not need to do this in order to meet my needs. When it comes down to it, meeting my needs should be the goal, not finding that one person who I can fully trust with all of myself.

Related Topic:

Aftereffects of Childhood Abuse: Trust Issues

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

Read Full Post »