Thought Catalog

How Do You Start Trusting People Again?

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StockSnap / Nathan Walker
StockSnap / Nathan Walker

I have had the closest people in my life turn on me in the worst imaginable ways…What? You haven’t?

Aren’t those always the people who do the most damage? The ones that are close enough to make a real shit-storm of your life; the ones who you confide in, are intimate with, share holiday dinners with, and late nights, etc. Those are the ones who betrayed me.

So how do you trust again? How do you trust after this type of betrayal happens to you? This is the million dollar question. To me, it’s more like a trillion dollar question. Because very few ever reach those heights. And to be honest, the answer doesn’t even seem attainable.

So I’ll ask the question again: How do you trust after betrayal? After you’ve already been so open with a form of love and had it backstab you to the point where you ended up with a broken heart, a destroyed friendship, or in some extreme cases like mine, you lost your freedom and had people slander your name.

These people reappear. They tell you they love you, miss you, and sometimes you may even believe it. In some moments, you definitely want to. Once you’ve shared positive memories with someone, it can be hard to let go. But when you’ve been cut as deep as I have by almost everyone you thought you could trust, your self-preservation instincts kick in and these people inevitably get kicked out.

I have the words “Trust Love” inked into my hand, and I have had these words resting there for three years. Right before shit hit the fan. I still believe it. My definition of love still has not changed. I see trusting love as a message to remind myself to trust that feeling of alignment I experience when I am on the right path. I’ve got the love part defined for my personal purposes – but not the trust.

beetlejuice

I have recently been meeting a lot of new people and I find myself as open in real life now as I am in my writing, which is a pleasant surprise. I still have the ability to be open, which I see as a blessing, because it allows people to get to know me, and in turn I get to know them. But how do you know who’s sincere and who’s not when the people who are supposed to have your back are the one’s who threw you under the bus?

I’m not going to sit here and cry about it. But I am all about gaining clarity in my life, and having your relationships flipped on you the way I have experienced, leads you to being hardened to a certain degree. I may be open about certain things that have happened to me, but I’m quick to walk away as well. Sometimes for things that are potentially absurd and sometimes for really good intuitive reasons.

How do you trust a kiss when the one who kissed you last fucked you up physically? How do you trust a hug from a family member when it was your family that had you committed for a suicidal claim that never existed? How do you trust a new friend when it was your best friend who helped orchestrate the loss of your freedom?

I think the answer lies in trusting your instincts. Honing your intuitive abilities and taking that leap again. Because the alternative is becoming isolated, and I’ve already done enough of that. You spend a lot of time alone, which for me is not a bad thing because when I am alone that’s when my creative juices have a chance to flow. I would always rather be alone than be in bad company, let alone dangerous company.

Betrayal is no joke. I think most people experience it in some form or another throughout their lifetime. But we’re never really prepared for it when it comes, are we? In that way, it’s sort of like death. It hits and then you’re left picking up the pieces, sometimes in a cell, sometimes in the comfort of your own home, sometimes in the streets, etc.

People do damage. A friend of mine wore a shirt yesterday that garnered a lot of attention that said, “Guns don’t kill people, I kill people,” and the sentiment is real. It’s not the bullet that kills the person, but the shooter who decided to pull the trigger who commits the murder. People betray people, not circumstances.

It’s a decision: Do you snitch or not? Do you lie or not? Do you inflict pain or not? They’re all decisions. And when someone makes a decision that is harmful to your life and in my case particularly destructive, you can’t forget that shit. You can’t forget that person did it (or you can, but you shouldn’t). And you can’t forget that the next person who takes on that role in your life is capable of doing the same damn thing.

beetlejuice

To say I have trust issues is an understatement. But I’m cool with that. Because at least that problem is out in the open for me to see. Meanwhile betrayal just sneaks up on you out of nowhere and turns your life inside out before you’ve had a chance to even blink.

As I always say, self-love is the most important type of love you can work on in your life. And that relationship, believe it or not, is based on trust just like your relationships with everyone else. The worst person you can lose trust in is yourself, and I have experienced that incredible lack of confidence in self after the turmoil hit in 2012.

I’ll be honest though, there’s a positive to being betrayed: Not only does it test your resilience, but oftentimes it opens up an opportunity to start over in your life. That’s how I looked at it anyway. New friends, new love interests, new acquaintances, new places…it pushes you out of your comfort zone, when clearly you needed pushing if your comfort zone was that contentious in the first place. I wanted out of my circumstances before I got ousted from them. And I believe that God was working in mysterious ways, as she so often does.

But there’s a purpose to everything I went through. That being said I wish I had walked away before my hand was forced. But then I wouldn’t have known, would I? And then chances are in a weak moment, I might have gone back.

As Rihanna says in Disturbia, “the darkness is the light.” That line went through my mind quite a bit the night I sat in a psych ward after having listened to the false testimonies of lies told about me in court on the day they took away my freedom and I ended up in a psych ward. While in that moment the darkness felt like a lot to bear, I also knew that the revelations of what was real and what was not, was a blessing in disguise.

Trust is a beautiful thing, which I guess explains why I miss it so much. I have faith that it will reappear in my life when the right circumstances allow for it. But for now I have to just navigate life pulling a Pac and only trusting myself. I don’t mind.

I may not always make the right decisions, but at least I know my choices have my best interests at heart. And that’s more than I can say for the people I used to have around me. TC mark

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