Thursday, 9 April 2015

A Matter Of Trust #childabuse #survivors

Trust In Me..
Any new relationship, be it romantic or friendship, can be difficult for a survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse. 
I believe that as a child we have an automatic trust response to anything and everything around us. We are not really aware enough to know that people, animals or object could hurt us. We are hopefully taught by our own families what and who is safe. If they betray our inherent trust themselves then we are in trouble. The same applies to any person who is in a position of supposed trust over a child (teacher, nurse, doctor, family friends, scout master etc. etc.) 
An abusive childhood can frequently lead to dysfunctional adult relationships. Our learnt behaviors regarding trust infiltrating our love loves and friendships. Many are constantly on guard, expecting trust to be broken and because of this they are unable to truly express and feel love or friendship. 
I have been as guilty as any other in that respect. Thankfully I have learnt to spot this trait and do try and correct it before any, or too much, damage is done. I hope so anyway..
Along with trust must come faith. No, not the religious type. Faith in the humanity of others. Faith that our value will finally be recognised and cherished. Faith that right will prevail and that it is indeed safe to trust (and love) again. 

One of the hardest things I struggle with is silence from others. Silence feels like abandonment or suchlike. This is probably down to at least a modicum of paranoia.. Something else I am working on putting right. I am learning to apply the same faith myself. I think it all boils down to most of a lifetime of feeling unworthy, not being good enough, of being let down by those who were supposed to love and protect me.  There is also the fear that in giving someone space yourself that they might see it as not caring enough, or backing away. I must not listen to the devils whispering in my ears and simply have faith that I am not being misunderstood. 

This leads me to conclude that the problem is not trust, but mistrust. Being hurt by so many, conditions us to mistrust until trust is earned. Assume the worst then don't be disappointed when people behave as we expect them to. 

This is wrong, so very wrong. 

Our own mistrust can be a festering wound which infects others. Once we recognise this we can do something about it. Take the leap of faith, stop behaving as if the world is out to get you and simply trust that your trust is returned. I am.

Life is too short, too precious to waste it waiting for more bad things to happen. Put down your phone, turn off your computer. Go outside and walk in the sun. If something is meant to be, it will be. Have faith in yourself. You are worthy.

Some thoughts on this issue from other sources.
A recent comment got me thinking about trust issues that many survivors grow up with, and how this is one area where many, many survivors don’t live life to it’s full potential because of it.
Let me explain. As children we learned, early and often, that we couldn’t trust anyone. Even those closest to us might be the source of abuse, or at least may not believe us or see the warning signs, etc. The only one we could trust to help us was ourselves. This lesson stays with us, leading us to get involved with people who aren’t trustworthy, because after all don’t we know no one is really trustworthy? Then, because we are now involved in a relationship with someone who never deserved our trust, it is betrayed, and teaches us the lesson all over again.
Or, if we’re lucky enough to actually wind up with someone who is trustworthy, we spend most of the relationship suspecting them of not being trustworthy, which creates a very unhealthy relationship that falls apart, and which we use to also remain convinces that no one is worth investing our trust with.
Of course, like many things we learned in childhood, it’s not true. Sure, there are lots of people out there who aren’t trustworthy, and we should be aware to stay safe. There are also lots of people who are worthy of our trust, and who we might make real connections with (romantic and otherwise), if we could only learn how to trust. Also, imagine how much deeper those connections could be, and what kinds of great things we could be accomplishing with our time if it wasn’t spent worrying about what the other person is doing, or when they might hurt us? For myself, I couldn’t do the work I do, and see the people and places I get to see as part of that if I was spending the whole time worried about what my wife might be doing without me. My inability to trust would actually hurt me, in terms of having to pass up opportunities out of fear of getting hurt.
Of course, healing and coming to grips with trust issues is easier said than done. As I said, survivors learn early not to trust anyone, and use that mistrust to protect themselves. I do not honestly believe that we can heal by simply “trusting” anyone when we’ve never had any practice doing it. I believe the ability to trust comes from something deeper than that. I believe it comes from having the confidence in ourselves that we’ll be ok, no matter what. Simply put, as long as my well being is dependent on another person’s actions, I will always be at the mercy of that person, and being in that position makes it impossible to not worry about what might happen, and how I would survive it. It’s that worry that drains our ability to live and enjoy life.
No, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating being cold, distant, and not ever allowing anyone to get close enough to hurt you. I am, however, advocating having enough of a sense of yourself that you can exist, and have a life, regardless of what another person may or may not do. For myself, if my wife decided she didn’t want to be married to me any longer, it would break my hurt. I would be devastated, but I also know that it wouldn’t have anything to do with my value as a human being.  I don’t believe you can truly be vulnerable in a relationship, and trusting someone else is absolutely about being vulnerable, if you don’t have the self worth to know that you can go on with life even if this relationship ended. If you don’t have that level of confidence in yourself, you’ll wind up wasting a lot of energy trying to control things, and protecting yourself. That doesn’t sound like a relationship worth staying it to me. It’s definitely not trust!
(From Child Abuse Survivor)

At the root of all trust issues is a past betrayal. Whether abused as a child or cheated on by a spouse, the betrayed person will go through life seeing herself/himself as less desirable than others, or believing herself to be unlovable. She will keep others at a distance, avoiding intimate relationships. Only by working through these trust issues – or, rather, lack of trust issues – can the person learn to maintain a healthy boundary while still letting others in.
The deepest issues stem from child abuse, whether sexual, physical or emotional. Sexual and physical abuse are easier to be aware of as an adult, but emotional abuse can cause even more psychological problems and trust issues in an adult abuse survivor. As children who were abused grow up, they may perceive that others will not love them for making mistakes or behaving in certain ways. They also might have a hard time saying “no” to people they care about and people in positions of authority.
All humans are born with a fundamental need to be loved and to love. When children don’t receive love, as adults they’ll feel a lack of self-worth, that their feelings don’t matter, that they lack personal power and that they are unlovable. With these thoughts can come an inability to trust others or their own gut feelings, or a pattern of continuing to trust the wrong people.
When an adult is in an intimate relationship and is betrayed by a partner – whether cheated on, abandoned or abused – she may internalize some of the same ideas as the abused child. She feels powerless, unlovable, and that she is responsible for the betrayal or deserved it. If, at this point, the adult doesn’t begin to realize that these internal beliefs are flawed and can hurt her just as much as the hurtful betrayal of another, she’ll go on to develop relationships with other abusers or to find inappropriate coping mechanisms such as addictions, perfectionism, misplaced anger or symptoms of physical illness such as high blood pressure or migraines. In any case, she may find herself unable to trust another person enough to form a truly intimate relationship.
To work through your trust issues, you need to recognize the source of the betrayal and the cause of your anger. If you’ve been wearing a mask of “I don’t care” or “I don’t need anyone,” it’s time to drop the mask and examine yourself. If the betrayal occurred in childhood or hurt you very deeply, it can be helpful to have a therapist or counselor advise you as you work through these issues.
After you dig up and acknowledge your real feelings, it’s time to understand and express them. Even in an otherwise healthy relationship, it’s easy to express your feelings the wrong way. For example, you may say, “You never come home when you say you will,” after your partner stays out too late. Remember that you’re responsible for your own feelings and actions, and you can’t control the other person’s behavior. Say instead something like, “I felt hurt and worried last night, and I don’t like feeling like that.” Focusing on your feelings instead of the other person’s behavior may help him to actually listen and hear you. If he does listen to you, you’ve both made a step towards resolving your trust issues. If, on the other hand, he refuses to listen to how you feel, you may want to reassess the relationship. Just the act of stating or owning your feelings is a step toward recovering trust.
Next, you need to examine your history of relationships. If you see a pattern of behavior, such as repeatedly choosing people who are verbally or physically abusive, you should consider changing both the behavior and your boundaries, two important factors in trust issues. Boundaries can be externally physical (like “your space” or “comfort zone”), sexual (you determine when, where, how and with whom you choose to be sexual), or internal and emotional (only you are in control of how you feel and what you think, and the same is true for others). You need to “say good-bye” to past abuses or betrayals after seeing how they’ve been affecting your life. It’s likely that you haven’t truly done that, even if you think you have. Then you can grieve for those memories you’ve put behind you. You’re giving up an old familiar way of thinking and acting, and that can be both difficult and painful. But it is a vital step in resolving your own trust issues.
Finally, use what you’ve learned about your feelings and your boundaries to establish relationships in which you assume responsibility for your feelings and actions, and the other person does the same. By healing past betrayals and taking responsibility for your adult-self, you can re-establish your ability to trust and overcome your trust issues.
Learning to trust: The way out of isolation is to communicate in relationships – find out what others are really thinking – not what we perceive they are thinking. Be accountable for thought obsessions and fantasy. Fear of betrayal isolates us and puts us in touch with pain and loss – but we need to cultivate healthy relationships with good boundaries, respect, communication and equality.
To re-store your reality means learning to trust yourself again. In trusting yourself you begin to trust others. The more you understand how CSA has affected you the better you will be able to see how this prevented you from listening to yourself. One you are no longer on red alert or in survival mode, you will be able to gauge what you feel and think. Then you can stop being influenced by the expectations of others. This will allow you to reject other people’s judgements of you and to develop your own judgement.
A useful way to restore trust in your intuition is to listen to your inner experience or gut instinct. Do not be forced to make any instant decisions and take time to reflect on what you truly think or feel. It is okay to say ‘I don’t know but I will get back to you’. Anyone who rushes you into instant answers or decisions is not respecting your right to reflect in your own time. If you have any doubts this means you are not sure and need to think about what is being said or requested. It is essential that you listen to your doubts and take them seriously. REMEMBER: Doubts are inner signals that you are not sure. You need to listen to them before making any decision.
Inner Wisdom…
The more you listen to yourself the more you will be able to develop your inner value system and inner wisdom. Using your inner wisdom will restore your trust in yourself rather than be influenced by others. This will help re-build your self esteem and help you to make positive choices that are right for you. Restoring trust in yourself allows you to become more self-reliant. This will reduce your dependency on others who may let you down or betray your trust. Also as you begin to trust yourself more, you will begin to trust others and trust in a better future.
(From: The Warrior Within)

1 comment:

Julian said...

Completely relate (to some degree) what you are saying, and it is so hard to trust again as something very deep in us has been broken.

I think forgiveness and understanding how you mind works (with the help of NLP) can help re-kindle that trust back, otherwise you are in danger in being on your own for a very long time. Thanks for the honest article


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