Is Trust Mandatory in Healthy Relationships? The True Definition of Trust.

One of the biggest stick points on the journey to emotional healing has to do with the subject of TRUST. Somewhere along the way I came to believe that I had to trust people until they were proven untrustworthy. That is a false understanding of trust. It was through understanding how I learned the meaning of the word ‘trust’ in a manipulative way that really only served the ones teaching me that false definition of the word trust, that I was able to realize the truth;  I didn’t have to trust anyone until they proved to be trustworthy. By the same token, I do not expect people to blindly trust me either. Trust in healthy relationship develops over time. Trust in healthy relationship is not mandatory and ‘blind trust’ does not prove acceptance or love. NOT trusting someone does not mean anything ‘bad’ and it is not a judgement against that person. Not trusting someone that you don’t know well enough to decide about trusting or not, is healthy. When I am expected or required to trust someone blindly, I consider that a red flag about the person who has this expectation of me.

From the Free ~  Here is the definition of trust:

1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.

2. Custody; care.

3. Something committed into the care of another; charge.

Noun~ Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something

Verb~ Believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of

Based on this definition of Trust, I can see how I had the false understanding of the word and concept in the first place.

Trust is optional. Trust is something that needs to be earned more than it needs to be freely given without any knowledge of the persons ability, strength or reliability. As children, everyone older than us has ‘positional power’ over us. We learn to submit to that positional power because NOT submitting to it is a sure way to bring on a punishment, rejection, physical abuse and a host of other unwanted results. I learned to submit to positional power and I got my learned understanding of submission mixed up with the concept of trust.

As children we are taught to trust through other people; the people in charge of our welfare communicate that we will be safe with those people. If these people are untrustworthy, what choice do we have in the matter anyway? How many of you remember not wanting to ‘go with someone’ or not wanting to be babysat by someone, but having no choice (or power) to change the situation.

In this way I learned ‘blind trust’ and basically I learned that everyone was worthy of my trust. It was shocking for me to learn in my forties that through the truthful understanding of what trust is, my mother wasn’t trustworthy. She did not prove herself to be reliable, truthful or even able when it came to me. I had a few friends that were not trustworthy. In fact most of the people in my life, including my husband were not trustworthy when it came to having a relationship with me based on equal value and mutual respect.  But I had been taught, groomed and brainwashed to believe in “the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something” of those people. Blindly. Not believing in their reliability, ability, truth and strength was ‘disrespectful’ and there were unwanted consequences to that ‘disrespect’.

I ‘trusted’ the baby sitter who sexually abused me. I was a little kid; I trusted my parents and they trusted her. The fact that my parents trusted her was enough for me to trust her. And as a child it would not have done any good if I didn’t trust her; she was in a power position over me, I had no choice but to submit to her.

And since I believed my parents would protect me, (or I wanted to believe that) it was pretty confusing when someone that they have left me in the care of, abused me.

I trusted my grandmother because I was taught to; when she violated me I got really confused about what trust really was.

My parents warned me NOT to trust my grandfather who was a pedophile and had been caught sexually molesting my cousin. They continued to expose me to him by taking me to his home to visit. This caused me more confusion about trust. Why did they take me to visit there if he was dangerous and untrustworthy when it came to children? If he was untrustworthy, why did they want us to have a relationship with him?

I trusted the doctor who told me that nothing was wrong with me and treated me like a dramatic hypochondriac who was wasting his time, which caused me to invalidate how I felt and how sick I felt, which in turn caused me to ignore my needs which in truth were the beginning of a serious illness. The illness went undiagnosed until it was in the later stages at which time it was much more difficult to heal. I trusted that he was right, instead of trusting myself that I needed a second opinion because I was sure that I was sick.

I ‘trusted’ a co-worker I had who was a police officer just because he was a police officer in charge of the security in the large hospital where I worked. The fact that he was a police officer didn’t stop him from assaulting me as soon as he got me alone. The positional power he had over me because he was a police officer prevented me from reporting him. I believed that he would be the one ‘trusted’ in the situation. I was used to taking the blame for whatever happened to me. Had I NOT trusted him, I would not have gone with him where he could get me alone.

I think that we are brainwashed into believing we have to trust straight away. (Controllers who misuse their power have set it up this way since the dawn of time)  I have learned to trust when I feel that a person is ‘trust-worthy’ not because they have a degree or title. My clients don’t automatically trust me just because I say that I know what I am doing. Many of them begin to trust me because they have read enough of my blog to catch a glimpse of my beliefs and my integrity, but that doesn’t mean they have to trust me. They come along with trust as our relationship progresses. And I don’t ask them to trust me. That is up to them. Trusting until proven un-trustworthy is a backwards way of entering into relationship. Trust is not mandatory in a healthy relationship. Trust happens over time when people prove their reliability, truth, ability (and) or strength.

My biggest problem with trust turned out to be that I didn’t trust myself to know when to trust or not trust. I had learned the wrong definitions of ‘trust’ and ‘love’ and I learned to discount my needs, my feelings and even my intuition. I had not had permission to feel most emotions or permission to have my own thoughts. Having permission NOT to trust, was a very big beginning on the path to freedom! Having a choice and permission to have a choice in the matter of trust put things into a different perspective.

At the end of the day, learning to trust myself and building my relationship with myself to the point where I knew that I could actually depend on me was a huge layer of recovery which resolved all my misunderstandings about trust.

Please share your thoughts about ‘Trust’. Were you taught that trust was a must in relationship? Did you have a choice when it came to trust? Did you believe that not trusting was wrong? Do you now or did you ever believe the other big lie; that you have to ‘trust someone’ in order to heal? It was in changing the way that I looked at and understood things that I was able to change my default and mistaken understanding of words and concepts like ‘trust’.

Exposing Truth ~ one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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