In the past, you were betrayed by someone (or several someones), and it was devastating.
It hurt so badly that you’re closed off to ever trusting someone again. Your trust issues won’t let you engage in another close relationship.
You’ve shut down the part of you that longs to have a deep, intimate connection.
Maybe it was a past lover. Maybe it was a friend. Or God forbid, it may have happened with both.
And the betrayal and pain have left you reeling.
When people you care about or love forsake you, it’s natural to slink into the corner and lick your wounds for a while.
But if your pain has morphed into more deep-seated issues, and you have no trust for anyone, it’s time to step back and evaluate.
Do I have trust issues?
This is a valuable question to ask yourself if you want relationships that are authentic, emotionally intimate, and secure. And who doesn’t want these kinds of relationships?
But if your past relationships have poisoned you so much that you think, “I can’t trust anyone,” then you likely have a real problem feeling secure with others.
When you don’t have it, you find that you . . .
- Have a difficult time opening up to others
- Feel insecure and needy
- Have negative, repetitive thoughts about others and their motives
- Lose friendships and romantic partners because you’re shut down
- Can become anxious, depressed, and isolated
Why Do I Have Trust Issues?
At this point, you might think, “Yep, I have trust issues. But why?”
If you grew up with a loving family, and you can’t for the life of you understand why you expect people to reject or abandon you, what could lie at the root of your fears?
Here are few possible explanations:
- You grew up in a large family, and attention was spread too thin (we’re only human).
- Your first romantic relationship ended in betrayal or abandonment, and you haven’t dealt with that pain, yet.
- You’ve had a close friend betray you or drop you like a fly.
- You were trained by authority figures to put your emotional or spiritual needs on the back-burner (or completely disregard them).
- You learned at some point to see yourself as unworthy of a relationship in which you feel cherished and respected.
If you think you have trust problems but want some confirmation, consider the following signs. How many of these feel familiar to you?
11 Signs Of Trust Issues
1. You overthink and predict how someone will betray you.
Your mind is a non-stop theater where every supporting character betrays or rejects you in some way, leaving you in ruins. Even when things are going well, you expect the worst.
When you’ve spent time imagining worst-case scenarios, you’re more likely to feel closed-off from the person you expect will betray or reject you.
In a sense you’ve already seen what you expect, and you’re mentally preparing and protecting yourself.
2. You trust those who aren’t worthy of your trust.
You don’t want to look too deeply into someone’s character, so sometimes you trust people who’ve done nothing to earn your trust and who are more likely to violate it.
You want so badly to trust people and to enjoy a trusting relationship, you invest yourself too quickly.
You silence the alarms in your head and charge ahead, risking your heart and even your safety in your hurry to feel loved and needed or cherished.
And when a single moment shatters all that you thought you had, you punish yourself for trusting, even as you continue your search for another relationship to rush into.
3. You have a habit of oversharing.
You share more information about yourself than you need to, possibly because you expect rejection and want to hurry it up.
Or you might feel compelled to share as much of yourself as you can within a short time period in the hopes that someone will see something they like in you.
“I won’t hide myself” might be your motto. But you vacillate between expecting rejection and resenting people for not seeing and appreciating your true nature.
4. Your relationships are shallow or superficial.
Even if you’re not a shallow person, you keep your relationships on the surface. You’re afraid to let anyone into your inner circle, because you don’t trust them not to reject you when they see the real you.
You put on a show, becoming the kind of person you think others will find lovable or fun to be around.
When the curtain slips and they see more of your nature than you intended, you might push them away to protect yourself.
5. You fear becoming attached.
In your experience, attachment has been one-sided more often than not. As far as you can tell, all you have to do is get attached to someone, and the odds they’ll leave or reject you increase a thousand percent.
So, if you meet someone you think you might become attached to, you avoid them. After all, the feeling is probably not mutual. And an attachment almost guarantees regret.
6. You mistake human frailty for serious breaches of trust.
Say, for example, your partner fails to have your back and challenge your attackers to send some of their arrows in his direction, too.
Rather than chalk it up to an honest mistake or misunderstanding, you see this failure as a sign he doesn’t see you as worth defending.
It feels personal, even if he never intended it that way and no matter how many times he apologizes or tries to make up for it. You still doubt he loves you enough to have your back. So, you keep the walls up.
7. Others see you as self-righteous or unforgiving.
Even if you genuinely want to forgive others and move on, you also fear the consequences of letting people get close enough to hurt you again.
You don’t forget how they’ve hurt you. In fact, you keep reminding yourself of how they’ve made you feel.
You keep yourself out of reach, because you don’t trust you’ll be able to survive another attack. It feels life-or-death, even if it’s not.
8. You feel like an outcast.
When you keep people at a safe distance, you can feel isolated and alone even when you’re spending time with someone you care about.
Without trust, you don’t feel free to be yourself. You feel as though you’re always in hiding or always holding back.
This is not the way to build bridges — to people or to anything you might want to accomplish. Ultimately, making connections means taking a risk. And until you’re willing to risk being hurt, you’ll always feel like an exile.
9. You sabotage relationships to validate your trust issues.
When you start to feel attached to someone, and you realize you’ve come to depend on their presence in your life, you might start pushing them away.
It feels too good to be true that they want to be with you. Rejection or betrayal feel inevitable.
So, you prepare yourself. You start acting like a jerk, pulling away and complaining that your partner wants too much of you. Then, if your partner breaks things off, you feel justified in your lack of trust.
10. Happy relationships trigger feelings of emptiness or despair.
You see happy couples laughing over dinner, and you’re a little surprised when part of you recoils and says, “I don’t want that” — possibly because you imagine a similar scene with you and someone you once trusted.
Now the sight of it leaves you feeling empty, disappointed, and tired. You feel like a cynic, rolling your eyes and thinking, “Fast forward a few years… ten bucks says the only one smiling is one of their lawyers.”
11. You feel unworthy of a trusting, happy relationship.
You may feel unlovable, unattractive, and unworthy of the kind of secure and close relationship you long for.
Your low self-esteem is like a big sign hanging around your neck shouting, “Don’t bother with me. I’m not worth your effort.”
How to Deal with Trust Issues
Now that you know you have the symptoms of trust issues, what will you do about the cure? It’s essential for your future happiness and self-esteem that you work on being appropriately trusting again.
Here are some actions to consider:
- Define what trustworthiness means to you. Are you a trustworthy person yourself? If so, use those qualities as a measuring stick for others.
- Accept that there are always risks with any relationship. People change or don’t turn out the be who you thought they were. That’s part of life.
- Try to forgive past betrayals and gain perspective. Betrayals often occur because the betrayer is dealing with deal their own issues, or they just don’t know how to communicate in a caring and healthy way.
- Work on your self-esteem with a therapist. A betrayal isn’t an indictment of your character. You did nothing wrong. Learn to respect yourself enough to believe that.
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It’s time for healing.
The pain you experienced from those who broke your faith in them is real. And you certainly don’t want to experience that pain again. But the only way to have the kind of relationships you desire is by learning to trust again.
Healthy relationships are essential for your overall happiness, physical health, and emotional well-being. Don’t ignore your fears and insecurities and allow yourself to sink further into loneliness and despair.
If you resonate with any of the signs outlined here, today is not to soon to start the process of healing from your trust problems so you can develop close and lasting relationships in the future.