PREVIOUS: Patterns of Mistrust #2
BOOK: “Trust in the Balance” Robert Bruce Shaw (re. Biz + overview)
TRUST’ comes from the German word “trost” meaning ‘consolation’, which implies feeling comfortable. In this context it’s relevant to remember that ACoAs almost never felt comforted growing up. It’s one reason we were never able to trust! And now, as adults, we don’t realize how much we still need to be comforted, so we’re ashamed when we feel vulnerable, needy & ‘feeling sorry’ for ourselves
✶ Genuine trust is first & ultimately about being able to trust ONESELF, a quality we cultivate via our True inner Voice. As an adult, it’s trusting your own judgement, knowing from experience & mindfulness that you will get what you’ve asked for – rather than being afraid & hesitant
A major factor IS picking the right person, location, opportunity… that suits us & is do-able, staying away from those that are not.
While there’s a certain level of risk because people & life can be unpredictable, if we’re emotionally balanced, it’s possible to be confident enough to handle setbacks & disappointments
• ACoAs need & want safety above all else – even more than love – neither of which our parents provided enough of, so we believe we’re not entitled to them
• But we can’t feel safe if we can’t trust. AND we can’t trust as long as we’re flooded with Self-Hate! The Al-Anon preamble says “…..we will love you until you can love yourself”.
Healthy trust is not about who or what others are. This is hard for ACoAs to internalize because of co-dependence & S-H. ACoAs need to find people & / or groups that are safe enough to help us heal so we can become kind to ourselves (via the Loving Parent) & trust that “I know what I know!” (via the Healthy Adult)
• Assumption: ACoAs usually think of trust only in the POSITIVE – ‘I can rely on X…… I can expect Y to…..’, which is true but only half the story, & encourages Over-Trusting
• Balance: Healthy Trust also includes knowing who & what is NOT reliable. The characteristics of damage are just as predictable & consistent as those of Health, but only to cause problems.
• We can trust that a specific person will continually abuse us or disappoint based on a consistent pattern of behavior (patent, ‘friend’…)
• We can trust that a specific location will usually be unsuitable or dangerous (bars, some neighborhoods….)
• We can trust that a type of event is the wrong one for us……
Once we know what to look for we can see it all around us, & depend on the outcome to be harmful or just a waste of time – without having to be hit over the head each time!
EXP: If you’re not paying attention when you go into a room & sit down on the first chair that looks comfortable – you may be shocked & maybe a little injured if it collapses & you land on your butt – because you assumed all chairs are equally well made & sturdy
🍋 Yet that’s what ACoAs often do with people & situations – we don’t pay attention or evaluate who or what we’re getting involved with. Many times we accept friends lovers, jobs, pets, invitations, apartments …. without asking: “What do I want? Is this something I’m interested in? Does this suit my needs or fit my personality?
AND: “What is this person/place telling we about themselves?”
TRUST Ladder re. making INFERENCES
Thinking of trust on a vertical continuum – we can see that it takes patience & attention to develop trust in someone or something, because they have to prove themselves.
1. It’s best to only exchange trust with others – a rung at a time. Healthy people can risk offering the first rung as a token of good faith & a desire to connect
2. People always, always tell you how they expect to be treated AND how your relationship will always turn out – by how they consistently behave (MORE…)
NEXT: Healthy Trust (Part 2)