how to trust 

I’ll know who to trust!

PREVIOUS: Healthy Trusting #2




• To safely trust requires a relatively healthy Inner Self we can depend on to correctly evaluate our environment & identify how people, places or things make us feel emotionally & physically (in our gut).
> It does not mean being naive, a patsy or unrealistic, which is Over-T.

• Some of us are naturally better at reading body language & have a higher social IQ, while others have to work at it, but it can be accomplished.
When we first meet people we can’t know if they’re going to be honest, dishonest or some mix.  As we get to know them, we’ll be able to tell if they’re reliable, noticing things like verbal inconsistencies & physical cues of lying or evasion

Interesting: Nancy Carter & J. Mark Weber (2010) surveyed a group of MBA students in Toronto & found that 85% believed that cynical people (low-trusting) are better at detecting liars. Scientists then filmed people in fake job interviews, half of whom were told to include some lies. These videos were then shown to the original students.

catch a liarTo everyone’s surprise it was the high-trusting participants (not acoa-type over-trusters) who had the best lie-detecting scores.
They were the most sensitive to deceit, noticing physical giveaways like fidgeting & changes in voice tone & pitch.
The cynics scored the worst, more often ‘hiring’ the participants who had lied – which shows that using skepticism as a defense can be a handicap! (MORE….)

This suggests:
• even though low-trusters will usually assume others are lying to them – perhaps as a project of their own tendency to lie – they’re not very good at actually spotting when others are being dishonest
• because high-trusters are better at spotting lies, they’re less fearful of being duped, making it easier for them to be comfortable in the world & take social risks. Also, people who are generally predisposed to trusting others are perceived by others to be trustworthy (MORE… )

PRACTICAL TRUST in BIZ comes from assessing someone’s:
a. Ability – base expectations on some proof that the other person has the knowledge & skill to function in a way that meets your needs or requirements
EXP: Check their credential & references, give a trial period & then re-evaluate. ONLY ask them for what you KNOW they have to offer from first-hand experience or reliable sourcesContrats

b. Integrity – how well the other person sticks to principles that are acceptable to you AND that you’ve mutually agreed on, including:
• honoring standards of legality, fairness, excellence…..
• meaning what they say, • a history of follow-thru
This may still require a written contact, to cover unforeseen future changes or difficulties
EXP:  > your spouse keeping their promise of fidelity
> the company you work for provides all stated commitments
> the contractor does the remodeling job, & for the price quoted

c. Respect / Caring – developed over time, so you know the person:
• cares enough about your welfare to either be of help, or at least not get in your way, OR
• has your best interest at heart & their motives are ‘clean’, OR
• will do anything they can (appropriately) to be there for you, thru thick or thin, while still taking care of themselves  (MORE….)

Trusting SAFE people
• ‘Trust’ glue of good relationships that allows your True Self to flourish
• Inner assurance of acceptance by a person you can share secrets with

• Know things are fine between you – so that, come what may – nothing can disrupt the bond you have with each other
• Ability to let others into your life & build relationships based on mutual respect, caring & concern, so both can grow & mature independently
• Emotional health to rely on appropriate others (be vulnerable enough), giving them the opportunity to treat you in a fair, open & honest way

BEING ABLEsafe people TO:
• Let others know your emotions & reactions, with the confidence they’ll respect you & not take advantage
• Share your innermost Truth with others, with the belief – from experience – they won’t spread it around

• Choose the right people to be supportive & reinforcing, even when you’re ‘weak’ / needy
• Assume others won’t intentionally hurt or abuse you if you make a mistake
• Open up to let others in on your background, problems, concerns & limitations, assured they won’t cut you off because of them.

NEXT: Being Trustworthy

ACoAs: PATTERNS of Mistrust (Part 1)

protect heart
– even if it keeps me from being loved!I

PREVIOUS: UNDER-Trusting (Part 3)


We are not to blame for being deeply mistrustful of everyone.
But we also need to be clear about how we perpetuate the patterns created by our trauma so we can stop beating ourselves up, feeling ashamed, & limiting our options. (CDs: INFO & the Brain)
Instead we can try out new internal beliefs & external actions.

• We have experienced many, many betrayals by the important people in our lives – whether family, friends, spouse, school, church or government. Some or all of these betrayals are so extreme we may never be able to forgive, regardless of what the ‘gurus’ tell us. This is not to deny the benefits of forgiveness – just that if we are not able to do it (yet) but believe we should, ‘or else’, we unfairly add to our self-hate & sense of failure.

PATTERNS* of Mistrust
* All of these are being generated by the WIC in an attempt to protect ourselves from further harm, but are totally unsuccessful, since they prevent us from getting the closeness & love we so desperately need – AND have a right to. And all are forms of control based on trying to stave off more PMES abandonment.

a. FAKE MEWIC pretending
We clearly got the message that who & what we were as a child was unacceptable to our parents. So as adults, when interacting with others, the WIC in dress-up tries to ‘improve’ our personality by twisting in unnatural avatars – into something we think some present-day person or group is going to want or find acceptable

• We spend a lot of time trying to figure out “how I should feel”, “what I should wear”, “what I’m going to say”…… & never get it quite right, because it’s artificial. Of course, if we’re being run by our WIC, we don’t know who we are or how to relate from a place of empowerment, so it’s very hard to be healthy and safe at the same time

Some of us decide at the beginning of a relationship (potential friend or lover) what kind it’s going to be, without having enough information about the other person or giving it enough time to develop organically.
We may think: “THIS ONE IS :peopel labels
• just going to be a friendship
• just for sex
• isn’t going to last
• just casual
• permanent  / ‘the one’
• the one I can’t live without
• I’ll hate forever”……

Again, we’re trying to control the outcome & be prepared for the inevitable abandonment we expect.  Preconceived notions may –
• actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy of loss because we prevented it from growing into something positive
• shock us with unexpected results, if we have illusions about it
• severely disappoint all unrealistic expectations
• occasionally surprise us by turning into something better than hoped for

Because we were so often hurt as a child, we conclude that for the rest of our lives everyone** will inevitably do us harm, sooner or later.  So we assume the worst of anyone we meet, men & women, although some of us may be more afraid of one gender than another, depending on which parent was more paranoidconsistently damaging or crueler.

• We actually scan our environment for the potential danger we’re sure is there & – of course – we find it.
• We ALSO ignore all the neutral or positive people & things around us, so we can maintain our ‘story’ that “The whole world is dangerous”, in order to validate our childhood trauma

** This is our reaction even with people who have consistently proven to treat us well, making it hard to benefit from anyone who can be there for us – in healthy ways

d. OVER-TRUSTING (recent post)
Everyone tells us about themselves, subtly or not, yet we ignore all the unhealthy things we hear & experience in people we ‘need’, staying too long at the party & getting trampled. Then wonder why we can’t trust!

NEXT: Patterns of Mistrust (Part 2)

ACoAs: OVER-Trusting (Part 3)

everything’s just fine?

PREVIOUS: Over-trusting (Part 1)

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

POST: “People should treat me better, BUT I won’t let them


WHY DO WE OVER-TRUST? (over & under types overlap) (cont)
c. Co-dependence — a form of “Delayed Stress Syndrome” or PTSD
• we use people as substitute parents instead of being our own, so we can’t afford to notice flaws or limitations in them, no matter how glaring
• we don’t have the right to object to other people’s b.s., so naturally we would never think of calling them on it

• we depend copdepon the opinions & values of others too much, convinced they know things we don’t, so EVEN when we have knowledge or intuition about a person or situation – we ignore it if someone else disagrees
• we don’t want to, god-forbid, hurt anyone’s feeling by ‘suspecting’ them of being less than trustworthy – as they blatantly or subtly do us in!

EXP: Social conformity: As adult, If we need to be part of a group where trust is expected / demanded – by a parent, teacher, boss, gang leader…..- no matter how irrational, unfair, evil, illegal…., we have to go along, otherwise we’d be severely punished, labeled coward &/or ostracized
Despair: Being in a hopeless situation we can’t get out of (like a child in an alcoholic home) – then trusting whoever’s in charge is the lesser of 2 evils, as a way to survive

d. Illusions
Constant disappointment in our family makes us long for everyone else to make up for it, so we put people on a pedestal:
• If our parent was mentally ill, we idealize anyone who sounds ‘normal’ & functional – even tho they may be selfish or controllingidealize sickness
• If our parent was violent, we idealize anyone who seems calm, even tho they may be emotionally numb & unavailable

• If our parent was verbally cruel, we idealize people who are ‘nice’, even tho they may be a people-pleaser & therefore not totally genuine
• If our parent was absent, we idealize people who ‘want us’, even tho they may just be using us to take care of them …..

e. Confusion
• Our family didn’t model appropriate behavior, seeing everything in B & W – drama, extremes, deprivation…. so we evaluate the world using the same lens.
We have trouble distinguishing nuances of good vs bad behavior & don’t consider proportion. Instead of looking for relationships made of 70 – 80% positives with only 20 – 30% negatives (which is reasonable), we settle for the crumbs of only 10 – 30% positives – if that – & ignore a huge pile of crap!

• When people hurt & disappoint us, especially someone we love & / or admire, we sweep it awaytend to push whatever we feel & think to the side – sweep it under the carpet & say nothing. Instead we hold in our anger & get depressed.

They may or may not be in the wrong, & we may or may not be overreacting – even when they are off-center. The important point is that we need to process any rage & CDs we may have, then talk to the person about the situation, but only from our Healthy Adult.  If done correctly, we will feel much relief, whether they hear us or not!

•  And sometime we have friends, family members, co-workers & acquaintances who are basically OK, on our side, or at least neutral – who we secretly accuse of being unsafe because:
— they’re not 100% perfect in their interactions with us
— OR their positive regard for us is too much for us to take in, so we dismiss it
— they do admire us, at a distance, but are not actually friends, so we don’t trust they can see & appreciate us …..since they’re not ‘taking care’ of us

REMINDER:  As long as we are being run by the Wounded Inner Child, we find it very hard to separate people who are permanently unsafe from those who are only unsafe some of the time, from those who are genuinely trustworthy.

NEXT: ACoAs – UNDER Trusting (Part 1)

ACoAs – OVER-Trusting (Part 1)

being conned THE WORLD IS ONLY SAFE –
if I pretend to not notice the bad stuff!

PREVIOUS: Under-trusting

SITE: 10 Warning Signs of being too trusting

QUOTE: “Never trust anyone completely but God.” ~ Lawrence Welk

AS ADULTS : OVER-Trusting (OT)
DEF: Ignoring information you already know about a person or situation (or a potential one you’ve been told about) that screams:
“I’m NOT safe. I’ll get you as often as I can. Don’t trust me” AND that everyone else – except you – can see!
📌 A therapist suggested to a client why she needed to be more discerning & less trusting:  “Some people you don’t let in the bedroom, some people you don’t let into the living room, & some you don’t let in the front door!”

EXP of ‘wrong’ reasons for trusting:
Impulsiveness: chasing something or someone the WIC very badly wants, putting all our inappropriate hope & trust in how it’ll will turn out (the way we ne-e-ed it to), without considering the consequences – including thinking through possible danger to ourself or others

Masochism: We tend to search out confirmation of prior expectations. ACoAs expect abandonment.
For abuse survivors with no Recovery – the pain of unjustified hope & unfulfilled trust (PMES abandonment) is often chosen over safety & pleasure. They’ll repeatedly trust the wrong people, which guarantees disappointment, fulfilling their negative expectations

All of us ACoAs experienced years of trauma in childhood – at home, at school & in our neighborhoods.  We were deeply scarred by those experiences but each of us handled it in our own way, depending on our basic personality AND our Family Roles.
We found those wounds to be beyond anything we could bear, so develoabuse / fantasyped our own defensive posture:
• some have become overtly tough, angry, bitter
• others hide away from everyone

• some try to rescue & fix others so we can feel safe
• others escaped into a world of fantasy & have stayed lost, needing to see everyone thru rose-colored glasses!

THIS last defense mechanism is a thick blanket of vagueness to soothe the ache in our heart, BUT it makes us endlessly vulnerable to emotional, mental & physical vultures who can smell our ‘out-to-lunchness’ a mile away!

ACoA IRONY :Regardless of which protective style we act out, we’re trapped in another dilemma. Trying to mask how afraid we really are of everyone underneath, some of us carelessly trust everyone, especially the most damaging people! It’s so automatic we don’t even realize we’re being too credulous because we need it a safety blanket and because it’s often in a passive way.

EXP: Josie hears a new acquaintance say she has trouble with friendships – they usually end in serious disagreements. Josie is starving for companionship & overlooks this vital information. Unconsciously her WIC is thinking: “She wouldn’t do that to little ole’ meeee – I’d never hurt her or make her feel bad, I care too much, I’m so sweet…..”

Yet, sure enough, at some point Josie says or does the ‘wrong thing’ & the friend gets mad at her – attacking, accusing, withdrawing ….. Josie is shocked, then hurt, confused & of course blames herself for the problem (as if this outcome wasn’t totally predictable!)

We excuse our blindness by saying:blind-see
• I’m just trying to be a good person, I’ll give them another chance
• it’s wrong to judge others, & besides – they’re trying
• ‘they’ don’t mean to hurt me / can’t help how they are
• you don’t know their ‘good’ side, their good qualities
• …but they say they love me, give me money, ne-e-ed me
• I can’t make it without them
• & it’s my fault anyway, I deserve how they treat me  …

EXP of a ‘wrong’ reasons for trusting:
Risk-taking: Being desperate, or as an adrenaline junkie, we pursuimpulsivee a situation or person even knowing the danger of going ahead is great (re. love, money sports….).
If we subjectively think the possible gains far outweigh any possible loss (from the WIC), we’re willing to take the gamble, sometimes even with our life.

NEXT: Over-Trusting (Part 2)