How to Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship

Two Parts:What causes your distrust?Overcoming your trust issues

A lack of trust in a relationship is a destructive force. Without trust, it's hard to feel secure and you may be wondering all the time whether the other person is being faithful, truthful or genuine. Whether it's a romantic, business or social relationship, trust matters a great deal. If you have trust issues, it's important to learn fruitful ways to overcome them before the relationship is harmed.

Part 1
What causes your distrust?

  1. Image titled Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship Step 1
    Consider what makes you fail to trust other people. Trust is harder for some people than others, often due to past experiences, recent letdowns or maybe even the way you were raised as a child. If you have had people let you down, fail to support you or fail to come through when you asked for their help, you may find it hard to trust. On the other hand, if you've had supportive people who have guided you through hard situations and have helped you to learn to cope with disappointment, you're more likely to have learned to trust people. If you do find it hard to trust, some of these issues may be stumbling blocks for you:
    • You feel that people aren't reliable; you generalize this to include every person you encounter, regardless of their reassurances.
    • You feel a need to shield yourself against being hurt by putting up defensive barriers before you even give other people a chance.
    • You don't like asking for help and feel it's just easier to do things yourself to make sure they're done properly, or at all.
    • You are a poor judge of character and seem to end up with more-than-usual untrustworthy types in your life.
    • You are sometimes a pushover and seem to attract people who take advantage of your generosity or willingness to be helpful.
  2. Image titled Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship Step 2
    Think about what you expect from others. Perhaps you have very high expectations, maybe too high. Some of the following things can cause trust issues in relationships:
    • Do you expect people to just "know" what you want or to "mind read"? This can often be a cause of lacking trust in others because they don't do things you've imagined should be done but failed to articulate.
    • You expect people to give as much as you've given. The thing about giving is that giving in relationships shouldn't be about weighing up who has done what. If you didn't give freely but expected something in return, then you will feel a lack of trust if the other person doesn't reciprocate.
    • You have low expectations of other people all of the time. In this case, it's hard for you to trust anyone.
    • When it comes to romance or intimacy, you have tough expectations that your partner will stick close by you. This can lead to smothering and even stalker-like behavior if taken to too great an extreme.

Part 2
Overcoming your trust issues

  1. Image titled Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship Step 3
    Decide whether you're prepared to trust or distrust life. Think about the wider consequences of not trusting everyone throughout your life. It takes great effort, it alienates you and it leaves you constantly suspicious and disappointed. Is that an enjoyable way to live life? Hardly. Think about the bigger picture and how trusting will more likely result in positive outcomes that will far outweigh those negative times.
  2. Image titled Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship Step 4
    Be discerning rather than suspicious. Trust is not about gullibility; gut feelings and critical analysis are still important parts of your outlook on life. There will be times when you think something is fishy and on such occasions, it's worth changing your approach and finding out more details before placing your faith in a person or a deal. But it also pays to be discerning, to realize that most people mean the best and expect to do things on an even level with you.
  3. Image titled Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship Step 5
    Give people their space. Whether it's for an intimate relationship or a business or social acquaintance, nobody likes to be smothered by someone who wants to know their every move. A cornered animal will always fight like crazy to defend itself and you can expect very similar behavior from a person who feels followed, pursued, and treated suspiciously. By backing off and letting people feel they have space around you, you create a space for honesty and greater sharing.
    • If you sneak through people's belongings, writings (journal) or follow them about, stop now. It's highly likely they either know you're doing it or will find out soon enough and it's creepy, it's controlling and it's likely to destroy their trust in you. Two sources of broken trust do not make for a mended whole.
  4. Image titled Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship Step 6
    Deal with past pain. Failed love, failed business deals, failed friendships––they all take their toll in the memory bank. But they are a part of your life, not all of it. Bad things do happen, yet how we react is what matters. Try to stop dwelling on what went wrong and start looking instead at what you learned from the experience.
    • Be aware that the more you focus on what was negative in the past, the greater it becomes with each retelling. What purpose is this really serving you? Often is becomes your own personal safety story rather than a reflection of reality. Over time, its retelling wears thin on those people who could otherwise be in a position to help you and guide you to better, happier choices. Try to let go of such stories that you tell yourself.
  5. Image titled Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship Step 7
    Make a decision to find more constructive ways to cope with breaches of trust. There is no guarantee in life that your trust won't be broken. But you can make a decision to deal with such breaches in ways that don't add to a negative view of life. For instance:
    • Realize that some people are simply bad eggs. Not every person is though, so keep seeking the good.
    • Take the lesson out of the situation you've gone through. What can you do better next time? What did you do to contribute to the breach of trust? For example, you may have failed to notice tell-tale signs or not done checks that would have revealed issues earlier.
    • Forgive the person who breached your trust. If you don't, you carry that person with you for all times, into the future. That gives away too much of your own power.
  6. Image titled Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship Step 8
    Stop expecting others to know what you want. Unless you're prepared to articulate your wants clearly, you cannot expect people to mind read. Learn to speak clearly, be assertive about your needs and stand up for what matters to you. It is unfair to blame others for letting you down if you've failed to make it clear in what ways you expected more from them.
    • Set ground rules in business and intimate relationships that work not just for you, but for both parties. With both of you knowing the expectations, then you have clear boundaries and understandings.

Article Info

Categories: Relationship Issues