Learning to Trust Again


I will be the first to admit that I have trust issues.  It's kind of hard not to when many of the memories embedded in your mind involve betrayal of trust. Just as the thought of those things that are beautiful; your favorite birthday party, the best family cookout, or the best trip you ever took can elicit feelings of joy, memories that were unpleasant; your worst relationship break-up, the death of a loved one, or a scary encounter can evoke feelings of hurt and pain.  Those moments that can’t easily be wiped away because they’ve been permanently memorialized in the form of a brick around your heart.  Your wall of distrust adds bricks as you navigate through life’s tribulations, eventually becoming so high; scaling it, tearing it down, or even finding your way through it is an incessant impossibility.  What’s even worse, those around us seem to be more interested in fortifying the structure with more stones rather than explosives that are able to blast through to the other side.  How can one recover from the relentless onslaught of betrayals?

Communication is number one.  You must examine whether or not you are communicating your knowledge of the injustices that have been committed against you.  There are times when infractions are evident like stealing or cheating but there are other times when dishonesty constitutes actions perceived or taken as a violation of some unspoken rule. These misfortunes can often get lost in the sea of communication and carried off on a wave of what is never said.  Here’s an example, you tell your cousin a secret and make her promise not to utter a word to anyone. She pinky-swears and you spill the beans.  Later, you find out she not only tells your secret but the person she tells spreads the news and when an argument breaks out between you and someone else at a large family gathering, you’re soon humiliated by the fact that everyone in the family knows your business.  Now your trust is shaken and you’re feeling some type of way. The person you thought you could entrust with a secret has failed you miserably and you vow to never tell family a secret again. In a situation such as this, communication about how the offense has made you feel.  You must tell them how your confidence has been damaged you and what that person can do to change the way you feel or right their wrong.  Allowing someone to be redeemed and start over again. 

 Family secrets are secrets of the worst kind. Your family is holding onto something that could change your life forever.  As a black woman, these types of secrets plague almost every family I know and often cause more pain when kept hidden than if they were to be revealed and all parties allowed to heal.  Such secrets always involve such painful topics as molestation, paternity or a spouse cheating and are never revealed under joyful circumstances.  Once revealed, the news is no doubt devastating, and the pain becomes almost too much to carry or even fathom.  How can you bounce back from such a blow? How do you forgive and move on? How can you find it in your heart to allow those people back into your life and once again trust them? 

If the blow is life changing then the only possible solution may be time.  Just as a cut bleeds, clots off, scabs over and heals, so shall the wounds inflicted upon by those you love.  Time may require that you separate yourself from the offenders, give yourself space to thing and room to breath, allow you anger to subside and for the burning desire for revenge to be quenched in the cool sands of time.  The stitches in your heart will dissolve leaving it mended but scarred. With time, the memories will fade away and be replaced.  Eventually, once the work is done and those who have wronged you prove their sincerity with their actions, the walls within your heart will start to weaken and eventually fall down.  Even better, if you continue to develop a relationship with our Father in heaven, He will be the dynamite that blows those walls away.  

In closing I say this, trust is precious.  It is something that, once thrown away, it is hard to be retrieved.  In closing, I will say this, never ignore your feelings.  If something or someone hurts you, let them know. Second chances are about an important part of growth in life and, no matter the circumstances, you must give yourself permission to take down your walls and trust again.