Do I have Trust Issues? 9 Signs and How to Overcome

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Discovering your trust issues and what to do next

What is Therapy? 01st Jan, 2022

What are trust issues?

Trust issues are about imagining the worst possible outcome, or expecting the worst result, from any given relationship. These can manifest in the fears of being abandoned, manipulated or simply hurt.

“What is David doing? He should be home by now. I knew I shouldn´t have let him take that job. He is probably spending time with that Steve. All men are the same.”

“Doctor please check again. I don´t care if you didn´t find anything wrong. You aren´t taking this seriously enough. I just know it.”

“Mum’s new boyfriend is nice. But… how long will it be til he leaves too.”

If any of those sound similar, or just that way of thinking feels familiar, then chances are you may have trust issues. Next we will have a look at the signs of trust issues.

9 Signs you have trust issues

In each example of trust issues, there is a core trait. That being a lack of trust. The reason for this lack of trust will be explored later but it’s clear that in each case it leads to suspicion, usually without a rational reason for that suspicion.

Often those with trust issues will constantly be looking for evidence that proves their world view right. And the moment they get something no matter how tenuous, it simply reinforces the feeling of betrayal. “I was right all along.”

Here are additional signs that you have trust issues. In isolation they might not mean much, but collectively and if effect you often enough can have a incredibly detrimental effect on your life.

  1. You avoid commitments

    It doesn’t matter how strongly you feel about someone, you would rather not take the leap of faith.

    By keeping yourself at a distance, it means when things go wrong it is easier to escape to “safety”.
  2. You assume people are out to hurt you

    When you meet people, before the interaction even begins you believe that at some point you will meet with misfortune unless you remain vigilant.

    Also in each interaction, it is another waiting game, time until you get hurt again.
  3. You are becoming increasingly isolated

    There are less and less people in your friendship group and those that you do have are becoming increasingly distant.

    Chances are if it is happening everywhere around you, then your own trust issues have caused you to push those around you away.
  4. You are overly secretive about yourself

    Do you keep everything a secret, even the things that don’t matter. Information is power, and you feel that by giving any information away, someone would use that power against you.

    You will not open up, because that would mean giving away part of yourself. You have understood that by staying closed off, it means that when they do come to hurt you, it will hurt less.
  5. You are overprotective

    You want to make sure that your love ones are always close. So close that you can watch them at all times.

    The fear is that if you were to give them some space, they might either realise that you aren’t good enough to keep loving.

    Or, as is more usual, just betray you like everyone else.
  6. You pick fights

    There is no defence quite like a good offence. You find yourself going on the attack the moment you feel that something is about to be said or done to you.

    You might even be less reactionary and more initiative. By telling someone else how they have done bad, you make the focus less about your inadequacies (and the reasons to leave you) and more about theirs.
  7. You don’t forgive the smallest mistakes

    You will let everyone know about it if someone makes the slightest of mistakes.
  8. You blame and nothing is ever your fault

    You make sure that there is always a scape goat. No matter what goes wrong it has to be someone else. Something that caused this issue.

    Sometimes you will even fool yourself into believing what you say. It’s important not to put yourself into a position of ‘weakness’ because the moment you do, you will be be attacked or betrayed.
  9. You are always processing past hurts

    You constantly or often think about the times when you have been hurt in the past. You will also see reflections of those moments in the here and now and will make an effort (sometimes without knowing it) to find them.

    You struggle to let go of the past and it stays with you, better that than to deal with it and feel that pain all over again.

Why do I have trust issues?

You may believe you have trust issues for no reason but usually their is a cause. Trust issues typically come from some prior negative experiences. These experiences can take place in childhood but can come from any age.

The negative experience might be something you repress, so not being able to remember it easily might also make sense.

If you have been lied to, betrayed, abused by someone that you should have been able to trust, this will potentially lead to trust issues. Essentially because you received such a negative response for engaging in trust your mind tries to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again, even as an adult.

Self-esteem can also impact our ability to trust. The more self-esteem you have, the greater your sense of self worth and therefore the belief that “Why would someone want to betray me?”

In contrast someone with low self worth or esteem would think, “I am worth so little, no wonder they will eventually betray me.”

Why trust is so important in relationships?

Many professionals suggest that trust is the glue that holds a relationship together. Others suggest that trust is the single most important piece in a relationship.

“Without trust, there is no love.”

Even during something as terrible as an affair, often the worst part is not sleeping with someone else but instead the fall out.

Those feelings of betrayal and breaking of trust will impact the relationship moving forward. In this way the cheating might have only been a moment, yet it’s effect can last until the relationship ends, one way or the other.

Once betrayed we are far more likely to look at things differently moving forward. What we might have once found funny we are now wondering if it’s at our expense. If someone looks at someone else we might check to see if they are more attractive than us.

This feeling that we might be betrayed at any moment can contribute to us feeling that we are not good enough and therefore having bad effects on our self-esteem. After all we might start to ask ourselves, “am i someone who can and will be betrayed, is it because I am not good enough.”

This feeling begins a terrible spiral where you might begin to move towards a more toxic relationship.

How to get over trust issues?

image of man taking a leap of faith

Ultimately you are in control of how you deal with others in your life. You are also in control of how you choose to let them affect you.

It’s not about being a better person, turning the other cheek, or going high when they go low, it’s about self-esteem and deciding what it is in your life that makes you feel like you are living the best version of you.

Here are some tips to overcome your trust issues:

  1. Forgive yourself for being fooled

    It’s ok to let go of that prior hurt. As they say while you are sad those you are curse are dancing. You can’t go after the one that hurt you, (well you can but it won’t heal you) you can only pick up the pieces, take a deep breath and start again, and give the next chance your all.
  2. Try to say what you really think and find out what is really going on

    Rather than hoping for the best, while secretly counting down to when the betrayal will happen ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the things that really matter to you.

    Rather than skirting round the edge and coming across as needy, just say what you want. Sure it might put some off, that you are coming on too ‘strong’ or being too ‘real’ but at least you had the confidence and self worth to do it.
  3. Don’t change who you are

    Having trust issues can turn us into something we hate. We start to speak not from a desire to do good or enjoy but only to protect ourselves from being betrayed again.

    Try to remember who you were before the betrayal and more importantly who you want to be now. Work towards that person rather than try to escape who you were.
  4. Demonstrate love and try not to think about what’s in it for you

    Make sure to give to those that you care about. Be happy when you see their smile, don’t think, ok now it’s my turn.

    Move away from the transactional mindset and instead replace it with the desire to make people happy for their own sake.
  5. Admit to your mistakes

    Be honest with yourself. When it’s your fault, admit it. When it’s not then you will have a much easier time seeing that and embracing it.

    When we either try to shoulder everything or nothing, we start to lose our connection with the truth and yes, it is that truth that will ultimately set us free.
  6. Don’t spend too long thinking, act.

    Avoid paralysis in analysis. Trust issues can go hand in hand with procrastination, as you are literally too scared to make a decision one way or the other.

    Try to look for that feeling inside of you. Yes, keep a level head and don’t put yourself in intentional danger but realise that sometimes it’s ok to let go and just see where things lead.
  7. Think about your friends and family

    Your family and friends are a support group that you can and should be able to rely on. If you are isolated to the point that you no longer have this support then it is time to make new friends and get out there.

    Yes, it is possible to heal on your own. But, you are far more likely to fall into a stagnant state. Get out there and make contact with some people who want to see you do well again.

As we go through life, we often come up against situations where we are expected things to be easy or to just “work out.” However these moments are few and far between. If we are passive and just let life happen at us, then we are probably in for a bad time.

That is why it is so important to take responsibility for yourself, take charge of what you do and what types of relationships you form.

When you view yourself of less of a victim and more of a hero in your own story it can lead to some truly incredible things.

How Therapy May Help To Find a Solution? 

Therapy can help people to identify and solve the root causes of their trust issues. Lack of trust can destroy friendships, careers, and marriages, but it is not impossible to learn to trust again. Treatment can help people separate past problems from future fears.

It can teach you how to rebuild trust in existing relationships. Confidence is most often formed over some time. Through guidance, people can identify where trust has been compromised in the past. In fact, the treatment process itself helps many people learn to trust again. Trust and mutual respect are an integral part of the therapeutic relationship. 

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How therapy can help trust issues in a realtionship 

Couples who have one or both partners facing trust issues can always benefit from therapy.

People who have experienced infidelity in a relationship might need this to get them over the break of trust and get things back on track. Even if you are thinking about ending your relationship, therapy might be needed to make sure that you don’t take this lack of trust forward into future relationships.

This can cause pain and confusion to prospective partners and get you off to a terrible start when you might have otherwise been in a great relationship.

Couples therapists can help the partner who has no trust issues to understand their partners’ behaviours and fears.

A better understanding of how and why your partner feels the way they do can make both partners feel better about each other and ultimately the relationship.

General health and wellbeing is vitally important. Being able to have a handle on yourself will ultimately help you to form better and more fulfilling relationships with others.

Types Of Treatments For Trust Issues: 

There are many types of treatments that can help solve problems related to trust. Some of these can take place in a single session. Other methods may be group-oriented. Effective treatment methods and types of trust problems include: 

  • Group Therapy

Many people find that group therapy provides more opportunities for rebuilding trust than with an individual therapy. This type allows participants to interact and develop relationships with different people. 

  • Individual Therapy

When dealing with trust issues, a one-on-one meeting with a therapist can be helpful. The therapist can provide an open space that is safe, reliable, and confidential. 

  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)

It is used to treat different trauma. It is very helpful for people who have confidence issues due to traumatic events. 

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT)

This therapy can help overcome the effects of traumatic experiences. In this way, you can prevent them from developing trust issues in the future. 

  • Psychological Education

This process teaches people to learn more about their mental health. People with trust issues can understand how these issues affect them and develop the skills to manage them. 

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