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Is it possible to overcome deep rooted trust issues?(41 Posts)
I am hoping to hear that it is
I have had an ephinany recently having read around two thirds of "daring to trust" and realised (blindingly obvious statement alert) that my trust issues go right back to my childhood and actually aren't anything to do with specific relationships. I have never trusted (not just in terms of someone actually cheating on me, but in the fact that they love me or even like me).
I have been cheated on in each of the three relationships that I had prior to my current relationship. But it all started, I beleive, when I discovered at 15 that my dad was cheating on my mum with a man. I buried this for years and years (am now 30) but am realising what a profound affect it had on me. I keep having memories of cards he sent to her always writting "Love Always" inside and feeling an overwhelming agony inside that he broke that promise and was potentially misleading her every time that he wrote it. I remember as a child (possibly sensing that something wasn't right) looking inside each card and taking comfort in the words he had written as though they were proof it was true and that our lives were real and secure.
My current partner (5 years in) always presented as trustworthy but eventually back in November after 4 or 5 months of complete coldness he ended our relationship telling me he no longer found me attractive and hadn't for some time. Also telling me that the day before he ended our relationship (knowing he would do so) he met a girl whilst on a night out, took her home and kissed her but didnt have sex purely because he was too drunk. He has since made a complete commitment to being trustworthy, we have had counselling and are much more "honest" about our feelings. He has renounced any kind of untrustworthy behaviour and it is clear to me and everyone else that he had his "chance" to escape but has made a commitment to me. I feel that this should mean I would be able to move on but I just can't.
I don't beleive he would "cheat" but something just won't let me enjoy what we have without questioning it. I feel a lot of the time like I am pretending. Like at any moment I could just break. I am desperate to be married to him, sometimes I feel like that would be the security that I need... but then when I feel that might be a reality, I worry that I am not ready for that kind of commitment as if it ended that heartbreak would be too much.
Sometimes I even think I might sabbotage the relationship by cheating myself. I don't really trust myself not to. Although that is insane because I have never cheated on him or anyone or even come close.. so I've no idea why I think that of myself. Seems my trust issues are so bad I can't even trust myself.
Sorry, I've rambled a bit. If anyone knows if it is possible to get over this and be "normal" I'd appreicate the advice.
BTW are your parents still together?. Does your Dad know that you found out that he was cheating?.
Your Dad, your first role model, the man whom you hold all others against, let you down and down abjectly. No wonder therefore you've been affected; this was the catalyst for all the other relationships you have had. Its still a feature now.
Not all men cheat but the men you have chosen to date have done so and your current man has cheated on you. You are perhaps just repeating what you saw in your parents relationship and subconsciously choose men just like your Dad.
Love your own self for a change and seek counselling for yourself to thrash this out properly. BACP are good and do not charge the earth.
Thank you for coming on.
My parents aren't together. She left him in the end because he hadn't had sex with her or shown any affection for several years (she suspected he was gay but he denied it and I was too weak to tell her the truth, I think I pretended even to myself that it wasn't true)
The man I am with now used affection (or rather the withdrawl of affection) to punish me for breaking rules that I didn't know existed, and because he blamed me for things he was lacking such as the excitment that he apparently craved (read: classic midlife crisis) We have worked through this toegether in counselling and he had tackled some issues of his own from his upbringing and previous marriage. He is now attentive, forgiving, affectionate, kind, supportive... everything I wanted as well as my best friend in terms of being the person I want to spend my time with. I need to be able to accept his apology for his behavior and the sincere resolve that he has to be a good partner to me. I am fairly certain that it is my own inability to trust a trustworthy person in this case, rather than that he isn't trustworthy. This is my final chance to have something good and put my issues behind me - or so i feel. I can't afford counselling sadly. Although I have had around 20 sessions on my own a year or so ago, and we had 8 sessions together.
I also feel that it is definitely more a mistrust in my life being what i am lead to beleive it is, rather than purely the feeling I will be cheated on with another woman, or man.
"I have been cheated on in each of the three relationships that I had prior to my current relationship"
"The man I am with now used affection (or rather the withdrawl of affection) to punish me for breaking rules that I didn't know existed, and because he blamed me for things he was lacking such as the excitment that he apparently craved "
This is why you don't trust your partner. He was an out and out shit. No mystery or deep childhood trauma required on your part. Three men have cheated on you and then you end up with a nasty piece of work who miraculously promises to 'change'. You're very right to be suspicious. I'd be astonished if you weren't....
" I am fairly certain that it is my own inability to trust a trustworthy person in this case, rather than that he isn't trustworthy"
This is bollocks, sorry. You are under no obligation to trust. No obligtion to swallow the current line this person is feeding you. When someone has treated you as shabbily as you describe, they can transform into the Angel Gabriel with knobs on and that still doesn't mean you have to buy into it. 'Once bitten twice shy'... You've been bitten on multiple occasions and I don't think you should reproach yourself in the slightest.
Thanks for being honest cog.
I feel like I've been around a bit now and can spot a shit when I see one. I think he genuinely had a midlife crisis and had unresolved issues from his first marriage and is dedicated to being a loving partner to me. As you say I think it would be a miricle if I wasn't wary in a normal, inteeligent way. But this doesn't feel normal. It feels like I am a freak. He is so loving... maybe it will just take time.
You're not a freak. Trust, like love, hate or any other visceral emotion does not conform to the rules of logic. It is always personal. Doesn't matter how nice the person is or how well they behave if there's something about them you don't trust, some inner voice saying 'not sure about you', nothing on earth can convince you otherwise. Big mistake to ignore your instinct and regard yourself as a freak.
BTW... the 'so loving' thing would ring alarm bells for me. The person in my life that shat on me from the greatest height was the one that professed undying love on a very regular basis. It's so easy to bullshit 'romance'...
Very true... but isn't it also true that some people's "instinct" can be clouded by past issues? I don't necessarily think my "instinct" is always a true reflection of reality.
So how do I recognise if someone does love me? I really have no idea. I think I may have reached the age of 30 with absolutely no grasp on anything at all sometimes.
You don't know how someone else feels about you ... that's the thing. All you can know for certain is how you feel and that is all that matters. If it doesn't feel right it's not right. When it's right for you, you'll know it. It won't be an effort to love that person and it won't be forced. You won't have gone through counselling or had to spend great lengths of time thinking about forgiveness and behaviour changes etc.
No... I don't think 'instinct' gets clouded by past issues. I think it is shaped and modified constructively by experience and that it gets clouded most when someone wants to manipulate you and, in order to do that, keeps telling you black is white.
"This is my final chance to have something good and put my issues behind me - or so i feel."
You're 30, not 90. You have a lot of life to live. It would be a mistake to force yourself to commit to the wrong person just because the music stops and he happens to be the one with the empty chair.....
BTW...stop reading self-help books. Spend some time away from this man. Travel, be with other people, make new friends, try new challenges. Find out who you really are as an independent woman because I think you're currently being put under pressure by a very determined operator.
But why wouldnt he have taken the chance to run..? If that's what he wanted...
Would you say then that if I met someone who was "right" I would be able to forget all the stuff with my dad and beleive that a man can be trusted? I can't imagine meeting anyone who made me feel like that.
I meant to say thank you again as well Cog.
"But why wouldnt he have taken the chance to run..?"
Because he likes you and he may even love you. But that's not the important thing here. It's how you feel that is important. A man who is metaphorically (or literally, I don't know) standing in front of you repeatedly saying 'I love you... love me... trust me... ' does not put you under any obligation to reciprocate and that applies whether he betrayed you in the past or not - very imporant. You might desperately want to love and trust that man but that still doesn't mean you have to. It certainly doesn't make you a freak for not doing so.
Yes, that makes sense.
So say i leave, work on loving myself, then realise that I did indeed have trust issues and he was actually perfectly trustworthy (and my soul mate) by which point he's shacked up with someone else who doesn't assume that every time he goes out to buy some milk he is surely going to have an epiphany that she is a complete bore and he must leave her, proving as she suspected that she is unworthy and undeserving of any kind of love? [whah whah whah]
I'll tell you a cautionary tale about self-diagnosing 'issues'... I had the hots for a man once. He was attractive, intelligent, minted (!), a nice person, we connected, we had a lot in common... everything you want in a boyfriend basically and I had high hopes. We eventually got it together and it was like kissing my granny.... nothing. Zilch. No-one was more surprised than myself. I had to end it becauses something was wrong. I don't know why it was wrong - still don't to this day - but that's all I had to go on.
Now in your world I would be calling myself a freak and thinking I have 'intimacy issues'..... In my world he was just the wrong guy.
I wish I could come and live in your world.
If you spend some time apart to develop as a person and find he's shacked up with someone else when you return... then he wasn't the right person. The more you persist in trying to make this all about some big flaw in your psyche the further you're getting from the problem IMHO...
Love should be very, very simple, fun and instinctive. The kind of people who go through counselling to repair damaged relationships are usually the sort that have been married 15 years, have a few kids and a mortgage to think about and are trying to make a go of it because there's more at stake than just them. Someone your age, not married, no kids..... all this angst is totally misplaced.
Find someone who makes you feel better about yourself, not one that makes you feel like a freak.
"back in November after 4 or 5 months of complete coldness he ended our relationship telling me he no longer found me attractive and hadn't for some time. Also telling me that the day before he ended our relationship (knowing he would do so) he met a girl whilst on a night out, took her home and kissed her but didnt have sex purely because he was too drunk."
Hell would freeze over before I was able to trust a man like him and I'd be forever wondering whether those 4-5 months were due to him having an ow who ditched him after he'd ditched me.
As for 'kissed her and didn't have sex', that's another for the Marines.
Out of the numerous individuals in my life in whom I place my trust, the only one I trust completely is myself.
"How do you get in? "
Very simple. Live life on your terms and not other people's. Trust your judgement rather than seeking approval. Reject anything that makes your life worse rather than better.
Sincere apologies for incredibly bad timing on my part - it wasn't my intention to abruptly interrrupt the flow of Cog's invaluable wisdom.
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