Fear, Trust, And Post Traumatic Relationship Syndrome

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” ~Ernest Hemingway

Being vulnerable and keeping our hearts open in a relationship is one of our greatest strengths. However, eating dinner in a pub the other night, I became very aware of people who were cynical, suspicious, and unable to follow their hearts. They had lost their trust and possibly their faith. Fear of rejection and abandonment haunt many people to some degree.

Many people have huge walls around their hearts and are jaded about relationships because their trust has been betrayed. I call this “Post Traumatic Relationship Syndrome” as people have closed their hearts due to living in fear of being hurt again.

Trust is a fragile thing because there is always a chance of being hurt again. We have all been hurt by someone we deeply cared about and trusted. So how do we keep our hearts open, let go of fear, and create an awesome opportunity to experience deep trust? By allowing yourself to be vulnerable and not bringing in the baggage from the past. I like to think we come into our relationships with an overnight bag instead 6!

Although there are no guarantees, trust is a gift of the heart that takes down the barriers, deepens relationships, and leads to love in all relationships. The journey to love is a journey to your soul. It tells us about our core relationship to ourselves. It also provides us with the opportunity to deeply connect, to see and love another’s soul.

Here are some ways to build trust in a relationship.

1. Be authentic

Be as transparent as possible. Suspicions emerge in relationships when people act differently that is outside their character. Some people deeply connect and then push love away. Being authentic and transparent leaves less room for assumptions that can easily create unnecessary drama.

2. Communicate clearly and often

Keep the communication open and let your partner know that you need space. Although we are in the age of texting and emailing, nothing beats talking especially face to face.  A phone call is better than email and text, but face to face is always best!! Always ask and never assume if you are questioning anything in the relationship. It is far better to be direct and open, then to make an assumption that could potentially destroy trust.  And remember, don’t take anything personal!

3. Spend time with the person to learn about him or her

Spend quality time and energy getting to know someone. The more information you have the better you can assess situations that come up like are they just having an off day due to a loss or stressful situation. While trust is a leap of faith, it is also about getting to know the other person.  More importantly, it is about accepting that person for who they are (the good, bad, and ugly).

4. Take Responsibility and Make a Sincere Apology

Take responsibility for your actions and make a sincere apology if you have made a mistake or disappointed your partner. A trustworthy person is responsible for their behavior. Sincere apologies build trust. If your partner apologizes to you, practice forgiveness and letting go of past hurts.  You are only 100% responsible for your 50% of the relationship.  Forgive yourself as well. 🙂

5. Be honest and never lie

Honesty is the best policy and does build trust. Even the smallest white lie can erode trust. A relationship grows in a healthy way when both partners are honest with each other.  Silence is a form of dishonesty.  Secrets erode trust.

6. Walk Your Talk

Your actions and words must be in alignment.  Saying one thing and doing another is very is not only misleading, it is inconsistent.  This too will erode trust.  Now, sometimes this is done innocently because of denying our true feelings.  This will lead to feelings of frustration and fear.  Monitor your feelings and the thoughts behind them.  Be gentle on yourself and change your thoughts 🙂

The good news is that trust can be built.  As Michael McDonald sings, “You’re gonna have to trust someone…..because it ain’t no life living all alone.  Love gives us a second chance to find all that we lost”.  Keep the faith and yes, Post Traumatic Relationship syndrome can be healed! 🙂

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