By: Janelle Schlueter, MS, LPC, NCC, CCTP
Do you struggle with trust issues because of your past trauma? Many people who have a history of trauma struggle with trust. This blog can help you understand how trauma can cause trust issues with yourself and others. You will also learn how to rebuild that trust. Let’s jump in!
Trust Issues with Self and Others After Trauma:
Difficulty Trusting Self
What is often not recognized after trauma is that survivors lose trust in themselves. The survivor blames themselves for some part of the trauma. Examples of this self-blame can be – being in the wrong place at the wrong time, choosing to go on that date, not screaming enough, taking the left turn at the intersection instead of a right turn, and the list goes on and on. This self-blame, while illogical, is still an expected result of trauma and must be addressed in trauma treatment.
There is a fear that if they are ever in a repeat scenario of their traumatic event, they do not trust themselves to make the ‘right’ decision to protect themselves. This self-blame results in the survivor losing trust in their ability to make decisions. This can be small decisions on what to eat for dinner or bigger decisions like what car to buy.
Difficulty Trusting Others
After experiencing a trauma, it is hard to trust the intentions and actions of others. Someone has likely shown you that they are not safe to be trusted even if they were in a position to be trusted. This could be when a person is abused by a family member or friend, a person of authority, or a romantic partner. No matter the exact position, you felt you could be safe with someone and were not. Now you will not allow yourself to go through something like that again, even if that means you view everyone as a potential threat. You may even consider the world as a whole more negatively.
Every time you meet a new person, you assume they are lying or have evil intentions. For every fresh start, you develop an exit strategy. If you start a new job, you already have a resume ready if you do not like it and want to leave. If you create a new relationship, you are starting off preparing for the end of it. When you are walking through a parking lot, you have your keys ready, you are scanning the surroundings, you have a weapon of some sort handy, and someone you trust knows where you are. Some people may argue that they are ‘just being safe.’ No, this is much more damaging and exaggerated than simply being cautious.
Rebuilding Trust After Trauma:
Now that we understand more of how we struggle with trust after trauma, how do we rebuild it?
Trust with Small Steps
Specifically, with learning to trust yourself and others, take it slow. Trust yourself to follow through on your promise that you will do a load of laundry today. Trust another person with their pledge to take out the trash. Over time, as these smaller promises are fulfilled and trust is proven, then larger promises can be made.
Making Mistakes Can Still Build Trust
Everyone makes mistakes. If you promise yourself that you will do the dishes and you do not do them, do not allow this to be a big deal. If you ask your partner to take out the trash and they do not do it, ask yourself if we can give them grace that they are human. Talk to them about how you felt when they did not do the task and allow them to explain what happened on their end. Chances are it was a mistake. Keep in mind the intention behind a person’s actions. It is more than likely that you or someone else forgot to do the task than they do not care.
Begin Therapy and Find Healing after Trauma in Katy, TX!
If you are ready to find healing after trauma, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide counseling and mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more about emotionally focused therapy.
- Meet with one of our knowledgeable therapists.
- Find ways to heal today.
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!