Dear Frances :)
Your post on trust was so wonderful I had to reply to you and thank you this way, if you don't mind , as the thread has already been locked.
I totally get what you're saying about family. I grew up in a very abusive home & am still paying the price physically all these years later (and perhaps emotionally, as well). It does get me down sometimes when I think about it, but for me I have had to almost vilify certain family members in order to move on. It was a hard thing to do & I still go back on it sometimes, but I have really had to draw a strong line & put the family in the enemy's camp. I wish I could just trust them to treat me lovingly & with respect, but it's just not in them to do so. Like you, I really wanted to be able to trust other people. I worked with a counselor who knew a lot about abuse (she was abused herself) & was able to talk to me about how I can test people & learn to trust them with certain things.
It is so hard when I'm having either a really great day or a really miserable day to not be able to tell any family members or certain friends about it, but I can now see that the times when I stick to that plan are the times where I really do get to enjoy my victories & find ways out of trying situations. I am very, very picky about my friends, but they are loyal & good friends and I am blessed to have them in my life. It is hard to trust myself to figure out which people are trustworthy & which ones are probably just going to hurt me but, as my counselor pointed out, I am actually quite good at getting a read on people right off the bat; the problem is that I often want to give people the benefit of the doubt even when there are plenty of red flags about them. It is hard for me to admit (even just to myself) that I don't trust someone b/c I feel like I would want them to trust me and not jump to conclusions, but I think we mostly develop pretty good instincts and just need to learn to rely on them more when choosing to whom we can to entrust our strongest feelings & deepest secrets.
Maybe that's not your situation at all, but it took me way too much time & effort to get to that realization ;) so I thought if sharing it with you could get you to a place where you can trust a couple good friends with your joys & sorrows a little quicker than I did, it would be worth the struggle I went through. Ultimately, there are good people out there. I think you must believe that if you are willing to confide in hotline volunteers & your doctors. And you're 100% right -- there definitely are good people in this world, but not everyone is one of the "good guys". Choose your team carefully. Trust your gut. Believe in yourself. Test people's trustworthiness by sharing smaller joys/problems with them at first. If they can be trusted with the small things, they can be trusted with the major ones. If they break your trust early on, at least it was only on something small, not something that will shatter your confidence.
Wishing you healing & freedom, and sending lots of hugs your way,
Thank you so much for sharing your story, knowledge, and insight, Frances.
Very thought-provoking post. I appreciate it very much.
I too was brought up in an unhealthy dysfunctional environment, and I have also been in abusive relationships. I've tried so hard to become the person others wanted me to be, and yet they never made me feel accepted, like I was unable to live up to their expectations...even though I was giving 100% of myself. :( I think I have always let these people take advantage of me and I finally realized recently that I no longer need to keep them in my life. I have learned to stand up for myself in similar situations although it is a lot easier said than done. We are often told to get rid of negative people and surround ourselves with positive ones who care. The problem is, because of my anxiety, socializing and meeting new people is terribly stressful for me. As I do not easily make new friends, if I keep losing people in my life, eventually, I will be all alone. It's not the process of ending a friendship, I fear, it's the aftermath.
Your tip on friendships is very helpful. You are right. It's probably safer to allow the relationship to develop to some level before I decide to share deeper issues. Thanks again for your great reply, Frances.
Lots of love to you my friend. :)