ARTICLES WITHIN THIS TOPIC ARE:
1. Building trust in relationships.
2. Not trusting someone- Trust is the glue that holds
a relationship together.
3. Trust in a relationship (not a duplicate article)
4. Who can you trust?
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Building Trust in Relationships
by Claire Colvin
It's easy to fall in love with a person you don't trust, but it's hard to live with them.
Real, lasting relationships are built on trust. Trust is foundational because it creates a
safe environment for intimacy to grow. If your relationship is going to work you need to be able to trust your partner with
your past, your present and your future.
Trust takes time and effort, is easily broken and hard to restore but if you're willing to
work at it, the reward is the relationship you've always dreamed of.
Revealing Your True Self
Trust allows you to reveal who you really are. In spite of all the tricks we use to try and
impress someone during the early stages of dating, intimacy is founded on knowing and being known.
Your partner has to get to know the real you -- what you're like when you're tired, angry,
frustrated, elated or talking to your Mom on the phone. They has to love you as you are, not as they hope you might be. Anything
less won't last.
Have you seen or read Bridget Jones's Diary? There's one scene where Mark Darcy tells Bridget
"I like you, just as you are." She is floored. Why such a strong reaction to a simple comment? Because Mark is telling her
that he really sees her and he likes what he sees. He didn't say he'd like her ten pounds lighter, or a little more sophisticated,
or prettier, or better read. He likes her as she is, unconditionally. She doesn't have to try and impress him, he's already
Knowing that you are loved for who you are lets you relax and let your guard down. It lets
you be honest without fear of rejection, and frankly, it feels great.
Trust opens the door to honest communication. You can't communicate honestly if you're always
second-guessing how your partner will react and rephrasing your thoughts to fit in with their agenda. Communication takes
concentration. In her article, "Why Can't We Communicate?" Geri Forsberg , Ph. D., outlines the five steps to effective communication:
1. Ask questions. Don't assume you understand what a person means. Once you ask a few questions,
it doesn't take long to really find out what they really mean.
2. Listen. To become a better communicator, you must be willing to listen so you can understand
the other person's perspective.
3. Observe and be willing to verify the information you receive.
4. Let people know what you are thinking by sharing it. By disclosing information about yourself,
it aids the other person in understanding who you are and how you are understanding them.
5. Remember that love covers a multitude of sins. If your motives are wanting to understand
people and accept them for who they are, then communication will be easier. But if you set out to convince them that your
way is the right way, then that's not communication. And that's not love.
Once you've cleared up your communication, trusting your partner will help you to fight fair
when disagreements occur. Face it, if you're involved with a living, breathing human being you are going to fight. Whether
the fights tear you apart or actually resolve conflicts and bring you closer together depends on whether or not you fight
What is a fair fight? Most experts agree that fair fighting does the following:
1. Stays on topic. Now is not the time to bring out a list of past wrongs. Deal with the issue
2. Refuses to resort to name calling and insults. Remember that the point of the argument is
solve something, not tear the other person to bits or badger them so they'll quit and you'll win. If you don't respect your
partner, or if they feel attacked, they'll stop listening.
3. Avoids generalizations and sticks to the facts. "You always" or " you never" statements
do not reflect reality and will only put your partner on the defensive. Stick to what actually happened and how it made you
Trust doesn't just naturally happen between two people, even if they love each other. It takes
work and if you've been hurt in the past, it can be especially difficult.
Building trust takes time, you need to show your partner that you are trustworthy and that
you trust them in return. If your partner has trouble trusting, you can do a lot to create an environment where trust can
Listen to your partner, respect them and their opinions, and accept them as they are. Reveal
parts of your own history, show them that you trust them and you will help them to do the same. If you are vulnerable it helps
your partner to feel that he is safe to be vulnerable as well.
Don't rush it. If you truly love your partner and want what's best for them, you'll wait. If
you're in a relationship with someone you feel you can't trust, don't ignore it. If you have trouble trusting anyone, you
might want to seek counseling before you run away from what could be a great relationship.
Your past does affect your ability to trust. However, if trust hasn't been a problem for you
in the past and your gut is telling you to protect yourself from this person, take it as a warning. Take a close look at who
they are, how they treats others and how they treats you. Your gut may be giving you good information.
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Not Trusting Someone
Trust is the glue that holds a relationship together
All of us, at one stage or other, have experienced
a situation in which we have found ourself not trusting another person. This could have been someone we have just met and
almost immediately have not felt comfortable with them. Expressions like "Wouldn't trust him/her as far as 1 could kick
them" or "Wouldn't touch him/her with a forty foot barge pole" express this lack of trust
Unfortunately though, occasionally not trusting
someone else also includes those we have known for a while. Doubts begin to creep into our thinking about their motivation
and behaviour, and these can begin to have a major impact on the relationship, for our behaviour in relation to the other
person will begin to be different
It is interesting to note that when we find
ourself not being comfortable with another person, regardless of the circumstances, we are not always able to articulate what
this discomfort is about. What we experience is a strong gut feeling or hunch, which we are not able to explain.
Not trusting someone means that we do not have
full confidence in them and consequently we are not interested in pursuing a relationship with them. Even if the circumstances
dictate we need to spend some time in their company, we might find ourselves very wary of them and limit how we engage with
So far the emphasis has been on the negative
side of trust, or to be more precise, lack of trust. But what about when we do trust people? What happens to us when we trust
people and what is different for us when we don't trust people?
It would seem that when we trust someone, be
it personally and/or professionally, we are willing to enter into a relationship with them. In a trusting relationship we
are willing to conduct ourselves differently, engage in a wider range of actions, and also to be more open to a variety of
The degree to which we trust someone has a major
bearing on the type and relationship we will form with them. Relationships are a fundamental part of our existence. In fact,
a substantial part of our existence can be thought of as co-existence, as we live and work together with a range of people.
Much of our existence, and the quality of our
living, is associated with the quality of our relationships. We exist within a network of relationships, and the quality of
these relationships determines the sense of satisfaction, achievement, enjoyment and fulfilment we assess ourself to be experiencing.
Much of meaning in life is bound up with our relationships and the associated experiences.
We learn through our experiences in both positive
and negative relationships. Positive relationships provide much of what is important for us to have a meaningful existence,
They provide the context to have conversations, and it is through conversations that we are able to accomplish important things,
and to grow and learn together
Much of our suffering - be it individually,
as a family, work group or a society - comes from not having the relationships and conversations which are vital for us, and
indeed, which we yearn for. Unfortunately, because of previous experiences, some people find it more difficult than others
to develop trusting relationships.
Trust enables relationships to develop and flourish.
When trust erodes, the relationship deteriorates. Doubts, which can creep into our thinking about the behaviour of the other
person, can act like a poison and a cancer, quickly spreading to sabotage the relationship. Mistrust has a devastating impact
on relationships and on the types and quality of conversations that will occur.
Whilst trust is an indispensable component of
positive and productive relationships, unfortunately it is something that can all too easily be taken for granted. We may
only become aware of its importance when we feel trust has been broken.
"Trust is the glue which holds relationships
But what is trust? It could be said that it
is a sensation, a hunch, a gut feeling. However, it is possible to be more precise. It can be claimed that trust is simultaneously
a bodily sensation, an emotion and a linguistic phenomenon (a. judgement or an opinion). A gut feeling can be the emotional
and bodily component of trust, and not being able to articulate it simply means we have not yet developed the linguistic component.
In focusing on the linguistic component, trust
can be regarded as a triple assessment. When we trust, or don't trust someone, we are assessing their sincerity, reliability
and competence. Trusting or not trusting someone always involves one or more of these assessments.
Typically we tend to associate trust with sincerity
- the genuiness of someone in their engagement with us; ie., there is no hidden agenda or "cards being held to the chest".
However, reliability is also a crucial facet of trust. Time and standards are two critical elements of reliability; examples
of this are turning up to meetings at the agreed time, and completing agreed to tasks on time to a satisfactory standard.
Competence involves having the necessary ability and skills to satisfactorily complete a task
The issue of trust is also linked with identity.
The image people have of us, the reputation we develop for ourselves, whether positive or negative, cannot be divorced from
assessments continually being made about our sincerity, reliability and competence. The conversations people will or will
not want to have with us, and the relationship they will want to develop, will be heavily influenced by the identity we have
We develop a reputation for being trustworthy
or untrustworthy through our actions. Much of this reputation comes from how we enter into making arrangements and being dependable
around the agreements and commitments we make. Do our actions match our words?
Within our relationships it is all to easy to
take trust for granted and overlook its pivotal role in our interactions with others. Trust can be regarded as a fragile element
of relationships which needs continual nurturing. One or two instances can raise important and lingering questions, which
may remain in the background and have a silent but devastating impact on the quality of the relationship.
You may like to consider the following points
for your own "action research" around trust. Think of two important people in your life who are part of your relationships
network. One with which you have a positive relationship, and one which is not so positive. What differences do you find in
your assessments of sincerity, reliability and competence for each relationship? What is different for you emotionally and
bodily in these assessments? What is different about the quality of the conversations? What conversations and other actions,
by both you and the other person, need to occur for trust to be built? What small steps are you willing to begin to take to
have these conversations?
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Trust in Relationships
We all yearn for relationships
in which there is trust. We want to be able to depend on others. We're looking for the ease, clarity and harmony that are
inherent in trustful relationships. But, is there any one of us who wasn't let down or betrayed by someone who didn't live
up to his or her agreements?
We all make agreements every day. Some seem
small and insignificant: agreement about a time to meet or a promise to run an errand. Others are seen as bigger and more
important: a formal contract or signing a loan. But all of them are important. Because this is the way trust is earned. Your
reputation is built upon your ability to make and keep agreements.
The corner stone of every relationship is trust.
And when we're not feeling safe in a relationship - we do not give our 100%. Partners who keep their agreements or re-negotiate
when they can't are few. But then, so are successful couples. If you do not keep your agreements within your marriage (or
any relationship for that matter) you make your partner responsible for you.
Let's say it was your turn to do the laundry.
You didn't. Your partner has to do it instead of you or has to become your "mother" and remind (nag) you so you would do it.
This means becoming responsible FOR you. That's what your parents did until you were able to take responsibility for your
However, in marriage, you are two grown ups
that should be responsible TO each other. This means each one of you takes responsibility for keeping your agreements and
stand up for your word.
Break an agreement once, and your partner might
forget it. Break an agreement twice, and your partner might forgive you. Break an agreement for the third time, and your partner
won't trust you again. Period.
And when there is no trust in your relationship
- you don't have a relationship. Yes, your partner might still be there - physically. But he or she is not there anymore -
And one thing you have to remember - loosing
trust can take a minute, building it back may take years.
I discovered early on that those people who
often break agreements always end as being mediocre and having dead relationships. Most of them think that so-called small
agreements can be broken because they're not important.
Well, the consequence of breaking agreements
is loss of trust and respect. No matter how big or small those agreements are. And when you lose trust and respect, "mediocre"
becomes your second name.
Check yourself honestly. Do you believe that
being late for a meeting you agreed with your spouse won't hurt them or that your partner won't mind if you don't do the dishes
as agreed? Do you tell yourself that the consequences will be small and you can handle them? Well, think again. Have a look
at how your partner reacts to those broken agreements.
The other side of the story is the partner that
got hurt by the broken agreement. If you are often on this side, ask yourself how come it happens to you so frequently? How
do you feel being hurt and disrespected? And why do you allow it? Are you afraid to rock the boat? Do you think, "Oh, it's
not such a big deal"? Do you find excuses to justify the breaking of the agreement?
If you let others (even if it is your beloved
partner) walk over you, and don't protest, guess what... they will keep on walking all over you! It's that simple...
By the way, sometimes, your partner is not trying
to hurt or disrespect you on purpose. Sometimes, they're just not aware or sensitive enough to realize the impact they're
having. And if you don't tell them, or are not honest about how you feel when they break the agreements with you, they'll
probably never change.
My personal way of living is to make few agreements
and keep the ones I make. Frequently agreements are made too casually and usually with the aim of being liked, avoiding criticism
or delaying the confrontation about a problem hoping there will be some miracle cure.
Some of the agreements are written, some are
spoken ("I'll be in charge of taking the garbage out"), and some are unspoken ("When I speak, I am telling you the truth").
You might want to check how many agreements you have in your relationship, and does it make sense to keep all of them as agreements.
Too often trust is broken because something
like 'leaving the toilet seat up', or 'not taking out the dog as promised'. Most marriages break in the end because of the
garbage and the toilet seat and not because of a single extramarital affair. It happens when "enough is enough" and there's
no way you can trust and respect anymore this son-of-a-bitch that not so long ago was the love of your life...
To avoid getting there, find out what your survival
agreements are. These are 2-3 essential agreements that if broken could cause either one of you to step out of the relationship,
right away. For some people it will be infidelity, for others substance addiction, for others emotional or physical abuse,
etc. Make sure both of you are aware of and agree on these survival agreements and then... KEEP THEM!
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Who Can You Trust?
by Tony Schirtzinger; ACSW,
In the general population about one out of ten people
are completely untrustable. They are called "cons" and they live by these "rules":
1. Only fools tell the truth.
2. If you can get
by with it, it's OK.
3. Joy and love don't exist. Excitement is the only good feeling in life.
4. Say anything - you
can always talk your way out of it.
Luckily, when we meet cons we usually know it right
If their shallow values don't give them away,
the fact that they break their word about 50% of the time surely
ABOUT THE REST OF US
The other 90% of us are trustable about 95% of the
We don't lie as a general rule, and we don't live by
the egocentric rules listed above.
But we do lie to ourselves sometimes, about specific
And, of course, we lie to others about these same things.
This is what makes the question of trust so difficult.
USING YOUR BRAIN TO DECIDE ABOUT TRUST
If you are wondering whether to trust someone or not,
the only question you need to ask yourself is: How often do they break their word?
Make mental notes whenever the person you are evaluating
gives you their word by making a promise or a commitment:
If they almost never break their word they are trustable.
If they break their word about a few things but not
about most things,trust them ONLY in the areas in which they keep their word.
Of they break their word only about 50% of the time,
they are cons. Don't trust them at all.
USING SOMETHING BETTER THAN YOUR BRAIN
Infants will coo while one person holds them but cry
loudly as soon as someone else picks them up.
They make quick and accurate decisions about who to
If we could still make our decisions that way, trust
problems would be easily resolved.
How Infants Decide About Trust
Infants are little bundles of physical sensation. They
do their remembering with their bodies, not with their minds.
Their bodies remember what it feels like to be handled
with love, and they compare that "body memory" with how they feel when they are being held by someone else.
RELEARNING HOW INFANTS MAKE DECISIONS
• Think about someone you trust completely because
they always keep their word.
• While thinking about this person, "take a reading"
of your body. Notice how you feel in your torso (shoulders to pelvis). To make sure you remember this sensation, write down
a few words to describe it (e.g.-"warmth in my chest," "lighter in my stomach,")
• Practice making yourself feel this sensation
over and over (about 10 times). Get so good at it that you can make the sensation happen with just a single thought.
• Now think about someone you do not trust because
they seldom keep their word..
• Repeat step 2. (Notice the COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
• Repeat step 3 (Practice this new feeling.)
• Now test your skill by thinking about some
recent acquaintances. Take another "body reading" as you think about each of these people, one at a time. Compare these sensations
with the sensations you remember from the person you trust, and then with the sensations you remember from the person you
• Then simply ask yourself: "Do I trust these
The answer will come to you immediately, without further
thinking, and without further testing or practice. You have reacquired a skill, and it will always be available for you.
THE "LITTLE PROFESSOR"
The ability you relearned has a cute name. It's called
"the little professor." It means "the brilliant way infants think." Infants are almost never wrong! (Wish I could say the
same thing about my grownup thinking!)
From now on you will be able to use your "little professor"
along with your adult thinking to help you make all the important decisions in your life.
Set the goal of learning to read your body so well
that it can even work as a "lie detector" to uncover the lies you tell yourself!
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