Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More on Trust

I'm not going to say that trust is easy for me because it's not. But that basic elemental trust that life is worth living and that the whole world is not out to get us is very important. Opening the door to the possibility that such information might be valid is a huge step in the quest for freedom from the pain of childhood abuse.

This basic trust I am rock solid about. I know in my heart that life is worth living and that there isn't someone waiting around every corner trying to make my life miserable. The more I have learned about human nature, the more I realize many of those people out there are just as afraid of me as I was of them. Their fears take up so much of their time they have no time to devote to harming me.

Being able to see that many, many people have problems that consume them, made it easier for me to dispel my all or nothing thinking that everyone would do me some harm given the opportunity. I didn't have to be afraid to take some risks for fear something bad might happen to me. Life can be scary enough without thinking that every person out there is bad.

But I don't give my trust away either to everyone and anyone who comes along. I regard it as something to be earned and that is done in degrees. It doesn't have to be given in blanket form to anyone that comes along. It doesn't have to be given at all, only as I see fit.

While I try to go into new situations with an open mind, I don't want to give myself away only to be hurt because I trusted too soon. So I start off slow and adjust as I go along. Sometimes I screw up and get my feelings hurt but usually it's because I didn't read the signs that are right in front of me. Healing from those things is difficult but it doesn't happen often. Learning to understand how and why I was victimized has really given me great tools for reading people.

Getting hurt by someone that I trusted can be devastating. Having someone I don't particularly care for do something unkind only reassures me that my observations about that person are correct. Since I have nothing vested in the relationship, I have nothing to lose. I refuse to let the fact that there are such people stop me from participating in life. To do so, would be to let my abusers win. That will never happen, I can assure you.

I tend to live one day at a time trying not to get so caught up in a plan that I miss out on life. I'm open to the possibility that maybe I'll met a new friend out there and maybe I'll get burned but either way it will be as I live life on my terms and not those drilled into me as a victim.

I think about my first experiences in group therapy. Many of those women hugged each other when they arrived and when they departed. But touch me, you've got to be kidding. I didn't want any stranger touching me. I did find women that I would allow to hug me through that experience but believe me they worked hard to get to that place.

Even now I don't give casual hugs. Nor do I make casual friends. You are either in my inner circle or you are an acquaintance. There is no middle ground. If I call someone my friend, I mean it. It isn't a title given lightly.

To me being or having a friend is a commitment to be there in times of need. I trust those who have reached my inner circle will be there if I need them. So far I have not been disappointed. They may not always be able to be there in exactly the way that I need at a particular time but they will give me all that they have to give. Sometimes that is all that matters, that they want to be there even though they can't.

Because I speak openly about my victimization, people will often find themselves telling me things they have never told anyone. I can't even tell you how many times I've heard the words, "I was never molested but........." followed by a story of molestation. From those ranks usually come my friends.

Who better understands victims and their idiosyncrasies than other victims? I don't have to act like I'm interested in cliquey girl things when I can't relate to that stuff at all. For me life is about getting through each day with some kind of grace not shopping and lunches and trivial stuff. Learning to navigate the world of my psyche in a manner that I didn't self destruct used to take my full attention.

Today, following my dreams and being there for my friends takes my precious time. Since most of my life I spent caught in the trap of victimization, I feel like my life really didn't get started until I was finally free. I have a lot of living to make up for.


Lynn said...

You wrote: "Sometimes I screw up and get my feelings hurt but usually it's because I didn't read the signs that are right in front of me."

THIS is the real clincher for me. It is the whole problem in a nutshell. This is the question I end up constantly asking myself: "Is this okay, or am I just missing the signs, LIKE BEFORE? (I also attracted a pedo.)" The problem is, that some signs are quite subtle. When I look for such things now, I think maybe I am paranoid. When I decide things are probably okay, I wonder if I am only thinking that because I am asleep on the job (like before!) and just not seeing things that could be right under my nose.

I have learned one very important thing out of this ugly incident with the therapist. Long after I thought the whole thing was a non-issue, I had feelings that I could not understand. I felt a nagging little voice inside. It was trying to tell me that the issue had been swept under the rug and things could not progress without a real cleaning, but I couldn't understand the message. I would get suspicious about my therapist and my trust of him, but I couldn't trace it to its source. Sometimes I would be very angry with him. None of the silly reasons I could identify were sufficient for such anger. I had begun to think that I must be a very paranoid and hateful person and that I coudn't listen to myself or believe myself (which was already a BIG problem before that). Now I know better. I was right. I did have a real and valid reason to be angry with him and mistrust him, I just didn't consciously know what it was because I couldn't connect it up. In a strange way, this whole thing has restored a bit of my trust in my SELF. I was wrong about myself. My radar works just fine.

jumpinginpuddles said...

i have a really stupid question and maybe lynn can answer some of it for me also seeing you both write so good and i feel so dumb when reading it.
But my T has said i can call her anytime and i believe she means it but i cant get over the hurdle that its all going to happen again, how do you trust someone who has bene tryign to regain your trust how do you know they are truthful?
I am not saying she isnt but i cant seem to work that out having been caught out once before and ive never tried ever again.
See http://lifespacings.blogspot.com/2007/12/what-happens-when-i-panic.html
I dont know i want to but day time is different to night time and im plain not sure.


Kahless said...

A terrible thing happened today. At work this morning I burst into tears. I hate that and I never do that. I felt totally bad afterwards. One of my colleagues witnessed it. I am concerned that now he is going to tell people and I will be classed as weak and emotional. I have no option to trust that he wont tell anyone. I think he will tell and people will gossip about me behind my back, but i dont know. I hate that now I have no option ut to keep my fingers crossed.

A good post again RR.

jumpinginpuddles said...

im sorry you feel so scared this person saw you cry and i hope he respect your need for privacy but crying isnt weak its a symbol of strength.
Did you know that your body releases toxins when you cry, that the salt in the tears is the healing of the release of those toxins.
Crying is healthy what isnt is thinking it isnt. I think crying is something to be proud of becasue it was os often taught you werent allowed ot do it. But i understand your fear at the same time as it would be mine, but you arent weak or emotional you are hurting and there is a difference.

Sending gentle warm kind hugs for you today


wolf said...

the irony is i'd sooner give my trust to a stranger then a family member how ironic is that? trust is a big issue and when you ? was i wrong with this person.. you don't trust your own judgement and that to me is the most dangerous thing of all.

Kahless said...

It was really lovely what you wrote me.
Thank-you and I appreciate the hug. I have felt somewhat strange today since crying. I think exhausted and bruised.

Rising Rainbow said...

lynn, anything that brings you to trusting yourself more is a good thing. Because I think that is really at the source of all of our mistrust, not trusting ourselves.

Amelia, learning to retrust again is difficult. In your case with your T I think you should trust your instincts. You said you couldn't see your T before the session where you worked on how she hurt your feelings, but you could see her face after that. Sounds to me you believed her to be genuine or you still wouldn't see her face. If that were me, I would trust that and take another risk to repair this damage. That would be take her at her word and call when I needed help.

If you still feel unsure but need to talk to someone, then I would call and start off your call with "I am not sure if you meant it was ok to call anytime or not but I really need to talk with someone. If this is not a good time can you tell me when is?" and give her a chance to help you.

Rising Rainbow said...

kahless, I agree with jip (amelia) it is ok to cry. I also hope your co-worker respects your privacy. But if he doesn't that says something about him not you.

I understand that you are feeling vulnerable because someone saw you cry. I would feel the same way. It's so foreign to the way that we were raised. But I have learned that the reactions of people who have seen me cry was not anything at all like my fears. Sometimes they felt awkward too, so just kept it to themselves. And others actually reached out to see if they could help.

Amelia, you are absolutely right about tears. They are a healing thing and there is nothing wrong with crying when you are in pain.

wolf, I totally understand not being able to trust anyone in your family. I think most of us feel that way.

Not being able to trust our own judgement can be crippling. But before we can safely trust that judgement we have to figure out what part of it is really ours and what part came from what our offenders projected onto us. It is a difficult call.

I, too, appreciate your gesture towards kahless.

kahless, I hope that you are recovering from your tough day.

s-girl said...

I to do not readily make friends. I think when you go through things it teaches you to keep your distance.

s-girl said...

I don't trust people that easily either. It is funny because once at school this guy introduced me to a group of other people as his friend and I was like thinking to myself... I wouldn't say we are "friends" but when I thought about it, other regular people would consider our relationship to be a friendship.

Now I try to be more aware of those feelings and try to counter them with telling myself that there are more good people in the world than bad and that 20 year old students that I hang out with at my school are not out to hurt me for no reason. It is okay to let them be my friend.

keepers said...

trust is so fragile in our system, and when it gets broken some people are allowed to try to regain it, some are not. sadly, like wolf said, few if any of us feel we can trust family members, for all of the obvious reasons.