Understanding Trust and Getting Trust and Love Mixed Up

Getting trust and love mixed up

I found it easier to understand the concept of Trust, by looking at what I had been taught about trust. It was the experiences that I’d had to do with the word and definition of trust that were at the root of my understanding of the concept and meaning of the word trust.

I remember being scared half out of my wits while being yelled at “TRUST ME, I know what YOU need”. (which translated to me that I “needed” the spanking, the strap, the punishment)

I was told to trust teachers and leaders who were bullies and predators simply because they were “my elders”. Being taught to blindly trust only taught me that I was not worth much. Being “told” to trust people who were not trustworthy left me very confused about what trust really was.

I had a boyfriend who accused me of not trusting him when he was driving drunk. I felt shame and guilt even though drunk driving is illegal, I had been “groomed” to believe that questioning someone meant that I didn’t love him or her.   He went to jail for impaired driving.  

I didn’t make the connection that trust has nothing to do with love. 

I had another boyfriend who accused me of not trusting him when I found a girls phone number on his dresser. Once again I felt guilt and shame because as I already mentioned, I had been taught that if I didn’t trust, I didn’t love.  It turned out that he was cheating on me, just as I suspected. I didn’t find out for a long time because I was too busy trying to prove that I “trusted” and “loved him.”  I had several boyfriends who accused me of not trusting them. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to admit even to myself that I didn’t trust them.  There were reasons that I asked the questions I asked; questions such as “where were you all night?” “why did a woman phone for you?” Why didn’t you phone me to say you were going out with the boys?”  

By getting angry and accusing me of accusing HIM of something and trying to “control him” he got me off the actual subject and put me on the defense where in the end I was assuring him that it wasn’t that I didn’t trust him, it was that I just wanted to know where he was but that question never got a real answer. He deflected it by accusing me of not trusting him! And I spent all my time and energy making it up to HIM that I had made him feel like I didn’t trust him!  

This “rabbit trail” that we went down was about how it was MY fault we had problems because **I** didn’t trust. And I was told that if I didn’t trust him then I mustn’t love him. If I didn’t love him then he would leave me to find someone who WOULD love him. And love meant trust so back to square one; I trusted him, he cheated and did what he wanted and I stayed in the fog of dysfunctional relationship feeling guilty for not trusting him and making him feel unloved.   

 I was accused of not trusting and totally guilt tripped and reprimanded by those people only to find out that they were actually NOT trustworthy, just as I suspected.

I was told to trust abusive manipulative people while they were hurting me, all the while “soothing me” in quiet “loving” hushed tones with “trust me, I won’t hurt you”.  “Trust me” I am doing this because “I love you”.  My definitions and understanding of the words “trust” and “love” grew from these false statements from others. Seeing where they were rooted and the lies that grounded them was huge for me. I was told by other adults that I was wrong to be afraid of these “trustworthy” people who were hurting me. When stuff like this happens, it is no wonder why our definitions and understanding of words like trust get confused.

Having the false definition of the word trust in my belief system made it easy for manipulative people to get away with many things without question.  I was caught in the spin of feeling guilty for NOT trusting them without a “real reason”.  The spotlight was always turned back on me and I found myself drilling myself with accusations like “what is wrong with you Darlene, why can’t you trust him or her?” I had learned and in fact been taught to ignore my intuition until it was way too late.

The spin around this whole false belief system was huge!

In that false normal system, trust meant that I had to let someone hurt me and pretended it didn’t hurt me. Trust meant that I didn’t tell on the person hurting me because if I told I would damage the trust and especially the chance of “love” in our relationship. Physical, emotional, spiritual or sexual hurt, it didn’t matter. Trust meant that they were right and I had no rights.

Should trust, must trust… WHY? What does that MEAN? When there is a history of damage around the word trust, that damage has to be faced and the “action” of trust needs to be examined for what it really is.  By understanding how my belief system falsely formed about the word trust I was able to heal from the damage caused by living under the control of that false definition.

Trust is earned over time by each person and in each individual relationship. Trust takes time to grow and being uncertain about to trust or not to trust is not an indication of suspicion or accusation.

 And the action of trust needs to be examined for what it really IS NOT.

Trust is not a right. Trust is not love. Trust is not letting someone devalue you to prove love or loyalty. Trust does not hurt. Trust is not mandatory!

In the dysfunctional system that I grew up in, trust meant that I didn’t count. Trust meant that I protected the very person who was mistreating me. Trusting him meant that I “loved him” or so I misunderstood because that was what I had been taught and how I had been groomed. 

I was taught that I had no right NOT to trust. That version of trust was another false teaching that I had been taught that in the end meant that I was not worthy. I was always wrong. I was always the problem and I was responsible for the success and or failure of ALL relationships. 

See how mixed up “trust” was in my belief system? Can you see why I had to come to understand how I had been taught the wrong definition of trust?

In my case, having so many mixed up and false understandings of so many words and concepts I had no choice but to disconnect and dissociate more and more. I withdrew into the “fog” and dissociated from life in order to cope, in order to survive and in order to carry the burden of all these dysfunctional and often toxic relationships.

What are the trust messages that you have received?

Please feel free to share your thoughts. Please remember that you are welcome to use any name that you wish when you comment. Your identity is safe here; only the name you use will be seen by the public.

Facing the truth on the road to freedom;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

see links in colour and bold print for related posts  Emotional Healing and Busting through Brainwashing

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56 response to "Understanding Trust and Getting Trust and Love Mixed Up"

  1. By: Lora Posted: 15th March

    Hi Darlene! I’ve come to accept that pretty much everything I’ve been taught by my parents comes from “their” wounds. I inherited their wounds and that’s what I am healing from now. I am going through a “dumping” process right now of old beliefs and lies and I’m slowly able to receive truths that are in alignment with my true, higher self. Even religion had a toxic spin on it and I now understand why I felt I couldn’t even turn to god for help and guidance. I’m in a spiritual mentorship that is really helping me be more open to having a relationship with myself and god. I didn’t realize how little trust I had in myself because I was taught that adults or people in higher roles held all the power. I have a lot of child hood wounds that kept me locked in time and made me easy prey to predators. My first boyfriend at 15 was an abuser, cheater and manipulator which set the tone for most of my relationships. Each relationship I had put me in a position to look at myself and my behaviour and what I was doing wrong. I did not make the connection that it was my choices of men that caused me my pain, I thought there was something fundamentally wrong with me and that I got what I deserved. Shifting my thinking and changing my belief system has been very challenging but I’m beginning to see some real progress. I won’t give up on myself and I know without a doubt that god is present in my life and is fighting for my me, for that I am truly grateful and am starting to believe I have value. Slow and steady is my healing process and I no longer feel like I need to compete or compare my life against anyone else. This is my personal healing journey and I don’t feel the need to involve my family in the process anymore. My family is not interested in the truth and for that I feel sad for them. Everyone has their own choice to live the way they want and it’s clear that what I believe to be the truth just gets in their way. I feel so blessed to be part of group of like minded people who support and encourage healing. I wish everyone an abundance of joy and love and hope you discover how truly brilliant you all are. Namaste to you all!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th March

      Hi Lora
      Excellent comments here! Excellent points, connections and highlights!
      Thanks for sharing ~
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Krissy Posted: 30th March

    Thanks, Darlene. I think my friend is talking about trust like you are. I have since read another blogpost you wrote about trust and I so get what you mean. But I think my friend feels like she should warn others not to go where she went, which is to have trouble in relationships because of inability to trust, even if they were not abusive people. She would not trust that her new husband had her best interest at heart, and constantly misread his behavior as abusive behavior. Eg, he was quiet, and she mistook it for not caring. Their relationship was very rocky until she uncovered her lack of trust as the root of the issues.

    As for my own experience, how’s this for an abuser demanding trust – my ex said that just as God could not work His goodness in a person’s life until that person trusted Him, so I could not experience his goodness or goodwill to me and the kids until I started to trust him! He somehow believes that he has a right to be trusted, and when I don’t it is something insulting. He often asks me not to insult, demean or hurt him but if not trusting is hurtful, then I’m sorry, there’s something very very wrong that sort of thinking.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th March

      Yes, thats what I am talking about.. that trust is not a “right” ~ Ask you ex what he thinks “trust” is. He is the one who distroyed your trust in him so perhaps God needs to work His goodness in your EX ~ perhaps he should look more closely at HOW he harmed the trust in the first place. Abusers don’t need to tell you that they have changed IF they have indeed changed. We see it. but when there is a history proving that we need to be on gaurd it takes time to trust again. Abusers are addicted to making everything the fault of the other person. You are right; there is something very wrong with that sort of thinking.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Krissy Posted: 28th March

    Darlene, as usual, your post is addressing something I am going through. I really get what you mean. I do have a question, though (as usual!).

    A friend of mine who is a fellow-survivor and advocate for victims tells me that she went “the other” way and had a lot of trouble with her marriage with her second non-abusive husband (which ended up with a temporary separation) because she didn’t trust him. Her ability to trust any man had been demolished and though he was a gentle giant (I can vouch for this) she mistook a lot of his behavior as abusive.

    Now she often warns victims not to go the other way and that there are many trustworthy people around. She told my son to “never think that people can’t be trusted” and when my son replied “why would I think that if they are trustworthy”, she replied that she would have never admitted to not trusting and that it was something subconscious and she was implying that he might be subconsciously inclined to go that way because victims just do that.

    I am not comfortable with telling victims that. What do you think?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th March

      Hi Krissy
      I think that the trust thing goes deeper than “deciding” to trust or not to trust. I would not tell someone “never think that people can’t be trusted” because the way I see it now, trust is something that we become comfortable with in a new relationship over time. I would ask your friend what exactly she means by “trust”. What is she refering to when she says that we should trust? sometimes we all have a different idea of what the conversation is even about.
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Julia Fry Posted: 21st March

    Hi, Libby, I love that you challenged your therapist!

  5. By: Libby Posted: 21st March

    Darlene – that phrase “you have a right NOT to trust” sent shivers up my spine! “Broken” I can understand your questionning it too! I had never seen this before….never thought of it as possible,let a lone a right.
    I have a new therapist, a man, who I really don’t trust (we have met 3 times so far). I have been swinging from one place where I fire him, to another place where I try to work with him, try to see it as a challenge….. The change has raised so many issues, and I have been agitated and off the wall the whole time between sessions. The change came about because my previous therapist retired suddenly and recommended this guy. But it has been handled badly – botched. At our session last week I challenged HIM – where was HE coming from? What was HIS experience of working with people like me – and WHY is he doing this work? Previously I had felt he was not hearing me at the level I needed to be heard, but this time he did, he really did. I saw the change in his body language…..He came down from his high horse of academic authority and was more authentic. He knows I don’t trust him, that for me this feels like a huge risk…
    I think , like most people, I want to trust – I want to be able to connect with other people. However, the number of times that my trust has been mis-placed means I often don’t trust myself either…. My husband jokes that we only got together because my dog liked him and trusted him! Funny, but actually not far from the truth. Learning to trust is a slow process. The right NOT to trust is a relief…I will remember that.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st March

      Hi Libby
      It was a huge relief to me too! Permission NOT to trust. Wow. I had to keep in in mind until it was part of my thinking process. There is NO shame in not trusting or in taking time (lots of time) to decide!
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Pam Posted: 18th March

    Libby, It makes me feel so sad that all that happened to you. I’m glad you’re finding your way to reconnecting with your inner instincts. I wish all of that never happened but I’m glad you survived and I’m glad you’re beginning to heal.


  7. By: Libby Posted: 18th March

    The Head teacher that first assaulted me was a charmer – he charmed my mother (an me, a little 6yr old) by telling us he would be my 9-4 Daddy while my real Daddy was on an overseas tour of duty. He knew our home was miles form anywhere, with no phone and he knew I was an only child so he knew that I was isolated aNd pretty much alone…easy pickings. Because my mum trusted him, I trusted him – until it was too late adn I had been hurt beyond belief. My Mother was very sick at the time, so in my little girls’ mind I couldn’t tell…I had no one TO tell…..
    It became “normal” when I WAS abused again – at the next school. AS a military family we moved a lot. THAT time I truanted – for months – until I was found out. No one asked me WHY I did it, they were jsut yelling at me NOT to do it again. No one told the teacher NOT to do it again. So I swallowed the hurt, and the anger at the injustice, and the message that what I felt didn’t matter.. Then it happened again at a third school – this was much more severe and dangerous a place and I totally blanked it all out. Not to trust anyone to save me, not to trust anyone at all – again…It coloured decades of my life – I did marry, in my late 30’s, to a man who was hurting as much as I was.
    “Trust me, I am a….” was a mantra that was oft repeated to me as a kid. Doctors, teachers, whoever….I resolved never to say that to a child in my care – I knew I had to EARN their trust by being honest. I could no longer “trust” my intuition in relation to myself, as I had been so well disabled by my family and other “responsible” adutls around me. But it has always worked for other people: my patients, my foster kids – etc. But not for me….until very recently. I am finally starting to listen to my gut instincts – its SO scary!! Amazingly so.. but IT WORKS!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th March

      Hi Drained
      Yes, but it isn’t because we have a “target” painted on us, but partly it is because we are so used to “being the one who complies” that manipulators and controllers “sense how easy we are” and also because since this all began for us very young, we are comfortable… what was normal and familiar becomes comfortable even when it is dysfunctional.

      Hello “Broken”
      Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, really, you have a right not to “trust” and you can decide what is right for you.
      Please feel free to share often, you are not alone.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Libby
      Oh gosh, these kinds of stories get to me. I am so sorry that happened and thank you for sharing it with us. This is exactly what happens too.
      Your insight is right on and thank you for sharing the victory parts at the end!!
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: broken Posted: 18th March

    Trust wow is all i can say–reading this brought tears-that is us–still us–and now get told with “help”, “healing” the same darn crap–ugh a vicious cycle that it is—i will try to remember what you said—tnd the whole concept you have a “right” to not trust—-really???????

  9. By: Drained Posted: 18th March

    Trust. Wow. We grow up so misguided about trust and our self-worth, we end up attracting the worst kind of people: The controlling, manipulative type you shouldn’t trust. The ones that make you feel worse about yourself and even more confused.

    It’s like we have a target painted on us, or they have special radar to seek us out just by our body language, voice and words that tell them… here’s an easy victim. And because their treatment of us is familiar, we think it’s “right.” My trust issues and self-worth were so messed up that I didn’t get married until I was 49!!!

    On a side note, my controlling parent stunted my emotional growth which I think contributed to the fact I married a man much younger than I (and mother refused to meet him for the first 2 and 1/2 years we were together because she opposed our relationship. She tried to shame me into breaking up with him. Well, that didn’t work and we’re still happily married.)

  10. By: Pam Posted: 17th March

    Darlene, That was the exact reason why the Pharasses had to have Jesus killed, to maintain their power. Jesus is the mediator between God and human beings, there’s no need for a religious hiararchy and no need for one person to rule above another. Jesus is about equality and self-rule. Jesus is about freedom. Is it any wonder that the truth He taught is buried beneath religion by those who like the power and the presense that religion gives them? Jesus is as much of a threat today as He was over two thousand years ago!


  11. By: kate Posted: 16th March

    This is such a good example of how words change their meanings with contexts. WHO said it, HOW did they say it, WHAT did they mean by it, WHAT was the result in the relationship? Reminds me of church, and how the words used didn’t really mean what they are “supposed” to mean. Trust God means obey the church, etc.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th March

      I know what you mean. I had this big ah ha moment one time when I realized that my mother was “god” and that adults in my life (including peers when I was an adult) had set themselves up as “god” and I didn’t KNOW “god” and that I was taught a whole whack of stuff about a “false god” taught how to worship that false god which was what people wanted me to do. They wanted me to believe a certain way so that I would submit to them. And that was actually the message of Christ ~ he told the people in power to give up their power because they were using it to push people around and Christ was all for equality and equal value for all people ~ but the people in power didn’t want to give up their power, so they rejected that part of the message and warped it into what worked in their favor. Sad really.
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Pam Posted: 15th March

    Darlene, I didn’t go to church for ten years after I believed. I studied on my own. You’d think I’d be well armed against people who want to play Holy Spirit in the lives of others but I wasn’t. I still had to learn how religion differed from a personal relationship with God but because of my habit of studying on my own and seeking the truth for myself, I passed through that pretty quickly. Now I think it is just part of the spiritual journey and all why seek out that which is spiritual go through it. It hurts to be abused by religious people but we are in good company because they abused, Jesus too.The hyper-religious are abusers, wolves in sheeps clothing. I think when we learn to spot them and defend ourselves against them, no other abuser has a chance!


  13. By: Victoria Posted: 14th March

    Hi Pam,

    I experienced a different spin on the “trust” issue in my dysfunctional family. Because of random uncertainty, nonsensical whims,angry outbursts and the general unpredictability of my mother I learned not to trust. That left me distrustful but at the same time wanting to find someone I could trust. I made some mistakes and misplaced my trust a number of times. But I have still never come to trust my mother and likely never will. I found that the “respect authority” was particularly problematic for me. In my view trust and respect both need to be earned and can be easily lost.

    Peace and wholeness to all!


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 15th March

      Hi Victoria
      I can relate to what you said here too. hugs, Darlene

      It wasn’t my family that delevered the false messages about spiritual things. I was actually a young adult when people were tyring to “save me” and the guilt and shame and not good enough stuff was so similar to what I had grown up with, that I just fell right into line with it. I had to learn that people were not god in my life or in anyone else’s life because the way they played God was how I ended up relating to God for many years. There was a lot of damage done there.
      I think you are lucky that you had the understanding you talk about and I think it is rare.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Pam Posted: 14th March

    Darlene, I guess I lucked out that my faith wasn’t taught to me. I’ve always defined it as, God and me. I’m sure that if faith had been a part of my family of origin, I would have been really confused there, as well.


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