Relationships and Trust

Trust is essential for a good enough relationship. It is possible to be naive and trust someone too much while at the other end of the continuum is not being able to trust someone at all. Building trust in a relationship with a partner is a process that takes time.

Most of us learn to trust in others during our formative years. Our beloved parent leaves, then returns; the repetition of this experience helps us build trust that we will be taken care of, and that we are lovable and loved. Our parents scold us when we make a mistake, then give us a hug to reassure us that we are loved even though we make mistakes. It is during those early years that we learn that we are lovable and build the self-esteem we need for our adult years. When we have a strong sense of self-esteem and know that we are lovable, trusting others comes in a natural, easy manner.

Two basic truths concerning trust are: (1) most people will do whatever they believe they need to do, in the moment, to take care of themselves; (2) each individual must trust him or herself to take care of him or herself.

Research has shown that most people who have affairs do so because they are looking for love. Being part of a good enough relationship is part of self-care, and helps us build positive self-esteem. If we become aware that we are in a relationship that is hurtful and damaging to our self-esteem, we will be tempted to become engaged in a relationship with someone else when the opportunity presents itself.

Building a good enough relationship that has deep trust, involves self-awareness and the ability to confront oneself to mature. When we can confront ourselves and consciously change a personality characteristic we believe we need to change, we feel better about ourselves. We now know that none of us can change another person, the only person we can change is ourselves. If a relationship is important to each individual they will both work to change, grow and mature into the person who fits well with their partner.

Behaviors such as lying, cheating, stealing, addictions usually come from people who have deep psychological wounds that need attention. People who exhibit these behaviors can change when they choose to do so, for themselves.

Jealousy, or a lack of trust, is the result of one partner feeling insecure. This may be due to the individual having had an insecure attachment during his or her early childhood. It may also be due to low self-esteem. Another cause of this could be that his or her partner is not trustworthy. If the partner does not have good enough self-esteem, he or she may flirt with others in an attempt to feel better. Their partner then, clearly, has good reason for not trusting them.

Part of building a good enough, trusting relationship involves power. In every relationship power will rest with the person who has a better understanding of a particular area. For instance, a man who knows more about business than his wife, will have more power than she does in that area. A woman who knows more about child psychology than her husband, will have more power in that area.

The problem begins when one person, (who may have low self-esteem), feels they must have power in all areas of the relationship. They will often manipulate their partner to believe in them, sometimes using very subtle techniques. This kind of behavior erodes trust. Their partner will often sense that something is wrong, yet be unable to explain what it is or why they feel this way. People who have this problem may have narcissistic personality disorder. This problem is also due to deep psychological wounds.

People who have this problem are highly judgmental and critical of others. They use their judgments and criticisms to feel better about themselves. An individual with true positive, healthy self-esteem does not need to think he or she is better than others to feel good about him or herself. A good enough, trusting relationship is built with a spirit of cooperation, not competition, control or power.

Building a good enough, trusting relationship takes time, and self-awareness. It involves two people who recognize and understand the value of a good enough relationship. Both people need to be able to confront themselves to mature and grow to be closer to their partner. If one person needs to have most of the power in the relationship, the relationship will probably fail.

If one person needs to use the relationship to feel better about him or herself, the relationship will most likely fail. Any individual who is building a relationship needs to ask themselves questions about why they want to be involved with this individual. It is only when an individual can trust his or her own good judgment that he or she can build a lasting, trusting relationship.

Anne is a Board Certified Registered art therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. Anne has been studying human development and relationships for over 45 years. She has been successfully working with families, in various capacities, for over 20 years. Her private practice is in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia PA. She specializes in helping people recover from various types of trauma, difficult changes and loss. Anne has an unusual ability to connect with children and adolescents, along with their parents. Parenting is the most important job we ever do, yet no one shows us how to do it or gives us the support we need. Anne has successfully coached many parents through a variety of critical stages in their children’s lives. Anne’s greatest joy is helping people understand themselves and each other.

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