Trust Issues: Why Is It So Hard?


Trust and respect – Many things in life are earned, and they can be much harder to obtain than the running numbers in your bank account.

Relationships, be it between partners, men and women, friends and peers, colleagues and employers, or even within extended family members, rely on the fundamentals of trust.

Making someone place their trust in you, is probably one of the hardest things in life. Even Shakespeare advised the same – “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”

So why is it that people have such deep underlying trust issues, especially in this current era of time?

Moving Back in Time

The human body has developed over the years to adapt to the environment. It is even possible that we may in future develop longer thumbs because of our constant need for texting! Yet, the human brain really hasn’t developed as much as our body. The amygdala, a key area for storing memories and relating to emotions, conjure the images and feelings associated with the experiences, causing our behaviour or actions.

The unglamorous side of our amygdala is that, it seems to store memories of unpleasant events better than the pleasant ones! What is more disturbing is that, we are constantly controlling our emotions because of the social norm and that leads us to experience less meaningful and pleasant emotions, despite a pleasant experience.

In our current society, feeling vulnerable, open or authentic can be a daunting task. Adding in the stress in our lives and the limited channels to express ourselves, one can easily develop a self-doubting mechanism, which also affects relationships with others.

If we are not conscious, we will allow the unpleasant memories to take control, causing us to always feel a lack of trust and projecting it to others, aka having trust issues. [Read: What are You Hearing Yourself Say?]

Shouldn’t You be Wary?

Indeed you should.

But should you let it affect yourself or future experiences with other people?

Here are some ways that worked for me:

Set a Deal-Breaker

My general rule is simple: I am going to trust you until you break that trust.

You may say, “the damage is already done!”.

And indeed it is. Yet, it is a good meaningful lesson, and I believe the price to pay is always going to be worth it.

Let’s say a co-worker talked bad about you behind your back. Now you know how he/she is like and you will be more wary of telling him/her anything in future. If the others do not believe you, let them know the truth nevertheless and let them decide.

What about a partner that cheated? Now you know how he/she is like. Ask yourself if you want to beat yourself down for someone who did not care about your feelings. Now you are free to move on to someone who cares for your genuinely.

How about a good friend who you have known for ages? Perhaps he/she has got their difficulties. Perhaps they really have got no idea as well. Seeking to understand others give yourself much more room to develop your future trust meter, in yourself and others, instead of labelling anyone as doing harm to you.

Trust Yourself

Are you sure this is not him/her sabotaging me?

How can I meet someone better than him/her?

I always make the wrong assessment of people!

Things have got no meaning except for the meaning you give them. Self-doubt is a downward spiral. This cause you to associate your next experience to your previous, unpleasant one. And guess what, it always seem to turn out similar to your previous experience.

Often when we keep telling ourselves that this is going to be the same as the previous unpleasant one, it generates similar feelings to others who are genuine in their approach. Give yourself and others the benefit of the doubt, stay neutral and don’t look for things to associate to your previous unpleasant experiences (I am not referring to tourists traps or scams from fraudsters, and please don’t open that spam mail just because you give it the benefit of the doubt…)

Be Firm, Stay Authentic

Sometimes you meet people who are so enthusiastic and they ask anything under the sun. As much you appreciate their straightforwardness and energy, you may have your reservations. You may be willing to trust, but there are certain no-go zones.

Instead of cooking up stories, switching to silent mode or seem uneasy being elusive (and if they still don’t get the hint), let them know straight up.

I am not comfortable telling you that now.”

And boy, am I glad to always meet people who tell me that straight up. It removes the need for me to guess if I said something wrong, give the wrong vibes or whatsoever. Moreover, you will gain much more respect from the other party.

Go with the Gut

Well, if all else fails, go with the gut feeling!

You know when they say your gut feeling or the sixth sense (more so if you’re a lady) is very accurate. I can totally vouch for it.

What are your experiences/encounters with others that attest to your ability to trust?

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