Journey Long Overdue Blog #3: Trust can be a four letter word

Well, it looks like it’s time for another session on the proverbial therapist couch that is my blog. I’ve been seriously slacking on writing lately. The interesting thing I have found about writing this blog is that it’s super helpful, emotionally and mentally. It always helps to “get things out.” That’s why I call this my therapy couch.

I’ve always been a fan of therapy. Not just for me, but for everyone. I think people put such a bad stigma on going to a therapist. It’s not like you have to be crazy to utilize a therapist, but that’s how people tend to look at someone when they say they go to therapy. I think therapy can be great. I mean, in the end, it’s just talking to someone who can help you get stuff out in the open. That’s no different then talking to a friend. The thing about therapy is, sometimes you need to talk to someone who has no attachment to you, or someone who has absolutely no agenda in your issues. They’re just there to listen. This is also a very useful and helpful option for individuals who struggle with trust.

Trust is a tricky thing. It’s one of those things that is hard to gain, but easy to lose. And a lot of people would say that once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. I’ve known others where it’s the complete opposite; they have a never ending supply of trust. Unfortunately I’ve seen the latter types be used by other again and again, yet they still see the bright and the good in humanity. I admire those people, because I am one of the former types. I’m also a cynical person that holds onto the idea of not trusting people who use the phrase, “Trust me.”

It’s sad to admit, but I’m one of those people that have been hurt so many times, in so many different ways, that it’s hard to see the good in people. And with the events that have happened to me over the last few years, I have become very hard and closed off inside. I say, “I’ve become this way,” because I wasn’t always like this. I use to be a more trusting person. But, a person can only take so much.

I don’t want to focus this blog on bitching about my mommy issues (but I’m sure it will come up), because I’m sure you’ve all heard enough. I don’t want to drive you all over the edge with my complaining. What I would like to touch on is how I have lost my ability to trust (like I used too), and how I can get it back.

I feel like the best way to look at this loss of trust thing is almost like an equation. Let’s break it down in parts. Part 1, how did I lose my ability to trust? Well, I guess it could be a number of events. When I was younger (high school age) I lost all of my friends because of the actions of another person. I’ve known and been friends with plenty of people who have lied to me. The actions (or inactions) of my supposed friends that were not there for me when I moved away. Take your pick. But, with all that said, I also know that I am no different from anyone else. Everyone goes through these kinds of things. I’m not special. Like anyone else, you get hurt; you bounce back and move on. But what if you can’t bounce back? What if you can’t move on?

That brings us to part 2 of the equation; what is stopping you from moving on after getting hurt, thus preventing you from growing and being able to trust again? This is probably where the “mom/family” thing comes into play. The violation by my mother and my family was like nothing I have ever experienced before. It literally rocked my world. Like I have pointed out before, I have been through a lot with my mother and my family, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine they could be capable of the kinds of pure hateful things they did to me.

It’s this part of the equation that is probably affecting me the most right now. You see, after everything happened I didn’t know what to do, or how to feel. But one thing I did know was that a nasty feeling of depression was slowly creeping in again, and I refused to go through that again. So, the only thing I could do to keep myself from slipping back into depression was to push all my emotions down; lock them in a deep dark hole and never look back. I decided to focus all my energy on taking care of my wife, because she was pretty upset too. Plus, around that time we were preparing to move across the country, so you can imagine the amount of work and planning that took.

All of that is over now. And it seems that my grand idea of burying my feelings has bitten me in the ass, because now my insides are all dirty. It’s the same as if you bury anything poisonous and vile in the ground as opposed to dealing with it; now all your soil is ruined. It seems that’s what I’m struggling with right now. I have made some really good friends, and met some really awesome people since moving out to the East Coast, and no matter how much fun we have or how close we get, I have never fully let myself invest in a friendship with them out of fear of betrayal. But it’s not like this is a new thing for me. I pretty much shut down any desire to get to know anyone after all the crap happened with my family. I focused all my energy on the friends and loved ones I already had.

Doing this has prevented me from “truly” letting go and opening back up to the world. Some people may read this and think, “So what? You still have your friends and your wife, it’s not like you’re alone.” That’s true, but the massive downside to all this is, there are some people who are part of my life right now that have no idea that no matter how close we may have seemed over the last few years, I’ve never completely trusted you, based off my own fears and inability to truly trust.

Wow…..that was really hard to write down because I know there are people that read my blog that are going to wonder if that terrible statement applies to them…..and the answer is “yes.” First, let me tell you that I am sorry. It’s not your fault; it’s my fault 100%. I have some wonderful people in my life that I know would do anything for me and Steph, and I am not able to give them 100% of me. Now don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I barely trust these people. In fact, I trust these people with 99.99% of me, but it’s that .01% that is preventing me to be fully real with them at all times. And as crazy as it sounds, that .01% feels like it weighs more than the 99.99% because it is made up of fear and doubt. And it sucks. I don’t distrust these people, or dislike them or even feel as if they would ever do anything bad to me, but that fear breads a cynical nature that allows people to hold onto that fear in case anything negative should happen, and gives them the opportunity to say, “I told you so.”

A very noticeable side effect of being a less-trusting person is a growth in that cynical-factor I just mentioned. Steph has recently told me that she feels like I don’t give people a chance, and instead I just wait for people to mess up so I can feel comforted in their mistakes. That cynical nature has allowed me to not have to work at trusting people or letting them into my life. Instead, it’s been easier to say, “They’re just going to screw up anyway.” That may seem like a fine way to keep yourself safe from harm, but I’m here to tell you that in the long run, it is the most destructive thing you can do to yourself.

I can only imagine how someone is going to feel reading this, and trust me when I say that this has been the hardest blog to write. But also know this, I don’t write this to be mean or hurt anyone. I am writing this because of a recent conversation with my wife (a person I love and respect more than she will ever know), where she told me that she feels like a piece of me has gone away. The piece she is referring to is the fun-loving and trusting nature I use to embrace. Now, all she sees is someone trying to protect themselves from ever getting hurt again. But, in the process of protecting myself, I have also closed myself off to everyone else, especially from the wonderful people I have met and become close with over the last 5 years or so.

In the end maybe it’s not other people I don’t trust; maybe it’s me I don’t trust. Maybe I’m afraid my powers of perception are off, or that I don’t know how to choose the right kind of people to associate with. Either way, it’s wrong all the way around because I know I am closing off really good people for no reason.

To everyone who is reading this right now, know that I care very much for you, and I am deeply saddened by my inability to let go. I make this promise to you; I promise to give you that 99.99% freely and openly, and I also promise to work hard on that .01% and I know I can get through this, especially with your help. I will be better…… me.

  1. #1 by Scott E Cruse on September 21, 2010 - 1:40 am

    Michael as I sat here this am reading this, I understand your feelings better then you think I should as I too went through the same feelings for many years after I divorced your Mom until I met Pam. After 26 yrs of marriage to her, she has helped me place that feeling of as you put it ” They will screw up” on a shelf but it still close by guards my heart. I have learned to see people in a better light. I hope that I and my family are part of that 99% and we can work on that 1 percent together because gaining that 1% means that I completely feel whole again and I hope that you also will

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