The reason we struggle with trust is because we feel like we’ve been betrayed. It’s a crappy weight to have on our shoulders. Similar to its other invasive cousins anger, guilt, and resentment, losing trust after your marriage is a major hurdle when it comes to getting your life back. We wonder if we will learn how to trust again.
But like all the other feelings, you have the power to break free from their hold and regain control of your life as you start its next chapter. Let’s discover how!
Trust and the Source of Betrayal
Many times, lack of trust comes from a sense of betrayal—which is exactly what you feel at the end of a marriage. Whether the betrayal was from simply growing apart, or from more insidious things like abandonment, abuse, or infidelity, it’s no wonder why you may feel like you cannot put your faith in anyone anymore.
As if that’s not bad enough, loss of trust can be nasty because it makes us doubt ourselves during a time when we deserve to be strong.
As difficult as this may seem though, there is one thing you must remember—the source of your betrayal stinks, but it does not get to define the rest of your future.
What happened to you does not define you.
This tenet is true with everything you experienced during divorce, but is one we tend to forget. When we were betrayed, we tend to view the work differently. We may think that everybody is out to get us, that we can no longer trust any of our relationships, and that we will not be able to depend or trust anything in our lives again. We may even think that learning how to trust again may not be in our best interests.
But as painful as betrayal has been, it is not your death sentence. It does not mean that nothing good will come your way again, or that you will not be able to heal. If anything, betrayal during your divorce, no matter how crazy or earth-shattering it may have been, actually shines a light on the toxicity of that relationship, and showing you that you deserve better than to be in a state where you cannot trust.
The next time that the hurt from mistrust creeps into your thoughts, you must remember the following:
- Trusting yourself is the foundation to trusting again
- You are not alone in this world
- There are people who love you
- There are people who are rooting for you.
Exercise: How to trust again
If learning how to trust again after divorce is something you have been struggling with, take a look at this simple exercise!
Answer the following questions:
What and whom can I depend on that I sometimes overlook ? Take a look at my examples below!
It may not seem like much, but I know that my dog Oliver is always there for me. Whenever I come home after a long day of work or if I’m feeling sad, he can always sense it and he comes over with his tail wagging as he sits in my lap to snuggle.
My little sister has always been there for me. As we have gotten older, she has become a confidant, and shoulder to cry on, and a thinking partner when I am struggling with a problem.
How to trust again can start small with the people around you.
What will I do to acknowledge and celebrate those things?
I will continue to care for and spoil Oliver, who brings so much love into my life. And the next time I talk to my little sister, I will let her know how much I appreciate her.
How will I embrace those things when I am triggered and feel mistrust and betrayal as I continue to heal?
When that wave of mistrust washes over me—which is many times when I think about the marriage—I will put that feeling on pause, and then remind myself of the many beautiful things in my life that I can depend on. I will list those things, and if I am physically near one of those things, I will reach out to them. For example, I will hug my dog and take him on a walk to clear my head. Or I will text my sister to see how she’s doing. Redirecting the negative feelings of betrayal into something positive will gently remind me that there are people and things in this life that I know I can depend on, who also depend on me. I will celebrate that trust and focus on that love instead.
So, how about you? Whom are the people and things in your life that you can depend on, and how can you draw on their energy to heal and build trust again?
Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce recovery coach whose website “Surviving Your Split” shows women 50 how to rebuild their confidence so they can move on with their lives. If you want to download your own Free Divorce Warrior Survival Kit, stop by http://survivingyoursplit.com today!
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