When someone willfully breaks or damages the trust that you once had in them,
It is hard to believe in that person again.
When their actions and words (or perhaps their inactions) are no longer reliable or acceptable,
The connection you once had with them has been damaged, and it may be gone, for good.
When someone breaks your trust, there is no person or thing: not sex, earthquakes, tornadoes, alcohol, drugs, a material thing (like a new house, car, apartment, money), or the threat of impending death that has the power to bring it back.
Yes, a temporary remedy may stop or numb the pain that you feel when what you valued, or made you feel safe is broken, absent, or no longer there.
But trust is an abstract thing; it is something that you give to the ones you love.
It is not readily available, or growing on trees for anyone to gain at will.
Therefore, when the trust you have with someone is broken, or taken for granted, it is quite possible that you will never trust that person again. Unfortunately, sometimes people do burn their bridges.
But, if not, what will mend a broken trust?
For me, it takes many steps, and thus many thoughtful acts of penance, for a person to regain my trust.
The first is to “fess up,” to be honest, and to break through layers of shame and denial.
However, a person who has repeatedly repressed or denied the truth will probably not sustain honest behavior,
And definitely not when being dishonest has been their modus operandi.
And, if almost everyone around them is being dishonest; or, if their environment enables them – and others – to pretend that everything is “all good,”
At best, there will be many empty and broken promises.
They will often repeat the words “I’m sorry”, and probably more times than you care to remember.
Perhaps, they will also say that they intend to change, but their actions will make them contradict themselves, a lot.
Does this make the dishonest people that you love “bad” for you?
Should you write them off, throw them away, and try to forget about them?
Only you know the answer to that question.
Unfortunately, I have also learned that a dishonest person cannot be trusted until they are willing to be honest with themselves about who they are and about what they have done to discredit themselves and damage their own trustworthiness.
When someone breaks your trust, there’s really nothing you need to do until the one who has broken it is willing to admit their mistakes, and their problems. And that may never happen. Some people are too proud to admit that they have problems, and perfectionism is one of those problems.
Nevertheless, that is what it takes for me to begin the trust building process, but, again, I don’t believe that many people have this kind of fortitude.
In this world, it is much too easy to hide from the truth and numb the pain we have caused with all kinds of fixes and elixirs.
So, as badly as I might want to trust again, it is not my responsibility to make anyone an honest person, and especially not when the world that we are living in rewards thieves, cowards and liars, but it punishes (and sometimes it assassinates) the truth-tellers.
It pains me to say (and to know) that the world is full of those who have mastered the art of lying, manipulating, and behaving badly to get the results that they want. Honest people are in the minority.
Being dishonest is a dominant way of relating to others and to the Earth; and, a good majority believes that it is acceptable and normal to act this way. Telling lies and hiding from the truth of who they are is the best that they can do; the ones who do this do not know how to be honest, loving, trustworthy people. And, as a result, they cause suffering in their own lives and those around them.
Therefore, when someone breaks your trust, and they want to get it back, perhaps then you must make a decision that will demonstrate how, or whether, you truly understand the measure of your own worth.
© 2019 annalise fonza, Ph.D.