I often have women asking me how to trust again. They are worried that after getting out of a marriage where their partner cheated on them, was addicted to porn, gaslighted them, or abused them in some other way that they won’t ever be able to find a way to trust someone in the future.
In this episode I'll talk about what society teaches us trust is and how when we use that definition of it we give away control over our own emotional life and forget how to act on our own behalf.
You'll learn a new way of thinking about trust that puts you in control of creating safety for yourself in any relationship in your life.
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Full Episode Transcript:
I’m Karin Nelson and you’re listening to Becoming You Again episode number 101.
Welcome to becoming You Again. The podcast to help you with your mental and emotional wellbeing during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the trauma of your divorce by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so your life will be even better than when you were married. I’m your host Karin Nelson.
Hi! How are you doing this week? Today’s topic is about trust. I often have women asking me how to trust again. They are worried that after getting out of a marriage where their partner cheated on them, was addicted to porn, gaslighted them, or abused them in some other way that they won’t ever be able to find a way to trust someone in the future. So I’m going to talk about this in today’s podcast episode.
Basically, we are taught that trust is something that is built or given to us from someone else when their words match up with their actions. This person does what they say, or follows through with my expectation of them. But in my opinion I think this is very surface level definition of trust. Because here’s the fascinating thing about trust. We will tell ourselves, I want to trust this person implicitly, and then we give complete responsibility over to that person to decide how we are going to feel in certain situations. It’s kind of like saying, here’s my emotional remote control. I’m trusting you to only push the button that says ‘feel good at all times’ and never push the button that says ‘feel bad sometimes’. I’m trusting you with this emotional control and you better not create any feelings that I don’t want to have and only create feelings that I do want to have.
But what if trust was something more, something that you have much more control over than you first realized. Ultimately what we really are seeking when it comes to trust is a sense of safety and security. We think something like, I trust him, and that creates a feeling of safety. And this can show up in so many ways. You can think this about a new partner. I trust him. And you feel physically and emotionally safe in their presence. You believe they will be there to listen to you, take care of you, provide for you – whatever it is that you’re seeking when it comes to safety. That’s the meaning behind those words I trust you. You can think this with your kids. I trust you, and then feel safe and secure that they aren’t lying to you. That they love you and respect you as their parent. You can think this about your financial advisor. I trust you. I feel safe giving you my money and taking care of it like it was your own. There are many relationships in our lives where this idea of trust is present and with that comes a sense of safety within us.
But here’s where trust gets really interesting. Someone could be saying one thing and doing something completely different, and yet we may not have all of the facts about this person and their actions, and yet we may still have the thought, I trust this person, and feel safe.
This happens all the time. I could give thousands of examples of this happening and I’m sure you already have a few examples where this has happened in your own life with other people. I was just watching the show Dopesick. Have you watched that show yet? It’s on Hulu and it’s a drama based on the story of OxyContin and how it was peddled to doctors to be a non-addictive narcotic that could be prescribed for even mild pain symptoms, and yet it was in actuality one of the most addictive opioids on the market. Patients trusted their doctors who were saying you can take this and it will help with your pain and you won’t become addicted to it. Doctors trusted the pharmaceutical reps who were providing them the information. Things are being said and patients are thinking, this is my doctor, I trust him. I feel safe. Taking the medication and then becoming addicted to the medication.
Or maybe you had a partner who had been looking at porn your whole marriage but you didn’t know and you had a thought, I trust this person and fell safe. And then you find out about the porn use and confront them and they come clean and tell you the truth about looking at porn for years. And then your thoughts change to I can’t trust you, I feel unsafe, even though for your whole marriage they had been lying to you and you had thoughts that created a feeling of safety. Now they have told you the truth and suddenly you no longer trust them. All of this is what makes trust such a fascinating nuanced concept, and really it points to the fact that trust is ultimately a choice based off of facts that we gave at any given time.
So I think the real work to do when it comes to trust is first being able to trust ourselves. We need to recognize that it is impossible for someone else to create our thoughts and our feelings. That is always in our control. Someone else’s words and actions do not create our positive or negative feelings. You can learn to accept yourself and take responsibility for your own emotional state. You can learn to trust yourself that no matter what someone else’s thoughts and feelings are that drive them to act in whatever way, YOU will accept responsibility for yourself to manage your mind, to be in charge of your own emotional life and trust yourself to create a feeling of safety.
So when it comes to starting a new relationship after divorce and not feeling able or capable of trusting someone else, the reason this feels so hard and daunting is because you’ve been telling yourself that you need that person to behave in a certain way so that you can feel a certain way. You need them to not cheat on you so that you won’t have to feel rejected or betrayed or sad. And then we spend a lot of time in this new relationship worrying if what they are saying is true. Wondering if their words and actions are matching up. We are showing up with so much fear around whether or not we can trust them, that we end up not trusting them. We act weird, accusatory, sneaky and we don’t trust ourselves that we will take care of ourselves if they did cheat on us.
What would it look like if you began to build trust in yourself that you can handle your emotions and create safety for yourself no matter what someone else does or says? Do you know what safety feels like in your body? Think of a time when you did trust yourself, what did that look like? What were you thinking? What did it feel like in your body?
You are allowed to go into a new relationship deciding that you are going to trust this person. And deciding that you are also going to trust yourself. Then as facts about this person are revealed or become known, that’s when you have the opportunity to step up and trust yourself and take care of yourself in the ways that you need in order to feel that safety and security that comes with self trust. So this doesn’t mean that if you get into a new relationship and that person is mistreating you or cheating or abusing you in some way that you tell yourself, we’ll it’s fine – they can do what they want because I can just manage my mind and trust myself to create my own safety. This means that if you find yourself in a relationship where someone is mistreating you or abusing you or cheating on you, that you will take the actions necessary to protect yourself, to keep yourself safe physically, mentally and emotionally and you trust yourself that you will do that for you. If that means you leave the relationship, then you trust that you will do that and you’ll be okay.
This way of thinking about trust is probably new to most of you and so if your brain feels a little broken or confused, that’s okay. New concepts can do that to us sometimes. It’s not a problem. I do want to invite you if this resonates with you or you want to learn how to trust yourself on this deep level to schedule a consult with me and we’ll talk about what it is that you’re looking to create in your life and how we can make that a possibility for you. You can schedule your free consult by clicking the link in the show notes or going to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com.
That’s it for this week, my friends. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.
If you like what you’re learning on the podcast and you’re ready to create lasting change and results in your life then you need to be working 1:1 with Karin as your divorce coach. This is where we take everything you’re learning in the podcast and 10x it with implementation and weekly coaching where you start to see change in yourself and your life immediately. To find out more about how work exclusively with Karin go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com . That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
Thanks for listening. If this podcast episode agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give it a rating wherever you listen to podcasts. And for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married, make sure to check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.