I have written a lot about trust and the need for trust in a D/s relationship such as the one I have with HL. In order to build this level of trust it is important to be honest and open and this can make us vulnerable. I am generally a trusting person up to a certain point. I think that without giving anything of myself, I am never really going to get close to others so I take the risk and put myself out there. For the most part this has led to some great relationships but there have been times when it has gone wrong and so broken trust is the focus of this post.
I have often said that I never thought I would find the intensity and intimacy of the relationship that I have with HL but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t always looking. While I didn’t necessarily expect someone to want that with me, it didn’t stop me from putting all that I could into the relationship to see what came back. I know that this might seem odd to those who are more guarded but for me, people are my thing so relationships are important. It makes me happy to give what I can but I do hope for the same in return.
Trust and friendships
That is unrealistic and I have learnt that you should only give what you really want to give. There is no point in expecting the same back as that can lead to disappointment. This is hard for me as I do hope that people value what I have done but I have got better at setting boundaries and drawing a line so that I can move away when I need to. If I have put in an effort to support someone and they don’t recognise that then there is little future to the relationship. Not so much broken trust as disappointment and a feeling of being let down.
This has been an issue in the past because I am an empath and as such, I will not only put myself out for others, but I will attract people who are looking for support. Until I realised this my relationships were often one sided but putting the pieces together has meant that I can manage those friendships and also focus on ones which are more balanced. I think that having HL and doing a job where I am in that sort of role all of the time has given me a healthier perspective than I had before. I guess to a large extent my need to be needed has been met.
But what has this got to do with trust?
Well not a lot really except that for me, it sits as the backdrop for my motivations to trust others. In building relationships, I give something of myself. That is the only way I know. I think human nature is such that we will always get it wrong sometimes. I weight this up and it doesn’t greatly bother me. If I invest in someone and it ends up not amounting to anything then I can deal with that. Misplaced or broken trust isn’t always the best feeling but it is worth the risk for the occasions when it does work out. My most valued friendships would not be there right now if I had not taken the chance and been trusting of those people.
I try to be practical about it but being honest, when it goes wrong it does hurt. It isn’t unbearable but it can prey on my mind and pull at my heart a little. I can be left feeling let down and wondering why I wasn’t worth acknowledging. I tend to overthink so it can occupy my thoughts for much longer than really it should do. Again, I have got better at dealing with this, but it is still a work in progress. Recently I have been dealing with a situation like this and it not only meant that I questioned the relationship and the part I played in it, but also my trust in myself.
Trusting your own judgement is huge and if you doubt your own ability to get it right then this can be hard. I suppose the small things can add up and lead to questions which you find hard to answer. If you get it wrong then you don’t only feel hurt, you can also feel stupid. It is humiliating, not in a good way, and you can wonder just how you managed to get things so amiss. How was it you didn’t see the signs, and how was it the other person was able to fool you? For me this is different than wondering if I have just misjudged things. If you know for sure that you have messed up and been taken in, it is a whole different ball game. Broken trust not only in that relationship but in your own judgement too.
I have had enough experience dealing with friends who turned out not to be, and relationships which turned out not to be, to be able to move on from those things. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t mess with my head in a major way. I am always surprised that other people can be cruel to people they have said they liked but I suppose people change and with them so do the feelings they have towards a person. Going out of your way to pretend to be someone you are not is different. That is calculated. It means that every move is planned and that you have set out to deceive from the very start.
A Tale of Deception
This happened to me with an online friendship that I had. It was very difficult to manage when I discovered the truth. I was emotionally invested and really struggled to believe the enormity of the deception. I had trusted. My trust in that person had grown over a period of years, and yet, it was all based on a lie. Not only was this devastating to discover because I had come to care greatly for the person I thought they were, but also because I had entrusted them with so much of myself. I had been open and authentic. They had been an imaginative creation. How much of it, if any, was true, I will never know. My trust was completely broken.
I went through a range of feelings. Loss, shock, disbelief, anger, confusion and fear. Loss for the friendship that I no longer had, shock at the fact that the person was not who they said they were, disbelief at the enormity of the deception, anger that they thought and felt so little of me that they would do this, confusion as to what their motivation was and fear that they might try to hurt me further. It took a long time to work through and it took so much of my headspace that I really resented it. There was something else though, something that was left even after I had processed and worked through the other emotions.
I felt stupid. How could I have not seen? How could I have been taken in? I am a sensible person and I had thought myself a good judge of character so how could I have been so blind? The thing is, I suppose, that people who set out to deceive you are pretty subtle. I still don’t understand what was going on with this case because there were so many other people who were also duped along with me. Looking at them was some sort of consolation as they were sensible rational people too. We were not your typical victims, although we were victims all the same.
And I suppose this is part of the point. We want to see the best in others. We don’t set out looking for issues, checking out details and keeping a file of evidence on every person we meet, just in case. We base it on the positive experiences we have had and give the benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty. But I did feel stupid all the same. I trawled back in my head looking for clues, I went back over the friendship, over every conversation and every twist and turn and looked at it from a different point of view.
I could see then where my mistake had been. This person had given me what I wanted. They had given everyone what they wanted. I could see that they had tailored each friendship and had offered each of us something slightly different. I felt even more stupid when I saw how easy I had made it. It was simple. They had met a need in me to be there for them. I wanted to believe, so why would I question? I had looked for this so why would I be suspicious when it landed right there in my lap.
What is left after broken trust?
It does still make me wonder if I can trust others. It has not affected my behaviour but if things seem to go wrong it will be the first thing that I think of. I wonder if people are who they say they are. I am sensitive to things that don’t quite tie up and things which seem to be coincidences. Disappearances, silences, unexplained behaviours: they all bother me and make me nervous. I doubt my instincts and overthink things that I might otherwise have dismissed. It hasn’t changed what I do but it has changed what I feel and I no longer feel as safe as I did.
I don’t like that this is my reaction. I don’t like that I have broken my trust in my own sense of judgement and doubt myself as well as others. I could become super cautious and keep myself to myself but that would be letting this experience colour all of the other genuine relationships I have had. Online friendships are complicated and much more difficult to rely on than real life ones. While I have made some of my greatest friends this way, I have also had my share of disappointments, so I have leant to be more cautious than I might otherwise have been.
I don’t want this to taint things though. I still believe that you get out what you put in, although now I temper that. Sometimes you don’t get back what you give, but if you don’t give at all then the risk of not getting anything back is much higher than it is if you do. I try to learn lessons from what happens and although I hope that I would not fall into the same trap again, I really cannot be sure of that. Broken trust has made me doubt; not just others, but myself too.
Visit Wicked Wednesday to see who else is writing about trust or check out some of my other posts on the topic here: