Couples many times ask why they are having problems in relating to each other. Psychologists know that the real problem are many time more complex than just one issue. However, the issue of trust is central to any relationship. Understanding a couple of issues can be of help.
Why Don’t You Trust Me?
- This is the most frequently heard phrase in relationships.
- One, or both, individuals tend to voice this on a regular basis when there is conflict in the relationship.
- There is a sense that one is not as trustworthy because of a “pattern of behaviors” that has raised questions in the other one.
- Sometimes these patterns have to do with immature relating patterns where one member is spoiled, does what they want, forgets to tell their mates, or only tells part of the story.
- At other times it is that pattern is one where one partner “avoids” dealing with issues until they “explode in the face of the relationship” causing more blaming and finger pointing.
- Other patterns include ones where one assumes the role of the “co-dependent parent” who is going to “help and parent” the more “incompetent one” deal with life.
- Some situations involve all of the above patterns, and others, that cause the couple to not trust one or the other.
- However, when there is always a sense that one cannot trust the other one, then the relationship is on shaky ground.
Trust is Required for Growth
- The most critical task any infant must deal with in life is the task of “Trust versus Mistrust.”
- The first year of life is devoted to resolving this task issue with the hope that they will come to trust others, the world, one’s caretakers, and life in general.
- Children learn to trust by feeling that others provide consistent care, provide for their needs, feed them and demonstrate that others love them.
- If others provide inconsistent care, are not there to meet their need, etc., then the child decides that the world is not one to trust.
- As the child grows, they also learn how to relate to others in trusting ways through how they view their parents relate to each other.
- All of this helps the child develop a “world view of trust” that will have a major impact on how they relate to others in relationships.
Trust is Required for a Healthy Relationship
- When “basic trust” is missing from a relationship the “growth factor” becomes “stunted” and everyone suffers.
- Without basic trust, infants have a hard time growing into healthy adults. The same is true for a relationship. Without trust, the relationship suffers and tensions increase.
- Couples need to decide how they are going to “grow the relationship of trust” that will help each of them feel more secure and comfortable in relating.
- The patterns that are noted in the relationship “says more” than the “words and promises” of either person.
- “You will know them by their patterns, not what they say” becomes the unspoken key to understanding whether or not trust is a basic part of the relationship.
- All this means that the couple needs to “get out of power struggles of who is right,” and focus instead in how each person is going to develop more trust, honesty, and openness in the relationship.
- If we fear losing our identity by being more open, then the underlying fear is one of being controlled by a parent figure. This can only lead to a deterioration in the relationship.