Trappings of Trust

One of the most important things in our life is trust. Who do we trust? When do we know it’s safe to trust? Why do we trust the people we do? Why can we only trust certain people with certain things, but not others?

These are questions that go through our minds pretty consistently, but they are ones we ask in an automatic fashion. We get a sense for who we can trust and who we can’t.

But then we also get a feeling of who we should be able to trust, whether they have proven themselves worthy of that trust.

For example, most people would say “I should be able to trust my friends.” That seems rational, right? But what about a friend who constantly lies to you and goes off behind your back. That should build distrust, right?

But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, the thought is “well, she did it this time, but I’m sure she had her reasons.” And so forgiveness happens. But then it happens again, and we rationalize it again, until the pattern of trust-betrayal-forgiveness to trust-betrayal-forgiveness sets in and reinforces itself.

Looking at it objectively, of course, we can see that it’s irrational. One incident might be forgivable, but to continue to engage in this pattern after it is so established that three or four incidents pass without an excitation to confrontation…well, then we see the irrationality of it.

And when it comes to friends, this type of pattern isn’t one that is often found, because most of us have enough common sense to distance ourselves from people who treat us like this.

The true difficulty arises when family enters the equation. Because the trust family members place in one another is stronger than the bond of trust between friends. This is assuming a family that isn’t wrought with abuse and overwhelming amounts of instability, so bear that in mind.

Now, the bond of trust becomes stronger and more stable. And it becomes harder to believe that betrayal has occurred, even when it stares you straight in the face. Because the person you trust is family. Surely they respect that as much as you do?

But the truth is, they don’t. Not necessarily.

So trust can create its own sort of chains. Its own bonds. And really, to withdraw from a trust that the other person has already broken–because they acted against your trust in them–is to do something sane. To allow the pattern to repeat, because you insist they are trustworthy–when they have proven they are not–is irrational. Bordering on insane.

So trust can trap you.

Sometimes suspicion sets you free.


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