When trust is lost

Yesterday, I attended a one-day course at the Recovery College, “Understanding a Diagnosis of Depression”.  I have been living with depression for many years.  But, like my diagnosis of BPD, I know very little other than raw experience.

It’s quite odd, it’s been a while since I’ve felt as depressed as I did while driving home after class last night.  The course material and presentation was not the best, but neither was it bad.  Maybe some participants talked too much about nothing, which must have had an impact on the time left to the Trainer for sharing the course content.  But, I don’t think this is what made me feel depressed.

There were two Trainers.  As each person shared some of their own personal experience of depression, the most senior Trainer would shout out bullet points for the other Trainer to write on a whiteboard.  He was shouting above the students mid-flow testimony, so it was one of my top ten most inappropriate and bizarre moments.  But, I don’t think this is what depressed me.

One of the participants was nice enough to bring a box of chocolates left over from Christmas and everyone (except me) noisily rummaged through the box before scrunching open handfuls of sweetie wrappers, some groaning in pleasurable delight as they sucked and slurped until every last one was eaten.  But, this didn’t depress me either.

I had never met this young man who had brought the sweets.  His story of past violence, drugs and lengthy prison sentences didn’t sit too well with me.  It’s not that I am judgemental of his way of life, quite the opposite, actually.  But I couldn’t help worry about those lovely wrapped sweets being contaminated with drugs or poison.  I know that probably does sound judgemental, but there is a reason why I am so mistrustful, perhaps this is what depressed me.

Twenty years ago, I was the victim of a horrific movie-style attempted murder.  My assailant is a well-known multiple psychotic murderer, who had only just been released from prison on a legal technicality.  It was a miracle I survived, but something was on my side that day.

When something dreadful like this happens, people expect you to get over it.  Part of you does, another part can never move on.  That basic trust we have for our fellow humans is lost forever.  I might pretend to trust, but the majority of my senses cannot fully let anyone in.

My assailant spiked my drink with drugs.  How can I ever allow someone to make me coffee or offer me sweets?  I trusted my assailant.  He was calm, plausible and extremely friendly, a master at winning over unsuspecting victims.  How can I be sure something like this will never happen again?

Trust is a necessity for us to function.  When it is lost, fear takes its place.  It may well be twenty years ago, but sometimes it feels like only yesterday.

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58 thoughts on “When trust is lost

  1. Priceless Joy

    That is a horrifying experience. I am so sorry to hear you had to experience that. I can understand why it would be difficult for you to trust. Please don’t alienate yourself. Ninety-nine percent of people are not murderers. (I have to agree about the Trainers throwing words from their experiences on the board being bizarre – creepy). Very best wishes to you!

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  2. thebattlefieldwithin

    I’m so sorry that happened to you. It’s never easy to begin to trust again. I hope there will be a day when you can trust again. Until then, take things day by day. Hope all is well, hugs xx.

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  3. Juliet

    I know what it’s like not to trust anyone due to bad experiences that are not about them but other people from the past. People are just not safe.
    I’m so sorry. I know it’s a lonely existence. But maybe, one day, it does get easier to at least try to trust. Keeping my fingers crossed for you (although that’s certainly weird to say in this context). Take care.

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  4. brokenbutbeingrepaired

    Cat, it is so, so understandable that your trust has been stretched too far. Can only hope, in time that it returns to you.

    What happened to you is something truly traumatic and keeping yourself alive and as close to safe as possible by sacrificing your freedom, trust and hope is such a logical result. I just wish you’d received the psychological support you would have so badly needed at the time, rather than being left to rebuild your life pretty much alone.

    Hmm, that trainer maybe needs some training, methinks….just doesn’t sound right.

    sending you our safest, warmest wishes and liking to show support.

    x

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    1. Cat Post author

      Back them, psychological or any kind of support was not part of the agenda. Like everything else, I learned to go it alone.
      Yes, the Trainer was totally off the mark. Ordinarily, I would have said something, but my own depression was looming, so decided not to get involved. I imagine he’s been doing it this way for quite a while. My life is complicated enough without involving myself in additional uncomfortable situations. Perhaps if I come across him again, I might just say what I think – that’s what I would usually do!
      Thank you for such a lovely comment. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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  5. shoe1000

    I’m sad that happened to you. I completely agree with and understand your position and not having trust for others. My experience is is when I was abused and betrayed by those who were supposed to take care of me, and no one can undo that. I’ve had people try with love and compassion and. Whenever I get to that point where fear arises all momentary progress can be stopped. Then I am left in
    Post traumatic stress position and it is hard to get out of it.

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    1. Cat Post author

      “Being left in PTSD position and finding it hard to get out” is exactly how this feels.
      Thank you for your support. People’s understanding does somehow make all this a little less lonesome

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  6. ziggy40

    Dear Cat,
    I’m so sorry you went through this. In my own life I trusted someone, with a horrific consequence, that did I feel changed me forever. However I’ve been working with an amazing T for two years now, and slowly RE-LEARNING to trust a little. I believe there is hope, it takes risks and courage, I wish you well. I realize this is a HUGE mountain to climb, with time and patience, I wish you healing and believe you can trust again with those who love and care for you. Thank you for sharing, and inspiring me as I’m slowly trusting, a little…lol
    Love Ziggy

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    1. Cat Post author

      Awe Ziggy, comments like this validate how important it is that we share our life experiences. Knowing there are people out there who have similar stories and an accurate understanding, feels immensely supportive.
      As always, Ziggy, thank you so much for dropping by and taking time to share your own experience. I’m here if you ever want to talk some more. You are always welcome to email. I hope our communication will be support for both of us in our healing journey’s .

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  7. Mandy

    “When something like this happens, people expect you to eventually get over it.” Cat, I would never ever expect you to get over such a traumatic past even. What happened to you was horrific. At best we can try to recognize potential triggers and avoid them, use tools to manage them–but sometimes we are caught unaware. I’m so sorry the trainer doesn’t have more training. I don’t think trust is something we can just “do.” We have to be cautious, but still be open to the wonderful things it can bring us when we find it. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It’s odd why people, mainly family, held those expectations and still do. It can make me feel like some kind of freak, still holding onto the effects, all these years later. There came a time when I realised nothing would ease the pain and as there was no point airing it, I burried it deep. I’m left with the insecurities, mistrust and fears, but I do believe I can work through this in time and somehow rediscover that innocent trust.
      Thank you, Mandy, for your participation and support.

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  8. littlevoicetalks

    I click “like” but I don’t “like” at all. I hate that this happened to you; I hate the aftermath of you never being able to trust people (perfectly understandable); I hate that some bastard ends up representing all of the peace-loving, caring humans in the world that do not wish to hurt or murder others, particularly you but because of their horrific, monstrous intentions, they have damaged a soul who is beautiful.

    Your honesty is humbling. Your journey and your life so profoundly important. No wonder this evoked so much emotion in you. You are brave and courageous.

    xx

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    1. Cat Post author

      Awe, thank you for such a lovely positive comment. Unfortunately, the experience did damage a soul, but I do believe that soul is currently under reconstruction. Having people like you around to share in that journey is invaluable.
      Thank you

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  9. Eric Tonningsen

    To your thoughtful remarks, Cat, trust *is* huge. Once it has been betrayed, it can be a painfully lengthy process to restore it. It causes us to pause and become doubtful of tothers. What I have found is that by focusing on those who are authentically good beings and have compassionate hearts, are those with whom I align and gain strength through. Hang in there, Cat. Don’t let one session through you off of your intended and desired course.

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    1. Cat Post author

      You hit the nail…restoring that trust is painful and extremely risky, but I do believe the journey I share is taking me towards the threshold of change with so many different things. I think it’s right to be cautious, to an extent, of who we trust and is probably best started with good safe beings. I haven’t lost faith in humanity, but just overly wary of the potentially dangerous ones.
      As always, Eric, your feedback means a great deal. I feel it as part of my healing journey. Blessings!

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  10. panikikubik

    I was robbed 25 years ago, by a drug addict. I defended myself with a little fruitknife. The robber took my money but I sirvived.
    But a part of me got lost on that road, and I never got it back. I got paniv attacks and I still don’t trust strangers and I’m always scanning the environment. I’m sleeping more shallow. I think the best advice I can give you is – don’t blame yourself for losing the trust. Don’t feel ashamed that you got bagage and list your trust.
    It’s your unic history. And you survived. Be proud of yourself and see the loss of trust as a scar. Wear that scar with pride. You own that to your self.
    All the best!

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    1. panikikubik

      I apologize for the typos in my comment above, I wrote on my cell phone and the letters are so small….
      What I’m trying to tell you is – maybe you must accept that the trust is gone at this area, that was not your choice. But what can be your choice is to fill that hole with strenght, self esteem and pride, instead of fear.

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        1. panikikubik

          Thank you for your answer. I’m still working on it. As you say, it’s extremely difficult.
          Losing trust is a huge loss as a human. It’s a handicap that follows you in relations and all situations.
          But you can and you will get a good life. Don’t settle for less.
          All the best to you

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    2. Cat Post author

      As you understand, regaining that trust is an enormous mountain to climb. It’s not that I believe most humans are bad, I know there are good ones, but it’s my ability to find the good ones that is the challenge and full of all sorts of insecurities and fears.
      Thank you for commenting. I hope you will also find trust and peace

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  11. Susan Irene Fox

    Trust is difficult in the best of circumstances. Hopefully, you can identify ways to trust little by little, and discern people in a close circle who you have shown that they can be trusted in all circumstances. People do disappoint, so grace is also important, but trust your gut first, and allow people to prove they are trustworthy through their actions.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thanks Susan. Of course, I believe/hope there is more good than bad out there. It’s just my ability to judge is the issue, I think.
      Many thanks for your feedback, it’s always appreciated

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  12. Cate Reddell

    This week I’ve been struggling with trust myself. I haven’t been through the awful experience you had (thankfully) but my trust was badly abused last year and I struggle now to trust. It’s a lonely experience in many ways because I come to the conclusion that I can trust no one but myself. It makes for a quiet world and I’m torn between that being nice and that being scary too. I understand your inability to trust. It makes perfect sense because you are simply taking care of yourself. But then we miss out on so much too. Dilemma.

    As for the training it sounds horrendous. Sounds like trainers need training before they subject participants to more trauma.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, Cate, the Trainer was a berk. Ordinarily, I would have said something at the end, but my own depression was looming and I just couldn’t be bothered with further complications. If I come across him again, I probably would need to say something, it was ridiculous.
      Without doubt, there are many people out there who deserve trust, but by experience, I might have a hard job making the right judgement of who’s who….
      Many thanks for dropping by and commenting, Cate.

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  13. Ellen

    It makes a lot of sense that passing around the sweets would trigger off your depression and trust issues. That’s PTSD in a nutshell. The trainers sound like they need some sensitivity training, at the minimum. take care

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thanks Ellen, you are spot on. This particular Trainer was a bit of an idiot. I had enough to contend with, so left any complaints to come from the junior Trainer.

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  14. RisingSong

    Cat, your post brought me to tears. I am touched that you shared such an intimate story with us but saddened that a beautiful soul like you went through such a horrendous experience. I am sorry.

    How can you not be changed? And yes, you’re right, how can you trust again? I understand this, having recently had my trust violated also. No, I will never trust this person again, but that’s not what hurts. What hurts is knowing that I will never feel like I can allow anyone else be close to me the way that this person was. Like you and other readers wrote here, I feel like a part of me has been lost.

    …but I also understand that there is healing. I understand that there are people who can help us reach those parts of us we have shut down. We may not be there today, but perhaps this path we’re on may lead us there.

    Take care of yourself.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you for such a lovely comment. Your last paragraph is so spot on and I think this hope of healing is what pushes us forwards….onwards and upwards, eh?

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  15. A Gay Mentalist

    Hi there, this mistrust seems perfectly natural to me after what you went through, that’s awful! I hope that you’re feeling a little bit better today after being triggered like that. Best wishes

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  16. jennydevildoll

    I’m sorry to hear of your experience, Cat. I wouldn’t “expect” anything as far as “getting over it” or not or whatever ways you need to take to cope. Everyone has to process such stuff in the way that’s safest and most healing for them, and no one should be telling you how to feel about your own experiences.
    In full disclosure, I also at age 14 encountered a violent individual, who’d killed others. I was left alive, but not unharmed, I’ll leave it at that…I’m sure there are others who’ve survived such encounters, but rare…

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    1. Cat Post author

      I’m sorry you have faced similar in your life. You will understand how time is not necessarily a great healer.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment and disclose a part of your own past

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  17. halfasoul

    So sorry this happened to you, Cat – no one should EVER make you feel like you have to “get over it.” (And side note: interruptions in therapy are my NUMBER ONE therapy pet peeve – wtf is wrong with you, it’s essentially your JOB to be a good listener!) From what I’ve learned so far, BPD is almost always the result of a traumatising incident of betrayal/destroyed trust, so for me, I think learning to trust again will be a key part of my recovery. But only you know what’s right for you and what your definition of recovery will involve, of course. Thank you for sharing and take care – looking forward to hearing more xxxxxx

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yer, the bizarre Trainer is something that will stay with me forever!

      Betrayal and the destroyed trust are unfortunate experiences I seem to have been up against since early childhood, but there is always an (eventual) ability to bounce back, look ahead and hope for healing. We need to trust in so many things throughout life, if we want to live it to its fullest potential and you are so right about it being a key part of recovery. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share our individual journey’s

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  18. Bradley

    Cat I can only imagine how horrific something like that can be. It’s understandable that you have problems with trust. I can’t think of any magic words to say, so I’ll just say I’m gl.ad you are still with us today,

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  19. aprilvantassell

    I haven’t written anything on my blog for about a month now. Your horrendous story reminds me of why I need to begin writing again. My father, my only loving caregiver in childhood, treated me as his “wife”. He was a victim of abuse himself and did the best he could, but he really didn’t know how to be a normal father. It took me a long time to learn to trust anyone, but especially men. I can easily imagine how you struggle with trust as you described that terrible violation that occurred 20 years ago. I’m praying for your healing! I’ve made great progress and I know you can too. April Van Tassell

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  20. FreeRangeCow

    Wow. I struggle with trust, myself, but have found trustworthy folks. It doesn’t change the fact that I am constantly “testing” their foundations, tho, and not everyone has the strength to “put up with me.” Those that do, however? We are both richly rewarded. Peace and strength as you walk your path. Slow and steady wins the race, rabbit. ;oP

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  21. Borderlion

    It sounds like you had an extremely traumatic experience. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I find it hard to trust people also. In times of stress I have become paranoid that my housemates were poisoning me. I have also had my drink spiked.

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    1. Cat Post author

      When that trust has been breached, it is very difficult to trust again. Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to comment

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