This is a tough post to write and difficult to discuss. Anytime there is an issue of trust involved, it’s a sensitive subject and can be very triggering for me. I don’t want to divulge the person(s) involved because that’s not fair them. However, I had a realization that even just one time when someone you trust, invalidates you, it can have a detrimental effect in healing from trauma.
It’s so hard for survivors to trust anyone at all. Let’s face it, the circumstances that transpired in our lives, cause us to have serious trust issues. We don’t want to open up and become vulnerable, for fear of getting hurt and invalidated again. We’ve spent so much time feeling like hell, that when we do finally open up to someone and begin to share with them, we are still wary of what could happen to make that trust go sideways.
Essentially, when we trust someone and they screw us over, it has a dramatic effect on future interactions with that person. Even if they didn’t mean to say something hurtful, even with the best intentions at heart, it can send us spiraling out of control. It can be extremely difficult to repair that trust, perhaps sometimes you simply cannot repair it.
This such situation happened to me recently. A certain person validated my mother’s actions to a degree, and now I can’t get past it. Any validation of her by anyone, regardless of intention, is a total trigger for me.
A person that I trust and have opened up too, one of the few that I have done that with, said something with good intentions but it’s caused me to spin my wheels in recovery to the point of total frustration. I don’t want to judge this person or label them as someone who doesn’t care and is insensitive. That’s not the case at all.
However, having such a fragile emotional state as so many survivors do, it doesn’t take much to set us off. We were groomed to have no say, to be submissive, to self-blame, and to think a certain way. So when we start to feel like we are taking our life back, and we open up and confide in someone; begin to realize that there is hope, a setback can be devastating.
Someone who is further along in their healing journey is likely more able to forgive that person, or not take an invalidating statement to heart quite so much. I’m not suggesting for a second that it’s easy for anyone no matter how far into recovery we are. However, as we heal we become stronger, more self-championing, our self-esteem grows, and we feel stronger and better to able handle adversity.
I know at this point in my healing journey, I am not yet able to feel that empowered on a regular basis. Oh sure, I have days where I feel pretty good, maybe even better than that. They aren’t regular or contiguous at all, but they do come here and there. Someday there will be more of them, I have to keep reminding myself of that. So when someone hurts my feelings or says something triggering, it hits me like a truck.
A future colleague and trusted friend shared with me recently that it’s OK to feel this way. That it’s not selfish or self-loathing to feel hurt and invalidated. I’m more than willing to place blame on myself and take it off of them. “I shouldn’t feel this way; they didn’t mean it”. “I shouldn’t be so sensitive, this person had good intentions”.
Dammit though, it hurts, big time! When your trust is broken, after spending a lifetime of trusting very few people, it just sucks! Plain and simple. I can count on 1 hand the number of people who know the inner me, really know me. That’s my own doing, I totally get it, but it is what it is.
So where do I go from here? This is something I have to ponder and decide if I am willing to work towards mending that relationship. Or, do I just end it and realize that while much good has come from interaction with this person, and I am grateful for what they’ve done for me, that times change.
Maybe this is a new path that I need to take. Perhaps it’s a sign that my healing journey is not taking a detour, but rather a new road to recovery.
I know that this journey is about me and what I’m willing to do for myself to take my life back. Am I willing to make the tough call, to either forgive or step away and be OK with that decision?
I have enough regret in my life, I don’t need anymore.
Perhaps someone has betrayed your trust in some way too. I encourage to look at the situation with an open mind and decide what is best for your mental health and well being.
Don’t be afraid to make the tough call.
As always I appreciate your comments.