Dear Therapist:

Friends of mine have often commented that I don’t trust anyone. I never really took it seriously but since I got married and my husband has also mentioned it I have started to see it may be a pattern. He pointed out that even with my so called friends I don’t really get close to them and trust them. How would I know if this is an issue and how would it be addressed?

 

Response:

To respond, I think that we can look at two general aspects: your perspective and the perspectives of others in your life. You stated that you never took seriously the assertions that you don’t fully trust others. This can mean that you have trust issues. It can also mean that you have been given cause not to trust people whom you had trusted. Or it can simply be the fact that you haven’t yet gotten close enough to someone to develop a true trusting relationship. If this last is the case, it can be due to trouble feeling close to others, or simply the lack of opportunity to connect with someone worthy of your trust. Of course, it’s quite likely that these all play some part in any trouble that you have in trusting others.

All this is from your perspective. From others’ perspectives, however, there seems to be a clear sense that you have problems trusting the people in your life. You’re certainly entitled to your opinions, feelings, and perspectives. However, when those close to you continuously point out an issue, it makes sense to take notice.

If your husband, for instance, feels that you don’t fully trust him, this can lead to relationship difficulties. Even if he recognizes that you trust him, his recognition of your general lack of trust might put strain on your relationship.

You refer to two possible issues: trouble getting close to others, and trust issues. These two distinct issues obviously work hand-in-hand. I don’t know to what degree you have one or the other. I don’t know to what extent each may affect the other. And I don’t know the origins or causes for either. If you believe that you and the people in your life are, in fact, being adversely affected by your lack of closeness or trust, these are the points that should be addressed.

You may be able to work through much of this on your own, helping you to acknowledge any issues (or the lack thereof). If you cannot do this on your own, the right mental health professional can help you to identify and resolve some of these issues. If you recognize that your life—and relationships with your friends and family—can improve through deeper closeness and mutual trust, this is a worthwhile objective to pursue.

-Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW

  psychotherapist in private practice

 Brooklyn, NY   |   Far Rockaway, NY

 author of Self-Esteem: A Primer

 www.ylcsw.com / 718-258-5317