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-   -   Rebuilding Trust (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6282)

LovingRadiance 02-03-2011 08:42 PM

Rebuilding Trust

Once trust has been violated, it is hard to get it back. Once it does come back, it is even harder to keep. Little things will set off the deep hurt all over again. Itís as if things are just barely stitched back together and even the smallest jerk will rip out the stitches and re-open the larger wound, complete with blood gushing everywhere. This doesn't seem to only be limited to the person who initially violated your trust, it seeps into all your other relationships as well.
I think this is because we don't actually heal, we just think we do.


I was brutally raped. When it was done, I had bite marks and bruises up and down my back so bad that someone giving me a hug was so painful I fell to the ground in tears (and I have a high pain threshhold).

A HUGE breach of trust.
A HUGE trauma.
A HUGE wound to heal.

For a time,
every time someone was behind me
every time someone touched my back
every time I took a shower or bath with the door and/or curtain closed
every time I had sex
every time I was startled

I would freak out and the emotions from the rape would return instantly and I'd relive the experience in one way or another.

Many people live the rest of their lives this way.

I wanted to have a life of joy-not a life of fear. So I actively forced myself through every emotion and relived every step while working on understanding what I needed to be able to accept that what had happened, was no longer the reality of what was happening.

It was a LOT of work.
But honestly, I don't have that trepidation or fear any more.

Now-before anyone say it-because it would make sense for someone to say it,
my rapist isn't a stranger or someone who is no longer a part of my life.
I didn't just do the work to be able to "wash them and that experience" from my life.

The person who raped me is a part of my daily life, a part of my household, one of my lovers.

It's a lot of hard work to really address the internal damage when someone breaches your trust. In order to actually heal it-you have to really look inside of yourself to find full forgiveness and acceptance of their failures and your own. You have to really dig deep to find that place inside where you can truly and honestly accept that they are a flawed person, just like you are and that they (just like you) are doing the best that they can in any given moment in their life-including the moment when they broke your trust.

Most people don't make that effort. They only go as far as trying to get over the anger. But they don't actually dig deep to deal with the rest.

SNeacail 02-03-2011 09:12 PM

The trust issue is still a big problem for us. For me it's secrets and lies and the damb thing keeps coming up over and over again. My husband is real good at lies of omission, I only get half a story a lot of times.

Every little thing he forgets to tell me or every time I find out something after the fact, no matter how small, I feel like I did after the big blow out last August when I found out about his affair. Just when things are going good, I find out he has kept something from me (mostly out of habit) and all those feelings of utter despair come right back.

What I'm now realizing, is that it is no longer just an issue between him and I, it is affecting me in other relationships as well and maybe it has for a long time.

LovingRadiance 02-03-2011 09:28 PM

I understand.
Maca commonly tells me partial things and usually after the fact.

Both times he's pursued another woman, he's taken it to a physical affection level without telling me he was intending to.

The first one, I had said they could before I left state. Then he'd told me that he wasn't going to because her lifestyle made him uncomfortable, so he was backing off. But, he then changed his mind. They'd had several dates, started kissing, shared "I love you's" and planned more romantic dates before he even let on to me that he'd decided he DID want to get to know her better.
Then, he said he wasn't comfortable bringing her home. But did anyway-I found out through a roommate.

It continued like that the whole time I was out of state and by the time I got home-I was a wreck. I kept htinking-"How in God's name can you cheat in an open-relationship?".

The thing about what you are describing though-and the same is true with what I've just described above;
in neither case has the abuse stopped in order for the healing to be done.

IF the abuse stopped, the wound healed, then the distrust would begin to fade.
But, what's to trust if the abuse continues?

If the rape wasn't a ONE TIME THING-I wouldn't be "struggling to trust again". I'd be in an abusive/codependent relationship.

The abuse has to stop for the healing to begin.


It's so easy to say "I lied about THIS-but now I'm not lying about THIS so you should be able to trust me-these are DIFFERENT issues."
But they aren't really.
When you dig to the bottom, the issue is that you lied and you are lying. (general you)

I know this one well-cause I was the liar/cheat.

Only when I opted for a fully honest relationship (with myself and anyone else I'm in relationship with) did I start to understand that I had to hold myself accountable ALWAYS and in ALL WAYS to being fully honest.

SNeacail 02-03-2011 09:44 PM

LR thanks for posting this in it's own thread. I was debating if I would or not.

LovingRadiance 02-03-2011 10:21 PM



I do try to be responsible.

Ariakas 02-04-2011 01:12 AM

This has come up in my life. Surrounding myself in alcohol and a fake life has allowed me to create a lot of lies. I could list umpteen ones, about relationships, my life or really anything. I have the excuse of alcohol and the fog it creates, but in the end it was all me. The fog just helped me forget the authentic me.

I lied - to myself. In turn I lied to the people I love most in the world. This has in many ways deeply affected my relationships. I have to hope...that trust can be rebuilt. But I know the ball is in my court. The...challenge is mine to be open and honest with myself, then the ones I love...and the people I may affect.

In many ways I am a coward, afraid of certain aspects of my life...hell even in some ways living monogamously in fear. In my case, I think the turn about is going to come from reverse thinking. If I feel like I shouldn't say it, I need to.

All I can do is hope, do my utmost to reverse the patterns which were selfish and destructive and go from there. I can fix my future...I can't repair the past.

In AA...they ask you to make a moral inventory of your character defects. Its a pretty damn good place to start if you want to see the real you in the mirror.

for the record, I thought I was honest, I thought I was upfront, I believed it to my core...I now know I wasn't. I was excellent at fooling myself.

redpepper 02-04-2011 02:40 AM

How is it possible to think that you are being honest when really you aren't? :confused: not to doubt you Ari, just wondering how you came to that... you can PM if it is better. :) thanks.

Also how does one balance between "I don't want to hear about it" and the need to be honest? I am stumped on this... DADT on certain things and not others... does that really work?

Part of all this to me, to do with what has been discussed so far on this thread, is the response one gets when one is honest... if there is not a safe place between two people to be honest, it is near impossible to be that vulnerable. Self protection comes first no?

If I open my heart about something to the point of being radically honest then I expect that my heart will be held by the other like a delicate flower that is made of glass. That is really difficult when the thing spoken about also causes the person to have their own heart coughed up and threatened to be exposed and fall like that same glass flower.

Our hearts are all glass flowers. When speaking to one another its important to remember that and go slowly and gently in speaking and listening. WE hold each others heart. If one or the other partner tips this delicate balance over then the glass hearts fall and trust is broken on either side. no?

IanNairobi 02-16-2011 04:53 PM

Honesty and disclosure...
Something in redpepper's post jumped out at me and prompted me to chime in, because this is something I'm having issues with in my own relationships:

"Also how does one balance between "I don't want to hear about it" and the need to be honest? I am stumped on this... DADT on certain things and not others... does that really work? "

Though my wife finds it helpful to talk certain things over about her relationship with L, her boyfriend, she is often fairly reluctant to speak with me about my relationship with my girlfriend. Yet, at the same time, it upsets my wife to feel as though she isn't "in the loop" as to the development of my secondary relationship.

For example, the first time my girl and I had a make-out session, I told my wife about it the next evening...and she was upset that I hadn't mentioned it that morning. So, when I learned that there was a chance that my girl and I might be taking things to the next level, I told her well beforehand...and she was upset that I had told her about the possibility. My timing may not have been great, since my wife and I had just spent a lovely day together, but we had also spent a large amount of time discussing issues she was having with her boyfriend!

I have to admit, I feel sometimes like I can't win. I understand that she's the one who needs to work through her own jealousy issues, but it's difficult when I feel as though no matter what I'm doing, I'm either over-sharing or not keeping her in the loop. Any suggestions or advice would be welcome, though I'm certainly not trying to thread-jack...to me, at least, this does seem to be apropos of the theme of this discussion.

MonoVCPHG 02-16-2011 05:24 PM

Rebuilding trust??
Recently my trust was broken. Let's not focus on why or anything else but the fact that two people spent time together and boundaries were crossed for whatever reason; whether the boundaries are considered valid or not, fully understood or not. Forget the details and let's focus on the title of this thread.

How do we rebuild trust in this case?
Certainly not by those people trying to avoid spending time together. That would indicate a lack of control or inability to maintain boundaries. This would only serve to create less trust and more concern.

If I were to say "you can't spend time together" that would mean that I don't trust my partner and that is not cool on many levels. It leads to a deterioration of our connection. I think trust can only be rebuilt by revisiting those similar circumstances of spending time together without crossing boundaries. Jump back in there with the benefit of past experiences.

Does this make any sense??

SNeacail 02-16-2011 06:56 PM


Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG (Post 66696)
How do we rebuild trust in this case?
Certainly not by those people trying to avoid spending time together. That would indicate a lack of control or inability to maintain boundaries. This would only serve to create less trust and more concern.

If this is her choice, don't knock it yet. She may just need some time and space to step back and re-build trust in herself.

When trying to lose weight, I need to stay away from certain foods, because they are my weekness. Therefore I will avoid certain places until I have developed a trust in myself and some new habits. I will also enlist the help of others around me to help me maintain control when I know I will be going into a situation where things may be just too tempting. Usually just knowing that I have backup does the trick.


I think trust can only be rebuilt by revisiting those similar circumstances of spending time together without crossing boundaries.
I agree with this, but it may take time before the person is ready or strong enough to even be willing to face the situation again. Unfortunately it will also mean that your trust can't be completely restored until it can be tried and tested.

My problem is that I trust too easily. I take people at their word and give them the benefit of the doubt. This has bit me in the ass quite a few time recently. For me personally, I expect people to make mistakes, but I completely loose trust if it is hidden/kept secret from me. I can forgive loss of control, but not intentional deception.

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