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Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

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Felicity Lee
Felicity Lee

Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by felicity on 3/1/2015, 4:48 pm

Can I Trust?
Trust and Relationships
 
“I can’t trust you!”



How do you feel when you read this sentence? 



A friend said that to me yesterday.  My mind raced to try to figure out what ‘I’ did wrong to create such anger and dissention in anyone.    I felt guilty of betrayal and afraid of the underlying threat of the punishment - a breaking off of a long-term friendship.  I felt panicky and wanted to beg her to trust me.  If she forgave me for my indiscretion (whatever it was), I would again feel comfortable and apologize.


Being a survivor of early childhood abuse, I realize that we all have confusion about ‘trust’.  We actually spend much of our life trying to figure out who is trustworthy – who will not betray us.  And, more often than not, our decisions are based on secrets, promises, loyalty, punishment, and threats – fear.  If we are good, honest, loyal, and trustworthy, we should be safe from betrayal.  If we act accordingly and someone accuses us of betrayal, we are considered ‘bad’ and the relationship is broken off.


Folks who do not experience early childhood abuse will not understand this confusing concept without further explanation.  Children learn about who to trust from birth.  They learn from caretakers.  If caretakers are abusers, victims are told that in order to stay safe, they must make a promise to never tell anyone about anything.  Keeping secrets is rewarded and telling secrets is a betrayal that will bring on brutal punishment or worse – shunning by friends and family, etc.  Abusers initiate a relationship of trust with their victims – a loyalty.  Secondly, abused children learn early on that if they do as they are told without a fuss, they will not be hurt as badly.   They learn quickly who to trust – the abuser.  And, they learn that they cannot trust people who, in reality, could actually help them.  They don’t ever tell.  They run from safety to the abuser.   This can be called ‘programming’ for children who learned from birth and/or ‘grooming’ for children who were abused later in life.  Whatever the term, it brings about the same results for adult survivors – their disorganized concept of trust affects their ability to function in relationships.



Essentially, abusers protect their ‘investments’ by ensuring their victims are also isolated - as well as feeling helpless and hopeless.  Within this paradigm, child abuse victims unconsciously adopt the notion of trust that they have been taught, either because they have no access to outside reality or because they become unable to accept or even consider the correct concept of ‘trust’ that others begin learning from birth – another example of ‘programming and/or grooming.  Therefore, child abuse survivors also struggle with the concept of ‘boundaries’ within a society where boundaries are clearly defined for more fortunate children who do not experience abuse.



Consequently, many survivors of abuse are virtually unable to function in a society where boundaries are defined by law rather than loyalty or keeping secrets.  For instance, it is illegal to sexually abuse children.  How confusing that must be for children who grew up in a world where they were taught to ‘trust’ their abusers – to keep their secrets.  They only understand loyalty and safety under conditions of keeping secrets – never telling.  Each lives in a world of secrets and lies unconsciously believing that they are loyal and trustworthy – a friend who will never tell. 
Ultimately, this is where the concept of trust becomes confusing for survivors.  Every survivor of child abuse relates to their adult experiences differently, but unconsciously and according to how each was conditioned/programmed/groomed.  Most experience ‘denial’ – the protector of all abusers.  “She did the best she could.”  “He was under so much stress at the time.”  “He was also abused as a child.”   “He did love me.”  “It didn’t really happen.  I made it up.”   Many abuse survivors become the judge and jury – unaware that there are very clear boundaries and a legal system where excuses and denial only aide in freeing abusers. 



Sadly and not surprisingly, child abuse survivors are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity.  14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population.1   From my own experience, I have seen folks go to prison rather than testify against anyone – including their own abusers.  Though, the punishment for betrayal in adult life is nearly always assumed – becoming known as ‘snitch’, being shunned by friends, no longer trusted by the group, it is just as feared.  Only survivors of abuse realize that, because of their upbringing, these types of punishments can send them into suicidal crisis nearly instantly.  As children, many learn that ‘to betray is to die’. 



Accordingly, it is logical that many adult survivors remain victims their entire lives.  On the other hand, many unconsciously utilize the same paradigm to control people as they were controlled as children.  In fact, most research estimates that one-third of abused children will grow up to become abusers themselves.  Logically, this is an expected outcome.  Abused children learn what the abusers teach – a fallacious sense of trust and self-worth.



Clearly, adult abusers may never abuse children, but within their warped sense of ‘trust’, unconsciously control other adult survivors of child abuse who unconsciously follow them and, within the paradigm of trust, they learned as children, interact creating one failed relationship after the other.   Within these relationships are identical rules.  Never tell secrets, don’t trust anyone but me (isolation); you won’t get better without me (helplessness and hopelessness); if you don’t follow my rules, you will be gone.  If you go anywhere else, I will leave you  (loyalty and punishment - shunning), if you tell, someone else is going to get hurt (threats), this is between me and you (secrets), if you follow the rules without a fuss, things will go easier for you (fear).  I love you (distorted trust).   This type of behavior actually draws adult survivors, because it is what they know – what they were taught. 



Ultimately, someone who was raised well with a strong sense of self-worth would never feel comfortable in such a controlling relationship.   Why would anyone trust someone telling them to keep secrets or restricting their choices or lying to them about safe people in order to instill a sense of fear related to who they should and shouldn’t trust?  That is not sensible to folks who never been abused.  They would realize accurately that people who instill such relationships are ‘abusers’.  This type behavior is often seen in cult leaders who totally control their followers to trust them and no one else.



Therefore, the statement, “I don’t trust you!” is actually reflecting the speaker’s perception of self-worth rather than the reality of another persons’ character.  The word ‘trust’ does have a definition:  “to hope or expect that something is true or will happen.”   Within this definition lies the answer.  The speaker can now be trusted that he/she does have a certain perception of self-worth and will push that perception off onto others as if it is a flaw in their character rather than make an effort to deal with personal issues.  That is the truth.  This is a person who is most likely an adult survivor of abuse who follows the belief that an abuser instilled as truth.  This person is most likely also an abuser.  I, as the victim to her statement, reacted as I did to my abusers. 



Moving forward, I am a researcher.  If something sticks in my head, like this statement did, I want to research.  I have encountered this ‘trust’ issue for some 11 years working with adult survivors of abuse.  I have been in several abusive relationships.  I have been hurt again and again by abusers who trick me into thinking that they are ‘helping’ me by restricting my choices, lying to me about what others say about me, making me believe that if I ‘tell on them’, something horrible will happen to me or them – my supposed friends.  It is a difficult path to follow – always getting into relationships with abusers.  Eventually, abusers always have turned on me.  Abusers tend to like their victims young and stupid enough to listen to them.  Saying the word, “No” is all it takes to identify an abuser.  They become ruthless and vindictive and can be dangerous.  It is best to learn to identify them before becoming involved in a relationship.



Over my many years of raising some 20 foster children – as well as my own two boys – I have learned to trust everyone.  Yes – everyone.  I tell people that, and they worry for my safety.  For me, ‘trust’ is finding out what will happen and learning to expect it to repeat.  Throw a ball in the air and it comes down every single time.  I can trust that will happen.  If I eat too much, my tummy gets full.  I can trust that to happen every time.  If I don’t try everything, I would never know what to trust.  That’s where my love of research started.  Studies that provide clear evidence are the only way to find truth.   I want evidence for everything – not be told by someone who heard it from someone else.  If I relied on rumors, who knows what I would be trusting or who was controlling my beliefs.

In relationships, I trust that people have certain behaviors that rarely change.  I don’t listen to rumors.  Talk is talk, and people vent, they have feelings and they like to share – that’s cool.  I watch to see what they ‘do’.  What they do clarifies what I can expect from them.  Do they show up when they promise they will?  When I pay them to do a job, do they finish it?   Do they steal from me?  Then, I make a choice as to whether I want to interact with the person.  But, I trust that every person’s behaviors is evidence that I can trust.   And, everyone is given a chance with me.  I believe that if I didn’t relate in this way, I would have missed out on meeting some of the best people I have known.  If I listened to gossip and lived my life in fear, I would be isolated, helpless, hopeless, and controlled by others.   My relationships would be based on what I believed or was told – rather than evidence I had seen happen. 



Children and adults need consistency in relationships.  They need to know what to expect and see it happen.  They learn in functional relationships that people follow through - that they are responsible and predictable.  They learn that they don’t need to depend on anyone, but themselves.  No one should be controlled by others or live in fear. 
If you are reading this and wondering, as I have been asked many times, how can the programming/grooming/conditioning be reversed?   How do we know if we are unconsciously building our relationships according to our early experiences?  How do we know if we are still in abusive relationships or seemingly doomed to repeat them over and over?  Well, I came across this nifty article that has a short quiz that you can take to “help you determine if your trust-o-meter needs recalibrating”  The-Trust-Test



I went on to read an article, Who's Never Going to Let You Down? by Martha Beck2.  There is a nifty little quiz that might open a lot of folks eyes as to whom they are trusting:



“Here are a few obvious questions I've found very helpful in quantifying the trustworthiness of people in my own life. The first three are the "yes" questions; if Person X is completely trustworthy, you'll answer yes to all three. The second three are the "no" questions—if Person X deserves your trust, the answer to all three will be negative.

“The "yes" questions:

“1. Does Person X usually show up on time?

“2. When Person X says something is going to happen, does it usually happen?

“3. When you hear Person X describing an event and then get more information about that event, does the new information usually match Person X's description?

“The "no" questions:

“4. Have you ever witnessed Person X lying to someone or assuming you'll help deceive a third person?

“5. Does Person X sometimes withhold information in order to make things go more smoothly or to avoid conflict?

“6. Have you ever witnessed Person X doing something (lying, cheating, being unkind) that he or she would condemn if another person did it?

“These questions might seem trivial. They're not. As the saying goes, "the way we do anything is the way we do everything." I'm not saying we have the ultimate power or right to judge others. But if you trust someone whose behavior doesn't pass the six screening questions above, your trust-o-meter may well be misaligned. If Person X rated more than one "no" on the first three questions, and more than one "yes" on the second three, they don't warrant total trust at present. If you trust someone who blew all six questions, you need some readjustments. You don't have to change Person X (you can't), but you do need to take a hard look at your own patterns of trust.

“By the way, if you're now rationalizing Person X's behavior with arguments like "But he means well" or "It's not her fault; she had a terrible childhood," your trust-o-meter is definitely on the fritz. These are the small lies we use to tell ourselves we're comfortable when we aren't. It's not the end of the world if Person X lies to you. Lying to yourself, on the other hand, can make your life so miserable, the end of the world might be a relief.”
2
 
I agree with this writer and found the quizzes fun to take and enlightening.  The whole ‘trust’ issue is confusing when adult survivors try to interact in a world of truth.  Where trust = consistency, relationships are not intertwined with control, fear, betrayal, punishment, rumors, banishing, and abuse; where boundaries are simple and defined by law and commonsense; where people are free to choose where they go and who they see based on their sense of self-worth. 
 
Understandably, many adult survivors are multiple – having dissociative identity disorder (DID).  Therefore, they have ‘young’ parts of themselves who are relating to the now as if it were the past – very vulnerable to adult abusers.  No one can help these survivors, but themselves and their therapists.  I am not judging, but realizing that those new to the DID diagnosis and/or undereducated about the diagnosis may not realize the vulnerability and become overly dependent and/or attached/controlled by other survivors of child abuse reacting as they did as abused children.
 
I hope that this short quiz which I have designed will help you discover whether you or young parts may be involved with an abuser. 
 
No Questions:
 
1)   Does PersonX  encourage little parts to interact with them?
2)  Does PersonX expect unwarranted loyalty from you or your little parts?
3)   Does PersonX create an environment where you feel an assumed threat of being left out or banished if you do not please?
4)   Does PersonX set unattainable expectations that you must follow?
5)  Do you feel afraid to tell PersonX ‘No’?
6)  Have you witnessed PersonX saying one thing and doing another?
7)    Have you witnessed PersonX playing favorites to other people or comparing you to someone?
8)  Do you feel uncomfortably drawn to PersonX?
9)   Have you witnessed PersonX attempting to turn you or others against someone who may be a safe person or isolating you from others?
10)         Have you witnessed PersonX making excuses for their innapropriate behavior?
11)         Have you witnessed others making excuses for PersonX behavior?
12)         Is PersonX in anyway exploiting you by this relationship?
13)        Does PersonX give you or others gifts or money in return for your friendship and/or loyalty?
14)         Do you feel afraid to answer this quiz honestly?
15)         Does PersonX make you feel ‘special’ as you did in an abusive relationship?


Yes Questions:
 
1)   Does PersonX have a documented or witnessed history of being honorable and dependable?
2)   Does PersonX  most often follow through with what he/she plans?
3)  When PersonX tells you something, do you witness it to be true most time?
4)   Does PersonX’s truthful statements reflect reality? 
5)  Is PersonX more interested in others well-being than personal gain?
6)    Do you feel comfortable and safe in the presence of PersonX? 
7In your experience, has PersonX ever purposeful let you down when you needed help?
8) Do you always remember all discussions and interactions with PersonX?


If you answered ‘No’ to any of the ‘Yes Questions’ or ‘Yes’ to the ‘No Questions,  you are most likely in a relationship with an abuser.   At the very least, it is time to take a look at how you relate to your world.  Are your relationships very much like the relationship you shared with your abuser?  Are you afraid to trust anyone except others who share your background?  
 
Trusting others does not have to be a scary venture.   We have free-will to choose and create functional relationships based on what is reality rather than what we perceive. 
 
 
1. Harlow, CW. Prior Abuse Reported by Inmates and Probationers. Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1999
 
http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/Martha-Becks-No-Fail-Way-to-Figure-Out-Who-to-Trust#ixzz3TAr4wZQb2



© Felicity Lee, 2015
Please do not copy without permission.



     

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courageous
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Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by courageous on 3/2/2015, 4:37 am

I have a huge issue with trust. I used to throw my all and hope I could trust but realising now that wasn't trust. I expected to be hurt, foe if you cant trust your own or teachers or even those who claim to love G*d or neighbours, or so called friends who can you trust?

But I needed friendships and affirmations etc.. But not realising I have never allowed anyone to get close - except for my children. So I made friendships never expecting much from anyone ( but I didn't realise that I did this, I thought that I trusted everyone)

Now I am realising that I don't trust anyone, not even myself. Trust has to be earned. Oh I can talk about myself but I am completely cut odd so it is like I am talking about someone else.

Of course there has to be an element of trust, I decided to take a risk on IG. It is a safe distance, but I listen to you all and all that you have to say and I take it in and learn from you. The first steps to trust .. Right?

I wobbled a bit with all the kafuffle and am thankful that I wasn't truly affected. I really wobbled when the forum was on shut down foe a little while and donations were asked for ( perfectly understandable) I wondered for a second if I had come across elaborate scammers and panicked. But I re thought and decided to trust based on what I had learned from you all.

If someone said they didn't trust me, I would think that it was an issue they had rather than what I had down.

I watched and spoke a little to my now friends for five years before I even contemplated coffee!

I am glad I have come to IG, thankyou Felicity
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courageous
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Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by courageous on 3/2/2015, 4:38 am

Sometimes we have to step back and re think or we continue to allow ourselves to be hurt.
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Felicity Lee
Felicity Lee

Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by felicity on 3/2/2015, 1:55 pm

Yes, we do. I think that the article makes sense in that I do so trust my children, yet they have done many, many things that have hurt me. But, I do 'know' exactly what to expect from them. Knowing what to expect and knowing that they will always repeat the same behaviors in response to the same situations helps me to rethink how I behave. So, I trust that in them. I trust them. My youngest would always call if he was going to be late. My oldest would never call. My youngest will leave me if I am late - he hates being late. My oldest doesn't care. So, I be sure to be on time for my youngest and doddle around for my oldest. If my youngest leaves me, I am not hurt, because I trust that will happen.

Did any of that make sense? I made a decision to accept my children as they are and trust them. They will not turn on me and attack me, because they never have. If they did that, hmmm, I would not trust them - and, know that something was wrong - someone had influenced them to go against their nature.

You are right - if someone doesn't trust you, that is their problem - not yours' - bravo.



     

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Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by courageous on 3/2/2015, 2:11 pm

It makes perfect sense Felicity. Your children sound like mine. They are a part of us no matter what.
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Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by chansclan on 3/8/2015, 9:55 am

wow... reading this and relating to sme of my current relationships and issues going on. if my T would say person X triggers me then i would think it is MY issue and something i need to handle on my own and let person X do and say whatever. that it is MY messed up past that has me upset, nto that person X truly is not trustworthy. this just opened that up for me, it's what i had been trying to explain and say and understand and why i get so upset with person X. they just are nto trustworthy and are consistent in that, maybe it isnt just me andmy messed-up-ed-ness???? i think i am right and see things pretty clearly, but do need validation tht it is okay to protect myself and its not just cuz i am crazy or triggered or flawed... it really is that the other person cannto and should not be trusted with certain if not all things.



we choose not to look at god in a traditional religious sense and can get quite upset with scripture-based messages. we sure do appreciate people 'holding space for us' as a type of prayer or sitting with us or wishing us well. virtual hugs often are comforting as well. we love to laugh, so tell us something funny :)




speak your truth, even as your voice shakes and body trembles
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Miself
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Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by Miself on 3/8/2015, 10:19 am

...very good information...n yes, we have huge trust issues too...for me actions speak louder than words...anyone can strung together pretty n thoughtful words so i m always watching n that is how we decide who we can trust...n even with that being said it is very difficult to trust but we try our best n r always on guard n looking for congruency...if actions do not match words than the decision to attempt trust or friendship is already decided...might sound harsh to some but when u have been hurt u develop skills to keep yourself safe from further harm...this is our way...thanks for sharing this article...

..k
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chansclan
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Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by chansclan on 3/8/2015, 10:51 am

i try to be very careful about who i trust with what... maybe i should rephrase some of this.. i know i can trust someone to react and behave in certain ways pretty consistently, regardless of what their words claim. i am a watcher. i do give ppl lots of chances and outs and excuses, but i dont trust them with much about me.. i dont let myself be indebted to anyone or need them. if i do try to let that happen its veyr scary and almost.. sacred, when that gets hurt or broken if i am willing to try and trust someone with something sacred to me.. to need them at all.... and i get let down, it is very crushing cuz it is so rare i let that happen. i also beat msyelf up mercilessly for ever risking....



we choose not to look at god in a traditional religious sense and can get quite upset with scripture-based messages. we sure do appreciate people 'holding space for us' as a type of prayer or sitting with us or wishing us well. virtual hugs often are comforting as well. we love to laugh, so tell us something funny :)




speak your truth, even as your voice shakes and body trembles
avatar
chansclan
Moderator
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Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by chansclan on 3/8/2015, 10:56 am

i really realllly reallllllly wanna believe people though, i really want to let someone help me or be what i need or something... nd that is scary too, but it is true even if i deny it constantly... and stay closed off when someone might be okay to trust with that stuff... i am very slow.... painfully slow at it. outsiders would say i trust too easily or am gullible or whatever.. truth is i know how ppl are and what to expect, i accept that's the way it is, negative and bad and painful... i trust that is what is going to happen... its when somene is genuinely nice and caring and not wanting to hurt me but support and be of help that i get all messed up... sigh. when i think there is a chance or i feel that congruence in them, it freaks me out.. but i keep going back trying to overcome my fears.. iam just soooo slow to be really real...



we choose not to look at god in a traditional religious sense and can get quite upset with scripture-based messages. we sure do appreciate people 'holding space for us' as a type of prayer or sitting with us or wishing us well. virtual hugs often are comforting as well. we love to laugh, so tell us something funny :)




speak your truth, even as your voice shakes and body trembles
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felicity
Felicity Lee
Felicity Lee

Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by felicity on 3/8/2015, 2:55 pm

I think my biggest trust issue has not to do with personal relationships, but more professional. I have always had trouble with believing that a 'title' means something sacred. An administrator would 'never' steal or lie to members. A doctor would never take money from your purse. A teacher would never harm a child. These are just social taboos. And, I somehow relate that trust to my knowledge of what 'I' would never do. And, despite that a teacher actually did hurt me and administrators have stolen and lied to members here several times and a dr did take money from a friend's purse - and they all got caught and lied to others to try to put the blame on the victims - this is truly narcissistic behavior - knowing the boundaries and expectations within their 'titles', they do it anyhow and think that they can get away with it - like it is all game that they can win and even gloat about how stupid their victims are, how they will never be believed. It totally astounds me that this stuff goes on. We can't trust the people in position to care for and protect us? Here is where we become the worst victims. We go into denial - making excuses for them until they have abused and abused - them still laughing all the way to the bank, threatening us not to tell. We cannot wrap our mind around why someone with a trusted position would misuse it to abuse.

We have been thinking about this lately and think it is really time to consider the reality that not all trauma survivors are nice people at all. Not all want to heal, not all care about anyone, but themselves - narcissistic and even sociopaths who prey on other survivors who trust them. We would at least like to pretend that those who were hurt like us really cared about others who were hurt as children - but, that doesn't even make sense. That would be generalizing, and it is impossible to generalize any population - in fact " Contrary to popular perceptions and psychiatric orthodoxy, some psychopaths are actually anxious and fearful. Their psychopathy is a defense against an underlying and all-pervasive anxiety, either hereditary, or brought on by early childhood abuse." (Dr. Sam Vaknin, 2013).

I hear often that trauma survivors just want to meet other people who are also survivors thinking that makes them trustworthy - I wonder - and then, I wonder if they can recover or even want to. I hate thinking that trusting everyone is such a good idea - or if there is some measuring stick to tell me who to and who not to trust - so confusing - it really is - because I don't like being betrayed and nor, do I like seeing others betrayed, because I put my trust in the wrong people.



     

Don't miss the Ivory Garden Conference this year!!

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Contact Pat Goodwin, MA
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Nicolette
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Re: Can I Trust - Trust and Relationships - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Post by Nicolette on 7/17/2015, 4:31 am

Great information and Discussion!

Thank you!

Nicolette
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