ACoAs – OVER-Trusting (Part 1)


being conned THE WORLD IS ONLY SAFE –
if I pretend to not notice the bad stuff!

PREVIOUS: Under-trusting

SITE: 10 Warning Signs of being too trusting

QUOTES: “Never trust anyone completely but God.” ~Lawrence Welk
“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” ~William Shakespeare
“You may be deceived if you trust too much…. ” ~Frank Crane

AS ADULTS : OVER-Trusting (OT)
DEF: Ignoring information you already know about a person or situation (or a potential one you’ve been told about) that screams: “I’m NOT safe. I’ll get you as often as I can. Don’t trust me” AND that everyone else except you can see!
A therapist explained to a client why she needed to be less trusting & more discerning: “Some people you don’t let in the bedroom, some people you don’t let into the living room, and some people you don’t let in the front door!”

All of us ACoAs experienced years of trauma in childhood – at home, at school & in our neighborhoods.  We were deeply scarred by those experiences but each of us handled it in our own way, depending on our basic personality AND our Family Roles. We found those wounds to be beyond anything we could bear & so developed our own defensive posture:abuse / fantasy
• some of us became overtly tough, angry, bitter
• others hide away from everyone
• some try to rescue & fix others so we can feel safe

• others escaped into a world of fantasy & have stayed lost, needing to see everyone thru rose-colored glasses! THIS defense mechanism is a thick blanket of vagueness to soothe the ache in our heart, BUT it makes us endlessly vulnerable to emotional, mental & physical vultures who can smell our ‘out-to-lunchness’ a mile away!

EXP: Josie hears a new acquaintance say that she has trouble with friendships – they usually end in serious disagreements. But Josie is starving for companionship & overlooks this vital information. Unconsciously her WIC is thinking: “She wouldn’t do that to little ole’ meeee – I’d never hurt her or make her feel bad, I care too much, I’m so sweet…..” Yet, sure enough, at some point Josie says or does the ‘wrong thing’ & the friend gets mad at her – attacking, accusing, withdrawing ….. Josie is shocked, then hurt, confused & of course blames herself for the problem (as if this outcome wasn’t totally predictable!)

ACoA IRONY: Regardless of which protective style we act out, we get trapped in another dilemma – while feeling unsafe with everyone, some of us carelessly trust everyone, to cope with the intensity of our fear, while especially trusting the most damaging people! It’s so automatic we don’t even realize that we are being too credulous because we need it a safety blanket and because it’s often in a passive way.
AND we excuse our blindness by saying:blind-see
— I’m just trying to be a good person, I’ll give them another chance
— it’s wrong to judge other people & besides – they’re trying
— ‘they’ don’t mean to hurt me / can’t help how they are
— you don’t know their ‘good’ side, their good qualities
— …but they say they love me, give me money, neeeed me
— I can’t make it without them
— & it’s my fault anyway, I deserve how they treat me  …..

We are too ‘easy’ when we:
• believe someone who tells us we’re crazy, or wrong, or stupid…. we trust they know more about us that we do
• believe each new promise made by someone who has repeatedly disappointed us – we trust that they’ll come thru — this time
• go to someone immature & unhealthy to share our emotional upsets – we trust that they’ll be supportive & nurturing — this time
• wait for others to give us ‘permission’ to say or do something — we trubadgeringst that they have the right to do so, & know better that us ….

• let someone cajole or badger us into telling too much about ourselves – too soon…we trust that they won’t use it against us or for their own gain!
• “lend” money to someone who had proven to be irresponsible or outright dishonest — we trust that this time they really will pay it back
• are so happy that someone who used to ignore or dislike us suddenly is friendly, now that we have some money, fame, a good-looking partner, a big job….. we trust that their motives re pure & it’s us they really like!
• are willing to believe anything an authority tells us, without question or checking with your gut — we trust that they all have our best interest at heart & that they know everythinghigh road halo

• keep ‘taking the high road’ with someone who is mean, selfish & disrespectful – we trust that our goodness will somehow soften them!  This is a particularly dangerous illusion (not to mention arrogant & childish) – because:
— consistently abusive people are hardened in their narcissistic shell, which makes it unlikely that they’ll ever improve how they treat us
— the longer we stay around them the more their barbed-wire protection will tear away at our soul

ACoAs unconsciously assume that if we ignore the characteristics in others that we don’t like or that hurt us, it won’t have any effect. Even some of us in Recovery say they wish they could stay unaware of how toxic their family & friends are, because then it wouldn’t hurt. That’s like saying that eating rotten food would NOT be harmful to our body – just because we’re so hungry that any food is better barbed-wirethan none.

Some part of us knows this is ridiculous, but the WIC doesn’t want to face more unpleasantness. All the while we become further debilitated by sticking around for more poison that certain people automatically dish out. It does not matter if it’s deliberate or not. Barbed wire is barbed wire! Protect yourself.

NEXT: Over-Trusting (Part 2)

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7 thoughts on “ACoAs – OVER-Trusting (Part 1)

  1. Hi Donna! Chaz here…. been a while. Have been quiet on the blog front lately but glad to catch up on your posts.

    One part that jumps out at me so starkly is:
    “– consistently abusive people are hardened in their narcissistic shell, which makes it unlikely that they’ll ever improve how they treat us
    – the longer we stay around them the more their barbed-wire protection will tear away at our soul”

    This sick dynamic is one that I see so many of us sign up for… and sadly, we may even recruit others for it.

    Your wording emphasizes the dynamic very well. It slaps me undeniably in the face…. in a good way. It describes the relationship I have had with a non-recovering alcoholic in my life for many, many years.

    The even scarier part is if we dial it down a few notches, it meaningfully describes the slowly errosive dynamic that exists in many more “normal”, seemingly functioning relationships. Familiarity with a spouse, parent, child, or sibling can lead us in the direction of letting them see our worst and treating those closest to us in ways we would never treat strangers or someone we are newly in relationship with.

    Thinking of some older married couples I know who are say in their 60’s or 70’s. Seeing the way they treat each other, speak to each other, and take one another for granted in the the most insensitive ways. Not conspicuously abusive, but subtly taxing.

    How often do any of us, other than in crisis, really stop and look at the dynamics in our closest relationships? How often do we challenge the “good enough” status of how we treat others or allow others to treat us?

    In my experience, the subtlty is the greatest danger. It is the wolf in sheeps clothing that even the wolf may not be aware of.

    We should get so proud or complacent that we fail to question our own conduct in relationships. Welcoming others to reflect back to us candidly what they see in us can be helpful.

    Ciao.

    Chaz

  2. Good to hear from you Chaz!
    The subtler version you refer to is definitely a reflection of being in relationship with someone for a long time who is enough like our parents that we are still reacting with that old hurt & anger at their similarity.
    When old buttons are still unhealed (& some may never be) the other person’s unhealthy patterns are very wearing & since we can’t change them & don’t want to leave (not always the best option) then it’s not surprising people are testy! Naturally, the answer in such cases is to keep working on ones own issues.

  3. Speaking of subtle….

    I have been working hard to try and properly assess my WIC and the people in my life, striving for healthy and happy. I generally do very well, most people compliment me on my happy energy. And yet, I have a tough time with long term friendships, mostly with other women to be honest.

    I have a new friendship I have been cultivating, and yet, its been bugging me lately…….this post nailed it. I am “over trusting” I have always kept people at some distance and in my attempt to open up, I think I’ve fallen to the other side! Its been subtle but while this person seems so together, a great friend match in so many ways…my faulty wiring naturally granted that they are somehow more normal or are better at friendships then I am. Lately I feel they are slipping into a pattern of subtle insults and not so subtle “telling me” what I should or shouldn’t do….after spending time with them I am getting that “icky” feeling, and notably, I should have recognized that they have a graveyard of friendships behind them.

    I am grateful that I am trusting myself and seeing clearly enough to recognize this before it goes too far. I’ve been holding on tight to some old friendships too that as I feel like I am coming into more of my own, an intrinsically healthier person, these friendships are falling apart for no real reason.

    Timely post – Cheers

    • Kira, many of my friends have fallen away over the yrs, some faster than others. I also let go of friends whom I still like & respect but just don’t resonate with. Staying awake for the still small feeling in my gut says it all.

  4. • keep ‘taking the high road’ with someone who is mean, selfish & disrespectful – we trust that our goodness will somehow soften them! This is a particularly dangerous illusion (not to mention arrogant & childish) – because:
    — consistently abusive people are hardened in their narcissistic shell, which makes it unlikely that they’ll ever improve how they treat us
    — the longer we stay around them the more their barbed-wire protection will tear away at our soul.

    In some ways the above paragraph reminds me of my dad and myself in high school. In many ways it reminds me of my mom and myself also. Little Shana did not have a chance. But to finally get great help …………. PRICELESS.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Shana’s new life motto:
    “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” ~William Shakespeare

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