ACoAs: REBUILDING Trust (Part 1)


when I’ve been disrespected

PREVIOUS: Being Trustworthy

Because ACoAs have been let down again & again by our family, as adults we continue the pattern of feeling unsupported:

1. BY assuming we have an understanding with a friend, lover, boss…. that they will treat us with respect & reliability – without actually talking to them about our needs & hopes, nor getting an agreement from them!

• We expect people to be able to read our minds – the way a small child legitimately needs their parents to be able to do – showing that we’re still functioning emotionally from the Child part of us

• So when someone doesn’t come thru for us the way we expected (but unsaid by either party) we feel betrayed – but what has actually been betrayed are our own hopes, illusions, fantasy & assumptions about the other person!  In these cases others have not betrayed us, since they did not make the commitment we imagined, whether emotional, physical, financial or verbal

2. BY keeping people in our life who continually disappoint, while longing to be with someone we can truly depend on.  (To change who we choose we need to continually work on S & I)broken-heart

• When we catch someone messing up, they can react in one of several ways: apologize insincerely, make excuses, withdraw or attack us. These tactics are meant to deflect responsibility from themselves, while underneath they may be:
• puzzled as to what they did wrong, because they’re shut down (Es) & in deep denial (Ts) about their character defects, so they can’t change what they don’t understand
• indifferent, insensitive, narcissistic – don’t care about you
• may feel the emotions of self-hate, shame, guilt, fear, anger, but can’t own them, so they need their defenses (character defects) as protection

THERE are MANY WAYS to be betrayed, and not just by a cheating spouse or lover.  It can be by paid professionals, family members, friends, colleagues, bosses or clergy
•  If you’ve been hurt on many occasions by someone you believed in, you have to decide if you can stay or gocontinue, or need to end the association. Choosing between the 2 is rarely easy or fast, but leaving is ultimately the best for your PMES health, but in most cases – if possible
• If you want to continue the relationship (or not), you need to & have a right to ask for a ‘talk’ to clear the air, but they may not be able or willing.  You can’t force someone to admit to flaws in the way they treat you, nor change the way they act, no matter how hard you try!

If you want to stay together AND the other person is available to face their misconduct – then here are some suggestions on how to proceed

a. As the Trust Violator you need to:
• cut off all connection to the other person (if you were unfaithful)
• if your actions have to do with saying cruel things, being neglectful, not keeping promises, stealing, lying, threatening, hitting ….. THEN identify the behavior & stop doing it immediately

• take responsibility for your actions – don’t blame others or make excuses
• take immediate action to restore the rift between you & the other person, including listening to & validating their emotional pain & outrage, which you caused
• provide an apology & a thorough account of what really happened – and if possible the why of your actionspromise keeper

• be sincere – the victim is closely scrutinizing motives & intentions
• restate or change your shared goals & interests to build on
• not expect instant forgiveness & reinstatement, especially if you have been disloyal, untruthful & undependable before

• know you’re likely to be on probation, but if the relationship is important to you, commit to behaving in an upstanding way & then work at keeping your promise
• be able to sustain good behavior over the long haul
• be willing to get professional help (individual & couples), go to AA, Al-Anon……

NEXT: Rebuilding Trust (Part 2)


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