Who Should You Trust?

Who Should You Trust?

So many of us could accurately make this statement, “I thought I knew them.” But we all have been hurt and betrayed in some way, shape, or form.

As we move through the solo parent life, especially in this modern age, it’s hard to know who to trust. Some people present well; even act like they are here to help and protect. But sometimes, it turns out there are different motivations or even deeper issues that don’t show in the beginning.

How do we recognize safe people after experiencing hurt, rejection, or abandonment? We can become full of fear relationally. So much so that we end up just giving up or lowering our standard to the point that we continue making destructive decisions.

Marissa and Amber will be sharing insight into trust, what we should consider before trusting a person, and who deserves our trust.

Default reaction when trust is broken

Building a shelter

When you have been hurt repeatedly, especially by people you trust, you naturally have a default reaction to protect yourself from going through pain again.

According to Marissa, her marriage began peeling off about a year before her husband passed away. Even after five and half years of his demise, she still discovered shocking things that suggest he was having an affair. For example, she found a picture of her husband and a woman from six months ago. “Anytime I try to trust him or say let’s get passed this, it just came right back in my face. So, I start this trajectory towards, if you trust, you’ll get burned,” says Marissa.

Marissa had to create a world of her own to shelter and protect her and her children from the constant hurt caused by the people she trusted. “It’s more like getting to that bomb shelter. “Well kids, let’s sleep in here because we’ll be safer and nobody can get us,” Marissa adds.

Not trusting again

When someone you trust betrays you, trusting again is almost impossible. When Amber discovered infidelity in her marriage, her trust in her ex-husband was destroyed. She felt exposed and unprotected. In her own words, “It felt like all the windows in the house had been blown open and the doors broken, and there were no locks available anymore, and I’m being asked to live in this house completely unprotected from threats.”

Amber discovered that it is easy to lack trust in yourself when someone has broken your trust because you question your ability to detect the looming danger. You ask yourself, “Why didn’t I see this coming?”

Amber adds that another default reaction is to generalize lack of trust to people around you. However, she couldn’t do so in her case because she was surrounded by supportive people who were kind, caring, thoughtful, reliable, consistent, and trustworthy.  

Being super cautious

After experience hurt, one common default reaction is being careful about what caused the pain, so that you can avoid the same hurt again. Kimberly’s default reaction was to be extremely cautious of men in general because of her experience with her ex-husband.

Who should we trust?

Knowing who to trust is complex

Amber believes that knowing who to trust when it comes to relationships is complex. You must be careful and pay attention to warning flags. Some of the warning flags she ignored in her case were family history, patterns of behaviors that existed, etc. “When I look back, I shouldn’t have had so much trust in my ex at that time, and I think I should have gone in with a clear head,” she adds.

Amber discovered that when it comes to trusting someone, you must understand that believing in Jesus alone is not enough, especially regarding marriage. Jesus is a solid foundation for any relationship, but there are other crucial things you must intentionally work on. “I somehow discarded the hard work my parents had done with counseling, recovery, and the intention they had put in their growth to become trustworthy people,” says Amber.

Robert agrees that we shouldn’t trust everybody to the extent that everyone is equal, and we should give ourselves some grace for our decisions.

It’s okay when you find yourself offering someone a lot of trust; it’s not your fault if someone breaks that trust. It just happened that the person or situation didn’t turn out as you had expected.

Amber adds that even though grace is essential for yourself and others, don’t just trust anybody. Instead, look carefully at people’s actions, watch, and see who they are before you extend and offer them more trust.

There are levels of trust

Marissa believes that there are levels of trust. Therefore, before you trust someone with your vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and personal issues, they must be able to pass certain tests. “There are layers of allowing people to different places of trust, and they are going to make it through different proof points before they can get into a solid place,” Marissa adds.

Beware of flattery

You need to pay attention to people who only flatter you and not tell you the hard truth as a single parent.

The Bible points us to why we need to be careful of people who flatter.

“Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts. May the Lord cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues.”
(Psalm 12:2-3 NLT)

Marissa says flattery naturally makes you feel good, but you must be able to detect the lies. You should ask yourself, “Is what the person saying going to help me, or is it going to put a band-aid on the problem?”

“An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”
(Proverbs 27:5-6, NLT)

“In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.”
(Proverbs 28:23, NLT)

Marissa adds that, as a single parent, you must take time to watch people and know what they are saying to you. You have to see if they are willing to tell you the hard truth. Even if it means you won’t like them, because they want your best interest at heart. Or are they trying to get on your good side to get you to do something for them?

Listen with your eyes

One strategy Amber employs to help her see through people’s words to know whether they are mere flattery or genuine is listening with her eyes. Listening with your eyes means hearing what a person is saying to you, then following up by watching the person’s behaviors and actions to see if they align with what they have said.

Doing this will make you more accurate in your ability to trust people. However, it takes time. “Sometimes, we offer trust too quickly. We can offer trust, but in measured wise steps. Over time as we see evidence of their behavior, that will prove to us if someone is reliable,” says Amber.

The enemy you see is better than the one hidden

It is easier to be watchful and vigilant when you see an enemy or something dangerous at sight. But it becomes tricky when you cannot detect that an enemy is around. “We must be careful of hidden areas that we might overlook. We need to be able to trust our gut and not rush into things,” says Marissa.
 
Helping kids who want to trust untrustworthy parents

It’s painful for kids to go through the pain of dealing with parents who, through their behaviors and actions, have proven that they are not trustworthy.

However, Amber believes that it is an important trust-building exercise that will help kids to see that they can’t afford to take people at face value all the time.

Amber adds that it helps kids trust themselves and their discernment to love their parents, but not trust them to be the person they say they are, because they are not proving that to be true.

It’s okay to be in a relationship with people you don’t trust

It is possible not to trust a person but have a relationship with them. According to Marissa, there are some people in her life she cannot discard but that she doesn’t 100% trust. Also, there are some people you don’t expect anything from - for example, you can wave, smile, and have a simple conversation with your neighbor down the street, and that’s it.  

Robert says that if you don’t trust some people, that doesn’t mean they are not valuable to you. It simply means that there are some things you can trust them with and some that you can’t. For example, you can trust your mechanic to fix your car, but not to sort out your spiritual wellbeing.

According to Robert, the problem with a recovering codependent is that they are looking for a reciprocal relationship with everything they do, but it’s not realistic and healthy. “We need to have correct expectations for the relationship, but it doesn’t mean we discard it.”

Marissa adds that you can have one-dimensional relationships, relationships that just meet one space in your world, and that’s the only place you have to exercise trust with them.

What to do before exercising trust in romantic relationships

When considering trusting the opposite sex, Amber says everyone must first understand that human beings aren’t safe. We will make mistakes, fail, disappoint others, and cause harm to some degree. “Right-sizing my expectation of myself allows me to have a very clear view of other people too,” Amber says.

Honoring boundaries

The first thing Amber looks out for in a potential partner that shows that they are trustworthy, is the ability to honor some of her boundaries.

Be cautious

Also, Amber says one should not be quick to jump into deeper waters when trusting. Instead, they should be cautious. “When it comes to trusting, caution is wise. It’s not untrusting. It’s wisdom,” Amber adds.

Don’t set other people up to fail

You set a person up to fail by putting so much trust in them when you just met them. “If I give you so much power in our relationship and you burn me, so much of that is on me,” says Amber. You need to be the gatekeeper for safety for yourself, so that when you end up grossly disappointed by someone, you need to ask yourself where you went wrong and overextended.

Watch out for consistency

Before you trust someone, ensure you consistently see a good character in them. Such a person should be consistently good or kind to you and every other person around. For example, Marissa says consistency attracted her to her current husband and made her trust him.

Robert believes that time is vital to spot inconsistency. He adds that one can grow in trust, but it takes time.

Ask someone

When you are unsure about someone demanding your trust, it is wise to ask someone who knows that person about their thoughts. Marissa believes that you don’t have to enter into a trust exercise alone; you can seek a community of support of other people who love you, care about you, and can see you with clear eyes.

Marissa adds that a red flag to take seriously when dating someone is when you don’t feel at peace introducing to your family. Your family is a better judge, she adds.

Trust God

Only one person is one hundred percent trustworthy, and He is God. We’re all broken. We all disappoint people, but Jesus will never disappoint.

In Kim’s case, the peace she felt in her heart confirmed that she could trust her present husband. Some people are good, but when you don’t feel peace in your heart when with them, they might not be the one for you.

Amber believes that to experience God’s peace and hear from Him concerning whom to trust, you must walk closely with Him. You learn to trust God by cultivating a relationship with Him.

Marissa says she once struggled with trusting God when she walked in some painful and hurtful areas which she believed God should have protected her from experiencing. God is faithful and will show up when you honestly confess to Him that you want to trust Him, and He should help your unbelief. “Even if you do not feel like you can trust, keep trying to,” Merissa adds.

Robert adds that trusting God doesn’t mean that He will always fulfill your desires all the time. Instead, to trust God means you can trust Him to bring your issues to Him. “He is a safe place to let out everything,” Robert adds.

Trusting in a person or God means you’re allowing yourself to be vulnerable to that person to hurt you. “God is always trustworthy with our vulnerability,” Robert adds.

Takeaways

  • Don’t trust everyone. It’s okay to be cautious and selective with whom you give your trust.

  • We trust different people with different things.

  • Watching confirms character, listen with your eyes.

  • Trust God more than you trust people.

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