How to Rebuild Trust- Yes, it’s possible. Depending on the situation, trust can be rebuilt. But the process of building trust doesn’t just happen. Not in the first place, or after a rupture has occurred. It takes significant inner work on the part of both partners.
When you are working to build trust with a partner, or to restore trust that has been broken, a counselor can be very helpful. A psychotherapist like Marta can facilitate communication and help you and your partner be aware of patterns but healthy and unhealthy. When you can identify an unhealthy pattern, you can be mindful of your actions that contribute to that pattern.
Are you trustworthy? To build a stable foundation of trust with another person, both individuals must commit to honesty, and their actions must be consistent with the promises they make to each other. If you can recall a time that trust was broken in your relationship, think back on what happened leading up to the betrayal. Did your inner voice whisper something to you which you ignored? It is important for each of us to be aware of, and listen to our intuitive voice. I am not talking about paranoia, or jumping to conclusions based on intuition. I am suggesting listening carefully to your inner voice, giving the benefit of the doubt as you gather information to either affirm the concern or clear it.
Clients often call, asking how to rebuild trust after a traumatic breach in trust. At times I have worked with clients, in couples therapy, who felt betrayed but decided to ignore their instincts, brushing the issue under the rug. They did not sufficiently trust their instincts and ended up sublimating their needs.
At times my clients were aware of some type of betrayal in their relationship, but their partner overcompensated by acting extra-charming. Often, the disloyal person in the dynamic will preemptively try to “make up” for his or her behavior, as it makes it more difficult for the other person to really see it and deal with the conflict.
On the other hand, unfounded fears may develop in the current relationship when past relational traumas have not been processed and worked through, often referred to as “baggage.” EMDR is often extremely effective in disarming past pain so it does not ruin a current relationship. If you are experiencing intense reactions that seem out of proportion to the situation, read about EMDR and consider how this therapy may help you recover from the trauma you experienced.
How to rebuild trust; When trust has been broken in your relationship, both partners need to direct real therapeutic attention to the relationship to rebuild it. There is a two-sided dynamic at play, and the reasons behind the betrayal need to be addressed and healed collaboratively. The betrayal is an opportunity for each person to look within and heal their part of the relationship-system in order to understand why it resulted in broken trust. Broken trust can definitely be healed, but it takes HUMILITY AND MOTIVATION. Don’t think that you can repair broken trust with a quick statement of forgiveness and a warm embrace. The underlying causes for betrayal need to be identified, examined and worked on in order for betrayal not to resurface again. Vulnerability precedes betrayal. The vulnerabilities must be identified, understood and protected to prevent re-occurrence.
Both partners need to learn to love (and trust) themselves enough to be able to approach the relationship from individual places of self-respect and personal integrity. When you make a commitment to treat yourself with love and compassion and authentically trust your needs, you are able to do the same for your partner. Trust can take time to build and only a second to lose. We have all seen this happen.
With trust being such an integral part of our relationships, knowing how to manage it is imperative to having a successful relationship. In today’s post, I focus on how to build trust or what to do when trust is lost, AND you want to regain it. Here are principles to build or rebuild trust:
Learn how to rebuild trust, consider these principles;
1) No Lying – When we tell the truth, even when it isn’t pleasant, we become much more trustworthy. Becoming known as a person who doesn’t lie, even in tough times or moments of significant pressure, shows people your moral strength. Being appreciated for honesty sustains trustworthiness.
2) Set Your Expectations – We are all imperfect people. Allow room for falling short, mistakes, or short-sightedness. However, consistency over time should show honesty and behavior with integrity.
3) Your words and actions should match – The foundation of trust typically doesn’t break suddenly, it erodes over time. Keep your eye on the small things. Canceling or failing to follow through on simple tasks will create hairline fractures in your trustworthiness. Enough of those and the foundation will crumble.
4) Be A Better Communicator – Read the blogs available on this website about communication. The first step to good communication is being a good listener. This sounds obvious, but we are rarely naturally good at it, and that is why we need conflict resolution.
5) Express Your Needs Clearly – Value your needs enough to convey them. It’s unfair and unhealthy to exist in a relationship where your partner or friends must guess about your needs.
6) Be Respectful- It is possible to have intense conversations without disrespecting your partner. Couples therapy can help if you are having trouble setting a healthy tone.
7) Embrace shared goals, respect individual ones– Trust comes when we feel our partner is pulling together with us to accomplish a shared vision, rather than a personal agenda. This is the essence of teamwork. When a team really works, the players trust one another. Honor each other’s individuality.
8) Don’t Allow Issues To Go Unresolved – Allowing any issue, no matter how small, to go unaddressed manifests into larger issues. Putting off important conversations for later discussion or dismissing it with hopes of it being forgotten is the worst conflict resolution strategy. That is simply avoidance. If you have an issue, address it, even if only to acknowledge it. As you at least acknowledge the concern, you bring it into the relationship and there is less chance it can divide you. When you start talking about a problem, you’re half way to resolving the problem.
9) Seek your best potential together – This is very important in romantic relationships just as it is in leading a team. Your relationship can always strengthen and improve, this is a process.
10) Be Transparent- If you stayed too long, forgot to call, accepted a text your spouse will not like it is best to tell him or her immediately. Then improve your boundaries in line with being trustworthy. It is important for both of you to practice the same principles.
11) Be Consistent – This is a character trait very easily determined. It underscores your reliability and predictability. Someone with consistent character is thought to have good judgment.
12) Respectful–Make this change as proof you are trustworthy. Rebuild trust; plain and simple, apply the rule: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” When you do that, not only are you typically reciprocated, but you also exude the character of someone who is trustworthy.
13) The Zone- The zone is the area below an emotional level of escalation and above retreating or shutting down. This is the area where true communication takes place. Conduct all important and emotional conversations without escalating or shutting down. This takes self-awareness, and the flexibility to accommodate each other’s capacity for difficult conversations. Rebuild trust by maintaining composure even when emotional, and remaining engaged in the communication with your partner.
For help with communication with your partner, call Marta for couples therapy.