trust, dating, rebuilding trust, marriage, broken trust, trust in a relationship

Trust means we give up our inclination to exaggerate our wounds out of self interest. We can be very self righteous which creates a distorted picture of what happened. We harden ourselves & adore our own expectations of how things should be in a relationship. The opposite of all this disconnecting energy is to soften and imagine the value of your partner’s point of view.

Trust Demands a Softening in Attitude

Trust means we give up our inclination to exaggerate our wounds out of self interest. We can be very self righteous which creates a distorted picture of what happened. We harden ourselves & adore our own expectations of how things should be in a relationship.

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Trust Demands A Softening in Attitude Episode #33

Anger requires a hardening of attitude, a belief that you’ve been done wrong. It’s way so easy to blame someone else & avoid looking at your own dark side. It’s sooooo simple to point the finger at someone else, and ignore the complexity of problems as the responsibility of both people. Even if the division of responsibility is 10%/90% or 20%/80% or 30%/70% there are still 2 parts.

It’s just that we adore the role of the innocent & don’t want to look at our own part. Growing up is honestly facing hard things. Our culture is not very grown up. We deflect & avoid and pretend so much that truth doesn’t matter. I was on the phone today with someone who felt betrayed & by the end of the conversation I had her thinking about how she had betrayed herself. It’s so easy to adore our own expectations of how things should be instead of facing the more painful reality of how things are.

Trust builds on truth. Truth always lies in between people, no one owns the truth.

Wounds are exaggerated and nourished to create a very distorted picture. We are very self righteous when we silently hoard our version of what happened because we are filled with self interest. It’s hard to give up the investment we have in our wounds, that is what leads to patterns of disconnection in relationships. Patterns of disconnection eat away at trust like the ocean erodes the beach.

The only way to dig out from under a pattern of disconnection is to #1. Think about the two of you, not just yourself & #2. Have some imagination about what could be right about the other person’s point of view. In my mind having a more open attitude that embraces the idea that 2 opposite points of view can both have truth at the same time is not too much to ask.

Trust means you are willing to give your partner the benefit of the doubt, to seriously consider the value of their point of view. You have to be interested & willing to soften in order to repair & restore real contact with each other. Trust is something you have to work at over time.

Disconnection can have a strange comfort in the constant patterns of disrespect. When you add fuel to disrespect & make it ordinary in your relationship you are saying “Yes, this is who we are.”

Interrupting bad patterns & changing means that you have to give up your need to win, your need to be the Top Dog, your need to be right. Interruption of the bad habits of contempt requires being disgusted that mistreatment has become ordinary.

When you develop hard edges with someone you love, they are usually about self protection. The patterns of self protection are so easily established. Ask yourself is self protection really necessary??? Interrupting these patterns & habits is very hard to accomplish. If you want to make contact or connect with someone else you must decide that self protection is not useful & opt to be more vulnerable. Trust means being less self protective.

Vulnerability is a requirement of trust in relationships. Vulnerability can be really difficult to achieve in relationships because it means softening & being more open. Stop & consider how rare it is to hear people apologize, admit they were wrong or to hear someone be remorseful.

If you want to learn more about vulnerability I suggest you find the 2 videos with Brene Brown that I have on my website, on the perfectionism & vulnerability page. We do not live in a world that makes it easy to be vulnerable & it is an important quality to own & explore within yourself.

Resentments that are unspoken & that have piled up are a part of Hardening. Hurts that have been silently stashed & stored up like a squirrel collecting nuts for the harsh winter. Resentments & unexpressed hurts are shortcuts to trouble and destroy trust.

Another shortcut to trouble is one partner telling the other partner how they feel instead of giving the partner the respect of asking. “You’re mad, I know you are.” is very different than saying “I’m afraid you might be mad, is that true?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interrupted that disrespectful pattern in my office. You have to exchange the pleasure of certainty “I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL” to curiosity……”How DO YOU FEEL”. Can you hear the more respectful boundary??

I had a couple that got into problems over ice cream. He was being matter of fact that yes, they had both eaten the ice cream. She wanted him really to just understand how disappointed she was that the ice cream was gone. She got surprised by it being gone & surprise often makes things worse. He got stuck in his point of view “What’s the big deal, the ice cream is gone.” instead of using his imagination to see her more accurately that she was disappointed. In couples work I’m constantly using my imagination for both people in order to help them see each other more accurately.

We are tired from a long day, or haven’t had a minute to ourselves & it can be so easy to erase each other which is the opposite of really seeing & understanding our partner. Ugliness between people becomes more casual when we give up trying to see each other & dismiss what’s important to those we are supposed to love. Trust means working to really see each other.

As Marcia Turbiner said in my last episode, love is an action verb. So do the hard work of trying to really understand someone else’s point of view. Offer your partner your curiosity, what are they feeling instead of your harsh disapproval that decides their point of view doesn’t matter.

Consider what contributes to a Softer Attitude that builds trust & what doesn’t.

Curiosity is softer than the hardening stance of Disapproval.
Communication is softer than the hard distance of Unspoken Wants.
Asking is softer than Telling someone who they are.
Trying to Understand someone else is softer than the hard belief system of Self Protection.
Openness to two points of view is softer than needing to win & be right.
Vulnerability is a softening instead of the harshness of Collecting Resentments.
Imagination about how an opposite point of view can have value is softer than Self Righteousness.

My challenge for you today is to evaluate how often do you soften & turn towards each other & how often do you harden & turn away from each other. Trust is going to build on curiosity, communication, asking, understanding, openness, vulnerability & imagination about your partner. So grade yourself on these qualities, which ones do you need to improve?

Frankly I’m not sure of the topic for the next episode. If you have a suggestion let me know at [email protected]. This podcast is NOW also an app that can be found under Relationship Advice on both Androids & iPhones.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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