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How to trust again- After you’ve been hurt

Updated: May 22

There are a few things you cannot get back once they are gone.

guy crying because he is learning how to trust again

One of them is time.

Once your time has passed, it is over, and you will not get it back.

Another one of those things is money. Once you spend it, it's gone. Warranties not included.

But one of the biggest things is trust.

Trust is like walking on rocks without shoes while blindfolded. You start out walking confidently. But once you stub your toe on a rock, that trust is never quite the same, and you will most likely walk a lot more carefully.

This reality is even worse for survivors of trauma who are so used to getting their toes stubbed that they sometimes stop walking and taking risks.

So, the big question is. How do you learn to trust someone again after you have been hurt?

1. Start with God:

When fixing your mistrust in others, learning to trust God is helpful. When I went through a narcissistic relationship and came out, I realized that my relationship with God suffered because I was mirroring the suspicion I felt with the partner to my relationship with God.

The first step in this journey is reading about some of the promises in the bible. Popular ones are Jeremiah 29:11, Psalms 37:23, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 8:28, and Malachi 3:10. Once you have read these verses, list things you NEED. Maybe it is peace. Maybe it is a job. Maybe it is something else. Then pray that God will show up for you and ask for a tangible sign.

After about 3 months, return to the list and see if God has answered one of your prayers. I have done this task many times, and God has always come through for me. This helped me renew my trust in God and showed me how to trust God in hard times. If I can do this, then you can too.

Another way to renew your trust in God is to pray unconventionally to him. Sometimes, it can be tempting to go to God and pray like the Pharisees in the bible, with huge words and a boatload of adjectives. But, when you practice coming to God and confessing to him how you feel, your trust begins to blossom because that kind of prayer requires vulnerability.

Check out my book “Since when did Single Mean Sad” for more action steps on trusting God and people again.

2. Consider why you have trust issues:

If you have issues with trust, there is a reason why. Some common reasons include:

  • A history of dealing with people who don't keep thier promises

  • Having your secrets or private information leaked to others

  • Being abused

  • Having your feelings invalidated

  • church hurt

The list goes on.

3. Learn to trust yourself

I am notoriously hard on myself. And if you are like me, it can be easy to dismiss all gut feelings and intuition because you believe you are wrong. However, God gives us intuition to keep us out of danger. In my book, I talked about how God gave intuition to the early cave dwellers to keep them out of danger.

Unfortunately, trusting yourself is easier said than done. It can take months of making small decisions and notating the outcomes to see a pattern of what happens when you trust your gut feeling. Therefore, I recommend starting a journal as part of this tip. I have been journaling since I was eight years old, and it has transformed how I approach trust in myself and God.

4. Forgive those who hurt you:

Before you can trust a new person again, you have to be able to let go of the people who harmed you in the past.

People have different versions of forgiveness.

For some, forgiving the person means letting go of the grudge but never entirely forgetting what the person did. My pastor says that the key to knowing if you forgive someone is that you can look at their face in your mind and not feel any harsh feelings.

As a trauma survivor, forgiving someone for me means acknowledging that what the person did was wrong but allowing God to be the one to punish them instead of me trying to punish them with my distance, silence, or actions.

The Bible shows an extreme version of forgiveness. In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus tells Peter to forgive his neighbor 490 times! Then, later on in the Bible, it warns us what should happen if we don't forgive others. Matthew 6:15 says, "Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive those who sin against you; but if you refuse to forgive them, he will not forgive you." Ouch, that sounds harsh! But, it is imperative that if we want to live good lives and fully trust others that we don't hold unto unforgiveness.

5. Have a conversation: When moving into a new relationship or friendship, certain behaviors might trigger your trust issues. For example, if you had a partner who would often take money from your wallet without asking, you might not be able to leave your wallet sitting around places, or you might break down if it is not always in your possession. In this case, you must let your partner know that you struggle with this so that they can help you to be more comfortable. The same goes for friendships as well.

6. Don’t be afraid to cut people off:

This one is so sad. But the truth is, some people don’t deserve to be trusted again. I had someone in my life who was doing some slimy things with the information I was giving them. I decided to cut them off for these reasons:

1. This person knew better: Some things are just common sense. For example, your best friend should know that if you tell them something in confidence, you don’t want them to tell these secrets to all of your other friends. Or, your boyfriend or girlfriend should know that cheating with another person while with you is wrong.

2. The person committed multiple offenses: Sometimes, there is a time where you find out that someone you trusted snubbed you behind your back multiple times. I like to believe that one or two times can be accidental. But after those many times, the person knows precisely what they are doing so if you find out something like this, you may want to consider if the friendship is worth keeping.

3. The person permanently embarrassed you: This one is for my ladies more than my men. Suppose you ever make the decision to send pictures of yourself in a comprised position to someone else (I really do not recommend this), and the person passes the pictures on without your knowledge. In that case, it is best to cut this person off completely. Pictures on the internet last forever, and people can easily screenshot them. So, that one picture they sent to their friends could continue to get passed around for years.

4. It was messing with my peace: Peace is expensive. And you will know if someone or something is messing with your peace. God gives everyone discernment, but it is a matter of whether or not you will listen to that gut feeling. If you start to get nervous or anxious when interacting with that person, it is a sign that something is very wrong.

7. Seek professional help

I am a big proponent of therapy. The human brain is not very good at differentiating between its own thoughts and what is right and wrong so it can be easy to fall into patterns of overthinking or an unhealthy mindset. A good therapist will help you to sort through your trust issues and figure out whether or not it is beneficial to have that person in your life, or how to move forward with trusting someone new.

8. Pray: I added this one last because I believe that the most straightforward option is often the one we consider last. The bible says in James 1:5 that if any one of you lacks wisdom, you should ask of God who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

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Positively Gabrielle

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How to trust again – After you have been hurt

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