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Jons_Blond's avatar

Can a person learn to trust again after they’ve been burned many times?

Asked by Jons_Blond (8253points) January 28th, 2020 from iPhone

I’ve lost trust in relationships. Not with my husband, children or parents, but everyone else. Siblings and close friends have hurt me terribly the past few years.

Tonight a close friend of mine involved my son in a squabble we were having. My last straw is involving children.

Two years ago I estranged myself from my sister because she involved my son in our squabble, just a week after my son returned from the hospital after a stay for suicidal ideation. She broke my son’s heart. I don’t understand how adults can be so petty and selfish to involve children in their drama.

I’ve given up. I don’t want to get close to anyone. I’m tired of getting hurt.

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14 Answers

mazingerz88's avatar

Either these people have malicious intent to hurt for whatever reason or they’re too dumb having somewhat good intentions but have no idea how to do it right?

KNOWITALL's avatar

No. Hurting a child, especially, is heinous. Your child, after everything, doesn’t deserve that from family.

elbanditoroso's avatar

You can’t forget, and you shouldn’t forget. What you experience now is going to be part of your psyche going forward.

What you can do is apply that knowledge and those memories and be very choosy about who you do trust. Don’t lock everyone out – that will be a long term error – but be very selective.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’m sorry your friend & sister hurt you & your son like that.
Try not to let their actions poison your mind against other people though.
There really are plenty of good people out there.

jca2's avatar

Experiences like that make me distance myself from people. If it’s a family member, I may still interact with them but I will be leery and I will not see them or speak to them as often. If it’s someone I don’t need, like someone from social media or a real life acquaintance, I will not deal with them at all. Maybe a hello in a social situation but that’s it.

When it comes to the child, hands off. That’s for the parents to deal with and the child should not be brought into any argument or dispute.

I’d say if this is happening with many people in your life, maybe don’t be so open with others, share less info, and re-evaluate your friends and family relationships. It’s sad that doing so may be what it takes to lessen these issues, but if that’s what helps, then it may be what you have to do.

kritiper's avatar

It depends on the people involved.

zenvelo's avatar

I believe one can trust other people again, but not the same people.

And it depends on if it was a disagreement or argument that they later tried to rectify, or if they feigned innocence and blamed you.

Jons_Blond's avatar

Thank you for your responses.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Yes but only after they have set better boundaries of what or who you let into your life.

JLeslie's avatar

Of course your child should not be brought into squabbles with family and friends. I don’t know what the squabble was about, but for me it would depend on the gravity of the interaction to decide whether I completely cut-off, whether I give a warning, or whether I just distance myself.

I don’t remember how old your son is, but I’m guessing he’s around 15? I would consider helping him stand up for himself. Anxiety and depression can be exacerbated when we feel a lack of control or that we are constantly being victimized. Give him the words, and let him know you will back him up. “Please don’t involve me in your fight with my mom.” Or, “you’re upsetting me by dragging me into this conversation, I don’t think it’s appropriate.” Tell him he’s Superman! He’s wonderful, strong, can defend himself. I’d want to bolster his confidence in any way possible. Especially as he gets older he will have to do this for himself.

I would want to do everything to help your son build self esteem and to feel power over his domain (his being). Let him know he can speak up. Maybe you have already done this, I’m not assuming. Maybe he is younger than I remember and I’m early with this advice.

In terms of trusting others, trust is always tricky. I tend to be trusting, but if someone does something to break the trust I adjust my behavior with that person. I try to be forgiving when a person had no mal intent when they hurt me or my loved ones, but if they don’t understand why what they did was wrong, then probably a close relationship can’t continue.

janbb's avatar

When I’m hurt by someone, I’m hurt for a while and then I try to think about what behavior I might have exhibited that elicited or enlarged their reaction to me. As an example, there were two guys in recent years that I was friends with but had romantic feelings for. They each broke off the friendship in very hurtful ways. I was crushed for a time and still don’t want to look for another relationship but I have realized that my behavior was too eager in each case and controlling and I killed the friendship. Although they hurt me by being cruel, it was my fault too that the friendships ended. What I’m trying to say is that one person is never totally the victim and one person the perp, and that can help you regain some trust when you look at your own self and grow.

And I like what @JLeslie said about allowing or teaching your son to fight his own battles and set his own boudaries.

Sagacious's avatar

Yes. It depends on the people involved and the circumstances of both past and present relationships. In your case, no one can, or will ever, be able to answer the question other than you. Don’t forget that trusting also has an element of ‘decision.’

Jons_Blond's avatar

Some things I would like to address:

My son is 16.

The people who have hurt me are people I know irl. They are not internet acquaintances.

Some of the falling out with old friends has been due to people who won’t accept my son for who he is. I don’t see how my son and I are equally at fault for this bigotry. We are not. To say so is victim blaming.

I always accept my roll in anything I’ve done wrong. I understand there are two sides in most situations. The latest fall out from a friend who hurt me was unacceptable. I was calm with him but he’s known to anger easily and he went off on me out of nowhere and said very hurtful things. (He was an old member here and was banned for sending death threats to another user. Maybe this info will help some of you understand.) Apparently he had been holding back these feelings I had no idea he had. I ended the friendship and blocked him on Facebook. I did not deserve the long rants he sent me when I had said nothing hurtful to him. He is toxic but I forgave that quality of his for years. I had finally had enough after his outburst. To say I was an equal partner in this is again victim blaming. He reached out to my son when I blocked him and my son came to me in tears. This man was a family friend who supported my son. They have met in person. They were FB friends, that’s why he reached out to my son.

Thanks again for your responses. I appreciate the feedback. I’m going to focus on the people who love me and support my family, however small that circle is.

RabidWolf's avatar

When people do things or say things that should hurt, I just think: “FUCK YOU.” Sometimes I have been known to say it aloud. I then walk off. At 59 I’ve learned to not let things get to me so much. I use to let words get to me, and I’d punch the guy in the face. Then I got wiser and stopped, why use violence it won’t change their point of view. My then-wife could see when I turned off all emotion, and she knew all hell was about to break loose. Nobody today can read the signs, they just see me smile and then walk away.

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