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Trust and betrayal

Thread starter #1
I am dealing with a genuine violation of trust, that my partner isn't taking seriously because a lot of my history I have reacted to PTSD related cognitive distortions around trust that make me hypersensitive. So I guess it is a boy who cried wolf situation but he basically put my life in danger on purpose. He took it back later, but what the actual F.

I discovered that my partner went behind my back to tell my stepdaughter who was planning to visit us that it was fine to see a group of people just before she travels to us, and not to tell me that she had done so. He didn't want to deal with my anxiety about it, and solved that problem by telling her to lie.

Another stepdaughter was visiting a few weeks ago and she went off to socialize in the neighborhood without talking to me about it first when he was gone to work. I did not go off on her like my feelings wanted me to, but I did give him an earful when he was headed home to address it. It would have been ok if she discussed with me ahead of time that she was planning to use precautions but I just suddenly discovered she was roaming the neighborhood talking to new friends. So that is the context under which he decided to encourage a lie.

I don't know what reactions in me are real and valid, what's just residue of the PTSD related thinking, what's just the general relationship toxicity. I'm not sure I want to move past this particular betrayal. I am considered high risk of complications including death and my spouse thought it would be ok to make the decision for me about increasing exposure risk and hide it. He thinks that I am overreacting and it's normal for a partner to say "don't tell your mom" to a kid in order to avoid negative consequences. I think that doesn't make it right, and if you don't have trust what is even the point of being with someone?

He has since apologized and said he thought about it and decided he was wrong. But how can I ever trust him again? Trusting him is already a big struggle for me because his ADHD makes him unreliable and he gets too defensive to take care of my feelings about that.

How do you get over trust issues when the people closest to you prove you were right not to trust them?

Honestly I don't even know where the trust issues come from. I was emotionally abused and I guess that's enough to put it there. Maybe it's the sexual issues that I'm not even sure really happened. Or an overreaction to sudden death where now I need everyone to be super transparent with information so I can brace myself for more death. I don't know. I know I can't see my way to a more balanced view of trust when my partner violates it like this.
 
#2
How do you get over trust issues when the people closest to you prove you were right not to trust them?
Personally? I don’t.

I log them, instead. I’ve talked before about how I view trust as a soundboard, the hundreds of knobs and dials. The overall configuration produces a kind of image, of that person, where their strengths and weakness -as I see them- are laid out fairly plainly.

I don't know what reactions in me are real and valid, what's just residue of the PTSD related thinking, what's just the general relationship toxicity.
How much of this feeling, do you think, is hurt over realizing that you’ve reacted so badly, so many times, he no longer trusts YOU? And, very specifically, doesn’t trust you with his kid.

Because that kind of hurt? Is like being kicked in the gut. Realizing that you’re no longer seen as a partner, but as a threat to be managed... goes beyond the knowing that in a choice over you and their child, they’ll choose their child (which some people never tolerate, whilst others never tolerate less than that; it’s one of those things people rarely fall in the middle on)... and feels like someone’s ripped your heart out through your stomach, as you’re (seen as) an actual threat to their life & wellbeing to be managed.

In my experience it hurts less (although it still hurts!) when the other person is completely wrong. When there’s real validity to their reactions? That I’ve lost so much trust with them, by my own actions, that they’re justified in not trusting me.

So, on the question of rebuilding trust? In that kind of situation, where I don’t trust them to be honest with me, and they don’t trust me enough to be honest? It becomes a 2 way street. I have to show them that I’m worthy of trust, in order for them to even consider trusting me. And they have to risk my behaving badly, when they try to be honest with me, instead of managing me. It’s HARD. And very much requires both people being on board with attempting a dual-trust-venture. It’s also a project of yeeeeeeears, in most cases... from relational research... 2-5 on average. With no guarantees.

That he was willing to walk back his position? Is a fairly decent sign that he hasn’t lost all trust in you... and that you’re working on reality checking / overreactions... is a fairly decent sign you haven’t lost all trust in him. So it sounds like there’s actually fairly solid middle ground for the 2 of you to stand on, and work on these issues, together. IF you both want to.
 
Thread starter #3
Personally? I don’t.

I log them, instead. I’ve talked before about how I view trust as a soundboard, the hundreds of knobs and dials. The overall configuration produces a kind of image, of that person, where their strengths and weakness -as I see them- are laid out fairly plainly.

How much of this feeling, do you think, is hurt over realizing that you’ve reacted so badly, so many times, he no longer trusts YOU? And, very specifically, doesn’t trust you with his kid.
Interesting theory. I have had to come to terms in recent weeks and months that he doesn't trust me either, he doesn't feel safe either. He's always put this particular kid ahead of everyone including the other kids - he readily admits she is a favorite and he has to watch himself to not show that too much. He told me that he suggested she not tell me about it because he didn't want to deal with my anxiety about the exposure risk - that it was about his own comfort and avoidance of drama more than her. But maybe what he meant was he wanted to protect his kid from my angry feelings even if I did my best to hide them from her like I did the last time one of the kids made this kind of choice.
Because that kind of hurt? Is like being kicked in the gut. Realizing that you’re no longer seen as a partner, but as a threat to be managed... goes beyond the knowing that in a choice over you and their child, they’ll choose their child (which some people never tolerate, whilst others never tolerate less than that; it’s one of those things people rarely fall in the middle on)... and feels like someone’s ripped your heart out through your stomach, as you’re (seen as) an actual threat to their life & wellbeing to be managed.

In my experience it hurts less (although it still hurts!) when the other person is completely wrong. When there’s real validity to their reactions? That I’ve lost so much trust with them, by my own actions, that they’re justified in not trusting me.
Yep, that's a valid point. I have been going through some grieving about that. I've not been a great partner - I've not responded well to some of the things he has done/not done. I've been paying for the past for a long time now, and he just has a very different narrative from me about when things got bad, why they got bad, when they got better and why. Blames me for being angry, conveniently forgetting he was financially betraying me at the time for example. I have times where I think I am probably taking too much responsibility for the problems - my new trauma therapist suggested that I am making myself overly responsible for our dynamic. But I cannot deny that it hurts to realize that I have sh*t on my side of the street and it's caused a public health crisis in the neighborhood.

So, on the question of rebuilding trust? In that kind of situation, where I don’t trust them to be honest with me, and they don’t trust me enough to be honest? It becomes a 2 way street. I have to show them that I’m worthy of trust, in order for them to even consider trusting me. And they have to risk my behaving badly, when they try to be honest with me, instead of managing me. It’s HARD. And very much requires both people being on board with attempting a dual-trust-venture. It’s also a project of yeeeeeeears, in most cases... from relational research... 2-5 on average. With no guarantees.

That he was willing to walk back his position? Is a fairly decent sign that he hasn’t lost all trust in you... and that you’re working on reality checking / overreactions... is a fairly decent sign you haven’t lost all trust in him. So it sounds like there’s actually fairly solid middle ground for the 2 of you to stand on, and work on these issues, together. IF you both want to.
2-5 years sounds about right considering how long I have worked on showing a new self, and how little good it has done.

I have worked really hard on my side of the issues. But I don't know that I want to let this go. What else does he lie about or withhold from me because it might make me anxious... how long has he been doing that... what information has he kept away, what consequences could have fallen upon me from him doing so... What if he has been lying about the level of precautions he takes when in public right now? What if he is lackadaisical about wearing his mask or sanitizing things, what if he's just been feeding me a story to shut me up, and how long has he been doing that... I already feel that I should not list him as an emergency contact because he can be so terrible at answering the phone the hospital wouldn't reach him. I cannot tell that I could trust him to make a good decision if I were incapacitated by a medical crisis. That's not even taking into account the times that he forgets to tell me important things, decisions he has made involving other people, then springs it on me last minute when I would be expected to make an entire schedule change at the last minute (which is so easy to do as a person with PTSD lemme tell you).

I was just watching a tv show where there was a home invasion and the girl managed to call her partner right as it started and he was running home to face the intruder. My partner wouldn't run for me, even hearing someone violently attacking me I cannot picture him caring enough to rush to help me. He doesn't hurry about anything. I could be bleeding, in labor, so dysregulated that I am hitting my head against the wall in the next room and he will take his time or not show up at all. Some of that I am sure is a reaction to my behavior, but some of that is also that he never has a sense of urgency on anything, and some is that I just don't have confidence in his decision-making having seen him make a lot of bad decisions. In your soundboard image there's lots of moments that have been flagged as "WTF was he thinking."

I really do not feel that he has my back, due at least in part to things he has done or not done that were betrayals before this one. And he did not make much effort to repair the damage of those previous betrayals due to defensiveness or whatever else was going on with it.

I cannot tell how much of this is my personal biases bleeding into the relationship and how much is he actually is pretty unreliable and makes a lot of mind-boggling decisions. I feel like I work hard to trust him, and then he proves that I was right to be cautious. Every little let down is such an exceedingly painful bout of disappointment. I'd be more comfortable if I just gave up so that I couldn't be hurt by the ups and downs anymore.

I have a friend who does NLP and she says she trusts people to be themselves, or something like that. That is how she gets out of needing other people to be a certain way. I'd love to get there but I don't know how.

This situation with the secret conversation with his kid has totally taken over my brain for over 24 hours now. I've posted in like five different groups for advice about it. I don't know how to process and digest the way he chose to handle things.
 
#4
I have a friend who does NLP and she says she trusts people to be themselves, or something like that. That is how she gets out of needing other people to be a certain way. I'd love to get there but I don't know how
It’s different when it’s “people” vs when it’s your partner. The person, your person, that you’re choosing to be with.

There’s a higher standard. As there should be, IMO.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
#5
I think one of the most effective way to deal with relationships with some hard conditions or multiple mental injuries is to have a trusted therapist to sift through and breakdown issues....so you are not always overreacting to every slight big or small. Nothing wrong with having a person you trust to support you by showing you are or have trustworthiness side of you. To be or feel unsafe in relationship is physical health issue so I can understand but I can also feel it can be exhausting. I hope you have one person you can trust.
 
Thread starter #6
I think one of the most effective way to deal with relationships with some hard conditions or multiple mental injuries is to have a trusted therapist to sift through and breakdown issues....so you are not always overreacting to every slight big or small. Nothing wrong with having a person you trust to support you by showing you are or have trustworthiness side of you. To be or feel unsafe in relationship is physical health issue so I can understand but I can also feel it can be exhausting. I hope you have one person you can trust.
I have a therapist but don't see him too often. I tried to find us a couples therapist but the last one was bad and the remaining options do not seem great.

I have friends that I trust. I have friends that are reliable and safe people and mean what they say.
 
#7
I have a friend who does NLP and she says she trusts people to be themselves, or something like that. That is how she gets out of needing other people to be a certain way. I'd love to get there but I don't know how.
My shaman taught me this one. It eased me right away. Here is how she put it.

Trust
Trust a liar to lie
Trust a truther to be honest
Trust a thief to thieve
Trust a giver to give

It all comes from being careful to watch the person. So I will suggest, if this is a shock to you - his behaviour on this - then it might be just the stress of the covid stuff - which is out of everyone's normal. Yours too, right? You probably aren't reacting/responding the way you normally would.

If this isn't a shock then looking at why you are exposing yourself to someone intimate who lies is a who different thing. That will take some work. Probably a therapist to help you sort it out.

Honestly though. This covid thing has most's anxiety baseline ramped up like crazy. I think we all need to be really good at letting shit go right now. Promise to attend to it after all of this is not quite so stress inducing. Now probably isn't the time to be messed up in the home given that many of us may be there for a while.
 
Thread starter #8
My shaman taught me this one. It eased me right away. Here is how she put it.

Trust
Trust a liar to lie
Trust a truther to be honest
Trust a thief to thieve
Trust a giver to give

It all comes from being careful to watch the person. So I will suggest, if this is a shock to you - his behaviour on this - then it might be just the stress of the covid stuff - which is out of everyone's normal. Yours too, right? You probably aren't reacting/responding the way you normally would.

If this isn't a shock then looking at why you are exposing yourself to someone intimate who lies is a who different thing. That will take some work. Probably a therapist to help you sort it out.

Honestly though. This covid thing has most's anxiety baseline ramped up like crazy. I think we all need to be really good at letting shit go right now. Promise to attend to it after all of this is not quite so stress inducing. Now probably isn't the time to be messed up in the home given that many of us may be there for a while.
Thank you - I like that. That is similar to my NLP friend's understanding. Good point that this is either a fluke or a deeper issue in my own instincts. You are right the pandemic has another layer to everything. My life overall has been less stressful because I have been able to avoid so many of my usual triggers. When nobody left my house for any reason for like a month my family got along better than almost any other time. Which is really sad and says a lot about my control issues :(

I am shocked at the blatant dishonesty, but not shocked at the motivation. He's been avoidant since I've known him, and he'd rather have peace now at any price later. So of course he wants to hide from unpleasant consequences. I was not exactly chill about the last time a stepdaughter went rogue on social distancing while at my house, but I was mindful and contained about it.

Involving someone else in the lie is new to me, but for all I know he's been doing that for years. He has always charmed his way into and out of things. I have been trying to work with him over the years to be more open and forthright but it's been a really slow process. My life with him already has red flags, and I've been wondering about leaving him for five years now. Part of my therapy work is to understand why I struggle to actually do it.

I do not know how to let it go considering the consequences of what he was doing behind my back could be fatal to me, but I am doing my best to use self-care and process it all independently. I have messaged my therapist for help also. Otherwise just avoiding him and trying to figure out what this all means in the story of my life.
 
#9
I just wanted to add that being avoidant is a very common reason people lie, but without being able to trust that someone will be truthful, I think that makes it hard to maintain a relationship. My T says that truth, especially hard ones, bring people closer together. Falsehoods cause people to become more distant.
 
Thread starter #10
I just wanted to add that being avoidant is a very common reason people lie, but without being able to trust that someone will be truthful, I think that makes it hard to maintain a relationship. My T says that truth, especially hard ones, bring people closer together. Falsehoods cause people to become more distant.
Exactly. I tell him openness builds intimacy. He wants to avoid though.
 
#11
I was married to a liar. I realized the only thing I could trust was that everything that came out of his mouth was in his own self-interest and most likely was a lie. You can't trust anything someone who habitually lies says. He used to be slow to react too, like he was above it all. He also couldn't hold a job, so it was a total loss since he wouldn't do housework. I would never have a relationship with another liar. Not exaggeration, downright lying.
 
#12
I think there might be some over-simplification of a complex issue going on here.
but he basically put my life in danger on purpose.
This sounds a bit like catastrophising.

If covid is active in your community, having any visitor carries a degree of risk. You can reduce that risk by asking them to wash their hands with soap on arrival, and practicing social distancing (ie. don't touch them, don't go near them, disinfect the surfaces they touched when they leave - and all of those risk reducing actions are things you can control).

But, once you've agreed to a visitor? He hasn't "put your life at risk", at best, he's contributed to increasing your risk of potentially catching Covid.

But, you're already at risk when you have visitors. Period.
He didn't want to deal with my anxiety about it,
So, because of all the above, he probably didn't perceive this situation the same way you have. He probably genuinely didn't think "this is risking your life, when you would otherwise be 100% safe".

I get why you wanted to know. Why you felt entitled to know. I would too.

At the same time, if I've blown my top at someone multiple times in the past, I can probably assume they're going to try and avoid poking the bear.

He wanted see his daughter, and probably didn't want to cop it from you. That's not great behaviour from him, but relationships are a 2 way street. And wanting to see your child? Is probably a big deal to him.

Not saying what he did was okay.

But I think construing this situation as him deliberately putting your life at risk? And he's a habitual liar because he didn't tell you about his daughter's social activities? Is a bit catastrophic. Not a great, but probably not utterly dire either.

Since her visiting? Put you at risk. Period. With or without her visiting friends on the way.

I can understand why you want to know how exposed to the virus people have been before they enter your home. The decision about whether they're welcome in your home or not? Is entirely your call.

That doesn't actually entitle you to information about exactly where they've been and when, though.

Not trying to be disagreeable, just offering an alternative perspective. Because this situation seems to have a lot more moving parts to it than: he lied and knowingly risked my life.
 
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