|Series Theme: Forgiveness|
Title: 3. Trust that Needs to be Rebuilt
These pages are primarily for Christians, but we hope that if you are a non-Christian you will benefit from them as well. This page is one of four and the subjects covered are:
2. What is Trust and why does it go?
Very often when someone has been abused in a relationship, after the Offender comes and asks for forgiveness, the Offended person feels guilty that they can't feel about that person like they did originally.
If that is you, then realise that it is unreasonable for you to think that you can still feel about them as you did before, if you have been badly hurt by the breakdown in your relationship.
You need to think about the trust you had previously, and why it is no longer there.
Trust, in this instance = confidence in a person.
When your Offender abused you, your confidence in them was shattered and it is going to take some time and effort by BOTH of you to rebuild it.
3. Forms of Abuse
Abuse simply means misuse or ill-treatment (that's a dictionary definition!).
Abuse, therefore, can include someone verbally attacking you with abusive language, to cause you emotional pain.
It can include them blatantly lying to you, or speaking untruths about you to others.
It can include physically hitting you to cause you physical pain or sexually abusing you for their own gratification.
It can include their abandonment of you for another, when previously there has been a strong relationship between you.
In each of these cases your confidence in that person (your trust) will have been severely damaged.
When you next encounter them again, you may find it very difficult to not think, "Will they do that again to me?"
4. Does it Matter?
If the person in question emigrated and you never ever saw them again, the matter of loss of trust wouldn't matter at all - as far as they are concerned.
However, the fact that you have been abused by them, may create a thought in you, "Will someone else do that to me?" In other words you may find it difficult to trust other people, now.
If you have ongoing contact with your Offender, especially if they are your parent or your partner, then you are likely to be living on the edge, fearing a repetition of the abuse.
In both these instances, your life is not what it could be, and you need to take steps to bring change.
5. Rebuilding Trust
As we approach this subject, we need to realise that every situation is unique and so it's possible we may not match your particular situation, but we will try to provide general strategies that could be applicable.
In doing this we need to reiterate some assumptions here:
a) We assume that you have already gone through the stages of forgiveness covered by the two previous pages about forgiveness.
b) We assume that there are two of you who are willing to work at this from both sides. If this is not so, then you will need to think the following through excluding those parts that refer to the other person's side of it.
c) We assume you are the offended person.
Having laid down those assumptions, let's now go through the suggested 'helps'.
5.1. Get God's Help
If you are a Christian or someone who is used to praying, ask God to help you. James 1:5 encourages us to ask God for wisdom - the knowledge of what to do, how to act - and tells us that He gives generously and without finding fault. Getting God's help can be the first vital stage.
5.2 Talk it through together
It is important for your 'Abuser' to understand your loss of trust and your desire to rebuild it. They need to realise that THEY have a vital part to play in this. They cannot simply expect you to trust them easily.
Your confidence has been smashed! It would be good to talk through the following strategies.
5.3 Determine how to avoid the situation arising again.
The 'abuse' didn't just happen, there was a build-up to it. If it was their temper, then there are usually stages in the building up of that temper until flash point.
Those stages need breaking into and thwarting and if the other person isn't willing to do something about that, then the burden for preventing it will upon upon you alone.
Their refusal, they need to understand, will only reinforce your lack of confidence in them. Wherever possible avoid letting the circumstances build towards conflict.
5.4 Lay down boundaries.
You need to be clear in your mind what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour from them.
Once you have got clear in your mind what is unacceptable (e.g. being hit!!!), you then need to decide how you are going to say that to them, how you can both decide that it won't happen again, and then what you are going to do if it does happen again.
(Regular abuse needs to be faced for what it is - don't make excuses - and it needs stopping.)
You may need someone else's advice or counsel to determine how you're going to deal with this.
5.5 Build Confidence in Yourself.
Very often, the other person abuses us because we let them, and we let them because we lack confidence to be assertive. This, for many, is a very large part of the issue.
Some of the other pages in this area - about God's love for you - should help you to realise more clearly how much God loves you and is for you, and what He thinks about you.
On other parts of the Web you should be able to find sites on Assertiveness - just go to a search engine and type in "Assertiveness" - and that will start you along the path of being able to speak confidently and being able to take control in a conversation.
This is not about you becoming aggressive, but it is about you becoming the person God wants you to be, able to be in charge of your side of things to avoid being trampled on.
5.6 Do things together.
Communication is vital in any relationship, and the person who offended you or abused you, needs to be working at regaining your confidence in them - by changing and being nice!
That sounds a bit simplistic but that's what it is - them changing so their behaviour is the opposite to what it was.
Only when you see change, is your subconscious going to agree that there is hope!
Rebuilding trust takes time, energy and perseverance.
If we are to avoid slipping back into a negative behaviour pattern where abuse ensues, we must persevere with the above strategies until we are both confident that the abuse pattern is a thing of the past.
Much more could be said about this subject. We hope there is sufficient here to give you hope.
6. Working Alone
In what we've said above, we've assumed that two of you are working together to bring change, to enable the future to be better.
However, there may be circumstances where you have just allowed people generally to treat you badly, or perhaps where the person or people in question are no longer in your area of life.
It means therefore that you will need to address the things in yourself that need rebuilding, on your own.
So items 1 and 5 above are particularly relevant, and will need working through either alone, or with a mentor.Perhaps you