Trust Issues

Trust issues exist in relationships other than just those that are romantic. Trust issues can cause conflict at the workplace, in friendship, and with family members, but therapy can help.

What are trust issues?

Trust issues describe a person’s lack of confidence in other people, leading to the avoidance of relying on others, being vulnerable with others, or entering into committed relationships with others. Trust issues aren’t always apparent, both to the person who has them or to the people impacted by them. People who have trust issues often have conflict with other people, however only after reflection on the root causes of that conflict do they realize that their reluctance to trust those around them plays a role in the fighting, arguing, or hurt feelings.

Trust issues make it difficult for a person to feel comfortable with other people. It comes from a place of fear and often a place of pain. When someone has trust issues, they push others away, especially when there are the beginning signs of intimacy. This can be in a romantic relationship, a working relationship with a coworker, or even a friendship.

Origin of trust issues

There are many reasons why someone might develop trust issues. Often, trust issues arise when someone has learned that it is not safe to trust other people. Children who were raised with insecure attachments and who could not rely on their caregivers learn to be independent and self-reliant, sometimes to a maladaptive level. When a parent or caregiver causes the child harm, disappoints the child in a big way, or leaves the family, they show the child that there is pain in close relationships. When that child grows up, they might still believe that intimacy leads to harm.

People who have experienced trauma commonly develop trust issues. This is especially true for individuals who have previously been in toxic or abusive relationships. They associate the distress from those relationships with any intimate relationship and subsequently avoid feeling close to anyone else. Unfortunately, when their abuser broke their trust, they disrupted the individual’s ability to trust anyone, even outside of that relationship.

Symptoms of trust issues

When someone has trust issues, they tend to avoid being close to other people emotionally. They don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable with other people and are wary of other people’s motives. When they are in relationships with other people, they anticipate betrayal or pain. They might start conflicts or even end relationships to evade getting hurt, even when the reality is that there are no reasons to believe that pain will happen. When someone else makes a mistake, people with trust issues might see this as a confirmation of their original belief that no one can be trusted.

People with trust issues often struggle with commitment challenges. They may date, however when they develop feelings for another person, they aren’t quick to enter a defined relationship. When trust issues are unconscious, this can lead to confusion, frustration, and disappointment. The lack of close relationships can also be lonely.

Therapy for trust issues

Therapy for trust issues is a great way to better understand one’s tendency away from trusting others. Therapists who specialize in trust issues encourage clients to start becoming aware of their trust issues and help clients identify the ways that these issues impact their life and their relationships. Therapists create a safe space where clients can talk about the root of their trust issues, learning more about themselves and their ideas about closeness, intimacy, and vulnerability. Clients will also learn ways to communicate in healthy ways with those around them and to cope with any heightened emotions that arise when relating to others.