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Trust: Fragile, Handle With Care

Trust is a fundamental building block of any relationship.

Trust is based on past and ongoing observations of behavior and words. It is knocked down every time one person lets another down or does something that stresses the boundaries of the relationship. Sadly, trust is an extremely fragile thing in regard to relationships with people who have brain illnesses. Those suffering from depression, anxiety, or even more serious diagnoses too often have limitations that can lead to loss of trust.

When trust has been eroded, those of us who care about someone struggling with a brain illness have decisions to make. We might ask ourselves a few questions to help us make those decisions:

To what extent are issues of trust affecting our relationship? Is it something that affects me much of the time, or is it an occasional thought?

Am I overly sensitive due to the emotional roller coaster created by brain illness in one member of the relationship? Or is my concern at a reasonable level, considering where we’re at right now?

Would it be helpful to step up my monitoring of my loved one’s behavior? Would that relieve stress by increasing accountability, or would it increase my stress and harm my loved one’s self-esteem?

Is there anyone else in my life, someone I know I can trust, who can help me maintain perspective in this situation?

We may even reach a point where we begin to ask ourselves whether trust has been broken to such an extent that major changes – perhaps even estrangement – need to be made to the relationship, in order to preserve our own mental health and sense of security and well-being.

In the end, we all need to be able to trust those near us in order to feel comfortable and secure. And, in the end, we need to be able to trust ourselves to make decisions about how we interact with those near us. Otherwise, every step we take will be a tiptoe over the sharp and painful shards of a shattered relationship.


2 Responses

  1. I always come away from your posts with things to think about. Jxx

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