I Can’t Trust

Trust and Relationships

by Annette Young

It’s an age-old problem. If you have ever experienced a heart-breaking relationship, let alone a toxic one, it’s likely that you will have deeply-rooted trust issues going forward. It’s easy to worry about this, but don’t. It’s natural and is just a form of self-protection. It can take time for trust in others to start to develop.

The best starting point has to be with yourself. How can you learn to trust others if you don’t wholly trust yourself? That might sound a bit odd but it’s true. Often, when bad relationships have been experienced, there’s a sense of disbelief,  ‘how could I not have seen through this person?’

Ill-treatment from within a relationship is very difficult to overcome. Deep down you might know you don’t deserve it, and yet, it’s happening to you. It’s not even about physical violence, it could be anything – derogatory remarks,  bullying, sarcasm and threats.  Anything that makes you feel less than good about yourself is unhealthy and unwarranted. Toxic relationships come in all different guises, you may have dated more than one individual who treated you badly but it’s likely that the behaviours were not the same.  Signs that manifest mid-way through were probably not visible at the start of the relationship so, how could you have known?

Learning to trust your judgement is important. Learning to be brave in your own emotional soul is difficult, but, think of it as a stepping stone towards recovery. There’s no need to rush. Little by little, you start to grow and you go at the pace that is right for you.

Trust is not guaranteed in life. People can and do let you down. It doesn’t matter who you are, there are malicious, callous and unreliable people out there. Sadly, this is the way of the world these days. Don’t give your heart and trust too easily, instead, take your time to see if your next potential partner truly deserves you. Over time, trust will develop and you can relax into the relationship…it will happen naturally and that is the best way to make progress.

Break Free Recovery

Are you ready to start the healing process? We can help. CLICK HERE.

Emotional Abuse – What About Me?

Annette Youngby Annette Young

I am often asked to define emotional abuse and I always say that it is  hard to answer definitively because each case is based on an individual level.  It’s easy to believe that derogatory behaviour may happen if couples no longer have deep and loving feelings for each other. Perhaps, irritability or frustration creeps into the equation although, this is never a reason for treating someone badly. But however you wish to define emotional abuse, know this, it is far more common than you might think and, even if you are in a loving relationship, there will be many people around you who are cruel or damaging relationships.

So how do you know if you are a victim of emotional abuse?

Sadly, within a toxic environment, there is often humiliation or criticising behaviour. Sometimes, spiteful comments are wrapped up in humour but of course, this doesn’t detract from the core message, even if it makes it harder to quantify.

It’s easier to comprehend if you consider your own relationship. Does your partner make fun of you, or, regularly insult you in front of others? Does he talk down to you or treat you as if you are a child? Does he make you feel that you are to blame if there is an argument?

If this all sounds familiar, it’s likely that you have questioned this behaviour and you may have been accused of being too sensitive, too silly or too paranoid. Over time, derogatory behaviour can be hugely damaging. It leads to feelings of insecurity and self-doubts and will of course, widen the divide between you. Condescending behaviour is not funny and sarcastic comments designed to hurt are not conducive to a loving relationship.

Where possible,  it’s worth trying to fix any issues within your relationship but typically, talking it out doesn’t work. Counselling is a good option if you are both willing to go, but,  just having awareness of any abusive behaviour will help to stop the decline in respect of your own self-esteem or confidence. It may be that you can’t resolve your relationship and then, the choice is yours if you wish to stay, but, never let anyone take away your belief in who you are.

Break Free Recovery

Ready to start the healing process?

Don’t Touch Me

Intimacyby Annette Young

In an age where sexual activity is the norm, many people may be surprised that some women (in this case, those healing from abusive relationships) may have a much lower or even, non-existent sex drive.  But even those who still have a healthy sex drive can find that desire fluctuates when there is the fear of a new relationship.

So, why does this happen?

We all put barriers up so to protect ourselves, not just in a physical manner, but those same walls can protect us in an emotional sense too.  We may want to love again and to enjoy the pleasures of a physical relationship but sometimes, a fear of emotional intimacy, can override the desire for a normal sexual encounter. For many women, sex and love or sex and deep emotions go hand in hand. It’s a complex and tightly interwoven behaviour.

The brain in all its complexities, is so very powerful, but it can work for or against the woman making all sexual desires dissipate as soon as a potential new partner tries to take the relationship to the next step. If this sounds familiar, try to seek out counselling. There’s absolutely no shame in talking your concerns over with a professional who can help to discover the root cause of these barriers. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is also a wonderful resource to help you break down these barriers.

Break Free Recovery

Sign up for our Break Free Recovery Program

But make no mistake, sometimes this fear of emotional and physical intimacy is to simply protect you because you may not be ready to move on and that’s ok. If you have a loving new relationship, your partner will understand that you have to take it slowly. There’s no shame in saying no and gradually working out these issues as love and commitment develops. It’s normal to feel scared, it’s normal to lose your sex drive sometimes if you have been through an abusive situation, but don’t let it hold you back from connecting with others. Seek professional help if you can but always trust your instinct.

Who Are You Now?

Lost Identityby Annette Young

Often people believe that those who have endured abusive or manipulative relationships will just bounce back emotionally after a period of time and certainly once they have escaped the clutches of an abusive partner. It’s as if life MUST suddenly go back to normal and you surely MUST feel whole again?

It’s reasonable to consider that those who have never endured an abusive relationship is not likely to understand, it’s far more important for you, the former victim of abuse, to realise that even if you have escaped, you will be far from whole.

Sadly, the damage from a toxic relationship is far-reaching. Its icy tendrils invades every aspect of life, extending outwards and contaminating even potential future relationships.  No doubt, you feel lost. Freedom was supposed to be the end of hardship and pain, but now, you may have lost sight of who you are and how to cope. If this sounds familiar,  know this, it’s ok to be lost for a while and, it may not always be possible to fully heal yourself.

Admitting that life has changed you is a positive starting point. Admitting that you are different and that you may be unable to identify with the woman you once were is smart too because often there’s a seemingly impossible divide between that woman and the woman you have become. Life shapes us all, in both good and bad ways, but abuse, well, understand that it is not always possible to completely lose the fear of a new relationship, although, sometimes, with the right person, it is possible to do so.

Break Free Recovery

Sign up for our Break Free Recovery Program

Either way, being kind to yourself is the best starting point you can have on the road to recovery. You are bound to be uncertain. You are bound to have self-doubts. Don’t judge your fears or your new identity, embrace it. After all, you are a survivor.