Shreya has been working at an advertising agency for the past couple of months. Although her colleagues have been nothing short of welcoming and accommodating, Shreya assumes they criticize her behind her back. She’s on tenterhooks all the time, afraid of being fired.
It’s been three months since Raghav has recovered from Covid-19. His doctors have assured Raghav that he’s in perfect shape and that there’s been no long-term damage. But Raghav isn’t so sure. Although he feels fine, he can’t shake off the feeling that the doctors are concealing something from him.
Can you guess what Shreya and Raghav have in common? Both are dealing with trust issues. But what’s the meaning of trust issues? How do you know if you have them? Let’s find out!
Meaning Of Trust Issues
To fully comprehend the meaning of trust issues, we must first understand what trust is. Interpersonal trust refers to the perception that someone has your best interests at heart. When you trust someone, you have faith in them, believe in their words and actions and are willing to open yourself to them. Trust is fundamental in any thriving relationship, whether in the workplace or in personal life. It’s key to establishing meaningful connections with one another.
However, when uncertainty creeps in and a person has a difficult time trusting others without a valid reason to back their doubts, they’re said to have trust issues. People with trust issues are unable to open up to or rely on people around them because they’re afraid of manipulation, deception and abandonment. If left unchecked, trust issues can take the form of pistanthrophobia—the fear of trusting others.
Symptoms Of Trust Issues
Trust issues often come hand in hand with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. A person dealing with trust issues is quick to focus on the negatives about a person or a situation while overlooking the positives. Here are some of the most common symptoms of trust issues:
1. Unwillingness To Open Up
Being reluctant to open up to others is among the most significant symptoms of trust issues. A person dealing with trust issues doesn’t feel emotionally safe to share their thoughts and feelings with even the closest friends and family members. They’re afraid to put forth their most genuine selves in front of people out of the fear of having their ideas dismissed and not being valued and accepted for who they are as a person.
2. Assuming The Worst
People dealing with trust issues tend to assume the worst about people around them. One of the major symptoms of trust issues, this acts as a self-preservation tool for them to be constantly on their guard. They find it difficult to accept love, kindness, praise, compliments or generosity and look for ulterior motives behind the kind gestures of their friends and acquaintances. Such mistrust can also prompt people with trust issues to pick fights and get into heated arguments with others over trivial matters.
3. Tendency To Isolate Themselves
People with trust issues often isolate themselves out of fear of forming attachments and getting hurt in the process. Because they close themselves off from people, avoid forming new relationships and bottle up their emotions, they’re prone to succumbing to loneliness, anxiety and depression over time.
4. Cross-checking Information
Cross-checking information is one of the most common symptoms of trust issues. People with trust issues will only believe what they’re told once they’ve verified and confirmed it for themselves. For instance, if a person dealing with trust issues befriends a colleague who shares details about their life, they may go to great lengths to look them up on social media to verify whether whatever they’ve said is true.
Apart from these, sudden mood swings, overthinking situations and insecurity are also prominent symptoms of trust issues. Trust issues are the breeding ground of negative emotions such as acute jealousy, doubt and suspicion and can significantly hamper a person’s quality of life. In the workplace, low levels of trust among team members can slow progress and lead to conflict, resulting in a dysfunctional work environment.
Causes Of Trust Issues
We know the meaning of trust issues and have gone through some of the most prevalent symptoms of trust issues. But what gives rise to such trust issues? Here are a few prominent causes of trust issues:
1. Childhood Experiences
Individuals who go through a troubled childhood are most likely to experience trust issues later in life. Research shows children develop mistrust and doubt when they’ve been subject to duplicity in their social interactions from a young age. This can include a parent making false promises to a child or a friend failing to follow through on their words. Instances of neglect, violence and physical and/or mental abuse in childhood may also lead to a person developing trust issues in the future and questioning the intentions of those around them.
2. Toxic Relationships
Toxic relationships and infidelity are among the most common causes of trust issues in a person. When an individual is subject to lies, deception and emotional manipulation repeatedly or for a long time, they develop acute trust issues and turn away from people to protect themselves.
3. Traumatic Incidents
A person who has been through a traumatic incident, such as sexual assault, domestic violence or extreme bullying, may begin to anticipate potential danger in all of their relationships, whether old or new. They may keep replaying the traumatic event in their minds and are confused about whom to trust, feeling vulnerable and unsafe in society.
People with trust issues aren’t born with them. Trust issues gradually develop as a cumulative impact of the negative experiences one goes through in life, right from childhood. They may wreak havoc on a person’s self-image, morale and confidence, making them underperform at work, second-guess relationships and build emotional walls around themselves.
Overcoming Trust Issues
No matter how painful your past experiences are, it’s important to understand that they don’t have the power to dictate or define your entire life. With a little effort and perseverance, you can open yourself up to new experiences and overcome your trust issues. Let’s see how:
1. Professional Therapy
Professional therapy can help a person come to terms with their difficult experiences in life and trace the root causes of their trust issues. A therapist offers a safe space for people with trust issues to talk about their problems, relieve bottled-up emotions and overcome biases. With proper guidance, an individual dealing with trust issues is able to regain their lost hope and face life with renewed vigor.
2. Facing Fears
The key to overcoming trust issues is to face your fears and be willing to take calculated risks. Life isn’t perfect—people make mistakes and almost everyone has the potential to let you down at some point. But that doesn’t stop you from moving forward in life, accepting things for what they are and learning from your mistakes. Experts recommend practicing mindfulness to focus on the present instead of being engulfed in assumptions about what could possibly go wrong in the future.
3. Boosting Self-Image
Often, people with trust issues nurture a negative image of themselves. So much so that when someone compliments or appreciates them, their positive words don’t align with the negative self-image they have in their minds and they begin doubting the other person’s intentions. Boosting self-image and developing self-esteem are essential to overcoming trust issues. To do that, not only do you need to challenge your own limiting beliefs and acknowledge your abilities but also surround yourself with positive-minded people who uplift and encourage you.
Getting over painful experiences and the resulting trauma doesn’t happen in one day. Give yourself time, be patient and ask for support. Alongside therapy, online support groups can also work wonders in your journey to overcome trust issues. These comprise people who’ve been through similar experiences, share common ground and offer emotional support to one another.
Be At Your Best
A fundamental step to overcoming trust issues and developing meaningful relationships—both within and outside work—is to understand yourself. Here’s where Harappa’s Interpreting Self course comes in. This engaging self-knowledge course with a world-renowned diagnostic survey will help you to not only identify your strengths but also define your aspirations. You’ll be able to step out of your comfort zone to pursue professional goals, learn to seek feedback and develop self-awareness to gain valuable insights for self-improvement.
Frameworks such as the Kaleidoscope and the Johari Window will acquaint you with the five aspects of actions and behaviors and help you identify your blind spots, while the Workstyle Inventory tool will allow you to decode how you work and deal with people. As you reflect on life-shaping experiences, you’ll master the art of turning that reflection into insights and those insights into actions. Want to be at your best and carve your own unique path to success? Sign up today for Harappa’s Interpreting Self course.
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