Saturday, September 13, 2008

Trust

Trust issues, where do they come from? How do they affect you and the relationship you have with friends, family and lovers? How long do they last? What is the best way to heal from a trust issue? These are questions I’ve been pondering recently.

I started to trace back to the beginning of my trust issues. I used to be very open, I used to wear my heart on my sleeve, and the furthest back I could remember being hurt by trust was in the sixth grade. I had met a very nice girl (yes I tried being straight, even earlier than that, I used to misinterpret good friends and relationships in my head even at an early age) and we got along very well. She had a very strange and unusual boyfriend that I didn’t particularly care for because he mistreated her. So I was getting close to her and she asked me how I felt about her, it was between classes so she told me to write her a note and she’d get it between our next classes….I know, how sixth grade of us. So I spent the period ignoring the boring English lecture and wrote her the note I thought would win her over. I poured my heart out, how great I thought she was, how caring she was and how she deserved so much better.

Well the next day after she had time to read the note I was greeted with a very upset boyfriend, seemed he convinced her to get me to write the note so he could beat my ass and feel justified about it….and she did just what he wanted. I remember feeling completely devastated, I could care less about the punk wanting to beat my ass, he was a wuss and didn’t even try, but I was a wreck about the whole situation. The person I trusted, the person I cared for threw me under the bus. I just didn’t know how to deal.

A few years later a group of us were having conversations about another friend of ours boyfriend. Now looking back I can see how the statements could be misunderstood and perhaps it wasn’t good judgement, but it was all in good fun, friend A was laughing along with us. They were not disturbing jokes, they were not harsh jokes, they were just jokes. Well the next morning I got picked up for school and get bombarded about what a horrible person I was etc… by the friend whose boyfriend we were joking around about. Meanwhile friend A sat there the whole time between us just looking down at the floor. I endured this verbal bitch slap the entire ride to school, knowing full well that friend A who had been my best friend for 6 years, whom I had told everything to, had thrown me under the bus for the affection of the other friend whom he had known for a short 6 months, and only knew because I brought him along on one of our outings.

Once again, thrown under the bus by someone I trusted, someone I trusted with my life, with my secrets, all but one. I remember one evening I was spending the night at his house and we were hanging out and talking about life and about secrets, it was good trusting conversations and I remember thinking I wanted to tell him I thought I was attracted to men, but I stopped myself. It was years later I was so glad I did. But then again, I wonder now if I had told him then if he would still be talking to me today. I wonder, if I had told him so many years ago and he would have been around it more, would he be so against it now? That’s just too much wonder, and WAY off topic.

So anyway, I know where my trust issues are, and in every new friendship I test the waters, slowly, but steadily to see what I can say. How much can I let out before this person throws me under the bus? How long can a secret be kept?

In my first relationship with a woman, it took awhile. It took a good 3 years before I started really opening up. Shortly after we started dating we had a night, you know the night when you spend all night talking about one another, telling each other things you don’t normally tell people? Well we had a night like that, and I told her some of my secrets. Even then I was holding back, and she knew it. She called me out on the situation and I told her flat out….Sometime you are going to see me naked, we’re going to do things that not everyone I know needs to know about, you are going to eventually know the most intimate details about me and my body…..and there’s the possibility it won’t work, and you’ll leave and have all these intimate details about my life and could destroy my relationships with our friends. Things that don’t need to be talked about, could be. I thought she was going to cry, it was then she started to understand my trust issues. We battled with it for months, but she finally got me to break down the wall a bit, to let her in. I still didn’t let her all the way in and that was eventually what destroyed our relationship. I still cared for her and her me, but we couldn’t make it work. Being as shy as I can be I vowed I could never see her again, or talk to her again without it being awkward, it killed me to know she was out there with my secrets, but a part of me trusted her, that since she cared about me still she wouldn’t talk about me.

This illusion worked for several years actually. After I moved back home I met one of her friends, I didn’t at the time know it was one of her best friends as we hadn’t spoken in years. I became friends with this friend we’ll call L. I used to talk about the ex with L and we never really put pieces together, I of course didn’t know there were pieces to put together. Then one day L got drunk and got rather friendly with me, seems L had developed feelings for me, and since she and her husband were having problems, she thought it would be o.k. to start something with me…..uh, no. So in her drunken state she leans over to me and says, “I don’t care what _____ says, I think you’re fantastic.” It was like the music stopped and the world shook me out of my daze.

She went to tell me all the things that J (the ex) told her about me, and this was after we broke up. Seems J told her every one of my secrets, about every intimate experience we had, and everything I had ever done wrong. I told her to get a grip and go home to her husband, because the night was over. It was true, every nightmare, every paranoia, it was all true. It all happened, just exactly as I thought it could. I was humiliated. I stopped talking to L after that, I really stopped talking to people after that. I had my core friends and as far as I was concerned, that was all I needed.

Recently, as in the last few months, I’ve come to learn during one drunkin night, that one of J and I’s mutual friends with whom I’m still friends with, knew everything as well. He told me that fateful night everything he knew, every humiliating and secret thing that had happened. He knew very intimate details of J and I’s relationship….so once again, all over again, the same feelings. Just as I make strides in working on my trust issues something like this happens, and I realize I’ve only been fooling myself all these years. As B would say, the other shoe dropped.

We talked about this and I know he hasn’t told people, because I have just as many humiliating details about his life that I have kept in my heart for all these years. It’s one of the few that there really is trust. We both know about sides of the other that people don’t always accept, or approve of, and yet we’re always there for each other to let the other know, that it’s o.k. And while many don’t understand our friendship, it’s that reason why we are friends, against all odds, we’re always there to let the other know, it’s o.k.

A post or two ago B left a comment that really struck me and made me stop and think:

“…Sometimes I feel like you're afraid to accept love because you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, you're waiting for someone to out you, to discover that which you see as unlovable about yourself. But what I don't think you understand (and hell, what I don't understand about my own life) is that the people who love you simply do not see those things.”

I have read this portion of the comment over and over and it’s so true. In any relationship I have, including friendships, I’m always waiting for that moment, for the shoe to drop, for that point they say…..yeah, that’s it, I’m out of here. I keep myself at a distance so that way when it does happen I’m not surprised and I’m not devastated again. I despise that feeling of regretting talking to someone, that feeling like getting to know someone has done you more harm than good. I hate it. But on the flip side, I hate not sharing with people, I hate not letting people in, I hate over thinking conversations. I really do want to share with people, because the people I share with now make it so easy.

With regards to coming out of the closet, only two people know locally. Come to find out I’m not so sure S remembers the whole conversation the other night. F and C made it easy, and they are some of the few I can trust. I have trusted others with this secret but they are all out of town. It makes me wonder, did I do that subconsciously incase the shoe were to drop per say that it wouldn’t affect my life here? I really do trust them, but perhaps that’s the reason it happened so quickly and easily. Here I am second guessing again.

I’d like to move past this, so I’m ready, so I’m ready to accept love. I’d like to believe that these things I’m ashamed of won’t make a difference in the future. That someone will love me for these things, and not in spite of these things. That people can look past all the hideousness and ugliness I feel on the outside and love me for what’s inside. I’ve tried to separate my body issues from my trust issues, but I’ve learned in life that these two walk hand in hand, one can’t survive without the other. So the question becomes, if I destroy one, will the other dissolve as well?

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