When trust doesn’t come easily there is always a reason for it. Learn how to help someone with trust issues overcome their fear.
Trust issues come in all shapes and sizes. Some appear as jealousy. Others make someone appear cold or distant. But all trust issues can be worked on and helped. You just have to know how to help someone with trust issues.
Where do you begin?
The first step to helping someone with trust issues is patience. There is not one thing you can say or do to make this person open up and trust you. They likely have trust issues from someone in the past that lied to them.
Although you are not the reason for their trust issues, you must earn their trust through actions and understanding. Being patient with someone and letting them come to trust you in their own time is the best thing you can do. This helps them realize that you think they are worth the wait.
How to help someone with trust issues without taking it personally
A reason a lot of people don’t have the patience for someone with trust issues is because they take it personally. They think, I haven’t done anything wrong for them not to trust me, but they’re punishing me for it. That is not true though. When someone has trust issues it is because they trusted someone before and were fooled.
You may feel as if you are being limited or punished, but in fact they punish themselves for the past. They question everything, and their pain and fear is more heavy than your frustration could ever imagine.
Their past experience led to their fear of trusting someone new. But these people often have some of the biggest hearts and waiting patiently for them to open up and trust you is so worth it. If you’re wondering how to help someone with trust issues, realize that the best way to help is to trust them. [Read: The hardships of being afraid of love]
Understanding how to help someone with trust issues
Trust issues come from fear of being hurt or betrayed once again. If you do not have that fear you’re lucky. And although it may seem unfair to trust this person in order for them to trust you. Trust that they are trying their best and want to trust you.
If they have a moment of irrational jealously or hesitation, let them know that it is okay and you understand. Getting upset or defensive only pushes them further away. Let them know you do not take it personally. You get where they are coming from and are willing to help however you can. [Read: Pistanthrophobia and understanding the fear of trusting someone]
#1 Ask them what you can do. Although staying calm and patient helps anyone with trust issues, they are all driven by varying sources. Some people simply need time to trust, other need someone to earn their trust, others need more than that. So ask them.
Say something like, I know you have trust issues because of your past and am happy to wait for you to trust me, but is there anything I can do to help? This lets them know you are willing to work with them rather than blaming them. They may ask you to take things slow, be there for them when they need you, or simply remain patient. [Read: The signs of insecurity people can’t hide when they feel insecure]
#2 Offer to talk about it. Often in order to understand why this person has trust issues, you have to know the story. It may be difficult for them to express it. Although they are likely over the person that hurt them, the situation and act of betrayal can stay with them for a long time.
But if you know what this person went through, you may be able to better sympathize with their feelings. Just know that by saying, I would never do that to you will not put them at ease. When it comes to those with trust issues, words mean a lot less than actions.
#3 Prove it rather than saying it. You may not understand why they still don’t trust you after you promised not to hurt them or that you would never lie or cheat, but those words will not go far for someone with trust issues. They want to take your words to heart and believe you, but they’ve been duped before.
Rather than repeating your promises, prove your loyalty. Try not to cancel plans, show up when you say you will. Offer to make them more comfortable in certain situations and actually do it. It may seem like you are putting extra work in, but this person is worth it. [Read: 25 ways to say “I appreciate you” without using words]
#4 Realize what they are doing in order to trust you. Your frustration can begin to get the best of you. You may think that you are doing so much to earn their trust, but wonder what they are doing. Although it may not seem like it on the outside, they constantly battle with themselves.
Between wanting to trust you and being terrified of being hurt again it is difficult, if not impossible, to forget such intense pain and betrayal. Not only are they hesitant to trust you, but they also lost trust in themselves. As you may be waiting, they aren’t sitting around, but actually begging themselves to choose happiness over fear.
#5 What if they can’t shake this fear? No one is ever sure of a relationship. You never know what is going to happen. And that fear and hesitancy lives in everyone, even those without trust issues. So those who have been hurt by trusting before have those fears turned into paranoia. It can be hard to let go and believe that things will work out.
And for those that have been repeatedly hurt, they may not be ready. If you have done everything you can and want to help, but they can’t shake their trust issues it may not be the right time. You can help them by saying you care and you do not want to leave, but it is clear they are not ready for a relationship.
Let them know you are still there for them, but they need to work on their trust issues outside of a relationship. Perhaps they could go to therapy. They need to self reflect and learn to trust themselves before opening themselves to someone else. [Read: Letting go of someone you love without the bitterness]
#6 Sometimes that is all you can do. Help is a difficult thing when it comes to trust. All you can do sometimes is wait and be there. Other times you let go in order for them to find their way back. It may seem counterintuitive to leave someone that doesn’t yet trust you, but letting them go to figure it out on their own may be what they need.
Trust issues are often internal. So there is little you can do from the outside. All you can hope for is that they will be able to trust again and be truly happy one day, whether with or without you.