Trust and healing

One of the first things we learned from the abuse that we were part of, was that you can’t trust anyone.  In particular, you couldn’t trust the little girl that went stumbling through life in a dissociative daze.  She was unable to see the potential harm that would result from following the instructions given to her (part of her conditioning was to obey without question).  As a result, we experience a total lack of trust of anything and anyone.  With this in mind…

How do you learn to trust someone else to help you heal, when you don’t trust your own judgement?

Our conditioning has meant that we find it incredibly difficult to question authority of any kind.  We perceive the therapist as an authority figure.  They may have toys in their office, have an open body language and tone; but we still see them as authority.  This is because they have qualifications (they are meant to be the expert at this healing thing), we pay for the appointment (paying for a service from a professional) and we go to their office (on their turf or comfort area).  So the power dynamics are off from the start.  As a further complication, the mother is a nurse.  This fact means that we live in fear of the medical field, but yet are totally sucked into obeying it without question – I hate being a product of my environment! 

Looking at the decisions we have made over the years, it’s obvious that we still haven’t learned to trust our instinct about people.  A prime example is the ex-husband, Management tried to end the relationship very early on, but wasn’t able to communicate the reasons why he shouldn’t be trusted, so we ended up marrying him with disastrous results.  In regard to therapists, the decision-making is even more warped.  We don’t know how to begin to trust them and the power dynamics make it almost impossible.  We’ll sometimes get clues that the relationship isn’t working as it should, but sometimes we look at these as us creating blocks.  It can be very hard to differentiate between the two – are we avoiding going to therapy because we don’t trust Liz, or because we don’t want to do the work?  It feels like we’re walking a tightrope.  Needing to trust yourself and your own judgement, but knowing from past experience that this judgement is flawed.

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10 Responses to “Trust and healing”

  1. 1 mindparts June 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I’m so sorry you are having a difficult time.

    I think I’ve told you that you’ve displayed remarkable trust in yourself to say what you’ve said here on this blog. I think you work hard. I think you are making progress. Maybe you don’t see it right now, but I know it’s there.

    Hang in there.


    • 2 castorgirl June 24, 2009 at 10:34 pm

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you.

      Unfortunately we don’t feel any sort of trust in ourselves – you haven’t seen the number times we’ve posted something and then had to delete it soon after because of some fear, confusion or stupidity. Looking back over the last months we see our behaviour as going backwards rather than forwards. We see the repetition, the hiding, withdrawal etc.

      Take care…

  2. 3 jumpinginpuddles June 24, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    isnt it interesting we see our therapist the same way but the way you put it made it easier for us to realise this so thankyou

    • 4 castorgirl June 24, 2009 at 10:35 pm

      I’m glad we could help in some way… :)
      Hopefully realising it will make it easier to work on or with.
      Take care…

  3. 5 Di June 25, 2009 at 5:23 am

    This is just how I feel. I’m ramping up for another session tonight where I want to ask him if I should quit therapy or keep coming but of course it is impossible to trust his answer or my feelings about whether it is helping or not. It is so painful.

    take care,

  4. 7 Ivory June 25, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I have pondered this, too. Our abusers, parents, religious leaders, school teachers, etc, have taught us to respect our elders, be cooperative, and congenial. It is the perfect set up, it wasn’t just abusers who trained us this way.

    However, had I not been brought up this way, I would never have been able to trust my T. Even he questioned, early on, why I came to him – a man, when my abusers were all men. I don’t know why I came to him, but he has earned my trust many times over. Had he slipped up even once, I don’t think I would ever be able to trust anyone again.

    Great post! Braveness!

    • 8 castorgirl June 26, 2009 at 8:49 am

      Yes, the whole “respect your elders” ethos was a double edged sword for many of us. This was how I was raised and I still find it difficult to call my elders by their first name rather than the more formal “Mr” or “Mrs”. Those little things encouraged the power dynamics of the relationship to be skewed in their favour. Many people would never consider taking advantage of this, but unfortunately many did (and still do).

      I’m so glad you’ve found someone whom you can trust :)

      Take care…

  5. 9 David June 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    This is a really, really hard bind to be in.

    What’s worked for me, as far as figuring out whom I can start to think about trusting, is my knowledge that I do have what I would call a reliable “compass” part, who really does have excellent judgment … the hard thing has been listening to him, because respecting his infallible judgment means taking stands sometimes that are hard to take.

    It sounds as if perhaps your Management has a good compass? How does she feel about Liz? If you do trust Management’s compass, is it perhaps possible to write down or translate that information in a way or form that can be a “reminder” to other parts who get confused?

    I really do think that we all have that compass, and it always points true north … it’s just a question of how far we’ve been obliged to push it aside in order to survive. Just from reading your blog, I think you actually have very good deep instincts, but, as with all of us DIDers, it’s hard to translate those instincts into action, and to keep track of their rightness, because there are so many other voices and behaviors in the way.

  6. 10 castorgirl June 26, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    You’re right in that Management is a good internal compass. She will often guide us away from people who she identifies as not being all they seem. But she’s also a loner, so it’s hard to determine whether she is saying to avoid that person because they can’t be trusted, or because she would rather be alone. Her opinion of Liz isn’t all that favourable, but she also knows that our options for therapists are limited so she’s advocating for another month trial. We’ve had quite a bit of success with the woman’s programme we go to; this has given us hope that we’re not avoiding the work, but have yet to find the right person to help us along the way.

    I know what you mean about the noise created by the DID. Sometimes it can be so frustrating.

    Take care…

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