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Spotlight on trust issues and how to work with them

Arguably three of the most important relationships in your life, securing trust in romantic, parental and friendship relationships is key to a harmonic existence together. Trust is an essential foundation in a relationship, enabling strong communication and a support system to flourish.

Couple holding hands but facing apart

But when a key player in the relationship is suffering with trust issues, communication breakdowns can occur, frustrations can arise, a so-called elephant in the room can appear and the feelings of isolation and loneliness become paramount.

Trust issues most commonly develop from a traumatic experience in the sufferer’s life and this experience can manifest into the present day, potentially unbalancing new relationships.

How to work on trust issues

It’s natural to protect your own emotional well-being, so we’ve put together four thoughts on navigating trust issues in a relationship.

1. Be honest

It’s important to make your partner aware of the trust issues that you’re faced with. Open discussions are a sign of trust and will allow for effective communication in your future relationship together.

When you’ve had your heart truly broken, opening yourself up to someone new can be extremely frightening, so take small steps with an open mind (if you can’t quite open your heart yet).

2. Show care

If you’re on the receiving end of someone who suffers with trust issues, it’s easy to become frustrated when the lack of trust rears its head. Try and engage with your empathetic side; showing that you care with physical actions can be just as comforting and supportive as the words you speak.

3. Discuss, don’t accuse

Should a situation arise that makes you feel uncomfortable, speak up. Share your concerns but don’t let these concerns evolve into accusations before you’ve spoken to your partner. This will allow for your partner to look at the situation from your point of view and give you the opportunity to agree on a solution together.

4. Learn

Trust is different in every relationship, and to each individual, it has a new weighting. Along with your partner, learn what trust means to them and yourself, how it can be earned and how it’s lost. You’ll be more emotionally aware and mindful of their trust borders and your trust as a couple.

Man in bed looking at phone

Trust counselling

When dealing with trust issues, it can be very difficult to see the point of view from the person on the receiving end of the distrust. Counselling for trust issues can offer you skills to look at a difficult situation or relationship objectively.

A professional therapist can work with you to examine where the root of the trust issues are and support your journey to overcome these.

CBT for trust issues

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy that can help people overcome trust issues. In CBT, the understanding is that people’s thoughts influence their behaviour so in the case of trust issues in a relationship, a thought may be, ‘I don’t believe she’s been out with friends, she must be cheating on me.’ This could lead that individual to check the partner’s phone, quiz her excessively on the occasion, causing friction and frustration in the relationship. 

As the client, in a CBT for trust issues session, you will be asked to share your worries and talk through where these might have come from. The therapist will help you learn new ways of thinking to combat the negative thought patterns, they will help separate past problems from ruminating into future fears and teach you new ways to build confidence and trust. 

A professional therapist can also help the person without trust issues to understand the thoughts and the behaviour of the person with trust issues, which may evoke more empathy for one another in a relationship.

If you need support with trust issues, use the advanced search tool to find a professional counsellor who’s right for you.

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Written by Katie Hoare

Katie Hoare is a marketing and content officer for Counselling Directory.

Written by Katie Hoare

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