Because of past experiences, both in my childhood and in adulthood, I have found it difficult to trust others. Throughout my youth, I felt that my thoughts and feelings were often ignored. I was not important enough for others to care about. In my perception, any emotional pain I might be going through was overlooked. As a result of this, or maybe because of it, my self esteem was almost non-existent and I often felt victimized.
My mistrust of others also developed because of promises made to me by others that were never kept. This seem to happen a lot in my life – I felt used– a victim of others’ whims. I carried secrets because I couldn’t trust anyone enough to share – I generally told people what I thought they wanted to hear – there was no point in opening up. I was afraid it would be used against me.
When I came into recovery, I realized that an important part of a sober life is self-disclosure. But how could I share with others with so much mistrust in my psyche? I knew I had to start somewhere. So I started with my family. I have recently shared some of my feelings of inadequacy and bouts of depression with them, and to my surprise it has actually brought us closer. They didn’t laugh or ignore me, instead they took what I said to heart and we now have a much better relationship. I no longer feel competitive with them or “less than” – I feel loved.
Trust is something I continue to work on, but I know that by taking risks without fear of rejection or failure, self-disclosure will become easier in time. I have learned a lot about self-acceptance and I believe that is the first step towards trusting others. I am learning to believe in the fairness in life – after all, what have I really got to lose?