I had to Google the definition of trust today. I had to look it up, because it’s clear that I don’t understand what it is. The first thing that comes up is reliability. You can trust something because it is reliable. I can trust the sky is blue, because every day I look at it and it’s some shade of blue. Makes sense. But people are not reliable, in my experience, so is it really possible to trust them? I suppose not. I think that what I have for people is less “trust” and more “blind faith.”
Perhaps it comes from being raised with religion. In religion you don’t require proof. Religion is not reliable- my religion taught that good people are blessed, but around me I saw very good people suffering. Not reliable. Not trustworthy. Yet we believed. We believe because it feels good to believe. To this day I believe because believing means I’ll see my dad again. I have no proof. Nothing to trust. Yet I believe because not believing would be unbearable. But that isn’t trust. Merriam-Webster defines faith as “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” No proof= faith. Reliability= trust.
Knowing this, I suppose it’s not really fair to say I have trust issues. I’ve never had reliability on which to base true trust. I’ve had only blind faith, and no shortage of it either.
When I was 10, my father was hospitalized, repeatedly, in the Intensive Care Unit. I asked my mother why, what was wrong with my daddy that he was suddenly dying? She replied that no one knew. It was not until three years later, and just two weeks before my daddy died, that anyone told me he’d been sick since before I was born. Two weeks later my mother told me he’d died naturally and was not resuscitated. I believed her, despite having no reason to. It was many years before I learned that he’d been removed from life support by the family. Still I placed blind faith in my mother, allowing her to hurt me over and over again with her unreliability. When I was 14 and my mom took me out drinking with a bunch of men I didn’t know, I had faith that she would protect me. Again, my faith was blind, not based on anything reliable. I paid for my blind faith when I awoke from unconsciousness to a man on top of me. I begged God to allow me to pass out again. My faith allowed me to believe he’d answered my prayer, instead of questioning why the fuck my God and my mother allowed me to be raped in the first place. My mom had left me there, alone, completely abandoned me, and showed exactly zero remorse. Yet the next time she asked me to believe in her, I did. Because it felt better than not having anything, anyone, to believe in. She’s screwed me over more times than I can list here, to the point that I’ve simply had to stop speaking to her. Otherwise I will always put faith in her, I will always have another chance to give. And she will always take advantage of that.
It was the same in my first marriage. Darling, tell me that you’ll never do it again, and I’ll believe you. No, dearest, no need to show me your phone, no need to attend therapy. I believe, I believe… how could I not? What other choice did I have? I had never known reliability, never known proof, never truly known trustworthiness. I knew only blind faith. Through everything he threw at me, lies, infidelity, violence, rage, degradation, seclusion, rape… every time he asked me to trust him again, I obliged with blind faith. No one else ever gave you a chance darling, I can give you an endless stream… And I did. Six years of chances. Six years of never asking for any proof. Six years of unreliable.
Today, it’s clear I still don’t really understand trust. I still don’t require proof, don’t require reliability. G always asked me why he should have to prove himself to me, what made me arrogantly believe that I was worth that? I suppose I still don’t really believe I’m worth it. Why should anyone have to prove themselves to me? And so, people tell me I can trust them, and I believe them. I heap blind faith on them for exactly no reason at all, other than I simply want to believe that people are good and kind and true. They unfailingly prove me wrong. Huh, wasn’t I looking for proof? Reliability? There it is. Unfailingly, lies, gossip, cruelty, hurt, they always show up. They’re reliable.
I suppose maybe I do have trust issues after all. I take issue to the fact that the people I love most can’t be trusted. I take issue to the fact that my faith, my love, my compassion, my second and third and hundredth chances are taken advantage of. I take issue to the fact that no one fits the definition of trust anymore.