Learning To Trust Again

Learning To Trust Again

How many of us have trust issues? How many times has our trust been broken? And let’s be honest: it’s not a fun place to be when you’re just not sure if you can trust what your partner is saying. In fact, it’s exhausting.

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Or read the transcript of the episode here:

I spoke at a conference recently, and a woman approached me afterward. You could tell she was shy, and it was taking all her courage to approach me.

After introducing herself and telling me her very successful husband suffers from addiction, she looked down at the floor and almost whispered the following statement:

I feel like I am going crazy.” 

I smiled warmly because I knew exactly what she meant. And I bet you do too. Feeling crazy, while loving someone suffering from addiction, is one of the many feelings that bonds our community together. 

I looked at her very sincerely in the eyes and said, “you, my friend, are the only sober and sane one in your relationship.”

As I flew back home, I thought about what I would have told her if I had more time. And so hopefully she’s listening, but even if she isn’t – this message is for you too. 

A lot of the time we feel crazy when we accuse the ones we love of drinking or getting high or gambling, cheating or looking at pornography – because they flat out deny it. 

We feel crazy, because they’re lying to us.

That’s part of why we’re not trusting again (yet).

We are almost certain we detect a little slur in their voice, so we ask, “have you been drinking?” And they get upset accusing us of being dramatic.

Or perhaps that business trip they said they were on didn’t seem on the up and up. Where they really where they said they were? You have doubts so you start questioning the details and they get mad and tell you you’re being paranoid.

Or perhaps there’s money missing from your bank account. You ask them about it, and they say they already told you and you’re just conveniently forgetting.  

I can give you example after example, but here’s the deal: you’re not crazy.

You’re entirely justified to be suspicious. It’s no wonder you can’t trust again.

They’ve lied to you in the past, and so chances are unless they have a long history of being sober, they will lie to you again. 

I like to think of addiction as a third party in your relationship. There is you, the one you love and addiction. The person you love is naturally a wonderful human – that’s why you fell in love with them. But the one you love is being controlled by the third party in your relationship. And I know this will be hard to hear, but right now, your loved one is choosing addiction over you. 

Addiction needs to lie in order to get away with destructive choices. It has to manipulate and deceive. 

So do you just tolerate lying in your relationship?

Do you continue to feel crazy? No way. In this community, we believe you are not powerless over this disease. 

I’m going to read you an excerpt from one of my new favorite books, Atomic Habits written by James Clear. At first, it might not be clear how what I am about to share with you pertains to your situation but hang with me – I promise it will make sense in a minute or two. 

“Museum curators have been known to discern the difference between an authentic piece of art and an expertly produced counterfeit even though they can’t tell you precisely which details tripped them off. 

Experienced radiologists can look at a brain scan and predict the area where a stroke will develop before any obvious signs are visible to the untrained eye. I’ve even heard of hairdressers noticing whether a client is pregnant based only on the feel of her hair. 

The human brain is a prediction machine. It is continuously taking in your surrounding and analyzing the information it comes across. Whenever you experience something repeatedly – your brain begins noticing what is important, sorting through the details and highlighting the relevant cues, and cataloging that information for future use. 

With enough practice, you can pick up on the cues that predict certain outcomes without consciously thinking about it. Automatically, your brain encodes the lessons learned through experience.”

Sooo…. when I read this I immediately thought of us (because I can’t help it but everything I read, I look at it from the eyes of addiction). 

What this says to me, is that we are not crazy for worrying that our loved ones are up to no good.

Our brains are naturally picking up on the familiar cues of addiction.

And we are tuning into those cues. 

The craziness is actually our intelligence. It’s proof that we are smart, sober partners. And addiction has literally trained us on what cues to look for when our loved ones have lied, is about to use drugs or alcohol or is currently intoxicated. 

My point is, you’re not crazy. In fact, you are the opposite of crazy.

Trust your gut; trust your instincts.

Don’t underestimate the power of your physical reaction- when your body is telling you something isn’t right – trust your body. 

And don’t, under any circumstance, let addiction try to convince you’re wrong. Stand your ground. When you trust you’re gut, you don’t need them to tell you the truth because you already know the truth. 

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson has over 10 years of personal experience with loving someone who suffers from addiction. She was married to a good man who suffered from addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography. She's used her experience to create powerful resources for women in the same circumstance. Using her own personal experience, combined with years of research and studying, she presents ideas, tips, and tools on how to handle this disease, and take care of yourself, and your family.

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