You let it slide when your partner calls you every hour, dismissing it as cute. You let the constant questions and inquiries slide, dismissing it as curiosity. But when your partner assumes your phone is public property, figuring out how to help someone with trust issues now becomes paramount.
But how does one go about rectifying trust issues? Do you give in to their constant demands, or should you put your foot down and hope it works? Before you know it, they’ve got their friends asking you where you are so they don’t have to.
It’s a tricky affair, one that’s only best tackled by an expert in the field. With the help of counseling psychologist Kavita Panyam (Masters in Psychology and international affiliate with the American Psychological Association), who has been helping couples work through their relationship issues for over two decades, let’s find out how we can help someone with trust issues.
How Do Trust Issues Creep Up In Relationships?
Before you learn how to help someone with trust issues, you must first try to see and understand the world from their perspective. Trust issues often go hand in hand with insecurities, and the insurgence of both can be linked to a few things your partner might have experienced growing up.
Kavita lays out the possible reasons behind trust issues: “Trust issues go back to childhood. When a caregiver does not give adequate attention or doesn’t interact with the baby, s/he starts feeling unsafe. These issues tend to substantially increase when the child is 2-3 years old and realizes that s/he cannot trust the caregivers.
“When it comes to relationships, trust issues can crop up when a partner is let down, or s/he expects too much. If one person is a narcissist, or if there’s not enough room to grow mutually, or even if one person constantly pushes their agenda are all scenarios where issues can grow. Trust issues can, of course, also be caused by cheating of any kind – be it emotional, physical, or financial,” she says.
“In other cases, when your secrets and vulnerabilities are used against you, it can also misplace the trust. It boils down to when two partners are not nurturing or supporting each other emotionally,” concludes Kavita.
The psychology of trust issues, as you can see, has its roots in childhood. Other unfortunate incidents such as cheating/being in a relationship with a narcissist might also lead to such issues.
How To Help Someone With Trust Issues – 7 Expert-Backed Ways
Now that you know the reasons behind the 20 missed calls you see on your phone every time you go out with your friends, you must be curious about how to help someone with trust issues. Having to constantly tell your partner that you’re faithful and you haven’t done anything to hurt them can become a pain, and ultimately, no relationship can survive without trust.
Anxiety and trust issues go hand in hand, which means your partner could end up affecting theirs, as well as your mental health with their persistent trust issues. Just figuring out why trust issues exist and saying “My girlfriend has trust issues because of her past”, isn’t really going to do much to rectify it, which is where these tips come in.
The following 7 tips backed by Kavita should help get your relationship from a constant, “Why aren’t you picking up my calls?!”, to a “Have fun with your friends, love you” (You’re yearning to hear that, aren’t you?)
Related Reading: 10 Things To Do To Gain Trust Back In A Relationship After Lying
1. Choose effective communication over fights
There’s nothing in your relationship that cannot be solved with a healthy dose of communication. Getting to the bottom of the issues, figuring out a course of action, or talking about them can all help deal with the judgmental eyes your partner shoots your way when you tell them you’re going out with a “friend” from work.
Kavita tells us that oftentimes, how you communicate with your partner is of utmost importance as well. “Use proper body language with the proper tone of voice, look into the eyes of your partner without looking threatening or pointing any fingers in an assertive manner,” says Kavita.
“Instead of expecting the other person to guess what you are undergoing, it is better to talk to them to tell them. If what you say is used against you, you’ll know, that this is a relationship that severely lacks trust and that you two aren’t even friends,” she adds.
To reassure someone with trust issues, Kavita tells us just how you should go about communicating with them. “Keep eye contact, do not appear threatening, and gently put across your point in an amicable manner. See how they react and take it from there.”
2. Secrets are poison for your relationship
If you keep secrets in your relationship, fearing they’d incite a nasty fight when uncovered, you might just be brewing a recipe for disaster. “You cannot know whether you trust your partner or not if you keep secrets,” says Kavita.
“There is no compromise on honesty. You need to tell your partner whatever you’re going through. Tell them very clearly what you’re going through, how you’d like them to help you and what you need from them,” she adds.
“If you keep secrets from your partner, it can end up destroying your relationship, since you’d then have to look elsewhere for emotional support. The primary connection in your life should be your go-to connection. If it’s not, something is clearly wrong,” she concludes.
If you’re trying to figure out how to help someone with trust issues and can’t trust them enough with your own secrets, it may be time to re-evaluate the whole dynamic.
Related Reading: How To Trust Someone Again After They Hurt You – Expert Advice
3. Learn to say no
If your partner is a narcissist, their heightened sense of entitlement may lead them to believe that they “deserve” a lot more than what is normal. When the questions and the demands begin to get absurd, learn to say no.
“In a relationship where the couple is co-dependent, you might never be able to say no, which leads to your partner taking advantage of you. With the risk of losing your partner, you must learn to say no, even if they get offended,” says Kavita.
“If your safety and wellness are promised by a simple ‘no’, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t stand up for yourself. However, try not to be threatening, inciting a fight will only make things worse. Have a discussion as to why you’re saying no, and take it from there,” adds Kavita.
When you’re thinking about what to say to someone with trust issues, you might be thinking about the sugar-coated reassuring phrases you can spew out. However, sometimes tough love is all you need.
4. Healthy boundaries will fight your anxiety and trust issues
Healthy boundaries help every relationship grow and leave room for individual growth as well. “No, I’d like to go out with just my friends”, or “No, you can’t call me when I’m at work”, can help make your relationship stronger, even if your partner initially reacts with irritation or an exasperated sigh.
“Set up boundaries, not barricades,” says Kavita. “Physical boundaries could involve not kissing or hugging everyone, and emotional boundaries revolve around what works and doesn’t work for you. Convey what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not, in a gentle manner,” she adds.
To reassure someone with trust issues after you set up a clear boundary is extremely important. Once your insecure partner’s world has crashed down around them when you tell them they can’t check your phone anymore, let them know why they can’t and why you shouldn’t be expected to let them.
5. Be reliable and keep your promises
The best way to earn the trust of your partner in a relationship is to be someone who your partner can trust with their eyes closed. If you’re looking to get a girl with trust issues to trust you, start by being reliable and doing what you say you’ll do. Made a lunch date? Show up. Promised to accompany her to her cousin’s wedding? Keep your suit ready. Said you’ll help her plan a party? Get your organizer’s cap on.
“If there is something you’ve committed to, make sure you do it. If you can’t keep your promise, it’s better to come clean and tell your partner. Don’t cheat on your partner, emotionally or physically. Keeping secrets can be extremely detrimental to your relationship,” says Kavita.
Did you tell your partner you’d block your ex (who you know is bad for you)? Make sure you follow through. Did you promise to help your partner out with something? Set a reminder and make sure you do it. The little things add up and help build trust.
6. Take responsibility for your actions
“It wasn’t my fault, my friends didn’t tell me my ex would be there too” isn’t really going to go down well with your partner who has trust issues. The psychology of trust issues tells us that a history of being lied to is what causes them in the first place. Trying to evade responsibility is only going to make it worse. “Be accountable for your actions. If you start blaming people for things that go wrong, it’s not going to work out,” says Kavita.
“I always say that an apology should come with three R’s when you do something wrong. Regret, remedy, and responsibility. Without these things, you’ll never be able to own up to what you did wrong which in turn will make you seem less accountable,” she adds.
7. Do what every couple should do by spending time together
You know your relationship truly thrives when you don’t mind the traffic on your way to the movie theatre, just because you’re both together. The mosquito-laden picnics seem worth it, and the restaurant with the bad food doesn’t ruin your day. Spending time together is the hallmark of any good and secure relationship, and just being together is all it takes to make you happy.
“Be thankful, appreciate each other and be good friends to each other. A good relationship features individual as well as mutual growth. Spend quality time together, the more the emotional bonding grows, the more the anxiety and trust issues will subside,” says Kavita.
Living with a partner who can’t trust you enough to talk to someone of the opposite sex without assuming that you’re cheating on them, can be painstaking. But even so, you’re just not ready to bail on the relationship. With the points we listed out, we hope you now have a better idea of how to help someone with trust issues. After all, doesn’t love deserve all the chances it can get?