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Honesty and Trust

I have often been accused of being too trusting.  Like it’s a bad thing.  And maybe it is.  It’s caused a lot of problems in my relationships. 

My first husband described himself as a poor, half-breed bastard.  As a result, he had a less trusting world view than I did.  He could spot a liar from a mile away.  Once when I was making conversation with his brother’s girlfriend about her studies in nursing, he told me afterwards that she was lying.  That people often lie while making conversation. 

This was a foreign concept to me.  I figured you should at least have a good reason to lie, even if it didn’t make it excusable.

Once my purse was stolen at Burger King on the way to a bowl game.  I forgot to get it when we walked out the door.  I realized it about a minute later, but in that small amount of time, they took it.  My ex knew who stole it right away and he knew that the employee who took our order was in on it.  He even went up to the guy and confronted him. 

While there were some advantages to his street smarts, ultimately, his lies destroyed our marriage.  I tried to trust him again, but he didn’t trust himself, so we agreed to divorce.  That was one of the many lessons I learned from my first marriage: be wary of people who don’t trust others, because they probably lie, too.

I wish I could say I have been more careful about who I’ve trusted since then, but sadly, I have not.  I seem to be pathologically trusting. 

I dated someone who told me straight up that he had problems with lying.  And I caught him lying several times right away.  Like my first husband, he didn’t think he could be honest, either, but he wanted to change.  I kept rooting for him.  You can do it!  I have faith in you! 

My therapist would repeatedly tell me that if the person says they can’t do it, believe them.  I guess this was the most honest thing they had said to me, but I didn’t want to believe it.  I never wanted to give up on anyone. 

But I finally get it:  you can’t trust people who don’t trust themselves.  You can’t will someone to have faith.

Some people have suggested that perhaps we can be friends down the road.  Yes, he lies, but it won’t matter in a friendship.  Except that it does. 

In the second half of my life, I want to surround myself with people who are honest and trustworthy.  I want to choose people who believe in themselves, so that we can believe in ourselves together.

I found a new art app that creates patterns using mathematical properties.  Artsy and nerdy at the same time.  How cool is that?

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

9 responses »

  1. Can we get that design in a tennis skirt?

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  2. Gina said the same thing! I think a lot of them would make great fabric patterns.

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  3. Hmmm…. Was that really created using mathematical properties? I think you're lying. I think you just grabbed a scrap of furniture fabric and scanned it.

    But, seriously, I fired a psychiatrist because there was something in her tone that made me think she thought I'd lied about something. (Why anyone would lie in therapy is beyond me, but apparently many do.) I asked her right away, “Do you think I just lied about that?” She was completely taken aback and stuttered and stammered but finally said that she did think I'd lied. By the time I got home, I knew that I couldn't go to her anymore because, well, if she thought I was a liar, I couldn't help thinking that she was probably a big ol' liar. And that was that. (Thanks for a great post.)

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  4. You must have some experience in the furniture scanning department.

    What were you saying to your psychiatrist?

    Once my husband walked in while I was talking to my friend about how good-looking he was. We got in a huge fight because he thought I was lying. I guess he figured if I was talking about him, I had to be saying something negative.

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  5. Wow, that is so very similar to what I go through with lying! Not only do I over trust people, but I also have no concept of manipulation until I am deep into and there is no way to deny it. I simply am unable to understand lying or understand how one forms a plan to manipulate. I am straight forward and honest to a fault. It ,like you said, has gotten me into some very painful situations because I was taken advantage of by manipulating people. I have even been accused of lying, which is laughable, by them because they do not understand truth and they can see where there was opportunity to manipulate but I never took the bait. I wouldn't know where to begin and it is not in my nature to put my wants in front of others needs. It is simply not who I am. It appears it is not who you are either. It does damage relationships for me as well. If there is no trust, how can you base a relationship or even a good friendship on that? The whole concept is foreign to me. And sadly, I have payed for that. It sounds like you have too, and I am sorry for that. I truly feel that honesty is the best policy but then again, it is the only way I know how to be. My hubby thinks I should try and be more gaurded but I am unable at this point to achieve that. I don't want to look at everyone as a possible liar. It seems horrible. No one is perfect so I do not understand the impulse to lie. This is a fantastic post and I really related to it. I am sure a lot of others will as well!

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  6. I feel the same way, Nelly. It's too much energy to go through life not trusting people.

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  7. Pingback: Learning to Listen to My Inner Bodyguard | Normal in Training

  8. Pingback: Learning to Listen to My Inner Bodyguard | Normal in Training

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