I’m having a few trust issues.
There are so many things that need trust. I want people to believe in me and in my convictions to do the right things. I need to believe in others. I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve, and expose my feelings and vulnerabilities too quickly, hoping that they will be respected and honored; and frequently disappointed. I have been hurt so many times; and I’ve hurt others as well. So what can I trust? Who can I trust? Why should I trust?
There are a lot of reasons why I have a difficulty gaining the confidence of others. Through carelessness, or thoughtlessness, or just plain not caring I’ve betrayed many times. Even when not being in an extreme bipolar mood I can get so caught up in a moment that I forget that there may be someone’s feelings being hurt. It really isn’t intentional; it’s just a lack of awareness. The only exception to that is when I’ve had to make decisions to separate myself from others who are harmful to my own wellbeing and recovery. That’s always hard, as I’ve lost a good many friends in the process. But sometimes it’s just something that has to happen, even of someone gets hurt in the process.
The Bipolar behavior is a different thing however; especially during a mania. Again, it’s not intentional, but being so out of control I can run slipshod over people without a thought of how it might make them feel. I often can’t stop talking, even when it’s about things I’ve learned in confidence and shouldn’t be shared. I do crazy things that betray confidences that have been placed with me. Those that know me, and know of my illness can have great difficulty placing their trust in me. And unfortunately, it’s with good reason that they are wary. There is just no telling where my mood will take me, or what my actions might be. I certainly don’t blame anyone.
Yet, I want to be trusted, and put a lot of effort in earning, and keeping that trust.
But I have a lot of difficulty accepting that trust in others. So many times I’ve expressed my feelings, and shared my deepest self, only to be disappointed and hurt. I have believed that there was sincerity and truth in my interactions with others. I have misread actions and feelings, not realizing that it was only the projections of my own, and not real. I have been a victim of malicious and deliberate attacks; my openness and willingness to be venerable too easy to be taken advantage of. I want to believe that others have the sincerity and trust that I believe I have in myself; or at least the self-perception I have of myself during moments when not blinded by being bipolar.
I have believed myself to be loved, and believed I was in love; and have been wrong in both cases.
So why do I keep trusting? Why don’t I ever learn?
I think that deep down in my unconscious mind I know that I should protect myself better. I do get warning signs and an uneasy feeling when I’m in a situation where I shouldn’t rely on the way it appears on the surface. I rarely recognize these feelings, I just know that I’m uncomfortable and have an urge to run away. But I’m very good at rationalizing these reactions, and too easily push myself through the sense of foreboding. There seems to be a deep seated need to trust and be trusted that override my common sense and gut perceptions.
But that’s not the real problem.
My biggest issue is belief in myself. I’ve thought so many times that I was in control of my emotions, when it was the emotion that was driving my behavior. I have allowed myself to get caught up in the moment, and translated good times into a comfortableness that has made it too easy to expose myself. It’s almost impossible for me to separate sex from love, and I fall in love too easy; at least what I believe to be love. I’ve made bad decisions; really bad decisions.
I’ve been married four times. What else is there to say?
But I’m making progress. The combination of medications I’m on has really stabilized my mood swings. I’ve fully accepted my illness and have tried to raise my awareness of changes in my behaviors that have led to so many betrayals. My therapy has shifted from how do deal with being bipolar to how to deal with being human. I’m trying very hard to listen to the little voice that should make me question the behaviors of others. That feeling of unease has got to be paid attention to. If I get the sense that something isn’t right, it probably isn’t, and I should act accordingly. I’m learning not to give myself so freely, or too quickly. As relationships develop accept that emotional attachments are just that; attachments. Sex is great, and there always will be (and should be) a connection involved. But I have to remember that sex doesn’t equal love. I’m making myself more trustworthy too. I really try to keep my interactions with other honest and real. I reveal my past in what I hope is an appropriate and timely way. I always bring up my marital history in full on every first date. I disclose being bipolar when it’s time. I will admit that I’m not always quick to expose that facet of my life, but there’s a method to that madness. I want to live a normal life, and the more I behave normally, the easier it becomes. It’s like when I quit smoking… I presented myself as a non-smoker; and that’s what I became. (Okay, in the honesty and full disclosure I have to admit that I still have the nicotine habit, but I use a delivery device and do NOT smoke cigarettes or cigars. And as time goes by, I’ve reduced the amount of nicotine I’m getting, and soon will have that behind me too.) I make a point of always telling the truth, even when it’s painful and has negative consequences. I have done my best to surround myself with the type of people I can trust, and have worked very hard to earn theirs. I’m not there by any means, but I do believe I’m starting to get a handle on when and how I should trust those around me, and in earning the trust of others.
The real challenge is to trust myself. I’ve got a long road ahead.