Trust Issues and Abusive Relationships

February 26, 2012 Kellie Jo Holly

Can you learn to trust healthfully after leaving an abusive relationship? You don't have to force love out because of how some jerk treated you before.

About 6 months after I left my abusive husband, I met a man who I've come to love. The loving part was easy - he's a complete turn-around from my ex-husband. My new love treats me kindly, he cooks for me and my children, he's generous with his time and affection. He tells me I'm beautiful and doesn't expect me to fall over myself with gratefulness that he said something nice to me! Perhaps better than those cosmetic qualities, he wants to hear my thoughts, he asks me how I feel, and, after I tell him these once-guarded intimacies, he does not tell me how misguided and delusional I am.

Last week, I threw myself head-on into second-guessing myself. My panic ignited when I felt a joke he'd made about our sex life was inappropriate. It hurt my feelings. Instead of addressing it at the time, I retreated into my old behavior of "smiling and shutting-up" as if I were still committed to my abuser.

Over the next day, I quietly looked for evidence of my love's contempt for me. Picked at him hoping to get him to break and tell me what he really thought of me. I convinced myself that my love was setting me up for a fall, and I wanted to bring it about as quickly as possible so I could prove to myself that he was just another ass in the world whom I shouldn't have trusted.

In the end, he didn't break. I did. I cried, fussed, and threw accusations at him. Finally, I did something I used to do with my ex at the end of our relationship: I stepped outside of myself and observed.

I saw me, angry and scared, pushing him away. I saw him, hurt and scared, trying hard to not back out of the doorway to the office. Between us, in the psychic dimness of our swirling energies, I saw the laughing devil of past abuses literally squeezing the life out of the truth. It had a stranglehold on something good and pure, and I started to cry.

Allow me to take a break here and describe for you some important information I recently read in Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of Inevitable Harm, a book by Sandra M. Brown, M.A.

Women who love psychopaths have a very high degree of trust going into relationships. I trusted everyone until they proved me wrong; exception being my ex proved me wrong countless times, but I chose to ignore it due to my high degree of loyalty (also a commonality in women who love psychopaths).

By the time I met my new love, I doubted everyone, including myself. I felt alienated from my "true self" because I remembered being very trusting and I'd liked that about myself, but now I didn't trust at all. I felt robbed. I looked forward to the day when I got my old self back; I wanted to trust like I had before.

As time went on, I decided that I did not want to be like I once was. Being so trusting had thrust me into an abusive relationship. I decided I would "trust, but verify" as I entered into any new relationship.

This was very hard for me. During a long-distance relationship with an old friend, I felt the monster of jealousy rise up in me when he took a woman out - yet we were hundreds of miles apart and our agreement wasn't one of monogamy. It was a huge stretch for me to share those feelings of possessiveness with him and then live with them without allowing my fears to control me.

When I look back on last week and the devil strangling the truth, I realize that I almost allowed my experience with abuse to win. I almost let my irrational doubts and fears guide me toward leaving a loving relationship based on experiences I haven't "felt" for over a year and a half.

My love has consistently passed my "trust, but verify" test for months. I recognize the crisis I experienced last week was my own. I screwed up my courage and said, "[Love], you made a joke at Long John Silver's last week that went through me like an ice pick" . . . and suddenly, the truth became brighter. I shared my feelings, we communicated, he apologized for hurting me (no questions asked! no qualifiers! no I'm sorry, but...!). And we worked it out.

I am so grateful for my love. I am so grateful that I stepped back and saw the truth. I am so grateful that I am healing!

Trust issues are a side-effect of abuse, even after you leave. But you don't have to omit love relationships from your life! Work on your trust, practice trusting, think about it. You don't have to return to the level of trust you had when you found your abusive scumbag, but you do not have to be alone because of the idiot who practically decimated your soul.

There is life after abuse, and it can be sweet.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2012, February 26). Trust Issues and Abusive Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 17 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

January, 8 2022 at 6:23 am

That's good to know. Not like I want any more trouble..

July, 16 2019 at 11:43 am

could you email please so i can ask for help thanks x

February, 26 2012 at 10:57 am

Powerful. Thanks.

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