In college I drank till blacking out many times per week. Out of sorrow and despair, I promised myself I would never do it again! Then the next morning I would wake up in another random bed.
I had broken my own trust so many times it felt as though I was broken. I thought there was something inherently wrong with me. Later I realize that I wasn’t damaged- I was hurting. And this is how we are setup to break our own trust:
1. A Dirty Desire:
Thinking that there is something wrong with your desire can lead to a devastating relationship between what you want and how you get it. Things will get messy if you believe, “I shouldn’t want that” or “What I desire is dirty.” If we desire to be held, protected, or enjoyed, but are embarrassed or shameful, we’re going to starve.
And when our hunger reaches a painful emptiness, we’ll reach for the closest form of relief. Usually we lunge for abusive drinking, sex that objectifies, or being cute enough so people stay nearby.
It is almost like the Monster of Dirty Desire sitting inside of us getting paid to mess up or latch on. I know the feeling all too well.
When shame is so loud that you can’t trust the innocence of your desire, you’ll shutdown like a bear in winter! The sad part is that some of us even compartmentalize our desire from ourselves. Feeling blank or numb feels better than constant self-denial or rejection.
We use our self-concept to determine what is and is not appropriate for who we are. We can believe, “I’m not good enough for that” or “Wanting that means I’m weak.”
And if we believe these messages as true, we will secretly behave in two ways. First, we will manipulate so we can get our needs met in socially acceptable behaviors: coercing our partner into affirming our value, using sex to feel close, or overcompensating so that we feel comfortable in our own skin.
Secondly, we’ll avoid any situation or person that might ask us to be vulnerable. If we can’t trust our authentic self with those who love us, we’ll block emotional intimacy and use secretive comforts.
Why do you think Grinder, Craigslist, and porn are so prevalent?
I was hurting because I didn’t know the innocence of my desire nor that value of my worth back then. Breaking my own trust by using my body, someone else’s, or substances trapped me in a cycle of shame: shame led to hiding, which led to emotional starvation, which led to acting out, which took me right back to shame.
When anxiety is high, we cling to another because we are “not strong enough” to create our own safety. We can also learn that one-night stands, scanning on hookup apps, and abusing substances are fun. But when the end result is a fabricated comfort and broken trust, all we create is despair instead of peace, and sorrow instead of truth.
Practice trusting yourself by choosing the healthy and steadfast over and over again. This gets easier when you hold your worth out in front of you, guiding you from one decision to another.