Can You Mend Broken Trust?

Photo by Waingergroup.com on Yandex

The no flowers rule was supposed to be a joke!

It had been three days and my aunt would not talk to me. I had moved in with them mid-January, and was to stay with her and her daughter, my cousin Amanda, for about two months before my parents finalised their divorce.

Not having a boyfriend was one of the rules I got when I moved in. I was 19 years-old and so was Amanda. She was not allowed to be in a relationship, but my parents were not strict about that. In fact, they had met my boyfriend Michael, and they both liked him.

Michael would show up at all of my events and would go huge on gifts. He enjoyed the public display of affection, and I didn’t mind it either. Valentine’s Day was nigh and I did expect him to go big on gifts being our first one together.

Amanda and I were close. We discussed everything including boys. We covered for each other on a lot of things since we were kids. I told her about Michael which made excited to meet him and was very happy for me.

Come Valentine’s day Michael showed up. With a bouquet of roses, wine, chocolates, perfumes and many other gifts. It was so Michael. Amanda and I hid them from her mum all day. In the evening, we devoured what was edible and made merry that night. We laughed about our little secret.

Come the next day aunt Olivia started acting weird. She would ignore me if I said something or pretend not to have seen me if she walked in. It was getting uncomfortable for me, being a visitor.

After three days of not talking to me, I confronted her for an explanation. That’s when I learned that she knew all about Michael and the gifts. That was not all, she was sending me back home to my parents because I was a negative influence on Amanda. I immediately knew that Amanda had told her everything.

“I am sorry aunt Olivia, I thought that it was a joke seeing that you got some roses and white chocolates on Valentine’s Day yourself.” I said and went ahead to pack so that I could leave.

This was the first time someone betrayed me. This was the first time my trust was broken. It was hard to trust anyone else after my cousin Amanda.

Why is trust important?

Trust is the foundation of every relationship. If you don’t have trust you have nothing to build on. When you have that person you can trust, you feel happy, safe and supported.

However, many times people break our trust and sometimes do the same. We are left feeling hurt, shocked and sometimes sick. It’s hard to rebuild trust once it’s gone. Even though you may never get broken trust back, there are ways that can salvage the situation.

How to make it better when you have hurt someone.

Apologise with sincerity - Show the other person that you regret your actions and be honest and sincere about it. Verbally communicate how sorry you are everytime they bring it up.

Give it time — People take different times to heal. If you hurt someone and they keep bringing it up every now and then, don’t get offended. Just acknowledge their feelings and let them know that it is okay to feel hurt. Eventually they will get over it.

Commit honesty going forward — Commit to honesty with both your words and actions. You can’t break trust twice and expect to have a healthy relationship with the person.

Let their actions guide you — Move with a flow and don’t try to rush the process. They might not be ready to open up to you fully immediately. Take the baby steps together until you get there.

How to make it better if you have been hurt.

Communicate your feelings — Always let the other person know what they did, and how it made you feel. Not talking to them or sending signals that things are not okay might not always work well.

Give them a chance to explain — Give them a chance to explain their actions and try to understand. Also watch out on whether they apologise or defend their actions. This helps you make a decision on the direction you want your relationship to take.

Practice forgiveness — When a person sincerely apologises for their actions and you can see change in their behaviour, you should forgive them. However, you can forgive immediately but rebuilding the trust can take you longer.

Move on — You can’t dwell on the same thing forever. Let your emotions flow away with time. By moving on you are not only doing the other person a favour but yourself too

Trust starts with the truth and ends with the truth. — Santosh Kalwar

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Saumu Kamau

Saumu Kamau

Professional listener, expert in mental wellness, contemporary women issues, and women health. I love offering therapy and listening to people.