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To Trust or Not to Trust

Trust (wikipedia entry) was once defined as the willing acceptance of one's power to affect another. I thought that definition was interesting. Also, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has been quoted as saying, "As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." The Glass Ballerina was, in my book, all about trust and that is what I'd love to see discussed in this thread.

Our sweet, gentle, nurturing Sun has turned out to be a stone cold liar. Because of this, she seems to trust herself less than Jin trusts her. Shouldn't it be the other way around? We seem to have an amazing capacity to trust others we love, even if they haven't done everything to earn that trust. Sometimes this is a noble quality...other times we just end up getting seriously burned. On the other hand, we also seem to trust ourselves less than we should? Does this mistrust of self keep us grounded or does it keep us anchored? Trust is a tricky thing don't you think? What do your experiences say?


Blogger Amused2bHere said...

Trust is a fragile thing. It is a necessity to be able to trust your senses, trust your heart, trust people in general, at least to a small degree. To give everyone initial trust. It is only when that trust has been violated that problems begin. And since none of us are perfect we all end up with broken trusts and damaged relationships.

I know I have trust issues. Past hurts will do that. It's just really hard to regain my trust once you've broken it. Trust is a different issue than forgiveness. There are people I have forgiven that I don't trust not to hurt me again. So I adjust my personal boundaries accordingly.

Staying vulnerable, protecting oneself. Paradox? No, I think balance can be found. It's a fine line, though. I don't want a wall around my heart. Neither can I have a completely defenseless heart. We are to guard our hearts, aren't we?

Forgive my longwindedness. and thanks for listening.

oh, and...First? LOL

10/12/2006 9:58 AM  
Blogger Administrator said...


Thanks for that contribution. Very well stated. So what happens in a situation like Jin & Sun's? How do you adjust personal boundaries with a spouse? Certainly that looks different than adjusting boundaries with other family members?

I've never experienced this personally but I have good friends that are right in the thick of it. One of the partners has betrayed the trust of the other? They understand what it takes to offer forgiveness but are struggling to re-establish trust and the "oneness" that is experienced in healthy marriages. I'm trying to help my friends but I am at a loss...any ideas?

10/12/2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

Very well put Amused and Admin.

Sometimes the only answer to mending the broken ties of trust is nothing but Time.....lots of it. Time to heal, Time to prove worthiness, Time to bond on enough occasions to come back together again and be One.

IMHO, spousal trust is much more intimate than with anyone else, even with a family member. So bridging that abyss takes more time than the not-so-intimate ones I would think.

10/12/2006 4:32 PM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...


Phew, where do you start? The problem with trust is there is no absolutes it's all a matter of degree and balance. It's often not so much if you trust someone but how much. Now generally I'm quite a trusting person (apart when it comes to anyone trying to sell me something - then I don't believe a word!) but there is the school of thought that says trust no-one and you can't be hurt. But the possibility of being hurt is the price you pay if you want to invest in a relationship.

I'm lucky I guess I have a few good friend's who I would truly trust with my life and as such they are my children's godparents (or maybe godless parents as they are both atheist!). Trust is strange though I trust my parents my in-laws or my childminder with my children but not my sister. Don't get me wrong I don't distrust my sister but it I don't trust that she has the skills to look after the kids even though she is a healthcare professional.

I think trust is also about faith, you have to have faith that your partner is not sleeping with the neighbours, poisoning your coffee etc just as you trust your employer to treat you fairly, pay you on time etc. Trust is a pretty important building block in society, without it a society becomes almost unworkable, certainly if it is an open democracy.

Our Losties have to trust each other in order to survive even though they don't know each other. OK so we know that you can't trust Kate or Sun as far as you can through them, but could you trust Charlie or Locke, what about Eko or Jack or Sayid. Could you trust anyone - I guess Rose and Hurley seem pretty trust worthy but they all have secrets, certainly Boones trust in Locke was his downfall whilst Charlie's trust in Locke seems well founded.

In the world of Lost, Agent Mulder's "Trust No-One" seems good advice but could you, if you were in that situation. I know I couldn't. Strangely I'd trust Sawyer if the cards were on the table, at least you know where you stand with him and time and time again he comes up trumps. Oh and I'd probably end up trusting Juliette but then I'm a sucker for a pretty face and as a character she intrigues me (Oh well that's my fate on the island sealed! DA trusts Juliette and Sawyer and ends up as Polar Bear food!)

Well I'm typing away here and of course my employers trust that I am doing the work that they are paying me for so I better get on with it.....

10/13/2006 2:31 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Great thoughts everyone. I've finally watched the episode. DA's discussion of trust on the island got me thinking. Our Losties are forced into a situation where they have to depend (trust) each other or die. Their trust is originally one of necessity. Other than that, a lot of what DA said relating to why Rose and Hurley seem pretty trustworthy or why you could trust Sawyer - it seemed like it boiled down to their character. Hurley and Rose have consistently appeared to care for others. Is that what gives us the sense that they're trustworthy? For Sawyer, DA said, "at least you know where you stand with him," it's not that Sawyer's character is so perfect but that it is so consistent and not altogether selfish, that we feel like we could trust him in a pinch. Of course we have the benefit of close-ups on his face which allow us to read more of his internal motivation and feelings than the Losties do.

So I would posit that it's what we believe about a person's character, the quality and the consistency, that facilitates our trust in them. Before we know a person, our initial belief about them is based on looks and our gut reaction. I think our gut reaction is formed from how we would categorize the person based on our cultural influences and the people we've known. We sometimes transfer our trust or distrust of people from our past onto new associates. Why I depend on this initial impression when time and time again it's proven wrong is a mystery to me, must be the way we're wired, but at least I'm not as surprised as I used to be when I find out the person is different from what I assumed.

And I thought this might actually be a short post...LOL. I'm reminded of the many, many times I've had conflict with my husband because I wasn't dealing with him as he is, but with him as he is in my head. Can anybody relate? It's like I make a caricature of him in my mind and assume his actions are based on feelings or thoughts that make sense to me but aren't his at all. I don't think there's any way to keep myself from doing it. The longer we're married the more accurately my "caricature" resembles the actual person, but I'm still surprised often by him. And it's not because his character has changed or he's truly let me down, it really is a conflict between what I think of him and who he really is. Again, the only thing I've really learned is to no longer be as surprised when it happens.

10/13/2006 7:25 AM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

Or, does it boil down to having trust in those who trust in themselves? Less circuitously put, Sawyer, Hurley, and Rose all trust in themselves to do the right thing and follow their beliefs. A sort of internal honesty. Whether their beliefs are benevolent - Rose in God, Hurley in heloing others to the extent that he took control over the food even though it made him nervous - or malevolent - Sawyer mostly does what's best for Sawyer. They trust in themselves to follow the path they've set out for themselves.

Meanwhile, Jack, Kate and Sun don't trust themselves. They lie to themselves as well as others and cannot trust themselves to do the right thing. Sun, for example, was willing to lie and harm someone else to protect herself. She doesn't trust herself to do the right thing.

Is it possible that we (meaning me or you as an individual) have trust in people who trust themselves to be true to themselves?

Circuitous, and not necessarily clear, huh?

10/13/2006 4:18 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Hmmm...yeah, we pick up cues to how much confidence a person has (or wants us to believe they have) and trust them on that basis too. That's why we get taken in by used car salesmen, politicians, and other types of smooth talkers. It's hard to tell the genuinely trustworty from those who have confidence but aren't really trustworthy. Some say that a person's personal conduct doesn't matter as long as it doesn't affect their professional conduct, but I disagree with that. A person's psyche can't be compartamentalized like that. If a person is untrustworthy personally then it's more likely that they'll be untrustworthy professionally and vice versa.

On a side note, I don't think Hurley really trusts himself, but I can see that argument for Sawyer or Rose.

Admin, I've been thinking about your question.
Admin said: One of the partners has betrayed the trust of the other. They understand what it takes to offer forgiveness but are struggling to re-establish trust and the "oneness" that is experienced in healthy marriages. I'm trying to help my friends but I am at a loss...any ideas?

I can only speak from experience in more minor matters so it may not be as much help. As you know, if they are Christians, one of the best things they can do is to pray together and ask God for the things they want their relationship to be. I pray that they will give their relationship time and not give up on it because they aren't instantly cured. May God give them hope in a deeper "oneness" than they have previously experienced because they are choosing each other now, when it is difficult. They can rest in the hands of the One who wants to heal their marriage more than even they want it. If they do not believe in God, or even if they do, these are good things to pray on their behalf.

10/15/2006 7:39 AM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Twinkle said

I'm reminded of the many, many times I've had conflict with my husband because I wasn't dealing with him as he is, but with him as he is in my head. Can anybody relate

OH yes, totally. I'll be in the shower runnig an imaginary argument through my head and then be really anoyed almost forgetting that I neer had the argument with the person I just imagined it. I certianly think it is very easy to view someone through our own charicture of them rather that who they really are. I'm sure that this is the root casue of may preoblems in relationships

10/15/2006 1:21 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Getting mad over arguments we never had? Me too! For me if I have a dream where I'm angry at him it's really hard not to be mad when I wake up. But of course the dream was probably pointing out that I was mad at something in the first place.

It's a really difficult thing to accept people for who they are and not for who you think they are. Same with God.

10/15/2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger Friday's_Child said...

There is truly nothing scarier than trusting the wrong person, and then being betrayed by them.

Even scarier is when you yourself are the one doing the betraying, especially when you weren't aware that you had such tendencies within you.

Can we ever know our ownselves any darned better than we know the ones around us? Doubtful...

10/16/2006 12:49 PM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

Even more so, it's sometimes hard to accept people for whom they are as opposed to whom they could be.

Then, with the whole honesty issue, who is the real person? THe possibility and promise that exists under the surface that you know is there or the person not living up to the ability he/she has?

To bring it back 'round to Lost - I sometimes wonder who the real Sawyer is. Is he really the con man, or is he the glimmer of someone else that you see in those rare odd moments? Does he hide it on purpose or does he not realize it's there? I think that's what makes him extremely compelling for me. Especially when Kate's around, Sawyer gives a glimpse to this whole other person that doesn't fit his "persona." Does he know it's there? Does he suppress it on purpose? Does he not realize that he's not living up to his potential by not seeing the good within himself?

Hmm ... more questions than answers ... can't decide if that's good or bad ...

10/16/2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

I think Sawyer is deep down a good person he is just so twisted by what happened to his parent s he has become the thing he hates. It is somewhat akin to someone that suffers abuse as a child becoming an abuser themselves.

It certainly can be difficult to accept people for who they are. Many, Many years ago I had a very intense relationship which ended because not only did my partner want me to the exclusion of all other human beings but she also wanted to reshape me into someone I was not. She had had a string on failed relationships and it became rather than dating someone she liked/fancied etc she would just date anyone and then try to change them to the person that she wanted them to be.

10/17/2006 3:45 AM  
Blogger Administrator said...

Great discussions everbody!

I wanted you to know that your prayer for me in the previously thread was specifically and powerfully answered. Thank you so much for caring about me like that! I can't go into the details at all but I wanted to let everyone know that my family was fantastically changed forever this past weekend. We had an incredible breakthrough moment that ended up lasting all weekend. There were so many secrets in my family up until this point and this weekend, we were set free by the truth. I am not ashamed to admit that I have been shedding tears of joy (mixed with pain, you know?) ever since Friday night. I have gotten to clearly see firsthand that the truth is a miraculous thing!

I will add, the truth alone...without understanding, grace, and love...could be a very dangerous thing.

10/17/2006 2:15 PM  
Blogger Amused2bHere said...

hi all,
Just getting all caught up with your comments. Wow, we all have some trust issues, eh?

David, I am so glad about the breakthrough in your family. Amazing how things can change in an instant, or a weekend. And why is it that no matter how many times God proves himself faithful we are always amazed that he does it once again? Is it because we don't trust him? "O for grace to trust him more" as the old hymn goes.

Getting back to adjusting personal boundaries (with a spouse), yes the boundaries are closer than with other family, but the same principles apply. Instead of going into it here, I suggest you read "Boundaries in Marriage", written by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. There is even a workbook that can be used with it for personal study, or group study. It has helped me a lot.

I agree that time is an essential element in healing broken trust, but without transparency and openness, with lots of proven trustworthiness, time alone does not heal. Yet with forgiveness and much work through time, even the most horrific betrayal can be overcome.

10/17/2006 3:26 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

David, I have been thinking of you, your family, and your time together this past weekend off and on, praying for you when I do. I'm so pleased that your family is being blessed instead of torn apart by these difficulties. May the work that has begun in your family be made increasingly real and carried through to completion for the benefit of all you touch. I hope it doesn't bother anyone, but I pray for everyone posting here off and on too.

When it comes to trust, I find relief in trusting, not the person as they were, are, seem to be, or could become, but trusting in the One who made them. Essentially, no one can be trusted totally. Everybody is going to let me down given enough time, whether it's my fault or theirs. It is a source of strength to know that I don't trust in my husband or myself as much as I trust in God to keep my marriage together. And to know that even if I am terribly hurt by someone who proves untrustworthy, I don't have to be shattered by the experience because my hope doesn't lie in human trustworthiness. Of course I only manage to remember that, like, 15% of the time. Looks like the Amish are better at it than me.

10/17/2006 3:27 PM  
Blogger Amused2bHere said...

Thanks for your prayers, Twinkle. I need as many as I can get! LOL

10/17/2006 3:31 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Amused: I just started "Boundaries with Kids" by the same authors and am joining a mom's discussion group on it next week.

10/17/2006 3:32 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Amused: Always feel free to suggest something specific. For me, my DD (dear daughter) has an ear infection which fortunately we caught early, and now she's started an antibiotic. Needless to say, it's majorly rewritten our plans for the week and I have no idea when or how I'll get any exercise! As for something trust related, I would love to establish better boundaries with my kids so they don't have the boundary troubles I grew up with.

10/17/2006 3:34 PM  
Blogger Amused2bHere said...

LOL Good for you, wish I could join you!

Their original "Boundaries" is what helped me years ago set healthy boundaries in my relationship with my mom.

We had a very toxic controlling shame based relationship. I am grateful to say that we were able to become best of friends before she died in '98. We couldn't have done it without a ton of prayer and the forgiveness and grace of Christ. I just thank God for the time we had before the end. He truly made up for the time we lost and gave us many wonderful years of deep friendship and love.

{sigh} I still miss her.

10/17/2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger Amused2bHere said...

Twinkle, I know what you mean about your kids. I know I have passed on my mom's baggage to my older son (she got it from her dad, btw), and I am praying that he and I will be able to work through the mess. (He's 18) I am older and wiser now, so I know I am a different parent with my 6 yr old, and I pray I'll be able to avoid most of these issues with him.

Yeah, I know. A 12 year difference in ages. Can you hear God laughing? I can...

10/17/2006 3:49 PM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Hi Guys,

David I'm really pleased to hear that you managed to get some resolution with your family.

The whole personal boundaries thing is a difficult one and I must admit that I am lucky in that me and my wife have never had any trust issues and we've been together 11 years now. I think everyone has some secrets however small that they keep to themself, whether it's secret fantasies, medical conditions or even just what you really think of your partners best friend and I think we all make judgements about what they reveal and what they don't.

I think for me and our wife our openness is the sucess of our relationship. In our case she is Catholic and I am Pagan and I am sure the reason that this has never been a problem is that we are entirely open about our own beliefs and discuss and explore them with each other. I think this has been very important recently. My wife has wanted both our sons to be baptised and I have a real issue about baptism. Don't get me wrong It's not an anti-christian thing whatsoever, if there were such a thing as a pagan baptism I would feel exactly the same. For both of us it is a really big issue, My wife, Niki is very pro-baptism and I have always felt to the core of my soul that it is wrong (I was baptised into the Church of England myself as a baby). Now you're probably all thinking - BIG problem, It's not. I have discussed my feeling with both Pagans and Christians (and a Muslim friend too) and they have all tried to allay my fears, they have all explained that baptism isn't binding etc but it does't change my feelings. The problem for my wife is that because I have never been able to give a logical reason for my stance, whilst she understands the strength of my feelings she can't understand the reasons for them.

Now I have of course agreed that I will not stand in the way of their Baptism, it's just that I will not take a part in something I feel is fundementally wrong. If I have to I will stand at the back of the church but I would rather not (do they really want a scowling father at the back of the church). It is going to be interesting explaining to my three year old why I'm not there though.

I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that although my wife and I have a potentially massive conflict (we're potentially talking about the souls of our children here) through measured discussion and understanding we have managed to reach a compromise. It's not what either of us would really want, I would prefer that they were not baptised and she would prefer that I was there at the font, smiling and talking part. Neither of those scenarios are going to happen but I hope we have come to the best comprimise for the four of us. I know that my children are not going to come to any harm being baptised and they will be introduced to both our beliefs and helped to follow thier own path whether it be Christian, Pagan, Hindu, athiest or whatever.

Whilst I don't expect anyone to understand my hangup about baptisim I hope that this demostrates that love, understanding, openess and dicsussion can overcome what may at first seem an unsurmountable obstacle.

10/18/2006 8:05 AM  
Blogger Administrator said...

Great example Dark Angel. I know that your post wasn't really about baptism. It was about conflict resolution and trust, understanding, and love. However...

I can't help but throw in my entirely irrelevent two cents to your already resolved discussion. My thoughts actually may have some relevance to this trust discussion. I can see why you feel the way you feel about your kids' baptism and I can see why she feels the way she feels. But if I was your friend (and I'm I hope we're becoming that), I would tell you that I disagree with you both. Shouldn't it be your kids' decision about whether or not to be baptised and shouldn't they wait to make that decision until they are mature enough to know what it means? It's not really your discussion to be had. I think a healthier compromise would be for you to agree to support and attend your kids' baptisms but only if it is because getting baptized becomes something that they have decided they believed in and wanted to do.

In this scenario, if they did end up getting baptized as teenagers or adults, she would be happy that they were getting baptised and you could be happy that they were taking ownership of their own beliefs. As long as you both agree not to "indoctrinate" them in manipulative ways as they form their beliefs, this sounds to me like it would be a better compromise. Ultimately you would be displaying to your kids that you TRUST them to make their own decisions and you support and encourage them in pursuits that aren't destructive to them.

The only problem with this is that there would be a certain degree of probability that they would decide not to be baptized, in which case your wife would be less satisfied with the outcome. If she felt like you pulled them away from baptism, she may feel like you violated her trust.

10/18/2006 9:03 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

DA: I thought what Admin said was your point - that you're against the kids' baptism because they didn't choose it. If they chose later in life to be baptized would you be up front smiling? Do you feel not that baptism is wrong but baptising young children who have no say in the matter is wrong? I don't agree with it either. Problem is the Catholic church doesn't do it that way.

10/18/2006 10:36 AM  
Blogger Amused2bHere said...

DA, how did you and your wife reach a compromise?

And yes, this type of negotiation relies on trust. Parents need to trust each other to hold up their end of the parenting, to support each other, and yet to be true to his/her self.

A (religiously) mixed marriage must be interesting. How do you do it, DA? Must take a lot of trust.

10/18/2006 6:02 PM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Admin said

But if I was your friend (and I'm I hope we're becoming that)

Very much so :)

I must say I agree with you and Twinkle that I feel that Baptism is something that you should chose not a choice that should be made for you. I think it should be the end point of a journey of discovery but then the argument against that is that is what confirmation is for and baptism is just an introduction to the faith. I think the difference between me and my wife was that for me my beliefs were a long road of discovery, of thought and fatith and experiencing eventually culminating in the discovery that there were others that shared my beliefs. Where as my wife was brought up a Catholic. Of course according the the Catholic Church (although I think the Pope is changing this) unbaptised babies don't get to Heaven they just end up in Limbo which always seemed a litle harsh to me, although I don't think my wife believes it. Certainly neither of us has any intention to push any beliefs onto our children, however our eldest Jack is facinated by churches and has a strange interest in heaven (he tells us that Jesus goes there in Thomas the Tank Engine!) although to our knowledge no one has ever told him what heaven is.

amused2behere I think that we came to a comprimise through reasoned discussion and the realisation that we both have different but equally valid views. We could have argued, shouted etc but what would it have achieved and I can only thank the fact that I am a lot wiser than I was even ten years ago (although I have a loooong way to go.)

I think the success of a religiously mixed marraige is openness and acceptance. We were both open about our beliefs from day one and both had an interest in what each other believed. I think also that neither of us are fanatical in our beliefs that helps. I think it also helps that we have both had friends of faiths different from our own (when Niki was doing her teacher Training she used to spend time with a lot of Mormon friends for example).

We had a church wedding but also had within the service elements of a traditional hand fasting ceremony and our bookshelves have a slightly odd mixture of books! I think at the end of the day you both have to accept each other for who you are and respect each others views whilst at the same time compromise and look at the well being of the whole family unit. To be honest though other than our difference in beliefs we have so much in common, similar politics, views, love of books, dogs and walking etc that everything works pretty well. I mean we have are arguments but we wouldn't be normal if we didn't but we've never had a problem with each others beliefs.

Anyway I'm meant to be getting on with work ;) ....

10/19/2006 1:17 AM  
Blogger coley said...

Trust is tricky. How do we learn to trust when we are never trusted? Some say we must be trustworthy in order to be trusted, but when the heck did Sun ever have one good example of being trusted, or seeing trust in her life?

I think she was a pawn, a possession most of her life. Her father saw her as a commodity. My gut tells me she realized she had an out when she got married, and only realized she was in love after that plane crashed.

She never trusted herself, so how could she trust anyone else? Lying became like breathing to her until she broke open like that glass ballerina. She was protecting what she thought was a fragile girl.

In my experience, lying becomes like an addiction. One not only doesn't realize they aren't being honest with anyone, they aren't being honest with their own self.

Now she's taking the first steps on new legs, making mistakes and apologizing, but she keeps on going.

10/19/2006 12:55 PM  

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