As we get older, we gain more life experiences, especially when it comes to our personal relationships and some of those experiences aren’t always pleasant. We get heartbroken, lied to, betrayed, and abandoned. We lose people who promised us forever. So we become more guarded, less trusting, more closed off, and we don’t fully believe people anymore. It becomes harder to let new people in, especially when we see certain behaviors that trigger our past wounds. We don’t stop and think that it could mean something different this time; we automatically assume the worst.
We inadvertently push people away because we either take a step back, waiting for them to do more to reassure us that they won’t betray us like the other did, or we just hold back our questions because we don’t want to seem too eager or like we care too much too soon. We push people away because we want to protect ourselves from getting heartbroken again or giving a chance to the wrong people again. We push people away because we barely communicate our truths and we keep our conversations shallow and our efforts minimal.
When we don’t properly heal our wounds and work on our trust issues, it becomes harder for us to give new people a proper chance to experience the best versions of us. We give them access only to the parts of us that anyone else can have access to. We don’t show them our vulnerable side, our deeper side, our softer side. We only show them what’s on the surface, what’s polished and what would make us look tough and unbothered. When we don’t work on our trust issues, we will carry them around with us in our new relationships and sabotage them before we give them a real chance.
When we don’t want to experience the same kind of pain, betrayal, and disappointment, we don’t think from a safe and loving state, we think from an anxious and defensive state which makes even the most romantic people out there closed off, turned off, and scared of going all in. It makes even the bravest of us scared of taking another leap of faith with people who could end up hurting us. So we stay stuck somewhere in the middle. We’re not completely unavailable, but we also don’t open up the way we should so we can check out if we sense any kind of danger. We’re not completely negative, but we’re also not optimistic. We give some people the benefit of the doubt, but we also throw in the towel if we don’t get what we want exactly the way we want it.
Our trust issues, if used wisely, can help us know what we need and what we don’t and what we’re really looking for in a partner, but unfortunately, we don’t use them as wisely as we should. We use them as a shield to stop any kind of wounds from penetrating us, and we push people away because we’d rather hide behind that shield than expose who we really are or say how we really feel.