Are you going through Grief & Loss? Is it a new loss? With all of us coping with Covid for a year now, we have all experienced loss to some degree or another. Loss of gathering has impacted everyone.
People going through the upheaval of grieving the loss of a loved one, brings along a very painful loss and naturally will have many lows of emotional reactions. Over 500,000 Americans have been lost to Covid. So many families have impacted.
Everyone’s grief response to loss is different and and if their has been previous loss than the current loss reaction is even more compounded. Each person’s grief is as unique as each individual.
If we are lucky to live long enough, all of us will go through the process of grieving the loss of someone who we love deeply at some point. It’s important to know our reactions to grief are normal for the loss we have endured.
There are 5 reactions to loss we can typically expect to be going through, when we go through the process of grieving. The 5th reaction to grief is acceptance.
Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. As we begin to live again and enjoy our life, we often feel that in doing so, when we have lost someone, we are betraying our loved one.
We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies.
Instead of denying our feelings, we listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and maybe develop new habits, and new normal schedules.
We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time. If you feel up to it, talking about your loved one helps the grieving process. Processing through grief is especially helpful to work through the grief.
As a counselor I am happy to sit with people as they work through their grief and help them find meaningful way to go forward. It’s a privilege to be of service to people who are hurting.
A good book on Grief is
“On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss”, written by Grief experts:
Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler.
P.S. The author David Kessler had mentioned to me that he wished they ( he and Elizabeth) had changed the word “stages” to “reactions” . Because the stages are not neatly packaged.
David Kessler can be found on Facebook as he continues his work in the area of grief. He has also written a new book this past year. Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief which is a powerfully wise book.
I wish you well in whatever journey you are on, as our nation and world copes with managing a new normal.
~ Julie Morrell, MFT
When people are going through the upheaval of grieving the loss of a loved one, they have many lows of emotional reactions.
Missing a loved one is especially hard during the holidays.
Everyone’s response to loss is different and will NOT be the way you grieve, because grief is as unique as each individual.
So with that said, here are explanations of the 5 reactions people have and they are not on a linear timeline. NOT everyone goes through all of them in the prescribed order.
I am writing about this because if we live long enough, all of us will go through grieving the loss of someone who we love deeply.
Our grief is as individual as our lives.
The five stages, 1) Denial & shock, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression and 5) Acceptance
Knowing what the reactions are help frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.
Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. I’ve written an expanded explanation of each of these reactions to grief below.
These reactions to grief are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss as there is no typical loss.
Below are explanations of each stage or reaction to loss and grief.
DENIAL: Denial is the first of the five stages of grief. It helps us to survive the loss.
In this stage, the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on.
We try to find a way to simply get through each day. Denial and shock help us to cope and make survival possible. Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle. As you accept the reality of the loss and start to ask yourself questions, you are unknowingly beginning the healing process. You are becoming stronger, and the denial is beginning to fade. But as you proceed, all the feelings you were denying begin to surface.
ANGER: Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal. There are many other emotions under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger is the emotion we are most used to managing. The truth is that anger has no limits.
It can extend not only to your friends, the doctors, your family, yourself and your loved one who died, but also to God. You may ask, “Where is God in this? Underneath anger is pain, your pain. It is natural to feel deserted and abandoned, but we live in a society that fears anger. Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss. At first grief feels like being lost at sea: no connection to anything.
Then you get angry at someone, maybe a person who didn’t attend the funeral, maybe a person who isn’t around, maybe a person who is different now that your loved one has died. Suddenly you have a structure – – your anger toward them. The anger becomes a bridge over the open sea, a connection from you to them. It is something to hold onto; and a connection made from the strength of anger feels better than nothing. We usually know more about suppressing anger than feeling it. The anger is just another indication of the intensity of your love.
BARGAINING: Before a loss, it seems like you will do anything if only your loved one would be spared. “Please God, ” you bargain, “I will never be angry at my wife again if you’ll just let her live.” After a loss, bargaining may take the form of a temporary truce. “What if I devote the rest of my life to helping others. Then can I wake up and realize this has all been a bad dream?” We become lost in a maze of “If only…” or “What if…” statements. We want life returned to what is was; we want our loved one restored. We want to go back in time: find the tumor sooner, recognize the illness more quickly, stop the accident from happening…if only, if only, if only. Guilt is often bargaining’s companion. The “if onlys” cause us to find fault in ourselves and what we “think” we could have done differently.
We may even bargain with the pain. We will do anything not to feel the pain of this loss. We remain in the past, trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt. People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or months. They forget that the stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours as we flip in and out of one and then another. We do not enter and leave each individual stage in a linear fashion. We may feel one, then another and back again to the first one.
DEPRESSION: After bargaining, our attention moves squarely into the present. Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness. It is the appropriate response to a great loss. We withdraw from life, left in a fog of intense sadness, wondering, perhaps, if there is any point in going on alone? Why go on at all? Depression after a loss is too often seen as unnatural: a state to be fixed, something to snap out of.
The loss of a loved one is a very depressing situation, and depression is a normal and appropriate response. To not experience depression after a loved one dies would be unusual. When a loss fully settles in your soul, the realization that your loved one didn’t get better this time and is not coming back is understandably depressing. If grief is a process of healing, then depression is one of the many necessary steps along the way.
ACCEPTANCE:: Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live. We must try to live now in a world where our loved one is missing.
In resisting this new norm, at first many people want to maintain life as it was before a loved one died. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must learn to reorganize roles, re-assign them to others or take them on ourselves. Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. As we begin to live again and enjoy our life, we often feel that in doing so, we are betraying our loved one.
We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies. Instead of denying our feelings, we listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and in our relationship with ourselves. We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time. (The Stages of Grief were written by Grief experts: Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler)
David had mentioned he wished they had changed the word “stages” to “reactions” . Because the stages are not neatly packaged. David Kessler can be found on Facebook as he continues his work in the area of grief. He has also written a new book this year. Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief which came out November 5th 2019.
Thanks for reading.
Julie Morrell, MFT
I am heartbroken for the people who were there at the concert in Las Vegas & had to go through something as horrific as the mass shooting on Sunday night. My thoughts & prayers today are for the people impacted by this tragedy. No one should ever have to experience trauma like this. #LasVegas
It saddens me to see how many young people were victims of the massacre & these were young people just expecting to have a fun, a relaxed time in Vegas. No one should ever lose their life like this. Not ever! We need to find a solution to prevent this from happening again.
Every one of their lives touches another life. Every tragedy has a ripple effect into other lives. Every heartbreak, every loss has an impact on several hundred hearts. Several hundred families. A mass shooting like what happened in Las Vegas yesterday effects all of us, but scars & traumatizes the people who were there, and we cannot forget the first responders. They see the ugliest part of an attack. And they work so hard to save a life. They live to save lives.
Every death touches the first responders & has an impact on them too. It creates a lot of emotion & anger in them as well. So my encouragement to you today is to reach out ask someone how they are doing.
Tragedy’s like this have a more severe impact on those who have already been traumatized. Trauma is cumulative. We need to be extra loving & caring today. I know you know that, but just had to say it. I am sure some of you know someone who has a broken heart today. Let’s all reach out & be extra caring today. #VegasStrong
Julie Morrell, MFT
There are a few key reasons why people with an addiction problem decide to go into drug rehab & then decide to stay clean & sober. Here is what they have told me. ~ Julie Morrell MFT
1) As their substance abuse eventually became an every day event, they eventually got sick & tired of being sick and tired.
2) They got tired of disappointing the people they care about & eventually decided they don’t want to do it anymore. Seeing and hearing the disappointment in their loved one’s voice & face, becomes more excruciatingly painful. They realize they are messing up.
3) They realize they have no more friends & family that care for them, ( the tough love route) so now they are motivated to get clean. Because now they are truly all alone. Being an addict is very isolating. Using has made them incredibly and painfully lonely.
4) They realize they have a different relationship to drugs and alcohol. It’s a different relationship than what other people have, in that once they use they can’t stop. It’s an addictive relationship. They resolve they need rehab help to help them not use again. It’s at this point, that someone in their life might say to them. You need professional help, and they finally listen.
5) It’s interesting to note, that often times when an addict begins to come to counseling, they-want their depression or anxiety symptoms treated and lifted, and they DO want to have a better relationships with others. And at the same time they are not recognizing that it is the substance that is making their symptoms of depression, anxiety and failed relationships much worse. They often won’t tell the professional they are using at first, which is why it is important for them to see someone who knows about drug and alcohol addiction.
It’s often at this point that the addict will begin to listen to the idea that they indeed have a problem. Hearing it from a professional carries more weight then hearing it from a loved one. Hearing they need inpatient help begins to be a concept they are starting to consider. Outpatient counseling won’t help get them sober. And inpatient rehab will help someone with a substance abuse problem detox safely. Drug and Alcohol rehabs are equipped to help addicts safely detox. Detoxing from substance is not something a person can do on their own and can result in death. Detoxing needs to be medically monitored and done in a safe setting. When they realize this, it will often help them make the decision to finally get treatment.
Every substance abuse situation is different, and not all addicts react the same, however, if someone has been abusing substance for a long time. It is my belief that 30 days of inpatient treatment is a good start, but not enough to help someone make a complete change. It isn’t until after 60 days of inpatient treatment that you will start to see a kinder more gentle person begin to emerge. And after 90 days of being clean and sober, people can manage their every day stress much better, and studies show that people are less likely to immediately relapse. They have a much better chance of a renewed life after 90 days drug free.
If this is a situation you are familiar with, you might want to read the book,” Addict in the Family”, by Beverly Conyers. It will help you understand the challenges you are facing. It’s extremely difficult to interact with an addict, precisely because they can be so deceptively manipulative. Also, you might want to read or listen to the CD called, ” Reclaim your life” – You and the Alcoholic/Addict, by Carole Bennett. It’s important to go to Al-anon meetings and educate yourself regularly. If you don’t like the first one you have tried, go try another. http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/local-meetings
And if you are an addict go to 12 step meetings. Here is a link to AA meetings, http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-local-aa
The truth is, living a life of isolation will encourage a relapse whereas being connected with others will help someone remain sober. Being sober and staying sober is much more easily done when staying connected with others and committed to the sober community. Millions of people kick the life of addiction and live clean and sober lives. You can too. It’s possible!
We all have to focus on ourselves at times to get things done and to take good care of ourselves. However there is a level of self-absorbtion that makes life difficult for those that live with the #self-centered person. If you bend toward self-absorbtion you will want others to be more perfect for you & do more things for you. It is crucial that we love & take care of ourselves – but that is very different from being extremely #self-absorbed. If you love yourself in a balanced healthy way then you accept who you are – but understand that you have flaws & that others do too. And if you forgive yourself for #sins you have committed in the past, then it will do you well to forgive others as well for the same.
We all have flaws, and we all have talents that make us unique. If you love yourself in a healthy way, you feel secure in yourself and your own accomplishments – and you won’t then look to others to give you self-esteem.
So how can you tell if you have healthy self-esteem or if you’re too self-absorbed and a bit too #narcissistic? The following questions can help you with this:
- Do you always need to be the center of attention? For example, do you dress in bold colours or in wacky styles so that other people notice and comment on your looks? Or, do you stoop to spreading gossip or doing crazy things to keep the interest and spotlight focused upon you? Or, does every conversation have to be about your interests and what you think other people SHOULD be doing– and you tend to switch off when others talk about their lives, and their interests?
- How do you deal with other people’ feelings? Do you put your feelings first and act as if that’s all that matters? Do you tend not to notice or ask how other people feeling? (or if you do, you view it as irrelevant)?
- What is your attitude to others, and their views? Do you tend to see yourself as always having the right answer, as being better than others, and deserving of respect? Do you tend to think that others are either wrong or stupid, or they’re less important or well-informed than you?
- How do you view your own problems and needs? Do you think that your problems and your needs are more important, or more urgent, or more serious than those of other people? Do you want all your problems to be sorted out right now – or else you’ll hyperventilate or get really mad? Is your spouse exasperated with your constant disapproval and critque of others? Do you demand that things go the way you think they should?
- Is your way always right, and your solution’s always best? Hence, no-one should argue with, or criticize, your thinking. Do you take it personally if others fail to realize how perfect your suggestions and your answers clearly are? Or do you get upset if others are not immediately responsive to you in the way you think they should be?
- Do you have a controlling personality? A self-absorbed person will usually want to control others, and likes to set the standards and rules in others’ lives. For example, how to cook, how to clean or how to drive a car. The controlling person is the one who sets the temperature for the room, if they are tense, other’s get tense. When people live with a controlling person eventually the controlled spouse or child will rebel and will want to run their own life. In short, they grow up.
Note: If several of these traits are applicable to you then it may indicate that you’re a bit too self- absorbed. Learn to relax your grip on others and focus more on being more kind & interested in others. Purposefully being kind to others creates a whole different more positive mind set. Not only will they like you better, you will like yourself better and feel more relaxed and less stressed.
If over the years people have eventually stop interacting with you , it might be because you lack #empathy & #compassion toward others. And perhaps you do not reciprocate kindness. And if you are prone to anger management problems along with cutting judgmental remarks & vibes people will avoid you. No one likes to be around someone who is self-absorbed, judgmental and critical. The nicest person will eventually find this trait tiresome. The antidote is kindness & compassion!
Have you heard of the phrase ” Emotional Intelligence” ? EQ for short? Dr. Jeanne Segal, has found that high levels of emotional intelligence consists of these five key skills:
1. The ability to quickly reduce stress.
2. The ability to recognize & manage your emotions.
3. The ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication.
4. The ability to use humor and play to deal with challenges.
5. The ability to resolve conflicts positively & with confidence.
Are you honest, #loving & forthcoming with your feelings? Honesty fueled by love is the most emotionally, powerful, #grown up way to live your life. And if you can embrace this concept in your #communication style, the people in your life will feel your love & care for them in the most #powerful way possible.
Are you a person who can truly emotionally connect with people? According to research scientist Brene Brown, If you can emotionally connect you will then you will have these character traits below.
1) People who can connect with others can also tell their real life story with their whole heart.
2)They have the #compassion to be kind to themselves.
3)They have connection with others as a result of authenticity. You can’t have a real connection with others otherwise.
4)They embrace #vulnerability.
5)They have the willingness to say, ” I love you” first.
6) They have learned to breathe through difficult #life challenges.
7) When you truly connect with another, you will have more #Love & Joy in your life!
Be on the Look Out for the signs of a narcissist below.
In the beginning of a relationship
1) They will pursue you relentlessly.
2) Smooth Talkers
3) Heavy with the Romance
4) Available to you in the beginning but will want to rush toward commitment.
5) Won’t take No for an answer
6) You often feel the emotion of confusion
In the middle of the relationships
1) They become less available.
2) They will start to criticize regularly your every move.
3) They will get upset over trivial matters & things.
4) You will carry the weight of the relationship responsibility
5) And if something goes wrong it’s your fault.
6) You are still feel confused, perhaps annoyed.
7) Things don’t make sense.
8) Your logical questions are not quite ever answered.
As the relationship continues
1) The relationship could become stable but it’s very unhappy for you most of the time.
2) Women (or men) often wait for the nice guy/gal to return & come back.
3) Which they will but only IF they feel they have lost you, & only then.
4) There is no concern to meet your emotional needs while you are invested in the relationship.
5) They continue to blow up over trivial matters & blow things you have done out of proportion.
6) There is no equal division of labor in the relationship, they want you to do it all.
7) If they get caught up in a hobby they will devote all their time to it.
8) Your needs are on the last on their priority list, and are never quite fulfilled.
9) Confusion & frustration is the main emotion for you in this relationship now.
10) You might see evidence of involvement with other people when you thought the relationship
If you are in a relationship like the one I described above, my friend, you might be in love with a narcissist.
Narcissist are so confusing that they drive people into therapy to get counseling help for their distress. There are reasons why you picked someone like this, it might be worthwhile to get some professional help, to help alleviate your ongoing distress & confusion.
It’s normal to be sad from to time to time, but if you feel unmotivated or hopeless, are experiencing sleep deprivation or changes in appetite, or are having recurrent thoughts of death, you may be developing some form of depression, or symptoms of it. If so, you are not alone; nearly 18 million American adults suffer from a depressive illness. Depression can devastate all areas of your everyday life, including work, school, family relationships and friendships. You may experience a loss of interest in the activities you once enjoyed like going out to dinner, playing with your children or participating in extracurricular activities.
When you are depressed, even basic daily activities seem bothersome or too hard. Depression treatment can be possible via professionals in the mental health field.The physiological and psychological effects of depression are caused by the way the brain processes certain chemicals. Some types of depression, such as bipolar disorder, tend to run in families. However, having a family member with a severe form of depression does not necessarily mean you will develop it as well. On the other hand, depression can and does strike those in families with no previous history of it
A variety of outside factors, including a major illness or loss of a loved one, difficult relationships or living situations, financial pressures, or job stress can trigger depression. Attitudinal proclivities such as low self esteem, chronic pessimism and anxiety also can contribute to depression. Depression can even result from poor diet, food allergies, insomnia, or lack of exercise.
Many people cannot accept that they may suffer from depression. Most try to shake off the depression symptoms and tend to not seek treatment because they are ashamed. Denial only makes depression worse.
Take one small step to be happy again: Seek treatment from a therapist before depression really hurts you and your family.
Common Depression Types
*Major depression can dramatically disrupt your ability to work, eat, sleep, study and maintain healthy relationships. People who are severally depressed tend to not want to participate in the pleasurable activities they once enjoyed.
*Dysthymia is a non-disabling, chronic depression that keeps one from functioning well or from feeling good. It has many of the same symptoms as major depression, but may not be as severe.
*Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a depressive mood disorder that scientists have determined is related to seasonal variations of light and is most prevalent in the winter months. Those with SAD often benefit from increased exposure to artificial light or sunlight.
*Bipolar Disorder is also known as manic-depressive illness and is not as common as other forms of depression. It is characterized by either dramatic or gradually cycling mood changes. Those with bipolar disorder experience severe highs (mania) and lows (depression). While in the depressed phase, one can have any or all of the symptoms of major depression. The manic phase affects judgment, rational thinking, and acceptable social behavior.
*Postpartum Depression is thought to be triggered by hormonal shifts and/or lifestyle changes, and can occur at any time after giving birth. While some level of tiredness, trouble concentrating, and anxiety is to be expected after giving birth, postpartum depression lasts longer than two weeks.
But what if you’ve tied the knot and pre-marital counseling is no longer an option? If you are already married and either never received pre-marital counseling or feel that your marriage is still in need of professional guidance, then we encourage you to read the following information and ask yourself these questions:
- Signs and symptoms of clinical depression
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Change in sleep patterns
- Feeling of hopelessness and unworthiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Overwhelming feeling of sadness and grief
- Increased irritability and anger
- Withdrawal from family and friends
Help For Depression – Things You Can Do
Get Help: Your first step should be to see your primary care physician for a depression screening test and to rule out other possible physical problems. Your doctor will ask you a series of questions designed to assess if you are clinically depressed. If it is determined that you do have clinical depression, your doctor will prescribe anti-depressant medication.
You also should ask your doctor for a referral or authorization to see a licensed Therapist. According to recent studies, a combination of therapy and medication is the most effective way to combat depression.
Keep Trying: Sometimes, you’ll have to try two or three medications–and perhaps see more than one therapist–over a period of several months to find the combination that will work best for you. The important thing is that you keep trying.
Take Care of Yourself: It’s essential to eat a healthy, balanced diet and get regular exercise and sufficient sleep. Excessive consumption of sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco all impact your brain’s ability to work properly. It’s also important to take care of your emotional and spiritual well-being. Learn to identify and properly express your feelings so that you don’t become emotionally overwhelmed. Friends and family can provide a helpful support system.
Develop a Purpose: Cultivate positive values and formulate a purpose in life that will guide you in making decisions and provide you with a sense of direction. Having attainable goals and knowing what steps to take to achieve them will enable you to see your life as having meaning.
National Institute of Health: Depression http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml California Department of Mental Health www.dmh.ca.gov Depression Hotline (630) 482-9696www.spsfv.org
Partial Content Credit:M.K.Doc Downing, Ph.D., MSW, LMFT
By Julie Morrell, MFT
Don’t pay a therapist to just sit there and just uh-huh you, as important as good listening skills are, pay a therapist to actively help you. An experienced professional therapist is worth their weight in gold, and can & should do something much more for you than a friend can do. Friends have a very important place in our lives, but they are not trained to actively help us with emotional problems. Can you imagine getting help and putting to rest an emotional problem or concern you have had for years? That’s the type of resolution and help you should expect from an experienced therapist who loves their work and can offer you the best of help available.
1) Anxiety problems can stem from a history of not feeling capable of freely speaking up for yourself. Maybe you had a controlling parent, or spouse?
Let’s get to the root of that for you.
2) Jealousy problems? Let’s take a look at your self-esteem and why it’s so low. Could it be that you might have made a decision that people are not trustworthy,
and you become jealous when your partner has conversations with someone else, because others are not to be trusted? This is just one reason why jealousy problems can manifest. And I am not talking about a spouse who might purposefully make you jealous.
3) Depressed? Let’s take a look at how socially isolated you might feel. A root issue for a depression problem is multi-fold, but it can at times stem from a need to protect
yourself from unsafe people and this stance was developed in childhoood, but becomes a habit in adulthood even when you do not need to protect yourself from unsafe people anymore. Of course there tends to be a physiological root to depression at times that might need to be examined as well.
4) Anger problems? Are you quick to anger? If someone is easily triggered and agitated, this often means that whatever emotion was triggered in addition to anger
that this emotion has a historical wound attached to it. Feeling disrespected or abandoned are common emotions attached to anger issues. For example; if you are easily upset by people telling you what to do, you might be easily provoked if someone sounds like they are trying to tell you what to do, creating an over reaction in you, even when it’s not the case. If you feel people are insulting your intelligence, it might be because people did insult you in your past and this created a wound in you that can easily be triggered even if someone is just trying to caution you.
A good therapist can help you heal from any of these emotional and psychological upsets and trauma. A counseling session involves much more than listening, a counseling
session involves a therapist actively helping you recover and heal from these past wounds and upsets, to the point that as time passes, you actually forget what you were upset about it in the first place. When that happens, and you realize you are not as easily upset about current events as you had been in the past, then you will know that the therapy has worked and you have moved into a much better, richer place in your life.
With all the ups and downs of real life, I wish for you a nourishing life as well as true & loyal friendships with people who know you well, enjoy interacting with you,
and truly love you in a way that leaves no doubt about how special you are to them. ~ Julie Morrell, MFT
1. Learn to Communicate: Learning to verbalize what you are doing and why to family members and close friends, will help them feel more secure with you. Don’t assume they will just know. They won’t. Also, if you need help with something, suggest a way your family can help you out. They can’t read your mind. You must communicate your needs if you want to begin to trust people will be there for you.
2. Actions: Your actions do speak louder than words. If your actions do not match your words over time, people will not trust you. Nothing is more important to building trust than to have your actions match your words.
3. Keep no records of wrongs; If you want people to begin to open up to you and trust you, don’t keep reminding them of what they did wrong.
Focus on what is happening in your lives now. Sometimes one of the reason’s the past is brought up, is because there wasn’t proper closure to the hurt
or injury that took place in the past, in that case, you have to work toward closure to properly heal from the past injury.
4. Look in the mirror; Do people have a reason to distrust you? Do you speak about your close friends and family in unflattering ways? Do you regularly let them down? Do you make commitments to do things with them and then not follow through? Are you quick to anger? Easily offended? It’s hard to feel safe and comfortable with people who do these things. If you have behaved in an untrustworthy way, there is no better time than the present to ask for forgiveness and make a commitment to do better. And then do better. If you can’t do better on your own, get help.
5. Show trust; Most people are actually trustworthy in most matters most of the time. It just takes a few hurtful early experiences in life to make people not trust anyone, but just know you have to keep trying. People will often times rise to the occasion if you show you trust them. I am not talking about blind trust, that is called enabling. Enabling is also called having all grace and no truth. We all need both, grace for our imperfections and truth about how our actions may have hurt someone.
6. Confusion; Pay attention to the emotion of confusion. The emotion of confusion can be your friend. If you feel it regularly with someone, chances are the person you are interacting with might not be trustworthy, and they might be self-centered. People who follow through, do what they say they are going to do, and love you with their actions and words. They will naturally make you feel secure with them, not confused. So recognize when you are feeling regularly confused with someone. This is a red flag.
*If you are interacting with someone from a different culture, then this pointer might not count.
7. Repetition; Sometimes trust can only be re-built over time. And each time you behave in a trustworthy way, you earn more trust. In short follow through, communicate, take a look at yourself in terms of trust, and do what you say you will do, be sincere, show up, and keep building trust. Build trust in every matter, big or small, significant or not, you can’t go wrong, by being someone who can be counted on and trusted. Close friendships and love relationships are built on trust!