Trust is very delicate and fragile and needs to be earned and developed, it is not a given. And, once it is achieved it is only transient. For it to survive it needs to be safeguarded and nurtured. It is like achieving our ideal weight and level of fitness. To maintain them we need to continue to eat healthy and nutritious foods and keep up with out fitness program.

Even though we are not aware or cognizant of this when we are infants, for obvious reasons, we are actually born as fully trusting human beings. We start off with a clean slate. This trust slowly gets eroded as we are parented by imperfect parents. We quickly learn that our needs do not get met 100% of the time and that others are not there for us %100 of the time the way we need them to be. This makes us cautious. This teaches us how to protect ourselves and not be vulnerable to others. This creates defense mechanisms that hide our authentic self and prevent us from being fully engaged with ourselves, our partner and in our life as a whole. This keeps us from being fully alive!

Our defense mechanisms show up in the form of being passive-aggressive, aggressive, angry, controlling, obsessive, pursuing, shut-down, and a multitude of other ways that prevent us from being in connection with our loved ones. The kicker is that partners usually have opposite defense mechanisms that tend to trigger, hurt, each other further.

For example, let’s say that Jane needs attention and security and to get it she controls and obsesses. She is married to John, who needs freedom and validation and to get it he withdraws and acts passive-aggressively. When Jane wants attention from John, she demands things, asks a lot of questions, becomes critical and bossy. This makes John want more space and so he withdraws further, making Jane come after him more. And so, their pattern, cycle, dynamic goes. They keep this perpetual cycle until, if and when, they figure out what is behind their behavior and each works to give the other what they need. Until they become conscious and mindful in their relating.

This is challenging to do, because each partner is looking to get what they want and has difficulties giving what the other partner wants. Each is trying to meet their own needs and is stuck in that perspective. When neither budges, and they continue to hurt the other in their pursuit of getting their own needs met, they get stuck in a power struggle. This is a very painful place. Partners hurt each other in their quest to be OK. They too are imperfect in their relating. Trust keeps getting eroded.

This situation gets to a critical point when in their unconsciousness partners use their defense mechanisms to an extreme inflicting additional trauma on their partner. Trust in relationship and in stuck dynamics is subject to many tests, but when exposed to extreme negative treatment (i.e., violence, abuse, cheating) it cannot withstand the impacts of the trauma.

It is imperative for partners to change the focus of their attention from what their partner is not doing for them or how their partner is hurting them, to what they are not doing for their partner and how they are hurting their partner. No matter how much pain they are in, partners need to see how they contribute to their stuck dynamic and change their contribution to it.

When the partners’ focus changes and they are both doing for each other from a more giving, nurturing, accepting and unconditional loving place, they are finally creating safety for each other, meeting each others’ needs, and developing and safeguarding their trust. The partners are fully engaged; they bring their authentic selves to their relating, and are in connection. They are conscious and mindful. They are healing, growing, and contributing. They are becoming more fully alive!

Happy Trusting and Living!!

~ Your MetroRelationship™ Assignment

For the next two days, closely observe what you do that bothers your partner. At the end of your observation period, invite your partner to a Connecting Session. Make it fun and safe:

1. Share three things you noticed bothered them in the past two days 2. Take a guess as to why it bothered them 3. Have your partner correct any wrong interpretations 4. For every interpretation you got right, they get to request a cute and small gesture from you that tickles their fancy.

~ Share Your Thoughts & Successes in the comment box at the end!

Take a moment now to share below any thoughts, comments, take away, tips, and successes! PLEASE post a comment now – we grow in community!

Thanks for connecting with the MetroRelationship™ Family!

Author's Bio: 

Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT has been in the mental health field in varying capacities for the past 20+ years. She is the Founder and Director of a psychotherapy and coaching practice specializing in working with busy professional and entrepreneurial couples who are struggling getting on the same page and feeling connected.