Friday, April 13, 2012

Common Denominators - Trust Problems.

Too much trust is equally as problematic as too little, because it has the same result - an inability to see other people with any clarity. If I'm not paying attention when other people "tell me who they are" through their actions and characteristic behavior, I'm setting myself up for future trouble when our two moralities and belief systems collide.

I came into program a strange mix of distrust and denial, fearful of others, afraid of what I might do, unable to relax for even one minute into confidence in anything or anyone. I learned in the rooms of Al-Anon that before I could have any confidence in myself, I first needed to believe in my own worth, my value as a human being. Once that was established, I could take the next small steps of trusting in my own judgement.

I learned that the world contains many wonderfully delightful people who are a joy to know, and who enrich my life immeasurably. (I couldn't have imagined I'd ever write that sentence, when I was new to program.)

Many of us come into Al-Anon suffering from the effects of too much trust, of denial of the evidence given by our own senses, in favour of what we'd prefer to believe. We turn our faces away from reality when it's presented to us, and wave it off like a bad smell, insisting that it isn't really that, it's this, and this is okay, we can live with this. And then five or ten or fifteen years later, when denial cracks, or the other person forces the reality of who they are into our consciousness, we're devastated. I knew my first husband was dishonest in many ways, I saw it happen daily, but through some convoluted thinking, somehow was able to believe that his love for me would triumph over his dishonesty, when it came to his dealings with me. That's called denial. 

I knew who he was and how he operated in the throes of his addiction to alcohol, yet I deliberately put that knowledge off to the side, and once it was over there, out of my peripheral vision, I could continue daily life as if it didn't exist.

That was a choice, as is every decision to trust or not to trust a choice. I didn't know back then, before Al-Anon, that it was a choice, or that I was making it, but once I did, then the onus is upon me, and I can't put the blame upon the other person anymore. Once I've understood that it's me putting myself into this position, I may feel anger, shame, or distress, and I need to work through my feelings towards myself for having put myself into jeopardy, and then I need to let it go.

I need to trust in my Higher Power, who will never abandon me. I need to face life honestly, no more denial to cushion the unpleasant realities. I want peace, and that requires unflinching acceptance. Acceptance makes life possible with serenity. When I see with clarity, and say, "Yes, I see that it is this way, and I accept it without a fight" I have granted myself freedom.


  1. I really needed to read this today. I'm always looking to the positive and encourage everyone. When it comes to the sick and suffering people in my lives...this is not a good trait for me. I need to face their behavior with eyes wide open and just pray for them. Only God can help them.

  2. I have done just as you describe. I wanted to see something other than what was there. But what was really there was all there was. And when I realized that, it hurt like hell. Today, I can take what I like and leave the rest without so much sorrow.

  3. I was told that I was in denial when I said I expected a positive outcome for my son. I see what he's doing and I know he's not ready to give it up, but I hope that one day he will. Is that denial?