The Effects of Trust—Or Lack Thereof

Growing up every child has this unbreakable and indescribable trust with everyone they meet. It’s really due to lack of experience, which is a shame because trust is very hard to come by now. A child will put their belief in their parents like no one else and continue believing in them until they know better. Santa Claus will always exist until one day you go down the stairs and see your dad placing a present under the tree and nibbling on the chocolate chip cookie you worked hard on making the night before.

I believe there are levels of trust. The Santa Claus is a just a mundane trust level, because there is no real damage that can occur besides maybe the child now wondering why they bothered making the cookies in the first place. White lies are meant to help the child grow and isn’t necessarily damaging the trust the child has still. That comes with time as trust starts to hold a stronger meaning and connection to someone’s personality.

I never really understood that until I headed out to college. My trust was given too easily, because I didn’t think I was hurting myself in the process of giving people my full attention and care. But that wasn’t the case, because each time I realized I was used; it broke me down more and more.

Each relationship has its own level of trust as well. The one you share with your parents is different from your significant other, friends, or even your own siblings. And with each level, the effects of trust are different as well. How it is gained, how it is lost, how it can change, how it can get stronger all varies based on how the relationship is perceived between the two individuals. Some cases, the trust isn’t so strong but still exists like a student trusting the professor to teach them the right material for an exam. But just as quickly that trust can dissolve once the test is over and the student realizes the professor rambled about everything but what was on the test.

I believe it is the trust in your partner and parent that holds more weight than anything else. If you catch your partner sneaking out of the house with no justification, your trust is really tested. If your parents kept a known secret from you until you were older, your trust in them is questionable now. Your parents raise you, and the trust you have in them is the strongest since you have experienced the majority of your life with them. They are the steppingstone to finding your partner and what you would want in a partner.

Trust effects more than just relationships. Personally, I find it effects the psyche and one’s mind/body connection. The best example I have is a personal experience that really details how I live now. How I got here has taken time and patience not only from me, but also my loved ones. A lot of times people feel alone in their situation and don’t truly understand that childhood trauma and issues can manifest itself in issues during adulthood, without you really being aware of it.

Growing up, I wasn’t just raised by my parents. My grandmother has been around since I was born and was a huge influence throughout my childhood. I considered her a second mother, because if my mother wasn’t around, I went to my grandmother. As an Indian woman, our coming of age ceremony occurs when the girl gets her first period. The ceremony basically isolates the girl in a room where no one is allowed to touch her or get near her. My grandmother spent every day in the room with me and even ate with me while I was by myself. I trusted her with everything, especially with any issues I dealt with.

It wasn’t until I got older, and older meaning ten years down the road married and with a stable job, to realize the trust I put in my family was really clouded. My trust was only two sides of a coin, either right or wrong. Whatever my grandmother did was never wrong to me, because she was someone who raised me and cared for me when I was sick. I never questioned her logic, or her “love” for me.

I remember as a child I was forced to sing in front of a crowd of strangers. I didn’t want to, and my parents didn’t force me, but my grandmother said “If you love me you will sing for me. Otherwise I won’t talk to you.” I would try to play her bluff, but anytime I would hug or try to show affection she would brush me off and not say a word. So, I was always pressured into anything and never truly did anything for myself.

Raising a child isn’t no easy feat, and I am well aware now watching friends raise their own children. But I know having the trust is more important than just saying you take care of your child. The things that had happened progressively got worse as I grew up. But I never was led to believe those instances were anything more than just opportunities to grow or my grandmother looking out for me. Like the time she put her hand down my black V-neck shirt to see my reaction. And when I slapped her and asked her why she had done it, her response was, “Well you’re wearing this for guys to look at you, so I wanted to see what you would do if they did that. I’m glad you hit me.” I knew deep down that it was wrong and an over-exaggerated reaction to my shirt, but I was only able to tell myself that she did it for my own protection.

That translated to my future, where I felt I had to hide myself and my figure from the world, worried that I was going to draw attention to my body unnecessarily. I never felt like I could question anything, like if I couldn’t wear a V-neck why could I wear a sari that exposed my entire midriff and back? There was a beauty that a sari brought out that a shirt didn’t, apparently. It wasn’t until I met my husband and was aware that I could be beautiful in everything and nothing that I realized the exaggerated reality I used to live in.

And the trust I developed through my husband taught me that he would point out the wrongs while always pointing out the rights. He didn’t feed me a constant reel of what he believed was right; and encouraged me to stay true to what my truths were and what I wanted them to be. I am regularly haunted from my past and what had happened, because I lost a lot of trust in my family. Without that trust and being able to have a support team it detracted from my confidence and self-esteem. I lost who I was and who I wanted to be. As a parent, I believe you are trying to build your child to be independent and love themselves thoroughly. Your duty isn’t to control your child to what you want them to look, do, or speak; it’s to give them the guidance to figure out their path that they choose. Children become people, and you can’t tell a person what to do when you know they have their own thoughts and feelings. You trust that they do the right thing.

Trust is hard to give and hard to keep up. But instilling that from a young age and allowing them to trust that you can provide them the right guidance without inhibiting their growth is essential. It gives them the understanding that you want what is best for them, but you want them to be able to express themselves however they please. Trust is a two-way street; you can’t expect one person to trust you if you don’t trust them. Believe that the other is doing what is best for them, because when they do what is best for them, they also do what is best for you. That’s just how trust works.