Extreme Trust Issues

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Through the years, I have developed horrible trust issues. When I was younger, I had a best friend. She was a compulsive liar. Lies, lies, lies, it’s all she said. I had been friends with her for 9 long years until I stopped being friends with her almost a year ago. I have been deeply scarred from her constant lying. She controlled me, made me her own little doll. I believed her lies. Now I can trust no one. Not even my real best friend who I have also known for a really long time. I feel I have paranoia problems. I get very very very worried when I think people are mad at me. Once I contemplated suicide when I thought someone was mad at me. I am terrified that I am crazy. Whenever she texts or hangs out with someone I feel like they are talking about me from my ex- best friend who would constantly do that. I am scarred on the inside, deeply. I want to be at peace once again and be able to be happy. I also feel like I can’t hang out with anyone but my best friend, for a feeling she will get angry. All I feel I can do is hang out with her AND a group of people. Help me, please :’(

A. I do not think that you are “crazy.” I think that you may be overreacting to the possibility of others being angry with you. You have difficulty dealing with people. These problems are making it difficult for you to have healthy, sustainable relationships.

Being overly concerned with what others think is a problem. It can mean that other people have a large degree of influence in your life. It is okay to be concerned about what other people think of you, to a certain extent. You will know that you have gone too far when your wants and needs are neglected in relationships. This often leads to unhappiness. It is a sign of an unbalanced relationship.

Also, you cannot please everyone. No one can. No matter what you do there will likely be someone who is displeased with you. If you try to please everyone, you are fighting a losing battle.

A third problem is that in your effort to please others, you may do things that you would probably rather not do. For instance, let’s say you want to go to movie A but your best friend wants to go to movie B. You don’t want to see movie B but you go because you do not want to anger your best friend. It would be fine to take turns but wrong to consistently do what you don’t want to do, simply to please others. Your fear of angering others may be driving you to engage in very one-sided relationships. Again, this can lead to resentment and anger on your part.

Your wants, needs and desires in relationships do matter. Relationships are not supposed to be one-sided. If your friend asks you to go to the movies one week, you should ask her to go the movies the next week. If your friend calls you, you should call her. If a friend invites you to his or her home, you should invite him or her to your home, and so on. If someone treats you badly that doesn’t mean you should reciprocate but you may want to reconsider your friendship with that individual. This would not be selfish; it would be self-preservation.

Part of why you avoid confrontation may be because you do not want to lose friends. The problem with this, as I explained above, is that one-sided relationships typically do not last long. The good news is that you can learn better relationship skills. You may not be able to trust others now but you can learn to trust again.

I believe now is a good time to seek help for this problem. It can be corrected. A therapist could be very helpful. He or she could help you in the following ways:

  • Teach you how to have healthy relationships with others.

  • Model what a healthy relationship is like.
  • Teach you how to select and attract respectful friends.
  • Advise you about how to deal with situations when a friend becomes angry with you.
  • Teach you how not to overreact when difficult situations arise.

As you mentioned, this problem has complicated your life to the degree that you were considering suicide. This is why it is very, very important that you seek help immediately.

I would strongly encourage you to speak with your parents. Perhaps they have advice about friendship that they can offer you. They may also be able to help you deal with your anxiety. I would highly recommend counseling in addition to speaking to your parents. I believe it could benefit you. Here is a link to a list of therapists. Please seek help immediately. If you are feeling suicidal, call 800-273-8255 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 May 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Extreme Trust Issues. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/05/11/extreme-trust-issues/