When Trust Has Been Shattered

Trust is essential for healthy relationships. Erik Erikson proposed that establishing trust is the primary step in psychological development. When trust is eroded or shattered, it is difficult but possible to rebuild it.


Often, when we have been deeply hurt, fear of confrontation may cause us to withdraw from the relationship. Facing the offending person and verbally expressing the disappointment, anger, and demolished sense of trust is important. The other person may be blind to the consequences of his or her behavior. I've counseled with people who couldn't imagine why a child or parent or sibling had suddenly broken off contact. It never occurred to them that something they had done led to that response.

Confronting the issue also relieves some of our distress. It puts issues in the open where they can be discussed, and (if I understand Jesus) it's scripturally commanded.


Whenever trust is broken, you have a difficult choice: harbor your hurt and ...

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