Everyone has uncertainty about whom to trust, how much to trust, when not to trust, and so forth at one time or another. In fact, every day we make choices about whom and how much to trust, and sometimes we are more willing to trust than at other times. That’s a good thing; a total lack of mistrust would indicate a serious psychological problem. Judgments about when and whom to trust help keep us safe and alive!
Signs that a person may be excessively mistrustful include:
- A total lack of intimacy or friendships due to mistrust
- Mistrust that interferes with one’s primary relationship
- Several intensely dramatic and stormy relationships in a row or at once
- Racing thoughts of suspicion or anxiety about friends and family
- Terror during physical intimacy
- Belief that others are deceptive and malevolent, without real evidence
When mistrust seems to play a dominant role in a person’s life, past disappointments or betrayals may be at the root of the issue. Mistrust is a valid and reasoned response to feeling betrayed or abandoned, but a person’s life can be adversely affected when feelings of mistrust are pervasive, resulting in anxiety, anger, or self-doubt. Fortunately, a person can learn to trust again, and working with a therapist can aid this process.