Living Without Trust. Or Control.

It wasn’t easy for me to make the decision to trust again.

He asked for one more chance, and I counted up all the one more chances that had already been given.  And blown.  I sat in the dark with the fear and the doubt and the uncertainty.  I got lost inside my own head, because nothing outside of me was offering me any hope.

I prayed.

And when I felt sure that God had answered, I leapt.

I knew that trust was an issue.  I knew I had no reason to believe.  I knew that all evidence pointed to the fact that being lied to would be a part of my immediate future.

I leapt anyway.

It’s hard not to feel stupid about that right now.

I made a list of the things – the important but surmountable things, I called them – that needed to be worked on.  Lying and trust were at the top of that list.  How can you hold in your hand a list that says “lying” in your own handwriting, and act surprised when “lying” materializes in real life?

How can you justify shock when you had to know that it was coming?

I wrestled all night with the familiar feeling of being stupid.  In an effort to avoid the fact that there are things beyond my control that can hurt me, I looked inward at what I had done to cause the hurt.  If I had been stupid, if I had made a bad choice, if I could be blamed for the pain I was in, then I could still maintain some sense of security.

If I broke it, then I could fix it.

Except, I didn’t break it.

Not this time.

Yes, I made a decision to trust despite a history of mistrust and nothing to suggest that the future would be any different.  Yes, I hoped.

But hope is not equivalent to stupidity.

I am doing my part.

The truth is, I only hold one part. A marriage is made up of more than one part.  And, despite my best efforts, there is absolutely nothing I can do to control the other parts.

I type those words and the cursor blinks at me.  What comes after admitting you don’t have control?  I’m standing here defenseless, having been stripped of my most reliable coping mechanism.  My one defense against the outside world has been revealed a fake, and nothing tangible has been put back into my hands as a replacement.

I’m paralyzed.  Again.

The world, and this relationship, is a dangerous and scary place.  It hurts.  It wounds.  It stabs at my flesh and I am left now with no armor.  How can I possibly move from this spot and navigate the thorny underbrush with no armor?

Trust is about knowing that you can survive if and when someone hurts you.

I’ve said these words.  My therapist has confirmed them.  But I look at them now and think “I don’t know how much more I can survive.  Wouldn’t it be easier if someone would just. stop. hurting me?

But I can’t control their part.

So I look again at my part.

I’ve committed to marriage counseling.  I am desperately hopeful that a professional will have answers that I don’t.  I have to accept the fact that in the meantime, I’m in a holding pattern.  I’m in limbo, stuck in a temporary space of wait and see.

And in that space, there is no trust.

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  1. avitable says:

    Trusting is never stupid. Trusting and pretending like there’s no potential for hurt as a result of said trust could be called stupid, but even that is just ignorance more than anything else. The positive side to trust is all of the benefit that you can derive from it – the love and openness that can also come, along with that potential for pain.

  2. Robin says:

    Trust is really hard. It’s so hard to read your pain and have basically no idea what you are going through but I do know whatever it is it will work out eventually.

  3. if only i had a fucking clue as to what i should comment.

  4. Dawn says:

    OK, this is exactly what I was talking about in the last post, when I said that when I don’t know how to FIX! HELP! MAKE IT BETTER! that I don’t comment. And you said that you feel that I HAVE been there for you through the entire process.

    But I don’t know how to make you trust and, shit, I don’t even know how much I believe in God.

    Can I just wave my fairy princess magic wand (it has sparkles on it!) and make everything perfect? Because that’s all I’ve got. Oh, and I’m here for you. :)

  5. toywithme says:

    At some point in life I think we all face a situation where we need to decide what is best for us. Women are very caring and giving, it’s our nature. Having said that I believe more women need to put themselves first. Perhaps overlooking everything and anything else, and thinking only of ourselves. Then decide what is ultimately best for you.

  6. Becky says:

    I don’t have answers, even if I did, I couldn’t give them to you. You need to find them for yourself.
    I don’t have a light to light your way out of the darkness you find yourself in. Even if I did it would do you no good, you have to find your own path. Or make your own path.
    All I can offer you is to stand beside you, walk beside you, sit beside you with open ears, arms, heart, (bar?) and do my best to give whatever you ask of me.

  7. Bre says:

    I’m thinking of you! (Hugging you through my BlackBerry)

  8. bo says:

    Trust is letting go. Trust is acquiescing to what you can’t control – whether it will hurt you or not. The concept of trust is inextricably linked to the concept of control. You can’t work on one or the other of these issues; they must be solved together.

    Keep your head up, Britt. There’s nothing stupid in having a little faith, especially when you know you shouldn’t. It shows that you want to be the brighter part of humanity.

    • donna says:

      @bo,

      thank you for this. Just reading through Britt’s comments before I leave my own, and your words here struck a chord with me. So thanks!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @bo, and there’s a payoff for that brighter bit somewhere down the line, right? RIGHT?!?!?!

      • bo says:

        @Miss Britt, there’s payoff right now in that you’re a decent person. Down the road somewhere? Well, you might be bright enough to be The Light.

        • Miss Britt says:

          @bo, I DON’T WANNA BE THE LIGHT!!

          I’m not sure if you’re aware of the background story on Adam starting to call me The Light (or if you knew that he did, LOL), but it’s basically centered around the premise that LIGHT ATTRACTS MOTHS!

          • bo says:

            @Miss Britt, I saw Adam call you The Light of the Universe the other day and I thought it was hilarious. Didn’t know about the moth thing. To make up for it I’ll call you The Darkness.

            Just kidding.

            Apologies, Britt.

  9. Poppy says:

    Let my words sit in your brain for a bit, rattle around, see how they feel:

    It is YOUR choice to be hurt.

    Someone does hurtful things, it’s our choice to be hurt by them.

    Stop giving over your power, stop being the victim, stop wondering “why me, God???” and just choose not to be hurt.

    You make wonderfully rational decisions when they no longer come from pain or the fear of future pain.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Poppy, grumble grumble grumble

      Can you give me some advice that is easier to follow please?

      xo

      • Poppy says:

        @Miss Britt, nope. :) The advice just gets harder from here, but the breakthroughs are so exhilarating when you finally have them.

        You gave birth to 2 children, surely you can handle taking you power back under your control.

        Faith!

  10. whall says:

    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice, prepare to die.

    - Klingon Proverb.

  11. Poppy says:

    And if my mom were here she’d sagely offer this advice: one day at a time.

  12. I don’t know you in real life and I don’t know the details of your situation. What I do know is that we both seem to have the same problem. We take blame for things we can not possibly control. In my head I constantly think “well, if I did blank then things like this wouldn’t happen” (fill in the blank with whatever I think I could possibly control at that moment that isn’t in my control at all) and then I frantically run around trying to change things about ME to make HIM stop doing things that hurt me. That doesn’t make any sense though. I can only be in control of how I choose to act. It is good to trust, but I can not change other peoples behaviour no matter what I change about myself to try and make that so.

    I am thinking about you, and if you ever need someone, I am here. I know we don’t know each other in real life, but I care.

  13. Sybil Law says:

    I really hope the therapy works. Trust is far too important for any relationship to work.
    xo

  14. Shash says:

    I am right there with you. And I’m not enjoying it one little bit.
    I’ll hold your hand if you will hold mine.

    xoxo

  15. muskrat says:

    Adam’s turned all sentimental and shit on us. It’s sorta nice. And sorta not.

    Am continuing to think about y’all and pray for y’all when I think about — often in traffic or on the john.

  16. I love you.

    I think trust is an important part of being a compassionate human being, but there is a time when one has to say enough is enough.

    I have no advice because this is YOUR marriage and YOUR life. I couldn’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Just know that no matter what you pick, I am by your side. Always.

  17. Aunt Becky says:

    Holding you close.

  18. Kris says:

    Oh honey, BTDT, bought the entire t-shirt factory. Without that shell, we are so vulnerable, no?

    Britt, I’m going to email. Check it in a few minutes.

  19. donna says:

    I don’t have any better words than anyone else here. But if your heart tells you to trust one more time, then listen to it.

  20. Bubblewench says:

    I am glad you are seeing a counselor. I had some issues w/my (recent) marriage, and we went there, and it was an immense help.

    What I can see from these posts, is that you have hope. Sometimes that’s better then everything else.

  21. Finn says:

    I think the one you really need to trust is yourself. This is the decision you made and you have to have faith that it was the right decision for you at the time. Read those last three words again. Hindsight is bullshit because we cannot predict the future.

    Two things I have learned: 1. Control is an illusion — unless it’s controlling ourselves. Relinquishing control is the most freeing thing you can do because no matter how hard you try, shit will happen. 2. You cannot take other people’s behavior personally — especially men’s. It’s not about you, it’s about him. He needs to fix it. That’s not to say that you are supposed to sit back and take bullshit, you just have to give him the chance to change. The counseling is a first step.

    Hang in there sweetie. It will be OK, whatever it ends up being. xo

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Finn, “2. You cannot take other people’s behavior personally — especially men’s. It’s not about you, it’s about him.”

      Argh. I am getting this from Poppy, my therapist, and now you.

      And, sadly, this is where I keep getting stuck.

      • Finn says:

        @Miss Britt, It is the hardest thing to know, to believe fully, but when you do it will completely change the way you look at everything. It takes time, but the thunderbolt will come. If it happened for me, it can happen for you. XO

    • avitable says:

      @Finn, wait, “men’s”? I disagree with that. I think people is a better term.

      • Finn says:

        @avitable, You are absolutely right. What I was thinking was more “figure out” rather than control. My thinking being that men’s brains work differently than ours do and it’s often difficult to understand the things they do sometimes. Women have a tendency to put other people’s feelings first, so their behavior is often based on how it will effect others.

        This, of course, doesn’t apply to everyone.

  22. Headless Mom says:

    I also don’t know what to say except that I’m here and hugging from afar.

  23. Jennifer says:

    Just here and listening.

  24. Nyt says:

    Isn’t trust something that is earned? I’m pretty sure that it just doesn’t happen because we wish or will it to. If your trust has been violated, I’m afraid that there is no cure beyond time, attention and patience. All three of those are things that YOU are in direct control of. YOU decide how much time and attention YOU are willing to give, and only YOU know how much patience you have…
    I admire your commitment to try, and since Webster’s considers “hope” a synonym for “trust” you might be a bit farther along than you might think…

  25. perpstu says:

    Trust has to be earned. If it is broken, it is difficult to do again and I give you kudos for being open enough to try. I’m here waiting and watching holding a hug for you.

  26. Because I’m sick of making my comments all about me, I’m just sitting here, pretending to be Jewish.

    ::hugs::

  27. Robina says:

    Oh Britt honey. I’m afraid I am far worse at trusting than you are, because you see, it took years for me to never, EVER trust anyone, EVER again, but to KNOW that one day they will hurt me. It’s always just a matter of time, and it’s how you deal with it that matters. Am I stupid? Sometimes I think so. But am I willing to continue to be hurt? Well, if you EXPECT to be hurt, it doesn’t hurt nearly as bad.

    Damn, I am just fucking pitiful! Holy crap. But hey, I’m nothing if not honest.

  28. Chibi Jeebs says:

    Relinquishing control and just trusting are two of the hardest things to do. I wish I knew how to do both: if I did, I’d fill you in.

    Still thinking about you. *hugs*

  29. Neil says:

    No specific advice. Just wishing you the best and clarity in your thoughts.

  30. RuthWells says:

    Lying can be an addictive behavior, just like gambling or drinking. Is it possible that that’s what’s going on here? Because it sounds like there are good intentions, but no follow through. If so, I truly hope that counseling can make the difference.

  31. Erin says:

    De-lurking to give you a hug. :) And an offer to kick someone’s ass if you need me to. I’m only five feet tall but I’m feisty :)

  32. Kris says:

    No stupidity on your part. You WANT to believe, you WANT to trust, you WANT things to be ok. What is wrong with that? Some people just can’t help, despite their efforts, being untrustworthy. I found out my husband was cheating when I was 9 months pregnant with our first baby. Was I shocked? yes. After the dust settled, did I feel like I should’ve know better? yes. Was there a history of lying? yes. So I picked myself up from ABSOLUTE bottom and decided I wasn’t going to spend my life wondering anymore. Not that I think that is the only answer. That’s what my heart told me to do. Listen to your heart…it may be hard to hear right now but you will eventually know what’s best.

  33. Kris says:

    Oh and I’m with Erin on the whole “ass kicking” thing if you need it.

    thinking of you.

  34. Britt,
    Like you wrote about in your last post, I haven’t been commenting much lately because I didn’t know what to say that would be helpful, or that hadn’t been said thousands of times already.

    I understand so much about your need to offer up the trust- because once that’s gone, isn’t that it? If there’s no trust, then there’s really no relationship – it’s just…over. Just two people existing in the same geography.

    I am so sorry for how much you’ve been hurting and hope that things become easier soon.

    Much love.
    xo

  35. OK, this? THIS?!?! Is me. I can’t have faith. I have a hard time with faith, with just letting go. I can’t. I have to hold onto everything with a death-grip, to know absolutely, positively, what is going to happen, what is happening with everything, where everything and everyone is going.

    So me? Not so much great advice here.

    Except: I love you. I’m here. :)

  36. NYCWD says:

    I have to agree with two comments previously stated, but of course with my own perspective.

    Bo stated that trust and control are linked. I agree with that, although not with his definition of trust. From my perspective trust is to allow without fear. I trust my partner, so I therefore allow him to treat the patient without fear of the wrong treatment or resulting death of the patient. I trust my girlfriend, so I therefore allow her to cook rice and gravy without fear of food poisoning. It isn’t a permission issue, it is a control issue because the control has been handed over to them. Therefore, if I were a control freak, trust would not be likely.

    Poppy also mentioned something about giving power of yourself over to others. At first read I think this is the wrong interpretation of power. I think control is a better description for what she refers to as power. So by not handing over that control, there can be no trust…

    And I think the bottom line before I go all Hilly on you is that before you can trust others, you need to trust yourself. It’s like Star Wars

    Britt… trust in the Britt

    Everything you ever needed to know about life, learn from Star Wars, you could. It freaky is not, hmm?

    P.S.
    I love the rice and gravy.
    Just sayin’.

  37. Lee says:

    Britt,
    I don’t know you but I appreciate your expression of pain. I realize this is not the point of your post but I must acknowledge the beautiful writing. It takes a great artist to be able to interpret their feelings like this.
    On an emotional level, hate to pull out the therapist card but, as a therapist, my suggestion would be to focus on yourself. Once you regain some trust in your judgment and own worth then it will be easier to extend that to anyone else.
    Sending you lots of good energy to help you through this,
    Lee

  38. Ren says:

    I wish I had answers for you.

  39. Amanda says:

    WoW. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, even going through the archives. I have seen so many similarities in our lives, it has made me feel less alone in the world.
    If lies are the poison in your marriage I am in the exact same boat. Great man, fabulous father, pathological liar. Someone I have loved for over 17 years. Children and families that depend on our ability to make it work.
    How do we continue to love someone who can hurt us so easily? I wish I knew.
    Thank you Britt for sharing your life w/ strangers. I have experienced the death of a parent this year and now my marriage is in critical condition. I don’t like talking to people about these things, but reading your experiences reminds me that this is life. This is the human experience. The good and the bad, it’s what makes this a journey worth taking.

  40. SuvvyGirl says:

    No being able to control the outcome of something is the hardest part. I’ve always thought as women we are hardwired to be fixers, we are the strong ones we are the ones that can endure the worst and come out of it. It would just be nice if we didn’t have to be all of those things. I myself am grappling with things I can’t control and it drives me crazy. But I try to relax and get through it and know that whatever happens I will survive and things will be okay again. You are a very strong woman from what I have read and granted you may have to bend like Gumby but you won’t break. Hang in there!

  41. Wendy says:

    I don’t really know you save reading your blog for 2+ years and comments here and there, but what I wouldn’t give to be at the open bar with you and figure this all out. For both of us. And figure out when ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    You write beautifully, in such a manner that people can FEEL what you write. And its so nice (that’s not the word I want, but I’m not the writer you are!!) to see that people who are really cool might actually be going through the same things the rest of us are. That’s awesome.

  42. Kelley says:

    Britt,

    All I can say about what I’ve learned is:

    I trust in him that HE wants to help make our marriage work…and I trust in myself that my aim will be good if he F*&%S up again. LOL.

  43. Misty says:

    I am in that same holding pattern…

  44. Ah jaysus Britt, I don’t know what to say. Just know I am here with you, wishing you well.

  45. Collette says:

    Trust is a very tough thing & yes, only earned.Only you know how much you are willing to open your heart up. Even though opening it leaves the chance to be hurt again. Is it worth it is another question you have to ask yourself. But when you’re tired of thinking & worrying & just want to chat about nothing or anything, I am here. I’ve only posted a couple of times but sometimes a stranger is easier to talk to (& I am stranger than most, I am told…LOL) (((HUGS)))

  46. Becca says:

    Britt, I am so sorry, and I hope that you two can find the trust again somewhere. I have been where you are and I hate it for you. I love you and am sending blessings your direction!

  47. Carolyn says:

    Trust is hard. Even harder when you’re struggling to trust through someone’s wrongs. You are a brave woman. And we are with you in support.

  48. FyreGoddess says:

    Trust is important, but I don’t think that people realize just how fragile it is. I think that if your trust is broken, you have to be guarded about it with the person who broke it. If you’re not guarded with the people who have *already* broken your trust, then, if they do it again, you might not be able to trust anyone for a really long time.

    I think it’s a lot more dangerous to open yourself up to losing the ability to trust people than it’s difficult to stay guarded against those who have a history of hurting you.

    /personal experience

  49. racheal says:

    you have so much courage and strength that i sometimes wish you could see.

    you’re doing it, taking a leap of faith, trusting even when it hurts.

    you’re loving, and loving to the fullest extent.

    and what you have may be slightly tarnished, but it is still so beautiful.

    you have love. and your love for each other is real. magical. awesome. so much so that you will try, again and again, for each other.

    i don’t have the answers, i don’t know where this will take you both, i don’t know how to put back together what’s been torn apart. but maybe there’s a bigger picture, the bigger beautiful picture where this had to happen..because the putting back together made your relationship stronger, better, more vibrant and colorful and amazing.

    i don’t know a lot of things..but i do know that

    you are strong.

    you are beautiful.

    and you will be okay.

    it hurts, but that’s the extent of how much you have and do love.

    hugs

  50. Morrigansage says:

    Without knowing the specifics of your situation, it does make it harder to give advice, and sometimes comfort…but let me say this. Alot of what you have written (which usually, I don’t comment on, I lurk-bad me!) reminds me very very much of myself and things that happened in my past. I got pregnant very young, and married very young. I always had a us against the world mentality, that myself and my husband were real love and we would make it despite the odds, and eventually despite ourselves. I held on for way way too long. I held on despite being cheated on and lied too for many years out of our 11 year marriage. I attempted marriage counseling, and counseling just for myself. I didn’t want too and indeed felt like I couldn’t give up on my marriage. I had three young daughters with my husband, and I felt love for him….it took me a very long time to realize that sometimes, it isn’t enough. No matter how much you love someone you can’t make them love you equally, or to treat you the way you DESERVE to be treated. Eventually after five years of therapy and whatnot, I said enough is enough. I am done with you hurting me, and frankly with me hurting myself (because by staying in a bad situation that was inevitably what I was doing- hurting myself by giving him the power to hurt me.), and frankly hurting my kids. What was I showing my kids? That I wasn’t worth love and respect? That it’s ok to settle? And that’s when I left. I left when I realized that staying meant more bad than good. And looking back a year after I made that decision I will tell you the truth, man it’s freaking hard. Harder than most people will tell you. But at the same time, it does get easier. And the most valuable lessons I have learned were: I am worth it. I am worth love, and respect, and honesty, and tenderness. I also learned that while it won’t be easy, that love shouldn’t have to be so damn hard. Love is something that should grow, and need to be tended too and cultivated but those things aren’t hard in a working relationship. I could ramble on for days, but I think you get the idea…..
    Just remember, that you too, are worth it.

  51. Lisa says:

    As others have said, trust in yourself. Try not to dwell on making sure the badness never happens again because it might. Trust in the fact that if it does (and let me insert here that I sincerely hope it doesn’t!) that you will make it through. You are made of pretty strong stuff, Britt. Trust in that.

  52. Don’t know what to say, hon. Just… I’m here.

  53. Nobody says:

    Can’t you just knock him upside the head with a frying pan or some shit?

    Seriously, I’m not too sure what this is all about, but I like Poppy’s advice. Only other thing I can add is that I hope everything works out for you.

  54. Trust is scary, but I think the fact that you’re willing to go in this without the control shows that you do have a little bit of trust. Hold on to that little bit and nurture it, and maybe it will grow into something more tangible.

  55. Kelly says:

    I give you a huge amount of credit for taking that leap, I really do. I can’t seem to force myself to… and I think that’s the difference. Whereas you couldn’t NOT try again… I can’t.
    Hoping that the trust slowly starts returning for you.

  56. I just stumbled on your blog today (have NO idea how I’ve missed it), but I’ve been sucked in for the past couple of hours and the one thing I can tell from your writings it that YOU’RE going to be just fine, no matter what! Trust YOURSELF!
    {{hugs}}

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