Trust. That word has a lot of depth to it. Is trust easy for you? Do you find yourself trusting the wrong people? Do you have trouble trusting the right people? How do you know when a person can be trusted? If someone is in the “trustworthy” category, does that mean they should always stay there?
These are some of the questions I have been chewing on since Jim Wilder raised the question of trust in the 3rd installment of his blog series. The statement “We need to learn to teach others to trust us, and when not to trust someone we can usually trust” really struck me and led to the question, how do we know that we shouldn’t trust someone we can usually trust?
This may seem like an oversimplification, but what it boils down to is whether or not a person is in relational mode. If a person’s relational circuits (RCs) are off, they are experiencing one or more of these things: I want to make a problem, person or feeling go away. I don’t want to listen to what others feel or say. My mind is “locked onto” something upsetting. I don’t want to connect to __ (someone I usually like). I want to get away or fight, or I freeze. I more aggressively interrogate, judge, and fix others.
These are not fun things to feel, and when I feel this way, I cannot be trusted to be the person you know me to be. In these moments of being out of relational mode, mostly we are just concerned with ourselves and do not fully care about others (even those we usually care about). In these moments, we cannot be trusted.
I love my husband, and I can’t imagine life without him. Sometimes when my RCs go off in reaction to something he says or does, I can’t stand to be near him and want to get as far away as possible (I slip into enemy mode). In these moments, unkind words go through my head (and unfortunately, sometimes also come out of my mouth), and I don’t really care if the words hurt him because I see him as my enemy. In these moments, I cannot be trusted to be myself.
So is trust really about whether my RCs are on? Well, a big chunk of it is. If I am in enemy mode, I am not interested in protecting you from myself (from my words, my anger, my fear, etc.), and I cannot be trusted to be a protector. Just like in last week’s blog, where Matthew learned that he was mean to his brother when his RCs were off, we have to learn to recognize when we fall out of relational mode and the toll it takes on those around us.
How do we build a community that produces protectors? How do we raise our children to be protectors? I will talk about this more in my blog next week.