Past Blast: To Rebuild: The ability to Trust

Evie: This post was originally written back in September 2013.  New comments are going to in italics for this post as I think the parenthesis stuff just gets confusing. Also I know this is super early today but there won’t be a Changeling’s Agony post today either. My ovaries hit me a day early and even the dragons are hiding so past blast it is.

One of the components of PSTD recovery is the work that is put into be able to rebuild trust.  Into yourself and into those who’ve been working hardest to stay at your side.  It’s a double edged blade.  Nature based traumas, don’t seem to have nearly the effect on the person’s ability to trust others (as far as what I have seen.  Let’s make that clear.)  When the traumas, are human induced, all trust is shattered.   

Trust in those who were your comrades from combat caused traumas, and that were there, tends to deepen.  But for those who weren’t there… it’s gone.  Non-combat related traumas are slightly more tricky it seems.  Again, remember I write as a rape survivor with PTSD.  I’m comparing my experiences to the experiences that have the most information available which are… yeah, my apologies to my friends of the military sector.  It’s what I have to go with. 

As a rape survivor, my trust in every other human being and including in myself was just gone.  I have two people I can trust without trying, these days, three [soon to be five with the approaching New Year years after the incidents.  They’ve also been there for me through some of the worst storms of my life to date.  (Oh I hate having to add that caveat. To date.  All because I know worse could happen. )  They stepped up and worked on showing me that they were worth of my trust. To the extent I call the couple my brother and sister now.  

In less than two weeks, I see my fiance again.  For the first time, in more than a year.  Now, we’ve used every means of communication (Except a nice written letter… and yes, he knows he’s being glared at.)  We have a really damn good bond… long distance.  Now, it’s almost time to build a physical relationship again, and that means rebuilding our trust.  That means BOTH of us, working to build it.

And work on it we did. There were a lot of things that I was immediately comfortable with telling him and expressing to him. For a very long time, I had massive amounts of armor up still in several areas. He rolled with it. These days, if there’s something I haven’t told him, it’s because I’ve forgotten about it. When I do remember something I’ve not told him yet, he gets informed. There’s been a lot of pain and tears, mostly from from finally dealing with several memories. Every time he can, he’s right there with me. Barring work, but that’s normal. 

See, he’s going to have to earn my trust and build trust with me. In the same as I am going to with him.  I’m honestly looking forward to it.  Despite nerves playing hell with me and the tendency to re-play how many times people have broken their word to me in the past, well… you get the picture.

Here’s the thing.  He WANTS to build it.  He wants to make me happy and help me be able to enjoy my life with him.  He WANTS to put the work into it.   That’s the key difference between him, my brother and sister and all these other people are.  I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, that I’ve walked away from friends.  I’ve pushed friends away.   There’s this little word that tends to pop up… and its the tendency of people when they learn you’re a survivor to say “Just…”

Let’s get something straight my dears.  Saying “Just let it go. Just grow up. Just get over it. Just quit crying. etc…”  Anything like that phrase comes out of an idiots mouth and it’s time for you to walk away from them.  They aren’t going to understand regardless of how much information you give them.  They’ve judged you wholesale and they don’t care about you.  They aren’t going to take the time and make the effort to build trust with you.

And that’s very painful.  These were people that I had shared some great and some not-so-great experiences with.  I couldn’t trust them though.  There was no effort to engage in re-building trust.   I can’t hang out with people I don’t trust.  Part of that trust building that can be done… IS STOP FUCKING TOUCHING WITHOUT PERMISSION.

Seriously.  I had too many people to count hugging me without permission.  Touching my shoulders.  *(&^T#(^$*$@(!#&Y^%&TY$@($&*(%Y#Y.   It was murder.  These were people who SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.  I had grown up in an abusive home.  I had trust issues to begin with.  Then that crapp happened.  My desire to trust anyone was very quickly extinguished because no one was asking for the small amount of physical trust that a hug takes.  They were just taking it.   Just taking it.  The amount of damage that did, I’m still processing.  Another component of re-building trust: empowering the person.

Asking before hugging.  Asking before touching.  If I don’t shake your hand back, seriously, it’s not you.  I’m not trying to be rude.  Respecting the person’s space, is crucial.  That’s why the people or person you know who has PTSD, may seem anti-social at times.   They need their space.  Respect the space, and trust them (or me) to tell you if it’s okay. 

Human induced trauma, tends to towards being a act of personal violation.  Especially combat or rape induced.  It violates your spirit, your heart, your mind and your soul.  Not just your body.  PSTD research and awareness has made huge bounds in the past few years thanks to the military being more willing to address the problem.

Their research and methods, do cause ripples in the civilian world that help civilians with PTSD.  These are great for their bodies and minds, but hearts, spirits and souls are harder to heal.  It’s more work.  It’s harder work.  It’s a much longer investment of dedicated time.  Service animals dedicated to working with PTSD afflicted individuals are among some of the best and first responders to re-building trust.  These sweet beloved animals are life savers.  They only know love for you.  They know you’re hurt somehow and they want to help you take care of yourself because you’re their pack. 

Building trust with my fiance is going to be hard work.  It’s not going to just happen.  I have the rest of my life to enjoy with him.  So I’m know we’re both going to make the effort, to do it right.