Friday, July 11, 2008

Trust: A Semi-Focused Stream of Conciousness

I originally wrote this on 04/03/08 but didn't post it. It is ironic because I talk about not posting it in the text below. I post it now because, three months later, I think I finally figured out what it was I couldn't but my finger on that I babble about in the middle. I also post it because I am in a different place now.


I just returned home from a movie get together where we watched Bubba Ho-Tep and Team America, two very funny - if very different - movies. I left halfway through Team America with the intention to return home to finish pushing some patches I worked on earlier in the day. However, I decided to write this - what'll probably be a rather long - post instead.

I tend to have a variety of post subjects floating around in my head that I want to write about for a number of different reasons. Some I think will just be plain entertaining. Others are about things I don't want to forget. And others, like this and the previous one, are to help me figure things out. I expect this to be a more focused version of that 'stream of conciousness' post from a year or so ago. Onward.

Over the past something like 10 years or so I've been on a journey internally. This journey has taken me down many different paths exploring different themes but all with the goal of becoming comfortable with myself. Those of you who have met me within the last 8 months or so or have knew before but also have had time to have more intense conversations with me recently know that I don't shy away about talking about many things about myself. However, as brutally open as I may be about some things there has always been a part that I haven't talked about. I'm not really going to go into that too much but I'm going to touch on it.

Most recently the path I have traveled has been a familiar one in that I have been working with a therapist I have been seeing for about 6 years with a few years off in the middle. He knows my history very well and I am comfortable with him. Recently (read: within the last 3 weeks) we have started to work on that stuff that I don't talk about much. We've really started to push into it the root causes of that little ball of...what, shame? I don't know, but whatever it is we have started to get to the heart of it.

See, you see what is going on here? I'm avoiding it. What is up with that? It's amazing how the mind works sometimes. Ok, so check it out. It all comes down to my ability (or inability, really) to trust people. Not trust like 'I trust you not to give up a secret I tell you' trust, because that's easy. No, I mean trust like 'I totally, unquestioningly trust you with my life' sort of trust. That kinda thing. It's a big deal, and I didn't really realize how much it plays into my relationships until recently. I know, it seems obvious on the surface, but there it is.

Seriously, I always knew I had a trust issue but I always thought it was in relation to a specific person and for good reasons. What I didn't realize, and what is really becoming clear to me, is that that trust issue existed before that time in my life and has affected everything since.

Where did it come from? This is what we have been working on some. My parents divorced when I was in my early teens. I always thought it didn't affect me that much because I was in my teens where it did affect my brother. What a load of crap. Of course it affected me. However, as far as I'm concerned my parents did right by me in how they went about it and I really appreciate that. They could have been perfect and there would be other issues to deal with, so in no way is this on them. I want that to be clear (call me if you want to talk about this).

So they divorced and to me the two most central people in my life seperated. Internally, at a subconcious level, I am beginging the process of understanding that that event made me start to have trust issues. Think about it. I grow up in a family that goes out and does stuff and I trust that that will always be (no matter how much mis-guided that belief is), right? That trust ends when they separate...ok, maybe not ends but at least is shaken.

That's where it starts. That alone didn't make the problem what it is but that did create a wound for me to deal with. So I got this wound I'm carrying around and the 'once bit, twice shy' saying comes into play. Onward.

My first relationship started in my late teens with someone I had known for a while (lived on my street, parents were friends, etc). I totally poured my soul into this relationship and let her in VERY close. It went on for a few years or so and ended abruptely one winter's afternoon. I found out the hard way that someone else was involved. Well now, talk about tearing that trust wound open wide. Any chance it had at healing was well gone after that.

This relationship goes on for a long time (some 14 years) off and on. Over and over I begin to trust and over and over something happens to betray that trust. I don't want to cast blame in one direction here. I absolutely had my part in all this. Regardless of that the end result was that that trust issue just kept being clobbered. Inside I started a belief that says 'Everytime I let someone get close they will hurt me.'. So I stick up a wall.

It's about this part where I'm not sure where things go. For example, while that wall makes it very hard for me to get past a certain part of intimacy, I have no problem talking about some pretty serious and personal stuff with people I trust. That's why I feel like there is something here that I don't get. When I think about those people that I can have those sorts of conversations about and then I think about some stuff that I have a really hard time talking about, I absolutely can't see myself talking about it because of that belief that if 'I let someone in too close they will hurt me.' Hell, I even feel like not posting this now or writing a disclaimer or some shit on top.

Let me give you some more examples. I saw this demonstration of a technique called EMDR that helps you identify emotions that are disassociated from your internal timeline and reassociate them (more to it than that, but that's enough for now). It is a very powerful technique and the results are pretty compelling (I went through it in 1999 or there abouts). Anyway, one of the things I was supposed to do before going to this demo was to come up with a couple of issues that were not super traumatic but did have some charge to them (a 5 or 6 on a 1-10 scale). I picked two that I initially thought were not related. The first was my boat engine melting and the second was Misfit dieing. Not related, right?

Ok, follow this. The more I thought about them during this demonstration the more I realized that not only are they related but they both come down to fucking my ability to trust! How screwed up is that? The boat because I had always done all the work myself and the first time I take it to a shop the engine melts and is ruined. The cat because the vet said we probably didn't need to do anymore testing and he was probably just a food issue and three days later the cat dies from kidney failure. Do you see how these two things just reinforce my issue with trust?

So that's it. That is where I'm at. I'm not sure what the answer is or how to repair it, but I'm sure as I'm sitting here that this is my root issue. It's the thing that I struggle with more than anything. After 10 years I finally have a finger on it. Now I just need to figure out what to do about it.


Meredith Self said...

And the thing about trust. If you do, you may get screwed. If you don't, you are guaranteed to screw yourself.

EDMR describes dealing with any hard beliefs this way:

Let's say you don't like driving through a dark scary tunnel. But you are in one. If you slow down and hesitate, then you are in the dark scary tunnel a loooooonnnnng time. If you speed up, it's scary and then you're done.

Of course...the fear is...will it ever be done. But for sure, if you don't drive you stay in the tunnel.

We can create coping strategies. But freeing the mind...ahhh, much betta.

EDMR. NLP. Chod. EFT. BSFF. Therapy. Hoffman Process. Voice Dialogue. Whatever.

go for it, brother. :)

Meredith Self said...

PS. Cuz you want it.

Ryan said...

Ok, what is EFT, BSFF and Hoffman Process? Not familiar with any of those. I know the rest, or know of, anyway. :)

Meredith Self said...

Emotional Freedom Technique (
Be Set Free Fast
Sedona Method

There are countless ones, really.

The best ones of these also focus on awareness and experience in the present.

Just read something yesterday that chastised Westerners for digging into the past. Easterns just go into awareness, so we choose differently now.

As an analytical westerner, I admit it's hard to get. But I see myself in analysis paralysis. Creating structures to my structures and labeling everything and it's all really more of a mindf*ck for me. Even though Jim warns me of this. Some stuff you just don't have to figure out in the mind. Even perfect understanding doesn't necessarily translate to transformation. He even proved to me that some changes can happen without the conscious mind even knowing. So awareness and openness helps with the transformation, the real goal. I still catch myself in the analysis though. I want to figure it all out and explain it. You too, eh? I wonder what the balance is...