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I Find It Hard to Trust People

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Oct 19, 2018

Question

I used to be an extremely self confident person. I’m somewhat charismatic person, too, someone you’d like in the very first meeting. But I have very little friends now. I mean the ones who aren’t superficial. I have the tendency to „jump in” a group of friends and then „jump out” and move on to another group. I can’t commit and cherish the friendship I am having „till death do us apart”. I know my friends genuinely like me, but I keep on running away from them. It happens with reasons, though. I have some trust issues which stem from my terrible, yet enjoyable childhood.

My childhood was bad to the point where I learned not to trust anyone and be self-sufficient. Now, I’m seen as independent and very capable of myself. Still, I have issues people don’t know. Even though I have friends, I feel somewhat lonely and can’t enjoy myself. I can’t enjoy socialising. I socialise to smooth things for me (for college and stuffs). But it doesn’t mean I am not genuine in whatever friendship I have ever been. In fact, I really want to be in a friendship that lasts. How can I resolve my trust issue and vanish the loneliness? Thank you.

Counselor

Answer


I Find It Hard to Trust People

In this counseling answer:

• You do not “trust” life because it is painful, and the way you do that is to not trust people—which means you do not trust interacting with people because it might produce pain for you.

• Recognize the truth is the route to the “aha moment”, not a defense that protects against dealing with the truth.

• Two, Allah (swt) created us to test us, which means that pain is (usually) associated with truth. So, you need to figure out how to not fear pain.


As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu my Dear Brother in Islam,

Thank you for your question.

Most humans do behaviors called “defense mechanisms”. When left unnoticed, or curtailed once noticed, our “defenses” can wreak havoc in our relationships and lives. Since knowledge of psychology and the practice of psychotherapy became more common in the world, the words for some of our defenses have entered the public domain. Denial, projecting, deflecting, justifications are examples of some of our more common defenses. What is a defense? It is a way to protect our ego from insult or having to deal with something painful.

Sometimes, people like you (charismatic, funny) are not happy people even though they appear to be the happiest of us. Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston all had the world wrapped around their little fingers, so to speak, yet every one of them killed themselves with drugs, dying miserable deaths from overdosing themselves. What was going on?

Behaviors that please everyone make great defenses because they put everyone off by putting you in charge; you don’t need anyone because you have it all figured out. As such, you control the situation – both yourself and others. You appear to be powerful, so no one challenges you because they are enjoying you, the fun of it all. Why make a fun end? Thus, no one questions you because they are having fun with you. The only problem with that is, since no one ever challenges you, you never need to go deep to figure out how to maintain the relationship with something more substantial than “fun”.

Fun is not what makes life “fun”; “Aha moments” are what make life fun. The mother of the “aha moment” is insight, and insight is not always fun; sometimes the truth hurts. I have always said that, while Hell will hurt like H***, it will feel good in one respect: the person will finally be at one with their true self, and unity with one’s true self is the thing that produces peace in us internally—no matter what we have to suffer externally.

You said your “childhood was bad to the point where I learned not to trust anyone and be self-sufficient. Now, I’m seen as independent and very capable of myself. Still, I have issues people don’t know”. The same forces (fear of badness, a subsequent lack of trust and enjoyment) are continuing in your adult life: you fear pain because it was so painful in your childhood, so you live a superficial life through “enjoyment” to protect you and the people whom you interact with from the pain that threatens your life. You do not “trust” life because it is painful, and the way you do that is to not trust people—which means you do not trust interacting with people because it might produce pain for you.

One, recognize the truth is the route to the “aha moment”, not a defense that protects against dealing with the truth.

Two, Allah (swt) created us to test us, which means that pain is (usually) associated with truth. So, you need to figure out how to not fear pain. It is not your enemy; it is the route that Allah (swt) designed to Him (swt) through tawakkal (dependence on Allah [swt] when facing trials) and iman (faith in Allah [swt] through hardships)!

Three, Allah (swt) associated pain with truth, and vice versa, to challenge us. If life was simple and easy, there would be no “aha moments”—and those are what make life beautiful.


Check out this counseling video:


Four, Shaitan’s door into our psychology, his playground, is our inability to understand the function of pain and how to deal with it. Because pain does not “feel” good, we naturally avoid it. But it is not always the wisest decision.

While you may not be able to afford therapy, you can look up defense mechanisms online along with other therapeutic tools that could help you gain insight into the effects your childhood had on you. You can get some insight into how your child is playing out in your adult life. Remember, when you were a child, you interpreted that pain from a child’s limited knowledge of the world. Look up “associated” or “conditioned” responses. That too may help you understand the issue.

I had one client who, as an infant, was left to cry for days. She was fed, but never held or changed. To this day, she cannot stand to hear a baby cry. It actually makes her stomach hurt so much that she buckles over in pain. Her reaction was not functional when she had children because babies cry. Period. That is how they communicate, and it is healthy in that context. She had to figure out how to see and react to a baby crying from a completely different understanding of it—a more informed perspective on life, to be able to function as a mother. It was hard, but she did it.

You need to figure out how to not be afraid of interacting with people. Not trusting anyone for fear of pain is not functional. It appears that is your test. If so, you need to examine it and find out where it is coming from and get that “aha moment”, so you can be truly happy and not just superficially a jokester that everyone likes, but you have no close friends or relationships. Your fears are robbing you of your life.

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Can’t Trust Husband; What Should I Do?

Is Trust in Marriage Really that Important?

Trust in Allah Doesn’t Just Happen! Here is How to Develop It




About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem

Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery. For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.

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