I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

"I wish I could trust."

My name is Brian Johnston and I'm like the others who read and respond to this blog. I've come a long way, but I still don't know how to trust anyone. I'm constantly suspicious. I doubt what people tell me and think everyone lies to me.

Maybe that sounds like I need therapy, and I started it a few months ago. I feel better about most things in my life, but so far therapy hasn't helped me trust people.

I don't trust God either. I want to, but I can't believe God truly loves me. I know what the Bible says and people preach to me all the time. So that's not something I say very often.

Dear Cec, if any of your readers know how to help me, will you post their responses? I want to trust people and most of all, I want to be able to trust God.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Johnston,

Give yourself some time. Learning how to trust people is hard once you've been burned and given your experience, I think it would be strange if you WERE a very trusting person.

Being too trusting is not a great thing. People can and will take advantage of you. My mother was too trusting and that's why I got hurt.

People need to earn my trust. It is not something I give away freely and I don't think it has to be.

Think about the people in your life who have shown themselves to be trustworthy and try to open up to them...just a little bit at first.

See how it feels.

You do not have to trust God or anyone else just yet.

Don't try to force yourself to be too trusting too fast because you think it is what what you "should" do, or that it is what "good" people do.

You are not running a race and there is no time limit. Try to be patient and show yourself some compassion.

You need to move at your own pace.

I'm glad you decided to go into therapy. That is a very big deal, so please be proud of yourself.

I'm proud of you and I wish you all the luck in the world.

Heather Marsten said...

Dear Brian trust is hard. I found it difficult to trust others and to trust God. I used to say I had a lousy father and now I don't need a Father God.

There is no way to give a full answer to your questions in a short comment, but I would like to share a few things I've figured out.

As I healed, I was able to trust more, but I still have challenges in the trusting area. As the previous commenter said, trust is earned. But trust is also a decision. Sometimes we need to decide to act as if, and then see the outcome. Trust can come in stages. We don't need to throw all our trust out at once, we can trust in one area and test to see how the person responds, then move forward another step.

I needed to learn to trust myself. I felt so violated, lost and hurt that I believed I was faulty. As I grew stronger in self-trust, I could more wisely place my trust in others.

Now the most important, trust in God. I was fortunate to have a loving pastor to confide in, who showed me the love of Father God and taught me about God. The more I learned the truth about God, the better I could trust Him.

I would suggest learning what you can about God. The best way to do that is to read the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus said that if we see Him, we see the Father. The things Jesus did were the things God does. Then I would read the love Chapter First Corinthians 13 - in every place it says love (or mercy in some translations) insert God or Jesus. Notice, if you insert a person's name no one can live up to those love requirements, but God can.

I would tell God how you feel. Be honest, you won't surprise Him. I spent a lot of time telling God how disappointed I was in Him, how I felt He let me down, how angry I was. I shook my fist at Him, yelled at him (in my mind) and raged. He listened and loved me. As I knew Him better and better, I realized I was in error, he Loved me in spite of myself.

Now, as I'm writing my memoir, I'm seeing where God was in the midst of the hurt (something I didn't see until recently). Ask Him to show you where He was. You may be surprised. He was there for me and even used things to save me that many would be surprised about.

It took years before God showed me where He was because He knew that if He had revealed some of the places He was, I would have only pushed Him further away. Sometimes God doesn't reveal an answer until we are at a point in our lives where we can receive it. Some of the answers I now feel comfort in, but a few years ago it would have just angered me more. For example, at one point Jesus told me that he was in the "nots." What did not happen. I wanted him to be in the stop it from happening, but what He did was make sure I didn't get a sexually transmitted disease from my father and I didn't get pregnant. There were a lot of other nots. He also was there, albeit not the way I wanted Him to be, but He was there.

Then He surprised me by showing me that I lived in a fantasy world as a child with a loving mother and father. Recently He said to me, "And who do you think your fantasy mother and father was?"

One day, after I realized His love, I apologized to God for my anger. I want to share what He spoke to my heart. He said, "That's okay, Heather, at least you were talking to Me.

As we talk with Him and share with Him, He can come closer to us.

I am going to keep praying for you Brian. I know that God is there and the good news is, as you trust Him, He can guide you into wise choices of who to trust in others.

I know this is a lot to take in. For me this process took many years, I pray it happens quickly for you. But know one thing, whether you feel it or not, God loves you very much and He wants you healed.

God bless you,