With my unpredictable moods, I never felt secure. I was pushing too hard to be heard or pushing people away—until I learned to challenge my mistaken core belief.
I Don’t Trust You … Because I Don’t Trust Myself
When we talk about trust in relationships, we rarely address how important it is to trust ourselves. When we hear “trust issues,” we automatically think of a romantic relationship affected by infidelity. While this can be a MAJOR difficulty in many people’s lives—the trust I am referring to is the trust you have in yourself: self-trust.
Most likely, you have felt emotionally damaged at some point in your life, just as I have. It’s not wrong for us to feel apprehensive about trusting others, especially if we feel like we can hardly trust ourselves to regulate our own emotions in the first place.
Part of living with bipolar is having interpersonal relationships that are tumultuous and often chaotic—although a huge portion of that instability is a direct result of our intense and unpredictable emotions. Have you given any thought to how much a lack of (self-)trust may be affecting how you relate to others? I sure have.
Self-Love & Self-Trust
is the most important thing,” is something that we hear over and over again—but
how can you love yourself without trusting yourself? What is truly the most
important thing in any relationship, love or trust?
It’s hard to say, and I don’t think anyone
has a clear-cut answer to that question. But I will say that it is a heck of a
lot easier to love yourself when you trust yourself and feel secure.
Having dealt with mood disorders my entire life, my personal experience with building healthy trust in myself and my relationships has been a long and difficult journey. Through it all, I have learned that after trusting myself, it is so much easier to trust others.
Fear & Abandonment
of my greatest fears—and I am sure many people can relate to this—is the fear
of abandonment. Whether it is the loss of a parent from the household, the
death of a loved one at a young age, or even friends and lovers coming in and
out of your life because, despite caring for you deeply, they are simply unable
to cope with all that comes with being close to someone with bipolar disorder …
The thought of letting anyone fully into your heart can be crippling.
I used to be stuck in a cycle of learned behaviors and habits that reinforced in my mind that my emotions were “bad” or “wrong,” since I couldn’t understand them. I would find myself either crying out louder to be “heard,” or suppressing my emotions altogether—and that negatively impacted my relationships with friends and family.
I started to explore why I felt like everyone was “out to get me,” and why I always felt left out, insecure, and anxious in my relationships.
“Small” Slights with Big Consequences
I learned that I internalize almost everything,
and that fueled my insecurities and resistance to trust others. Things that may
seem small and insignificant to most people can cause a monstrous and
catastrophic amount of hurt and pain to those suffering with any mood disorder.
It might be that your sister can’t talk to
you when you need her to, because she has to work. Or your partner needs to
take a minute to clear their head when things are really challenging.
To most people, these are normal and
reasonable boundaries—but to someone like me, these situations translate into “I
don’t love you. You aren’t worth my time right now. I can’t deal with this.”
In reality, none of that is true.
It is perfectly okay for your partner to
take a time out, or for your sister to tell you she can’t talk right at that
moment. But, because I internalized these seeming-slights so deeply, they would
go on to feed my mistaken core belief that I am not worthy of love.
Self-Worth & Paranoia
From there, my mind felt lost to the throes of intrusive thoughts that lead to paranoia—suddenly, I would begin thinking and believing, “No one loves me, no one cares about me, and I deserve to suffer.”
I would either push forward with full force by nonstop calling my sister during her important meeting, or incessantly demanding that my partner speak to me right now, even though they’re not okay, either.
I would cry louder and louder, thinking
that maybe I would be heard, and I would be rewarded with comfort and
Or, if I wasn’t pushing forward, I would
completely withdraw. My walls would go up, keeping out everyone I love,
not just the person I felt hurt by in that moment.
Because I did not trust myself to be able to give myself what I needed, I became stuck in a cycle of being over-demanding with the people close to me, and my relationships suffered because I unintentionally put too much pressure on others to provide for me what I couldn’t provide for myself: safety.
How to Rebuild Trust and Confidence in Yourself and in Others:
#1 Identify Your Mistaken “Core Belief”
of us do not realize that the unhealthy behaviors we engage in are a result of
our core beliefs about ourselves. Try to explore your innermost belief about
yourself and your value. Once you understand why you feel and react the
way you do, it will be easier to manage your emotions and responses in the
#2 Put a Cap on Negative Self-Talk
all have an inner dialogue. Do you pay attention to what you tell yourself?
Keep a journal and, three times a day, write down any self-talk you can
identify. If it is negative, work toward shutting that down and giving yourself
grace and patience. Be your own cheerleader.
#3 Challenge Your Core Belief
nasty feelings start to creep in, take a step back and challenge your core
belief. If you are telling yourself, “I’m not worth loving,” counteract that
thought by telling yourself, “I AM worth loving.”
#4 Stop. Think. Validate Yourself.
you find yourself in a difficult situation, try following these simple steps to
better how you are able to communicate.
Regulate your own emotion: Pause and take a breath. Pay attention to your body language—unclench your fists, relax your muscles, and smile.
Validate yourself: Instead of beating yourself up for feeling the way you do, try telling yourself, “I am okay. I am safe. It is okay to feel this emotion.”
Question: Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way or reacting like this?” Is it because you are letting your core belief take over? Challenge, challenge, challenge!
Identify and communicate: Take a closer look at why you might feel this way and try to identify what would help you. Communicate this to your friend, family, or partner in a way that helps them help you.
Avoid phrases like, “You didn’t…,” “You should have…,” and “You never….”
Replace them with, “It really helps me when you…,” “What I really need right now is…,” and “It isn’t your responsibility to regulate my emotions, but it would really help me if you …”
#5 Make a Habit of Positive Self-Talk
more you encourage yourself, the better you will feel. Try telling yourself, “I
am safe. I am loved. And I deserve to be loved.”
Be your own best friend. When you are able to give yourself what you need, you will stop looking to outside sources to relieve the pain you feel in hard times—and your relationships will improve.
You are exactly who you need to be, and you are exactly where you need to be on your journey right now.
Jessica Whitaker is a writer, photographer, and mother from Southern California. She has lived with mental health conditions and substance abuse since she was a child, and she finally found answers with a dual diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and bipolar II disorder. Through years of hard work; a communicative relationship with her psychiatrist; and many, many failures and successes, Jessica has learned how to monitor her behaviors and become self-aware in order to not only manage her symptoms but also flourish in all areas of her life. She was able to achieve sobriety in 2017 and has persevered—continuing to run a successful photography and cinematography business, Luminescent Photo & Cinema Co. She now hosts workshops to educate and uplift aspiring photographers and share her passion. She spends the rest of her time writing, with plans to publish her first full-length poetry book in 2020. Through her blog posts, Jessica Whitaker aims to help others find self-love and acceptance, as well as provide them with tools to lead a happier, healthier life. She believes that we should all embrace ourselves, and she finds connection in sharing her own experiences with readers. Her goal in life is to spread as much love, light, and positivity as she can; and she hopes to impact as many lives as possible, helping people heal and grow into the best versions of themselves. She wants her readers to not just survive but thrive.
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