When Trust is Broken…Then What?

As the saying goes,”trust takes a long time to build, but only a minute to destroy.” How often do we go into relationships, trusting those we are involved with, only to be disappointed by a disregard for that relationship and sometimes worse, betrayal?! We build trust in our teachers, our business partners, our community and political leaders and in our personal relationships, but sadly this trust is sometimes misplaced. The pain inflicted in these instances depends on the circumstances, however, in all cases, it is a wound, and it hurts.

How you deal with the betrayal of trust first requires the understanding that this breach has nothing to do with your character or with you—it is about the person or entity that has broken the promise you counted on. It is their carelessness, character flaw or conceit not yours! Recognizing that the perpetrator is responsible is important when coping with broken trust.

We rely on so many others for support, love and guidance and when that trust is broken it is difficult imagining that we can ever trust again. It feels as if every time trust is betrayed it chips a piece of one’s trusting heart away.

However, we cannot stop trusting—we just need to take the lessons learned and hopefully make better choices in the future. One might contend that sometimes trust is broken unwittingly, and in this case, it may be easier to forgive. But trust that is betrayed intentionally, without regard to the potential consequences whether on society or the individual, is much more difficult to wrestle with and overcome.

So who can we trust? This is such a difficult question and one that cannot be answered with pure certainty. Trust is a leap of faith, and as humans we need to trust to survive. And, we do survive when trust is lost, because we must. Trust is and will always be a fragile vessel; so carry it with the greatest care knowing that if it shatters, it will never be the same again.