Rebuilding trust takes time after you have been traumatized. A sad reality, there are people in the world who will abuse their power and authority over you. Although experiencing abuse is not your fault, it is important to trust your instincts.“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”― Maya Angelou
Rebuilding trust after the trauma.
If you feel unsafe going somewhere alone with someone (like a locker room or even a car), then you have every right not to do so. Share your unease with someone who will help you avoid these uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations. After the betrayal of trust that is being violated, though, it can be hard to pick up the pieces of your life, and identity. The experience itself along with medical examinations… it can leave you wondering where to go from here or feeling less than whole.“Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing.”
― Bill Cosby
Rebuilding trust in relationship.
It is important to know first and foremost that it was and is not your fault. Even if you stayed in an abusive relationship, wore the “wrong” clothes, or went out late, it is the perpetrator, not you, who is to blame. Instead of blaming yourself, be compassionate towards yourself. That includes allowing yourself to feel. Anger, sorrow, numbness… whatever it is (except for self-blame, which is damaging to you), embrace it and know you have a right to feel that way.
Steps to rebuilding trust.
Pay attention to how you feel, and allow yourself to work through it. If there are triggers for specific feelings, take mental (or even better physical) note of them. That way, you will be able to deal with them better. Make a “safe” list, too; a list of the things and situations than don’t trigger negative feelings. This allows you to take control over your life.
Also, remember that you are not alone. Who do you trust? Your family? Friends? Partner? Sharing your feelings with a trusted loved one can be a crucial step towards healing. When you are up to it, seek professional help. A trained psychological professional will guide you on the steps towards towards rebuilding your life. If you are in a relationship, perhaps you could even consider going to sessions with your partner. That way, you will not only be equipping yourself with the necessary tools to heal, but equipping your partner with the tools to be any support you need.
That being said, it may be time to end certain relationships. If your friend is blaming you for the abuse, for example, then this friend is not what you need right now, and will stunt your healing. It may be difficult to do, but for your own well-being, this may be one of the steps you need to take. It may seem daunting, but you can and will find the strength within you to heal.