I have trust issues again, only this time, I saw the problem coming but really didn't do anything to stop it.
You would think that after the last time I got severely burned by someone, I would've learned my lesson well and have my radar doing minute-by-minute sweeps of the people who have contact with me on a daily basis.
crickets chirping in the general vicinity
I think it's safe to say that at one time or another, we've all experienced trust issues, either with our family, with our friends or with our co-workers. And our response is often dictated by what particular group we're dealing with at the given moment.
Let's take a look at what I consider to be the easiest of the three groupings to deal with as it pertains to trust issues: family.
When you have trust issues with your family, the response is fairly predictable and easy to execute. If they're not an immediate member of the family, you drop further contact for a period of time, be it weeks or months, or in one particular case, years/decades. Then you gradually reestablish contact with that person on a purely platonic basis, or in that particular case of years/decades, never.
Why platonic? In my opinion, since the previous trust level has been irrevocably destroyed, there is no real need to go beyond cordial greetings and generalized chit chat. This is something that I do on a frequent basis with the people who have destroyed my trust in them in some particular way.
Anyways, if they're an immediate family member, you quickly learn how to be not-so-candid with your comments and yet maintain a level of civility that if properly executed, does not reveal just how incredibly pissed you are with the person in question.
With friends, close or otherwise, who break your trust, the pain is magnified by a factor of fifty. Why so high? When we have our trust broken with a friend, its usually over something that's rather personal and the consequences can be personally devastating for the receiving party.
When that happens, realistically the only thing that you can do is drop that friend and have no further contact with them. The passage of time can eventually heal the wound and even put you back on cordial speaking terms with the ex-friend. But the level of trust that you previously had can never be restored, no matter how much time has passed (in my case, over four years had to pass before I was able to speak to an ex-friend without getting angry or upset). All you can realistically hope for is to be able to come to a mutual understanding with the other person, sort of a live and let live you might say.
Now we tackle the thorniest group in this ghastly trio: co-workers.
The reason why I say that co-workers are the thorniest group to deal with is due to the simple fact that beyond the serious amount of time you spend with your immediate family (wife, husband, kids), the second serious chunk of time you spend belongs to your co-workers.
Your co-workers often become like your second family, because you often know just as much as what goes on their lives (and they with yours) as you do with your original family. You bond with them, get to know their idiosyncrasies, get to know what they're truly like as a person. And when that trust is broken, for any reason, especially if its work or career related, the pain can be devastating, debilitating and more often than not, permanent.
What makes this kind of pain so unique is that it's usually a combination of the first two groups, and because of that combo, your response has to be the equivalent of a diplomat functioning at the highest levels of sensitivity.
Why? Well for one thing, you certainly can't treat them like family. If you try to simply break off contact, it can often be misinterpreted as creating an angry environment or just being angry. So you eliminate that particular response from your repertoire. Now what? Well, you could continue to be cordial and yet show with your body language how upset you really are. Guess what? Same problem can arise. So you eliminate that response because the last thing you want to do is bring unneeded and unwanted attention to yourself.
Since you've lost your two main choices of response, it really leaves you with only one real alternative to try and come to an understanding: you maintain civility by circling the wagons. In other words, don't speak unless you're spoken to, mind your business, and do your job to the best of your ability, even if no one else has 100% confidence in your abilities to do your job. And if you are spoken to, keep it short, keep it sweet and keep it focused on the question at hand. Don't do idle chit chat and especially don't enlighten people on your day-to-day activities outside of work, no matter what they may be.
This my friends, is the only true way to recover from this particular kind of pain and heartache. Be true to yourself and take comfort in the knowledge that eventually people will come around to your side and to your viewpoint.
It's all you that you really got to work with and it's all that you really need to survive any kind of challenge that comes up in the day-to-day business of living your life the way that you want to.