I think that my biggest problem with trusting people is I always assume that there’s an ulterior motive at play. That people want something from me. Sex, money, whatever. I’m not used to the feeling of people wanting to be friends because…they want to be friends and do stuff and hang out.
I was friends with a group of people when I was in my late teens-early 20s, and they were like this. They all wanted something. And they were coercive. My therapist asked me, almost flat out, if I had been raped. I wasn’t, but there were definitely women in the group that could claim that. Looking back, these were horrible people., but I was so desperate for friends and they just seemed accepting, and so cool, you know? But they always wanted something. Rides, money, sex, for you to buy them stuff, etc. This group is the main reason why I have trust issues with friends. But it didn’t start there.
When I was in high school I didn’t have many friends, and the friends I had were mostly outside of my district and older as we all participated in the same extra curricular activity together. They graduated before me and my senior year I only had one, maybe 2 people I could call good friends. I was severely injured not far into my senior year, and the vast majority of the people that I hung out with just faded away very quickly. I was left very isolated. And it showed me for the first time that if you can’t do things for people, they want little to do with you.
There have been a few individuals along the way that have just reinforced this belief, but weren’t nearly as toxic as these groups.
But I’m working on it – I’m trying to trust that the friend group I currently have is not like these people. And now that most of them have been around for a few years with none of this behavior showing, I’m starting to trust them. It’s sad that it’s taken this long. It shouldn’t have taken this long.
I told my therapist that this is just one of the many ways that I’m broken. She claims that broken isn’t the right word – I just don’t trust easily, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is when long term people have proven who they are and I just don’t believe it. I expect the worst out of people. And that’s not a good way to live life. But my experiences with these two groups left a lasting impression on me, and obviously it wasn’t positive.
Sometimes it amazes me the lessons that you learn that take a long time to change. It’s hard to unlearn these things. They become so innate in your thought processing and almost in your personality.
The group of people that we’ve surrounded ourselves, by and large, is a good group. Mike has a few friends that I just don’t trust or like, so he doesn’t force me to spend too much time with them. Luckily we’re not one of those couples that always has to do everything together, or have the exact same group of friends. Sure, a lot of them overlap, but there are some people that are my friends and some people that are his friends.
Overall, I’m skeptical of people, and it’s going to be hard to change that, but that’s what therapy is for, right?