I don’t mean “you can’t trust anyone” in the way that your mother told you when you moved away from home. What I mean is that trust works very differently from the way we usually talk about it. You can’t really trust or mistrust someone else. What you trust or mistrust is what I call your Brain Direction.
Let me give you a little background to explain what Brain Direction is. As a human being, you are a bundle of energy particles. Physicists call these bundles “quanta.” The laws that scientists have discovered over the centuries explain how energy behaves when it bundles together into quanta.
One of these laws, discovered by the Chaos scientists in the 70′s and 80′s, describes how you develop into the unique human quanta you are. It says that energy particles are sensitively dependent upon the initial conditions they experience as they come together as a quanta. In other words, the energy particles are like sponges in this developmental period. They absorb the unique set of conditions around them and that determines their form as a quanta.
A simple example is a snowflake, whose initial conditions include the wind speed, air temperature, and moisture content at the point in the cloud where the snowflake forms. The unique combination of the conditions at the snowflake’s origin point determine it’s unique form.
For humans, the period of our “initial conditions” is from conception until the age of 2 1/2. Until that age, our brains are sponges that absorb how the people around us feel about being human. What we absorb from them determines our uniqueness as human quanta—how we feel about being human.
That time was actually meant to enhance and make more of our natural well-being, which is the kernel of energy we begin life with. However, because people around us don’t feel good every moment, we absorb the feeling that something is wrong being human from them and, as sponges (whose thinking brains won’t begin to operate until the age of 2 1/2), we can’t process or discard any of it. We absorb it all, and it becomes personal—”there’s something wrong with me being human.”
After the age of 2 1/2, a second law of energy really kicks into high gear. It’s Newton’s Third Law, which says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the case of human quanta, the action was us absorbing how it feels to be human—energy was coming in. As we begin to interact with the bigger world, the brain begins to generate moments of our life from this absorbed feeling. Now, the energy is going out (opposite motion) as the energy of each moment we live. And, those moments will be equal in quality and intensity to what we absorbed—in other words, they will feel the same. If we absorbed the feeling that “I don’t matter” early in life, our brains will keep generating moments in which we feel that same way. This equal and opposite reaction is called Brain Direction, and it generates every moment of our lives.
This brings us back to the issue of trust. If each moment is generated by Brain Direction, this includes interactions with others. Their Brain Direction is also involved, but our involvement in (and experience of) any interaction is generated internally. Therefore, if we are in a situation where we feel betrayed in some way, it is equal to the feeling we absorbed early in life that “I don’t matter.” So, what we mistrust is our own Brain Direction’s ability to generate situations that are good for us, in which we feel safe, or in which we matter.
This doesn’t negate the idea that there are people who are generally trustworthy or not. It’s just that your involvement with any given person is generated by your own Brain Direction.
It’s always interesting to see what happens with my clients when they start working on this issue. Some find that people who they have found untrustworthy in the past seem to change for the better in this regard. Sometimes, we even have enough context to see that it is only in relation to my client that the other person changes, so it’s clear that my client’s Brain Direction is responsible. Others find that the low-trust relationships they’ve been in end or are reduced in significance, and are replaced by more trust-filled interactions with new people.
One of my clients saw the second option happen in her love life. She had been dating for a few years after her divorce. All the men she met were similar in that they initially said they wanted a deep relationship, but then demonstrated pretty quickly that they only wanted something casual. My client figured that this was just the way it is these days, and she just wasn’t going to find someone who she could trust to really care for her and be honest about what he wanted. Not long after she started working on this trust issue, she met a man unexpectedly who she ended up marrying. She said he was the first man in her life who had ever really looked out for her interests and desires, and whom she could take at face value. Even many months after her wedding, she was still continually surprised at how different this relationship felt to her compared to past relationships.
Have you seen a repeating pattern of mistrust in your relationships? I’d love to hear about what you’ve noticed in the comments below.