| A Better You |

Repairing Trust

“To regain trust, the one who did the hurting must demonstrate how much the relationship means to him by changing his behavior”

Repairing Trust
Sara Eisemann

If someone close to you hurts you, they deserve the benefit of the doubt. You show trust by assuming good intentions.

If someone close to you repeatedly hurts you, you deserve the benefit of accountability. They regain trust by improving their actions.

Change is an act of care.

—A. Grant

Trust is the currency of relationships. It is how we measure the safety and intimacy of a relationship, be it a social, business, personal, or intimate one. Trust is what establishes safety and allows us to fully engage in the relationship.

Two business associates can only form a partnership if they trust that the other is honest and they can take financial risks together. A man and a woman can only build a marriage when they trust the other to be fully loyal and to have their back. And so it goes with every relationship.

There is no way to rush trust; it must survive the test of time and consistency. During its incubation we have to make space for imperfection and recognize that no one gets it right 100 percent of the time. So we must assume good intentions and cut each other some slack.

Each breach of trust, however, makes good intentions a little harder to assume. If trust is currency, being hurt by a trusted partner creates a withdrawal in the relationship.

While a one-off breach of trust calls for the offended party to offer the benefit of the doubt, should this occur on a regular basis, the onus is now on the offending party to get the relationship back on track by displaying accountability and proving his trustworthiness anew. But once lost, trust becomes infinitely harder to restore.

It will be much more difficult to grow trust as an overlay on top of betrayal. Every layer of betrayal (and, yes, hurting a loved one is a betrayal) bleeds through the coat of trust and colors its purity. Trusting blindly, when one has been repeatedly hurt, becomes an act of diminishing the self. In order to recover one’s self-respect, the dynamic in the relationship has to shift.

The only way to demonstrate that one genuinely cares is by behaving differently. It’s possible to obtain forgiveness by asking for it. The decision to grant or not grant it is more a reflection of the one who was asked than of the one who asks. But to regain trust, the one who did the hurting must demonstrate how much the relationship means to him by changing his behavior. There is no substitute and no shortcut. Whereas we enter a relationship with goodwill, once that has been breached, the whole premise of care has been compromised. And the only way to prove that we really care is to consistently exhibit changed and improved behavior over a long period of time.


Sara Eisemann, LMSW, ACSW, is a licensed therapist, Directed Dating coach, and certified Core Mentor.


Know Your Nos
Shoshana Schwartz


ssisting others is a spiritual act done via a physical one. In granting favors and fulfilling requests, our aim is to identify the needs of others and attempt to meet them. When doing so, we often experience the side benefit of a satisfying lift — the result of spiritual enrichment, even at the cost of some inconvenience or physical discomfort.

Since both positive and negative feelings can surface while helping others, it can be very tricky to know if we’re stretching ourselves in a healthy way, or if we’re invalidating our needs in a way that will eventually bring us to invalidate our whole selves. Here are ten signs you might be overly reluctant or afraid to say no.

You reluctantly agree to requests, believing you don’t have a right or a good enough reason to say no.

After you consent to do something, you feel resentful, annoyed at yourself, or taken advantage of.

You want to refuse a request but can’t think of a nice enough way, so you hint, hoping the other person intuits your reluctance.

When you do refuse a request, you feel guilty and pressured and often eventually give in.

You remain with people or situations far longer than you’re comfortable with.

You never have enough time in a day.

You avoid people or conversations when you suspect you’ll be asked for assistance.

You apologize for circumstances that are not your fault.

You routinely overshare, revealing private details rather than risk offending someone by keeping them to yourself.

You feel the need to justify or excuse yourself for ending a social interaction.While everyone will recognize themselves here some of the time, if this feels autobiographical, it’s time for a change. Allowing ourselves to say no when necessary is crucial for our personal well-being as well as our continued ability to assist others.

Shoshana Schwartz specializes in compulsive eating, codependency, and addictive behaviors. She is the founder of SlimHappyMama.


A+ for the Student
Zipora Schuck

The end of the school year is upon us, and most children will be receiving final report cards featuring teachers’ assessment of their academic, and perhaps behavioral, performance.

What if we asked children to self-rate how they feel their year went? The questions can be as simple as, “What was your best memory or experience this year?” to something a little more introspective.

Here are some possible prompts:

What surprised you about this grade?

What’s something you are proud to know or be able to do?

What is something you really excelled in?

What advice would you give another student going into this grade?

Is there an area that you put a lot of effort into?

Is there any part of this year you wish you could do over? Strength-based reflecting on their most recent experience is often the springboard students need to set goals, hopes, and aspirations for the coming school year:

What do you hope will be different next year?

What would you want a teacher or other students to know about you?

What is something you are looking forward to?


Zipora Schuck MA. MS. is a NYS school psychologist and educational consultant for many schools in the NY/NJ area. She works with students, teachers, principals, and parents to help children be successful.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 896)

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