Archive for July, 2014

Trust Issues

Posted: July 21, 2014 in Philosophy
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been toying with the idea of blogging about a particularly heavy topic, and have fought with whether or not to go through with it for a couple of reasons.  For starters, any heavy content I put up here is almost always related to my Mom, which has it’s share of emotional baggage to follow.  Furthermore, I do everything in my power to paint her, her life, and her motivations in the most positive way possible…but it’s not always easy to accomplish.  And, not to mention, that regardless of how I portray her, the reality for someone consuming that content might be entirely different than what I intend.  Regardless, here it goes.

When I was growing up, I was very trusting of other people…even people I didn’t know.  My default setting was that they were trustworthy until they did something to indicate otherwise.  I extended that same trust to my family, obviously, which included my mom.  Rarely did that trust get me into trouble or put me in an uncomfortable position, save for a few times which are somewhat irrelevant to the larger theme.

As I get older, and especially as my daughter (and oldest child) prepares in the next month to go to Kindergarten, I have become more and more reliant on the need to trust others.  I’ve written before how, as a parent, you sometimes jump to the worst possible conclusion when it comes to the safety of your children.  Just the other day, I wasn’t feeling well and while laying in bed (another story for another day, perhaps with a post entitled “I’m Too Old for this Shit”) was listening to my wife and kids in the living room.  Nothing was happening, but for whatever reason, I was immediately concerned that someone was going to get something lodged in their throat and we were going to have to go to the hospital.  I digress.

The point is, trust, as a parent, is a requirement.  As a general rule, you can’t do it all on your own without support from someone–whether it be a close family member or in-law, the babysitter, or the daycare/school that your kids attend.  It still does, by my estimation, take a village to raise a child.  You have no choice but to trust others, otherwise you worry yourself sick (or, like some people I know, you opt for both).

But you can’t trust everyone.  For instance, I will probably never really “trust” my neighbors.  These could be people who have lived there for years, but the reality is I don’t know them like I know my own family.  I tend to not trust salesmen or anyone even remotely related, because I know in most cases they are not acting toward me the way they would toward a loved one.  Close friends, without a doubt, are trustworthy, but I would argue that in many cases their families or other close friends (not in my circle) are not trustworthy just by proxy.  And these all make sense, because they aren’t family, you don’t know them like family, and you don’t want to.

What I’ve learned, though, is that regardless of how close they are to me, I have trust issues with addicts and former addicts.  It is no secret that my mom had her share of issues with the medications she was taking to keep her pain in check.  And there were a few times that I trusted her that it bit me, and I will never forget it.  But what’s more, was the ongoing day-to-day stuff that made it hard to trust her overall, not just with one-off individual scenarios.  Being told constantly, repeatedly, that she would stop using the way she had been, or that things would get better, or that everything would be OK…these are lies told either by someone who truly believes it, and doesn’t realize what they’re doing, or someone who is just saying what others want to hear so they can continue their habit.  And regardless why the lie is coming, my assumption was always the latter (I tend to be a bit pessimistic about these things).

I will admit that not everyone has to deal with this when they are kids, and that is without a doubt a good thing.  I think that might be why her adult, non-addict friends were always so inclined to try to help, because they had not yet been jaded by personal experience.

A few weeks ago I attended a workplace substance abuse training seminar (required for our entire company) when the topic of addiction came up, albeit briefly, and all this emotion started flowing again from so many years ago.  I thought about the prospect of my friends having to go through a similar ordeal, and how it pained me to think that I would be more likely to altogether abandon a friendship before I took on the emotional responsibility of supporting someone in that sort of mental state.  It doesn’t make me a good person, certainly suggests that I am lacking in Christian tolerance training, but is nonetheless the way it is…and I don’t see that changing.

So, yeah, no big punch line here, no good way to bring it all home.  There’s this duality of needing to trust others that I deal with on a daily basis, that I have no choice but to participate in.  And then, there’s the other side of me that knows that for certain people, regardless of how close they are to me, I know I will never be able to trust.

Be well and stay tuned.