The concept of trust is frightening for many, as it means handing over a degree of trust to another person. It means putting your faith in someone completely, believing that they will act in your best interests, protecting you from the risks of the world around us. For someone who has never been hurt this may be easy, however, if you have ever experienced pain at the hands of someone that claimed to love you in the past, then you know how difficult this can become.
If you are struggling with the concept of revealing your more vulnerable side to someone, overcome with the fear that they will break your heart, then you may be struggling with pistanthrophobia. Pistanthrophobia is defined as “fear of trusting people due to past experience and relationships gone wrong.” In other words, this is the fear that one experiences after having been hurt in the past, as they try to reach out and connect with people in their lives.
Consider, for a second, the man or woman who found themselves in what they considered to be a loving and committed relationship, only to have their partner use them time and time again, with no regard for their feelings or emotions, until the day came that they decided they had enough. Moving into a new relationship following that specific experience would be incredibly difficult, as they find themselves struggling with the fear that their new partner may do the same thing to them at any moment without a warning.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to others, even if you haven’t been hurt before, can be incredibly difficult. Meeting new people can be an exciting experience, but only if you can bring yourself to open up and connect with the individuals that you encounter. For those battling this fear, you may feel as though you are on the outside looking in, observing the lives of everyone else around you without being able to find your own role in the story.
That being said, if you are aware that this is a struggle in your own life then you can take the necessary steps to work towards preventing further complications. Recognizing that you are struggling with this fear may be the hardest part of all, as many live their lives in complete denial.
Here are 11 signs that you are suffering from pistanthrophobia and it is destroying your relationships:
#1 – You doubt everything that is said to you, regardless of who says it.
It doesn’t matter if you are getting this information from your best friend or a complete stranger on the stress, your default setting is to doubt every piece of information you are given. You’re that person who is always going out of their way verifying everything they are told. Rather than believing that anyone is capable of being honest, you automatically assume dishonesty in every interaction.
#2 – Anytime you allow yourself to dream or image a relationship, they always end in heartbreak.
You have convinced yourself that everyone will eventually hurt you or break your trust, based on your past experiences. Unable to let go of this fear, you walk into every relationship already convinced that it is going to end in pain and heartbreak, often before it even has a chance to get started.
#3 – You demand far too much too early on in your relationships.
Healthy relationships progress at a natural pace, slowly working up into something bigger. Due to your inability to trust anyone you try to fast track this process, pushing your partner to commit on a more serious level far earlier in the process. This can be overwhelming for others, and often leads to you pushing them away entirely.
#4 – You find yourself getting jealous over even the smallest of things.
The fact that you can’t bring yourself to trust your partner means that even the smallest of situations become giant red flags in your mind. If you see that your partner has been talking to another person, even if there is a completely logical explanation for their communication, you automatically assume they are flirting with one another and the jealousy takes hold. You can’t handle the idea that they may be spending any time with friends you haven’t met and approved of already.
#5 – The moment that you meet someone new, you automatically assume that they are setting out to hurt you.
If you have previously been hurt, one way to protect yourself is to assume the worst in everyone that you meet, allowing yourself to prepare for even the most difficult of struggles coming your way. The truth is that not everyone is out to harm you. In fact, many people are looking for a meaningful connection so long as someone like you is willing to give them a chance.
#6 – You make a point of putting your partner through ‘tests’ to see if they will live up to your expectations.
You are so sure that your partner is going to fall short of what you need in life, ultimately hurting you or letting you down, that you devise tests. You will purposely put them in situations where they have the opportunity to be unfaithful, waiting for them to slip up as you are positive that they will do. If they pass your test, it’s not enough to keep you happy. Instead, you find yourself already working on the next one believing that this was a ‘fluke.’
#7 – You have come to the conclusion that you are not going to allow yourself to ever fully trust someone.
While many of these points are the result of a subconscious inability to trust people, eventually you may embrace this way of thinking so much that you make a conscious decision not to trust anyone that you meet. Rather than trying to fight back against your phobia, you embrace it. This is a dangerous shift in mindset as you will never overcome it at this stage.
#8 – You are suspicious of everyone you meet.
Some people will get suspicious if an individual is acting ‘off’ or giving off a bad vibe. There is no such stipulation for you – regardless of who they are, or how you met them, you immediately approach every meeting with an air of caution. You spend much of your time trying to understand their ‘true motive,’ unable to accept anything at face value, even if all signs point to them being an honest, trustworthy individual.
#9 – You find yourself completely obsessed with their phone and social media accounts.
While you can see first hand if your partner is talking to someone that they shouldn’t, technology like smartphones and social media open up a whole new opportunity for people to be unfaithful. The second that your partner’s phone rings you are trying to sneak a peek at who may be calling or texting, and you read into every like, share or comment on Facebook.
#10 – You require constant reassurance in order to feel secure in your relationship.
While some people are able to pick up on whether their relationship is going well or not, your inability to trust anyone or take any situation at face value means you are constantly analyzing and reading into every little aspect of your relationship. You are always afraid that your partner may not love you in return, requiring their reassurance over and over again to allow you to feel any sense of security.
#11 – You genuinely believe that anything and everything that could go wrong will.
Some people refer to you as a pessimist, but you believe that you’re just being realistic. If there is even the slightest chance that something could go wrong, then you automatically assume that is how everything is going to plan out. While this allows you to be prepared for anything, it is also an incredibly negative way to live.
Image via Quote Master