3 Keys to (Re)Building Trust by Marla Keller


Say it out loud!

Now, what does your body feel like? What feelings are you experiencing? Are you comfortable? Are you anxious? Does it elicit feelings of anger towards relationships in general, and cause you to raise a middle finger to the universe? If not, you go girl! This article may not be for you, although the keys below are a great reminder. If it does, and you are feeling anything but comfortable, then read on.


Not too long ago I started a series of articles about infidelity and recovery from it. Read my first two blog posts in this series, Staying After Cheating and Leaving After Cheating

Clearly, I hit a very sore spot in your hearts. There are a lot of you out there suffering from the gaping and partially healed wounds created when the…

“I’ve been unfaithful”

…bomb was dropped and shattered your world. Sister, I know this gut-wrenching heartbreak. I have lived it, and have come out of it healed and whole—no gaping or partially healed wounds left. And it took time. Because, you know…trust.

Join Marla and Betsy Chasse on Life Unscripted Tuesday Sept. 13th 5pm PST to discuss this Series!


It’s a messy word….


And to heal your trust-wound will take time, patience, and some essential keys to unlock the hardened place in your heart called mistrust. You may be building it from scratch, having never felt trusting, or you are rebuilding your ability and desire to trust again. Or maybe you are confused because you are very trusting, maybe too much at times. Friend, that’s actually an issue with trust, too. It just looks different.


Something important about what mistrust looks like. Picture an old grandfather clock with a pendulum. On one side of the pendulum swing is the word naiveté (trusting too much) and on the other side is written mistrust. My entire life I trusted too quickly and too completely before a person could even show me that they deserved my trust. “But, people are generally good,” I’d say. Nope. People need to earn your trust first. Which, of course, is a real problem for those of you who don’t trust anybody, never have, and never will. There needs to be a balance, where the pendulum rests in the middle of the two words. That’s what the following keys will do for you. They will allow you to trust safely.


I’m here to tell you this: you can learn to trust. Is it easy? Nope. But it’s worth it!


Here are three of the most important keys from my experience personally, and from working with 1000’s of people who have walked this path of (re)building trust ahead of you:


  1. Awareness of your emotional foundation. Trust begins very early in life. Early, like in your mother’s womb early to 2 years old. From the time you are the size of an ear of corn (24 weeks or so), you begin storing feeling memory in your unconscious. Because your unconscious is the storehouse for all of your memories and past experiences, this is where all our beliefs, habits, and behaviors are formed. Including the belief about whether or not you can trust that your environment is safe.
    • What causes trust issues in this stage of life? Many things. Mom’s depression, stress or anxiety, your parent’s rocky relationship, the birth of a sibling, a death in the family, or any other stress-related event. In the womb, what your mom is feeling is stored in your unconscious as your own feeling. Wow. You can see why it’s important to grow in your awareness because this trust foundation affects all of your relationships today. What was a blind spot for you can now be empowering awareness that will catapult your healing in the trust area forward.
    • What can you do to expand your awareness? Ask your parents about this time in your life because awareness alone can heal your heart, journal, track your feelings throughout the day (real feelings from the Feeling Wheel  and if you have an Apple device you can purchase the Feeling Wheel App to make tracking easier), and forgive.
  2. Learn to trust yourself first. Most often, our clients with trust issues have a combination of old habits of mistrust coupled with a history of betrayals from significant relationships. And one of their darkest blind spots is that they have never trusted themselves. That was me. When I was five, I decided other people’s feelings were much more important than mine, and I abandoned myself to take care of everybody else. I abandoned my self-trust by handing it to everybody else. My core shame from a year of sexual abuse created this belief in me that I was not enough, therefore I needed to perform, be perfect in all areas, and do it with such finesse that I would never be “found out” for fraud I was. I desperately needed approval, and trusted other people’s ability to give it to me instead of finding myself worthy. If you resonate with this, you may want to do what I did and hire a coach, therapist, or find a mentor to help you identify your blind spots and heal through them. If you want to work with me, fill out this form and I’ll connect with you (http://www.passionprovokers.com/contact.html). But if you believe you can do this on your own, a good place to start is with the following steps…
    • Forgive others, and more importantly forgive yourself. Have a little grace in your life. Forgiveness is for you, forgiveness does not make the other person’s actions okay, forgiveness is a choice first way before it’s a feeling.
    • Release your expectations, as well as the outcome. Trust me. This changes everything. This stops all future-tripping, and lets the future unfold from right where you are. Ask for what want, and be sure to value what you really have.
    • Create a picture in your heart and mind of what you want your life to look like. Then visualize it anytime you begin to have issues with trust. Cancel out your old trust story and replace it with your new story of connection and love and healthy trust. (These steps were adapted from an older blog, How To Stop the Shame On Me Behavior, and you can read it in it’s entirety here–http://www.passionprovokers.com/blog/how-to-stop-shame-on-me-behavior).
  3. Give new relationships time to evaluate whether or not you can trust them before jumping directly to mistrust over a Facebook post on an old girlfriend’s picture. “Time will tell” is not just a flippant saying, it’s true. It took me two years to fully trust Jami again after finding out he had cheated on me, and it probably would have taken that long if I had decided to leave him and eventually begin a new relationship. Really? Yes, because I had that sticky heartbreak to move through before I could believe in love again, and trust that it was real. Be careful to not jump too quickly to the “cheater” card because you are blaming your new guy for pain you’ve had for a lifetime. He can’t bare that heavy load, and may not stick around to have it hoisted on his back again and again. Take the steps in Key #1 to heal your old trust pain. *Note: If you have been cheated on and are considering staying in the relationship, please read this blog, Staying After Cheating, for specific steps to rebuild trust.


Okay, try this out: “I am worthy of a connected, intimate, trusting relationship.” Say it out loud. Now shout it out! It’s true. It’s real. It’s possible. Okay, how does that feel? Does it feel true? If not, keep saying it, write it out several times a day (no, I’m not kidding), and you will begin to believe it. If it feels true, YAY, my work here is done.


Now go out and kick some trust butt!


jamiMarla has been married for over 28 years. She became a mother in 1990 at the age of 21 and again at 22, and decided to put a hold on her university degree to raise her kids. When her girls went to school she enrolled in an Adult Degree Program at Greenwhich University, and in 2001, Marla finished her BA degree in Family Counseling. Marla, along with her husband Jami, began their Relationship Coaching business part-time and volunteer in 1995 when they were Coach and Facilitator Certified with Life Skills International, and it has turned into a full-time career. In 2009, Marla became Executive Coach Certified through Invite Professional Coach Training, and in 2011 turned Passion Provokers into a full-time job. They have been empty-nesters since 2013, and enjoy a connected relationship with their daughters, and their son-in-law of 3 years. She is the co-author of many books and curriculums, and is working on her story about infidelity and redemption which comes out next year. Visit Passion Provokers to learn more.


  • a thought by Delly

    This post was helpful
    Thank you


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