When a child is abused by their parents, that child naturally grows up with plenty of issues. They lack a healthy foundation as well as good teaching, so this is understandable.
One area in which abused children tend to struggle greatly is when it comes to trusting people.
Many abused children grow up distrustful of others, in particular adults. Considering the only adults in their lives have caused them pain & suffering, it’s totally understandable. It’s also a very common occurrence.
What is less common is when abused children go the exact opposite but equally dysfunctional direction, & they trust people very easily. The constant gaslighting, being told everything you believe, think & feel is wrong will do this to a person. The burdens narcissistic parents put on their children of feeling like your purpose in life is to do for others & be responsible for their happiness adds to this problem. I know, because this is how I grew up.
This abuse convinced me that any instincts I had were wrong. If I felt someone wasn’t a good person or simply disliked a person, my mother would tell me I was wrong. On the opposite side of the same coin, if I liked someone she didn’t, I was also wrong because she clearly knew better than me. If I had a falling out with a friend, she told me, “to have a friend, you have to be one.” Basically that translated to, “You’re always wrong! You need to let people treat you however they like without complaint or protest.” This taught me that my instincts were always wrong, that other people were always right, it was my job to blindly obey them, & tolerate any treatment, even abuse, without complaint. So as a result, for years, I blindly trusted people.
One former friend of mine said, upon first meeting, “We’re going to be best friends!” I accepted that, & we were close for quite some time. I did like her, but our personalities were very different. She also was a rather needy friend. Too needy for my introverted self, but I hung in there for years because I felt obligated to do so.
A few months before marrying my ex husband, I broke up with him. People told me how miserable he was without me & that I should get back together with him. He would call me at work & tell me the same thing. I relented, & married him in spite of not being in love with him, & wanting to marry someone else.
Do my scenarios sound at all similar to situations in your life? If they do, then I want you to rest assured, there is hope!
Prayer truly is the best place to start. Talk to God about whatever you feel, & ask Him to guide you. Ask Him for healthy relationships & to spot red flags quickly so you don’t waste time with toxic people.
Start listening to your gut feelings. If something feels off about someone, pay attention to that! Observe this person & in time, you will understand what triggered this feeling.
And, if something feels especially good about someone, the same thing goes. Observe. Their actions will tell you why that feeling was there.
The more you learn to observe others & listen to your instincts, the healthier your relationships will be & the more wise you will be when it comes to trusting people.