We are born with a need for others, to both connect and belong. It’s hard-wired within us. As we grow, that need becomes more refined. Moreover, we need to feel that we are significant to others, not just in word, but heart and soul. We need to know that others want to be in relationship with us. Mutuality of response is indispensable to feeling that one is in a authentic relationship with another. It’s what creates “resonance” and flow and energy.
An emotional bond begins to grow between people as they communicate understanding, respect, and valuing for one another’s personhood. This bond is referred to as an interpersonal bridge. The interpersonal bridge is built upon certain expectations. It’s what allows us to trust and be vulnerable. That’s the good news.
The “bad” news is that we’re bound to behave in ways that hurt others, either intentionally or unintentionally. Parents do it. Friends do it. We do it. It’s part of being human. To have someone we love or value unexpectedly betray our trust, creates a painful wound. Unable to bear it, we quickly anesthetize the hurt with our closest available emotion, usually some combination of anger and shame. “What a fool I was to trust!”
Thankfully, the feeling of excruciating vulnerability will pass – as do all emotions. The danger arises in the identification of the negative thoughts. The greater the frequency of this betrayal of trust, the greater the chances it will be internalized as a core belief or learned way of protecting oneself from being hurt in relationship.