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How can I trust something that doesn’t exist?
Before the very first Bitcoin London conference in 2020, a survey was carried out to gauge the spread of knowledge about the cryptocurrency, four years on from launch. Although the demographic polled might have been skewed a little towards those who were more digitally switched-on the most, i.e. generally younger, tablet-using, and interested in innovation, the knowledge penetration were an astonishingly high 69%.
However, out of that 69% of respondents with knowledge of Bitcoin, only 32% said that they trusted the cryptocurrency. We’re now four years on from that, but Bitcoin – and indeed cryptocurrencies in general – are still viewed with considerable suspicion. Despite being one of the most hotly-tipped investments of 2020 by Wall Street, and the future of investment, capital fund managers are still claiming that cryptocurrency values are “little or none beyond what people will pay for it” (Howard Marks, Oaktree Capital).
Why should you be interested in crypto? And why should you trust cryptocurrencies, particularly for trading purposes? Here’s a list of very good reasons:
- No currencies actually exist – Unless you’ve got a pocket full of coins made from precious metals. If you’re in the UK, take a banknote out of your wallet and take a close look. The words “I promise to pay the bearer on demand” (plus the value) are printed on each note and date back to the days when they were transaction slips for gold deposits. Effectively, they’re just running cash notes, and we’ve been carrying them since the 16 th century. If you can trust a five-pound note or a dollar bill, you can trust Bitcoin.
- Cryptocurrencies are rapidly becoming a worldwide payment option for many reasons – they’re almost anonymous, relatively low cost (the transaction costs are usually in cents rather than in dollars), and they’re not regulated by any one bank or currency. It’s also almost impossible to manipulate the market rate of a currency that’s peer-to-peer computer code. Bitcoin is now an option for anything from flights to retail outlet purchases, not to mention online trading and investments.
- You trust math? Good, that makes it easier to trust cryptocurrencies. The same code that limits the supply of Bitcoin (and think about this – you can’t ‘make’ gold, so there’s a finite supply of precious metals too!) also verifies transactions, so there’s always a record of what’s bought and sold. Additionally, cryptocurrencies worry banks as they can’t control them, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all. The technology bypasses the bank, and is accessible to anyone who has a smartphone app at their fingertips.
Two-hundred years ago, paper banknotes were viewed with derision and suspicion – a view we’re not entirely over now, as polymer notes are introduced to make forgery harder. The historic arguments about lack of value have barely changed. However, forging computer code is next to impossible, which potentially makes Bitcoin the most trustworthy and sound ‘currency’ in the world, both for investment and day to day use.
More about the author Step
I’ve wanted to build a business of some kind and earn money since I was in middle school. I wasn’t very successful though until my senior year in highschool, when I finally started to think about doing online business. Nowadays I profitably trade binary options full-time and thus gladly share my experiences with you. More posts by this author
10 Signs You Have Trust Issues and How to Begin Healing
Trust issues may be your number one obstacle to connection, warmth, and intimacy. This post assumes you’re experiencing trust issues left over from past relationships, but don’t have rational evidence that your current relationship partner is untrustworthy.
When you’re experiencing trust issues in a relationship, you cannot extend yourself, or make yourself vulnerable, which is essential to lasting success, according to experts. Here we’ll offer some unmistakable signs and symptoms of trust issues and point toward their resolution.
But before we get into the 10 signs of trust issues, let’s get the bad news out of the way.
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The bad news about trust issues….
Overcoming your trust issues in relationships is probably going to be difficult. If you have real trust issues, you’ve been hurt in the past. Your lack of trust is held in place by fear of being betrayed, humiliated, taken advantage of or otherwise manipulated all over again. The perceived risk may be overwhelming.
The aching, hurt, and humiliation of the past have become so familiar – the feelings, although heavy and burdensome, are hard to let go because I’m not sure I know how to feel anything else. Just cold and numb.
Trust issues are based on real-life experience, some of it probably originating in childhood, although this isn’t always the case. Some adults legitimately experience horrific betrayal and pain at the hands of others. Trust issues show up as a natural defense mechanism.
Why is it so difficult to let go of trust issues?
One surprising reason stands above all. Prejudice.
Not in a racial sense. Legitimately obtained trust issues color your thinking, however, causing you to anticipate negative consequences should you let down your guard. The prejudice (pre-judging) here is an ongoing suspicion that people are going to hurt you in some way.
Joshua Coleman, Ph.D. at Berkely.Edu discusses hypervigilance in one of his pieces on trust and betrayal. Coleman suggests being hypervigilant after a betrayal is evolutionarily intended to keep us from haplessly wandering into another betrayal. The downside of such hypervigilance is that it keeps you isolated from others.
You look for the signs. You play movies in your head of how someone is going to take advantage of you. You predict betrayal. The fear and anticipation of pain keep the trust issues alive, giving them newfound relevance.
Unfortunately, trust issues inevitably turn into self-sabotage. For example, when you don’t trust, you don’t connect with others. Missing out on chances to get to know people, to network, form friendships, and intimate relationships can only be called self-deprivation.
Lack of self-confidence, missed opportunities, loneliness, and even social anxiety are the results of this kind of self-sabotage, which is maintained by painful trust issues that will not relent. You’ve got your reasons for self-sabotage in the form of very real trust issues. However, it is self-sabotage nonetheless.
Overcoming trust issues requires seeing things differently
Seeing trust issues, not as a self-protective, but as self-sabotaging is one way to motivate yourself to work through them. This isn’t necessarily easy or obvious. The pain you’ve experienced is real and must be validated. And there does exist the possibility of being hurt again. Worse, if you’re already anticipating a breach of trust, then you’re also likely to be hypersensitive to apparent breaches, even when they don’t exist or aren’t intended.
You’re in an emotional double bind. Damned if you do trust, damned if you don’t. Understanding the various signs of trust issues is a starting point for resolution. Below are 10.
10 Signs of Trust Issues in Relationships
1. You predict how people will betray you without evidence of betrayal
If you’re with someone who has a track record of misdeeds, a lack of trust is appropriate. You should proceed fully aware of his or her potential to be devious. However, many of us have trust issues with people who never shown any sign of untrustworthiness.
Still, we anticipate the breach. Why? Trust issues from past experience are being cast into the perceived future, contaminating the present relationship.
2. You trust people you have no business trusting
It’s counterintuitive, but it happens all the time. When you have trust issues, you may often place your trust in those who are most likely to take advantage of you. Your trust issues at this point have become an emotional self-fulfilling prophecy, as if you were unconsciously confirming how untrustworthy people are.
3. You trust people too quickly
It may be due to the self-fulfilling prophecy, but this one may also come from failing to understand how trust works. Trust is earned. As an adult, you’re best off starting with an open mind and extending trust to people as they build a track record with you.
If you’re not experienced with creating trusted relationships, you may extend trust blindly.
4. Sharing is not caring
With flaring trust issues, sharing isn’t caring. It may feel more like emotional masochism. It takes trust to open up and share your thoughts and feelings. Trust issues predict that other people will use your inward feelings against you at some point, so it’s best to be guarded.
5. Your relationships are shallow, even if you aren’t
You may be a deep thinking and feeling person, but your relationships that are marred by trust issues will be shallow. You’ll be ‘protecting’ your inner, truer self and not openly sharing, so your relationships will be based on lighter, less threatening communication about external things.
6. Emotional commitment? Uh—no!
Trust issues dictate that you live in a world of anticipated loss. Your relationships don’t feel solid or grounded. At some level, you believe betrayal is inevitable. This makes it difficult to commit emotionally. You do not want to become attached to something you already ‘know’ you are going to lose.
7. Genuine mistakes are seen as awful breaches of trust
People are imperfect, we all know that. If you have trust issues, however, you may not be able to tolerate others’ imperfection when you see their mistakes though the prejudice of trust issues.
• If she’s running late, she’s hiding something from you.
• When he speaks loudly, he secretly hates you.
• If she can’t talk right now, she is rejecting you.
• When he won’t let you scan through his phone, he has a secret lover.
• If she doesn’t want to have sex tonight, she is not into you anymore.
8. Others may see you as self-righteous, impossible to please, or unforgiving
Your trust issues don’t just affect you. They dictate how you respond to others. When you find it hard to trust, and follow some of the signs mentioned above, others will find you difficult. For example, when your girlfriend who is running late arrives to find you suspicious, she’s probably not going to be inspired to console you. More likely, she will expect you to apologize for being so suspicious.
If when your friend can’t talk right now, you respond with accusations, he is not going to feel encouraged to talk to you anytime soon. One author put it this way…
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way, but often is.
9. You feel lonely, isolated, and like an outcast
When you cannot trust people enough to share your true self, no one is going to know or witness your true self. Without being known to others, you’ll feel lonely and perhaps like you don’t belong.
There are reasons you learned not to trust. Most likely, those reasons have everything to do with one or two specific people in your past. However, the mind naturally generalizes lessons learned. Without realizing it, you now have trust issues with most people. Unless you have a few people who know you – whom you really do trust – it’s hard to feel like you belong.
You may even feel like a total fake – an impostor – who fears being discovered as an illegitimate person.
All of this may lead to depression and despair. Since it is impossible to be socially adjusted without trusting others to some degree, and when it is painful to consider trusting anyone, you may feel trapped in a world in which you don’t feel like you belong.
Despair and depression are the likely results of this double bind.
Letting Go of Trust Issues So You Can Live and Love More Fully
Working through trust issues can feel like walking on broken glass. You just know you’re going to bleed.
This will take more courage than you’ve given yourself the luxury of exercising in a while. And it will be worth the effort, and the blood, if you persist.
I won’t sugar coat it because I’ve been there. The above signs of trust issues didn’t come through academic research.
They came from my own memory. I’ve been there.
Learning to trust someone with your mind and heart in spite of a mountain of trust issues is the accomplishment of a lifetime. And it’s an emotionally demanding process.
You’ll probably need a trust partner to help you.
Letting go, regardless, requires one thing above all: Taking the risk of being hurt.
The process looks something like this:
1. Be willing to risk the pain of learning to trust.
2. Find a trust partner (a therapist or coach can work, if they understand trust issues).
3. Learn how trust works (how it is earned and how to extend it).
3. Take emotional risks with your trust partner.
4. Confront your trust prejudice, suspicions, fears and painful feelings around trust as you take calculated risks.
5. Learn from the process, rinse and repeat until you can consciously trust and know how to extend trust well.
The Elephant in the Room
The elusive obvious is that if you trust people, even when you do it well, you are inevitably going to be let down. People aren’t perfect. They make their choices and that doesn’t always work in your favor. Some people are not empathetic at all in their decisions. You’ll get hurt from time to time.
They key here is not to avoid emotional pain, but to learn to hurt well. Since no one is exempt from pain, you should aspire to endure it, to process it thoroughly and learn the right lessons, not those ‘lessons’ that come from fear and avoidance. This means feeling things fully. It means shedding tears of grief and loss. You can feel vulnerable and afraid and yet press on with faith that there are people in this world who are indeed worthy of your trust.
Truly trustworthy people may be few and far between, actually. The good news is you only need a couple of people in your life that you know and feel you can trust deeply.
What to do next:
For a list of the highest rated books on trust in relationships, click here.
The Trouble With Trust
Many of us don’t even realize why we can’t trust others.
Posted Mar 25, 2020
Trust is the foundation of all human connections, from chance encounters to friendships and intimate relationships. It governs all the interactions we have with each other. No one would drive a car or walk down a sidewalk, or board a train or an airplane, if we didn’t “trust” that other people took their responsibilities seriously, and would obey whatever rules applied to the endeavor at hand. We trust that other drivers will stay in their lanes, that conductors and pilots will be sober and alert. And that people will generally do their best to discharge their obligations toward us. Culture, civilization, and community all depend on such trust.
As Jeffry A. Simpson writes: “Trust involves the juxtaposition of people’s loftiest hopes and aspirations with their deepest worries and fears.” This description makes it clear why so many people have trouble trusting: For them, the benefits of closeness and intimacy are overshadowed by the possibility of pain and betrayal.
Initial assessments of whether someone is worthy of trust—the answer to the “friend or foe” question—happen automatically, outside of our consciousness, thanks to our evolutionary history. But the truth is that even in the context of intimate relationships, our responses are the result of working models we don’t consciously perceive.
The human capacity for trust and trusting isn’t meted out on an equal basis; some people are able to trust more easily than others and are, in fact, better at being trustworthy and judging trustworthiness. Once again, the nature of attachment to our caregivers in childhood—whether it’s secure or insecure, and, within the insecure category, anxious or avoidant—may influence how trusting we are, because these early attachments provide a model of how we see the world and the people in it.
A child who learns the lesson that people close to her are reliable, can be trusted, and will take care of her goes out into the world with very different mental presentations and expectations about human interaction than an insecurely attached peer. This secure-base script, according to Mario Mikulincer and his colleagues, has three components:
- The assumption that if you need help, you can turn to someone you trust.
- The assumption that if you need support, your close person will be there for you and happy to give it.
- The recognition that you will be comforted and relieved by the support you’re given.
All of these assumptions both rely on and bolster the ability to trust. In contrast, the anxiously attached, those exposed to a mother or caregiver who is inconsistent—sometimes a source of comfort and sometimes absent—may worry that their partner won’t be available or responsive at a time of need. They may not trust them to be present and are anxious about relying on them. The avoidantly attached individual—someone who has been neglected, rejected or even abused and thus avoids close contact—stays clear of relying on anyone for help because they don’t trust at all, and they do what they can to remain autonomous.
Keep in mind that these mental representations aren’t a function of conscious processes. Trust or lack of it isn’t produced through rational thought processes but are processed according to a mental script we may not even know we follow. Even so, in the moment, we may not recognize the patterns.
A series of experiments by Harriet S. Waters and Everett Waters was startlingly clear in its findings about how these scripts or mental representations worked. Participants were given a list of words as prompts and were asked to write a story using these words. One sample set of words might have pertained to a baby’s morning: mother, baby, play, blanket, hug, smile, story, pretend, teddy bear, lost, found, and nap. Those with securely attached bases told stories that were, generally, full of maternal interaction with a happy and satisfied baby, along with hugs and smiles, or a teddy bear that was momentarily lost and then found. Not so for the insecurely attached, who variously imagined a nervous mother who gets distracted and loses the teddy bear, or one who watches the baby play with his blanket alone in his crib and decides to tell the baby a story but changes her mind when she can’t find the teddy bear and the baby falls asleep alone in his crib. In this last narrative, the words “hug” and “smile” were never even used by participants. The experiments also used prompts pertaining to adult situations—a car accident, for example— and found the narratives to be consistent depending on whether subjects had a secure base or not.
In an effort to go beyond the prompt-word technique, Mario Mikulincer, Philip Shaver, and others conducted eight experiments to study the secure-base script and found evidence that it provided a framework through which people process information about their relationships, including expectations, memories and judgments. People with a secure base are more apt to be able to spot caring behaviors and are more accurate in their perceptions of their partners; they are also quicker to be understanding and forgiving if a partner disappoints them in some way.
Because our mental representations are automatic and not consciously perceived, we can combat their effect on how we interpret events and actions by bringing them into conscious awareness. If you have trouble trusting people, it may be helpful for you to focus on what you’re bringing to the party. Are you interpreting your friend’s or partner’s words and gestures correctly—or do you tend to misread the cues and behaviors that indicate he or she actually will be there for you? Are you responding to your internalized script or to what’s playing out in real time? Is it your script or the people you’re choosing to associate with? Are they predictable? Can you count on them and, if you can’t, why not?
As someone who has felt, firsthand, the sting of betrayal, I know that it isn’t always easy to trust. But I’d like to think that I’m still open to the possibilities every close relationship offers and that, at that moment, a tattered script bequeathed from childhood can be tossed into the trash where it rightfully belongs.
Photograph copyright © Monika Koclajda. Used with permission.
Copyright © Peg Streep 2020
Simpson, Jeffry A. “Psychological Foundations of Trust,” Current Directions in Psychological Science (2007) vol. 16, no. 5, 264-268.
Mikulincer, Mario, Philip R. Shaver, et al. “What’s Inside the Minds of Securely and Insecurely Attached People? The Secure-based Script and Its Associations with Attachment Style Dimensions,“ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2009), vol. 97, no, 4, 615-633.
Waters, Harriet S, and Everett Waters, “The attachment working models concept: among other things, we build script-like representations of secure base experiences,” Attachment and Human Development September 2006, 8(3). 185-197.
This is a great article!
I realized after reading this that, on several occasions and during very stressful times in my life, I spoke aloud the words “I feel I cannot trust very many people. mainly, YOU”, to my mother. She was silent of course. The reality is, as an adult, I have almost always been able to assess whom I can trust vs. those who are not trustworthy. When I made that statement to my mother, I was buffering it. I feel fortunate that I am able to trust and more fortunate still that my “radar” goes off when I am in the presence of someone not worthy of [my] trust. Like Ms. Streep, I try my best to be open, worry less and less about being taken advantage of, used, or making a huge error in judgement when deciding whom to trust. Even when I trust a person and they have deceived me, I tend to give “second chances”. That is not really in keeping with my abusive past, but I notice that, even when I give “third chances”, it sometimes turns out well. Trust is tricky. The “Frog and Scorpion” story comes to mind. When it gets down to it, it becomes an issue of trusting our own instincts; knowing whom to trust; and paying attention to the alarms when they go off. I don’t know why, but I never liked the “fool me once” adage. I tend to think “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on you again”. The “third chance” leap has worked well for me, especially when it comes to dealing with teens and people in their early twenties. For whatever reason, giving young people that “three’s the charm” chance seems to help them to grow trust-worthiness! Most of the time, I prefer to trust people, risk being proven wrong, than to fear the motives of the general population
I really liked how clearly written post this was.
Same problem here. I have had a lot of problems that still affect me trusting people, but I consciously know that past experiences have nothing to do with the present and I try my best to trust people.
interesting dilemma. My main
interesting dilemma. My main fear is the sense of foolishness one feels in case of misplaced trust, so I have trouble trusting. yet how is it foolish if I trust? I mean what other way is there to live life? That is not to say i have never trusted a person who didn’t deserve my trust. when I feel i have had enough and usually the pain of enough heart break is a good indication of that than I walk away and its character building not gullible to walk away from a fraud with your ability to trust still intact. why let a disappointment over shadow, what is essentially basic quality to built life, i.e trust.
This is silly and victim blaming. Most people nowadays aren’t trustworthy. Most are just fair weather friends, fake friends. They aren’t out to harm you but they don’t care about you either. Such is the current state of affairs. In dating, most men just want sex and will say anything and invent any persona to get it. Such is testosterone. I don’t feel like getting hurt over and over to find the few honest people.
Going to have to agree with
Going to have to agree with this. Existance now is more nomadic, more fleeting. Your not going to know someone for all your life, and therefore know them in and out to see if you can trust them or not. I like your idea of ‘fair weather friends’, because it is true. In fact, I will go a step further to say that friend is becoming an increasingly outdated term. We don’t have friends anymore due to a failure in mutual trust and intamacy. We have associates, people who may not wish us any harm yet will not go out of their way to help us when we’re in need.
Still, there are a few honest people here and there (normally in my experiance the people you least suspect). What I have found though, is that people who do charity work, community work, mental health, vegen, into animal rights, global justice, etc. Can be some of the most unempathetic, unsympathetic, selfish and narcissistic people I know. Just because they seem good, doesn’t mean they are. If you focus on banal actions, tone, body language, attitudes and values, you can see if they are a person you can trust or not. Always focus on the banality of their being, and you’ll soon find out what sort of person they are.
Still, just because you can’t trust others doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there if others our suffering. You’ll just perptuate things otherwise. There’s nothing to gain from it and its stupid, but at least you will minimise that persons suffering. Who knows, they might do the same for someone else.
Definitely. I believe humans have always been opportunistic and selfish, some more than others. The only reason we used to be more close knit is because it was necessary for our own survival. You weren’t going to survive without your pack so you kept a group and family to ensure your own well being. Now that we have cars, cellphones, GPS directions, buildings, etc we can survive just fine without any aid therefore humans will be less inclined to form strong bonds. Except during childhood when there is dependency, for humans close bonding is in case of dependency.
Here I am, 55 years old and still not trusting anyone. Your article was spot on. I never could be in any relationship for long because of my suspicious trust issues. My father was absent physically and my mother absent valium laden mentally. I remember my grandfather saying “To trust is bust, no trust, no bust.” My outlook was skewed and twisted to the point that now I sit, alone, no close friends, no relationship and no direct related family left alive. My brother was exactly in the same boat before he took his own life. Years before, my mother did the same. So, yes, I understand the pains of trustlessness and paranoia about people. I just wish fixing it after 55 years was not such a Herculean task.
I have never been able to
I have never been able to fully trust anyone in my life, not since I was a kid..and even then I learned what could happen if I trusted someone too much. Of course when I was a child I was trusting to begin with, but the lack of trust between me and others has become more defined now that I’m older. I look back now at times where I almost told a friend that I was molested, though something in the back of my mind told me not to say anything in fear it would get back to the person I thought did it. And i was right, it would have and it could have destroyed my relationship with the person if I would have told her. I knew from prior experience from telling another friend from school that this was happening, and she seemed scared by it and treated me somewhat different, so I quickly rationalized it to her that it happened because of this and that and it’s not his fault etc. Now I have major trust issues with men, I haven’t had a real relationship with a man for longer than 4 months and it brings me shame. When anyone asks what my longer relationship has been I say 2 years because I had an on and off friendship with a guy but even that was full of mistrust and sabotage. We only dated for about a month until I exploded over thinking I was being abandoned. I have a problem with men being too transparent with me, telling me they ran into an ex or that some girl made advances towards them. In my mind it twists up the story into the worst possible scenario. It feels like hot poison going through my body, I feel physically sick with no appetite and I dissociate from the person I was before I heard this story of betrayal lol. It really shakes up my whole world. I felt so much that I was in so much mental pain alone and even though I’m a very independent person today, I am deathly afraid of being in that place again. I think i have borderline personality but I’m not sure, I am seeing a therapist and it’s helping me to talk about my issues. I just know I’m not good in relationships. I even get paranoid that my therapists are making advances towards me which leads me to stop seeing them even though I know it’s in my head. I don’t want to seem conceited. Trusting is just SO hard for me
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