I was mortally offended when my counsellor suggested this. She didn’t state it as bluntly as the title of my post (although that’s precisely how sharply I took it, I noticed). So I responded with indignation –
“But I’m incredibly open, honest, vulnerable… everyone tells me that! My manager told me that it’s one of my best qualities! How can someone like me have trust issues? I’ll tell anyone anything!”
“Being willing to tell people about yourself doesn’t mean you trust them.”
I sat and thought about this for a moment. I am willing to tell strangers near enough everything. I sat in a room with her in my first session and told her everything and it took no real effort. It wasn’t difficult or uncomfortable for me.
But on reflection, I think I tend to do this early on to build a (false?) sense of intimacy and trust. The other person thinks they know me, thinks I trust them, and it encourages them to respond in a similar manner. This falls down in romantic relationships because physical intimacy is much more difficult for me to imitate and is something I have always, always struggled with. Kissing is one of the most difficult things in the world for me to do. I’ve had entire relationships where I didn’t. At all. Ever. I know.
So I seem open and trusting, and had even managed to convince myself (until this recent awakening) that I was. But really I’m terrified of judgement and rejection and this has inhibited me for as long as I can remember. I only open up fully with people who I have no kind of a bad feeling about, people who I can’t imagine would ever hurt me, people who respond to my issues with nothing but love and compassion. Those people are rare, and so (naturally) are my real, close friendships. I can get on well and build a rapport with most people (unless my social anxiety is particularly bad that day) but I actually find it really hard to let people get *really* close.
I trust everyone up to a certain point, and then it’s like an impermeable wall. I’ve often been told that I’m too trusting, and up to that wall I probably am. In spite of my experiences I try to be open and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I let everyone get close enough to hurt me but not close enough to break me. I’ve broken too many times already. I guess she’s right again. Damn it.