What’s Going On When Someone Says, I Can’t Trust Anyone?

Susan told me that she couldn’t trust anyone. Later, she told me that she had no one she could rely on. I asked her to try saying “I won’t trust anyone. I won’t rely on anyone else.” She began to cry. She could see how her negative beliefs were keeping her stuck in a lonely life. She wanted to change but was afraid to try so I asked if she could trust me. “Yes, you’re a professional.” We explored what that meant to her and began to identify trustworthy behaviors I have: I don’t talk about her to other people; I show respect by listening and asking questions; I look at her when she talks; I’m consistent in what I say and do. By feeling safe in our relationship, she began to share her pain and longing to be loved. Over time, Susan came to realize how her thinking was a habit that she could change. She learned how she used emotional reasoning when she said, “If I’m scared, I should avoid;” and how she exaggerated – “I can’t trust anyone; people just want to use you.”  Gradually, she stopped herself and changed her negative thoughts to positive statements