I am a HUGE Brene Brown fan. Also HUGE Elizabeth Gilbert fan. (Not at all surprised they are good friends.) One or the other of them always pops up saying exactly what I need to hear at the exact time I need to hear it. It is amazing how the universe puts the people you most need square in your path when you most need them.
The day after S so thoughtlessly and cruelly dumped me, I saw Brene on SuperSoulSunday talking about her new book, Rising Strong, and I had it downloaded onto my kindle before the show was over. I went on FB yesterday and one of the first posts was Liz Gilbert posting a new Brene talk on “The Anatomy of Trust.”
It is quintessential Brene, full of personal stories, making us laugh, and cry, just being so real, and teaching us what we need to know about trust. I watched it, it’s only about 10 or 15 minutes, and then watched it again with a pen and paper to make notes.
Naturally, I was filtering my recent break-up as I watched it.
She created an anagram for building trust. It is B R A V I N G. Because when we trust someone we are “braving” connection, making ourselves vulnerable. Here’s the down-low.
B – Boundaries. For trust to develop between people, boundaries have to be set and kept by both parties. With S, I had one. Don’t have sex with anyone else if you’re having it with me. Pretty clear. He had a lot….and they weren’t clear, they were subjective. Don’t ask too much, don’t make plans too far ahead, don’t expect anything, don’t demand anything. You get the idea.
R – Reliability. Do what you say you’re going to. I don’t think I ever broke this one with him. I generally try to do this with everyone. S did what he said he would, if he felt like doing it when the time came. Thus the blurred boundaries…. If he talked about going somewhere, it didn’t mean he would. If he said he’d call, it didn’t mean he would. If he said he was open to a relationship, it didn’t mean that he’d feel like that next week.
A – Accountability. Owning your story. If you make a mistake, which we all do….owning it, apologizing for it, and making it right. I have no problem with this, I apologized often and fully, usually for misunderstanding him or his actions. (And in hindsight, I was often right, and apologizing for it.) S….apologized after the prison whore. He came to me, he looked me in the eye, he told me the whole story, he felt bad, it was over. It went a long way toward building trust. Then, a few months later, began the HUGE voluminous deception of me, and Betty….and he still has not owned that to me, he still has not apologized for months of deception when all the while I was asking him to let me go. Not accountable. At all.
V – The vault. What you tell me in confidence I keep in confidence. And what others tell me I also keep in confidence. I think I did that, still do that. I have never told anyone the things he told me in confidence. I don’t think he has either, told anyone anything I told him. (However, my life is much more an open book, and no one knew me in his life, so there was nothing to tell and no one to tell it to.) However, he was quite willing to falsely trash his girlfriend to me, to send me a naked picture of her to make me jealous. So…I think that picture should have been in his vault. But he didn’t keep it there.
I- Integrity. I don’t think this needs any discussion. Screwing two women, for months on end, who love you without them knowing you are doing it is a total lack of integrity. Making up lies about his girlfriend, when she was his ex, is a total lack of integrity. I know he wants to say I was with A when I was with him….but I was never with A physically when I was with S. Never. I met A after the prison whore, right after. I went out with him, he was like a salve on a gaping open wound, but I wasn’t with him sexually during that time. S can pretend I did what he did, but I didn’t.
N – Non-judgement. I know I did not judge him for anything he told me in confidence. I did, in the end, judge him for his lies and deception of me, and of Betty. He also was fairly non-judgmental, although he at times disparaged me for some of the spiritual teachers I liked. Ram Dass in particular. His reasoning was that Ram Dass came from a privileged family in Boston, and S felt he was in it for the money. I didn’t come across Ram Dass until a few years ago, when he was about 80 or so, and I felt he had a lot of valuable insight at that stage of his life.
G – Generosity. When someone does or doesn’t do something you thought they would, having a generous thought about them, like, “I was hoping you’d do this, but I know you love me, and we’re ok. I just want you to know I was thinking of it.” I do this to a fault, and did it with him way way too much. Gave him a lot of credit he hadn’t earned. I don’t know if he ever did it, he seemed to love to find something to complain about. He had the nerve to say, not long ago, after he dumped me but before I found out he’d been with her all summer, that he was upset that I said in my blog that I “cuddled” with A before A left on his big adventure. S and I were not not even speaking then. He had refused to make plans with me Memorial Day weekend. Refused to go to Florida with me after getting me all excited that he would likely go. Now I know why…because he made them with Betty. It’s almost humorous that he had the nerve to bitch at me for cuddling with A, while he was screwing Betty. It was just a manipulation. But it wasn’t generous.
Looking at this anagram, and filtering this relationship through it, I see and am filled with the knowledge that I gave away my trust to someone who didn’t earn it. Period. And I’m lucky to be out of it, without more scars. It’s a lesson learned, learned well.
Trust is made up of seemingly small insignificant moments, Brene teaches, that build trust over time. Not a few big events. S shouldn’t have earned my trust simply because he apologized and owned his story about the prison whore. There were so many small moments that I wrote off, because they were insignificant. And really, those were the things that were telling.
This lesson is included in her book, Rising Strong. This is the link to the video: