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  • bonnyoneill

Rebuilding Trust: Part 1

Updated: Jul 24, 2021

An Introduction to Termites

(Don't worry I will explain.)

In relationships, trust can be broken in any number of ways, some obvious and others not so obvious. In my practice, I've found that often both parties are hurting and wanting things to be different but usually neither knows how to proceed. They find themselves spinning their respective wheels and getting no where. This series of posts will explore a basic introduction to broken trust, what it means to trust, what is actually breaking, the primary barrier to trusting, and then actual steps to take to rebuild the relationship.


A House as a Relationship

Imagine that you just walked into your home. Were you able to enter and go about the business of your life without giving any thought to the structural integrity of your home? Unless you've had previous experiences with things like mold or termites, most people would answer "yes" to that question. Why? Because most people trust their homes and feel safe doing life inside them.

Now imagine that someone tells you that your home has termites? Does that change how you enter that space?

What if you came home and an entire wall was crumbling from termite damage? Would you even enter the space at all or would you be home-adjacent while you called an exterminator and made hotel arrangements?

For most, once you realize that termites are eating away at your home, you begin to pay more and more attention to the structural integrity of that place. Every creak makes you wonder if that's simply your house settling or is it termites eating away at the framing. If there's enough damage, then you don't feel safe in your home anymore and either need to fix the problem or find a new home.

Think of your relationship like a house. When trust is broken (in big ways and little), it's like termites eating away at the structural integrity of the relationship. You start paying attention and developing sensitivities around even the smallest behaviors wondering if it's an indication of a larger problem. If left untreated, the relationship begins to feel unsafe (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually) and eventually there may be enough damage that you can't repair so you leave the house and move on.

Just like if a house isn't safe for one person living there then it's not safe for any person living there, if a relationship isn't safe for one person then it's not safe for either people.

A stitch in time saves nine.

As a former designer and stitcher, I love that phrase. Basically, it means that the earlier you catch and fix a problem, the easier and less amount of effort it will take. This is ever so true of your relationships. Don't wait till you're relationship is DOA (dead on arrival) to see a therapist or start working on things. Detect issues early. Talk to each other without blame, shame, judgement, or criticism about some of the things that are eating away at your connection. If you can't have those conversations without shame, blame, judgement, or criticism then your termite damage might be more extensive than you think and it's time to seek out help and guidance.


What's to Come

In the following posts, I'll explore more fully what is breaking in a relationship when trust is damaged, and what are actionable steps to take to heal and reconnect. Therapy is a great option to dig in and work on your relationship, but it's not the only option.

If you are in the state of Tennessee and looking for a therapist as you heal wounds, learn to forgive, and/or rebuild trust, then reach out to me. I'd love to work with you. I offer in-person sessions at my office in Nashville's Green Hills area, and I also offer telehealth sessions to anyone living in Tennessee. Check out the rest of my site for more info on me and my practice or reach out at or (615) 682-8674.

Please remember that I cannot diagnose or treat anyone via these blogs or social media. This content is intended to be solely for educational purposes. If you need assistance, please contact me directly or another professional. If you have an emergency then please call 911 or your local Mobile Crisis Unit.

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