It’s a general observation of human nature that those among us who most deeply need to trust or depend on others are often also those least able to do so. A further complication and irony of this is that it is commonly those whose trust has been broken who both incessantly seek and foundationally fear it the most.

These kinds of interpersonal psychological dynamics prefigure and invoke the structural dissonance of a self-propagating emotional and behavioural neurosis. A neurosis is in most instances the redundant persistence of a behaviour or thought pattern that may have once been useful or have provided a resonant and rational response to changing circumstances but which comes to take on the properties and psychological or functional pathology of a pattern of thought and/or behaviour that does little more than reproduce the conditions of its own self-validating necessity.

A fear of trust might lead a person to throw themselves into unhealthy relationships or equivalent social situations because the inevitable personal catastrophe then quite concretely validates that expansive emotional void or traumatic experience that they consciously or unconsciously expect to find. The expected failure of social and emotional integration is thus reinforced and a fear of trust and commitment (or love) is validated.

What also happens here is that trust and deep interpersonal connection comes to inversely assume – as though by prohibition or taboo – an even more potent symbolic and emotional force in a person’s life. They come to crave and desire it even more and yet all the while intentionally sabotage their attempts to obtain it by placing themselves into social and personal contexts that only ever guarantee more emotional dissonance. The pattern of thought and behaviours persists, regardless of trauma and as a consequence of the emotional suffering of the person that bears it.

I have seen this many times and would hazard a guess that we all do it. Letting go of trauma and pain can be difficult when it is a natural orientation of our minds to self-define and understand the world as much through our faults as our strengths.

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