No matter what your personality type, your skin color, your religious beliefs, if you have been hurt/wounded/betrayed by someone you love, you will find it hard to trust that person again. At some point, they made it into your inner being. At some point you stopped being passerby, acquaintances, and mere friends. You became family.
At some point You cautiously laid hold of the fence that was guarding your heart from outside frequenters, timidly pulled back the latch and invited them across the threshold of your soul.
This was a big deal, because you learned early on that not everyone should be allowed into that space. You learned early on from your dysfunctional upbringing that not everyone was safe. Unfortunately, you did not learn how to dabble in character discernment. You did not learn to how to operate functionally yourself. And so, eventually, letting them in broke your heart, because they too had a dysfunctional background. They too did not know what having boundaries meant. So you both kind of did life together for a period of time, in this dysfunctional way. The result was a lot of intimacy shared, a lot of love given and a lot of woundedness occurring. So much woundedness that the brokenness ended in a breakdown. A breakdown of the relationship. A breakdown of your soul.
As a 30-something I’m seeing this occurrence and I’m experiencing it myself. God is exposing the hidden things. He is exposing the darkness. He is exposing the coping mechanisms we used as children to deal with serious issues that impacted our childhood and shaped our personalities. And He is asking us to trust Him and exchange those coping mechanisms for adult-sized boundaries that keep the unsafe people out, and the safe people in.
I have experienced both sides of the fence: being a safe person and being an unsafe person. I can share from personal experience that when I have trusted an unsafe person it has resulted in such devastating pain that I vowed never to allow someone in like that again. But then I did. And the result was that my unhealed wounds, my brokenness and pain, brought pain to the ones I was doing life with. But because of the codependency I did not reach out for help. I did not reach out to heal, until the false comforts were no longer there. And finally I saw: I was unsafe.
When you are an unsafe person, you cannot expect to have rights to the person you hurt. You are not entitled to share in their life. You are not entitled to have their time, or their conversation or their feelings. No, those things must be earned back. You must prove you are in fact safe. You must prove yourself to earn back their trust.
This is no easy feat, but it is so possible. God is well experienced in the art of reconciliation. He is the Great Reconciler. And with Him all things are possible.
He is teaching us a better way. He is awakening us to truth and light and unconditional love. And as painful as the process has been to this awakening, it has been so worth it. If only to be healthier individuals who no longer cause pain to their loved ones. If only to be someone who was once unsafe, now become safe.
I highly recommend the book “Safe People” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townend. They also have 2 books called “Boundaries” & “Boundaries in Dating”. Additionally, the following clip is very informative on the effects of carrying baggage into relationships: