The Opposite of Trust is Not Distrust

Jun 16, 2023 | Internal Family Systems (IFS)

A conversation:

I wish I could trust life, a sad Part lamented.

Tell me more about that, said Self, what does ‘trust life’ mean to you?

It’s like…expecting the good to happen.  For me, it’s the opposite.  I distrust the good, and expect bad stuff.

The opposite of trust is not distrust, observed Self. The opposite of trust is disassociation.

Huh? asked the Part.

Self began.  When you were just brand new, way before you could think about it, the nervous system inside you was making sense of your experience. Sometimes you were hungry…and when you were fed your nervous system registered satisfaction and harmony and could be calm.  Sometimes you were cold and lonesome, and when you were warmly held and loved, your nervous system registered safety and well-being.

Sometimes, the Part said sadly, I cried and cried and cried and no one came.  And sometimes I was hungry for a very long time before food came.

And what did you make out of that?

That I don’t matter.  That I shouldn’t expect to get what I need.  That life won’t meet me.  That it’s way better for me to pull away and close down inside.

What do you feel now, from me, Self asked.  Can you feel me caring for you?

I think I can, I’m not sure.

Can you be brave and let me hold your hand?

I think I can, but I’m a little scared.

That makes sense.  How about just one finger?

Ok.  Oooh.  It doesn’t even hurt.

     What do you expect will happen if you give me your hand?

Hmmm well I think it will be warm.

     You want to give it a try?  Trust me?

So the Part gave Self its hand, and together they warmly got to know each other.

And that’s how the sad Part learned about trust.