3 Things That Happen When Trust Is Shattered

Dr. Debi Silber
3 min readJan 12, 2022

Here’s what happens when trust is shattered.

First. You don’t trust the person who shattered the trust. After all, you trusted them completely. You thought they had your back. You thought you were safe. You thought they had your best interest in mind. Then, without your awareness or consent, they broke the spoken or unspoken rules you both were supposed to abide by.

Next. You don’t trust yourself. You think thoughts like: “How did I not see?” “How did I not know?” With that, you struggle to trust your judgment, your choices, yourself.

Finally. If you don’t trust the person you trusted the most, and you don’t trust yourself, how safe does it feel to trust in anyone or anything else?

Trust. It’s so foundational and when it’s shattered, it’s hard to feel safe because trust sets the foundation for our sense of safety and security. So, when that person or those people who created that sense of safety and security are the very ones to shatter it, it’s traumatizing.

So many of us don’t regain that sense of trust and we walk around feeling unsafe, insecure and anxious. It impacts how we think, who we spend our time with, how we act and how we move through life. It even impacts us physically as it depletes our energy, suppresses the immune system, contributes to sleep issues, digestive issues, accelerated aging, chronic pain and so much more.

Without healing shattered trust, it’s as if we’re living half a life. We’re hesitant to get close to anyone. We keep ourselves at a distance, prevent ourselves from being vulnerable, avoid intimacy or anything that could potentially have our trust shattered again. That was way too painful and we reason that it’s better to keep that big wall up. Sure it keeps out the bad ones…but it keeps out the good ones too.

Even with that, we reason that the risk is too big to let our guard down and safety lies is the small world we may have created where anyone at risk is kept at bay.

Sounds like a solid plan until we realize that life is all about relationships. Relationships with ourselves, with others, with everything.

Living fully armored where no potential hurt can penetrate can be exhausting. Not only that, the tough exterior prevents all of life’s joys from being allowed in.

So what can you do? Is it even possible to repair shattered trust?

Dr. Debi Silber

Dr. Debi Silber, founder of The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute https://pbtinstitute.com helps people heal from the trauma of betrayal.