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Hiba Khatkhat.

The Friend Zone

The pain of betrayal can lead to trauma. Then, you can inherit this trauma from one generation to the next as it is weaved into the tales you’re told. If you take a moment to reflect, you’ll notice the stories about trust and betrayal given to you by your parents, family, caregivers, elders, and community. Storytelling is one of the ways intergenerational trauma is passed down. 

To protect you from pain, the people that came before you say, “I’m hurting from betrayal, so you should watch out too.” The core message is: defend yourself, watch out, and be on guard. It’s about protection, not connection. 

If you’re struggling with trust in your relationships, including your friendships, this might be one of the factors influencing you.

Read on to understand the anatomy of trust, so you can re-examine the stories you were told and rewrite them. Then, be able to cultivate long-lasting, trusting, and reciprocal friendships. 

The Anatomy of Trust

According to Brenée Brown, who has studied trust, The Anatomy of Trust includes the following fundamental elements, defined in these ways:

  • Boundaries:  I trust you if you are clear about your boundaries and hold them. And, you’re clear about my boundaries, and you respect them.
  • Reliability:  You do what you say you’re going to do: You’re very clear about your limitations, so you don’t take on so much that you come up short and don’t deliver on your commitments.
  • Vault: What I share with you, you will hold in confidence. Also, you do not share things with me that are not yours to share because then my trust in you is diminished.
  • Integrity: Choosing courage over comfort: Choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy, and practicing your values, not just professing your values.
  • Non-judgment: I can fall apart, ask for help, and be in struggle without being judged by you. And, you can do the same with me. It is not a trusting relationship if you cannot ask for help and they cannot reciprocate. Real genuine trust doesn’t exist unless help is reciprocal in non-judgment. 
  • Generosity: Our relationship is only trusting if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions, and behaviours. And then check in with me.

The Intention in Action

This week, pick a story or two you inherited about trust and betrayal. Notice what surfaces for you or what stands out when you update the narratives using these ingredients of trust (above). 

And, you can take it a step further to build your self-trust. Take a moment to reflect if you uphold these elements within yourself.

Do you…

  • Hold your boundaries with yourself?
  • Do you respect your limits to deliver on your commitments? (Hint: this affects how you accomplish your personal goals)
  • Do you only share what you genuinely want to share?
  • Do you practice your values?
  • Do you practice non-judgement with yourself?
  • Do you show up for yourself with generosity?

Supportive friendships fill your emotional cup. You feel seen and heard. Your needs and wants are respected, honoured, and met. In caring friendships, you can lovingly speak the truth, which will be received and reciprocated. And all this can happen when you have the level and depth of trust we’re talking about here. 

Hit the reply button to share:

  • How do you define trust for yourself now?
  • What stories did you find yourself questioning? 
  • What stood out to you when you rewrote them?

Whatever the original narrative is, can you evolve the story's truth beyond its original form to tap into its hidden lessons?

I look forward to hearing from you weekly as we grow together in our intentionality.

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Hiba Khatkhat

Hiba is a holistic psychotherapist specializing in trauma, couples treatment, and culture. She's passionate about solving mental health crises by practicing prevention. She brings over 18 years of experience working with individuals, couples, & families in her private practice. She is known for her work on the transmission of trauma and its impact on relationships.

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