Eric felt his legs buckle. He was in shock. Discovering that his wife of twelve years, Misty, had been leading a double life left him reeling. She had another relationship and hobbies he was entirely unaware of. He had believed he knew her intimately. With this revelation, Eric began to question his very reality. Could he trust anyone ever again? Gradually, he withdrew from friends and family. Although he felt a divorce was inevitable, he was plagued with concerns about his assets.

Sandra grew increasingly worried about her husband Peter’s behavior. During their courtship, he was nothing short of charming. But off late, he had become cruel and aggressive. Initially, Sandra had been convinced that Peter, with his considerate nature, would be a wonderful father. However, witnessing him shout at their son made her question her decision to marry him. Sandra’s faith in Peter shattered, and her trust in her own judgment followed suit. She pondered, “What if I divorce him and later realize it was a mistake? What if all men are just like this?”

Betrayal or deceit often leads individuals to question their own judgment. They might even doubt the intentions of those around them. Such feelings of mistrust can give rise to anxiety and hypervigilance. During a divorce, these feelings might intensify. Thoughts like, “If my spouse could lie about this, what else have they been dishonest about? Are they hiding money or other assets? Could there have been other affairs?” can dominate one’s mind. This erosion of trust can spread from the spouse to others. A sentiment like, “If my spouse deceived me, perhaps others can too,” can take root. Such mistrust can negatively impact one’s self-worth and relationships. Here are some strategies to help regain trust during challenging times like divorce:

Understand Not Everyone Will Betray You. It’s natural to feel wary of trusting others after a betrayal. However, remember that there are trustworthy individuals in your life who have always been genuine. While our minds might sometimes send false alarms to protect us, it’s essential to distinguish between legitimate threats and false ones.

Forgive Yourself. If you’re holding yourself responsible for marrying the wrong person, strive to forgive yourself. Blaming oneself or others might give a fleeting sense of control—believing that by assigning fault, similar situations can be avoided in the future. Instead of focusing on blame, aim to view the situation without prejudice. If you find yourself being overly critical, practice self-compassion. Address yourself as you would someone you deeply care for.

Listen to Your Body. Our bodies often communicate feelings of unease or threat. If you experience anxiety or tension around others, introspect on its origin. Is the feeling based on a genuine alarm or a false one? Begin trusting your judgment again by understanding the signals your body communicates. Approach these signals with curiosity, and check for safety cues in your environment. Assure yourself of your safety.

Face Your Fears. Don’t isolate yourself; it’s essential to reconnect with the world. Avoidance only amplifies anxiety. By allowing yourself to trust others again, your surroundings will start to feel much more welcoming.

Seek Professional Help. If you struggle with daily activities or constantly feel unsafe, consider consulting a mental health professional to help you find your way.

Hire a Family Law Expert. Professionals specialized in family law are well-versed with your rights. They can guide you, ensuring your safety and aiding in settling the divorce.

Read Why divorce feels traumatic and what you can do about it.

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