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As opposed to popular opinion, trust must be put to test, lest it goes stale and staid. We are all somewhat paranoid. The world around us is so complex, so inexplicable, so overwhelming – that we find refuge in invention of superior forces. Some forces are benign (God) – some arbitrarily conspiratorial in nature. There must be an explanation, we feel, to all these amazing coincidences, to our existence, to events around us.
This tendency to introduce external powers and ulterior motives into our reality permeates human relations, as well. We gradually grow suspicious, inadvertently hunt for clues of infidelity or worse, masochistically relieved, even happy when we find some.
The more often we successfully test trust we had established, stronger our pattern-prone brain embraces it. Constantly in a precarious balance, our brain needs and devours reinforcements. Such testing should not be explicit but circumstantial.
Your husband could easily have had a mistress or your partner could easily have stolen your money – and, behold, they haven't. They passed test. They resisted temptation offered to them by circumtance.
Trust is based on ability to predict future. It is not so much act of betrayal that we react to – as it is feeling that very foundations of our world are crumbling, that it is no longer safe because it is no longer predictable. We are in throes of death of one theory – and birth of another, as yet untested.
Here is another important lesson: whatever act of betrayal (with exception of grave criminal corporeal acts) – it is frequently limited, confined, and negligible. Naturally, we tend to exaggerate importance of event. This serves a double purpose: indirectly it aggrandises us. If we are "worthy" of such an unprecedented, unheard of, major betrayal – we must be worthwhile and unique. The magnitude of betrayal reflects on us and re-establishes fragile balance of powers between us and universe.
The second purpose of exaggerating act of perfidy is simply to gain sympathy and empathy – mainly from ourselves, but also from others. Catastrophes are a dozen a dime and in today's world it is difficult to provoke anyone to regard your personal disaster as anything exceptional.
Amplifying event has, therefore, some very utilitarian purposes. But, finally, emotional lie poisons mental circulation of liar. Putting event in perspective goes a long way towards commencement of a healing process. No betrayal stamps world irreversibly or eliminates other possibilities, opportunities, chances and people. Time goes by, people meet and part, lovers quarrel and make love, dear ones live and die. It is very essence of time that it reduces us all to finest dust. Our only weapon – however crude and naive – against this unstoppable process is to trust each other.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, United Press International (UPI) and eBookWeb and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com.
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com