5 Stages of Distrust and How it Destroys Your Relationships

Distrust1By nature I’m a pretty trusting person. Under normal circumstances I tend to extend trust to others expecting they will reciprocate in kind. If the other person proves to be untrustworthy, then I’ll dial back the level of trust I place in him/her. In relationships where I’ve experienced distrust, I’ve found it usually isn’t caused by one significant breach of trust (although those are the ones that grab our immediate attention), but rather several smaller instances over time. A broken promise here, a missed deadline there, and a pattern of unreliable, unethical, incompetent, or uncaring behavior becomes the trend.

Distrust doesn’t happen overnight. It develops progressively through stages, and if we can recognize these stages when we’re in them, we have a chance of addressing the situation before distrust takes root.

1. Doubt – The first stage of distrust begins with doubt. You start to experience a slight uncertainty about someone’s trustworthiness that causes you to pause just a bit. It might be that nagging doubt in the back of your mind that you can’t seem to dismiss, or something just doesn’t feel right about the situation even though you can’t put your finger on it exactly.

2. Suspicion – Doubt, if unresolved, grows into suspicion over time. Suspicion is belief without proof. You’ve started to see a pattern of behavior that may indicate a lack of trust, but you don’t quite have enough proof to make a firm conclusion. Your trust radar is telling you that something is wrong.

Stages of Distrust3. Anxiety – The third stage of distrust is anxiety, a feeling of apprehension or uneasiness, that is often manifested physically. When dealing with someone you don’t quite trust, you may may experience nervousness, a rapid heartbeat, anger, a knotted stomach, or even disgust.

4. Fear – At this point in a relationship, distrust has risen to the point where you are afraid to show vulnerability. You have experienced repeated breaches of trust and have grown to distrust another person to the point you are afraid for your emotional well-being.

5. Self-protection – As a result of the fear you experienced, you move into a state of self-protection. You put up walls in your relationship to prevent the other person getting close to you. This act of self-preservation reduces your vulnerability, but also cements the state of distrust in the relationship.

Trust is the cord that holds two people together in relationship, and when it’s severed, disconnection occurs. When you can no longer be vulnerable with the other person, you begin to experience different things in your relationship. In his book, Beyond Boundaries – Learning to Trust Again in Relationships, Dr. John Townsend describes several common experiences of damaged trust:

Withdrawal – Instead of acting carefree, which is normal in a trusting relationship, you become more reserved in sharing personal information. You quit taking risks in the relationship because the safety net has been removed. Loneliness or feeling dead or frozen inside is common.

Movement to task – To compensate for the lack of trust in the relationship, you may over-invest yourself in tasks related to hobbies, work, school, church, or other activities. You stay active in other parts of your life because you find it easier to “do” than to “connect.” You shut down the personal part of your relationship with the other person.

Unbalanced “giver” relationships – Townsend points out that it’s common for a person to be the “giver” in all relationships and to avoid “receiving.” Being the giver allows you to remain safe from being vulnerable with another person. You will listen, help, and guide others, but withhold letting others help you. Being the giver also manifests itself in co-dependent relationships.

Bad habits – Trust issues can often lead to problematic behavioral patterns in your life. It’s easy to suppress our emotional feelings by over-eating, drinking too much, or other addictive behaviors.

Distrust can spread through a relationship like a wildfire. What starts as a small ember of doubt can mushroom into a full-on blaze of distrust if we don’t take steps to address it early. The best way to prevent distrust from taking root is to proactively focus on building trust. Trust must be continually developed and nurtured throughout the course of a relationship, not just when it’s been damaged.

106 Comments on “5 Stages of Distrust and How it Destroys Your Relationships

  1. Randy, I really appreciate this post, on a personal level – great insights. Thank you for sharing

    Best regards,

    • Hello Carl,

      I’m glad you found this post helpful. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      Best regards,


      • What can be done when trust has been damaged?

      • Hi Hayden,

        I’ve written several articles on how to rebuild trust. Search my blog site for “rebuild trust” and you’ll see plenty to choose from.

        Take care,


      • Hi Randy, I’ve been having some trouble with my partner.. recently he crossed a boundary that I gave him a while ago, he said he’s going to do what he can to gain back my trust, however with everything you explained about broken trust… how can I ever gain my trust back to him? I want to trust him but…

      • Thanks for you question.

        First, let me say that I appreciate your courage in addressing the issue. Acknowledging that you have a trust gap is the first step in restoring trust. Second, has your partner acknowledged the trust violation and apologized or expressed remorse about it? If not, that’s a good place to start. If they have, then the next step is to agree on what trustworthy behavior looks like moving forward. The key to restoring trust is to not repeat the behavior that caused the break in the first place.

        It takes time and effort on the part of both parties, but if you’re both committed to having a high-trust relationship, it can and will work. I’ve seen it happen in my own life.

        In trust,


    • Thank you for this trust post, I have learnt a lot.

      I realise my husband we lives and work in the UK no longer trust me even though he has not admitted to it, most especially in the area of finances.
      I’m in Africa jobless but over seeing our farm, most of support comes from him.

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  3. Trust is like a joint checking account. Both parties make deposits and withdrawals. Anything that breaks down trust is a withdrawal and anything the reinforces trust is a deposit. Build some wealth in that account and amazing things become possible.

    • Absolutely right Cale! When it comes to trust you always want to be making many more deposits than withdrawals!

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment.


    • When there’s too many unexplained situations how should one handle this? Yes, I have tried discussing I’m met with the usual denial, defensiveness and calling my bluff.
      This is coming from the most honest, open and laid back person ever. I’ve never been insecure or doubtful.

  4. What an important subject Randy, I wish the stage of distrust in real life were as simple as they look on paper. Its important to recognize thing as they really are without trying to find excuses. It is what it is and as the good words says, “The truth will set you free”.

    • Hi Maria. You make a good point – it is usually much harder to recognize and deal with these stages of distrust while we’re in the midst of them. Being aware of these stages equips us to be more knowledgeable and prepared when we find ourselves in those situations.

      Best regards,


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  6. This is indeed an Awesome Article…I would encourage the readers to use this article not only for the relationships you have with others but also the relationship you have with yourself. You cannot truly love or trust someone else useless you Trust Yourself FIRST.

  7. Wow, this is an incredibly important subject that spans both personal and work areas of life. It’s amazing how difficult communication becomes when there are low levels of trust. But, on the other hand it’s equally amazing how easy communication becomes when high levels of trust are built and nurtured. Randy, this is an outstanding read.. Thanks for sharing!!
    Best regards,

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  9. Well I don’t know how to trust. It’s been a issue in relationships for me for quite sometime. Can you give me some advice that will be helpful.

      • Okay, so how do you deal with people who are not trustworthy in spite of you putting your entire trust in them? I am blessed; my husband is my rock and wonderful. I am more wondering about extended family and friends who have proven themselves to be untrustworthy over and over. I’ve been so heavily burnt in this regard (even by my own Father, who abused me) that I feel like I just keep laying myself out and getting burnt over and over. Ultimately it leads to me cutting off the relationship, but I wonder if there is a healthier way to deal with it. Do you have a recommendation for reading in that regard? I can see the steps I take to not trusting; how do you deal with fixing that when it seems you are always proven right by these people? I am always so open with people but have become very guarded over the years now until I get to know someone. I hate feeling that way towards everyone.

      • Hi. Thanks for expressing your vulnerability.

        I believe you have to exercise “smart” trust. Continuing to trust people who have proven themselves untrustworthy is foolish. It doesn’t mean you have to excommunicate them from your life, but you would be wise to put boundaries in place to prevent yourself from being harmed.

        My best to you,


      • Thank you, I did read the Boundaries book and have been doing this more and more; I think I am finally strong in that regard. But I am feeling like these people don’t respect boundaries when I lay them out, so I end up having to break off the relationship cold turkey because they just keep bringing turmoil in my life when I push back. And in major things, not silly things. Perhaps I just went so many years allowing people to step on my boundaries that I surrounded myself with people like that; so I am feeling a bit frustrated with it. I did order some more of Dr. Cloud & Townsend books so I am hoping they will help me take the next steps.

      • I should clarify that they start harassing me and being antagonistic; and when I refuse to respond to it, they then go behind my back and try to slander or break apart other relationships I have with good people; or just keep sending constant digs to me and take every opportunity to highlight what we disagree on in spite of agreeing to disagree previously. I made a decision to not respond to anything like that (I am a busy homeschooling mom!) and they refuse to let go. I’m realizing that my whole side of the family is messed up and don’t know how to have proper relationships. It’s hard though; I really do feel like I have lost all of my extended family with the exception of a couple people; simply because I set down gentle, reasonable boundaries. Is there nothing I can do about this?

  10. What about when you are in a marriage? The other person is comfortable with who they are and believe it is okay to lie to their spouse to avoid disagreements and for the spouse to feel better about a situation. Questions get diverted and remain unanswered, which causes more distrust. The marriage is only a year old and the honeymoon stage has been over. Don’t want to end it, but how does this get repaired?

    • Hi Nadea. Distrust can be cancerous to relationships, especially marriages, and speaking to a professional therapist/counselor is a step in the right direction.

      My best,


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  13. Very useful information. I also find our concept of reciprocity related to our expectations helpful in determining trust or distrust levels between those in relationships.

  14. Could you please advice me? I’m in a relationship with a man who in his marriage felt that his wife and her family were pathological liars. It happened twice since we met almost 3 years ago that this man misinterpreted what I said. Of course negatively. He perceived things not as the were presented. Instead asking clarifying questions he believes that I’m being dishonest. I don’t want to defend myself but what else can I do? I’m concerned that at some point he will also accuse me of being a pathological liar. How can I best address this situation?

    • Hi Olivia,

      Thanks for your question. I won’t pretend to be a professional counselor and offer you a piece of “cure all” advice. The one suggestion I would offer is to have a conversation about the role of trust in your relationship. The worse time to have that conversation is when in your in the midst of an argument or an emotional situation. It may be helpful to have a neutral third-party facilitate the conversation for you. A healthy, honest, non-emotional conversation may help both of you to have a more objective viewpoint about how you can work on building trust with each other.

      Take care,


      • Olivia none of you can be trusted. He is a married man and you are both adulterous. Don’t have him questioning your trust, he is definitely not trustworthy, betrayal in marriage is not a good foundation for a relationship on the side/ downlow .His and your transgressions is a major wrong decision that will only lead to more betrayal and distrust. There will be a high price to be paid on the end. Let go and set yourself free, run and find yourself. He is troubled and there can be no happy endings. He should have ended his marriage before he started a new relationship and be intimate with you. Therefore he is shuffling his shortcomings on to you, loyalty and trust, he has none nor does he know the true meaning of it. Look at the exact picture of what he stands for, true or false about his wife /family it’s an excuse for what he or you both are doing. Distraction,distrust, disrespect, deception, disturbing and dangerously, destroys fade and Love. What will be left for you 🤔 Outcome Distrust 🤔

  15. Hi Randy,

    What if everything went well except when my best friend tell me after 2 months into my relationship at their last meeting (before I met my Girlfriend) where she was passed-out drunk, he would have slept with her and then he would have been with her instead of me and that I should be lucky??

    From there, things came downhill, even if she never deserved that I changed and became suspicious every time they have their work meeting where they sleep over for one night (they work together)

    I am trying to figure out how I should’ve reacted.. because for me, my best friend put doubts into my mind so I feel he’s to blame.. but since every time I was afraid they could do it and not telling me, how could I have reacted differently and then I would still be with her today? We’ve been together for 16 months.. and that was the major issue. After that she withdraw, silent treatment, stonewalling, lying, even.. cheated on me with another guy that my best friend is covering up for her. I lost my best friend as well, since I tested him and found out he’s not trustable.

    Thank you,


    • Hello Simon,

      I appreciate your vulnerability in sharing these personal issues.

      It sounds as though you are dealing with some very serious issues regarding the trustworthiness of your friend and girlfriend. Trust is a two-way street – you extend it to others and they reciprocate by being trustworthy. Trust doesn’t work if it only goes one way.

      I recommend you check out Henry Cloud’s book “Necessary Endings.” It could help educate you on the dynamics of healthy & unhealthy relationships and give you ideas on ways to move forward.

      Best wishes,


  16. This article is interesting. But when can you do if your partner you caught him cheat on you more then a couple of times and you try to start to trust again ? You see some patterns that scare you and doubts and it is you cannot quiet put on and what is wrong . The thing is that he does not acknowledge that half of my anxiety is because what he has done in the relationship . He tells me i am only responsible for my own thoughts and feelings . What do you think?

    • Hi Catherine,

      Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your experience. My thought is you have to judge a person’s trustworthiness by their actions. If the person has repeatedly broken your trust then the likelihood is they will do it again. It is foolishness to keep placing your trust in someone who repeatedly violates it.

      My best,


  17. I am someone who has violated my partner’s trust multiple times. I am not making excuses for what I’ve done, but I am very sorry that my lack of confidence in her and myself drove me into bad choices.

    I have a family with her. We live together. What can I do to help us? She know says she’s completely done. I don’t want to be. When we get along, we are awesome.

    But this is where we are now.

    Help me. Please.

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  19. How do start to trust again after repeatedly being betrayed. My partener seems to have moved on and I seem to be stuck in the hurtful moment.

    • Hi. Have you forgiven yourself and your partner? Sometimes withholding forgiveness can leave you stuck in the past.


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  21. How do you develop trash when your partner lies about use of an illegal substance. He lies about it I look for it I find it trust broke….again. he says his use is none of my business…but we live together.

    • Hi Peggy,

      I’m sorry to hear about this difficult circumstance. It’s challenging to trust someone when they repeatedly lie. When it comes to drug use (possibly abuse?) the challenges can be exponentially harder due to the effects of addiction and other behavioral factors. I think my best advice would be to seek out a trained professional who could offer counseling to you and hopefully your partner.

      Take care,


  22. Hi Randy, thanks for writing this article. It gave me some important insights. My dad, a naturally suspicious person, believes that my brother or I stole a bracelet from our stepmom. He seems to have jumped right from #2 Suspicion to #5 Self-protection. If my dad suspects people are conning him, even without evidence, they become his enemy. “Guilty until proven innocent.” I didn’t take the bracelet and I strongly believe my brother didn’t either. Our dad has been ignoring my texts to spend time together, which is very unusual for him. I’m fearing a four-way ruined relationship. Is there anything I can do in this situation when the ball is in the court of my paranoid dad?

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  24. I have had a history of feeling distrustful of my husband, although he’s never given me a reason to feel that way. It has caused many unfortunate arguments. Lately, I have promised myself to be more self aware and to talk myself out of the discomfort I have in my mind when I think distrustful thoughts. These thoughts are not based on my husband’s behavior, but they are more fantastical worse case scenarios in my own mind because my utmost fear is losing my partner. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place lately because I want to be able to ask non loaded questions of my husband without him becoming angry with me because he thinks I am displaying distrustful behavior again. For example, when he told me that he had “a dinner” this week, I hesitated to ask him what for. I wanted to know because it’s fairly out of the ordinary for him to not have dinner at home. I was not “worried” about anything, but I thought it was a natural question between two people sharing a life. Yet, I knew it would come across as the start of an argument. So, instead, I said that for the sake of learning and to use this as a growing opportunity how would he recommend I ask him this type of question in the future when I want to know something just for knowing not because I’m doubting. Unfortunately, he still received this as an attack, and it blossomed into a full blown argument about trust once again. I didn’t think that it was an out of the world question, and I really considered my approach to be gentle and indicative of my own self-awareness, but I was seriously beaten down instead. Am I off base? How would you recommend handling this situation instead?

    • Hi Carmen,

      I applaud you for your vulnerability in describing your situation here, and also for your self-awareness of how you’re dealing with this issue.

      The way you handled the situation with your husband sounds mature and non-accusatory, even if he didn’t take it that way.

      From my own experience I know there are times when I’ve interpreted my wife’s innocent inquiries as an expression of some hidden agenda or issue (and we’ve been married nearly 29 years!).

      Sometimes in close relationships we can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. In those instances I think it can be helpful to have a neutral third-party, like a marriage counselor or a pastor, facilitate those discussions. Hopefully that is something you and your husband can pursue.

      Best regards,


    • Hi Carmen. I would write a letter explaining your feelings, fear of losing him and to difficulties in communicating because of this. He can read it, let the words sink in, read them again if necessary.
      So hi can, while reading, gradually learn what you really feel and what your intentions are.
      And there is no immediate feeling of being cornered, no point arguing with a letter.

  25. Great article. Helped me understand my feelings and actions. What an eye opener. Many thanks!

  26. All I can say is wow I am flabbergasted!!! Me and my fiance have been fighting like cats and dogs and it really is that stage process. I can picture each stage vividly. My problems cone because I don’t trust. I am scared that I will never trust him. I have been down this road before and for me it doesn’t work. I really love him and at the same time get aggravated with him very easily which isn’t fair to him. I really cannot control it now and I don’t want to leave but sometimes I don’t want to stay either. I think I’m going to try the book you recommended and maybe we will get a miracle. …

  27. Good article. Being a “giver” as a way of avoiding vulnerability, really stuck a chord with me. I would like to read more about that.

  28. Take out EGO from relationship and see the difference. Ego and Arrogance are the enemy for any kind of relationship.

  29. I come from a background of emotional neglect by my mother and abuse from females (I’m male) including my mother and sexual abuse by a woman-doctor, which has left me unable to trust women in general? I battle depression and anxiety (with meds, fyi) as a result and have difficulty forming meaningful relationships between women or even trusting them. Outwardly no one sees this mostly… I hide it well through avoidance. I’ve become trusting of men, mostly. How I do repair it? I feel like this is something that could potentially destroy my life.

    • Hello Loukas,

      I applaud your courage and vulnerability in sharing your story. If you haven’t yet tried working with a professional counselor, I would suggest that as a first option. A properly trained therapist can do wonders to help you regain your footing and make progress in learning how to reasonably trust others.

      My best,


  30. This was a great article. My question is how do you regain trust in a marriage when your spouse has been caught sexting other women ? Although it’s been over a year, he has a very flirty personality and I find this disrespectful, every time this one particular female friend of his post a picture on FB he not only has to like it but make a flirtatious comment. I do not trust him at this point and he just says I am overreacting… any advice would help please!

    • Hello Dawn,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I would recommend counseling as a way for you and your spouse to have a healthy dialogue about this issue. My belief is each spouse needs to value each other above anyone else, and engaging in behavior that erodes that trust is unhealthy and dangerous.

      My best,


  31. I recently committed to a relationship with a guy I felt is genuine, caring and understanding. This is month three of the relationship and he goes through my texts and emails between me and guy friends and is suspicious of intentions when it’s just friendship and there’s not flirting. I made plans with one of my guy friends to go fishing and he got upset when I didn’t tell him about it. I didn’t want to have an argument about going to hang out or introduce him and have him act in a negative way or get upset. Which he’s done when I’ve had one of my girl friends over. I wanted to skip the embarrassment and keep both of us happy but it caused more conflict and even though it was a neutral conversation he’s got these thoughts I’m going to sneak around and cheat on him. He’s been missing work to stay home with me and I want to fix the issues that have caused an easy relationship to become what it is. I’m usually a very straight forward person but now I’m having trouble even talking to him about things because I’m worried about his emotional reactions. I feel like I’ve lost my personal space and he says he trusts me but does things like that. Do you have any advice?

    • Hello Shawna,

      My viewpoint is that when you commit to be in a dedicated 1on1 romantic relationship, then you are committing to placing that person ahead of your other friends, especially those of the same sex as your partner (in this case, your guy friends).

      Does that mean you can’t or shouldn’t have guy friends? Absolutely not. But the reality is that opposite sex relationships naturally take a back seat to your boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

      That’s not an excuse for jealous or possessive behavior on the part of your boyfriend. Based on your comments, it sounds like an open and honest conversation about each other’s needs and expectations would help both of you better understand what is important to each other and how you can take that into account in your relationship.

      I hope that’s helpful.


  32. These 5 stages are so true and I have been through all those. I have been through an abusive marriage all through my pregnancy too and after many counselling sessions I could dare enough to walk out and end it. After 8 yrs I met my husband who expressed a lot of care while dating period and made me interested in marriage ad believe in love again. After marriage I see a huge change in his behavior. Being from Indian origin, we live with his parents who interfere in everything single thing regarding him. He is the only child and his parents are extremely possessive about him. They pretty much want to do everything for him and at the end of the day I feel like a guest in the house. It blew my mind away looking at how little my husband cares about me compared to how much he cares for his parents. When he and his parents are so happy together why marry me at all? I feel very stuck and don’t want to break a family in front of my 8 yr old to whom I introduced this family as our own. I give out my 100% into this relationship and getting back so little is very hurting, sad and confusing me. Husband even threw me out of the house in one of the fights and then now he came and started to live with me. we are living together but i feel like we are fooling each other. I don’t trust him at all. anything he says or does, I feel that he doesn’t mean none of it. I keep crying alone not enjoying anything i used to anymore. I feel like going out of the house for some reason or the other. (I work from home since I work remotely as I moved the state due to marriage.) I am practically stopping myself from moving out or going away somewhere just for the sake of my little one. Please help me. Even though I plan to not to expect anything from him and keep quiet and try to have peace, I am not able to. I am always sad. I cannot afford all this. After the abusive marriage with a great difficulty I became normal and made myself extremely busy for 8 full yrs and now I am going back down south. Should I go for counseling sessions or who should I talk to?

    • Hello Lakshmi,

      I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. Your pain and sadness come through loud and clear and it breaks my heart. I wholeheartedly recommend you get some counseling, and at some point in time, it would be good for your husband to receive counseling as well.

      Please take care of yourself. I’ll be praying for you.


      • Thank you Randy. My husband said he doesn’t believe in such things when I had mentioned regarding counseling.
        I really feel trapped in this situation. How do I stop loving him or stop expecting his company so that I don’t feel so hurt? I am trying hard to keep myself occupied but its not working.

        Thank you

      • Hello again Lakshmi. My first thought is that personal counseling for yourself may be a good next step. It would give you someone to share with and help you process the situation.

        My best,


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  34. 5 years later and I can appreciate this article existing so I can identify what I’m feeling and how I can stop myself in my tracks. Long distance is a thing in our relationship and it hurts me when I begin to have doubts and start looking for reasons why I feel the way I do, and start coming up with fake conclusions.

  35. i being through all the process because i always think that my husband usually lie.

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  39. Hello! I came across the article “5 Stages of Distrust” from leadingwithtrust.com. Thought it was fantastic, and would like to create a design series on it on instagram.com/gemcreativeco – I’ve been sharing a little about “Trust” lately, and think this content would be so helpful! Just want to be sure that’s okay with you! You can check out my instagram to see what it’s all about.

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  44. It is not that most people are bad people. I honestly believe that most people are good. I am simply stating that most people although being good people, are horrible at being good people. Somehow over the past 40 years it seems as if the human race has forgotten how to be good people. To be kind to others no matter what the circumstance. To be respectful to others even when disagreeing with them. We have become an uncivilized civilization. Now compound that lack of respect and kindness with someone you are living with or seeing in a relationship. Now imagine having to live with someone who has no comprehension of how to show kindness and respect to someone they love and want to have a relationship with. It doesn’t work and leaves incredibly deep wounds that last forever.

  45. At the last stage of distrust.it has taken 6 months and it has grown very deep.i feel the invulnerability to my partner.am not ready to trust him anymore😭😭

    • Hi Vanessa,

      I’m sorry to hear of your challenges. If you and your partner are willing to work on improving the level of trust in your relationship, I encourage you to search my site for articles on rebuilding trust (or select that category from the dropdown list). There is hope for rebuilding trust if both parties are willing to put in the work.

      God bless,


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  47. I think your views are truth of life . Some stages are missing

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  49. I would like to hear from you on your opinion on what I believe is a growing trend of distrust that young children (as early as 3 to 5 years of age) in their parents, grand parents, teachers and the environment. Example: Recently our 5 year old grand daughter came out of a pottery class wearing her apron (which should have normally been turned in at the end of the class). When she got into the car, and as we drove off, she realized that she had her apron still on her at which time she went into a ‘melt down mode’ (screaming, wailing and crying). Trying to assure her that it was OK and can be returned the next day proved impossible. As she continued wailing and crying at the top of her voice I drove back home. Hoping that I will demonstrate that there will be “no consequences”, I drove back home. The next morning when I dropped her off in class, I tried to demonstrate that the “consequences” she had IMAGINED were unfounded. Yet I could feel that she was not entirely convinced and not at all prepared to change her outlook. I have noticed this distrust across the board.

    I believe that children in this generation give too much importance to their ‘thinking’ mind (and allow their negative imagination to predominantly influence them…..which brings up the topic of self confidence or self esteem eroded by one’s own imagination). I also notice that distrust has grown dramatically after the pandemic where children have been put on guard 24/7 and given the impression that they are at war with an environment infested with the bug and everybody in the vicinity could a potential threat. At the very bottom of this (my belief) is that distrust stems from the inability of individuals to trust themselves to trust others. I wonder what could be the solution we can offer to young children. Ramesh

    • Hello Ramesh,

      Thanks for your thoughtful question and patience with my reply.

      I have seen data that indicates “distrust” is the default response for a majority of people in today’s society. I suspect the effects of the pandemic contribute to that condition as well as the topsy-turvy geo-political environment of the past several years. Throw in concerns about climate change, inflation/economic worries, and a heightened focus on addressing longstanding issues around racism and inclusivity, and we have a perfect cocktail of conditions that are leaving people feeling destabilized.

      My teacher friends have shared stories of how these cultural issues make their way into the classroom. It could be that kids are being subjected to deeper and more complex issues than in previous generations, and I wonder if that contributes to a more suspicious outlook on the world?

      I have to remind myself about what’s under my control and that’s my behavior. I need to be the model of trustworthiness that I want to see in the world. If each of us can do that, then I think we can positively influence those around us.

      My best,


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  52. Great post,I enjoy reading through it and I learned a lot from you article,but I have a question please, what can be done when trust has been damaged?

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