Trust and the Healthy Family

trust of a childOne time I heard a man I knew say to his wife “I don’t trust you. But don’t take it personally; I don’t trust anyone.”

What made his statement particularly bizarre was that this same man expected trust from everyone else—his employees, his business associates, his creditors, and yes, his wife.

The fact is you need people to trust you to order a meal in a restaurant, to have a credit card or a driver’s license or even to be out in public. You can’t get on in life without others trusting you.

But neither can you get on in life without trusting others too. You trust your employer will pay you. You trust the driver of the car arriving at the stop sign will stop and not run into you.

How does trust develop? The fact is you started off in life in a state of trust.

You had an implicit trust in your parents on whom you were totally dependent for nourishment, love and safety. As you grew more independent, you internalized the trust your parents gave you and began to trust yourself. With good parenting and a bit of luck you grew up to trust yourself and to trust others.

The key to trusting others lies in trusting yourself. Can you trust yourself to walk away when you haven’t been treated well, to keep a cool head under pressure, and to seek assistance when you get stuck? If “yes,” then you can trust others easily.

I personally have a rule of thumb about trusting. I assume everyone I come in contact with can be trusted. If 3% of the people I meet are untrustworthy, I’ll be wrong 3% of the time.

The man who said he doesn’t trust anyone, on the other hand, will be wrong 97% of the time. Without radical change in his outlook, he may well end up isolated, lonely and miserable

Trusting everyone doesn’t mean you have to be stupid or gullible. Don’t give return business to someone who has overcharged you. And don’t look for a marriage partner in a bar. Don’t depend on friends for a ride home if they are drinking.

The origins of inability to trust are usually found in childhood. Children who have been abused, betrayed, abandoned or put in danger often have big trust issues as adults.

Difficulty trusting yourself and others can create havoc in relationships. It may lead to an inability to commit, fear of intimacy or promiscuity. Major trust issues can evolve into suspiciousness, jealousy, stalking, spousal assault and even murder.

The inability to trust can lead to terrible parenting and huge conflicts with your children, especially as they move through adolescence. Young people need parents who trust themselves, knowing that they imparted to their children good attitudes and self-care skills. They need their parents to trust that they will survive and learn from their inevitable mistakes.

So if you find yourself having difficulty with trust, recognize it for the serious emotional and spiritual disability that it is and get appropriate help. Trust is a key to a fulfilling life.

Alcoholism Test for the Alcoholic Marriage

Dr. Neill Neill

Is Your Marriage Partner a Functioning Alcoholic?

There are many tests for alcoholism on the internet, so why do we need another one? The simple answer is that most of them aren’t very practical.

Most of the tests for alcoholism are "self-tests" and are therefore aimed at someone who is wondering, "Do I have an alcohol problem?" This may be the wrong person most of the time. Serious problem drinkers probably won’t take the test, because they don’t want to have their suspicions confirmed. The typical functioning alcoholic isn’t interested in questioning his alcohol abuse. And if the signs of alcoholism are more advanced, no test is necessary to recognize the alcoholism.

The Alcoholism Test on this site is designed for anyone who thinks their partner has a drinking problem and perhaps suspects the drinking has progressed to alcoholism.

Read more

Take a Page from Positive Psychology and Extend Summer into Winter

Dr. Neill Neill, Registered Psychologist 

On a sunny summer day you tend to have many happy thoughts.  Whether you realize it or not, you are putting those feel-good thoughts out to the universe, thereby attracting more good.  You are unconsciously celebrating life. And you feel great!

Unfortunately, when you are unconscious of what you are doing, how you feel will tend to vary with the weather or with the crowd.  You are a victim of your environment.

Perhaps it’s time to take charge. To become more conscious of the celebratory thoughts you are putting out to the universe on a good day, begin by deliberately pausing to feel the appreciation you have for the good in your life.  Focus on something about the day that you particularly appreciate.  Then raise your eyes upward and say something exclamatory like "Life is great!"  Say "Thank you God!" if you are so inclined.

Do this when you are feeling the sun or see the flowers.  Do it when you meet other happy people.  Do it as you see children playing.  It’s easy on a day like today.

Then do it again tomorrow and the next day.  It may be harder when it’s raining, but you can always find things you appreciate.  As you put your appreciation of the good out to universe, your mood will stay up or pick up. 

Over the next month as you follow this practice of taking frequent "appreciation breaks," a couple of things will happen.  First of all by practicing appreciation breaks every day, you develop the habit of doing it.  That is to say, remembering to express appreciation is no longer an effort.  Secondly, you begin to realize that you have control over your feelings of well-being.  You still feel good on a great day, but now you are feeling good on most of the days in between too.

You have taken over control of your sense of well-being.  Now life really is great. 

Lives — millions of lives — have been transformed through this simple [tag-ice]self growth process[/tag-ice].

Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill maintains an active practice on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. He focuses on healthy relationships and life after addictions. He is the author of Living with a Functioning Alcoholic – A Woman’s Survival Guide.

FlowersIt has been a beautiful couple of weeks here by the ocean: sun, warm breezes, barbeques, a deer in the garden, two eagles in tree, happy friends and passing cruise ships silhouetterd against the distant mountains. Now pause and let yourself feel the euphoria of days like these.

Yet we’ve both been around long enough to know that some days it rains. So the question becomes, "How do you extend these good feelings to the days when the weather is dismal, people are anything but enthusiastic, and your feel the zing slipping out of your own life?”



The answer comes from positive psychology. It lies in [tag-tec]taking conscious control[/tag-tec] of something that you are already doing on a ‘sunny day,’ and then extending that action to every other day until it becomes a habit.

Read more

Your Alcoholism Recovery Toolkit – Make Sure it Includes these 7 Relapse-Prevention Tools

Dr. Neill Neill

I am delighted to see my friend Bill Urell’s latest post on addiction recovery, "7 Great Tips To Help You In Early Drug Addiction Recovery." It would be good to reread Bill’s article right away any time you notice yourself with any of what I call "The Big  Four Relapse Warning Signs."

Keep up the good work Bill.

Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill maintains an active psychology and life-coaching practice on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.   He focuses on self growth, healthy relationships and life enhancement after addictions. He is the author of Living with a Functioning Alcoholic – A Woman’s Survival Guide. Get on his list for notification that he has posted a new article and receive his free report, "Addiction and Codependency Simplified."