I learned something very important this week. Sometimes we can have beliefs about how the world works and about people work and never realize there is anything wrong about them. We have them because we were one or two years old when they formed, and we stopped questioning them by the age of four. These can be all kinds of beliefs. Most hang on through life, though they are modified by later experience and learning, especially in relationships. But a few wrong ones can hang on because they are deep and personal beliefs about how the child relates to the world.
The core belief I had was a simple one: don't trust anyone. I had no faith in anyone. I had no faith that they would do what they said they would do, or that they even meant what they said. I have no idea how this belief was established, nor how early it was there, but it's always been there and has been a very bad influence on my life. I just knew that no one cared enough about me to be reliable.
Not trusting anyone changes every interaction with others. Think about integrity. We all like to live by the principle of integrity: we do what we say. So what happens to integrity if you don't trust anyone? Mostly you don't care beyond keeping things moving smoothly along. A parent would say, "I love you," but it meant nothing to me because I didn't believe them. A girlfriend would say it, and I'd say it back, mostly because I knew I should, not because I believed that she loved me or felt that I loved her.
Finding these is a tough job. The core of my brain heard it, but since that's what I have always heard it's just the background noise of my thoughts. I knew it was there, but since it's all I ever knew, thought that was normal and that everyone had the same experience. Clearly everyone didn't have the same experience, which is why they were behaving so differently than I was. That was my first and loudest clue, by the way, seeing everyone else behave differently than I did, then concluding that I was the only sane person I knew.
I wasn't. It wasn't until I was in a good and nurturing relationship (Thanks, Becky!) that I could explore those deep crevices of my brain. I'm glad I did. It's made life mean so much more than it used to. Solved a lot of odd behaviors as I tried to mimic emotional honesty without trusting anyone.
Our moral: listen to the noise; it's telling you something important!