Last week I discussed Lance Armstrong’s confession of lies and the impact of this behavior on people’s lives. Today I’d like to share ways to build trust and repair relationships following deceit and betrayal. It takes take time and effort to build back trust and heal from broken ties and repeated lies. Lying behaviors obviously produce anger and resentment, but also hurt and fear which take longer to resolve. Healing moves more quickly when the liar accepts responsibility for his/her actions, sincerely apologizes, and is remorseful for the damage that their behaviors have caused. Avoid defensiveness, justification, and blame since this will only delay the healing process.
So how can we build back trust? Obviously both individuals need to be honest and direct even when it causes conflict and if you say yes to something, mean it. Couples should be able to say no and accept the other person’s no along with maintaining healthy boundaries. Trust is built on consistency in our words and actions. Sharing emotions openly, acknowledging our flaws, and increasing our self-disclosure and vulnerability will also build trust. We need to work towards forgiveness, let go of the emotional pain, and resolve conflict to deepen our trust.
Trust can be regained over time and by the efforts of both parties to stay connected. The desire, motivation, and commitment to change will be realized over time and this will determine the direction of the relationship. Change takes courage and so does truthfulness when lying has been the norm. Redirect the energy it took to lie and apply it to change; you’ll experience the peace you never thought possible.