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According to Bowlby, “The dimenstion of security-insecurity…seems clearly to refer to the same feature of infancy that Eirkson refers to as ‘basic trust.’ As such it assesses an aspect of personality of immediate relevance to mental health.”Psychoanalyst/pediatrician D. Winnicott believed that “predictability” on the part of parents was critical to building trust in their baby.
Their double messages confuse children and play havoc with their sense of reality.
Gregory Bateson focused on this important dynamic—the “double bind” — in his book .
What kinds of trust issues do couples face today that were virtually nonexistent only a decade ago?
How can we best deal with events or situations that threaten to erode our trust and confidence?
For example, parents’ inconsistent responses or their failure to deliver on their promises create insecurity and distrust in their children.
A parent’s frightening outbursts of rage can shatter a child’s trust in a predictable world.The betrayal of trust that occurs with child sexual abuse as well as with incidents of severe physical abuse over the long-term can trigger dissociative states in young victims.These events can also set up expectations of future betrayals or lead to certain blind-spots in an individual’s ability to accurately judge the trustworthiness of others.Based on clinical research, he concluded that children learn to distrust their perceptions in social interactions when they have been confused and mystified by double messages experienced in their family.These painful events in childhood leave unseen scars and have a profound impact on us throughout life.Higher levels of trust in children are closely related to secure attachment patterns.Toddlers who trust their environment are generally those who have also formed a secure attachment to their parents or caregivers.The dishonest ways that many parents communicate with each other and with their offspring also damage the child’s trust.Parents who lack integrity tend to be duplicitous in their communications, that is, their actions don’t correspond to their words.Mutual trust within happy couples is reinforced by the presence of oxytocin, a neuropeptide in the brain that expedites bonding between a newborn and its mother.Loving, affectionate, and sexual exchanges between partners also release oxytocin, which, according to some scientists, “makes people trusting not gullible.”By contrast, mistrust can disrupt even the most loving relationship.