My ex demanded a trust relationship from the moment we met. He expected me to believe every word he spoke. He was absolutely certain that whatever he said should and would be taken as truth. He spoke with such conviction it was hard to even question his conclusions and stories. He was passionate in his self-defense against past accusations and experiences. He was firm in his innocence of past criminal convictions. He insisted she was lying and he had never done what she said…. He still does that, except now I am the “she” he is accusing of lying.
He demanded my most intimate thoughts, feelings and desires from me, and then he used those things against me when I was most fragile. He demanded to know my every thought even before I had sorted things out, before I had thought things through to figure out what it was I was thinking and feeling. He demanded I keep nothing from him. He certainly did not share his every thought and emotion with me. He got angry if he heard me talking to my sister or friend about things he thought I should be talking to him about, despite his lack of presence or interest in them when I tried to talk to him.
I don’t believe it’s even healthy to share every fleeting emotion or thought with another person. It does not take into consideration the personality or thought processes of others. Some people have no difficulty sharing whatever is on their minds, they think through their thoughts and feelings out loud and need a sounding board to do so. Others think through things silently and then share the conclusion. I’m a thinker, I’m a writer. It is rare for me to think out loud, though I do it occasionally with trusted friends, just as people who think out loud occasionally contemplate matters silently.
Consider a time when you know you are unreasonable reacting to a situation. Is it appropriate then to express your anger or hurt to the other party, knowing that your emotions are heightened for a reason completely different? Knowing that your own inner thoughts are blowing the situation out of proportion? Imagine that the person demanding to know your every intimate thought is abusive and has shown themselves capable and likely to use it against you at a later date, that they will not keep your confidence but will share it with others to damage your reputation or friendships.
My ex once demanded to know if I found other men attractive. To encourage me to admit to being attracted to other men, he first admitted to appreciating the beauty of other women but said he was not tempted by them. I admitted that there were times I found other men attractive as well, but would never act on that attraction, that it was harmless and platonic. I affirmed my commitment to him. He used that admission to accuse me of wanting to have an affair, and later of actually having an affair.
Another time, I expressed frustration that, although I was working full time and he was in school (or working) only part time, I was still responsible for all the household upkeep. During counseling he used that to convince the therapist I was resentful towards him. (In fact, the therapist concluded after only one session that we were resentful of each other, but he ignored his resentment of me and focused only on the conclusion I was resentful of him. It was a case of a therapist jumping to premature conclusions. It is also an example of how therapists often miss emotional domestic abuse.) We did not continue with that counselor, and yet every time we argued he threw in my face that I was resentful of him. I was not resentful. I was frustrated and felt like we had a parent/child relationship instead of a spousal relationship, I felt emotionally abandoned by him, but I was not resentful of him then. I wanted him to succeed in his education, I wanted to see his dreams come true. I also wanted to have a full partner in life, not one who was present only when it suited him. Has it grown to resentment? Absolutely. As the relationship worsened, resentment grew, especially as I was continually accused of it.
Trust must be earned and maintained to be sustained in a relationship. If trust is continually destroyed, the very fabric of a relationship is at risk. Demanding someone trust you is a good way to destroy their ability to trust you. To demand respect, trust, or love is unreasonable. These things must be freely given, they must be earned with time and consideration. We must carefully give our trust to those who prove themselves worthy of it. Only God is worthy of unfailing trust… and even God has worked hard to earn it.