In this episode we are discussing the third core need: trust. Trust is built upon the first two core needs of connection and attunement. Trust is integral to all relationships. When the trust need is not met, we can develop shame over feeling dependent, vulnerable or weak. Tune in to hear how this might look in your life.
This is episode 118 of the trauma coaching for Latter Day Saints podcast. How a bootstraps mentality is creating trauma. I’m your host Denita Bremer, I’m a Latter Day Saint mom with a history of trauma. I’ve figured out how to heal my trauma and can help you do the same. Why? Because trauma is one obstacle to gathering Zion. Let’s talk about what it takes to truly heal and find lasting joy.
Okay, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty good. Yesterday was so Frigidly cold, probably, it’s been cold for you as well. And today is 20-30 degrees warmer.
And it’s afternoon. So I’m feeling quite awake and ready to talk to you about our third core need. So we’re in this five part series talking about our core needs. And just to start off with a little recap, the last two episodes, episodes 116 and 117, you might want to go back and listen, we talked about the coordinate of connection and the coordinate of attunement. Not in that order. I talked about attunement first and then I talked about connection.
Trust as a Core Need
And the third coordinate is trust. And trust is built upon the needs of connection and attunement. So connection is sort of this felt sense of I belong to you. And attunement is the felt sense of you see me, you see me and my needs, and you meet my needs. And the way that trust is built is when we are attuned to, and we’re connected with every time we have a need. So the more consistently that we have needs, and then the needs are met, the more trust is built.
There’s a reason why trust is so important. And it’s because all relationships are built on trust, or a lack of it. One of the most brilliant life coaches that I know, Maggie Reyes, one time said this several years ago, when I was listening to a podcast interview she was on. She said, You don’t need better communication, you need more trust, and this was in the context of marriage. And that really hit me it hit me so deeply that as I was writing out the notes for this episode on trust, I was like, Oh, I remember Maggie said that. So oftentimes, in our relationships with ourselves or with others, we might say things like, you know, we need to work on our communication, or we need to do this or that. And I want you to just pause and think about what if I don’t need more communication, or the thing you’re thinking you need? What if I just need more trust?
That like, really what I see a lot of my clients and a lot of people that I talk with struggle with is this lack of trust, either trust in a relationship, like a marriage or with their kids, or extended family or something like that. But really, it stems from a lack of trust in ourselves, which comes from a lack of trust with our caregivers, right. So we can’t have a trust in ourselves until it is modeled for us by our caregivers. This is why attachment theory and our original caregivers, that relationship is so important in that it will really determine and guide the rest of the relationships and the quality of our life forever out unless we’re here doing our own work, right? Like, we can overcome these things. It’s just that those building blocks are so important, right?
So we build trust and when we have a need, and the need is met consistently by another consistent person. So there’s two consistence in that sentence. We build trust when we have a need and the need is met consistently. So we we need the caregiver to meet our needs consistently. We we the core need is for those needs, whatever it is, I have a dirty diaper. I’m hungry, I’m thirsty. I’m hot. I’m cold, right, those things.
Those needs are met consistently. But also, we want ideally, obviously, we live in a fallen world and ideals don’t always happen. But I ideally, those needs are met consistently and by a consistent person. So for most of us, this would be our mother.
I as I was learning about this concept, my coach and mentor, Shyla Cash, told a story about a young man who ended up going to prison, she didn’t really say why. But he did some terrible things. And researchers were trying to figure out what was up with him. He had good family, they had money, there aren’t maybe some of those other underlying factors. And so they started interviewing and asking questions, and turns out that his mother, while his family was wealthy, his mother worked. And she did not want her child to bond with anyone except for her. So she would hire a nanny. And then as soon as he started bonding with the nanny, she would fire the nanny and replace the nanny with someone else. So he went through bunches of nannies. He never got that consistency from like one or two consistent caregivers. So it’s really important. Now, if that hasn’t happened, it’s fine. We have to meet people with where they are, right? And I’m going to talk a little bit about this. I don’t know if I’m talking about it in this episode. But in a future episode, probably how do we fix these things, if we right now we’re just kind of understanding what the needs are.
So if the trust is not solid, then we can develop shame over feeling dependent, vulnerable or weak. And also, if the trust in those original caregiver situations was not solid, it also creates insecure attachment. Trust depends on connection and attunement, right? So we need both connection and attunement to develop trust, which is why it’s the third coordinate.
When our needs are met, when we’re attuned to somebody sees their needs, they meet our needs, they connect with us, because as an infant, most of our needs are met by touch. So that connection, that physical connection, even is really important, because it forms the basis of our emotional connection.
Shame and Dependence
So connection is the first core need attunement is the second trust is the third. So if trust is not solid, we are more than likely going to develop shame over feeling dependent, vulnerable or weak. So let’s talk about shame for feeling dependent. Now, I was thinking about this. How would this show up? If we feel ashamed for being dependent on someone else? What might we see on the outside? Right? Much of this work is inner work? And it’s about how do I feel? And those felt sense, the felt sense of safety or lack of it? But what May we see on the outside? And I know I mentioned this in the episode with attunement, but I think we might see an a hyper independence, right? If we feel ashamed when we feel dependent, then it would make sense that we would say, Okay, I’m never going to be dependent. I’ll do everything myself, right, I’ll figure it out.
And it’s not that it’s a problem in and of itself. But I do notice that it creates a problem, especially if like, say you want to get married. And if you’re totally hyper independent, then that might be a little bit of a stumbling block, there might be nobody that meets your standard, right, that your standard that you have set for yourself, which is perfectionism, because we have to always figure it out. We can’t depend on anyone else, we have to get it right.
So that might be something you notice, you might notice that the person never asks for help. I have a son who struggles in this area we’ve been working on it for probably since he was in fourth grade or so. So four or five years. And he just doesn’t like it. I think it makes him feel vulnerable in some way. But we we are humans and we live in a world that we can’t survive unless we depend on other people. That’s the fact of the matter. We we are social creatures. So it’s almost impossible to actually get through this life without depending on someone for something. Right? And so I suppose if it’s not very often for you, you could feel the shame of that and just move on. But I guess for me, what it does is it makes a very small world, right? Like, oh, this happened and I had to depend on that person. And I feel shame for it. So I’m never going to do that again. And so we just add things to the list that we can never do again. And our world becomes very small. And we’re limited. We want to
to experience life, but when we have a long list of things we can never do, because we’ll feel shame for those things, then life becomes small.
The Bootstrap Mentality
I also thought that this is maybe where feeling immature or incapable might come in. When we have shame over feeling dependent, that might send the signal to our brains that we’re immature, we’re incapable we can’t do it. Right? Like, I’m bad for being a young child and needing help. I’m immature, I’m incapable, I can’t do it. And we might also just get those messages from other people.
And this bootstraps mentality, this, this sort of goes along with the hyper independence, this, like, I’m gonna pull myself up from my bootstraps. I don’t need anyone else, I got to do it myself. But really, like I have mentioned before, on earlier episodes, when we feel alone, that tends to be a primary ingredient in trauma. Trauma is not just something bad happening to us, but it’s something terrible or scary or overwhelming. That happens. And we don’t feel like we have anyone there to help us process it. We’re alone in it. Right? So this bootstraps mentality, this hyper independence is actually causing shame. It’s keeping you stuck. Right? So the second one was shame for feeling vulnerable. And obviously, these like feeling dependent, feeling vulnerable, feeling weak. Maybe they’re synonyms?
Or maybe not, it depends on the person, is it different for you to feel vulnerable versus feeling dependent, versus feeling weak? For me vulnerable and weak? Feel very similar, but dependent feels a little bit different. So you’re gonna have to sort of try these on for yourself and see, are they all the same for you? They might all feel very similarly, or are there differences?
Shame and Trust
But shame for feeling vulnerable? Well, first of all, you will never want to put yourself in a position where you might feel vulnerable. So again, going back to that kind of small life effect.
We might withdraw when things get tough, we sort of give up. This, I think leads to some helplessness and hopelessness. Where if we are not allowed to feel vulnerable, then we’re really not allowed to kind of push the edges of our emotional experience. And so we’re not really allowed to grow, right. And so we might quit very easily when things get tough. There’s this automatic defensiveness that happens when we don’t want to feel vulnerable when we want to protect against that vulnerable feeling. I remember a few years ago, that my husband and I were talking about something and he was like, why are you getting defensive? And I remember thinking like, yeah, why am I getting defensive, but it felt like such an automatic thing, like, that’s just what happens when we’re in a discussion that maybe isn’t just a very casual discussion is like I have to defend, I can’t feel vulnerable. So I’m going to automatically go to defending myself, even though maybe there’s not really anything to defend.
It could look like depression, if you are afraid of your own feelings, if you’re afraid of feeling vulnerable. And many, many feelings are vulnerable feelings, right? I think vulnerable is kind of a bigger umbrella. For lots of the feelings we feel for some people sadness is very vulnerable. So it could be a lot a slew of different feelings that fall under this category of vulnerable. But if we’re afraid of those feelings, then we will disconnect from feeling will disconnect from our own body, and we won’t want to feel. And to me, that is what causes depression, this disconnection from our own bodies. It’s a protective mechanism, right? So it makes sense, but also it the experience of it is really terrible.
This also might look like being overweight. For some people, and this isn’t true of everyone. So you’re going to have to really try this on for yourself. But for some people being overweight is a way to hide the vulnerabilities. For many people, being overweight is a way to hide, like the sexual parts of their bodies. Right? So if you have been sexually abused, it would make sense for your brain and your body to work together to hide you. Right? So that’s a possibility. Could that could be a reason. And then let’s talk about shame for feeling weak. What immediately came up for me as I thought about shame for feeling weak? Was this this mentality of, you know, Boys Don’t Cry, that kind of thing, which is very prevalent in our culture. It’s like, what you’re not allowed to cry, you’re being weak, toughen up, right? That kind of thing. So I think maybe this one might affect men a little bit more. But that’s just my intuition speaking, I don’t have any kind of statistics or anything like that.
What does vulnerability look like?
If we feel ashamed of feeling weak, we might be really into working out and being physically strong. So you might have a really consistent workout routine, part of your identity might be built around having a certain physique or a certain muscular structure. But on the other end of that, it could be the opposite as well. It could be like a fear of working out, like, I’m never going to work out. I don’t know how to work those machines. And what if, what if I do something stupid? What if I hurt myself, write more of like a self fulfilling prophecy. So it could go either direction, right? Either we overemphasize the need to feel strong, or we self fulfill that prophecy, I am weak, therefore I never work out. So it kind of depends on your reasons for doing things. But that’s one thing I noticed was like, if you feel ashamed for feeling weak, then you might make up for that by working out a lot.
And of course, you’re never going to show a weakness, you’re never going to willingly show a weakness, right, you’re going to maybe have that perfectionism or that bravado, it’s not going to feel comfortable for you to be willing to put yourself out in a situation where you could fail or, you know, people might ridicule you or something like that. So in terms of that, again, your life is going to be really small, right? Because you’re not going to put yourself out very much.
The other thing that came up for me was that we might belittle others when they feel weak or vulnerable. So oftentimes, when we have shame over something, when we have shame, over feeling vulnerable, or weak or dependent, then we might judge other people in our lives for those very things. Again, back to the you know, boys don’t cry. I think that probably comes from men who feel shame for feeling weak or vulnerable themselves, or women, right. And the last thing I want to say is that it’s possible. Like I said, this isn’t true of anyone, these are just sort of some things that as I was thinking about, what what would this maybe look like, it’s possible that if we feel shame, for feeling weak or vulnerable, I kind of put these both in the same category. But this particular one comes under the shame for feeling weak, we might really find ourselves needing control. And the first thing that comes up for me when I think about needing control is eating disorders.
Based off of some very limited work I’ve done with clients about eating disorders, it comes back to this need this compulsive need to control things. So if you feel weak, you might feel this need to control to control yourself, your appetites, your desires, or to control other people, right? I mean, I know I used to be a very controlling mother. And I’m not sure. Let me just check in and see what did that come from? This shame for feeling weak? Maybe it might have come from an inadequacy, which could very well be equated to feeling weak, and wanting my kids to be better than me, Right? So those are just some things of how this core need if it wasn’t met, and I’m sure there’s like, hundreds of other ways that these show up for people.
You’re going to have to really check in with yourself and see, do I feel shame for feeling weak or feeling vulnerable for feeling dependent? And how does that show up in my life?
Speaking of questions journal question sto ask yourself, that’s a really good one. Check in with yourself. Where do you see yourself feeling shame for feeling dependent, vulnerable or weak? And how does it show up? What does it look like in your life?
Journal Questions (Download Here)
- Where do you see yourself feeling shame for feeling dependent, vulnerable or weak.
- What does it look like in your life?