Pistanthrophobia – a fear of trusting someone

pistanthrophobia - a fear of trusting people
Trust is often a very misleading commodity. As humans, we sometimes choose to trust those who in fact deceive us at every turn and step, yet we fear to trust those who are there to help us along on our chosen paths.

I find myself wondered why this is so and can we actually change?

Why is it that we often seek attention from the very people who seem to not care and then decide to not care about the people who spend all their precious time and attention on us?

Why do we spend so much effort worrying about being hurt when we are more often than not hurting someone else without realising it?

Why are we totally unable to think or act upon the thoughts of the people that we are inadvertently hurting?

Why are we as people so selfish, when most of us are striving to act and be seen as selfless?

You have to admit, that’s a lot of why’s!

As humans, we have an amazing ability to choose things we cannot easily attain. We constantly keep aiming for the impossible during this crazy race towards the unknown and by doing so, we are often actually miss the chance of the possible.

For many of us, trusting is often a challenge and no matter what has happened in the past, whether it was fundamentally broken or something we managed to retain, we will always tend to test everyone and anyone to see if they are really deserving of our trust.

During this testing and analysis of others, we are setting up the rules and boundaries which ironically are usually defined by factors that shouldn’t actually play any really part in the process of deciding to trusting someone anyway.

We lay down these boundaries based on the following:

  • How the person interprets what we say
  • How they seem to be after hearing what we had to say
  • How the person decides to respond back to what we just said

What people do not tend to realise, is that we all sometimes say things we never intended and unfortunately understand truths we never desired to know.

A good example is a simple “hello”, which can be interpreted in so many ways. The interpretation can depend on the persons tone of the voice, the emotion and gestures of the person, etc. So trusting or not trusting someone on how they respond or talk can be quite dangerous.  Doing anything via lesser communication methods such as phone, email or IM is just asking for trouble.

If a person is hurt by someone because a trust is broken, that person will not be able to trust another person for quite sometime. But you will always find that in the person’s heart of hearts there is a longing to trust someone, because it is in part of natural human nature.

If something is broken once, we tend to try to find out how and why it actually broken, if it can be fixed and how to attempt to prevent it being broken again in the future. Like any type of experiment, we will take the necessary precautions to try to stop it blowing up in our very faces and avoiding personal injury at all costs.

For example, a person may decide to warn people off by saying that they don’t trust them, or that they should not expect to be trusted, but deep inside, that person wants to be challenged about their defence, in order to have their barriers break down so the challenger can see what’s truly on the other side.

“Why do this?”

Quite simply, they wish to be proved to be wrong and need to know deep down, that not everyone will break their trust and disappoint them, thus proving that not everyone will lie, cheat and deceive.

The very fact that they want this to happen, becomes proof in itself, that they really don’t want to be hurt. They want to heal their historic wounds with a new-found trust. This new trust is something they want and need in a persistent form, that will not come to an end, be broken or allowed to fail.

It is from this very wishful thinking that the problems will start to manifest, because the chance they provide is not always a true one. There will always be a possibility of them being hurt again and when that new-found trust is actually given to the wrong person or they have themselves have applied a set of completely unrealistic conditions, expectations and underlying pre-conceptions, the new trust is truly doomed to failure before it even started.

“Why do people do this?”

Why do people so often trust the wrong person again or place an unrealistic set of conditions upon the trust? Do they really want it to fail? Obviously not, but to them, the hurt and person responsible in their eyes, has now become a predictable stereotype.

At this point the cause is already lost, they will always look for the following real or imagined traits;

  • They talk the same
  • They walk the same
  • They behaves the same etc…

The response becomes automatic and they block out any person without hesitation, that exhibits even a hint of those traits, both real or imagined.

So when a new person arrives on the scene, that they initially know nothing about, they will tend to give them a chance. I’m honestly not saying its incorrect behaviour because I’ve  done it myself many times, but it’s the concept that really important to see.

Trusting the same type of person again involves the same thought process and emotions, but when presented with a different or unknown type of person, it’s a whole new ball game of thoughts and emotions. So if different types of people and feelings get a persons attention the game has changed and they start to think:

“If I trust this person, maybe will I be able to heal my inner wounds and fill the void inside me?”

But there will always be is a chance for this person to be just like the others.

The person could betray me and try to stay or leave.
If they betray me, will they live normally, while I am swallowed whole by my own personal guilt of:


If they stay with me, would I always expect a day when they break their promise and leave, because that’s what everyone has always done up until now?

For these people, there will never be a time when they can truly feel secure, because like any broken object no matter how hard you try to fix it, it will never be quite the same and the cracks remain.

  • A person who is trusted by others and trusts people, will always live in fear of being hurt or hurting others.
  • The type of person who breaks other people’s trust in them knowingly, but obviously don’t really care much for those other people.

Note: It important to also remember that good people sometimes make bad mistakes and it doesn’t automatically make them a bad person, they have to live with those mistakes.

  • The person who trust and fears betrayal the most. Usually a betrayal by a person they have let into their personal comfort zone.
  • Then there are those who have been hurt and have not caused hurt. They live in the fear of being hurt again, because what’s to stop it happening.
  • Those who have never been hurt but will be hurt some day and until such time their fear will be different. They will fear, if they will be strong enough to live through it.

I have no solutions but I have come to one solid conclusion and insight.

No matter who we are, what we have been through and who we have chosen to trust, we all live in fear of trusting someone.

It really isn’t that easy to let people in, it isn’t easy to get close to someone who lets us in.

So if we ever encounter that emotion, we need to trust our gut and move on, because if we don’t we will always be afraid of something. We are strong enough to recognise that fear and move beyond it, because it makes us stronger and better people for the future.

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