Do People With BPD Have Trust Issues?

Updated: Jul 11

Due to childhood trauma, someone can learn to depend on themselves and refuse to ask or trust other people to help them. Their brain essentially learned that trusting others will result in getting betrayed and feeling hurt. Because Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often stems from childhood trauma, trust issues are common among people with BPD.

In this article, we'll discuss trust issues that someone with BPD often has, where trust issues come from, and how someone with BPD can learn to trust again.


BPD Trust Issues

People with BPD often find it difficult to trust and understand the motives of others. The smallest indications that someone shouldn't be trusted or has bad intentions will be noticed by them. They are known to be hyper-vigilant, and sometimes they misinterpret situations because of it.


Even though people with BPD tend to have trust issues, they will occasionally trust someone they've idealized. Due to splitting or black and white thinking, someone with BPD can't comprehend that good people do bad things, and therefore, people are either put on a pedestal or very much disliked. They may blindly trust someone due to the idealization, which simply raises the risk of being taken advantage of. And when this happens, it serves as further confirmation that no one should be trusted.


Since people with BPD deal with identity disturbance, they may feel unable to trust themselves, and they will externalize that feeling onto others as well. They experience self-doubt, low confidence, low self-esteem, and a poor sense of self-worth. It can make them feel not worthy of good things or good people in their life, and therefore, they depend on themselves even more.


When you ask for help, you create an expectation, and when you create an expectation, other people can disappoint you. Being disappointed hurts, but being hyper-independent can lead to loneliness, burnout, loss of trust, and feeling tired all the time.


''Pain changes people. It makes them trust less, overthink more, and shut people out.''

BPD where do trust issues come from?

Trust issues typically result from a traumatic event that occurred during a person's childhood. Although it can also be acquired later in life, the brain eventually concluded that trusting people causes harm and no longer desires to do so. The most frequent occurrence is when a parent they trusted has deeply hurt them.


For example, my father promised me as a child that he would never leave me, but he ultimately did. How could I ever trust someone if my own father, which was my whole world when I was a child, left me after saying he wouldn't ever leave me? When I saw my father drive away from the upstairs window, something in my brain was forever damaged.


The most damage a parent can do to a child is to do nothing. And by doing nothing, I mean not talking to, interacting with, or communicating with the child, but rather neglecting or abandoning them.


Remember that trust issues aren't always the result of trauma; sometimes, a series of seemingly unimportant events might lead to trust issues in the future. But there is always a cause for trust issues, whether one person, a group of people, a single event, or a string of events over multiple years caused it. After all, even dedicated or picture-perfect parents can betray your trust in subtle ways.


How can someone with BPD learn to trust again?

Telling someone to "just trust" who has trouble trusting people is not something helpful you can do. Trust is not something they can start doing because it's not an action. Trust is a state of confidence in another human being while being in a state of vulnerability. Trust is a consequence of a lot of other things happening.


The first step is to understand why you lack trust. It's possible that your parents gaslighted you and invalidated your emotions during your formative years. After something like this, it's difficult to trust yourself or other people.


The answer to learning to trust again is to communicate. I'm not saying to force yourself to blindly trust people because you might be taken advantage of. You actually need to learn how to trust again.


When someone attempts to help you in a long-term relationship, but you don't want to accept it, tell them you appreciate it and that you find it difficult to accept help since it makes you feel bad about yourself. The other person may be confused by it, but ideally, they're not going to let you not accept their help anymore, which is exactly what you need. They should break through your defenses and help you; that is what's best for you. You will learn that you can trust them because of this. And if that's too difficult, practice asking for things that don't matter as much to you.