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Protect Yourself: Do Not Trust Anyone

(Therapist) “What has to happen before you can ask for help?”

(Client) “I don’t know?”

(Therapist) ”You have to trust the person you are asking.”

(Client) “I don’t trust many people.”

(Therapist)”What has to happen before you can trust people?”

(Client) “They have to earn my trust.”

(Therapist) “Or you can take ownership over how your behavior shapes how other people respond. You may trust them to say no in advance, so you don’t even bother to ask. You may fear being disappointed and feel discouraged because you assume what is the point of trying because you’ll just be turned down anyways.”

(Client) “But they do turn me down.”

(Therapist) “Of course, if you ask with the wrong music, the wrong intonation, they will turn you down. They hear it in your voice, ‘you not going to say yes are you?’ So they fulfill your expectation and they say no.”

(Client) “How can I make them say yes?”

(Therapist) “Do you see how you are putting the problem in terms of changing others? Its not about how we can get them to respond differently. It’s more important to focus on what you can control. You can choose to stop trying to control the potential from happening and instead you can choose to live in the present by focusing on reality.”

(Client) “If I ask for help people will think I’m weak and needy.”

(Therapist) “That is some expectation you learned somewhere in the past. It is an expectation of being judged. You are living on other people’s terms, not your own. This implies that others will define me, I cannot define myself.”

(Client) “That is what I’d like to do, I’d like to feel good about myself even if other’s don’t approve of what I’m doing.”

(Therapist) “What has to happen first?”

(Client) “I’m not sure.”

(Therapist) “You have to change your expectation from pessimism to optimism. When you do, you will feel that people can be trusted. You will even feel you deserve to get what you want. If you don’t feel you deserve it, you will set yourself up to fail, you will ask for help in a discouraging, off-putting way. You will confirm your belief of being lesser and inferior, which will only perpetuate your pessimism forever. Is there a pattern in these blow ups?”

(Client) “I get angry when someone takes over a project I’m working on because the director wanted it ASAP…As if I was doing a lousy job.”

(Therapist) “You take it personally, as if it were a reflection on your worth as a person.”

(Client) “Isn’t it?”

(Therapist) “No you are a worthwhile human being regardless of your performance.”

(Client) “It’s hard to accept.”

(Therapist) “It’s new to you, but that is how you can live your life as an adult, with an identity of your own.”

(Client) “What if I don’t want to change? Maybe other people need to change!”

(Therapist) “I agree. They should. They picked up beliefs in their childhood that they never examined, let alone re-examined. They are imperfect too.”

(Client) “But it still hurts when they put me down.”

(Therapist) “Instead of changing them, which they have not asked you to do and wouldn’t work anyways, you have the right and responsibility to change yourself. It’s your pain, your vulnerability, your role in life. When you change yourself, very often other people will pick up on it and treat you differently, like an equal member of the human race.”

(Client) “How is that done?”

(Therapist) “Its done by doing your homework. Homework is how we practice a skill. Your homework could be making new choices. You can choose to catch yourself taking a set back more personally than you need to take it. You can choose to remind yourself that you are worthwhile in spite of it.”

(Client) “What do I do with the anger?”

(Therapist) “You can choose to manage your legitimate anger like a grownup. You can say, ‘It makes me angry when you do that.’ This is called telling the truth.”

(Client) “Isn’t that whining, you know bitching and moaning?”

(Therapist) “No. It is expressing a legitimate human emotion appropriately in a timely manner. It is not too strong and it is not too weak. It isn’t a crime and you are not guilty of displeasing. Maybe they will respect you enough to listen to what you are saying and cooperate with you as an equal. But you are a worthwhile human being either way. It is unpleasant not to get your way, but you are an equally respectable and lovable person despite your imperfections.”

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Protect Yourself: Do Not Trust Anyone

Aaron Karmin

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APA Reference
Karmin, A. (2018). Protect Yourself: Do Not Trust Anyone. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 22, 2019, from


Last updated: 28 Aug 2018
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