Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.

How Complex Trauma Survivors Can Learn To Trust People ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

how complex trauma survivors can learn to trust people

Complex trauma is ongoing or repeated inter-personal trauma – abuse and neglect – caused by other people. Often this ongoing abuse causes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Trust issues are one of the debilitating and life impacting results of enduring complex trauma. It’s very understandable, when you consider the survivor has been subjected to ongoing harm, particularly when from those they were meant to be able to trust, rely on and feel safe with.

This is intensified when the abuse/trauma was endured was in childhood. Not learning how to develop healthy relationships, not having this modelled, causes the survivor to have a deficit of needed skills in adulthood. Knowing how to appropriately trust people, is one of them.

Trust issues can be either not trusting anyone, or trusting too quickly and easily. Both resulting in further issues that are painful to endure. Survivors can swap between these, depending on what is occurring in their life. Often trusting too easily – results in the survivor being hurt more, and then they jump into ‘I’m never trusting anyone again’ mode. All ways of coping. All very understandable.

Not trusting anyone – is a coping and survival instinct. If we don’t trust anyone – we can’t get hurt…. right? But, this understandable way of protecting ourselves – means we don’t have healthy relationships with others. This can lead to a painful sense of aloneness and lack of connection with other people. And connecting to others, is a vital human need.

Trusting people too quickly and too easily often results in the survivor being harmed more. Not knowing how to build trust carefully – causes a greater issue of being in further unhealthy, toxic, abusive relationships.

I see very often in my work as an abuse survivor advocate and writer – complex trauma survivors saying they will “never trust anyone” and I want to gently encourage survivors to know – there is a way to build up trust slowly and carefully – that still protects them and keeps them safe.

My first trauma counsellor, was an amazing and wise woman, who helped me with my trust issues. As a survivor of multiple complex trauma endured from birth – my trust issues were deep.

This is how she explained how to learn to trust in a healthy way and develop safe relationships:

  1. Trust isn’t given, or demanded – it’s earned. Carefully.
  2. There are good people out there, that we can have healthy relationships with. It may feel hard to accept that – but it is true. Figuring out if someone is healthy, is key to forming healthy relationships.
  3. Not everyone is going to abuse us. There are non abusive people out there. No-one is perfect, but there are people who are respectful, caring and want good for others.
  4. You need healthy boundaries on your own behaviours and choices. You have to understand how we interact we others, how we build relationships, including trust – is our own responsibility and we have to learn self control in order to proceed carefully.
  5. You cannot 100% trust anyone. But you can learn who is trustworthy enough.
  6. You build trust – slowly and carefully. Not by jumping ‘all in’. And not by refusing point blank to try to trust someone.
  7. Don’t tell them straight up you have ‘trust issues’. Keep that information to yourself.
  8. Then sit back and discern how this person treats other? Are they kind? Are they interacting in a healthy way? Are their behaviours consistent? If yes, that’s a good start.
  9. If they treat others well, and you’ve gotten to know them a little, give them only a little piece of information about yourself, particularly about your trauma history. Something that’s not too revealing. So instead of revealing nothing, or telling them ‘all’ about your life – you give them a little bit and see how they receive that? How did they handle that? Did they deal with that respectfully?
  10. Once you’ve given them a little bit of information, sit back and watch over time what they do with that. Do they push you too quickly for more information. Do they seem dismissive about it? Did they not offer words of kindness? Do they go and tell others about it? Do they gossip about you regarding what you told them? If yes, to any of those, these are red flags that would suggest this person is not a ‘safe person’.
  11. If they seem to handle this well – after a while – give them a little bit more information and again – see how they respond and react? And continue this.
  12. This gradual way of revealing yourself, is about being careful. It’s about protecting yourself. You do not have to tell them too much. It’s much safer to real yourself slowly.
  13. Someone healthy and respectful will be okay with this gradual process. If they are not okay with it, then this is a red flag and someone who has unhealthy issues and I advise not to proceed with giving anymore revealing information, or any further information about your trauma history.
  14. You also don’t have to be too quick with things like sexual contact with someone, if this is a romantic relationship. If they push you quickly into sexual intimacy – this is not okay if you need to take this slowly, they should respect that. If they are respectful – you can build more trust in them over time.
  15. It’s also worth seeing how quickly they tell you about themselves. If they reveal nothing, or tell you a lot, this is someone with their own issues and we need to figure out why?
  16. Build this relationship in a mutually respectful, careful manner. Discern as you go what seems ‘off’ and take your time in figuring the person out.
  17. Proceed only if this careful process reveals healthy consistent, respectful behaviours.
  18. Enjoy the relationship you have built, based on trust and mutual respect.

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The Most Terribly Abused & Abandoned Child ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

child scared 2-001

Unless someone has experienced this, they will not fully comprehend how terrible a childhood like this, is for a vulnerable child. Or comprehend the life impacting consequences of this.

To not have one safe, caring adult in a child’s life, means the child is terribly abandoned and always unsafe.

No wonder the child grows into an adult who has such deep trust issues, and never feels ‘safe enough’. Continue reading


Life keeps on proving, why most people cannot be trusted ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

Recent events, both online and offline, have made me wonder why I bother trying to trust people. Most people in this world, are untrustworthy. And life keeps on proving that to me.

There is a lot I could write, but I won’t. And actually I can’t be bothered. I’ve written it all before. Many times. Toxic people, selfish people, manipulative people…. are everywhere.

I am, however, at that point where I am beginning to not even care. I am not shocked by bad human behaviour. I am not shocked by selfishness. I am not shocked by dishonesty.

I find it vile, but I am not shocked.

I’ve been pretty upset about a situation today – that doesn’t even involve me, but does involve people who all claim to be something they really are not. Their capacity to delude themselves, is really strong.

You would think that those educated and knowledgeable about psychology, narcissism, human behaviours…….. would have a better standard for their own behaviour, than they have displayed. And I discerned these people as fake and dodgy, before they even had the opportunity to be toxic to me.

All this proves, is I need to build up relationships very slowly, very carefully and over a very long period of time, before any trust can be considered. This today, has been a needed reminder of that.

And keep in mind, my first counsellor said to me “no-one can ever be trusted 100%”. And I know many of the reasons why.

Dishonesty is at the root of them all.

People being dishonest with themselves, and/or with others.

And the human capacity to rationalise, justify and minimize – any of their own bad behaviours. Continue reading


I no longer care about trusting anyone else, I only need to know I am a trustworthy person ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

This is actually healing.

My first counsellor shocked me when she told me no-one was 100% trustworthy. But, she was right.

5 years later, I have finally accepted people are not to be trusted, as I knew all along.

But, now I no longer have the fear and anxiety related to this issue.

Which is healing.

~ Lilly Hope Lucario


Continue reading

When you learn to trust yourself…. you don’t need to trust or rely on others


There is nothing that will make me lose interest in someone, quicker, than people lying to me, or manipulating me.

But, I am at that stage in my life, where I can be strong in trusting myself and knowing that no matter what, I have survived so much alone, and I will survive whatever else comes my way.

I am much stronger now, to realise other people’s issues, are not mine to internalise. Continue reading

Respect Is Earned, Not Demanded ~ Lilly Hope Lucario


There have been a lot of toxic and abusive people in my life.

They have all assumed and demanded I respect them, yet they have no right to demand that.

No-one has to respect someone who is abusive, toxic or harmful.

And also applies to family, partners, church people, work colleagues, other abuse survivors…. anyone.

Respect is earned and people do need to earn my respect and my trust now. I do no longer blindly respect or trust anyone. I now know, it needs to be built slowly, over time, when the person concerned demonstrates behaviours and attitudes, that are worthy of respect and trust.

~ Lilly Hope Lucario

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Sometimes, you have to accept people will believe the lies.

It is sad when someone you thought was a friend, who then believes lies and accusations, without even having the decency to check in with your first.

Wise people, don’t believe gossip, because wise people know there will be more to the story than someone is choosing to offer/share.

Gossip always dies when it hits the ears of a wise person.

Sadly, some people will believe the lies, the accusations, the smear campaigns. Whilst very sad……. it is that person choice and they show there lack of loyalty and wisdom in the process.

god often

I think it’s also a clear indication, of God removing someone from your life, as He knows they are not a genuine friend, to not even ask you about a situation, and instead believe the lies.

If they choose to think about the situation and realise they have made a mistake, and should have spoken to you first, then it remains to be seen, whether that situation, can Continue reading

People who’ve endured complex trauma, need authenticity/honesty.

I’m very real and upfront about my journey. The good, the bad and the ugly. Today, has not been a good day. But, I’ve done what is needed, to manage the emotions, the triggers. I do know these flashbacks, will keep occurring, but I manage them better.

I know when they are happening now. Overall, I can manage them better and reduce the length of time they occur. That’s healing. That’s progress. I’ve also learned in the process, it takes far more strength – to feel the emotions, manage them well, without supressing, or avoiding them.

Survivors of complex trauma, often have big issues with trust. I do. I need people to be genuine. I will figure it out, if someone is fake, or pretending to be what they are not.

Being genuine and authentic, with sensitivity, is important to me. So, I know it’s important to others too. Continue reading