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The Dilemma Of Feeling More Positive, Trusting Others Again, Then Getting Screwed

by Judy
(Washington State)

Too often in my life I have trusted someone and was giving them a chance, helping them. Too often it backfired and I ended up not getting paid back, having them not doing their end of the bargain and I lose again, financially and emotionally.

So how do I dare trust anyone when this has happened so many times to me? How can I feel positive and feel trust when I have been hurt so often? It is terribly painful to me when someone chooses to just take advantage of me. Their words were convincing about not leaving me in a bad position but those words proved to be words only, many times.

Financially and emotionally I feel at the end of my rope. I just had two renters in an old house I can't seem to sell not pay me rent and stick me with the utility bills and the clean up and repairs of the property. I am a singe female without a lot of money and just can't get ahead because these things keep happening to me.

Being bitter and down on people doesn't seem like the answer. But what I am doing doesn't work either.

I lose my temper when these people are obviously trying to not pay their rent, not live up to their end of the bargain. Then they are justified in their own minds to not pay me back or do the work they owe me, etc.

I have received 3 rent payments over the last year from my renters. But since I finally told them to pay up or be evicted, they left me with all of the bills, past rent, repairs and massive clean up. I can't do it all. I am an older woman all alone.

I have also felt sorry for people in dire straits and helped them, sometimes getting paid back, often not.

I am not in the financial position to just give away money. That money is usually for a bill coming up and I need it back. I have also given others money and things where I don't expect to get paid back but make sacrifices to do so.

How to I protect myself? I am frightened and don't trust myself to not get taken in again by someone. I have very limited funds and I am having a difficult time making ends meet.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Judy, and thanks for telling your story here. You are obviously a good person, but not feeling good about your current patterns in relationships. I will try to help.

I know you've heard the term "tough love." It's been my experience that if love is not tough, it will turn into pain, bitterness and despair. I think you care about people and like to help them, but you're not focused enough on taking care of yourself.

You have actually put others' needs above your own, many times, and now you're realizing that just does not work. So, does that mean you stop helping people? No. It just means you help them in a way that does not hurt you.

Re. renters, be a business woman first, humanitarian second--and don't let the two switch places.

You said something very important in your story. I will quote: "I am frightened and don't trust myself to not get taken in again by someone." That is the have to trust yourself. If you don't, you will find that you won't be able to trust anyone.

Here is what I suggest:

Start by learning to increase your self love and self esteem. This is an essential first step, and will make you more likely to take better care of yourself.

You're all you've got, Judy. If you don't take care of yourself, who will. Learn "healthy selfishness" and you will find it much easier to love and care about others in a healthy way.

Another thought for you to consider: Never do for another what they are capable of doing for themselves. Consider the rule of thumb...don't give money away, unless you do it through an organized charity. It just doesn't seem to work in 99% of the cases.

Use these tools and concepts and learn to trust yourself, Judy. The ultimate trust is to trust yourself to keep yourself safe in relationships with other people. Then, you trust other people to be exactly who they are...knowing that who they are is always an unfolding mystery.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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