Circle of Trust

In the movie, Meet the Parents, the main character’s soon to be father in law tells him about the “circle of trust”.

“But the fact is, Greg, with the knowledge you’ve been given, you are now on the inside of what I like to call…the Byrnes family circle of trust. I keep nothing from you, you keep nothing from me..”

My “circle of trust”  is a very small circle and difficult to penetrate.  Once you are in, it is much easier to get out than it did to get in.   My circle is more like a fortress than a simple circle.  It comes complete with high walls, a moat, and ferocious monsters living in the water surrounding it.  There is a larger circle surrounding the fortress that I would describe as a type of purgatory.  You enter that circle and wait until I open the drawbridge to the let you into the “circle of trust”.  It is a system that has served me well in my life.  Obviously I have some life experiences that  caused me to implement this system.

The statement in the movie says that people in the “circle of trust” keep nothing from each other.  Most people think that means sharing our biggest secrets with those in the circle.  While that is something that happens in time, I think it means much more.  For me it means being able to tell the truth to each other.  If one of us is having a bad day, we can say it.  We ask each other for help.  We can share something exciting or scary or boring.  We can even say I need some space and want to chill.   We can call each other on things in a kind, loving way. We also remember that all of us are human and we are going to make mistakes.  We forgive in love.  It means that we want the best for each other-always.

Once in a while someone will make it into the circle before they had earned that right.  When that happens, I question my judgement and wonder why I would let the drawbridge down so easily putting all of us in the circle at risk.  I wonder what magic charm they used to confuse me.  I begin to doubt myself and everyone in the circle.

I am in long term recovery and have learned many things over the years.  In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous  Step Eleven says, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him……”  If you  work the program and do this it says” We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”

This week, someone I allowed into my outer circle long before their time broke the trust.   It confused me and I started to doubt. When this has happened before, I have tried to make excuses, close my eyes, and ignore the intuition. I didn’t want to believe I had fallen prey to someone’s games.  I blamed myself for their choices and actions.  I chose not to do that this time.  I listened to my gut, intuition, and logic.   I talked to a “circle” friend and decided  to send this person away from my circle.  I didn’t offer an explanation or make excuses.  I decided to protect myself and my circle.

There was a time in my life I chose to close the circle to everyone.  I stood alone and I was alone indeed.  It was a dark time in my life.  One person helped me open my circle again and begin to fill it.  My circle is not large but it is impressive.  In fact there are less than a dozen.   It includes a couple of members of my family and men and women of various ages.  That outer circle is larger but I still am cautious and protective of those in that circle as well.

Please don’t read this and ask me if you are in the “circle of trust”.  You already know.  I am grateful for each of you and I love you all.  I promise to keep you close to my heart and keep “nothing from you.”

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship”….Ralph Waldo Emerson

9 responses

  1. I get this. 🙂

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    1. 🙂 I know you do. Thank you.

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  2. That’s made me tearful. I’m many years in recovery too and before then, and at times in my recovery, I have closed myself from everyone. I just started letting people back in again recently, and someone I trusted has gossiped about me. I’ve cut her out but it still hurts as I thought she was a friend to be trusted. I need to make sure I don’t cut everyone else out too now because that’s what I feel like doing to protect myself.

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    1. It is an easy out to close ourselves off to everyone but it is a painful and lonely one. We risk being hurt when we trust and love others. But I am willing to take those risks today. I hope you are too.

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  3. Wise stuff, dear Cathy. It’s often so hard to believe, but we are created to live in community. How large or small your community is, is a very personal decision…and that (at least for me) is an ever-changing size. Are we risking the hurt? Sure. Is the pay-off worth the risk? Always. Maybe not today…or tomorrow, but sometimes farther out than we can see.

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  4. I struggle with this every day. As a carer, I find it nearly impossible. My circle is broken. My husband is meant to be in recovery, but he is lying to everyone around him, including himself.

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    1. That is a difficult place to be. It not only breaks your circle but isolates you. Is there anyone supporting you in all of this? It is hard to know what you need to do when you aren’t able to do it.

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      1. We receive couples therapy and I have individual counselling sessions as well, but my problem lies in being unable to understand the concept of addiction. I am also one of those sad souls who thinks she can save the alcoholic from himself. Actually, I should use the past tense there. I don’t believe I am in any way able to modify his behaviour. He does what he wants to.

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  5. 🙂 Love you

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