It's very very hard to hold on to your sense of self in this life. Unless you're extremely lucky to have been raised by supportive parents, have always had 100% genuine friends, and have met only positive, supportive, people.
Let's say that you haven't had this luck. Let's say that you've had a normal life path and stumbled through a number of painful relationship realities that have broken your trust and made you feel that you can't trust anyone ever again.
An affair might have convinced you that you're middle aged, fat and frumpy, or not good in bed. A friend may have betrayed you, a colleague may have stabbed you in the back in order to get the promotion you were both up for, a boy/girlfriend might have left you after telling you that it's all your fault. In fact your life path might be one of betrayal after betrayal and who can blame you for losing trust in...well...trust. Certainly not me.
Your problem is your sense of self. You have allowed the actions of others to wobble your belief in who you are.
This DOES NOT mean that it's your fault, far from it. What it does mean is that you were never taught to look at yourself and decide who you are and how you feel about it. You were never taught to look at your strengths and appreciate them, because of course that's big-headed and arrogant isn't it.
I'm going to give you an exercise that someone gave me when I first put my feet on the Spiritual path and believe me I sympathise, it was the hardest thing I've ever done.
I want you to make a list of everything good about yourself
Yes you CAN do this and yes there ARE good things about you. You must do this because you've got to become realistic about who you are. I'll guarantee that you know your faults but I want you to become acquainted with your strengths and good points.
I want you to do this so that you start to focus on why you deserve decent treatment. More importantly why you have the right to decent treatment.
Then I want you to think about some of the bad treatment you've received in the past, go back over it in your mind and ask yourself this important question:
What do I think of the person who treated me that way?
Do you like those people? Do you admire their behaviour? Realistically you will have been involved in the situation but do you admire the way you were treated? Would you like to treat anyone that way?
I'm asking these questions so that you get into your true emotional understanding that these people who hurt you were not nice people, or they were nice people who did not behave well under the circumstances.
Realism is the most important factor in learning to trust again. My first marriage broke up in a wave of anguish that is still a tiny bit unbelievable to me 20 years later. I won't go into it but I was betrayed not by my ex husband but but everyone else around me. I held a party for 50 people in the December, I could have invited 100 but we didn't have room. By July of the following year I knew 5 of those people.
I was involved of course, but I am 100% comfortable in my own mind that I did not deserve the treatment I received. That is because I trust who I am and I trust my ability to judge situations fairly. I'm not perfect, I'm not always right, I don't always know what to do or how to do it, I make mistakes, but at the end of the day I do trust me completely.
And that's what makes me confident enough to trust again, and again, and again.
Connect that idea in your mind to the concept that everyone is human, and you will see why you need to:
Heal the past in your mind.
Understand your part in situations, but that you were only a part of it.
Think clearly about whether you respect the other people involved...
Or feel that their behaviour was unacceptable.
Be real about who you are and that you are NOT always wrong or to blame.
Get to know yourself.
Learn to respect yourself.
And never EVER let anyone affect your self respect again.
That way trusting people will never again be frightening.
I'm not saying what's coming next this time because I think I've just changed my mind anyway.