Love, Trust, Harm…

Apologies readers, if this post is a bit disjointed, but I wanted to get my thoughts down, and I’m extremely pressed for time!

In Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, he tells the reader:

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”

A colleague of mine has this quotation taped to her PC monitor and it is a permanent BBM status. The other day I was chatting to Steve at the gym and he too said, “Trust few people…”

I understand the concept, but I simply can’t trust a select few, despite having experienced a form of ultimate betrayal myself  (and yes, it has bitten me in the arse more times than I care to admit). My boss even told me in my personnel evaluation two weeks ago, that I need to be meaner, because people take advantage of my good nature and tackle me emotionally. I was a little hurt by what he’d said, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized, he is right. The reason people take advantage of my good nature is simple – I trust them too easily, and beyond that, I trust them to do the right thing. Taking advantage of people isn’t right, so I trust them not to do it… I know it sounds like I’m talking in circles, but I’m sure you get the point.

That brings me to another story. For the sake of anonymity, I am not going to mention names, but refer to the people involved as Jack and Sarah.

I became friends with Jack and Sarah through a mutual friend. Sarah and I immediately hit it off. She was a bit of a rebel and part of me envies that because I’ve always been a goody-two-shoes. Jack came across as aloof, but as time passed, he defrosted a bit. As we got to know each other better, I’d learned that Sarah and Jack have been together for over a decade, and, while not married, they have two beautiful children. Sarah was a stay-at-home-mom; Jack a successful businessman.

One day during my recuperative period (after my diagnosis with depression), Sarah called asking me to join her for a drive in the country to go and visit her mum. I went and she shared some things about her past that I found shocking. She’d had a long problem with drug abuse, cocaine being her drug of choice. She had already been with Jack at the time, but left him and her (at that time) only child because of the spell of the drugs. Jack had to support his child, and not knowing what to do, as his job takes him away from home quite often, he put the child in the care of his parents, in another town. He fought tooth and nail to help Sarah, and eventually, she got clean. She continued her rhetoric, telling me that between then and getting back together with Jack, she’d been in a relationship with a much younger guy. I sat wondering how a person can love someone, yet not trust them enough to help them during one of the darkest times of their life. She’d fallen pregnant shortly after getting back together with Jack and this time it was for keeps. She was so emphatic in her statement that I couldn’t help but trust her.  She was my friend, she’d paid her dues, she wouldn’t lie to me, surely?

Four years down the line I bumped into another mutual friend of Sarah and I who told me that she and Jack aren’t together anymore. She’d apparently fallen prey to the wrong crowd again. I felt so sad – strangely though, not for Sarah, who I’d forged a strong bond with that day (she trusted me enough to share her dark secret), but for her two beautiful children and Jack, who has seen to it that she has never wanted for anything, a few rules notwithstanding.

About a month ago, during a window-shopping session, I heard someone whistle at me. I was not amused, but I turned around to see Jack standing there, a shadow of his former self. I told him I’d heard that things at home were a bit stormy and he told me the whole story. Sarah’s moved out – and he wants to help her (he loves her so much), but he doesn’t know if she wants to be helped. I can’t begin to imagine how he feels – having his trust betrayed for a second time. I wonder if she ever stopped to consider how her behaviour will influence her children and their ability to trust authority figures, when they can’t even count on their own mother to provide their most fundamental needs.

It was Jack’s birthday yesterday and I sent a simple text, saying, “Hey Jack, wishing you a great birthday. All the best for the year ahead!”

He replied, thanking me for remembering.

Part of me can’t help but wonder, if we love someone so much, do we stupidly trust them not to harm us? Or do we trust them, knowing they most likely will hurt or betray us, hoping that love will conquer all in the end and that there will be no long-term harm done?

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