Researchers view trust as a slow building, layered process that happens over time. There is no 'trust test', and no green light that tells us that it's safe to let ourselves be seen.
It's like putting marbles in a jar. Whenever someone supports you or is kind to you or defends you or or honors you, you put a marble in your jar. When people are mean, disrespectful or share your secrets, a marble comes out. Trust is built one marble at a time. John Gottman, one of the country's foremost couples researchers and authors, describes trust as much of the same. Gottman states that trust is built in very small moments. In any interaction, there is a possibility of connecting with your partner or turning away from your partner. One such moment is not that critically important, however as the marbles in the jar, if you always choosing to turn away, then trust erodes in a relationship--very gradually, very slowly.
This slow erosion is a betrayal of sorts, a betrayal that is corrosive to trust. This is the betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship. The word betrayal evokes experiences of cheating, lying, breaking a confidence, failing to defend us to someone else who's gossiping about us, and not choosing us over other people. These behaviors are certainly betrayals, but they're not only form of betrayal.
When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and the hurt seeps in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears--the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we can't point to the specific source of our pain--there is no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. it can feel crazy-making.
Like trust, most experiences of betrayal happen slowly, one marble at a time. In fact, the overt or "big" betrayals are more likely to happen after a period of disengagement and slowly eroding trust.
What I have learned about trust and boils down to this. Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement.
Trust isn't a grand gesture--it's growing a marble collection.
Taken from the book, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, Ph.D.