Mark Goulston, M.D.
Rebuilding trust after abuse
In this Twoology video, relationship expert, Mark Goulston, M.D., tells you how you can restore trust after you’ve been abusive or betrayed someone, and how to get them to feel safe with you again. Rebuilding from abuse with the four H’s and R’s, the four specific ways they have damaged your relationship. Invest in your relationship with www.Twoology.com for relationship advice, communication tools, sexual tips and romantic ideas.
How do I restore trust after I’ve been abusive or betrayed them? Part 1. One of the most overt signs of abuse is that when you hear your spouse’s car come into the driveway or when you know they’re going to enter into the house, you clench, your stomach tightens, and you feel knots in your stomach. Something that I point out to couples is just causing the fear of anger, causing the fear of that anger turning violent, or causing the fear that at any given moment anger can be triggered, is still abuse. The only way to fix that is for the person who has been abusive to get help. This is how you help restore trust.
If you abuse someone else and they’re afraid of you, how can you earn back their trust and how do you get them to feel safe with you again? The answer to that is what I call the 4 H’s and the 4 R’s. That’s how you earn back forgiveness.
What are the 4 H’s? When you abuse someone, when you betray them, or when you cheat on them, you trigger four Hs in them. What are the four H’s? They feel Hurt. They Hate you for hurting them. They’re Hesitant to trust you again and have you hurt them again. And they Hold on to a grudge. They don’t let it go because that protects them.
And in order to take away those four H’s to restore trust, you need to demonstrate the four R’s. Hurt needs Remorse. That’s the first R. And what is remorse? Remorse is not regret. Remorse is looking into the eyes of the person you hurt and letting them see that you know what you did to them and, without any excuses or explanations, say, “What I did that to you was wrong.” They need to see hurt in your face for having caused them pain. Anything less than that, such as regret, saying something like, “Well, I’m sorry I did that. Can we move on now?” They will not believe that you really understand what you did to them. Until they see that you see that you hurt or even broke something in them, they’re not going to believe that you won’t do it again.
President Clinton had a lot of problem with this when he was trying to explain the affair that he had with Monica Lewinsky. He had a lot of trouble showing remorse. He had a lot of trouble looking into the camera and really showing the American public that he understood their pain. It’s interesting because President Clinton had total command of the camera. But, if you look at interviews, he didn’t really make eye contact when he was talking about regret. And so America had trouble letting it go, because we didn’t see true remorse. Thus, he had a problem to restore trust.
Now, the second H is when you hurt someone like that, they Hate you. It feels like you took a chunk out of them. And so the second R is restitution or pay back. And the pay back means, if you took something away from them, you need to give something back. Now, that could be in the form of money. That could be in the form of something that you don’t want to give up, or, emotionally, what it means is you allow the person that you have hurt to totally vent at you, scream at you, not hit you, but yell at you what that did to them. Let them get it out of their system. Let them tell you that you took away trust. You made me crazy. You lied to me. You make me think that it was all my imagination, and you were the one that was wrong. So part of the restitution is sometimes to let that other person really get it out of their system.
Please review, How do I restore trust after I’ve been abusive or betrayed them? Part 2, for a complete explanation of the 4 “H’s” and 4 “R’s“.
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