The Root of All Relational Problems – 3 Keys to Help People Move From Mistrust to Trust

Danny Silk

At the core of every person’s heart is the same desire: to love and be unconditionally loved in return. To experience that in a relationship, it requires a level of intimacy in which we can trust that we will get our needs met. Yet many of us struggle to find and maintain this level of trust in our core relationships.

Almost every time, the issue behind a relational problem is mistrust. Mistrust can come from many different experiences, but for many of us, it stems from unmet needs in early childhood. Instead of receiving the valuable messages of affection, comfort, affirmation, and unconditional love, we encountered some form of abuse or neglect. Even those who grow up in stable and safe homes with loving parents can learn to mistrust when needs are not met, or are not handled in healthy ways.

Those of us helping people work through relational brokenness must have a plan to help them restore and strengthen their ability to trust.  Here are 3 keys to include in that plan:

1) Help them receive the unconditional love of the Father.

While it is important that we do our best to model unconditional love to those we are helping, we must be clear that we cannot be the ultimate source of love for anyone. The only true source of unconditional love is the Father. There is no perfect relationship outside of relationship with Him. This is the place where every one of us can go–and must learn to go– time after time to be validated as a son or daughter without fear of rejection, or comparison or measurement to anyone else. When we are helping other people, it is our responsibility to lead others to the heart of the Father. Inner healing and prayer ministries have many tools and approaches to help accomplish this goal, so they are resources every helper should pursue.

2) Help them confront orphan beliefs.

Receiving the Father’s love is essential to restoring trust, because it confronts and dismantles the orphan beliefs that drive mistrust in our lives.

Orphan beliefs show up wherever we have been used to being alone with an unmet need. When a baby is brought into this world, they are totally dependent, unable to do anything for themselves. When a baby has a need, they will cry, looking to those in their environment to meet that need. When the need is met, the child learns to trust himself and the person who met his need, creating a bond. This is called the trust cycle, and it is how relationships are supposed to work. We are supposed to be able to say, “I have a need,” with the faith that the need will be met. However, when we are left with an unmet need, we end up creating a mistrust cycle, in which we isolate ourselves from others and look to ourselves to meet our core needs.

The problem with living in a mistrust cycle is that it prevents people from ever fully experiencing  intimacy in relationships.  To help others break out of a mistrust cycle, we must create a safe place for them to recognize they have been believing a lie that they have to meet their own needs, and invite them to receive the truth that they were made to have their needs met through trust and vulnerability in relationships with God and others. Often, forgiveness of parents or others who failed to meet their needs is an important step in overcoming the orphan mindset.

3) Help them learn ways to practice trust.

Once we have helped another person start connecting to the love of the Father and understanding how their needs were designed to be met,  they can start learning how to  practice trust, first in God, then in others.

The “I message” is a very helpful tool in practicing trust. The I message is simply a statement about what you are feeling in a certain situation, and what you need to be feeling–e.g., “I feel scared when you get angry and raise your voice. I need to feel safe when we’re talking.” In order to create an I message, a person must answer the question, “What do I need?” For those people who struggle to know what they are feeling or need, much less to express them to another human being, the I message is a great way to start practicing that.

Another way to help those who are learning to trust is to encourage them to develop a powerful mindset and set boundaries as they learn to build healthy relationships. They need to believe that trust is something they manage and can demonstrate no matter what someone else does. However, their best choice is to invest themselves in relationships where both people are receiving their source of unconditional love from the Father, are able to express needs and have those needs met, and want to meet the needs of the other person.

Helping others learn to trust requires our willingness and consistency to demonstrate that we are safe and trustworthy. What everyone is looking for are people that will be a support and ally in the middle of their greatest fears and insecurities. When we provide this, we will see their hearts open to reveal who they truly are–beautiful, and fully loved by the Father.




PS) This blog was inspired by the message found in our new track in the Life Academy called People Helping People. If you want to learn more about helping people in your life, join us here.

PPS) Sometimes when we want to help others, we don’t realize that our help isn’t really helping. To find out if your help is really helping, take our new FREE assessment here.

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  1. <3 <3 <3 THANK YOU for helping explain things so well in order for others to be able to explain it to others, as well. Love and Blessings, Aimee

  2. Thank you so much for this. But what if your partner doesn’t believe in God? How can they receive the unconditional love of the Father? What if your partner is not able to engage in intimacy?

    1. Karen, God believes in them. That would be the beginning point. See, talk, respond to them like Jesus would. When they ask where this love and honor comes from, let them know.

  3. Thank you for this. I consider myself to be a trustworthy person and want others to trust me. But recently in a stressful situation I told a half-truth. I repented and asked God to forgive me. He has convicted me that I need to repent to the person I told the half-truth to. I am hoping to do that today. However, this person has trust issues and this may not go well. I know I can only do my part and leave the rest to God and the other person. Still, it could be messy and trust lost rather than gained. Please keep my situation in your prayers.
    Thank you.

  4. As always – words well spoken and articulated in regards to these pivotal relational issues. Trust is the mainstay as is faith in our relationship with God.
    God designed us to be in relationship with one another and it can most often be such a fraught thing.
    As you said – there is no perfect human relationship and that it not where we are to source our needs but to ‘lead others to the heart of the Father’. Who’s love is perfect and sure – none other than the source of Love. His love is pure and unending. ‘Where can I go from your spirit?’ Psalm 139 He pursues us unceasingingly ‘ The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever’ Psalm 136 Amen….And there is so much more in the word.
    Love your work 💛

  5. So excellent! The "I feel", "I need" statements take "I messages" to the next level so they don’t turn in to "I hate it when you…" Or "I think you need to…" – powerful!!

  6. How do you define the difference between a need and a want?
    How do we effectively accept that not all of our wants will be met?

  7. Thanks for sharing this important thoughts and tools. What is your advice if one spouse refuses to meet a need of the other spouse? (For years and there is no comprehensible Reason)Thanks!!!

  8. I’m so glad I read this. I’ve noticed how Abba Father notices my questions in my mind about certain things. Some weeks ago I thought, "What is it that I feel between other people when we have a conversation? What is it in the atmosphere?"
    Abba answered by showing me Loving on Purpose and this whole thing –

    Since I saw all this, I feel like Abba has answered every question I could have about helping people, relationships and much other stuff. Then, when I read this particular blog, I realized what God is doing in my life right now – I have a very broken relationship with my earthly dad, every time i met him, I just feel so off and I never wanted to have anything to do with him, but not on purpose – I didn’t know what caused it, or how to fight it off. But now I realized – God is showing me that I can trust Him in all things, He’s showing me to be dependent on Him and He definitely is showing me His unconditional love! Without any counsel from anyone about this, God has it all in His hands, in His care. That’s what He’s doing in my life, He’s slowly restoring my relationship with my earthly dad through Himself! <3

    So thank you so much for posting this! God spoke to me so clearly through this blog.

    Greetings from a twenty-year old woman in Denmark, that’s learning to lead others in my small church in Denmark.

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