Generally speaking, I am not a fan of what I call “end all, be all” advice. You know what I’m talking about, right? This is the advice that talks about the one or two things that YOU MUST HAVE or that MUST EXIST in order for you to find love and live happily ever after. If you follow it, you will supposedly live in bliss. If you do not follow it, misery and death will follow you. Yeah, that advice!
Again, not a fan.
But, when it comes to institutional distrust, I will go there and tell you that it is the single biggest relationship killer. Let me say that again, it is the SINGLE BIGGEST RELATIONSHIP KILLER!
So what is it and how does it do so much damage?
There are two types of trust and distrust, specific and institutional. Specific distrust is distrust towards a person because of something specific that they did. Institutional distrust is distrust towards a person or group of people based on negative perceptions or experiences with some within that group of people.
When it comes to politicians, we have significant institutional distrust. Regardless of who gets elected into office, we will have trust issues with them-even if they do not fit the mold of a ‘typical politician’. We rarely give them a chance out of a holistic view that all politicians are leeches that lack integrity and morals and will do anything to get elected and reelected.
When it comes to women, there are some men that will bin them all as high maintenance and ‘bitchy’, this based on an experience that the men may have had with some women in their past.
When it comes to men, there are some women that will bin them all as players that have no interest in finding a relationship, this based on an experience that the women may have had with some men in their past.
This, my friends, is institutional distrust, and it is a disastrous mindset. When we have institutional distrust in the relationship space, a few things occur:
- We sabotage the potential of a relationship by way of pre-determining the intentions of people before we go out with them. We label them based on generalizations and we let those labels determine how we trust them, treat them, and how we let them treat us. For instance, if Candace does not trust the intentions of men in a general sense and she is to go out with Alan, she will be skeptical of anything he says and does and that distrust will hurt their flow, their chemistry.
- We settle based on the belief that all men or women are a certain way, and thus expecting anything different is a pipe dream. Sam believes that women are, by nature, gold diggers. For nine months, he has been dating Tara who, by all accounts, is a gold digger. Sam stays in this relationship because, as he put it, “do you know a woman that isn’t in it for the money?”
- We refrain from dating. Simply put, if we believe that the pickings are slim and that view is created based on our generalizations of men and women, we may simply forgo the dating process as a whole. Fact is, if I had a dollar for every time that I have heard someone say, “it’s not worth it, people are just players anyways”, I’d be living in a penthouse on Park Ave.
- It all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we sabotage relationships, settle, and refrain, our view that there are no quality men or women out there seems justified. The problem is, we have not investigated why these things are occurring.
I once had a client tell me that she was done with the dating game because men are just dogs and they are only after one thing. To which I said, “what would you think if I told you that a friend of mine would not date you because he thought you were high maintenance and overly clingy, like all women?” This is what institutional distrust looks like.