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  • Ruth Schocken Katz

Coaching Snippet: Trust is not Transactional


We have all experienced disappointment or even a sense of betrayal from someone we thought we could trust. This experience is often painful, draining, and very damaging to the relationship.

We tend to see trust as something we put “in” people, something we give them and want to receive in return.

In this conversation, I offer a reframe of the idea of trust being something that we lose once we are betrayed.

What if trust is endless, that is forever within us? What if no one can take it away even if they betray us?


EXT. DAY. PARK


MARY is distraught and crying. She has been talking at length about finding out that her ex-husband is seeing a new woman. She seems to emotionally peak when she says that it was the very same woman that she suspected he was having an affair with when they were married, and that he had denied it.


MARY

I am so angry with him. With myself.


ME

Why with yourself?


MARY

For believing him? He must have lied.


ME

And if he did?


MARY

That means I’m stupid.


ME

Does it? How is that?


MARY

Because I believed him. I trusted him.

She is crying. There’s a pause.


MARY

And he betrayed my trust.


ME

How does that make you the stupid one?


MARY

Because it does. Because now I will never be able to trust anyone again.


She is crying.


And I am back in square one. I was already doing better. I stopped crying months ago. And look at me now!

ME

How does this discovery change your place on that path? How does it take you backwards?


MARY

Because... Look at me!

ME

Can I reflect something to you? I may be wrong but I'd like to try if you allow me.


MARY

Sure.


Her crying subsides. She is listening.


ME

You are talking about your trust like you have given it to him for safekeeping. And he has gone away with it and left you with nothing.

MARY

That’s what he did!


ME

I want to suggest to you that your trust is not something you run out of. It’s in you, even when you decide to place it with another. It’s not something you can lose, because it is inherently cultivated within you.


MARY

So why does this hurt so much?


ME

Because you’re forgetting the trust you have in you. In yourself.


She takes a deep breath. Her crying stops. There’s a long pause.


ME

How does thinking about it like that feel?


MARY

Like you’ve given me a scaffold. A backbone.

ME

But it’s been there the whole time.

MARY

It doesn’t feel like that.

ME

So how can you make it feel like that? How can you make it more present in yourself?


MARY is thinking for a long while.


MARY

Just keep trusting myself. That the pain is OK. The anger too.

ME

And what else?


MARY

That if I feel it enough, no one can actually take it away. Because it is mine. It’s me.


*names and places have been changed to honour privacy



Illustration by Evie Fridel





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