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In fact, attachment theorist John Bowlby concluded that basic trust, as defined by Erikson, is absolutely necessary for the healthy psychological development of the individual throughout the life span.He described the secure and insecure attachment patterns identified by Mary Ainsworth in one-year-old toddlers as being strong indicators of their level of trust.
Higher levels of trust in children are closely related to secure attachment patterns.
Toddlers who trust their environment are generally those who have also formed a secure attachment to their parents or caregivers.
The dishonest ways that many parents communicate with each other and with their offspring also damage the child’s trust.
Parents who lack integrity tend to be duplicitous in their communications, that is, their actions don’t correspond to their words.
The Oxford Dictionary defines trust as “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something” For example, we trust people who are benevolent toward us, who have integrity, and whose actions correspond to their words.
We trust someone we can count on to consistently do what is “right.” In an intimate relationship, we trust our partner if he or she is predictable, reliable, and honest.
Mutual trust within happy couples is reinforced by the presence of oxytocin, a neuropeptide in the brain that expedites bonding between a newborn and its mother.
Loving, affectionate, and sexual exchanges between partners also release oxytocin, which, according to some scientists, “makes people trusting not gullible.”By contrast, mistrust can disrupt even the most loving relationship.
These self-protective defenses help us preserve an illusion of strength and invulnerability, yet these same defenses limit our capacity for trusting others and for finding fulfillment in a close relationship.
In an intimate relationship, trust is all important.