“If you have a secret, people will sit a little bit closer.” ROB CORDDRY
By Alex P. Vidal
Trust remains to be the most important aspect of any meaningful relationship.
“More specifically, it is a mutual condition that must exist between a manager and his subordinates, a husband and wife, and between friends,” wrote Dr. Jan Halper, author of Quite Desperation.
Halper warned that a husband who doesn’t trust his wife to listen and be supportive will not disclose his personal thoughts and feelings. If he doesn’t trust her judgment, he will not confide in her, Halper observed.
“As a result, they will grow apart. A manager who doesn’t trust his subordination will not delegate responsibility or authority. Instead he will resort to controlling them,” Halper stressed. “When employees don’t feel trusted they are likely to become territorial, derisive, and antagonistically competitive.”
In his book Man’s Search for Himself, Rollo May discussed the destructive aspects of this attitude:
–this type of individual competitiveness–in which for you to fail in a deal is as good as for me to succeed, since it pushes me ahead in the scramble up the ladder–raises many psychological problems. It makes every man interpersonal hostility and resentment, and increases greatly our anxiety and isolation from each other.
Raised with a competitive spirit, where winning is more important than caring, competition more important than friendship, men search for their opponents’ vulnerable points to be used as ammunition in the future, explained Halper.
Halper cited the case of investment banker Anthony Rich, who told him, “I store confidences away to be used at a later date, if it’s to my advantage. Any bit of knowledge is fair game to be used against your perceived enemy in order to declare a victory.” Although Rich did not admit it, Halper said the implication was there: “It’s okay to betray someone you treat as a friend if it means winning or losing.”
Consequently, this intense competitiveness and desire to win breed fear and distrust between men, according to Halper.
Halper said in general, men are discouraged from “opening their kimono” with one another. They are told to never count on anyone but themselves. Halper found that when he encouraged men to talk with one another about their haunting conflicts and issues, that which was troubling them suddenly seemed less important or disappeared.
“They unburdened themselves of feeling vulnerable by exposing their private side and finding someone who understood them,” he pointed out. “Most often the men I interviewed were shocked at how a simple step could alleviate their loneliness and pain and provide clarity and insight.”
Although there is some truth to the assertion that men distrust others because they themselves can’t be trusted, another important factor comes into play, Harped said.
“Men don’t believe thay are in control of their feelings, that they choose to feel as they do. Instead they think feelings are something that come over them, that they are made to feel as they do by a mysterious external force,” explained Halper. “They attribute the power and ability to others, believing someone else made them feel fear, hurt, happiness, or anger.”
Men fear getting close to anyone, women or men, because it’s another way they might put themselves on the line, becoming vulnerable, asserted Halper.
“Countless men told me they longed to be close to others, but if it meant feeling out of control, they didn’t want anything to do with intimacy,” he noted.