Hurt by Hearsay? How Therapy Rebuilds Your Sense of Safety

Gossip – sometimes it seems we’re surrounded by it.  We hear it all the time.  It glares at us from nearly every grocery store headline.  Have you seen so-and-so’s new haircut?  What was he/she thinking?  And what about those two?  Can you believe they did that?!

On the surface, gossiping can seem like harmless, idle chatter.  It goes on all the time – and not just on the newsstands.  I’m sure we’ve all been in a situation where the conversation turned to pointing out the flaws or misfortunes of others behind their backs.  But think twice before you chime in – gossiping about someone else can hurt YOU, in ways you may not even suspect.  Believe it or not, gossiping about others leads to unease, insecurity, and even to deciding not to trust anyone ever again.

Initially, sharing negative information about someone else can make you feel close to the person you’re talking to.  But, deep down you know that he/she has the capability to talk hurtfully about you when you’re not around.  The temporary closeness you feel is not true intimacy.  In fact, there’s very little closeness here.  Being genuinely connected to another person involves each person sharing their feelings ABOUT THEMSELVES, not feelings they have about another person.  If this is the way your family communicated when you were growing up, it’s likely you rarely had a sense of relationships being safe and trustworthy.

And don’t forget the flip side of gossip.  Sadly, almost all of us have had some time in our life when WE were the one who was being talked about.  Think back to how you felt: mildly embarrassed, completely betrayed, hurt, humiliated, mortified?  Whether we are the one doing the talking or the one being talked about, gossip chips away at our sense of trust, safety, comfort, and security.

If you find it hard to trust that others won’t turn on you, or if you have ever been betrayed or gossiped about, it can be a huge relief to talk to a therapist who is bound by law to keep sessions confidential . For some, the experience of safety and trust they feel with their therapist is quite new.  Not only are therapists bound by law to do this, we also WANT to keep what you say confidential.  We want to give you the experience of feeling secure and knowing that you will not be mocked, made fun of, or talked negatively about for something you said, did, or thought.

Once you feel this genuine security that therapy can provide, you can begin to open up.  Finally, there is someone you can share your inner world with.  What a relief to talk about the thoughts you have rarely, if ever, verbalized! Your therapist will be there for you to share the feelings you really feel about people and situations.  But this is not done with the intention of bad-mouthing someone else. Instead, it is done with the intention of learning about yourself and why that person triggers an intense reaction in you.  As a result, you will learn to handle these situations better in the future.

Feeling safe to finally open up to someone again is both powerful and beautiful. It sets the stage for you to put an end to feelings of insecurity, to learn to banish toxic talk, and to learn to trust again.

Don’t you deserve to create this type of relationship for yourself again?

To schedule an appointment to learn more about how feeling gratitude for your partner can greatly improve your relationship, call 908-246-3074 or email

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