Relationships: Can You Have Faith in Someone Who Disappoints You?

Can you sincerely have faith in someone when you think they have screwed-up their life?
Photo: Shawn Campbell

WASHINGTON, January 5, 2012 – What does it mean to tell someone you have faith in them?

PART ONE: How Could She?
Marie is a 48 year old mother of two young adults. After 26 years of marriage Marie divorced her husband and moved a few states away to be with someone else. Family and friends eventually learned that Marie had connected with a high school boyfriend on Facebook and wanted to be with him.

Everyone who knows Marie was, and still is, scratching their heads, because her actions were out-of-character to those who “know” her. Her husband did not want the divorce, and her sons will be processing this for who knows how long.

Marie must have been passionate about her decision. It takes courage to topple a seemingly good apple cart that your relatives like.

PART TWO: It’s Personal
This writer found herself wishing for something over the past few months. “The only thing I want,” I said to myself, “is someone, for once, just to have faith in me. No overt advice, subtle suggestions, endless cautions, jabbing judgments, or prophecies of doom.”

How many of us receive a freely given vote of confidence without saying, “Support me or keep your mouth shut?”

What brings the first two parts of this story together is that Marie is this author’s sister, and this author has been in Marie’s ex-husband’s shoes: dumped by a spouse. It is natural to empathize with people when you have some understanding of their pain, and my heart goes out to her former husband and the children. 

PART THREE: Different Angles
Can you sincerely have faith in someone when your empathy lies elsewhere, and you think they might have screwed-up their life?

People are at times compelled to make drastic changes in their lives and “go their own way.” Many of us can relate to that. We all experience internal explosions of life that shove us in a new direction, maybe three feet to the left or millions of miles going right. Do we follow those bursts of life? There is a price to pay if we do, or if we don’t.

To keep living interesting, there is also the possibility that what we think keeps us from happiness is not the problem at all; we may change our journey’s course according to misperceptions and later wonder how things became so boggled up. 

Then, there is the theory that we are all on Earth to learn lessons. 

Sometimes our life’s trajectory is radically redirected by someone else’s choice, whether we like it or not. I have always believed my husband had a right to choose divorce despite how idiotic and self-centered his reasons were. (Plus, I had no illusions of being blameless.) Maybe the whole experience was part of my schooling. 

The more you think about life; the more inconclusive it gets.

PART FOUR: What is Discovered
It is possible to sincerely offer validation to someone who has painfully disrupted several lives to redirect their own.

Believing in Marie feels like a combination of love, letting go, and trusting the impetus of life within her. It says to Marie, “I know you are responsible for the choices you make, I respect your right to choose, and know you are competent to manage what follows.” It puts the ball of responsibility in her court.

Empathy lies where it will and remains with those Marie hurt, but though having someone leave you is excruciating, it is not the end of life. Those left behind have the wherewithal to process what happened, maybe with help, and move on.

Letting go of what we want for others, or what we know is best for them, is a source of disappointment and grief. It is painful releasing our need for someone to live or act a certain way. We are, however, losing something we never owned.

Depression is s common response to broken relationships. Lives that are intertwined and then pulled apart disrupt us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sometimes shutting down is part of healing. You can find depression questions and answers HERE.



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Jacqueline Marshall

Jacqueline Marshall is a writer for Help For Depression, and freelances primarily in the areas of psychology and personal development. She has a MA in Counseling Psychology and is a licensed therapist living near Chicago.

Jacqueline has experience helping those diagnosed with severe, persistent mental illness, and in providing general therapy services for individuals, couples, and families. Prior to counseling, she worked in graphic design and music education.

When not writing or counseling, Jacqueline enjoys reading literature and math-less books about quantum physics. She is a published poet, and has studied animal communication and energy healing.  


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