The Epidemic of Broken Marriages – The Psychology of Trust Issues in Pakistan

The Epidemic of Broken Marriages – The Psychology of Trust Issues in Pakistan


Trust—the act of placing confidence in someone or something other than yourself—is social superglue. It is the binding for the deepest love, the strongest friendships, and the world’s communities. Modern society is built on trust, and in the absence of trust, fear rules.

With this in mind, it is easy to understand how people with trust issues might have difficulty engaging in certain social contexts and leading the most fulfilling life they can. Some of the most common settings in which individuals display a lack of trust are in interpersonal relationships (romantic or otherwise), business dealings, politics, and even the use of technology. And with these different facets of life becoming increasingly interconnected, mistrust could conceivably spread from one part of a person’s life to another.

Where Do Trust Issues Come From?

Trust can take years to develop, but it can be destroyed in an instant. People who have issues with trust have often had significant negative experiences in the past with individuals or organizations they initially deemed trustworthy. For example, studies show that children of divorced parents and those from abusive households are more likely to have intimacy, commitment, and trust issues in future relationships.

While trust issues sometimes develop from negative interactions experienced during early childhood, social rejection during adolescence or traumatic experiences during adulthood can also lead to trust issues for an individual. Betrayal in the form of infidelity in romantic relationships can cause trust issues throughout a person’s life. Significant loss of financial resources or perceived injustice at the hands of authority figures can even cause strong feelings of mistrust toward institutions rather than people. The fragile state of the nation’s economy, for example, has resulted in many people losing trust in the banking system and government organizations.

In short, when a person’s trust is repeatedly violated, his or her belief system can be affected profoundly, causing future concerns with placing trust in people or organizations.

Trust Issues: Psychology and Common Beliefs

A person with trust issues may harbor negative beliefs about trust and may find themselves thinking limiting thoughts, such as:

“I can never let my guard down.”
“If I open up I will only get hurt again.”
“Everybody is out to get me.”

A person with these kinds of thoughts may construct social barriers as a defense mechanism to ensure that trust is not lost again. These barriers are often a person’s way of avoiding the pain, rejection, or guilt associated with mistrust.


A belief system marred by violations of trust can significantly burden an individual both mentally and physically. Overwhelming anxiety and stress can easily become everyday companions, facilitating the gradual erosion of both mind and body. Thankfully though, these shackles need not remain forever.

Dr Javed says:

Most people in Pakistan are living with a continued sense of helplessness, and rather than dealing with it they are accepting it.  There is no concept of psychiatric social work in Pakistan. When your physical well-being is not guaranteed and you don’t have enough to feed your children your mental health is not a priority.

Psychiatrists in Pakistan believe that majority of the population is suffering from PTSD and that there is not much being done to help them.

The World Health Organisation estimates there are only 320 psychiatrists in Pakistan to deal with 176 million patients.

The article also points out the role of madrassas and their mushroom growth across the Grand Trunk Road that offers “free food, education and eternal salvation” as the Crescent Post puts it, contributing to the damage.

Dr Javed also believes that being a patriarchal society, it is rare that men in Pakistan admit their depression because it will indirectly mean that they failed to cope up with their responsibilities.

A report compiled by Consultant Psychiatrist Farooq Naeem for the International Journal of Mental Health Systems reveals that the ‘talking cure’ – a part of the psychological consultation – is often misunderstood because the doctors are mostly trained in English.

Hence, he thinks, that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – used to help people overcome PTSD – needs to be adjusted according to Pakistan’s culture and language.

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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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