Trust, Doubt, and Certainty

Broken Glass

Trust, from Merriam-Webster:


noun \ˈtrəst\

: belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.


verb \ˈtrəst\

: to believe that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc. : to have confidence in (someone or something)

: to believe that something is true or correct

: to hope or expect that something is true or will happen

Doubt, from Merriam-Webster:


verb \ˈdat\

: to be uncertain about (something) : to believe that (something) may not be true or is unlikely

: to have no confidence in (someone or something)



: a feeling of being uncertain or unsure about something

Certainty, from Merriam-Webster:


noun \ˈsər-tən-tē\

: the state of being or feeling certain about something

: something that is certain : a fact about which there is no doubt

A movie called Doubt was released in 2008, the year before I met my wife.  The movie was directed by John Patrick Shanley.  It starred Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  The movie was nominated for 5 Oscars in in 2009, and had grossed $33 million by April 2009.  I had seen the film when it hit the silver screen with a friend, and was fascinated by it.  When my wife came for our marriage in July 2010, the stage version of the movie happened to be playing at the Greenbelt Arts Center.  Thinking my wife would enjoy a date night out at a proper stage play, I bought tickets, and took her to see GAC’s production of Doubt.  How ironic!!!

In the movie, Meryl Streep portrays a nun who is a principal at an all-boy’s Catholic school, and Hoffman plays a priest.  As the plot unfolds, the Streep character begins to suspect that the Hoffman character is molesting a young male student.  By the end of the movie, very cleverly crafted, the viewer is left with “doubt” — did the priest molest the boy or not?  Using a brilliant tactic to satisfy her suspicion, Streep does something which causes the priest to resign his position in the parish … but the church hierarchy moves him to an even bigger parish.  The viewer reaches her or his own conclusions as to the guilt of the priest.

The entire movie is a jaw-dropping metaphor for dealing with a psychopath.  It reminds me of a Möbius strip.

Mobius strip

The lies told by a psychopath double-back on themselves so many times that the beginning cannot be distinguished from the end.  Trust is freely given in the beginning, because we do not expect to meet someone who will lie about anything and everything, such that they are a phantom, a putrid husk of a person.  To deceive on purpose??  Unthinkable — it’s not the way normal human beings operate.  We are told these things:

  • You are my soul mate.
  • I love you so much, I’d die for you.
  • We are going to be a happy family.  My kids adore you and they call you “daddy.”
  • It doesn’t matter that when I’m 60, you’ll be 74 — I’ll take care of you.
  • You’re transgendered?  You’re a man to me.
  • I was raped, abused, battered … pity me.
  • Those things you are finding out… People are lying to you; you should believe your wife.
  • No one has ever given me an orgasm before.
  • What, that dating profile you found 2 months before we married?  Nikki put that up to catch her boyfriend in cheating.

And so it goes…  You feel like you are being strangled by the Möbius strip.  The pile of lies grows so tall, you are living in a fog.  You stop asking questions because there are too many questions to ask.  You couldn’t explain to anyone what happened to you unless they’d been sitting on your shoulder watching the whole thing.  The gas-lighting, the silent treatment, the unbridled rage, the violence…  You begin to doubt your own sanity.  All trust has been broken, irretrievably, irrevocably.  You are thick in the middle of doubt.

But then… There’s that one last lie that topples the heap.  The pieces tumble into place over time, with no contact, and slowly-slowly-slowly, the Möbius strip rights itself flat.  You seek out answers, with epiphany followed by epiphany.  Now I understand why she said / did this…  Now I understand why she said / did that…  If you are lucky (and I was lucky), you cross paths with a victim who came before you or a victim who came after you.  You have suffered, but you have moved from trust to doubt to certainty.

My wife never admitted hitting me the first time.  But she admitted it the second time, in her own words, in an email sent to me:

Paula Hit Me

Some quotes on trust:

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“It was a mistake,” you said. But the cruel thing was, it felt like the mistake was mine, for trusting you.”
― David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary

“You see, you closed your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too–even when you’re in the dark. Even when you’re falling.”
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”
― George MacDonald

“For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

“Loving someone is giving them the power to break your heart, but trusting them not to.”
― Julianne Moore

“Love is a verb, not a noun. It is active. Love is not just feelings of passion and romance. It is behavior. If a man lies to you, he is behaving badly and unlovingly toward you. He is disrespecting you and your relationship. The words “I love you” are not enough to make up for that. Don’t kid yourself that they are.”
― Susan Forward, When Your Lover Is a Liar: Healing the Wounds of Deception and Betrayal

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
― Abraham Lincoln

“Trusting is hard. Knowing who to trust, even harder.”
― Maria V. Snyder, Poison Study

“The words ‘I Love You’ kill, and resurrect millions, in less than a second.”
― Aberjhani, Elemental: The Power of Illuminated Love

“I may be stupid, as you say, to believe in honour and friendship and loyalty without price. But these are virtues to be cherished, for without them we are no more than beasts roaming the land.”
― David Gemmell, Shield of Thunder

“When you give yourself to me, completely, I will bite you. Until then, my love, I will only nibble on you.”~Cole”
― Tina Carreiro, Power of the Moon

“You lie once.. you lie for the rest of your life… and in quest of proving your innocence.. you pledge your honesty with utter lies…. !!!”
― Abhijeet Sawant, Aapka Abhijeet

If things don’t add up, if you can’t get an answer to a simple question, if what first seemed like radiant sunlight turns to gloomy fog, put your trust in yourself.  Take heed — psychopaths are dangerous.  It’s no joke, no hyperbole, no exaggeration, and no lie.

Here is the trailer from the movie Doubt:

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About DogDharma

Dog Dharma is written by a human who loves dogs and who believes dogs have attained enlightenment. The human behind Dog Dharma came from humble origins, has faced many trials, enjoyed many adventures, and taken a path less traveled. He claims no special privilege or expertise, and remains humble. Dog Dharma‘s author has learned a few things along the way, and has much yet to learn. He has been told by many people that he has a talent for writing, and aspires to write a book, but is a little too lazy and disorganized, so his blog will suffice for now. He opens a window into his life in the hope that some of his words may be of comfort, some may be a beacon or warning, and perhaps he will connect with like-minded souls. Everything shared comes from a place of openness and honesty, but with no claim that he possesses the Truth. People and places mentioned should be taken as pseudonyms. In many cases, details may be an amalgamation of actual events disguised to protect the “innocent.” Nothing written is to be taken as actual fact, but as the author of Dharma Dog‘s limited understanding. From the mouths of the Beatles: In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make
This entry was posted in certainty, Claire Marshall, domestic violence, doubt, Paula Khier, Paula Simmons, Paula Vanzetti, psychopath, psychopathy, trust and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Trust, Doubt, and Certainty

  1. Jay Warner says:

    I saw the movie “Doubt” and it was one of the best crafted movies I’ve seen recently. Thanks for reminding me of it. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts on trust and doubt and how both have been affected by your marriage. I have difficulty trusting and therefore difficulty loving except for those very close to me, and it’s a small, small circle. It’s hard to regain trust once it’s lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • DogDharma says:

      Jay, I’ve always been too quick to trust, giving it away without it being earned over time with actions matching words. Of my many failings and flaws, telling lies is not one of them. Just like the old Listerine commercial, “Says what it does, does what it says.” Deception and exploitation on purpose is incomprehensible to me. Love and trust go hand-in-hand, in my view; you can’t have one without the other. So having a guarded heart it s good thing, I’ve learned. Much, much better to have a small circle who give and receive honest trust and love than a horde of shallow friends, or one flaming fool who paints herself as your “soul mate,” but is a sorry excuse for a human being. You are level-headed, my friend, and you are doing well.

      “Doubt” has got to rank as one of my all-time favorite movies because it makes you think and it gets under your skin. As you said, superbly crafted. Did you reach your own conclusions as to whether the priest was guilty or not?

      Thank you for commenting. 🙂


  2. mandy says:

    Thank you for reminding me of the movie “Doubt” and why I have always wanted to see it. Now I will make an effort to check in out. Those are very good quotes abut Trust. I especially connected with: “Trusting is hard. Knowing who to trust, even harder.” Thanks for all the work you do sharing your experience and educating us about the psychopath. It’s hard to imagine going through what you have.


    • DogDharma says:

      Mandy, thank you for commenting. If you watch the movie, I hope you enjoy it. We all have different tastes in movies. I confess I was probably the only person on the planet who wasn’t a Harry Potter fan, and now you couldn’t hog-tie me to get me to watch one of those movies again! Oh, the blasphemy! 🙂

      I don’t mind sharing my experience because my experience has given me the “plot” for the writing I always wanted to do. I really couldn’t count the number of people who have said to me, “You should write a book,” and I always replied along the lines of, “If you’ll give me the plot, I’ll write the book.” Now it’s pouring out of my keyboard into my blog, and perhaps one day, it will all find its way into a book! One can dream….

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I do appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mandy says:

        I love the self confidence you bring in writing your story! That’s 80% what’s going to get that book on the table! I started writing mine in bits and pieces, not knowing it was going to all fold into a memoir. And when people said the same thing to me I was like, “Wha? I have a story to tell?” I didn’t have the confidence–but after someone who had been abused and wrote a book told me: “Are you kidding, we have stories writers would kill for” I began to think, heck, why waste the opportunity, if maybe people wouldn’t be bored out of their minds, lol!

        Keep those fingers flying 🙂


  3. DogDharma says:

    Mandy, what is the other 20% in writing a book? 🙂 I find myself wishing I had a mentor to guide me. For someone who grew up in little ol’ Arkansas in a historic time period from humble roots, my life has been just quirky enough that I believe I could make it interesting — if I resisted my urge to babble and kept on course. The beauty of blogging is that I can write whatever wants to come out, whether it is something funny or something sad or offering my perspective on various things — childhood abuse, being transgendered, having a disability, tangoing with a psychopath, and odd sidebars about language, spirituality, having lived in England, healing, and giving hope. But it seems like a book needs a coherent focus and that readers want a tidy ending. It’d be rather hilarious to conclude the fantasied book with, “…and he rode off into the sunset with a publishing contract in his pocket.” 🙂

    Thank you for the encouragement, which might be part of the other 20%?, and thank you for the kind words and the inspiration. ❤


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