Trust Issues in Midlife

Do you have trust issues? Many folks do, as a result of childhood trauma, adult betrayal, a series of heartbreaks, or any number of painful experiences. For whatever reason, believing in others is an issue for many people.

But what about believing in yourself? Trusting yourself is the most important trust of all. As a midlife woman of 62, I would think I’d have this self-trust stuff down pat by now. If nothing else, my track record of resilience and perseverance should remind me that, in the end, I usually know what to do to eventually make things happen to my benefit. It may not be painless or quick or smooth — in fact, it’s often just the opposite — but history has shown that my decision-making usually gets me to a place that’s right for me. I think many of us, when we look back on things, can say the same.

So why, then, do we continue to not trust ourselves? To doubt our own competency…question our own actions…mistrust our own decisions?

This is something I’ve struggled with over the last month or so, as the clock ticks down on my fall move to Portugal. I wrote here about my bad mood when plans were not going my way last month.

I started working on all the pieces of my D7 Residency Visa application back in January. Because I’d spent a month in Sesimbra, Portugal, after I retired at 59, I secured a six-month VRBO flat on the ocean at the beginning of this year for the proof of accommodation required for my visa application. Before this year, expats could use short-term vacation rentals or hotel reservations as acceptable proof of accommodation when applying for the D7 visa. But then I found out now you need a one-year, nonrefundable lease that is registered with the Portuguese Tax Authority, before you even submit your application. I had to give up my beautiful Sesimbra sea view and continue searching for an oceanfront property that would do a long-term lease. This is nearly impossible to find because short-term vacation rentals on the ocean are so lucrative.

After expanding my search far beyond Sesimbra, I finally found several oceanfront properties with annual leases…but I lost every one of them to other bidders. I questioned my strategies, second-guessed my timing, and criticized my decisions. What were you thinking, Natalie? You can’t do this. You screwed up the timing. Just give it up, girl. Eventually, I did get my mood under control by reminding myself that these are problems I’m lucky to have. I still didn’t entirely trust my decisions, though. I almost decided to scrap my dream of getting a residency visa in favor of just being an international nomad moving from country to country every 90 days.


And then I got an email stating that one of the properties I’d wanted was back on the market. After weeks of back and forth, the lease was finalized and signed last week, while I was visiting family in Pennsylvania. I now have the condo I wanted overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on Portugal’s Silver Coast, about an hour north of Lisbon. It has three bedrooms and four bathrooms, and is cheaper than a small one-bedroom unit overlooking a lake in Cleveland. I did my research, stuck to my guns, and ultimately got what I hoped for, though not in my first-choice location of Sesimbra. I should have trusted myself. Even if I hadn’t gotten this property, I should have believed in my ability to figure something out. We all can figure something out — a Plan B, a pivot, a redo, something — if we can just shut up the negative self-chatter and remember to trust the one person who matters most.

The nearest grocery store to my Portugal home is a two-mile walk or bike ride on very steep hills. I trust myself to figure out how to carry home a case of wine.
Can’t wait to see this, off the coast of Peniche, about 20 minutes from my new home. I’m working on trusting myself to get over to the fort without falling into the ocean and drowning.

This post was scheduled to be another article in the monthly Midlife Expat Learning series. June was supposed to cover healthcare in Portugal. But I came across some new information and haven’t yet been able to verify it, so I’ll wait to publish until I can confirm the facts. Trust myself? Yes. Trust the Internet? Not so much.

What about you? Do you always trust yourself? Do you think it’s possible to trust other people when you don’t have self-trust?

The Hot Goddess

Instagram: retired_rewired_inspired

If you enjoyed this please remember to Share, Like, Comment, Follow, Subscribe. (This is my “call to action” I’m supposed to include in every post. Thanks so much for your support!) ❤


  1. I usually trust my instincts (except for dealing with my aging parents because I don’t know what I’m doing). I think people with low self esteem will trust others more than themselves…very thought provoking post

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wuhoo!! That place looks awesome. Congratulations, Natalie.

    The topic of self-trust is so interesting and I love the way you illustrate it. I think it’s always the stinky middle of doing something that gets to me. My excitement of the beginning has faded away and I’m not yet to the satisfying end so it’s the middle where I’m most vulnerable.

    So thank you for sharing your journey with us and this incredible reminder to trust all the way through!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I learned to trust myself by overcoming obstacles and (unfortunately) experiencing trauma. I know there is always another way, and I will be able to figure things out, and that I have the strength to deal with all of the above. Occasionally someone asks how they can get to be more like me and I say “Honey, you don’t want to have to go through what I did to get to where I am now…trust me.” But I really don’t know if there is better way to learn to trust in yourself and your ability to weather any storm.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I still struggle with self-trust and making decisions in general. Kudos Natalie on finding a place to lease and start your Portugal move/ adventure. May it be a wonderful first step for your new life abroad as an ex-pat.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Congrats on that place! It looks great and I’m glad it worked out.

    I have kind of the reverse trust issues where I am often too trusting/forgiving/make excuses for bad behavior. But the pandemic really brought that to the forefront and I’ve been working on it slowly.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Will you be my life coach? 😉

    This is such an amazing, inspiring post. Thank you for sharing. I’m currently in a woe is me phase and your post is very helpful to stop me in my tracks.

    Back to the drawing board for me. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s be each other’s coach! It’s usually one step forward, two steps back for me. I’m liking life on the drawing board, though. We’re creating our own works of art-in-progress, right? I, too, am very familiar with the “woe is me” phase, Claudette. Sending hugs your way💜💜

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow I’m so impressed by your perseverance! And that you were able to get what you wanted (for the most part, and who knows, this might even be better than what you had hoped for in another location?)! The fact that this came through for you to me means that you’re on the right track. The universe just had to rearrange some things for you in order to get you something that’s a perfect fit for you. And of course you doubt yourself during that interim bc u can’t exactly see what the universe is doing, working behind the scenes for you. But that email was like boom, here you go, thank you for waiting, I have this all ready for you now. So lovely and exciting!!!! ♥️♥️♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So happy this has worked out for you and the new place sounds amazing and big, wow! And it sounds like you’ll have awesome leg muscles walking steep hills with a case of wine, LOL!!! I think we all second guess ourselves, especially with big decisions but it sounds like you’re right on course ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Sharon! I’m not through the woods yet, as I still have to get my visa application approved. Trying not to worry. I’m distracting myself by researching electric bikes that can go up steep hills and have shopping baskets that can handle a case of wine.😅

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Trusting ourselves after we’ve experienced traumatic events. I had difficulty trusting myself after my second marriage ended. I married a narcissist, and was in full self-blame mode after that marriage broke up: “why didn’t I see the signs beforehand?” etc. When I came across a few quotes and passages to trust That God, the Universe and my Angels have my back, I was able to let go of that tight knot which kept me tied up, and slowly learn to step into trusting myself again. We learn through all of our experiences, and I learned that I still had the inner resources to start all over in life, later in life.

    Challenges? yes. Interesting and fun? Yes, when we allow those into our lives.

    You seem to be ticking the boxes. Looks like the Universe has your back! My new prayer when I pray for something? “Please let me have this, or better!” That way when something doesn’t seem to work out, I feel the safety net of trust to feel that something better is being prepared for me, in the right time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tamara, thank you so much for this rich and inspiring comment! 💜 We share the same second-marriage experience and self-blame fallout. I’m happy that you, too, eventually found healing and enlightenment through your experiences. Self-trust is a journey of baby steps for me, and powerful reminders such as this from you help keep the path clear. Thank you!💜

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the concept of baby steps was seriously put into practice during the recovery years! Even now I apply this concept!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, a condo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on Portugal’s Silver Coast, about an hour north of Lisbon…Natalie, this IS a great find! Congrats!

    And you are right about trusting oneself. I find sometimes we second guess our decisions because others can be so intent on pointing out what won’t work. Kudos to you for following your instincts!

    Liked by 1 person

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