Do you have a secret?
Lets look at some lies that secrets tell.
1. If they don’t know, it won’t hurt them.
A secret would have us to believe that someone finding out is the only way for the secret to hurt them. People are hurt by what they don’t know because a secret changes you in a way that others don’t understand. They don’t understand why you are irritable, why you are so stubborn about some things, or why you can’t be around someone. Even worse, when people don’t understand a problem they usually attribute that they are the cause. Maybe you know it is about your secret but they think it is about them.
2. Telling would be too catastrophic. Things would never be the same again. Telling would just create problems.
You likely envision your secret coming out and life changing forever and nothing good happening from that point on. The truth is that if you tell your secret, everything may likely change for a time. Things may fall apart in the short term but will stabilize in the long term. Things might not ever be the same but it doesn’t mean that it will forever to bad. For secrets like affairs, addiction or abuse, the fall out can be big but the recovery will happen. The immediate aftermath will be rough but the only way to have a better long term is to go through this step.
3. Keeping it doesn’t really affect me. I have it under control.
This is the biggest lie about secrets. You believe that you are okay or at least you can manage it. The truth is you are not okay. Most people do not understand how much energy keeping a secret takes, how much it changes your mood and behavior, and how much it keeps good parts of you locked away. I hear it over and over again “I didn’t realize how much if affected me until after I told.” Secrets can produce irritability, depression, anxiety, somatic symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, and tiredness. When a secret is locked inside of you it takes up room and there is less room for joy, peace, fun, and connection. And it is always taking up more room than you think.
Now some truths about secrets
1. It will be easier to deal with a secret if you tell it instead of it being discovered.
The biggest problem with a secret is the breach of trust. You can start the recovery off on the right foot by telling so that those who are involved can know that at this point you decided and wanted to be honest. The worst situation is for a secret to be uncovered, you deny it and then are proven to be a liar twice over. It makes so much more to overcome.
2. There can be more healing and good than you can imagine.
Because a secret is taking more from you and your relationships that you realize, being free from it will open up a lot of room for positive growth and change. I know that everything within you believes the opposite but I see the good side of telling all the time.
3. There is help along the way.
If you are struggling with a secret, I think starting with a counselor is a great place to begin. A counselor will not be hurt or upset by your secret. Telling a counselor can help you see the benefits of coming clean and can help you figure out the next steps. (Disclaimer:telling a counselor doesn’t mean that you won’t need to tell someone else in time.)
Think about it.
Next post: You’ve Learned a Secret.