As long as there have been families in the world, there have been secrets. Secrets can have a negative connotation, but they are not always a bad thing. For instance, planning a surprise party for someone should remain a secret until the honoree’s special day arrives. If friend or family member trusts you to keep their personal business safe and it does not bring harm to themselves or others, use your discretion. However, there are times when secrets would just not be kept.
Working as a relationship guru and mental health expert, I have come across many families who have kept secrets to the detriment of all parties involved. Family secrets can range from who a child’s parents are, to major health issues, or even mental health issues. Abuse- both sexual and physical- is often kept secret as well, in hopes that the abuser will stop and to keep the family name from being tarnished. The unfortunate thing is these types of secrets do not promote healthy environments where victims can be healed. In fact, it promotes toxicity, mistrust, low self-esteem, and denial.
Though it may feel shameful or even bring about an unwanted emotional response, the truth really does make one free. Often a therapist or life coach can help families navigate the world of family secrets in order to assist in revealing the truth to all affected. Children and adults alike can truly suffer while attempting to please others by internalizing hurt, pain, and trauma in the name of “not airing dirty laundry.” The truth is laundry needs to be washed and it cannot be cleaned if it stays in a locked hamper.
Here are just a few possible outcomes when keeping family secrets: confusion, mistrust, anxiety, depression, strained relationships, substance abuse, repeated trauma, and abuse. Nothing positive ever comes from secrets. In darkness lurks chaos, but in light there is freedom. No person should ever have to bear the weight of withholding information that needs to be shared. It is unfair to the family members who have been told to remain silent and it is a terrible disservice to the victims who are left to suffer and live in frustration and fear.
If you’d like help unveiling some family secrets so that you can move forward in life, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Simply click here to book one of my life coaching packages. Sessions are available for individuals and groups. I’d love the opportunity to help you grow, heal, and live a life of honesty with no apologies.
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