We’ve all heard the expression ‘the truth will set you free’, but what do secrets do? Keeping secrets has a function of either controlling others, keeping ourselves safe from perceived danger or retribution, or, believing that withholding information or feelings will somehow preserve other people’s perception of us.
There are different types of secrets:
1. Secret Feelings. Withholding feelings of love or affection for someone, withholding feelings of displeasure, anger or frustration. When we keep feelings secret we are trying to preserve a relationship or to control a relationship.
2. Secret Events. We keep secrets about events in our lives owing to feelings of shame, guilt or both. Do we keep our financial worries secret? Our health issues a secret? Our losses?
3. Family Secrets. Family secrets are probably the most destructive. What are we keeping secret? A relationship? A child we gave up for adoption? An abortion? A previous spouse? Our sexual orientation? The orientation of a child?
Truth is always expansive, even when there is a lot of fear present in terms of divulging truth of who we are, how we feel and what is going on in our lives. Whenever we withhold truth we are in contraction. The contraction we experience is not only emotionally, but it can also be observed in our breathing and in our energy body, or auric field. As we habitually live from that contracted place it starts even to have an effect on our health, well-being and our relationship with ourselves. We may tell ourselves that the greatest effect is living in fear of what the other may think or feel but in reality it becomes increasingly difficult for us to find self-respect and self-appreciation if we continue to either live a lie or not to step into a greater truth of who we are.
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What secret feelings are you holding? Are you in love with someone? Is there a longstanding issue in a relationship that you’ve never had the courage to rise or to clear? Do you feel stuck in a marriage or long term relationship that is making you unhappy? Do you long to be free of the constraints imposed by your culture, background or career choices? Are you longing to let our air down, express joy, even anger but don’t dare? Where are your creative juices? What is the truth of who you are that you are holding back?
These are all of the feelings we can keep secret. Across the globe countless millions of people keep their deeper feelings secret: women are forced into a way of life that feels like a prison, boys are nurtured for careers and roles that do not suit many and feeling of love are suppressed and sexual orientation and identification is often denied, hidden and often forced into hiding. However, even without these major cultural barriers, most, is not all of us, live in a form of self constructed prison.
The secret events kept by individuals change from generation to generation and from culture to culture. Twenty of thirty years ago, abortion was a taboo subject and it still is in many parts of the world and within parts of the western world. However, more and more women are openly sharing with their friends and partners. Beyond that, there can be cultural secrets around money, career, success and lost loves. Many feel ashamed of financial debt or even by how much they earn. There are so many images around money and success that the having of not enough or ‘too much’ can illicit feelings of shame and guilt.
For relationships to flow there needs to be openness and intimacy. Not just for romantic relationships, but for all of our adult friendships. Each secret we hold requires energy to hold it. I am not suggesting that you tell everyone everything, that would not be wise and in some cases, it would not be safe. The invitation here is to not hold it as a secret unto yourself and to be open with at least one person with whom you have a close intimate relationship – a partner, a best friend etc.
Each secret we hold, is literally ‘held’. It is held as a stagnant energy in our energy field and also in our physical body. As we hold secrets and find ourselves needing to tell more stories in order to hide our feelings and secrets, thereby adding to the burden, it takes more and more of our life force energy to hold the secret in place. This is why secret holding can be detrimental to our emotional, mental and physical well-being.
If you are holding secrets about events or even your feelings, what would your life look like if you had much more access to life force energy? Secrets drain us of essential life force energy, secrets make it difficult to live from an open heart, our basic nature, and dim the lights in one or several areas of our lives. The secrets we hold consume lives, our life.
Family Secrets can be the most destructive secrets that we hold. Very often parents and adults convince themselves that holding a secret, withholding truth and supporting a lie is in the best interests of the child. It isn’t, it is in reality a distorted belief that is in denial that the ‘best interests’ are the adults for whom the truth is inconvenient. Secrets do not protect children, they damage children. Adults often assume that if a child is not told, or are ‘too young to understand’ that the child is somehow protected from the secret. The reality is that children are aware of everything. When secrets are held in families they are keenly felt by the children even if they do not know the facts or are unable to articulate accurately what they are feeling. Again, secrets do not protect children, they are designed to cover the lies adults live and tell.
Here are some examples:
– A previous marriage kept secret
– A child given up for adoption kept secret
– A disowned or ousted member of the family never being spoken about
– Asking a child to keep a secret for you
– Confiding in your children
– Keeping adoption secret
– Keeping paternity secret
As adults we often lie to children in favour of facing our own shame, guilt and responsibility for past events and for the unwise decisions we have made. This can be a challenge when some secrets are supported by our culture, religion and family.
We keep secrets because we are trying to control our lives in some way and control the people in our life. We often believe that through preserving a secret that we can also preserve the image others have of us, preserve their love for us and preserve the respect they have for us. So what is the price we pay? The price we pay with living a lie is reduced life force energy and in effect, reduced love and reduced happiness. Our greatest fear is to lose everything are we reveal the truth – however, secret holding ensures that we lose all that we are slowly, but by bit, until we start running out of life.
So what are your secrets? Do you long to be a dancer? A poet? Do you long to leave a friendship or relationship but don’t dare speak up? Do you long to reclaim the truth of a child you surrendered to adoption? Do you long to say no? Is your ‘NO’ a secret? Do you long to break a family silence and claim the uncle who was disowned as your own? Do you long to tell your mother what your father did? Are you killing yourself slowly by not telling your father what your mother did or said? For whom are you holding?
We need to realise three things:
1. the truth is that we are trying to control others through our secrets, control relationships
2. Having control is an illusion. We never had control and never will. The only thing gained is a life live in less than happy circumstances
3. Our secret is not really to protect others, it to protect ourselves
There ARE some secrets we don’t tell
When it comes to divulging secrets we must be fully honest with our motivation. If we are looking for another to forgive us for something, it is better not to tell the secret. The work of forgiveness is inner work and it cannot be placed at the feet of another to do for us.
The truth is inconvenient, but it does set us free.
For help with with secrets, refer to:
See also: Family Constellations