A secret can be defined as something that is meant to be kept quiet or unknown. A secret is something that is hidden from public or from a certain person or group of people.
Of course, there are good secrets, such as:
- Throwing a surprise party and not allowing the guest of honor to know about it.
- Writing a book or working on a project that you want to keep private until it’s complete
- Private information such as how much money you have, what your social security number is, etc.
Good secrets either make you feel good, or they protect you or an innocent person.
Examples of bad secrets are:
- Staying quiet in situations where someone is being abused
- Knowing of a crime but not speaking up about it
- Withdrawing information that keeps a predator or offender safe while the victim remains powerless, is made to suffer or can not gain closure
It’s easy to know the difference between a good secret and a bad secret, because a bad secret makes you feel uneasy. It makes you feel conflicted, confused and maybe even sick. You may feel as if you want to speak up, but are afraid too. Perhaps you’re afraid that if you speak up, you or someone you love will be harmed. But by not speaking up, you are allowing that cycle of abuse to continue. You are keeping the perpetrator free.
What Did Your Parents Teach You About Secrets?
When we are children, we don’t always know the difference between a good secret and a bad secret, and if we grew up with parents who harmed us or abused us, then we may have grown up with a distorted view of what secrets to keep and which ones to reveal. We might also believe that certain forms of abuse are normal, so we don’t speak up about them.
When I was a child, my parents overloaded my brother and I with secrets. They had decided to homeschool us, but we weren’t allowed to tell anyone that we were homeschooled. We grew up with emotionally and physically abusive parents, but we were confined to our homes, and we weren’t allowed to tell anyone what was going on in our home. So, at a young age, we learned to keep very toxic secrets.
As we got older, we began to break the ice, but there were still secrets that we didn’t talk about. As a young adult, and even in my young 30s, I didn’t realize how these secrets were affecting me.
The Danger Of Keeping Bad Secrets
When you hold on to bad secrets, when you keep quiet about them, then you are giving them power to control you and to control your life. You are absorbing the toxic energy that comes with protecting that terrible secret.
For years, I have seen the dark secrets in my family tear us apart, and they continue to affect me and other families well into our adulthood. In fact, these secrets have made some of my family members extremely sick, because they continue to hold the energy of that secret in their minds and bodies. These secrets are destroying their minds, their bodies and their relationships . . . and they don’t even see it.
Remember, the light can not heal what you keep in the dark.
If keeping a secret or several secrets is causing you to be ill, whether physically or emotionally; if such secrets make you feel upset, confused, conflicted or even scared, then it is time to let that secret go.
How To Release A Toxic Secret
To release a toxic secret, you must speak out about it.
You have to acknowledge it. You have to talk about it.
Harmful secrets don’t have an expiration date. If you are holding onto a secret from your childhood that still causes you to feel uneasy or upset, then that secret is still affecting you, and you owe it to yourself to let that secret go.
But maybe your secret doesn’t go back that far. Maybe it is much more recent. Either way, this secret needs to be revealed so that it can no longer control you.
Remember, you are doing this for you. Not for anybody else, but for you. You need to speak up so that you can gain peace and closure. Talking about the secret might be very hard at first, as you may relive the pain and turmoil that comes with it, but these are only signs of letting that emotional pain go, once and for all.
So, what is the best way to reveal the secret?
That’s up to you to decide, but there are several different ways.
Here are some suggestions:
- Join a group or online forum with people who have been in similar situations and can safely talk about it
- Speak to a trusted family member or friend, one that will protect you at all costs
- Speak to a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist who will listen and walk you through the steps needed to heal
I had done all of these steps when it came to my family’s dark secrets, but for me, true closure didn’t come until I wrote an open letter on Facebook to my father. (You can read it here: http://on.fb.me/1q0Jk8M) For me, it had to be a public display, because I was tired of keeping things quiet for so long. I knew I was safe, and protected, and that no harm would come to me in making a public post. What would come to me was closure and healing, because I had revealed the monster that he was, and I was no longer holding on to the energy of that secret.
Now, my family was furious with me, but that’s only because I revealed what they were not ready to admit. They have been protecting an abuser for way too long, and this is an abuser who has hurt me and my family on a level deeper than words can say. And perhaps the saddest part of all of this is that, once again, the family is protecting the abuser. Instead of coming forward and acknowledging how this man has hurt them, they are in a frenzy, trying to protect themselves, and trying to protect him.
But you know what? That’s okay. That’s their reality. That is their choice. But it isn’t mine.
So what is your choice going to be?
You certainly don’t need to write a public statement like I did. In fact, for some people, that would be unwise. But you can still speak up in a way that will bring healing and comfort for you. Remember, the goal of letting go of this toxic secret is to bring you closure and healing.
Please, do not give bad secrets the power to control or hurt you any longer. Let them go and set yourself free. You deserve it.