I have them, we all have them to some level. Skeletons in the closet that we have locked tightly and hope no one ever finds the key. I am coming to find though, that those locked away secrets, have great power. What would happen, should that door of hidden things, be opened? How would people react, should they find out? Secrets kept, can and does, dictate our life to varying degrees. Even when we say they don’t.
My secret, is one that has been allowed to seep out in degrees. It was and is, a secret kept in an attempt to protect my parents. I didn’t want them to know the extent of what happened, even as mom suspects at least parts of that time. A time from almost forty years ago. All I will say here about that time is that I am a victim and survivor of domestic and emotional abuse. Something that should not have happened, but now helps me realize what a warrior I have become. Should we though, keep secrets for such a reason? How does the attempt to protect others from something, harm ourselves? What challenges come with those secrets?
Heavy drinking came with what I went through. Wine was my drink of choice. It was actually a method of self preservation that got out of control. At the time, if I was drinking, I was safe. Sober I was a target. When I escaped and got back home, I found that I had left that need and desire to drink back in that past life. I have not drank alcohol in that nearly forty years and I have no tolerance for those who have no control over their drinking. Something that is not a secret from my mother, again, she simply doesn’t know the extent.
Not knowing that may in actuality, cause more harm. Over the course of time, I have told her enough that she knows some, she knows it wasn’t good, but that nothing bad came from my drinking. I never-ever drove while drinking. I even stayed far away from the stairs in our apartment. Drunk, not stupid.
Secrets can be the innocent things of childhood, or the not so innocent times of harm. They can be the surprise gift or event planned, or the lapse of judgement and moment of infidelity. They can be exciting, or they can create physical and mental harm.
My secrets often eat at me. When in a moment of conversation or at an event and comments are made that have reference to, not my secret, but similar. Making me have to back away mentally. Attempting to control facial expressions and body language knowing the entire time, its obvious there is something there.
Secrets held, cause a separation. When you fear exposure. When you fear discovery, you begin to hide away. For years, I avoided any location where drinks were served. Not that I feared myself drinking, I simply didn’t want to be around the reminders. Even though, the people I would have been with, were highly responsible. Still, the reminders that I held secrets stopped me.
Secrets held, can, due to the anxiety that comes with it, cause ailments. Be it physical, mental, or emotional.
Fear of discovery can create moments or lifetimes of panic. Fearing what the reaction would be. Fearing alienation, fearing disgust, fearing any number of things that an overactive mind can create.
Yet even if a part or all of the feared reactions happened, to have a secret brought to light, is freeing. It no longer has any hold or power. There may be repercussions, especially if say you were hiding that you hadn’t paid taxes. Those will need to be taken care of in some manner. A moment of infidelity may bring about the need for some form of counseling in the least. But the good, outweighs the bad. In most cases.
But what if, one knows a secret, that no one else realizes they know? Say one knows of wrong doing at work, do they keep the secret, or become that whistle blower to expose what they know? Do they take the risks that come with that, or do they continue on, hiding what they know? What if, one young person shares with a friend that they are being abused- in any form? How do they handle that? Do they keep the secret, or break a trust? We know the answer to that, but would they? They are now in possession of a secret that could be very volatile.
Sharing, can bring about positive changes. As in the sharing of addiction or abuse. It depends on knowing the right person to share with. The right family member, the right teacher, the right professional, who has the heart, knowledge, the means to correct the wrong or in the very least understand. Who can make bringing a secret out in the open a less than painful event, that brings the freedom needed.
One other way, of thinking about secrets, is considering what is said about them in the Bible. And before I go further, I will note that there are a lot of evil people out there who use religion to do evil things. They cause harm and demand secrets. Not just one religious belief or that, but all have their issues.True faith, is one of light and love where evil is brought out of the dark and dealt with not hidden deeper.
So what does the Bible say about secrets? https://www.openbible.info/topics/secrets
Now, I will add this, there are times when secrecy is important. You don’t want to share too much information about yourself online. You don’t want to give out personal information without being sure of whom you are giving it to and why. You don’t want to share photos of children even though they are adorable and you want everyone to see how much. You definitely don’t want to share too much of your children’s activities. Going on vacation? You really ought to wait until you get home and share all the photos then. Unless you have super neighbors watching your place. Spending time alone? No one needs to know. And no, I’m not sharing my mom’s recipe for that yummy banana pudding. Mostly because she hasn’t shared it with me. Yet.
Secrets,a few thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly.