I lived a childhood full of secrets. I could not tell anyone outside of my family about what was really going on in my life.
My step-father was an alcoholic.
My step-father physically abused my mom.
He abused his step-children.
He didn’t abuse my younger sister, who was his biological child, although her seeing what he did to the rest of us was powerful abuse in itself.
He sexually abused me.
He went into drunken rages.
He humiliated us by showing up at our school drunk, demanding we leave with him.
He thought of new ways to inflict pain, thrilled when they “worked”.
We lived on eggshells. We lived in fear. Fear of him. Fear of tomorrow. Fear of five minutes from now.
But I could not speak. It wasn’t done.
So I kept the secrets.
I kept them for a very long time.
I kept them until I was married.
Then I told some of them.
Eventually, I sought counseling and told all of them.
ALL. OF. THEM.
I learned something valuable.
It isn’t a cliché.
The truth really DOES set you free.
It frees your soul from the weight you have been carrying.
It frees you to work through the secrets and move beyond them.
If you have secrets you have kept because someone told you that you can’t tell –
You can tell.
If you are keeping a secret to protect someone else-
Who is protecting you? Tell someone the secret.
If you have kept secrets because of shame or guilt –
Tell someone, set yourself free.
Make sure you tell a very trusted person.
Tell a close friend.
Tell your spouse.
Tell your religious leader.
If they are too painful or shameful or scary to tell someone you know –
Tell a therapist.
(I found a wonderful therapist. It cost money*, but there is no price too high for freedom and healing.)
It is time to heal yourself instead of protecting someone else.
You deserve it.
You need to release that burden you have carried for far too long.
It is frightening to think of telling a secret you have kept for so long.
I know it scared the hell out of me.
My entire body shook with tremors when I began bringing the secrets to the light.
But I have to tell you – I am so grateful I found the courage to tell.
When a secret is out in the open, you can examine it.
You can see it from a different point of view.
My secrets were from the viewpoint of a child’s understanding.
A child does not have the capability to understand a lot of things we adults understand.
Seeing them out in the daylight, as an adult, I was able to examine them.
I could see who held the responsibility for the situation.
I could see it wasn’t me.
I could see a future without that weight on my heart.
I read a quote once that I have stored in my heart.
I keep it in mind so I’ll NEVER keep a secret that is detrimental to myself again.
The quote is:
We are only as sick as our deepest secret.
A secret loses it’s power when you speak it in the light.
If you are keeping a secret, I encourage you to find a safe person, take a deep breath and shine a big, bright light on that ugly old secret.
It will set you free.
*Many communities have mental health centers where the fees for counseling/therapy are on a sliding scale, based on your income and expenses. Our local mental health center is where I found help. It is where I found the wonderful counselor who helped me work through the past and find my future.
Sometimes the answers are so simple it’s scary. Very powerful advice.
I lived with a secret for 27 years and I never told. And I thought that it was no big deal, this thing that happened to me. But it was controlling me, and killing my marriage. In one desperate moment, I broke out and told someone. I was amazed at how a weight I never knew was there was just gone, simply by opening the door and letting the truth in.
Thank you for this post.
I’m SO glad you told someone and lifted that weight from your heart! YOU GO GIRL!
Such a powerful post.
Thank you 🙂
This post is so beautiful and full of HOPE. you are a beautiful person for sharing it.