Family Secrets

August 7, 2017 - - 0 Comments

Family Secrets

Secrets are those things that when hidden are thought to keep us safe. People often think of it as a privacy issue. There is a difference. Privacy is something we might not share with the public, such as using the bathroom, but secrets are those things we hide and pretend they are not true to the world. Secret keepers believe that they are safer if the secret remains hidden and often believe they are protecting others as well.

People with addiction in their families believe keeping secrets is a safe way to protect themselves or the family name. When someone hides the truth then they must adjust all other behavior to keep this secret from being able to be revealed. Think about it! When you lie about something you then must continue to create a story around it so the lie or secret grows until you feel out of control.

When people are not congruent with their emotions or truths they have to get rid of these emotions attached to it.  Secret keeping brings with it shame and guilt. Often this is when addicts use, co-dependents care take, family members shut down.  There are times we are secret keepers and do not even know what the secret is. It is passed down from generation to generation.  Sue Jackson the author of The Family Scrimmage talks about the hidden secrets as abstruse secrets.

Families do not want to address the addiction, abuse, or dysfunction from their family of origins and therefore keep that hidden as if it does not hold weight to the current situation. I am a true believer that when we can use our voices we can break free from these lies and begin to heal the wounds of addiction, co-dependency, eating disorders and other maladaptive coping techniques.

Secrets keep us stuck in the madness of addiction and enmeshment within our families. Families become focused on the addict and it is often with treatment, therapy, and family sessions that these secrets come out.  Once the secret is out now we have something to work on.

Secrets are thought to keep us safe, but they do not they keep us stuck. Privacy and secrets are different. Privacy is closing a door a secret is hiding the addiction, abuse, or lies. Secrets keep people sick and unable to form healthy relationships. Treatment is often needed for the addict to recover. Therapy and family groups are a great way to break away at the secrets that keep people stuck.

Terri Fowler , MFTI

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