Recently I was reminded of how secrecy or a relational dynamic built on secrecy can contribute to bondage.
I’m sure some in my family would have a problem with me telling you how much they seem to love it. Anytime something negative, unfavorable, or concerning happens to or regarding someone, the first inclination is to keep it under wraps. Whether someone outside of our immediate family can help us or not doesn’t matter because, seemingly, the appearance of our familial dynamic or circumstance is more important than the truth of it.
And don’t get me wrong, discretion is wise & oversharing is an epidemic that gets more attention, likes, & follows than it should. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we can easily find many examples of where secrecy has had negative consequences & was not beneficial.
Ask those who couldn’t speak about being sexually abused, especially if the abuser was family or someone with a position of influence.
Ask those who were silenced & ostracized for being open about spiritual abuse.
Ask those who attempted suicide, survived, & didn’t have a safe place to land following treatment.
Ask those impacted by the stigma surrounding mental health.
Ask me or anyone who has experienced any or all of the above & used harmful coping mechanisms to make up for the damage caused by these events & the call to stay quiet about them.
It took me a while to learn that truth actually sets us freer than suppression of it.
Being silent about what I have experienced only benefits those who are abusers, narcissistic, prideful… Secrecy, in a lot of cases, perpetuates the lie that looking good is better than being good & it prevents others from being potentially freed from cycles, mindsets, addictions, & other things that hold people down. This is why I am so open about my mental health struggles, regardless of how anyone feels about it, & why it is (admittedly) so triggering when there is an attempt to shut me up – especially by those who claim to love me.
But we also need to examine why secrecy is so attractive; it covers the shame of those who are drawn to it. There seems to be an inherent belief that personal feelings of shame are somehow WORSE than injustice, infliction, or wrongdoing, especially if they are the ones that committed the wrong or enabled it to happen. Secrecy also delays accountability, but what people don’t realize is that the longer accountability is delayed, the worse the shame becomes. While living in a counterfeit version of freedom, they can forsake freedom that’s real.
In a perfect world, there would be scenarios in which truth would be revealed, responsibility would be accepted or personal/professional support for the individual would be received, justice & accountability would be pursued, & steps to move forward would be taken for all involved. Unfortunately, this is intense work that not all are willing or equipped to do.
Secrecy is easier, but it’s not a place from which I choose to live anymore.
Don’t tell anyone I told you, though.