Thursday, December 20, 2007

Secrets or Being Open and Honest

In the last post, My Children - A Little History - A Little Insight Anonymous said...
how can every one talk so openly about what is going on with them? Isn't anyone afraid of others finding out about them? It seems so scary.
The question reminded me of a place I used to be a long time ago.

I used to believe that no one would ever accept me if they knew what I did. I had lots of really scary secrets and I was convinced that they were proof that I didn't deserve to be alive. I think that every aspect of my life had some form of re-enforcement for that belief.

I have learned over the years, my secrets are what kept me trapped. The bigger the secret, the darker the hole a part of me lived. Exposing those secrets didn't elicit the response I expected in others. On the contrary, most of the time I got support from others instead of rejection. Granted that was difficult to understand and sometimes, I still wonder but not enough to stop me from talking.

I don't keep secrets anymore. My life is an open book. If I ever get my book published that will be quite literally because I won't be holding anything back about my therapy process or the secrets I uncovered. I've learned that anyone who is bothered by my past and my secrets isn't the type of person I want to be friends with anyway.

Back when I was in to protecting my secrets, I wasn't alone. Even now, secrets seem to be a way of life for many people in the world. I believe that is because of that fear of what might happen if others do find out what will they think. People who live their lives worrying what others think have to keep secrets. It's part of that whole dysfunctional lifestyle.

Withholding information so that someone will like or accept you is manipulation. And it just doesn't work. There are so many ways to manipulate and probably just as many reasons to justify doing so. But the ultimate goal of manipulation is to make ourselves happy.
People who manipulate are locked into the belief that if they can just do this or that, so and so will come around, or love them or whatever. But it just doesn't work that way. We cannot control how others feel. So it doesn't matter how good you are at manipulation, it's not possible to "make" someone else happy or make them like you etc. So no matter how hard we try to manage our lives, and those of the others around us, that way, the outcome cannot be successful.

The only one that can make us happy is us. We cannot be happy by controlling and manipulation others because in doing so we are turning over our personal power to someone else and hoping they will do what we want them to with it. It's pretty obvious from the condition of the world that those tactics just don't work.

It is so much more effective to use our personal power to take care of ourselves and to take responsibility for ourselves. To identify what we want and need and finding ways to go about getting those things, that is how we learn to be happy. We learn to do that by listening to that little voice inside and living our life accordingly and giving up on living our lives based on other's expectations.


Patches said...

thank you for this post. We are currently working on not keeping secrets. This helps.

katy said...

for me it had to be when I was ready, when i felt that i could cope. having said that i wish i had told years and years ago, because you are so right in what you say

Lily Strange said...

There are situations where it doesn't behoove me to be open about who I really am. Like at work. I might get fired if the company knew I was bipolar and I'd have trouble with certain co-workers if they knew that my religious beliefs were kind of alternative. I don't know if I'm manipulating these people so much as trying to keep a roof over my head and keep my work situation bearable. Other than that I don't think I hide who I am. In general I find the policy "don't ask, don't tell" works pretty well. If they didn't ask, why should I tell them? If they do ask, they might just find out and they probably didn't want to know!
But that's just me. Really my motto is you do whatever you have to do to survive. I prefer not to get close enough to people to have to figure out whether I'm manipulating them or not. The people I care about, such as my son, I am honest with. Unless it's something that might distress him to know. Talking about your sexual hang-ups with your kid, for instance, is right out of there! I don't want him to end up in therapy because of that! But he does know that I did drugs when I was young and I think my truthfulness helped him. He has friends that drink and get high but he doesn't feel any need to do so himself. So I did something right!

Kahless said...

I think my secrets about myself that dont impact anyone else is ok to keep secret if I want. But I guess it is a barrier ultimately to intimacy of communication and relationship.

Lynn said...

Maybe it is just my issue, but this post made me think about blogging. Sometimes I think I say too much at my place. It seems that being anonymous among strangers should be enough to make me feel like it is okay to say what is really going on. IRL, I only have two people who really understand. I know I was much more honest on my blog at this time last year than I have been (until very recently). Even so, I had a major meltdown today. Flashback, freaking out, trying to get in the closet. I don't want to talk about it over there. Maybe I worry that people just don't understand. My husband called my sister over. She cares about me and is not any kind of ogre, but she said, "You can't let this ruin the rest of your life." She means well, but I felt like I was supposed to just get up, wash my face, and go sing carols or something. Sometimes I think honesty should be very selective. I think I am in agreement with Lily Strange. I guess I need to go find my 'everything's okay' mask, but just between us... IT'S NOT OKAY.

Fallen Angels said...

I've read all the comments as well as the post and I can understand each point of view. I think what I will choose to take away from this is that it also depends on the secret. I think it also doesn't mean telling everyone that I meet each day every aspect about me. What it comes down to for me is if it's a past abuse related secret then I should not be keeping it secret...I should be telling T, partner, a close friend, maybe on my blog. If it's something else, then it depends on the secret and the situation. My nephews and the stranger on the corner doesn't need to know that I have my eyebrows waxed, for example! ;)


Rising Rainbow said...

patches, I'm glad that it was helpful.

katy, timing can be important in the healing process. I am with wishing I had accomplished this much sooner.

lily strange, I totally agree that there are situations telling everything about oneself wouldn't be prudent. The world just isn't black and white and there are no absolutes for anything and that includes healing.

kahless, yes secrets are most definitely a barrier to true intimacy.

lynn, I'm sorry that you're having a hard time and that your sister didn't provide the kind of support that you needed. You are right that it's not ok! No one should have to feel such pain.

fallen angels, you are absolutely right. The secrets that we hold that interfere with our healing are the ones that need to be shared with appropriate people in our support sytem.

I laughed about the waxed eyebrows! Not sure that I would consider that a secret BUT I'm pretty sure that there might be some out there who do.

jumpinginpuddles said...

i also think being open can also have its rewards or as we have found out in the last few days its drawbacks. I think if you are going to be open/ honest make sure you are strong enoguh to deal with the sometimes attack that can come with it, being open is hard but it is ok if you make it safe for you.

keepers said...

in some ways this goes back to "keeping family secrets" which most of us were taught very emphatically. do NOT tell family secrets!!! then we tend to do the same even as we move away from the family, old teachingas are hard to change and release.

peace and blessings


Anonymous said...

you are a good writer. ever consider submitting a story to Many Voices newsletter? - they have some excellent supportive writing and artwork.