It has been said that a family is as healthy as its secrets. In other words, family members who keep secrets put the health of the entire family at risk. Secrets can be kept for a variety of reasons, but issues the family considers taboo or shameful are most common. Secrets can also be kept to protect the reputation or authority of a family member. Taboo subjects can include premarital pregnancy, mental health problems, sexual abuse, or criminal activity. A family may protect a patriarch, living or dead, who had an affair or a drinking problem. Family secrets exist to preserve the prevailing status quo within the family. And just like within organizations or nations, the status quo within a family almost always serves to protect the interests of its more powerful members, even at the expense of its stated ideals or values. If a family member has the courage to ferret out and talk about the secret, he will most likely be maligned, gaslighted, or shunned. However, the truth-teller is actually doing the family a great service, because truth must always precede healing. I have known grandchildren whose apparently dysfunctional behavior is actually a re-enactment of a grandparent’s secret deeds. When the secret is brought to light, the dysfunctional behavior ends. It is so important that we uphold and affirm the truth-tellers in our midst.
Bless you for spending some time to explain this to we who are inexperienced.
John K says
Truth always trumps lies
Personal safety chosen
Puts shame in its place
Truth tellers are a courageous band of mindful risk takers. May they thrive and flourish in the light their candor creates.