As I start out most days, a cup of hot coffee in-hand, sitting quietly in my kitchen without conversing and three dogs milling about around my chair – all taking turns for attention. I begin to think about this message as I tap my coffee cup and say “drinking coffee” to my dogs. What does ‘Sick of Secrets’ imply? I know that some readers may interpret that “sick of secrets” means that we should “spill the beans” on all secrets of our life in order to be whole. I do not believe that to be true.
What is the difference between Secrecy and Privacy?
Secrecy: the action of keeping something secret or the state of being kept secret.
Privacy: the state or condition of being free from being observed or disturbed by other people.
Secrets as defined on this website are those which allow abuse to happen. Hide the bruises, lie about the situation, make excuses to cover for the domestic violence, make excuses as to why the abuser is “well…see…so-and-so was robbed and that’s why he locks me inside…”, “insecure”, “untrusting”, etc. It is “the secret” which you can tell no one.
In reference to privacy, personally, I don’t believe we should “tell all” – some secrets are painful for others, others will only cause us more grief. And in terms of an abusive relationship, not only will we deal with the secrets which breed abuse but may also have all the intimate details which we shared early on in the relationship turned against us.
To think that we were in love with this person that “heard and understood” who we were, what we were saying as we exposed all of our painful memories, sexual exploits, or our insecurities… only to fast-forward to a few months later and the “thoughtful and understanding” person has screamed “you stupid BITCH” in our direction. Seriously. Devastated.
I believe we have a right to privacy, a right to have been who we were as a result of whatever shaped us and that we must not reveal all of those details to be in a lasting and rewarding relationship – especially if we are re-defining ourselves after surviving abuse.
In my opinion, our inner most insecurities are ours to share with our best friend, counselor, or priest. Same goes for the stories of the drugs and booze or married men, etc. These things do not define us, they are simply a small part of a whole story. Stop and think about who you would seem be at 90 years old while crossing a busy street… Would the taxi cab driver look at you and think “she sure has done a lot of drugs”? I would venture to guess “no”… it’s not who they would see and it’s the same situation now. Who do they see? Who are we?
The only people who sincerely care about all the bad things we have done is us – and those we have harmed. If “you” don’t like you, well… that’s your problem. It’s not beneficial for us to place our guilt or embarrassment onto others. It is ours to work through. We need to make peace with ourselves (forgiveness) and give our next relationship a fighting chance to be something different than our last. Or at least make our tomorrow better than our yesterday.
If an experience defines who I am today, I have no problem sharing that – if I have made peace with myself and my God. I am not ashamed to say “I was raped” as I have dealt and worked through that statement for years now. Ask me and I’ll share my story. However, I don’t share that about myself during a job interview or at a PTA meeting. If I want to have lasting relationships I need to see those first few interactions with that person as an interview… a relationship is built in time. Otherwise it is just me dumping it all on someone else in an effort to relieve my own pain. Relationships (lasting friendships) are made in the foundation building, the learning to trust that person, in being trustworthy. This requires a passage of time. It can be “love at first sight” or “best friends for life” but it doesn’t have to be like an autopsy where everything which exists underneath the layers of skin is removed and inspected.
Additionally, where is the mystery in revealing all in the beginning? Isn’t it exciting to hear a story from someone you love? Some little tidbit about them which you didn’t know about… let that moment be your moment to share when you can trust the other person not to hurt you or ridicule you. Value who you are and what made you.
I was a victim but I am now a survivor – which would you want to know more about? (Morbid curiosity aside. Haha!)
One other point which I would like to make is this: I pay attention to my own life, not my neighbor’s life. It’s unfair to my neighbor and to those I love to focus on my neighbor’s life. There is a difference between sharing our own secrets and sharing those of others. Sharing our neighbor’s business is not our place and it is unhealthy for us to do so because what we are actually doing is covering for things which we are not proud of with things we can point out about others.
In closing, please think about all of your experiences – even the worst ones – as tiny building blocks which make you into a formidable force. (Like a Ninja in training…) all of those building blocks shape us to help others, ourselves, and the next generation.
(I have all 3 dogs trained – as I did my children as they grew up – that when I say “drinking coffee” it means for all in the house to “let momma be…”)