8 Days: No More Secrets and Lies

Trust is a fragile. Secrets and lies jeopardize trust and can damage us and our relationships – sometimes irreparably.

Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT

Tied down by secrets and lies.

Nothing good comes from secrets and lies but we carry them and we often expect other people to carry them for us too.

Recently, I wrote a fairly extensive post detailing, in a general way, the secrets and lies I carried for years across my relationship with C. I posted them so they couldn’t be used against me. I posted them because I will not be blackmailed by my Shame and Pride. I did those things and I feel remorse, guilt, and shame now and while I was doing it for every one of those actions and the consequences on the people I harmed and hurt. I was wrong. My selfishness and inconsiderate behaviors were wrong. I’m sorry.

As I’ve continued to dig through the wreckage of my past I found this article on Psychology Today’s website by Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT a licensed marriage and family therapist and an expert and author on relationships and codependency.

This article by a professional is without a doubt, the most accurate, and thorough description of my thinking, actions, feelings, and perception of self I have found about the consequences, pain, and anxiety of being tied down by secrets and lies. I could reblog the entire article but instead, I am going to post some of the excerpts below.

There are many things to love about this article from a trained professional including the fact she doesn’t excuse any behavior with intellectually lazy labels of narcissism or pathology. She writes about all parties as human beings with frailties and pains. It is a much more honest description of what happened then the name and shame, as Not Your Average Girl writes, or the self-serving method of criminalizing of betrayal. Both the common approaches I see prevalent in much of social media’s click bait armchair psychology.

Dolly Allen writes an excellent couple of posts on the topic and the dangers of armchair psychology and piling on including in these POV stories about her husband’s betrayal and a four part series on her son’s experiences in school.

Please, whether you love them or hate them read the article. It gives excellent insight the experiences, motives, and thinking of both betrayer and the betrayed.

Honesty is more than simply not lying. Deception includes making ambiguous or vague statements, telling half-truths, manipulating information through emphasis, exaggeration, or minimization, and withholding information or feelings that are important to someone who has a “right to know” because it affects the relationship and deprives that person of freedom of choice and informed action.

Violation of our values leads to not only guilt (link is external)about our actions, but also it affects our self-concept. Over a long period, deception can eat away at our self-esteem. Ordinary guilt that could be reversed with honesty now becomes shame(link is external) and undermines our fundamental sense of dignity and worthiness as a person. The gap between the self we show others and how we feel inside widens.

The victim of deception may begin to react to the avoidant behavior by feeling confused, anxious, angry, suspicious, abandoned, or needy. They may begin to doubt themselves, and their self-esteem may suffer. Often victims of betrayal need counseling to recover from the loss trust and to Raise Self-Esteem.

Secrets about things such as addiction, criminality, and mental illness lead to chronic shame and family dysfunction(link is external). Children already “know” something’s wrong, but denial undermines their self-trust and reality testing.

Research shows that half-truths can leave you feeling even worse. (“Total Regret,” by Kelly Dickerson, Psychology Today, May 6, 2014.) Full disclosure may be necessary to rebuild a broken marriage. Studies(link is external) also show that people who have good self-esteem and opinion of their partner are more likely to forgive him or her.

Each case of betrayal is unique.

As with all losses, our first reaction is denial(link is external), if not of the facts, then the severity of the impact. It may take time to accept the truth. Each of us will attribute a different meaning to the facts in order to heal and make peace with ourselves, our loved ones, and a disordered reality we once thought was safe and predictable.

Lastly, I’m going to leave you with one of my favorite songs.

Secrets and lies, can’t dig with ’em
When I’m alone yeah I take them out
Oh wait on my mind, too many sins
Girl where you’ve been, do you think about

Time, well it’s never on your side
And why can I never just let it slide
What you waiting for
What could you be waiting for

Tied down by secrets and lies
By secrets and lies
Tell me your secrets and lies
Your secrets and lies
Your secrets and lies

Too many times where it begins
Innocent things I can’t live without
Oh wait on my mind keeping it in
Girl where I’ve been makes me think about

Time, well it’s never on your side
And why can I never just let it slide
What you waiting for
What could you be waiting for

Tied down by secrets and lies
By secrets and lies
Tell me your secrets and lies
Your secrets and lies
Your secrets and lies

And time, well it’s never on your side
And why can I never just let it slide
What you waiting for
What could you be waiting for
Tied down by secrets and lies
By secrets and lies
Tell me your secrets and lies
Your secrets and lies
Tied down by secrets and lies
By secrets and lies
Tell me your secrets and lies
Your secrets and lies
Your secrets and lies