It is hard to estimate how much energy is taken up by withholding a personal secret. It could be up to 90% if the secret is perceived as being so terrible that it can never be told. There is an energetic “electric fence” of protection keeping it hidden and maintaining this fence takes up so much energy that the rest of life can be very difficult to manage. Often we feel unable to see beyond a current crisis because an intervening secret which needs to be told has blocked our way. We need energy to function and keeping secrets is a huge energy-eater.
One of my clients was struggling with this very challenge. She had married at an early age and given birth to three children right away. She was told that religious beliefs required her to keep on having more children as long as she was of bearing age. She ran away and started a new life in another state. She began to drink and when the drinking increased she turned to AA. When required to do her 4th Step she was faced with the necessity of admitting that she had abandoned her three children in order to escape herself. She determined that her desire to continue the Program outweighed her shame at leaving her children so she told her sponsor the entire story. So strong was her desire to lock away this secret forever that when she actually let it out the blood poured from her nose in a spontaneous nosebleed. Her headaches vanished and she moved forward with much greater strength.
Carl Jung wrote that what is conscious cannot be projected. This refers to the common habit of blaming others and complaining about others instead of searching within to find solutions. Those who complain about the rich secretly desire to be rich themselves, those who decry promiscuity would like to participate too. Those who complain about the behavior of others secretly wish they could act out their own urges as freely as that other person. Most of this material is unconscious but it is the fuel that ignites the energy around these criticisms. Take a look at Donald Trump. He makes bold comments about ethnic groups and political adversaries that most other people secretly agree with but would never say out loud. He seems to carry our secret Shadow and for this reason those from both political parties have felt “connected” with him. He also provides us with the Big Daddy image that will fix everything for us so that we need only to vote for him to reclaim a perfect world.
There are many quotes on this subject.
Jesus reminds us to remove the beam from our own eye rather than criticize the speck in somebody else’s eye.
Another phrase is “you spot it – you got it!”
My favorite is “You are only as sick as your secrets.”
People will do almost anything to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions and they love to blame everything on something or someone outside of themselves. This absolves them from actually doing anything.
How can we rid ourselves of our secrets?
There are many choices available. The Catholics have Confession, Recovery Groups have the 4Th Step, and there are psychotherapists, social workers, counselors and other compassionate adults to name a few.
Many of us have experienced the energy that becomes available to us after our secret finally is told. This is like rocket fuel with which a life can be recharged. Therapists and sponsors who hear these secrets are in a position to guide this new energy into more skillful channels. If you have a secret, do yourself a favor and “Drop the Rock” so you will have the extra energy with which to move your life forward…