When Secrets are Weighing you Down …

The mind replays what the heart can’t delete.”

There are secret traumas that are hard to share, and because we can’t share them, we don’t get support, and we end up carrying the burden alone. This intensifies the sense of isolation. Secret traumas like incest, sexual abuse, being married to a person with a sexual addiction, having someone in your family who’s in prison for a crime … And this is just a sample; the list goes on and on.

But what happens when we have to keep this secret to ourselves, and can’t share the torment with anyone at all?

“You ‘carry’ a secret. You feel ‘burdened’ by a secret. Your secret ‘weighs’ on you.” – Michael Slepian

1. We feel overwhelmed by anxiety and shame … And that anxiety and shame has nowhere to go. It just keeps on building up inside of us.

2. We feel that we exist inside some kind of bubble where we’re acting out a role in front of the world … while no-one really knows what we’re struggling with.

3. We are repeatedly assaulted by traumatic memories, distressing reactions, and unwanted emotions. Also, we’re likely to experience poor and/ or disturbed sleep.

4. We feel this is too massive to explain or talk about. In our heart we are convinced there is no-one in our world who could understand our struggle, or know what we’ve been through.

5. Although there are times when we feel “normal” again, the effects of the trauma never fully go away. And we’ve learned that this is just a hard reality for us.

What Might Help?

While it’s true there may be few who would really understand, it is crucial you find someone to share your feelings with. Don’t let the long-term impact build up and harm your health.

But if there’s no-one at the moment who you feel can fit that role, and there’s no-one you feel able to trust your secret with, there are a few other things that you could maybe try. They include:

1. Journalling. Write down all the feelings, the memories and fears. Write when you are triggered, and say what triggered you. The very act of writing will often bring relief, and a degree of detachment from what’s now in the past.

2. Check out podcasts, blogs, or join an online group. All of these will help you feel a bit less alone as you can see there are others who have suffered just like you, and who’re trying to work through all the trauma and the pain.

3. Find a hobby that distracts you from the memories of the past, and which helps to keep you focused on the here-and-now.

4. Get plenty of exercise. This releases ‘feel good’ hormones which can help you to relax, and it counteracts the build up of anxiety and stress.

What seems to be hard about secrets isn’t hiding them, but living with and thinking about themMichael Slepian

18 thoughts on “When Secrets are Weighing you Down …

  1. Thank you for sharing this sensitive post and raising the topic. The weight of my secrets had been weighing me down for as many years as I could count. Since seeing my counsellor, I’ve been able, much to my relief, to share these awful secrets about my abuse and trauma with her. Having no one else I could be completely honest with about my experiences, I relied on my counsellor to be there for me every week. Although we have done a lot of work together about this, I’m now so fearful of not having her to support me when my counselling ends, as it will mean having to shove it all back into the bottle and into my core again. As you know, I dread my counselling ending, especially as there will be several months’ wait until I can see, get to know, and trust another counsellor. I have tried some of your methods to help me cope, particularly journalling, which I only began this week, but it seems to end up being more like a diary with entries about what time I got up and what I’ve planned for the day, if anything. Sorry, I write such long comments – it’s just that what you write really resonates with me. Thank you for ‘listening’. X 💕

    Like

    • Holding secrets inside – especially very painful and traumatic secrets – is very draining (and can also be destructive). We need witnesses. We need people to really “get” just how awful it has been for us. I hope you find the right person who will bear some of the awful burden with you.

      Liked by 1 person

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