Traumatic Secrets

The first time I squealed about a confidence, my aunt had decided to take her newly- acquired minivan to the Heritage Bowl and it was a lesson in stealth timing.  I failed at containing my praise over a new vehicle and foolishly slipped up. We reminisce often about my blunder; the emotional price I paid was earth-shattering. I said to my uncle: I’ve never ridden in this car—not since we went to Atlanta. My uncle replied: “Oh yeah?”

And not long after my exchange with him, my grandmother and aunt, protective towards my well-meaning Aunt Mavis, the wife of the uncle I’d told, made me feel their wrath.

Shame… shame on you, they bellowed and barked.

Honestly, I never knew what the hell was so bad about telling your husband you wanted to use the new car to have fun with your family. I was their emotional target and I never really lived it down until years later. I had spilled a “traumatic secret.”

But the revelation of secrets, is always unpredictable. No conversation or classroom prepares you for the verbal and emotional fallout you incur when people react to the secrets you share.

But here’s the thing about too many secrets:

Thanks, Pinterest.

A friend who challenged me to honesty confirmed that the easiest way to invite un-needed trauma to a relationship—is to peddle needless deceit. Our self-talk tells us out of fear of the fallout: I’ll be complicit and no one will know the difference.

The Online Etymology Dictionary says “complicit” comes from the french word “complicite” which means “friend”. With a friend, we who are “complicit”, team up on a plot, usually wrongdoing.

Secrecy leads to complicit behavior. I think of compassion with this word choice because “com” means together.

SNL had this wonderful satiric sketch about the subject.

“SNL’s Complicit” is a hilarious fragrance commercial. The cast members of SNL have are vehemently defamed often because they don’t fall in line with all the Preident and cabinet does. I guess we are all supposed to be complicit. Never mind the trauma we all succumb to if we play along.

Thankfully, the freedom of the press contained in our Bill of Rights is still viable.

Proverbs 25:28 says: He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Of course, we should rule our passions. But there’s a line between ruling and repressing. When we repress or hold back honesty, competition is an easy trap. Secrets are often most traumatic for those who believe that competition is the only way toward respect.  And competition is usually the beginning of strife, which comes from holding an abundance of painful secrets. When people overflow with secrets, they are ripe to lie often without any sensitivity.

I will always be sorry for causing my family members pain over what I said. And today as an adult, I grieve over my mistake. I need forgiveness each time I let my pride get the best of me.  But being caught is not the end of the world, I’ve had to pay for the lies I’ve told and the good news is: I have a conscience.

I’d rather weather the trauma of my past valiantly than be a confused shell of a human being hurling toward more trauma because I was too fearful to be accountable.

And that’s why there are some secrets that need to be revealed.

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