It takes a lot of energy to keep secrets.
In fact, it can be all consuming and render you prostrate with exhaustion. I’m not talking about confidentiality in a job context or between friends. That’s professional or personal diplomacy.
I’m talking about secrets – things going on under your own roof, behind closed doors, within your family unit – that you desperately keep from others. Your intention is not to be misleading, but you try at all costs to act as though everything is copacetic. You attempt to maintain a stiff upper lip at work, church or at lunch with a friend. You put on your party mask and try to be your darling self at social events.
The lion’s share of secrets I had to keep over the years, I was keeping from my own family – my parents, my brother and his family, my extended family. Secrets about my son and daily life with his addiction.
A big part of keeping secrets is making excuses, justifying why he isn’t playing a sport, why he is transferring to a different school, why he can’t go to church on Easter Sunday, why he is attending a wilderness program, why he couldn’t attend his sister’s graduation, why he is urgently flown to an expensive rehab in Utah and why he hasn’t visited his grandparents in a number of years.
Unfortunately, communication with family and friends consisted of countless whys and a string of half-truths. My parents taught me about half truths. They can be as flagrant as the whole lie.