I often say that there's no such thing as family secrets.
People express their darkest secrets in their everyday lives.
Secret-keepers (and their children) carry heavy emotional burdens.
If you are hiding secrets, you are probably hiding strong emotions.
You may feel anger, fear or distress if you suspect that
someone knows or may talk about your secrets!
Hearing what you cannot say
When do family secrets start? Many things can be "starts"
- finding a family member's secret bottles, hidden porn or letters from
overly friendly friends - but those are not starts. Alcohol, pornography
or extra-marital affairs are single frames of movies that started a long time ago.
Laundry workers are experts on stains,
and they might tell you a surprising amount about your life based
on the stains on your clothes. As we help people clean up their
emotional laundry baskets, we have learned some important
things about emotional stains ... and we have become rather
effective at emotional stain-removal.
We help people unpack and sort out their emotional baggage. We
can recognize many behaviors that
suggest certain emotional or relationship problems.
We often see what people cannot say.
Disclosing family secrets can be difficult. Both telling
and not-telling can have strong consequences. For example, if a child
uses a parent’s computer and finds pornography or emails about extra-marital affairs - that
child may confront the parent, or tell the other parent, or delete the files,
or say and do nothing. Actions have emotional and
relationship consequences. Sometimes there's no easy way out.
Doing nothing or pretending to forget may seem the
safest and easiest course of action, but suppressing emotions often has toxic
consequences - for yourself, your partner and your children. Secrets motivate
obsessions, compulsions or fixations. Some people put their lives
on hold or avoid further relationships. Clarity may be painful, but it
can help avoid depression
and help manage grief and loss.
Family secrets can trigger strong emotions. If a
conversation gets too close to the truth, or if you are
unsure whether or not your secret is still secret, you may feel
and express anger, fear, sadness or guilt. You will likely confuse your family,
and perhaps start a chain reaction which can affect your
children and even future generations.
Some people cannot maintain healthy relationships.
They may be unable to enjoy healthy partnership or parenthood
until they clarify and assimilate their family secrets!
Cross-Generational Enmeshments (Family Karma)
Relationship disappointments such as abuse,
abandonment, suicide, abortion and betrayal leave imprints
on people, their families and their children, which result
in obsessions, fixations and compulsions.
Do you have unwanted habits of thought, speech or behavior?
Are you making choices – or repeating past behaviors, rather like a
laboratory animal in a maze? (While many people repeat what
works - some people endlessly repeat what doesn't work!)
The Sanskrit word karma implies that individual
actions can trigger cycles of cause and effect; cycles that may continue
after the death of the body. By family karma, I refer to actions
that trigger similar cycles in subsequent generations. Family karma continues
until families manage or change whatever created it.
Family karma (like money karma) often begins with habits learned
in childhood - habits that were imprinted into our minds. You cannot free yourself
of such habits by avoiding thinking about them or by understanding them.
(Did your parents want to free themselves of their parents' habits? Are
you repeating their life path?)
Your parents' secrets probably still influence your relationships,
your career and your everyday behavior. Recognizing and healing
their habits in your mind can liberate you. We help people heal such
end self-sabotage and realize their dreams.
I am married but I am obsessed by a
man I work with, although I don't like him,
his friends or what he does with his
life. When I described him to my mother,
she said that she had a secret romance
with a man rather like him,
but that she would not leave my father. She
also said that HER
had mentioned a similar romance.
Family secrets often concern relationship problems that
cause people to split-off parts of themselves (often
called inner children).
Do you want to integrate your split-off parts, and
experience integrity - the Soul of our Soulwork?
You react to your parent's secrets ...
even if you were never told!
The best gifts you can give to your children may be to sort out your own
emotions, to build a healthy partnership and to be a happy, responsible parent.
Can you and your partner can express mature love for each other?
Your children react to your secrets ...
even if you never told them!
If you lack healthy partnership skills, then you may hand down relationship problems, loneliness, depression and guilt to your
children ... and later to their children ... and so on, across the
generations. Let's look at some literature ...
Yet He does not leave the guilty
unpunished; He punishes
the children and their children for the sins of the parents
to the third and fourth generations.
New International Bible, Exodus 34:7
Imber-Black wrote (Secret Life of Families, 1998) "a child’s
knowledge of a secret may distort family power dynamics, alienate a child
from one or both parents, and isolate him or her from siblings".
Lerner wrote (Dance of Deception, 1993) "The negative
effects of secrecy on children may stay underground for years, even decades,
until the child reaches a key anniversary age or a particular stage in the
family life cycle". He also wrote, "In the shadow of secrecy,
children are especially vulnerable to acting out or developing symptoms".
Earle & Earle wrote (Sex Addiction: Case Studies and Management, 1995)
"The secrets of parents cannot help but prove destructive to the child.
... Secrets creep into every aspect of family living, creating high levels of
psychological stress, pressure, and tension. ... Children may not even be
consciously aware of the family secrets, but these secrets seldom escape
Carl Jung said (Disclosure to Children, Claudia
Black, 2003), "The most important gift a parent can
give a child is to tell them about their dark side. Telling
children about your struggles helps them developmentally to
have a realistic picture of what it means to be human".
All my life I felt guilty. During our sessions I
realized that I always felt a presence in front of me
... like an older brother. My parents won't talk about their
abortion but you helped me deal with it,
and now I can better relax and enjoy life ...
What Do You (Really) Want?
Your life purpose is an
evolving destination that mirrors your maturity.
We help adults define and achieve their
desires, and solve their relationship problems and emotional
conflicts. As examples, do you want to:
- Enjoy happy partnership?
- Maintain your desired weight?
- Be a successful entrepreneur?
- Develop healthy parenthood skills?
- Transition into enjoyable retirement?
- Enjoy life without guilt or inner conflict?
We help people sort out their emotional baggage. We offer structure,
support and feedback to help people develop their awareness, manage
their emotions and improve their relationships.
Resolve your ancestral secrets or family karma
before your children attempt to repeat them.
Are you repeating your parents' or
Contact us to change your emotional problems and relationship habits
Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
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© Martyn Carruthers 2011-2017 All rights reserved