You’re Only as Sick as Your Secrets

In a previous post I talked about all the different signs and indicators that something might be going wrong in your family. But there’s a huge shift from seeing a problem, to the level of actually admitting the problem. And man, we do not like to admit problems, even when we see them.

As the saying goes: you’re only as sick as your secrets.

This is especially rough for parents. In fact, I’d say the biggest problem I see in parents is when they refuse to even admit there’s a problem within their family, even though that lack of admission directly prohibits their addicted loved one from admitting that they need help!

Some parents will do anything they possibly can to make sure no one thinks their family has issues. Well, last week we established that everyone has issues, so you can’t use that excuse anymore. We’ve begun to recognize what problems look like, so now it’s time to own up to them and start admitting them.

Before we can do that, though, it might be helpful to understand why we don’t want to admit to problems in the first place.

I think it’s because it makes us uncomfortable to open up and get vulnerable.

If we admit to a problem, then we can think that’s a potential weakness for someone to exploit, or it’s a ding in our character, or it’s a default that others will look down upon. It’s the same reason we create these social media personalities, where we post only photos of us at our best, looking like we just have the best life of anyone on Facebook. Admitting a problem means exposing that façade as the lie that it is. And who wants to tear down something they’ve spent so much time constructing so carefully?

I also think there is a certain generational issue at play here, and I’m speaking primarily to parents when I say this. Most parents who are part of the Baby Boomer or early Generation X generations, grew up watching what their parents did. And those parents kept everything buttoned up tight. When things went wrong, they didn’t tell the church, they didn’t tell the community, and they certainly didn’t try to find a counselor to talk about the issues they were facing.

No. Instead, the parents of a couple of generations ago just ignored their alcoholic brother or that sister who slept around. Those things weren’t something you brought up in “polite company.” And besides that, the church was viewed as an unsafe place to go in times of personal crisis. So they just kept everything to themselves.

The parents of our current generation grew up watching this, and when they became parents themselves, mimicked what they saw as kids. If something as huge as addiction sat down on the couch in their living room, they kept quiet about it, afraid of potential embarrassment or the judgmental attitudes of their neighbors or that one busybody at church.

Don’t take this the wrong way, but who cares?

If people want to judge your family for having human beings in it, then those people have rendered their judgment unworthy of being noticed by you!

If they aren’t going to be on your side with understanding and compassion, then they aren’t worth impressing with a fake smile plastered across your face!

Choosing to tell someone about the issues you’re dealing with? That’s the real deal, and it’s the first step you’ll need to take toward finding hope.

If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, I want to encourage you today to tell your secret to one person this week. Get real with yourself and with others. Quit letting the secret fester, get it out into the atmosphere and watch as the pain and shame you’ve been caring begins to drift away.

This is an excerpt from my new book Finding Hope, to read more of this chapter and others, click here to pick it up.

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