From Dr. Jane's Notebook


The Truth About Secrets


Fibs, little white lies, family secrets, and family skeletons are deadly germs that effect people every day. Whereas family secrets were once thought of as "ties that bind", we have learned in recent years that those same secrets are often "the stuff" of which mental and physical illnesses are made.

The Rock Opera "Tommy" by the Who, portrayed the vast psychological damage done to a young boy when he was suddenly told that 'he didn't hear what he had heard; didn't see what he had seen; and didn't know what he knew'. His only option was to become deaf, dumb and blind.

In my practice, the "Tommy's" go by different names and may react in different ways, but you can be sure that the pain of secrecy is the same.

Secrets and lies create pathology and distance in families; and they create distance between families and outsiders. When we "share" secrets with our children or refuse them the opportunity to disclose their own secrets, they are left with great burdens. Pat Conroy, in his book and forthcoming movie, The Prince of Tides, illustrates this point extremely well. To keep our children healthy, we must be healthy ourselves. Children are truly the reflection of their parents!

ęCopyright, 1990, 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated August 30, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.