Today is a guest post from a young woman I am proud and blessed to call daughter. She follows my blog and Christ but not necessarily in that order.
Growing up I never thought about how secrets can affect families and relationships. We seem to accept the old adage: What they don’t know won’t hurt them. However, I think being secretive causes the most hurt. I believe we fear what revealed secrets might do to our comfortable relationships instead of what keeping our secrets can do to our children. Whether we are keeping secrets from them or making them keep secrets neither has a positive outlook on your child’s life. Now I am not saying that we should run and tell our young children details of our sexual or mental abuse. I do think we should tell them, as they get older, what happened and that we chose to end it with the truth before it could affect them. I remember learning in history classes, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
As a child, I wanted nothing more than to be pleasing and to be accepted. I never felt comfortable coming out and giving up my secret. Not once did I believe that anyone in my immediate or extended family would accept me and my secret. I feared they would be angry or disown me, or worse that the attention would be on me. My father has felt some of this sting recently. You see he too held onto secrets — more secrets than me. And maybe because of his secrets – “his family secrets,” I never was comfortable to come forward with mine.
Everyone has different ways of dealing with pain/painful memories. Some can move on without a thought; some can talk about it once and move on; some need to talk it out over and over again; and then others hold on to this until they blow up. I was never taught to deal with pain – I instead picked up the behaviors of my father. I can honestly say I blew up! My outburst, I believe had a direct correlation to my dad’s reaction. Back to Physics class – For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Reactions… depending on your actions your family can have several reactions. Some families believe that because they are related and today all is well, that should be good enough to get along and love one another. But the problem with this type of love is that it is an “only on my terms” kind of love. “When I want to talk to you…”, “when I want to see you…”, or even “when you make me happy…” we are the best of friends and I love you. But this is not the true love we all desire – God’s love – unconditional love. The love that says I can see you are having a rough time and want you to know that I love and support you. I want the best for you. I don’t care about secrets – you are more important. People make bad choices everyday… it’s our job – our responsibility to learn from them to stop history from repeating itself.
My parents were both abused when they were young, but they made it a point to stop the physical abuse from affecting their children. Now I am not saying they were perfect… but I know now that it was their BIGGEST fear to have any of their children to feel any abuse as they did. Unfortunately, they were unable to stop this behavior in their extended family.
I believe, however, if families come together and give up their secrets – they can and will become the family everyone longs for. Now for the challenge – its time to stop the pain, stop the suffering and begin the healing. I know, with God’s help, this can be done. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16