No Hiding Place

No Hiding Place

Understanding the Liberating Power of Honesty

By Frank Pittman

May/June 1993

What people don't know can hurt them—and what they don't reveal can hurt them even more. Secrets can destroy lives and relationships. When something is kept secret, it can grow in power and significance until it becomes the center of one's identity. Fed by fear and shame, secrets thrive in the dark. People hiding with their secrets may shrink from intimacy, believing they would never be loved if their secrets were known. Secrets make strange bedfellows—we must cling to those who share our secrets; otherwise, we would be alone with our secret shame.

As therapists, we have learned the liberating power of revealing the awful things other people have done to us, the secrets of our benighted origins, the myriad ways in which we have been abused and molested by the people we trusted, our ridiculous and polymorphously perverse adolescent adventures (at any age), the entrapping habits and addictions we slip into, and even the weird and kinky thoughts and impulses that go through our heads at times. We even know the healing power of openly acknowledging the cruel and thoughtless wounds and betrayals we have inflicted on others, especially those we love the most. Therapists know how to liberate us from the crippling power of those universal secrets by pushing us to reveal them to others. Only then do we discover that others have similar secrets and that we all share the human condition and are not really required to be flawless in life.


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