by Michelle B. Araneta

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Secrets. We all know and understand what emotions and struggles come with carrying secrets, but do we all know, understand and comprehend what emotions and struggles come with carrying dark secrets. I don’t think so.

A five year old child knows the guilt and fear of lying to their parents when they say, “I didn’t break it, Mommy. Thomas (their three year old brother) did!”

Children automatically fear the anger, the scolding, the punishment. The disapproving and disappointing looks they’ll get from the people they love most. They tremble from the idea that their wrongdoing might lead to their mother or father no longer loving them, but eventually, guilt kicks in. The weight of the lie, the secret, weighs heavily on them. It becomes too much for them to carry. Some children can’t sleep, some can’t eat, some won’t even talk. The affect of the secret is so strong at times, they yearn for the freedom from the chains and then, when a safe moment arrives, the child comes clean and shares their secret.

Usually a parent, after hearing the whole story from their child, scoops them up and holds them close. They explain the power and importance of the truth and reassure their child that no matter what the child has done it will never take their love for them away.

But what happens when the secret is a dark secret? The lie a dark lie? Mixed together with threats, distortion, and obligation? What happens?

“Sweetheart, you’re so beautiful. You know you’re Daddy’s girl right? Don’t worry, this will feel good, but remember, this will be our little secret. Mommy doesn’t need to know, she will just be jealous and won’t believe you. She’ll just get mad at you for lying. She doesn’t love you as much as I do. I love you so much. You want, Daddy to love you right? You don’t want to hurt, Daddy do you? If you tell anyone, I will just tell them you’re lying, so just lie still and let Daddy show you how much he loves you.”

The emotions and thoughts are intensified beyond comprehension. The basic emotions and thoughts are now compounded with new ones. The truth that once was fact has now led to confusion tangled in together with guilt of a different face. He has managed to destroy the innocence and justify his actions under the guise of love. The secret, the lie has now been caged in the depths of her soul by all the emotions and thoughts of not only her own, but his. She has no other choice but to keep this dark secret. Her fear of him and all that he has said reigns over her, regardless of her desperate want and need to free herself from this dark secret.

Does the age of this girl matter? Does the way she looks matter? Does the way she dresses matter? What if this situation happened between a teenage girl and a teenage boy, not a father and a daughter, would that make the situation any less horrific? What about a woman and a man? What if it happened between a husband and wife?

“Sweetheart, you’re so beautiful. You know you’re my wife right? Don’t worry, this will feel good, remember, you’re my wife. It’s your duty to please me, if you don’t, I’ll find someone else who will. No one will believe you if you tell them because you are my wife and they know what is expected of a wife. Don’t let me get angry, you don’t want me angry, do you? Besides, no one will love you as much as I do and I love you so much. You want me to love you, don’t you? You don’t want to hurt me, do you? You don’t want me to leave you, do you? If you tell anyone, I will just tell them you’re lying, so just lie still and let me show you how much I love you. You don’t want to wake the children and let them see what I’m doing, do you? Remember, I’m doing this because I love you and you are my wife, you are obligated to give this to me.”

Situations like this don’t usually happen just once. If it happens once, it usually continues again and again. The more it happens, the stronger the darkness of the secret gets, the stronger the deceit of the lies get.

We learn to hide each one of them from the eyes of the world, burying them deep within us, hoping that they will arrive in the land of the forgotten. Unknowingly, when we do that, we inevitably keep ourselves chained to the depths of the fog he has created. We struggle against the chains, trying desperately to free ourselves, but the more we lock up our secrets and bury them inside us, the tighter their grip on us becomes. So we learn to cope, learn to believe what he says, and learn to understand that he is right … but still we silently pray, we silently hope, we silently plead with life to give us that one moment of safety to unchain ourselves from our dark secret.

Secrets are only broken through speaking out. Only shattered through truth. Just as darkness is destroyed with light, secrets are destroyed when we set them free. But, we have to understand that, only we have the power to unchain ourselves from the secrets that imprison us. It is only ourselves that hold the key to unlocking the prison he has built. It’s not an easy task, especially when years have been spent to keep the secrets in control.

We have to re-learn, re-teach ourselves the difference between truth and lies. The difference between right and wrong. The difference between love and power. It’s a hard and struggling battle, but one worth fighting through.

One worth conquering.

And it’s possible.

It’s real.

The truth is invincible.

Unlock your secrets today. Find your safe moment. A notebook. A website. A friend. An organization. Start sharing. Start unraveling the lies that have been created. Start telling your story. Start speaking your truth. Start finding the light. Start building your key to freedom. Start today.


For those of you that have not experienced a dark secret, I can only encourage you to learn, understand and comprehend the power and effects of keeping a secret as dark as this before sharing your thoughts, ideas and beliefs. But, if you find yourself in a ‘safe’ moment with someone desperate to share, keep your heart open and just listen, push aside your pride and judgements and most importantly open your heart. Allow the pain of the person to move you and for one second just imagine what it would be like to be in her shoes sharing her story.


13 Responses to “Secrets.”

  1. Amazing and powerful. What a lovely force you are. “We have to re-learn, re-teach ourselves the difference between truth and lies. The difference between right and wrong. The difference between love and power. It’s a hard and struggling battle, but one worth fighting through.” So adeptly put. You, my dear, have been “Pressed”. 🙂

  2. Thank you so much, Julie. Initially, I was working on another piece, but no matter how hard I tried, my words kept leading me here. Not everyone, the victim and/or target included, fully understands the psychology that goes into abuse and having to deal with something so horrific and traumatic.

    I believe that it’s time we start trying to understand all the pieces that give abuse power so that we can strip and stop its weapons it one by one. It’s time.

    • I love your writing and I love sharing what you write, Michelle. You strength and empower me and certainly others. I like how you work to continually dig for truth and awareness and the opening of hearts and minds. Keep rocking. You are gifting the world.

      • Thank you so much Julie. My only hope is that through my words some will find strength and hope through the darkness. I am so touched by your words. Thank you so much.

        • Michelle, Your hope is a reality and a powerful one, I assure you. You are a healer and your wisdom and heart are so greatly needed in this world. I just want more and more people to discover what you are putting out.

          • Thank you so much Julie. Your words means so much. It gives me strength and courage to keep moving forward and hope that someone will be moved with the words and experiences I share. I can not stress the importance of understanding and comprehending abuse. What it is, how it works and what it does. We all need to know, not only to protect ourselves, but to protect everyone else. It has to stop.

            I’m sorry it took so long to find this comment of yours, it was also hidden in the spam box.

          • I totally agree with you, Michelle. You stimulate thinking and shine light on blind spots and dark corners. Keep going. What you’re doing is working.

  3. I remember keeping my secrets for almost 8 years and no matter how much I tried to share it, my words, thoughts and understanding of what happened and what I went through were tangled up with his. I struggled deeply. First through my reasoning, my comprehension … then my emotions. It was as if I was putting together a puzzle, knowing where the pieces were supposed to fit, but unable to piece them together because he had distorted and changed their intricate design. It was as if, my mind and emotions were at war with each other, creating nothing but chaos, guilt, obligation and fear. It wasn’t until a psychotherapist helped me “re-learn and re-teach” myself the basic differences, that I was able to begin to allow the pieces to fall into place.

    • Many of us need help with untangling the ghosts of the fog. We need someone who understands and is patient enough to guide us through the darkness. I used to spend hours with a therapist, not saying a single word, just thinking and I was lucky enough that she allowed me to do so. I was testing her, desperate to know if I could trust her and when I felt I did, we took it one step at a time. Slowly and together she helped me see and understand the difference between right and wrong, truth and lies, and love and power. I was fortunate to have someone like her, but many of us don’t, so we need to understand the steps in moving forward.

    • It’s like the secrets get so buried that it seems to take them forever to surface one by one over time.

  4. Secrets shouldn’t be shameful, especially when we had no control over the abuse. I am learning this, and it’s been empowering, yet many questions are still left unanswered. What happens once our secrets are told? Can we forgive? Do we need to forgive? As women, we are wired to nurture and protect others from pain. But when it comes to protecting ourselves, we are often rendered mute, immobile, and confused.

    • Shame is created usually through the lies and actions of the abuser. It’s when we begin to understand and see abuse for what it really is that we realize that the shame was just another tactic they used to control us.

      Yes there are always so many questions, but we have to learn to take it one day at a time. I believe we have to learn to forgive ourselves first. It’s one of the hardest steps and one of the most important. It’s a journey we each have to take at our own pace but always stepping forward, walking out of the fog.


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