It’s certainly not your business!-River City Counseling

First, I want you to know that I’ll be leading a men’s therapy group, starting August 14th. I and seven men will meet at my office for 10 consecutive Thursdays, from 7:15-8:30 p.m. We’ll look at the challenges men face juggling everything: career challenges, commitment to your spouse (or committed partner) and being the parent you want to be. If you’re interested and would like to learn more, please give me a call at 916-919-0218 or email me at steve@rivercitycounseling.com. I also ask that you share this with friends who you think could be interested.  Thanks!

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We all have at least one secret. Something we’ve never shared with anyone: not our spouse, not our best friend, not our parents. Nobody…

For some of you, what you’re concealing doesn’t feel like a big deal, but you haven’t shared because you don’t know how others would react. Maybe you teepeed your own house when you were 14, because you felt insecure and thought that the popular kids’ houses were the ones that were papered most frequently. When people saw you cleaning-up, you thought you’d move up the social totem pole. Or maybe every time there’s a full moon you drive out to the country and howl like a wolf, because it helps you feel more in-touch with your inner beast.

Or it might be more intense. Maybe once a week you buy two pounds of jellybeans and eat them in one sitting. Then you make yourself throw-up and feel devastated emotionally and exhausted physically. Or maybe you’re a politician who was elected largely on your anti-drug stance. But you have a secret marijuana plant in your backyard, and you bring pot brownies to work and enjoy how silly your unsuspecting staff gets. At the same time you feel ashamed.

The other day I remembered something I did as a child. In the larger scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. But for a variety of reasons, I’d never told anyone else about it. Historically, when I thought about it, I simply let the thoughts drift away, but they always came back and were a bit of a downer.

This time, I decided to try out something new. Full of courage, head held high, I marched into my therapist’s office, told him I wanted to tell him something I’d never told another person, blurted it out, and waited to see how it felt and how he reacted. (For what it’s worth, people are sometimes surprised when I tell them I have a therapist. Yep, it’s true. We, too, need help figuring things out. And, if you meet a therapist who hasn’t had a bunch of therapy, buyer-beware).

I’m not sure what I expected after sharing my secret. It wasn’t profound; the sky didn’t open and the angels certainly didn’t sing. At the same time, my therapist didn’t stand-up, point at me, and sprint from the room because he’d never heard something so horrifying. Instead he simply nodded as if it was no big deal, and we went on with our conversation. My secret lost its power over me.

Talking out what I carried inside made the most sense to me. But it’s not the only way to release what you’ve held inside. Some people like to write in a journal; some people like to pray or meditate and ask their higher power to share the burden; some people like to paint or sculpt; some people like to beat drums and dance all weekend. All are good and helpful ways to release what you’ve held inside.

I realize it’s not always so simple. Releasing your secret won’t necessarily mean you’ll have tackled the issue. If you have an eating disorder, drug addiction, or one of many more serious challenges, extensive support will be necessary. But unpacking the secret you’ve carried alone is powerful and can be the beginning of your healing. Give it a try, when you’re ready.

3 Responses to It’s certainly not your business!-River City Counseling
  1. Jennifer Olden
    August 1, 2014 | 3:17 pm

    Your blog post reminds me of this quote:

    Shame cannot survive empathy. Brene Brown.

  2. elizabeth
    August 1, 2014 | 3:47 pm

    I am reminded of the joy of eating a whole cake…….

  3. Steve DeBenedetti-Emanuel
    August 1, 2014 | 9:28 pm

    Elizabeth, as Brene Brown (by way of Jennifer) reminds us, being gentle with and caring for yourself will certainly outweigh the shame you’ve carried. Thank-you for sharing.

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