Browsing All Posts filed under »Secrecy«

Money Matters in Couple Relationships: Early Warning Signs

November 3, 2014 by


One of my jobs as an adviser to couples is to inquire about early warning signs. In the Oct. 13 New Yorker I read the story of one Mathew Martoma, whose long-held secret was outed when the feds arrested him, in front of his wife, on insider trading charges. Luckily for his marriage, that wife was […]

Privacy, Secrets and Shame–Part XII: When Kids Have the Right to Know

July 19, 2014 by


So we left off with the concept that if a secret affects children, those children have the right to know. This does not mean that you can use children to unburden yourself, like my patient did with her eldest daughter and her husband’s affair. That will yield only damage; your child is not your father-confessor. But the same reason […]

Privacy, Secrets and Shame: How to Reveal a Secret (II)

July 16, 2014 by


Back to ideas about how best to reveal a secret. It can’t hurt to start where we left off–using your common sense. Other tips: don’t construct a whole back story behind your secret to cover your guilt. I know it’s tempting–I really do–but the moment when you finally share your secret is not the time for excuses or […]

Privacy, Secrets and Shame–Part X: How to Reveal a Secret

July 16, 2014 by


So you’re convinced, due to some circumstance or another, that the time has come to reveal your secret, and relieve yourself of the burden of shame and hiding that has weighed you down for so long. NOW what? Well, best of all would be to use some common sense, I suppose. Public service announcements, revelations during […]

Privacy, Secrets and Shame–Part IX: Why to Reveal a Secret

July 14, 2014 by


“A nuerosis is a secret that you don’t know you are keeping.” Thus wrote English theater critic and writer Kenneth Tynan, and with these words he opens the conversation about the damage a secret does to the secret-keeper himself. So let’s take a step away for a moment from some of the family-dynamic reasons for […]

Privacy, Shame and Secrets–Part VIII: Hidden in Plain Sight, ct’d

July 12, 2014 by


So we return to secrets hidden in plain sight, and particularly to Miriam’s* mentally unstable father, Max,* whom everyone seemed to know about, but no one actually mentioned. Max didn’t come out during the day. Ever. When there were certain things he wanted–usually food requests, he never wanted clothes or books or gifts for the […]

What is the Difference between Privacy vs. Secrecy?

July 11, 2014 by


People tend to justify some inappropriate secret-keeping with the self-righteous claim that, “It’s no one’s business,” or–better yet–“It’s private.” So what is the difference between privacy and secrecy–and how do you know if you’re being private–which is okay–or secretive, which can cause so much collateral damage?. Privacy belongs only to you–and it is at your discretion […]

Privacy, Shame and Secrets–Part VII: Hidden in Plain Sight

July 10, 2014 by


“Brilliant!” Harry whispered. “If everyone knows, no one will suspect it’s a secret!” No, it isn’t really “the Harry” that we’ve come to know and love via Ms. Rowling. It’s rather from a takeoff of the Potter series, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Less Wrong. [Feel free to see if this idea appeals to […]

Privacy, Shame and Secrets–Part VI: Patty’s Babies

July 8, 2014 by


Patty was pregnant with her second when she and Peter sought counseling for marital tension. During their couples’ work, they revealed that both pregnancies had required in vitro assistance. The issue of secrets came up with a double-whammy.  Part I was the revelation that the parents had no intention of ever telling their children that […]

Privacy, Secrets and Shame–Part V: Questions About–and the Damage Caused by–Secrets

July 6, 2014 by


If we’re to take an honest look at secret-keeping–and that involves our own–we need to ask ourselves some fundamental questions about why we continue in our path of secrecy. Ask yourself these–and be honest: 1. Who else knows this secret? Like in Alan’s case, with never having graduated high school, do so many people know, that keeping […]

Privacy, Secrets and Shame–Part II: Ludwig and Family, ct’d–The Secret and the Damage Done

July 5, 2014 by


It’s not the place here to go back and examine Manfred’s issues with sexuality, and his conviction that if he just tried marriage, all would be well. What does matter, ultimately, is the secret Manfred kept, and how damaging it was to himself and to those he loved–as all too often secrets can be.. Assuredly, the […]

July is the (don’t hold your breath) Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July 11, 2013 by


Giving the lie to the common assertion that Congress accomplishes nothing, in the 110th Congress, in 2007, Rep. Albert Wynn, a Democrat from Maryland who represented the 4th district from 1993 to 2008, brought to the floor a bill for which he would soon have many co-sponsors, and which he would succeed in passing in 2008, […]