Help, I Can't Keep A Secret! Here's Why I'm Incapable Of Keeping My Mouth Shut

Last updated by Rosie Harlow

I recently found out that my best friend is having an affair with someone… I know, right?! When she admitted it to me, she obviously told me not to tell anyone else, but this little warning was enough for it to burn my lips. When I got home, I had barely put my purse down before the revelation started spewing out of my mouth, but he’s the only one I told... promise!

Help, I Can't Keep A Secret! Here's Why I'm Incapable Of Keeping My Mouth Shut

With secrets, it's the enormity of them that matters

If you think about it, there are different ways to reveal a secret; by blundering, by wanting to get yourself noticed, or even just because you are a natural oversharer. I am not a blunderer. So you can tell me your disgusting habits, and what makes you feel ashamed or embarrassed, and I won't do anything about it. On that point, I can be trusted... Well, almost 🙄. Let's face it, whilst some secrets barely raise an eyebrow, some can certainly cause a stir.

Keep a secret

I love the effect of a good secret being revealed

When I was a student, I befriended Maria, who once confessed to me that she was still a virgin, at 22 years old, and that on top of that, she was in love with our (50-year-old) literature teacher. I listened to her, sympathized, reassured her, maybe even counseled her, and at a party with my usual group of girlfriends, I spilled the beans. It turns out that it was a good story, and as it goes, I love good stories, plus no one knew Maria, and it definitely helped me captivate my audience. 😋. Although, I will admit that sometimes the need to be liked and exist in the eyes of others can push me to take bigger risks and reveal secrets to the same group of friends or coworkers.

When I have a bigger secret to keep, something important, that is entrusted to me because I am trusted, things get complicated. I'm torn between being a reliable friend and revealing this huge piece of juicy information. Now, it's obvious that some secrets are harder to keep than others and for me, as someone who's not super prudish, and who doesn't have much to hide, it's not always easy to know how important a secret is to the other person or not.

>>> Read; Why do I constantly need attention?

Why can't I keep a secret?

There are many reasons why it is difficult to keep a secret. I like to create a sensation, I like to have people hanging on my every word, and I grew up with a mother and a grandmother who loved to talk behind each other's backs. To me, this type of communication was almost normal. I thought everyone shared everything, that at home we had nothing to hide. And then I learned, by chance, that my grandfather was unfaithful... well, that was hidden from me.

And then, some secrets are simply too heavy to carry. There are those that are thrown at you like a hot potato because they became too heavy for the other person, those that clutter your mind to the point of losing sleep, and those that confront your moral compass. To deal with these secrets that are too hard to keep, you need to step back and analyze things.

How do you deal with a secret that is too heavy to carry? What are the limits?

Since I know I have a hard time keeping secrets and, strangely enough, people keep telling me 🤷♀️, I've imposed a few rules on myself. All my relatives know, for example, that if they entrust me with something a little important, my husband will know about it 🥰. We all need someone who can listen to the confidences that burn your lips, without risking repeating everything (anyway) in turn. After all, if you think about it, the person who tells you a secret is somehow trying to get rid of something that is too heavy for them. For example, when my brother confided in me that he was gay, I'm pretty sure he wanted me, even subconsciously, to be the one to tell our parents. He delegated his responsibility to me, so I shared the load!

For the really heavy secrets and those that go against our moral values, it's more complicated. 🤐

When the other person's secret gets to our head, or when it becomes our obsession to the point that our well-being is questioned, it's because we are both empathizing and powerless. The challenge here is foremost to try to detach ourselves. It is important to understand that it is not our secret, it is the secret of the other person. You can get help from a shrink in this work of detachment, which can be quite guilt-inducing. Then, it is necessary, to be honest with the person who entrusted us with the secret. When other people's secrets are too heavy to bear, we can help them to tell them. For example, family secrets can be very heavy, but the longer we try to hide a secret, the harder it will be to reveal and understand.

Do we really have to keep a secret?

Yes and no. Being able to confide in someone is important. Knowing how to keep a part of the other person's intimacy is just as important. Being a reliable person makes you a trustworthy person and this is quite beneficial for social life. However, we don't have to keep a secret, but again, it's all about the size... and context. A friend who confides in you that she has committed a crime 🪓 would effectively make you an accomplice to that crime. Does your loyalty go that far? And then there are also the forced secrets in relationships under control, imposed confidences. When, for example, an abusive parent tells the child to "keep our little secret". We all agree that this is a secret that would be better revealed.

Finally, the real thing to understand is that there is no obligation to receive a secret. You have to learn to know your limits and take them into account. Being told a secret is always flattering. You feel integrated, chosen, and privileged, but before accepting to hear the confidence of the other person, you have to make your own evaluation and be honest with the other person: "Don't tell me more, I don't know how to keep a secret", "It's an important secret that you made me. I think about it often, you are sure you don't want to reveal this secret."

Maybe you shouldn't tell me your secret...

Revealing a secret, voluntarily or involuntarily, can damage our relationship with the person who told us, but if we are unable to keep a secret, we need to communicate our weakness and make the other person understand it or work on ourselves. It is according to the capacities of each one!

Editor’s opinion: A heavy load to carry

We have all at one time or another thrown away a secret to have something to say, to make ourselves look good, or because it was too heavy to carry. Keeping a secret can be a suffocating burden, depending on the secret and the people involved, to the point where it bothers us and even prevents us from sleeping. If you are experiencing a case of conscience or have no one to share your secret with, don't hesitate to make an appointment with a psychologist so that you can share the burden with someone you trust. Your secret will be safe, and you will feel much lighter...

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It's here and now!


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Article presented by Rosie Harlow

Writing has always been a form of therapy for me. For as long as I can remember, I have always used paper as a punching bag. Get to know me, I am Rosie Harlow.

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