You Are Only As Sick As Your Secrets


You Are Only As Sick As Your Secrets

By Bernadette A. Moyer


“You are only as sick as your secrets” by Rick Warren This quote has also been used in the 12-step program for addiction. The premise is that so often what we are hiding or unable to deal with is often the root of our problems.

It has been said “the cover up is worse than the crime” and what people will do to cover up for their crimes or feelings of inadequacy. Lance Armstrong is a classic example of a guy that spent 10 years smearing the very people that were closest to him to cover up for his use of illegal enhancement preforming drugs. He knew what he did and yet he had very little concern for the people that he harmed.

I grew up in a highly dysfunctional family with a father who was a raging alcoholic and a mother who was an enabler and overeater. They both chose a different vice to numb their pain. Pain that was never dealt with but rather swept under the table.

When you are a child in an alcoholic home you learn to pretend that your life is normal and you learn to keep the family secrets. My father and his drinking and drinking related behaviors showed itself in numerous unhealthy ways. He had mood swings and a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personalities and under the influence of alcoholic he could be both charming and violent. My mother hid much of what she endured from him from her family. She knew it was wrong but she stayed in it until she could no longer deny his multiple infidelities. There was much sickness associated with their secrets.

Her second marriage would also be riddled with secrets and sickness. She married and stayed married to a man that was accused of sexual abuse. She lived in denial. To be a part of my mother’s life, you had to subscribe to her denial. When I was a child I had no choice but as an adult I would find myself calling out that which I knew was wrong. This would make me a scapegoat and a target. But it also made me well and happy, I got away and I moved past it and ultimately I saved myself.

Living a lie or a life of deceit and dishonesty puts us off center and unable to live an authentic life. Many families have family secrets the things that they desperately hide to keep from the outside world. I am in a place where I no longer take someone else’s lies personally nor am I hurt or offended by them. If anything I am sad for their sickness. To lie and to deceive causes distrust and when we cannot be trusted we are limited in our abilities for true love and any real intimacy.

People that are consumed with “what will the neighbors think?” are often the same ones that are living a lie. What they try and put out into the universe doesn’t match up with authenticity and integrity. When we can move past our secrets and when we can come from a place of trust and of love then we are most centered and well. Our well-being and our abilities to experience pure joy are associated with honesty and truth and integrity.

We have stages for those that want to perform and act, in the theater of life, we can hide and we can hold secrets but far too often we pay the price with a life that is devoid of any real love and intimacy. You can’t be close to someone who is dishonest, you can’t be close to someone who is living a lie and holding on to secrets. Love and happiness thrive and live in the light and … in darkness we find illness.

Our ability to trust ourselves and to love ourselves is a direct connection with our ability to be honest with ourselves and with the people we are closest.  When I was a child I lived with family secrets and with high anxiety and as an adult I made the choice to live in the open with love and acceptance and in doing so I have found good health and much peace.

Letting go of the burdens of secrets is letting go of the barriers that inhibit good health and an abundance of love. Let love win!

Bernadette on Facebook at

2 thoughts on “You Are Only As Sick As Your Secrets

  1. Teresa

    You have done it again. I found myself relating to and cheering at every word you wrote. Thanks for giving voice to what so many of us experience.

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