Can Keeping Secrets Actually Affect You Physically?


By Brooke Dean

I remember talking to my father one day about all the little ailments that were plaguing me. I told him if it wasn’t lower back pain giving me grief, it was a migraine. Some days, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck to the point where the pain was unbearable and physically draining; so much so that I began to wonder if there is something deeper going on. Perhaps stress? I asked my dad what he thought and his answer surprised me. He asked if I’d been keeping secrets.

Secrets. Excuse me? Did he just say “secrets?”

Yes, he did.

He said there was an old wives tale that states when someone is experiencing severe pain physically, it’s because they may be keeping secrets.

I’d never heard that before, but it got me thinking…hard. Was there anything I was hiding from people? Was I keeping any secrets that were physically harming me? Good question.

I couldn’t think of anything, but subconsciously, sometimes we may keep things to ourselves in order to protect ourselves – our hearts, minds and souls. I know we tend to bury hurtful memories or experiences as a way of emotional and mental survival. I don’t believe, at this point, I’m “actively” keeping a bunch of secrets that have wreaked havoc on my back, but who knows. Am I?

Keeping secrets is ultimately about trust, or lack thereof. If something is eating at you or you feel someone is keeping something from you, that can drain you of your energy, and make you question your ability to trust if you try to walk around it. It can make us overly suspicious, a little paranoid and give us disturbing gut feelings with no words to wrap around them – making us wonder if something is off and struggling to trust our intuition. One of the worst feelings in the world is not being able to trust the messages that are coming from within us, therefore making it even more difficult to trust someone else.

Secrets demand tremendous energy and erode trust, making relationships doomed never to experience true, long lasting intimacy. This is why extramarital affairs are so damaging. He or she is not so much concerned about the other person having sex with someone else, but more so about the betrayal, lack of trust, the secrets, and deception that make you crazy and drain you. Emotionally and physically. Trust is essential for any relationship to work, be it romantic, familial or friendship.

Now, as far as keeping secrets, I’m not saying that you should sit down with everyone you know and divulge the top 50 secrets of your illicit past. Everyone has the right to privacy, and we’re all capable of discerning the difference between being deceitful and being discreet. If you have resolved issues from your past that no longer affect the present or your future – i.e., you’ve forgiven yourself and learned from those behaviors – then they do not qualify as a pain causing secret that you must share with the world.

However, if in the course of trying to establish intimacy in your relationships you want to share some of those events as you disclose to your partner where you were and where you are now, you can do so at your own pace. If you feel a secret is taking up room in your mind, heart and spirit, to the point where it’s literally making you sick, don’t let it hold you back from healing yourself and growing in the many stages of intimacy that lead to meaningful relationships. Talk to someone you trust or a professional and let it all go.

And if you feel someone is keeping something from you, let that person know that your intuition is sending you a message that something is wrong. Make them feel safe to share their secrets with you, be open, and listen without judgment. If your relationship, whatever that relationship is, is valuable to you, you will nurture it. In doing so, you’ll free up space in your heart to trust, release pain and stress from your body…and you’ll be free.

Has a secret ever weighed on you so hard that it took over your mind and spirit to the point where it made you ill?


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