What family secrets are you hiding?

Are you compelled to keep family secrets? Those dark hidden secrets like sexual abuse that happened to you as a child? Are you a victim of sexual abuse? Still carrying around that demon as you keep family secrets from being discovered? Do you find it emotionally and mentally paralyzing? It can be incapacitating. Even if the abuse took place many years ago during childhood, the burden and pressure may still remain for you to keep family secrets hidden.

The victim wonders why the perpetrator has been so well-received and even honored over the years. Yet they also know to keep family secrets in an effort to protect themselves. You see, abusers are never about protecting their victims—only themselves. Oftentimes, they walk around in the community, head held high. They carry the farce of their public persona, while their victim continues to . . . keep family secrets. They maintain their façade and continue to deceive those who are perhaps closest to them. Sometimes another family member may suspect, or even be aware of what is/was going on, but refuse to expose the truth. They are compelled to keep family secrets, afraid of bringing humiliation and alienation by society to their family unit.

I was reading some comments left on an obituary. This is an obituary of someone who is known to have sexually molested his own child throughout their childhood, as well as other young ones. I found it amazing at the adoration and sentimental remarks posted about this person. Obviously, he managed to keep family secrets hidden throughout his lifetime. But, he left behind more than one victim emotionally and mentally ravaged by the abuse he perpetrated. The victims continue to keep family secrets.

Why not speak out? It’s rather convoluted. You see, for some inexplicable reason, the victim is the one who is or would be seen as the troublemaker for speaking out, for finally coming to a point they refuse to keep the family secrets. So, they retain their silence and suffering, while their perpetrator is perceived as a pillar of the community, the church and/or the family.

I wonder how many victims of abuse have divulged some of these family secrets. An albatross wrapped around their neck is if they do disclose the molestation or abuse they endured as a child, the perpetrator will stand a chance of being arrested. It is similar to the “outing” of the pedophiles hidden in cleric robes of the Catholic church these past few years. We see how those grown men who were brave enough to come forward and speak out were initially treated. The mentality was, “How dare they accuse someone held at such a high station in society.” It’s the same with keeping family secrets. I’ve seen it firsthand. Accusations are thrown like darts, aimed directly at the victim who has spoken out. A lot like a victim of rape being told, “Well, you brought it all on for yourself.” Thus, victims remain silent. They continue to keep family secrets, and all too often, take them to their grave. Meanwhile, the sexual pervert who wronged them continues to travel the path of abuse, seeking another victim to ruin.

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  1. Why is it that many focus on how to point a finger at the catholic clergy as if some pedophiles might hide them selves only through this religious organization, NO! , but 95% of the catholic clergy that are true to their religion do not have to be looked upon as a pervert, pedophiles can hide themselves under any religeous organization or any where. Yes it is wrong for any in-justice to take place and it is good to speak out.

    • Carolyn S. Hennecy says:

      Jo, you are right. I only used the Catholic clergy as a point of reference. Sadly, most of my post referring to those in high places in the church are aimed at the perp who molested me. He went on to hold a place of high respect in his next church, and he was a layperson. Pedophiles are lurking around every corner, and not necessarily wearing a collar. I am glad to clarify that, and throw it out as a reminder…and warning. Thanks for sharing an important message.

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