Secrets: The Difference Between Healthy and Toxic Secrets

Teri and Tammy have discussed both toxic secrets and healthy secrets, but how do each of them impact our relationships with others? Toxic Secrets:

  • Create an unsafe relationship which makes intimacy difficult, if not impossible, to have
  • Create distance between the secret keeper and the one who is kept in the dark
  • Create alliances and dependency between the secret keeper and anyone who knows the truth
  • Usually come out in time, and can create a great deal of resentment and anger when they emerge
  • Can be dangerous and cause people harm, which doesn't protect and nurture those around you
  • Can cause the secret keeper to feel isolated and alone (which other people feel... even if they can't name what it is.)
  • Doesn't allow for the freedom of healthy decision making.  If someone is keeping a secret that is toxic, how can the other person make an accurate decision if they don't have all of the information to do so?

Healthy Secrets:

  • Can create a sense of healthy mystery in relationships and help to keep passion and intimacy alive
  • Create a sense of "self" separate from the other person (or people), which is interdependent
  • Promote respect and allow a relationship to have healthy boundaries
  • Nurture a relationship and protect it from hurtful information that will only harm (as opposed to help the relationship grow)
  • Creates a sense of "grace" and kindness that allow a relationship to grow stronger

These are only a few examples of how both toxic and healthy secrets can impact our relationships. Check back tomorrow when we will discuss how you can tell the difference between toxic and healthy secrets.  Thanks for reading!

Written by Natalie Chandler

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.