No matter how trustworthy you think you are, you need to understand that the human mind is wired to eventually spill secrets, we just can’t help ourselves!  So, before you sign up to take on board your BFF’s deepest darkest confession, think about the bigger picture and the emotional burden that will weigh on your mind like a hippo in body armour!

Having secrets is part of growing up where normally you keep insignificant pieces of information on the QT about something you shouldn’t have done or ones you know you will be in trouble over if it all comes out and guess what…… it usually does!

Do you remember having a secret diary? 

Those precious pages where you recorded your deepest and most personal thoughts; scribbling, doodling, but most of all transferring all those skeletons from your cupboard into ink. 

You will also remember the reoccurring design flaw with this whole scenario, being the flimsy lock, picked quicker than the act of running over hot coals.  This damning dossier of classified information would be hidden somewhere more obvious than you ever considered (after all there are only so many places one can hide something in their bedroom). 

Consequently, it didn’t take long before its contents became public knowledge with the first set of beady eyes to digest who you fancied or hated was your Mum (and embarrassingly there was always more than one entry referring to her) who just happened to be having a tidy and stopped for a nose intrigued and drawn to the shiny lock like a magpie. (OK, guilty as charged!)

But when you reach adulthood, should we be keeping secrets?  After all what sort of information do you need to keep from others and what is seen to be acceptable as a secret?  Is it healthy to keep them or in the long run does it cause damage to all around including you?

The truth about holding onto a secret is it can make you feel laden down like a weight on your shoulders not placed there by you and there is part of you that dreads when someone says 'can I tell you a secret?'

Personally, I always want to shout a big fat no in their face, but human nature and being British and far too polite to refuse, I say nothing which gives the impression that it is perfectly acceptable for them to dump their emotional baggage in my mental storage bay.

But when you hold onto a secret, your brain's orbital prefrontal cortex simulates in your mind to just how bad sharing the secret will be, imagining all the possible negative outcomes which can become a huge ball bag ache and even worst news people it is due to the way we are made which means the human brain is wired to not let us keep it!

When we try to suppress a thought or secret, a mental process in our brain called the ironic monitoring process makes us remember it and return it to our conscious awareness.  And the truth of the matter is the bigger the secret, the more stress you will feel under and the worse it will get until ultimately you have no choice but to blurt it out and all is revealed.

Of course, we can all agree there are secrets and then there are secrets!

Those you may not admit to even with your closest friend, much less your partner!  For example the cakes you present as homemade on a regular basis are shop bought (well someone made them at home!) or that it was you who broke numerous household gadgets over the years blaming the children or when your angry you subsequently cut the buttons off family members clothes or the time you didn’t tell your husband it was haemorrhoid cream and not a new toothpaste!  But surely these are minor foibles!

A secret is only a damning secret in a relationship if it directly affects or concerns the individual but is withheld from your partner.

An obvious example of what this may look like is not telling your partner that you were once married (or, worse, that you still are) or that you are having an affair with his best friend/boss/brother or that you found out he asked your best friend to marry him before you!  Other biggies would include undisclosed massive revelations about your family or your past! (there is no greyness - its just anything you would rather forget!)

And size does matter as the bigger the secret, or the riskier you perceive its protection, the more intense the conflict becomes within your brain and this results in higher anxiety and a more potent fight-or-flight effect. 

But despite the dangers, keeping secrets is part of our culture and human nature and even when there is risk involved, we believe there is greater risk is in its disclosure. This is until our poor confused brains can take no more and the need to spill the beans takes place in preference to human combustion or visiting confession nightly!

So, the moral of the story is dont keep secrets!  Be responsible for your actions and then the silence cannot be broken, and the shit will never ever reach that fan!

Honesty has got to be the best policy and for most us there is a moral code telling us keeping secrets is akin to lying and the more time passes, the harder it is to confess and justify what you did and why you did it.  Being deceitful breeds mistrust and once the trust is lost, it is hard to regain, especially for those who have been betrayed by a parent or former romantic partner or spouse.

Keeping secrets is a hotbed for betrayal and omitting important facts can also lead to further deception or betrayal or hurt which causes people to grow apart. It is also hard to feel emotionally connected to someone when you catch them in a lie or find out that they’ve kept a secret from you and finally its bad for our health.

So, quite simply. . .secretive people tend to be sick people.

pssst,,,,,Can you keep a secret?