Shame grows in the darkness of secrecy. One of the fastest ways to release the grip of shame is to speak your shame to another person. This is a simple, yet profoundly scary task if you have been stuffing their secrets down for years. The fear is usually that you will upset their partner or that the person listening will shame them even more.
The consequence of this strategy is that secrets become toxic. All the energy we use to keep our mouth shut begins to burn us up inside. We get tired, irritable, depressed, anxious, or we disassociate. If you’re locked into this dynamic with a partner, it begins to erode the safety within yourself and with this person. From this place, it’s easy to slip into an abusive relationship where one is abusing the other or both are abusing each other. The energy has nowhere else to go so it lashes out onto the other or inward into oneself.
In order to release this pressure, you must speak the truth. As scary as it seems, you must begin to open up to someone else who can help you hold and process the shame. You may also need them to help guide you in your actions if you have been dislodged from your internal compass.
Collectively, we can also do this by being transparent with each other. It’s okay to say, “I’m struggling today” or “I’m feeling insecure in my relationship right now”. Your openness helps other people grow their courage to open up and this bravery ripples out into the world.