For the purposes of the study, a secret was any information that a person intended to conceal from one or more individuals. Obviously, opening up and sharing a secret, no matter what it may be, with your partner is scary. Embarrassed? That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to secrets, and we often opt for keeping whatever it is quiet even when we know it will come to no good. The next three experiments looked at how strong personal feelings might influence the impact of secret-keeping. In the first experiment, they looked at whether keeping secrets increased feelings of fatigue indirectly as a result of social isolation. According to researchers like Michael Slepian and Adam Galinsky at Columbia University and Nir Halevy at Stanford University, who have been intensively studying the many facets of secrets, there are clear reasons why keeping charged information to ourselves feels draining and worse. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as telling everyone all our difficult secrets nor is it always clear when and how it might be constructive to do so—nor does everyone want to hear it. Ideas. We can be pressured into telling secrets, and if it looks like we might crack, the pressure rises. Secrets are a universal human phenomenon. Guilty? People with higher levels of conflict about secrets give up more easily and perform more poorly on a cognitive task. 239. Moreover, the findings challenge the view that secrets keeping has negative effects on secret‐holders. They found that, statistically speaking, sadness and social isolation are highly associated with one another, measuring a highly overlapping underlying emotional state. The honest truth about keeping secrets. Shop for Low Price Psychological Effects Of Keeping Secrets And Psychology Of Food Choice . Keeping secrets in a relationship doesn’t come without ramifications. “The more a secret overlaps with one’s own social network, the more one conceals the secret on the other’s behalf, predicting increased feelings of … How have I learned to deal with secrets from my past experiences? Here are some reasons that keeping secrets might not be in your best interest. Secret keeping can be an emotional burden on the secret keeper and this is probably the main reason why it is difficult to keep secrets. What are the effects of keeping secrets? They divide people. The worse the secret, the greater the isolation and the greater the fatigue. Having a “good reason” to keep a secret seems to have a fatigue-protective effect but still leaves a person feeling cut off. AP Photo. But is there a long-term cost to keeping distressing secrets? Despite the dangers, keeping secrets is part of human nature. Armed with good questions like these and others, we can make more conscious and intentional decisions about what to do with our secrets and how to enjoy opening up with others to enjoy greater relationship satisfaction. SUMMARY. That decrease in authenticity led people to feel worse about their life. Infidelity, abuse, mental illness, addictions and debt can all be hidden from view – they may even be buried in our subconscious. Originally published at www.psychologytoday.com. Participants were asked to think about a consequential secret they intended to keep to themselves and compare it with important personal information they had not yet shared and did not mean to keep secret. At any given time we are keeping an average of 17 secrets — not our own, but secrets that have been confided in us. People who have studied the psychology of secrecy explain that secrets create “motivational conflict,” where the goal to avoid the social costs of the information being revealed conflicts with the goal to connect with others and maintain intimacy by sharing the information. However, for experiment three, where mitigating private ambition was present behind the secret, fatigue was not higher, although those participants did still report greater feelings of social isolation related to keeping the secret. ” ― Zoë Heller, What Was She Thinking? Though revealing the secret yourself will cause pain, having them learn it from someone else will undoubtedly cause even more. Thus, it was natural for the young woman to hold a personal secret for so many years. If you are in a life threatening situation – don’t use this site. When you tell something to your partner, it causes less pain even if it hurts but when your partner spies on … It can be particularly helpful if infidelity is involved, so you can feel like you have a safe space to share and have a therapist to mediate the conversation. Post 8:24 PM - Feb 10 #1 2019-02-10T20:24. The real problem with keeping a secret is not that you have to hide it, but that you have to live with it, and think about it. Almost everyone has something to hide (though, of course, not all secrets are of the deep, dark variety). She splits her time between New York and Los Angeles. In experiment two, participants were asked about information accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment. Psychological Effects of Keeping Secrets. They also can make us feel more fearful, hostile, and guilty, but the sadness and isolation make us more tired. The bottom line is, we basically all have secrets, but we don’t have to. Second, in most cases, the longer you wait to reveal a secret, the harder your partner will take it. However, going through the effort and putting in all the work to keep something a secret is often more damaging than what would actually happen if you revealed the secret. The Damaging Psychological Effects of Keeping Secrets New evidence shows how much secrecy can hurt us — but there are ways we can avoid it C ommon wisdom tells us that keeping secrets can take a terrible toll and that revealing information can be a step toward recovery. Does keeping secrets harm us? Columbia University researchers demonstrated in a study of 13,000 secrets that people may become distracted by secrets, leading to preoccupation with them, decreased feelings of authenticity, and a reduced sense of well-being about satisfaction with one’s life. “First, I think it is important to feel in control of sharing the secret. As humans it’s only…, particularly helpful if infidelity is involved, How Financial Infidelity Impacts Mental Health, 6 Ways to Bounce Back After a Relationship Meltdown. The Psychology Behind Why We Keep Secrets. We all have secrets. The paper about the kinds of secrets people can be found by clicking the pdf icon below: Slepian, M.L., Chun, J.S., & Mason, M.F. He maintains the KeepingSecrets.org project at Columbia University. Keeping secrets steals our life force, makes us sick, kills relationships, and wastes our creativity. Aldert Vrij. The previously mentioned Columbia University study determined that being secretive is linked to lower overall well-being. 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