Family secrets can block us

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Louise Hay
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Family secrets can block us

Very often the reason for a psychological malaise lies in a family secret, hidden for a long time through guilt or shame. These are passed on unconsciously and end up affecting people's emotional well-being.

Last update: July 18, 2022

Family secrets are an invisible burden. We know that they are there, but precisely because they are secret we cannot face and elaborate them. If they are dealing with serious or perverse facts, the result could be unexplained depression, mania, or any type of neurosis or psychosis.



The case of Jennifer Teege is known worldwide. The girl, raised in an orphanage and adopted by a family at the age of 3, knew that something was wrong with her. She started looking for her biological mother to find out about her past, but this was not enough to calm his restlessness. She had the feeling that her existence was shrouded in a dark secret. He sensed the presence of something evil.

"Why do adults believe that children tolerate secrets better than truth?"

-Cornelia Caroline Funke-

Over time, she discovered that her mother had hidden relevant data from her. For example, that his grandfather had been an SS commander and that he was called The Butcher of Plaszow. 

He continued his research on books and documents until he uncovered all the secrets of his family. As she herself said, "I was able to start my authentic life, with my true identity, only after discovering my family history".

The importance of family secrets

Family secrets exist while shame exists: facts that are hidden for fear of being discovered. Unacceptable events, objectively and subjectively.



According to psychoanalysts, family secrets are a form of collective repression. They relegate themselves to a dark area convinced that, hiding them, sooner or later they will disappear. In reality, hiding causes the opposite effect: the secret becomes more alive than ever, even if no one can see it.

All repressed things come back. They do not just remain closed in the drawer, asleep, but they remain more alive than ever and always find a channel to resurface. Hidden contents have the same properties as matter: it is not destroyed, but transformed. In what? In neurosis or psychosis.

Hereditary feelings and emotions

The shame contained in family secrets is always accompanied by guilt. It is one of the most toxic and harmful feelings that the human being has to face. It leads us to feel unworthy, to seek ways to unknowingly punish ourselves. The guilt is projected continuously, even if we do not speak about it openly.

Ever since we are born, we have been receiving a series of implicit and explicit messages from the world around us. For example, we may perceive that our mother is too nervous and gloomy or that she has repulsions that seem incomprehensible to us. At the basis of similar behaviors that seem foreign to us, there is certainly a repressed content.

Everything that is not said or is unknown filters into our life in an imprecise but decisive way. When family secrets are very serious or shrouded in guilt, they make you sick. But what is worse, they are implicitly transmitted to subsequent generations who, although not knowing exactly what happened, suffer the damage to their psyche.


Transgenerational memory

Each of us is the child of a story and a perspective on life. When we are born, we are but a new chapter that adds to what has already happened. Before us, there are events and facts that define a large part of our person.


It is therefore very important to know transgenerational memory to understand ourselves better and discover an important part of our personality. Finding this information is essential for our development and well-being. Knowing and understanding our ancestry is a way to interpret our feelings, emotions and attitudes.


If we don't know the details of our past, they will continue to affect our experiences. Remember that the echo of those who preceded us lives in us: we are unconsciously conditioned by the secrets of our family and the truths we ignore. For many, this is the origin of an emotional disorder, but also the right way to overcome it.

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