Susie & Otto


When Keeping Secrets Makes Things Worse... What To Do To Make Things Right Again

Whether it was on purpose...or not...Have you ever told a lie to someone or..

Have you ever NOT been completely honest with someone and not known how to make things right or set the record straight?

So what about secrets?

Have you ever tried to keep a secret from someone (like your spouse or partner) and keeping the secret from them started creating even bigger problems for you?

This is what happened to one woman who wrote to us recently asking for advice.

She had found herself in a really uncomfortable situation as a result of not telling the truth to her husband.

She didn't know how to deal with her situation after she realized that her lie was going to be an even bigger problem for her than if she'd actually told the truth in the first place.

This woman told us that there was a secret she had been keeping from her husband and when he had asked her about, she had lied to him and denied his accusations.

Now she wants to talk to him about it but doesn't know how since she already told him something that wasn't true.

You may not have this particular problem but we're guessing that at some time or another you have wanted to go back and amend something that you said or did and didn't quite know how to do it.

Maybe you have or haven't lied about something as this woman did--but you still may have had problems bringing up something unpleasant or uncomfortable with someone else.

So here's the thing...

There's no shortcut when this happens and no "easy" way to save face, especially when there have been lies.

But you know what's worse?

Allowing the lie, uncomfortable feelings or "withhold" as one of our teachers called it to build walls between the two of you is much worse than dealing with it.

Susie met with a group of women last week and one of the women brought up something that was uncomfortable for her to say and for others to hear.

This woman said what she needed to say--a couple of other women were thinking the same thing--and the issue was brought out in the open for discussion.

Even though it was an uncomfortable situation, if this woman had not said what she was feeling, the group would have lost its cohesiveness and there would have been an unnamed tension that hadn't been there before.

Although this issue wasn't about confessing to a lie as our reader asked about, the same kind of courage and authenticity has to be present in both situations.

So how do you deal with talking about something unpleasant with someone, which may be confessing to giving wrong information in a previous discussion and 'fessing up to a lie?

Here are a few pointers to help you...

1. Connect with what you're feeling and what your "truth" is. If you need to, take some time and write out what your truth is before you try to speak it.

2. Choose a time when you can be alone and not distracted to talk with the other person. Do this privately and not in a public place like a restaurant. Provide a "safe space" where you both can express what you need to say without being on public display.

Look at your intentions and make sure they aren't to hurt the other person, get revenge or to make the other person wrong but rather to set the record straight for the future health of your relationship.

3. Make sure you keep breathing and center yourself before you speak. You might take some deep breaths, bringing the breath into your belly and down to your toes before you exhale. Focus your attention on the place just below your navel to stay grounded.

4. Let the other person know how important he or she is to you. You might use our "Magic Words" phrase "Our relationship is really important to me..." to start your conversation.

5. Say what's true for you--and make it only about you. If, like our reader, you've told a lie, you can explain why the lie came out of your mouth in the first place.

  • Maybe you reacted out of fear of losing your partner's love
  • Maybe you didn't want to hurt him or her, but in telling the lie, you realize that you created more hurt and mistrust.
  • Maybe you just weren't courageous enough to tell the truth at that time but now you are.

Keep in mind that these aren't excuses and don't excuse the lie--if there was one.

This information does, however, let the other person know what you were thinking at the time.

If you're trying to deal with a lie you told, explain how you are willing to make amends now if the person is willing to listen.

6. Stay open to the other person and allow whatever emotions are there to come up. If he or she becomes angry, listen but don't put yourself in a position to get hurt if the anger gets physical or out of control.

If the other person withdraws or leaves and won't talk with you, try to talk again at a later time.

If he or she still isn't willing to talk with you, you can write your thoughts in a letter and send it.

Remember, if you have lied and you've been questioned about it, the mistrust is already there.

Being courageous and telling the truth is the first step to regaining and rebuilding trust--although there are no guarantees that the other person will trust you again.

Trust is built in every moment and it starts with being authentic and allowing the "real" you to be present.

This is also how love expands and grows.

Our best to you,

©2010, Susie & Otto Collins

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Susie and Otto Collins are spiritual and life partners who are committed to helping others create outstanding relationships of all kinds. They regularly write, speak and conduct workshops and seminars on love, relationships and personal and spiritual growth to audiences all across the USA. They are the creators of the "Relationship Toolkit" which has helped people in over a dozen countries improve their relationships. It includes a video called Spiritual Partnerships plus two booklets Love and Relationship Success Secrets and 101 Relationship Quotes Worth a Million Dollars! You can also read more articles like these and subscribe to their weekly newsletter on love and relationships by visiting their web site at Their new E-book Should You Stay or Should You Go? has just been released and is now available See Archives 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001. Other Relationship Issues, Books

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