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I've been thinking a lot about skeletons in the closet. Having an online journal, or I assume, ANY journal, makes you want to spill your guts about every aspect of your life, current and prior. Sometimes, it may be cathartic, but much of the time, I wonder if it's necessary. I think it IS necessary to the growth of friendship, to be allowed in, to learn the nooks and crannies and reasons for behavior a friend displays. Usually, it furthers understanding or at least promotes tolerance.

The person I am now is firmly rooted in the people I've been at various times in my life. I don't feel it necessary to hide or apologize for my particular skeletons, even if I don't feel the need to talk about them or bring them up at all. It's not because I'm ashamed of these things in my past, it's more that they aren't really relevant anymore. I know that they would add a new dimension to the picture of me that my friends have. Perhaps that's a good thing, perhaps not.

It's also different in this case because I don't know most of the people reading this in real life. And there are a lot of my real life friends and acquaintances reading this who never comment directly. Some of them know me better than others. I wonder if you would be surprised or dismayed to know that I've served jail time for theft. Or that I've been married 3 times. Or that I gave a baby away for adoption.* Or any of a million different things that could be my skeletons.

Finding out about things in a person's past does make you view them differently, for better or worse. I remember when I was 13, finding out that a girl 2 grades above me, who I sort of looked up to, smoked cigarettes. I was shocked, which may sound like I was very naive (and I was, but that's not the point). I actually wrote in my diary, "I didn't think Veronica was that kind of girl!" Smoking cigarettes may seem like a silly example, but my reaction, in many cases, would still be the same, and so might yours, upon finding out the things that I, or you, don't talk about to strangers or even to good friends.

To prove that I AM still the same person inside as I was when I was 13: when two good friends of mine unexpectedly lit up cigarettes when we were out having dinner last summer, I was equally as shocked as I was when Veronica Reese did it 26 years ago. :)

It's not because they're not good friends, but no one from my current circle of friends in Sweden knows about my skeletons. They rattle quietly in their closet once in awhile, but rarely come out to be introduced. That's just the way I like it.

*None of those applies to me. My skeletons are much tamer.
 relaxed
mood: relaxed
music: Sara Hickman—I Couldn't Help Myself


Comments

I relate to this post. It is very timely for me as in the past few days I have been reflecting on things in my past that I am ashamed of and that I wish had not happened. Nothing hideous. Just some people I wasn't nice to, co-workers I mistreated, etc. Sometimes I have a desire to contact people and make ammends- but 5, 10, 12 years later- does the person I wronged even remember what I did? In some cases probably yes- in other cases it is probably water under the bridge.

We moved here 4 years ago and even my "good" friends here don't know wbaout my not so proud moments in my past. (shrug) and I don't know all of theirs I am sure.

Is full disclosure necessary to have an honest relationship? I'm not sure.

I agree with you. When I wrote the post I had 2 particular skeletons in mind, but there are also numerous little things, such as you mention, that I don't think anyone cares about anymore but me. I DON'T think full disclosure is necessary to have an honest relationship, but I suspect some people do. I think it's amusing that I'm more shocked by cigarette smoking than many, MANY other things. :)

You're right- some people feel the need to tell you their whole life history when you meet them. With others it comes little by little over time.

Years ago I worked with an analyst who was about my age- maybe a year or 2 younger than me. It was my first real job so I was 23 or so. I was SHOCKED to learn he had a 6 month old son and had been married 5 months. He was a nice but nerdy looking guy. I couldn't believe that this level headed guy was in that type of a situation. I was naive!

I don't believe in full disclosure myself. What's past is past and sometimes, things are better left unsaid. BUT that being said, omission is better than lying, I would never lie about something to someone I loved, but I sure might do some side-stepping.

I agree- some things are better off unsaid.

A friend of mine is a therapist and marriage counselor and he told me once that sometimes 1 partner will tell the other partner of their cheating to rid themselves of their own guilt, not realizing the burden and upset they have put upon their partner.

October 2019
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