When Herman Rockefeller went missing, I suspected that he had a double life that included a secret girlfriend. I imagined him finally being caught, and having to confess to his distraught wife and family. I was right but also so wrong.
But what makes someone like Herman lead a double life? Was it because Herman couldn't express his innermost feelings to his wife? How shocked must she be feeling right now? Was he afraid to be himself? And if he did attempt to communicate who he was, was he rejected?
Here is an extract from the book 'Anatomy of a Secret Life,’ Dr. Gail Saltz, which looks at this issue. Here are a couple of short snippets:
We all have secrets; we live and breathe them every day. We may not know what one another’s secrets are, but we know they’re there. They’re always there, invisible presences in everyone’s lives, the subtext beneath the text, the almost uttered but then swallowed sentence, the cryptic, fleeting expression on someone’s face. Humankind’s basic needs are food, water, and shelter, but secrets aren’t too far down the list of essentials. They provide a safe haven that allows us the freedom to explore who we are, to establish an identity that is uniquely our own. But even the deepest secrets can also be shared; they are the currency of close relationships, the coin of exclusivity, sometimes the key to love itself.
Under some circumstances, however, secrets can also be profound sources of shame, guilt, anxiety, despair.
But when our secrets start to control us — and far too often they do — then a normal life clicks over into something else: a secret life. When that happens, everything changes. Suddenly we find ourselves forced to give up any remaining vestiges of openness and casualness and instead submit full-time to the exacting rules that the secret life inevitably demands.
Does everyone live a secret life to some degree? I think so. Do I lead a double life? Sort of. This blog is anonymous in that my identity is nowhere linked to it. Why? For one reason, because of the profession I'm in. I'm an actor who plays a certain character and my audience should only see that character. Also, it would not be good for my career, considering stuff I've written.
Is this hidden from my family? Yes and no. Most of my family don't have the internets, so it's no big deal. I've mentioned to parents about stuff I've written on my blog and they roll their eyes, so they don't ask what the address is. They probably get enough of my rantings.
This has got me thinking of those that I know personally who lead some what of a secret life from their partner. Should I do anything about it? What are the consequences if I did? Is it really my business? It's a lot to think about.
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