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Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths That Change Our Lives [Kindle Edition]

Jane Isay

Print List Price: £12.99
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Book Description

By the author of Walking on Eggshells, a compellingly readable journey into the realm of family secrets, offering lessons and insights for those who are hiding the truth and those who discover what has long been hidden.

Secrets, large and small, are a fact of human life. This book explores the impact of keeping secrets and the power of truth. Secrets can damage our sense of self and our relationships. Even so, Jane Isay has found, people survive learning the most disturbing facts that have been hidden from them. And secret keepers are relieved when they finally reveal themselves—even the things they are ashamed of—to the people they care about. Much depends, Isay writes, on the way of telling and the way of hearing.

Jane Isay was both a secret finder and a secret keeper. After fifteen years of marriage her husband admitted he was gay, but together they decided to keep it a secret for the sake of their two sons. Building on her personal experience, sixty intimate interviews, and extensive research into the psychology of secrets, Isay shows how the pain of secrets can be lightened by full disclosure, genuine apology, and time. Sometimes the truth sunders relationships, but often it saves them.

Powered by detailed stories and Isay's compassionate analysis, Secrets and Lies reveals how universal secrets are in families. The big ones—affairs, homosexuality, parentage, suicide, abuse, hidden siblings—can be ruinous at first, but the effects need not last forever, and Isay shows us what makes the difference. With specific guidelines for those who keep secrets and those who find them out, Isay's book reveals the art of surviving a secret.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2532 KB
  • Print Length: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (7 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DXKJ622
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #682,956 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  62 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lies and Secrets Behind Closed Doors... 15 Jan. 2014
By missmickeesunshine - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths That Change Our Lives, author Jane Isay began by telling readers about her job as an editor at The Yale University Press. Her husband Dick rose to prominence as a psychiatrist, attended serious and intense psychoanalysis, six days a week for a year. After 15 years of marriage, both with demanding jobs, parents of two young boys, each one experienced the death of their mother, life was busy and stressful. Dick always seemed preoccupied. After he returned from the Gay Caucus of the American Psychiatric Association, Dick confessed that his years of analysis didn't work, his urges couldn't be controlled, he was a homosexual. Still, they loved each other greatly, didn't want to lose their financial security, professional standing, upset their young sons, family members, friends, or colleagues. It was a mutual decision that they would remain quietly in a "Cover/Open Marriage", this worked out for Dick, he wanted to continue indefinitely. For her, not so much.

The "Secret Keeper" uses an enormous amount of energy to hide/cover the truth, in making things appear to be normal. There is also worry of discovery, fears of change, retribution, and judgment. The "Secret Finder" can be outraged or feel a sense of hopelessness when their trust is betrayed. In forms of deception people are diminished. Cognitive Dissonance occurs when reality doesn't match actions, as individuals shield themselves from emotional distress. Silence in secrets is a "powerful tool", meant to provide a sense of normalcy, is threatened by questioning, keeping people from resolving painful problems, differences, truths, etc. In openness, (usually from disclosure), warmth and understanding can follow, leading to genuine intimacy and trust.

Of the people's lives/secrets Isay profiled, these pages of material seemed abstract, and would have been better briefly summarized. By limiting her own unique fascinating story told in the first and last chapters, and not offering more details of her life experience, Isay missed the chance to truly connect with her readers and write a great book.

In the U.S. there is an estimated 4 million marriages/relationships where a person is straight, their spouse/partner is gay. Even in the best of circumstances these relationships are difficult to understand and accept. Amazingly, Isay got a second chance at romance with her beloved former fiancé Jonathan. The joy and happiness she must have experienced with him after having a gay husband all those years must have been exquisite. Isay is a founding Board Member of The New Press, and lives in NYC.
* Reference: Gay Husbands/Straight Wives ~ Bonnie Kaye M.ED. ~
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lots of intriguing stories, could use more reflection. 11 Feb. 2014
By S.E. Poza - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this book with the misstaken impression that Jane Isay was a mental health professional. She is not, but she is an excellent writer with terrific insight into psychological theories and lots of real life experience. When they are present, I was gratified by her insights into why it's important for people not to keep secrets and tell lies. A few of her conclusions were revelatory for me in terms of why we need to have friends or the value of honesty.

Ms. Isay is an excellent writer and this is an incredibly "readable" book about a serious topic. She uses stories to illustrate the damage of secrets and the various consequences to people that she spoke with (as well as her own life experience). The only problem I had with the book was that it started to feel a little like there were a lot of stories, but not enough reason to keep telling them. This is full of case studies and experiences, but, after awhile, I'd heard too many stories and couldn't see the value of even more. I think that I could have felt they served a better narrative purpose and the book would have been better paced had there been more reflection on the macro issues between them. This would have served as "glue" to the bind the stories together.

This is a fast read and an enjoyable one, but I found myself having to push through near the end whereas I was launching forward at the beginning. Ultimately, I believe this is thoroughly worthwhile, but it does peter out in the last 50 pages or so as I felt that I wasn't getting as good an experience qualitatively at the end as compared to the beginning.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stories of survival, but not a primer 31 Aug. 2014
By Epilady - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths that Change our Lives is a book telling case studies of people who survived lies that were lifeshattering at the time: adoptions, hidden family, homosexuality, addiction, affairs, etc. If you are a reader looking for stories of hope - seeing that people can not only survive but thrive after the situation - this book would be a good fit. The book is a quick and easy read.

Isay starts out talking about the "secret keeper" and the emotional price they bear; the impact on the "secret finder" and discusses cognitive dissonance as it relates to relationships, which explains the phenomenon "the wife is always last to know." Basically, it's the concept that people create their reality and are likely to discard information that doesn't align in order to avoid pain. So the book seems like it's going to move towards action steps for someone who has experienced this sort of betrayal, or mention the process by which others gained healing. Alas, the book is only a series of studies. And none of the marriages survive. Given the title, I would've expected that there would be more "self-help" here. Had the book been called "Secrets and Lies: Inspirational Stories of Survivors" or something along that ilk, I would rate the book higher. As it stands, it's a misnomer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reading this was very painful for me 20 July 2014
By kre8iv1 - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This hit the heart. I'm a survivor of physical abuse, in the form of punching, hitting, hair pulling, getting thrown through a glass door, etc. So, reading this was very painful for me.

Yet, this book needs to be circulated to everyone, everywhere.

We need to STOP hiding the abuse behind closed doors.
STOP covering up for the abusers.
STOP making the victims feel like it's our fault.

This book is necessary, and should be required reading for every high school freshman, if not younger.

I warn you.... you will have unexpected feelings surface. Take your time with this. Don't just stop. Keep going. Even if it's only one page per day. This helps the healing begin.

Like I said, this should be required reading for every single person on this planet. Regardless of whether you are the target of the abuse, the observer of the abuse, a family member, a friend.... etc. It doesn't matter. Everyone is affected by abuse.

Read it. Pass it on.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Stories 12 Jan. 2014
By Freudian Slips - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am giving this book 4 stars because I think it is well-written and contains interesting stories about various betrayals and lies that deeply changed peoples' lives. The stories, while individual, have a universal message and at least one will likely ring true with any reader. I can't imagine that many of us have gotten through life without uncovering or learning about a family secret that changed our perspective-- maybe not as dramatic as the ones presented in this book, but almost any secret has the power to affect us profoundly.

My only disappointment is that I had higher hopes for deeper psychological analysis and suggestions for confronting (or not) the situation. As someone who experienced the uncovering of a family secret, I was hoping for a similar type of analysis and guidance. But his book focuses more on the stories of the individuals and the reader is left to empathize with their situation and draw his/her own conclusions about how to deal with the situation in their own life. In some ways, it's like this book opens up the topic, and explores it, but never quite comes to full-terms with it.
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