Family Secrets

Family Secrets

Family Secrets. We all have them. And while the discovery of family secrets can initially be terrifying or traumatic, often these discoveries have the power to liberate, heal, and even uplift us. Join Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of the memoir Inheritance, and her guests as they explore astonishing family secrets and uncover the extraordinary lessons the truth can teach us.

Episodes

May 6, 2021 62 min

At just 17 years old, Alisson Wood began a dangerous entanglement with a creative writing teacher at her school, who gifted her a copy of Nabokov’s Lolita. To hear “Mr. North” tell it, Lolita is the ultimate love story—a narrative the young Alisson bought into, until she grew older and learned to see the tale for what it really is: a grim account of predation and abuse.

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Growing up in post-war America, Alexander Wolff had a vague sense that his father, Nico, and his grandfather, Kurt, had two very different wartime experiences. But it wasn’t until he was an adult that he began to understand just how divergent his half-Jewish grandfather’s, and his quarter-Jewish father’s, paths had been.

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April 22, 2021 54 min

Emma Ramos grew up in a deeply religious, and deeply patriarchal, town in Mexico, where carving out an independent life for herself—outside her parents’ expectations—was a constant negotiation. Which is why she hid the most traumatic thing that ever happened to her from her loved ones for more than a decade—until she found herself living under her parents’ roof again, in the midst of the pandemic.

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April 15, 2021 45 min

As a law student, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich was vehemently opposed to the death penalty, even in the most heinous of crimes. Yet their deeply-held beliefs were put to the test after watching the confession tape of a man convicted of the brutal killing and sexual assault of a six-year-old boy—the details of which felt all too familiar to Alex, an abuse survivor.

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April 8, 2021 56 min

Ly Tran’s father refused to accept any kind of weakness in his children—not even something as commonplace, and easily remedied, as poor vision. So when then-eight-year-old Ly brought a note home from school informing her parents she needed glasses, he flew into a rage—setting Ly up for years of struggle and secret-keeping as her eyesight continued to worsen, which impacted every facet of her life.

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April 1, 2021 49 min

What’s it like to live your life so deep undercover, handling secrets that are so sensitive, not even the people who know you best—not your friends, not your siblings, not your parents—can know what you’re up to? Ex-CIA agent Amaryllis Fox spent the better part of her 20s trying to keep WMDs out of the hands of global terror groups—until she became a mother and realized she couldn’t ask her baby daughter to live inside a secret wor...

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March 25, 2021 2 min

Join us for more incredible stories about what happens when long-held family secrets come to light. The new season of Family Secrets launches Thursday, April 1. 

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Dani continues her discussion with Dr. Yehuda about intergenerational trauma, and her fascinating new research into psychedelics as a potential treatment for patients suffering from PTSD.

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In this special episode, Dani speaks with noted trauma expert Dr. Rachel Yehuda about the controversial history of PTSD as a diagnosis, the disorder’s surprising physiological effects, and why the children of PTSD sufferers often show the same biological markers, despite never having experienced trauma themselves.

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February 5, 2021 50 min

In this special bonus episode, recorded as part of the Two Writers Talking virtual series, Dani and journalist Robert Kolker—author of the instant New York Times bestseller Hidden Valley Road—discuss the delicate work of writing about family secrets, whether they're your own or someone else's.

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January 21, 2021 8 min

In this bonus episode we hear from listeners in the Family Secrets community. To share your secret, call 1-888-SECRET-0.

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December 10, 2020 2 min

Thank you for listening to season four of Family Secrets.

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December 3, 2020 45 min

David Ingber is a spiritual leader and father of three young kids, beloved by his large New York City Congregation. His wisdom and ability to comfort is sought after by thousands. In this episode, he learns that opening up and allowing himself to show his own vulnerability is part of his teaching and a great spiritual lesson.

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November 26, 2020 48 min

Julia McKenzie Munemo’s late father made his living by churning out trashy novels—that was about as much as she was willing to admit. But she had no desire to crack open any of the dusty paperbacks she inherited, until a nationwide reckoning made it clear she had no choice but to confront the racist legacy her dad left behind.

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November 19, 2020 69 min

During her second year at an elite New England boarding school, Lacy Crawford was brutally assaulted by two senior boys. When the extent of the damage they’d done became clear, the school placed the blame squarely on her. Years later, Lacy would learn just how hard the institution worked to silence her.

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November 12, 2020 46 min

For the first 40 years of her life, Jennifer Finney Boylan figured the price of living her truth would be much too steep; by opening up about who she really was, she assumed she’d lose everything, including the love of her life. But over time, it became clear that hiding who she really was had taken its own toll—on herself, on her family, and on her marriage.

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November 5, 2020 47 min

Nick Flynn was 7 years old when his house burned down. The official story, the one everyone laughed about, was that raccoons had knocked over the family’s Hibachi grill and set the house on fire. Decades later, Nick learned that’s not what happened at all—and started to understand the depth of his mother’s desperation.

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October 29, 2020 49 min

Outwardly, Susan Burton had it all—a degree from Yale, a thriving career, a loving husband and kids. Inside, Susan waged a war on herself, using food as a way to exert control over the discomfort she felt in her own skin.

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October 22, 2020 48 min

Lindsay Roemer assumed she’d metabolized, and mostly moved on from, the secret that had been kept from her most of her life—until an unexpected Facebook message from a man she’d never met changed everything she thought she knew about her father.

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October 15, 2020 44 min

The smart, opinionated, funny women who raised Saeed Jones—his mother and his grandmother—had a profound influence on his identity. But it was the things they couldn’t talk about that echoed the loudest with Saeed as he began to navigate adulthood, trying to figure out where he fit in as a gay Black man from the South.

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