How do you react when someone "over" shares?
I'm talking about the kind of secrets that people are not suppose to say unless there is a significant degree of real intimacy in the relationship. I was trying to come up with a list of socially taboo subjects...
- physical and mental disabilities
- same-sex gender preferences
- terminated pregnancies
- a murder in the family
- financial problems
- unmarried parents
- bodily functions
- criminal record
I've been thinking about this disclosure issue because some of you know that my mother was murdered. Whenever, I share this fact, it's a risk. Some people just want to run from this sort of bare fact. I've noticed the same concern addressed in other confessional modes. Consider, the Twelve-step Program which is designed to help people confront the desire to deny and soften the truth by beginning every testimonial with, "Hello, I'm (insert name here) and I'm an (insert condition here)." Why would people judge you when you tell them the biographical detail of your life? I've read many autobiographies and several of the classics which are titled, Confessions. (Rousseau, Leo Tolstoy and St. Augustine.) I've noticed that what was private has changed over time.(The three "Confessions are from the more recent past and go back to the 1600's) Also, I have worked for a number of years in counselor type positions (military, prison, and college). From these various experiences, I can assure you of what you must already know, people are not really so different. Everyone has secrets. My own dear grandmother would not talk about her missing father. I don't know if he was really 'killed in the war.' Were her parents really married? Did she feel shame? I would like to know. I'm sure you also have some family secrets you would like to know. Many of our questions remain unanswered, either they are buried in silence or buried underground. We just have to accept the fact that we will never know. It's a secret.
Let it all hang out!
Right on, baby!
You tell it like it is!
We should let those brave people who risk self-disclosure know that what they have shared has been honorably received. We should embrace them in an accepting atmosphere. I say this because recently, I've read some confessions in blogland and the commenter(s) seem to be frightened away. Sigh. I wonder why? I think our lack of response is interpreted as society's voice echoing the familiar warning:
More about my clean laundry:
If you would like to know more about my mother's story, click on the highlighted links. Also, there is a documentary film that is being made by Brian Alexander about the life and death of my mother and her partner, Christine, just click here.