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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

What do you keep silent/hidden/secret for the 'sake of the family'?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38828 points ) January 11th, 2013

Just read a couple of stories of lesbian women in heterosexual marriages that are not planning to come out because they want to keep their family intact (the hubby and children) and because they do not want to hurt anyone. Sounds reasonable, I guess since many people keep a lot of their truths silent or hidden for the very same reason. I know my mother did not leave my father ‘for the sake of the family.’ I never told the rest of my family that I’m queer or gender non-conforming for ‘the sake of the family.’ My best friend’s family (beyond his parents) does not know that he and his brother are gay for ‘the sake of the family.’

What do you keep silent/secret/hidden for yours?

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36 Answers

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

That my addiction to cookies is worse than they know. lol

jonsblond's avatar

Nothing. I learned that keeping secrets are worse than telling the truth. If you can’t be yourself with the ones you love your life will be miserable. Yes, telling the truth may hurt others, but it really is best for everyone. Being able to forgive and accept those you love is an important part in any healthy relationship. Who wants to live a lie?

Pachy's avatar

So many in my family are gone now that that’s not really an issue. Actually, I’m beginning to regret that I didn’t capture more of my family members’ stories, both good and bad.

elbanditoroso's avatar

If there is something that I keep hidden from the family, why would I want to tell some 50,000 flutherites?

Seek's avatar

Well, I’ve hinted to certain things, but I’m still reeling from coming out as an atheist, so I’m not ready to add in anything else.

jca's avatar

What @elbanditoroso said. I worry that one day my identity will be figured out by those I know personally, so therefore, I am pretty careful about what I say and answer.

ucme's avatar

I have a bond with the blond, at least on her answer, fess up…it’s the only way.

zensky's avatar

GQ – but I’m not telling.

submariner's avatar

That’s weird—I was just reading some personal stories of lesbians married to men the other day, and found myself wondering what certain jellies would think of them.

linguaphile's avatar

Many things. I grew up being discredited by both my mother and father, and their respective spouses. I got used to being discredited and just kept things to myself.

When I got older and decided I was fed up with being discredited, I realized that, with my family, most things are just not worth discussing because someone will try to convince me I’m wrong, so I just don’t share my feelings and thoughts. Those aren’t secrets that need to be kept secrets, but secrets that I just don’t talk about.

If it wasn’t for that, I’d not have any secrets with my family because I really do prefer to be open and frank.

cookieman's avatar

Yes. My utter disdain for some of them.

jonsblond's avatar

@submariner That was my aunt many, many years ago. She was married to a man and had three children with him. She finally left him and has been with the same woman for almost 40 years now. The only person who doesn’t accept her is her son-in-law. He wouldn’t let her hold her granddaughter when she was born. sad, isn’t it? Actually, I think he’s finally warmed up to her, but it took many years.

gailcalled's avatar

Impossible in our family of blabbermouths. There were no large secrets that i knew of, maybe because there didn’t seem to be anything that wasn’t discussed until it was gosssamer threads on the wind.

My father committed suicide; my mother did not like talking about it but it sure wasn’t a secret.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My marriage isn’t as healthy or happy as everyone thinks it is. :(

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

If I’m hiding something, I’m not going to mention it here.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Oh come on, WWFC, that’s no fun!

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Well, on the off chance that a friend or family member tracks me down here, I already have enough to worry about.

KNOWITALL's avatar

You made me paranoid!

zensky's avatar

OK.OK. I’m a lesbian.

hearkat's avatar

No. I did keep the secret that I was molested during childhood by a family member. Originally, I kept it because of shame… I had been manipulated into believing that it was somehow my fault. I also suppressed the emotions until I was in my late 20s. When we separated, my ex-husband told my mother, so that’s been out for well over a decade.

Now, my family is the people I choose to spend my time and my life with. I have relatives, but most of them are not family. The only other secret I’ve kept was when one of my best friends came out that he was gay, but asked me not to tell our other best friend – he wanted to do it himself. For whatever reason, that was more difficult for him (I guess because he knew that my dad was gay, and was outed in the early 1980s, so he knew I’d be cool with it), so he avoided our other friend for three years, and I’d have to cover for him any time his name came up – and I really hate lying. So finally, I told him how awkward it was and said I didn’t like being put in that position. So he finally did it, and everything is cool now.

wundayatta's avatar

I was raised to keep secrets. I was raised not to ask questions about personal matters of anyone in the family. If I even started to hint at something personal, my father told me to shut up. It is like that to this day.

So it is second nature to me to keep secrets. To ignore things that don’t want to be seen. At least with my family.

I hate it, so I try not to do it outside the family. But it is hard to break fifty years of training. And my psychologist also urges me to keep secrets.

There is one school of thought that secrets keep people from feeling pain. There is another school of thought that secrets cause pain. I think the problem is that everyone doesn’t follow the same set of rules. If we all went one way or the other, we’d all have a common way of dealing with things. However, we live in a world where different people think differently. Thus the trouble.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have heard a cliche many times: you’re only as sick as your secrets. That rings true for me.

I kept my sexuality secret for decades, and it very nearly killed me. Now that I live completely out of the closet, so much of my life is easier, and I feel so free. I can breathe.

Still, I don’t pretend to speak for everyone. “Your mileage may vary.”

FutureMemory's avatar

@cookieman Yes. My utter disdain for some of them.

This is the only thing I can think of. A few family members are completely clueless about how I feel about them. Right now they both owe me money so they’re not coming around, which honestly is fine with me – money well ‘spent’, really.

Bellatrix's avatar

I can’t think of anything I have hidden or kept secret myself. There are things that were not spoken of though. Whether a close relative was dating – nobody EVER asked him about this. It was like this unwritten ‘do not speak about this’ thing. To my knowledge he isn’t gay, he could be but he hasn’t come out. I don’t think he is.

My maternal grandparents were bigamists. I only found this out as an adult and my father was shocked when I asked him about it. I thought it was funny – he was uncomfortable with the whole thing. To me it was just a symptom of the times they lived in. Divorce was hard to obtain and they didn’t want to be together. So, they separated, met other people and remarried.

Unbroken's avatar

I had many secrets as a child I felt either wrongly or rightly that my survival depended on it.

Now have I discussed in minute detail all of those troubles and incidents. No but the people from my family I am close with have exhibited a willingness to listen and talk. The ones who who out right refuse have been cut out of my life and the ones I have not tried with or extended family that only played minor roles continue to do so.

I still keep things from family and friends. Or at least don’t tell them in the moment. It is discresion a lack of trust and a need to be independant and seen as strong and resiliant.

Old habits die hard. I found that people sharing your pain are better after the fact you have to split your energies to be strong and great and funny for them and the actual event that is sapping.

There are advantages. It passes the time, strengthens bonds etc. And I am trying to be more normal and healthy in that way.

The thing is if it continues to be important I will eventually tell them and discuss it. Maybe not with all of them, and this is no slight on them.

It is why I am not reliant on one person everyone excels in specific areas. Has different insights. Are among my inner circle for a different reason.

glacial's avatar

I don’t keep secrets from my family – I don’t know how to live without being straightforward about who I am. But I also keep a certain amount of distance, because I know we have a lot of idealogical differences. So, I’m an open book if they want to ask me anything, but I’m also not going to invite them to examine my life because I’m not interested in their criticism.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t think anyone knows I’m an atheist, or that I don’t plan on having kids (some ask me when I’m going to).

Nothing devastating, just stuff I don’t feel like having to explain to the old fashioned folks of the family.

Blondesjon's avatar

I actually don’t care for alcohol at all. I’m just afraid of losing the binding interdependence it creates.

muppetish's avatar

While there are plenty of things that I haven’t told my parents, there is nothing I haven’t brought up “for the sake of my family”. I’m not protecting them or afraid of them finding anything out. There is just stuff about me that I don’t feel the need to talk about. If I felt like sharing it with them then I would.

Shippy's avatar

No not really, when I started dating women, I told my mother if she didn’t like it, she didn’t have to see me again. Since I figured if she couldn’t love me as I am she didn’t love me at all.

tinyfaery's avatar

There are topics that I like to avoid, but I would never lie. My family think I’m a wacko anyway. I’m pretty much who I really am with everyone. Keeping secrets is too stressful.

augustlan's avatar

Nada. I might not bring something up, but if it comes up or I’m asked a question, I don’t hide anything. I really, really suck at lying.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@augustlan Do you think my butt is fat?

janbb's avatar

nothing’s “come up” around here for a long time. Just sayin’

jonsblond's avatar

@augustlan I really suck at lying too. I can’t even pull off a prank because I start cracking up. I’m also very bad at poker for this reason.

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