Knowing the difference between the two is key – and this therapist breaks down how to tell.
There’s a fine line between privacy and secrecy, and when it comes to relationships, this is an area where you’ll need to tread very carefully.
After all, no one needs to share absolutely every thought and feeling with their significant other – but when it comes to withholding information, that’s a whole other story.
One person addressing this is therapist Maria Sosa.
The Miami-based counsellor has taken to Instagram to share the difference between privacy and secrecy and just how it can impact your relationship.
“Privacy is having thoughts, feelings and experiences that are kept to yourself. Having space, time and activities that are not shared with others,” she says. Adding that “you’re motivated by individuality and autonomy that prevents you from having an enmeshed relationship”.
“However, secrecy is intentionally withholding information that is relevant to the relationship itself,” she says, and that revealing this information “may have potential implications for the relationship going forward”. She adds that secrecy is often motivated by fear and shame.
Sosa suggests that for those struggling to make a distinction between the two, there are two clear questions to ask yourself.
“Ask yourself would my partner feel angry or betrayed if they found out this information on their own? [And] am I breaking the trust that has been built in the relationship?”
Many took to the comments to share their thoughts on how privacy and secrecy can affect relationships.
“It’s so important to make the distinction and can save you a lot of time and heartache when the difference is clear,” one user said.
Another wrote: “Having privacy and respect for each other’s boundaries is clear in a relationship and is definitely different from withholding information that comes with secrecy. That to me is a major red flag and signifies something totally different and this post definitely makes it somewhat easier to identify the difference”.
“Privacy is motivated by our human need for autonomy and individuality. Secrecy is motivated by fear and shame,” Sosa captioned the post.
“You are not a ‘bad’ person for keeping secrets from others. It is, however, a great indicator that things need to be explored further. It’s often a symptom of a much more complex and deeply rooted problem.
“Also, as secrets may have consequences once they’re out in the open, take the time and support to work through it. Seek out help from a loved one, therapist or specialist”.
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