Author Topic: Given a secret... What's okay?  (Read 4038 times)

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Offline DiamondBladee

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Given a secret... What's okay?
« on: March 01, 2016, 06:00:39 pm »
You're given some secret information.  What's okay to do with this?  Consider as many scenarios as possible.

Given a secret, that person trusts me with the information.  Therefore, the person is also trusting my actions regarding such information.  That's my view.

When is it okay to take an action with their information?  Only if it helps the person giving the secret in an important way?
~ Ana Maria

Offline AnonyMs

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2016, 06:16:58 pm »
I always keep confidences. There very few circumstances where I would not and I've never encountered on in real life.

Offline DiamondBladee

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2016, 06:38:04 pm »
I've done it less than I have fingers on my hand.  I actually told the person ahead of time that I wanted to share the information, and each time I did this I was praised for offering to share some info that they didn't feel comfortable sharing themselves.  I mean, as long as its genuine, I guess.
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Offline Tysilio

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2016, 09:25:25 pm »
I agree -- if you're told something in confidence, you need the person's permission to share it with anyone else.
Never bring an umbrella to a coyote fight.

Offline sparrow

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2016, 12:19:28 am »
If somebody is at risk of doing serious harm to themselves or somebody else, then you've got a moral imperative to share that info.  Otherwise... get permission.

Cindy

Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2016, 01:16:40 am »
Understanding boundaries is a difficult task. If a secret breaks a moral imperative then it can be broken in a caring and careful way. If someone is going to suicide or hurt someone you have an imperative to seek help for them. That needs to be done professionally and never publicly.

I know many secrets. I work in the health system. A confidence is legally binding, I can and only would release a confidence if the person was in danger of harm or of harming others. I would then only release the confidence to a fellow professional who could intervene to prevent such harm.

As for general confidences remember the Hell's Angels saying. You can have a secret between three people as long as two are dead. I think even then there are exceptions!

janetcgtv

Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2016, 01:21:45 am »
Slight difference with Sparrow.

No such thing as getting their permission.
ONLY they are the only one to tell their secret.
Otherwise they may think you betrayed them(even when asking for permission).
Keeping a friendship is more important then blabbing about it and also loosing your friend for life.
YOU may never be trusted by them again.

Janet

PS   For Cindy if you are a Hells Angel, if another Angel committed a major crime and you were charged with it
you pay for the crime not blabbing on him. (per movie called Wild Angels)

Offline IdontEven

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2016, 09:39:57 am »
If someone is going to suicide [...] you have an imperative to seek help for them.

I disagree with this. For one thing, you're removing agency from the person. You shouldn't get to decide who lives and dies for anybody except yourself. You're betraying their confidence. I've personally not talked about certain things with people and healthcare professionals precisely because of this. I may want to talk about it to get some outside perspective or help with emotional processing, but if I decide that dying is the right thing for me to do I don't want someone to remove that option. The fact that I can't talk about my darkest thoughts because I know what will happen has brought me closer to doing it than I otherwise would have if I could actually talk about it to get some emotional support.

To remove the ability to get relief from being tormented is a cruel thing to do to someone.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Offline Dee Marshall

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2016, 10:42:50 am »
I kinda agree with you IDon'tEven, except that some of us are mandated by law to report it if someone expresses suicidal thoughts and has a plan. That was a hard thing for me to get my head around given that I've contemplated it myself at times.
April 22, 2015, the day of my first face to face pass in gender neutral clothes and no makeup. It may be months to the next one, but I'm good with that!

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Offline AnonyMs

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2016, 11:04:35 am »
The topic of suicide is very unclear to me, and while I'd be interested in exploring it I'm not sure its something that should be discussed here?

Offline KathyLauren

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2016, 11:12:49 am »
No such thing as getting their permission.
...
Otherwise they may think you betrayed them(even when asking for permission).
I disagree with this.  Asking for permission is just asking for permission.  It is not a betrayal.  If the permission is refused, then I keep the secret.  If permission is granted, then it is no longer a secret, subject to the terms of the permission.
2015-07-04 Awakening; 2015-11-15 Out to self; 2016-06-22 Out to wife; 2016-10-27 First time presenting in public; 2017-01-20 Started HRT!!; 2017-04-20 Out publicly, beginning full-time; 2017-07-10 Legal name change; 2019-02-15 Approval for GRS; 2019-08-02 Official gender change; 2019-10-18 Phone consultation for GRS; 2020-03-11 GRS!; 2020-09-30 New birth certificate




Offline Tessa James

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2016, 12:37:26 pm »
Hey does this community know a thing about secrets or what! ;D  I am still conflicted by the length of time I kept a secret and asked my partner to do so too.  Asking someone to keep a big secret is a challenging burden especially if keeping that secret means I stayed in the closet too long or did not share a truth that might have bettered my life situation sooner.

And then consider our coming out experiences.  It was amazing to me how some people could not wait to tell everyone the "news" about me.   I often asked people to let me tell my own story to our mutual friends and acquaintances.  I might as well have asked them to broadcast it please ;)

Secrets, governments and soap operas could not exist with out them it seems? ;D
Open, out and evolving queer trans person forever with HRT support since March 13, 2013

cindianna_jones

Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2016, 12:51:19 pm »
I'm a steel trap when it comes to secrets AND gossip. I tell no one. I've never been faced with a confidence regarding a suicide. I'm not sure how I would handle that. It would depend on the situation, I suppose. If I could intervene, I would.

Offline Tysilio

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2016, 02:41:49 pm »
Quote
I'm a steel trap when it comes to secrets AND gossip.

Just so -- even if we disappoint our friends by not gossiping.

I do think that if someone's secret involves their potential for "harming self or others," that makes an ethical difference.  Suicidality is very often, but not always, connected to depression, and dissipates when the depression is treated. Breaking confidentiality is required of professionals in this situation, and the rest of us may also be required to put helping someone who is suicidal ahead of violating their confidence. But if it's possible to get the person's permission to seek help for them, we should do that.

I'd also point out that therapists, for example, get clients' permission ahead of time, at the start of the relationship, to break confidentiality in that situation -- I've never known a therapist who didn't have new clients sign a release to the effect that they understand this.

But if someone is suicidal, with reason, and not depressed -- for example if they're terminally ill and they need out -- it's not our job to prevent them from acting in their own interest.
Never bring an umbrella to a coyote fight.

schwarzwalderkirschtort

Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2016, 06:33:57 pm »
Confidentiality unless it causes someone else harm.

I'd rather lose a friend than let somebody get hurt.

Offline Claire_Sydney

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2016, 06:35:47 pm »
People have said that it is appropriate to disclose a secret if keeping the confidence may result in harm to the confidant or another person. That's true, but only to a limited extent. In a social context, the real question is whether the potential harm of revealing the secret outweighs the potential harm of keeping the secret. This must consider ALL consequences for all parties.

Most people would want to keep a friends HIV-positive status secret. They might consider breaking confidence if their friend concocted elaborate plans to kill the individual who infected them. But what if the friend only planned to assault the person who infected them? What if the friend only planned to smash up their house? Or kill their dog, or let down their tyres, or send them a nasty note?

The decision about when to break social confidence requires (a) an objective ability to foresee all the consequences of both options, and (b) good judgement to determine which course of action results in the least harm overall.

It's a little different in the professional context. I work in a profession which is based on a foundation of integrity and confidence. You need to be able to tell lawyer anything, even if you murdered someone.

The professional threshold varies slightly by both profession and location. The conduct rules permit me to break confidence 'to prevent imminent serious physical harm to [my] client or another person' or to avoid the 'probable commission of a serious criminal offence.'

Most confidential professions have very unambiguous guidelines, and 24-hour access to ethical advisors to help with a decision, if needed. This is because it's not always clear whether harm is imminent, or whether a crime is probable or not.



cindianna_jones

Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2016, 06:37:05 pm »
Sometimes a suicide attempt is a cry out for help. I could not in good conscience share that information. But if I knew someone were absolutely set on suicide, I'd get in the middle of it. Friends of mine know that up front, so perhaps it isn't a conundrum for me. I'll never get that opportunity?

Offline Tysilio

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2016, 09:05:51 pm »
I hope you're never in that position. But whether you are someday or not, that's an attitude which makes you a heckuva good friend.
Never bring an umbrella to a coyote fight.

Offline Paul Muad-Dib

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2016, 04:31:16 am »
Recently a close relative of mine disclosed some information that they were sexually abused as a child. The first thing I wanted to know was by whom but this was something they refused to divulge to me.

On the one hand they asked me to keep it a secret; on the other I got the strong impression whoever committed this abuse is still among us and because of that I really, really wanted to root them out. Obviously the reason for that is because they might always do it again, and ruin someone else's life. Now if I HAD been a party to the name of the abuser, I think that is game-changing information I would find myself struggling not to act upon. The person telling me knew it would be too, which is why they didn't say.

In most scenarios I would keep confidence. In some though, like child abuse... well if you know the name of the person who did it and may still be doing it... would that be something you keep under your hat?

Offline IdontEven

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Re: Given a secret... What's okay?
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2016, 08:30:30 am »
I'm not sure how I feel about that one. On the one hand, I know that when something like that happens the victim has a lot of feelings that can go against wanting that information to get out. They're embarrassed and ashamed, they don't want to be seen as damaged goods, they don't want to do something that could put them in the spotlight such as having to testify or give a statement to the police, etc etc. It's not unheard of for the police to be unsympathetic and "strongly encourage" them to not press charges. Having the world, or your little part of it, find out what happened to you is a re-traumatizing event. I've heard people say that if something happens to you then you owe it to any other future victims to come forward, but that's an easy thing to say when it hasn't happened to you. How did it suddenly become the victim's responsibility?

Abusers are very often close family friends or relatives, and it's not uncommon for family to side with them over the victim, at least as far as wanting it to be swept under the rug. You can be seen as a troublemaker, or worse, if you go forward with it. If it goes to court it's now a very public event, with the circle of people that knows what happened to you ballooning to who knows how many people. If the prosecutor fails to win a conviction, then what happens? If you are too young or unable to support yourself then you're now trapped and you've basically antagonized the abuser. If you're not then what do you do? Move far away from your entire support network? Beg a friend to let you live with them so you can feel safe enough to sleep some nights?

So if someone confides in you that something were done to them, are you going to take it upon yourself to do the right thing for them, when they're the ones that will face whatever the consequences are? Are you going to be there every time they start freaking out in the middle of the night because the situation has escalated and it's too much for them to handle?

On the other hand, abusers do need to be stopped somehow, before they hurt anyone else. So I don't know what the answer is.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

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