Carolyn Hax: Is a daughter sworn to silence on mom’s secret baby?


Expensive Carolyn: My dad and mom had a toddler earlier than they have been married and gave her up for adoption. My dad and mom are divorced, and my father advised me about this six years in the past, just a few years earlier than his loss of life. He and his daughter had been in contact, exchanging letters and photographs however not mentioning something to me or my brother.

I advised my mom I knew and she or he refused to debate it, saying neither her prolonged household nor her present husband is aware of and I have to not inform them.

I haven’t met my sister however we’re in contact and do plan to satisfy. My mother doesn’t know concerning the upcoming assembly however clearly wouldn’t need me to place something on social media the place different members of the family might see it. And even when I don’t put up something, if my sister does and tags me, then my members of the family will nonetheless see it.

Am I obliged to censor what I share about my life as a result of my mother needs to maintain this a secret?

Tell us: Your favorite Carolyn Hax column about division of household labor

Nameless: First, a clarification of phrases. To “censor” just isn’t the identical factor as “not use social media.” You may each select to not use social media and be a dwelling, respiration, ambulatory fireplace hose of free expression. At the exact same time.

Are you asking me whether or not it’s important to censor your self? Then I say no. Your sister is a completely autonomous particular person, not some secret your mother will get to cover.

Are you asking me whether or not it’s important to maintain your sister encounter off social media? Then I say not posting/tweeting about it’s the very least of the kindnesses you’ve out there towards your mother and the remainder of your loved ones as this story breaks.

Please know I make no worth judgments once I say this: You, your sister, your brother, your mother, your prolonged household, your mom’s present husband, your sister’s adoptive household, and some strangers who’re solely studying this within the paper can have a variety of emotions concerning the scenario. The easiest way to deal with delicate issues is to place your greatest judgment on the controls all through your entire course of.

That isn’t doable with posting on-line: Posting is one resolution and completed. After that, it’s out of your fingers, and your judgment can solely watch in horror if issues go improper.

You didn’t ask, however right here’s what I recommend. Kindly inform your mother you intend to satisfy your sister quickly. Say you don’t intend to announce something on social media but additionally gained’t exit of your solution to conceal anybody. It’s easy: You gained’t deny your sister’s existence.

Additionally remind her that what your sister posts is out of your fingers and your mother’s (although you’ll be able to decide or ask out of tags). Subsequently, you humbly recommend your mother acknowledge that her Plan A, preserving the key, will ultimately unravel it doesn’t matter what she does. Meaning her greatest probability of telling her personal story, her manner, is to get out entrance with a Plan B — quickly, quickly.

A dialog like this, or a collection of them, is an instance of how one can put your greatest judgment to work repeatedly as you go. You don’t even want your mother to participate; she will maintain “refus[ing] to debate it” as you apprise her of your plans and her choices.

I hope she comes round, although. Your dad and mom gave their daughter what they felt was her greatest probability in life. There’s solely braveness in that.

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