While growing up, many of us experienced our privacy being wrongfully invaded.
Those experiences were, at a minimum, embarrassing, but they often were so terrible, it ruined the relationship we had with the person who snooped.
But what are we supposed to do if a person feels uncomfortable with what they find and tries to blame us for it, questioned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor rosie1914 was appalled when her younger sister confessed to reading her diary for well over a year and diving into her deepest thoughts and mental health concerns.
But when her sister accused her of traumatizing her, the Original Poster (OP) questioned if she should take ownership for her sister’s snooping activities.
She asked the sub:
“WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole) if I told my sister that her trauma from reading my diary is not my responsibility?”
The OP’s sister recently confessed to an intense invasion of her privacy.
“I recently had a very sad conversation with my [22 Female] little sister [18 Female].”
“When I was a young teenager, I struggled greatly with my mental health. That was the low point of my life, and I’ve since been in therapy for multiple years, cut off an abusive family member, and have reached a very healthy and happy point.”
“My sister just told me that when she was around 10 and I was around 14, she was snooping in my things and read my diary.”
“She read lots of very intense and horrible things that I wrote.”
The OP’s sister struggled with what she found.
“She was very traumatized by reading these things and then proceeded to regularly secretly read that diary for over a year, in order to keep tabs on me.”
“She never told anyone about this and never confronted me.”
“I genuinely think her intention of the continued snooping was to check on my mental health. It was misguided for sure, but not ill-intentioned on her part.”
“She is clearly deeply traumatized by this, and I feel absolutely horrible that she had to deal with all of that by herself.”
“It’s especially frustrating for me, because yes, the things written in that diary were terrible, but they were also an outlet for a very frustrated and struggling teenager. Writing was a way for me to express my big complicated feelings, my anger, etc, at the time.”
“So if she had ever asked me about it or told an adult, this could have been resolved. Instead, she held on to this stress and trauma for years.”
The OP felt conflicted about the confession and her sister’s struggles.
“I feel like what I wrote in my private diary was my business. Writing angry, terrible rants made me feel better and helped me get through my very difficult emotions at the time.”
“I am not proud of it, and it’s not how I would handle things today. But I do feel like I should have been allowed to have my private coping mechanism and outlet for my emotions.”
“I understand that being a snoopy 10-year-old is pretty normal.”
“But I also think that I had an expectation of privacy that she violated, which is why she was traumatized by something that was never meant for anyone else to see.”
The OP also wasn’t convinced that she was responsible for her sister’s trauma.
“I made sure to validate the trauma and pain that this caused her. I apologized multiple times for being the cause of such distress for her.”
“However, I’m frustrated because I feel like she caused this herself. She violated my privacy and then paid the price.”
“I absolutely realize how awful this was for her, but I don’t think that this was my fault.”
“She talks about this as something that ‘happened to her,’ but I actively hid this diary and never wanted anyone to see it.”
“She is angry at me for having written those things, but I don’t want to apologize for writing out my emotions.”
“It is clearly a tragedy that she read it. But to some degree, I feel like she is responsible.”
“I would like to be available to her to help her process the trauma, and I have apologized multiple times for being the cause of so much distress for her, but I do not want to apologize for the fact that the diary existed at all.”
“WIBTA for telling her that, while I truly am sorry for the pain and trauma she suffered, this is not my fault and I didn’t do anything wrong?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the sister was completely in the wrong for invading the OP’s privacy.
“NTA. Stop saying sorry, I know there’s this whole thing about how we need to validate other people’s feelings, but you actually don’t.”
“She doesn’t get to ingest the idea that she is in any way victimized by the fact that she was reading your diary. She shouldn’t have been reading your diary.”
“You are the only person here who is actually violated. She’s not to some degree responsible; she’s completely responsible for the fact that she saw something of yours that was private, and for a year was secretly reading it. It is not normal for a 10-year-old to spend a year stalking another person and reading their private thoughts.”
“Stop apologizing to her completely. She did not even deserve any of the apologies you have given so far. She shouldn’t have read your diary. She’s not a victim, she’s a perpetrator who’s trying to convince you that you need to be sorry for feeling things.” – JCBashBash
“For real?! Her sister invaded her privacy! She deserves backlash, not validation.” – elenapink
“I understand that they were only kids and invading privacy is kind of normal between sisters. However, the younger one not only read the diary once but keep reading for a whole year.”
“If the stuff in there was so bad and traumatizing, why did she keep reading it? If she was uncomfortable, she could just stop. NTA.” – mary_von_ah
“Consider how many family sitcoms also have storylines around younger siblings snooping around in older siblings’ diaries. It’s a full-on trope to the point that I think a lot of younger kids truly don’t quite realize that it’s not just annoying behavior, it’s actually a serious violation of privacy.” – Environmental-Row979
“One time my mother read my diary, cover to cover, and then decided she didn’t like what I had written about in there (I was an adult living at home/attending college at the time), and she confronted me about it, diary in hand.”
“I promptly grabbed it from her, packed a bag, got my car keys, and left the house for a week or two. I refused to discuss it with her ever again.”
“If you violate my privacy, you don’t get to then yell at me for things I wrote about MYSELF in my own personal journal. I have resented her because of her actions during this encounter for YEARS.”
“If you want to disappoint and alienate your child (or any person) and make them think less of you, this is how you do it. NTA.” – lylalexie
“If her sister (the OP) was struggling with her mental health, maybe she was scared for her and checking in case she planned to harm herself or got generally worse?”
“It sounds like OP went through some tough s**t and a 10-year-old would probably be frightened by that but want to check in case things changed/improved.”
“NTA, but I think the sister needs to think really hard about who is really to blame, and it’s not the 14-year-old struggling with her mental health.”
“I feel like really, they were both failed by their grown-ups. Why couldn’t the 10-year-old share this trauma, and why was OP exposed to an abusive family member for a prolonged period? Sounds more like two kids doing their best in difficult circumstances.” – rozmister
Others agreed and also took issue with the sister claiming this “happened” to her.
“NTA, but oh my god at the ‘this happened to me, too’ part… Deja vu!”
“I had very bad mental health in high school and was in and out of the hospital a bunch. My sister was already out of the house living halfway across the country.”
“Fast forward 5 years or so, I found out she was blabbing about my personal medical information to her friends who openly hate me. (My sister told me this and I only met them once).”
“I told her she can’t do that, that’s my story and my life and my personal medical stuff.”
“She said, ‘Well, your life happened to me, too, so I can tell people whatever I want.’ She barely even VISITED during my bad times!”
“That’s when I decided to stop sharing personal info. I wish I could trust my sister, she’s my only one and I’d love to talk to her about stuff, but she’s disrespectful with my boundaries.”
“It sounds like you just need to set way harder ones with your sister, too.” – Zealousideal-Duty511
“I feel like a lot of people on this subreddit think children are mini-adults with the same critical thinking skills. They’re not.”
“As a 14-year-old, it’s completely natural that OP was angry and kept a diary to express herself, and as a 10-year-old, it was also natural for her sister to be curious.”
“I’ll admit privacy is a sensitive issue for me, as well, and I would probably feel hurt even if it was breached by a child but it is far from the same as an adult doing it.”
“Where the sister went wrong is blaming OP in retrospect. They were both children acting in normal ways that ended up harming her, but it wasn’t anyone’s fault. She should talk to someone else about her trauma. So NTA.”
“Sort of unrelated, but I also had an older sister who kept a diary, and as a kid, I used to search the whole apartment for it but never opened it or read a single line. I just liked knowing that I could.” – another-r-account
“Children at ten don’t exactly think too far ahead into the future to analyze consequences that are also too far into the future. Sure, what she did was voyeuristic and wrong. But she was ten.”
“To her, what she was doing was probably less than mischief, although it was a breach of trust and finally carried terrible consequences for her.”
“She is continuing to blame OP. Like, what does she want OP to do about it at this point?”
“She’s using her trauma like a cudgel to make OP continuously grovel and apologize. That’s just not okay.” – Gibonius
“It’s almost like she’s jealous that the older sister had ‘real’ traumas, and now she wants to take on that identity of ‘victim’ or ‘survivor,’ and for lack of any real traumatic experiences, she’s going with being ‘traumatized’ by the experience of reading about someone else’s trauma.”
“It’s a thing. I’ve read several articles about kids on TikTok pretending to have Dissociative Identity Disorder or other serious mental illnesses or trauma and taking it on as some kind of identity and wanting to be validated for it.”
“That was what came to mind when I read what the younger sister claimed. She wants the trauma ‘points,’ and for lack of a mental illness, abuse, rape, or anything along those lines, she’s managed to scrounge up a ‘secondary’ trauma, which was at a remove from an actual lived experience of trauma.”
“I have a younger sister like this, so I know. She would do things out of ‘concern,’ but really she did enjoy my pain, especially when I had negative reactions and would get yelled at for them. After all, my sister was only ‘concerned,’ so she must only have pure motives. Hah. If only.”
“She would’ve had a field day with a diary going into graphic detail about what I was actually going through, which was why I didn’t keep one.” – SilveryMagpie
“I can almost get being so worried for your sister you almost feel like a compulsion to keep reading just to check in on her while being too scared to tell a parent (not saying I’d do it or it’s logical, just that I can kind of see the kid logic, as a parent of a similar aged kid).”
“And I can see feeling petrified of the thoughts she saw, and what her sister might do with those thoughts, and living with that fear every day would definitely cause some anxiety.”
“But WHAT at this point is OP supposed to do?! She apologized that her little sister even saw those things, even though she never should have had to feel the need to apologize for her deepest thoughts and feelings.”
“What good is coming from continuously bringing it up?! Little sister now needs to apologize profusely for even invading her space in the first place, and then seek therapy for whatever negative thoughts remain.”
“This is not OPs responsibility. Her sister snooped, and her sister gets to deal with the trauma she found.” – macaroniandmilk
The subReddit was a little divided on this one, but not about whether or not the OP should feel guilty. There was no reason for her to feel guilty about expressing her valid feelings in a private space.
More so, they were conflicted about how to feel about the sister’s actions, as she was only 10 years old at the time of the incident.
Her continued pressure on the OP was far more questionable, however, as the OP did not traumatize her sister by sharing difficult truths with her. Her sister became traumatized after invading someone else’s privacy, and sometimes, you have to be careful what you wish for.