Secrets are tricky things.
The more you try to keep it quiet, the faster it seems to spread.
But, does the reasoning behind the silence make the secret more acceptable?
This was the problem facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Relevant_Ad_3449 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some advice.
In a now-deleted post they asked:
“AITA for hiding my wealth from family members and friends?”
The OP began with some spectacular news.
“I recently sold my company and made some life-changing money.”
“It is more than I could ever spend.”
But quickly explained the problem.
“Now, except my parents, nobody knows about this, and I wanted it to be that way.”
“I tried everything in my capacity to fly under the radar, but to be honest it’s not that easy.”
“No one can hide forever no matter how careful one can be.”
“Unfortunately, my cousin got wind of this and the word quickly spread in the family.”
“I tried to control the narrative by denying everything, but it failed miserably.”
“All of my extended family members (aunts, uncles, and cousins) are now angry with me because I hid my wealth from them.”
OP did try to explain their motivations for keeping the secret.
“I did what was best for me and my family.”
“I didn’t want jealously to ruin the family dynamics.”
“I did what I felt was best, but I’m being blamed and cornered for hiding the truth.”
“I was not worried that my extended family would ask for financial help, but it was more of a jealousy and safety for my parents thing.”
Now that the truth is out, they sought the guidance of Reddit to determine if keeping the secret had been the correct thing to do.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses were direct.
“Your family does not have the right to your financial information.”
“It’s also very telling that about what type of people your extended family are that you felt the need to hide that info. for your parents’ safety.”~saucyxjack
Others shared personal stories of familial betrayal.
“My mum passed away my dad and myself went to arrange funeral to find my sister had stole both my mum and my dads funeral money.”
“Turns out my mum realised and confronted her before she passed but hid it from everyone to prevent trouble.”
“My sister was always seen as the golden child.”
“My dad refused to go to the police and said he’d deny it if anyone else did.”
“She had already done similar fifteen years before when my dad had cancer.”
“With my prompting we pre arranged Dads with the funeral directors so it couldn’t happen again.“~Sweet-Interview5620
Commenters were concerned about OP’s family.
“It’s none of their business how much money you have, and the reaction they’re having proves why you were wise to not tell them.”
“Now, here’s what you should ask yourself: how did that cousin find out?”
“What works in one family isn’t right for another.”
“I would feel no need to hide a windfall from my extended family, but I also know that they wouldn’t ask me for frivolous things, expect me to shower them with gifts, or in any other way abuse that knowledge, nor would they be jealous.”
“Sounds like you correctly predicted your family wasn’t the same.”~harmonytw
“Your family is not entitled to any information about your life that you are not willing to share.”
“Perhaps you shouldn’t have denied things, as now you’ve got people who are understandably a bit upset that you directly lied to them, which is understandable.”
“(Even if it’s justified.)”
“I will say that you’re probably going to relate to the saying, ‘More money, more problems,’ all too much, however.”
“Because while some of the family just has hurt feelings that you lied to them, there’s some that are trying to figure out how they’re going to get ‘their share’.”
“Every family has at least one person who genuinely believes they’re entitled to others’ wealth.”~TheOneTrueChuck
Some pointed out that personal information is, well, personal.
“No, you are definitely not the a**hole.”
“Your bank account information is yours and yours alone.”
“If someone is mad at you for not randomly disclosing how much money you have from running and selling a successful business then f*ck them.”
“It isn’t about whether or not they would ask for money.”
“The fact that they have the audacity to be upset with you shows more about them than you, in my opinion.”
“Did they ever tell you how much money they have or have made?”
“If so, that’s on them, but to expect the same in return would be ludicrous.”
“If I tell you about my personal health information, I wouldn’t expect you to tell me about yours.”
“Some things are perfectly acceptable to keep private.”
“Congratulations on your success.”
“It’s always nice to hear.”
“Sorry you’re having family issues because of it, but if they’re hung up on money and saying sh*t like you didn’t trust them with that information or try to make you feel bad; don’t listen to them.”~keepitquickk
“It’s your money, and your business.”
“The contents of your bank account doesn’t need to be common knowledge, and no one else has a right to know.”
“I’m not sure why exactly they feel they have the right to be angry with you, unless they have an expectation that you’ll share.”~theHannig
Secrets are hard to keep.
So, does having a personally valid reason for keeping a secret mean the secret is justified?
Perhaps, but always remember your valid reason is someone else’s excuse.
Of course, the reverse is just as accurate.
Honesty is usually the best policy, but when honesty comes at the sacrifice of privacy there are certainly other concerns to be considered.