My cousin spills my secrets

I tell her everything… but then her mom tells my mom! 

If she can’t keep a secret, it’s time to stop confiding in her, says our elder.


Dear EWC

Hi, I’m 14. I have a cousin sister and she is three months older than me. I trust her a lot and share every single one of my problems with her. For the past few months, I’ve noticed that her mother tells my mother about some of my problems and asks about them. For that reason, most of the time my mother asks me if I’m OK and sometimes even doubts me. For that reason, I don’t really trust her much anymore and I don’t think I can share anything with her. I tried to convince her about it several times but she always tells me, “Oh girl, don’t worry I won’t ever break your trust or tell anyone anything” but behind my back, she shares almost every one of my secrets with her family. I never leak any of her secrets no matter how bad or good they are but she always does. We never got along with each other when we were just kids but when we grew up I thought we got along and everything was good again but I don’t think I can trust her anymore… I’m a really soft-hearted and emotional person so it hurts a lot… I could convince her but it would probably end up as a fight and one or two weeks later we’re gonna go on a vacation together, now if we end up fighting it won’t go well.

Kenti replies

I am so sorry that your cousin, who you consider a sister, has betrayed you. You have shared your secrets with her, and she has shared them with her mother. Her mother has talked to your mother, and so your secrets are out.

You tried to talk with your cousin, but she denied breaking your trust. She brushed it off by saying, “Oh girl, don’t worry I won’t ever break your trust”. As far as she’s concerned, there is no problem. Her denial makes it pretty clear that you can’t talk through the situation with her to let her know how her behavior hurts, and maybe also embarrasses you. Sad and painful as it is, I agree with your decision to no longer confide in her. You have a right and a responsibility to protect yourself emotionally as well as physically.

You’ll be vacationing together in a few weeks. I wouldn’t be surprised if she makes an effort to learn more of your secrets. She may tell you something about herself, and then say, “It’s your turn”. I suggest you keep whatever you say superficial, or you could even say that there’s nothing new to tell her. You will be setting a limit, and that is an important ability to have now and in the future.

Of course, she may be unhappy with your change and even pouty or mad, but don’t let yourself be manipulated. That will be hard, but stay firm. If she’s unhappy, you can walk away and read a book or take a walk. Or you could suggest the two of you play a game or work on an art project together. It will be on her to decide how to react. You’re not responsible for her happiness, but by inviting her to do something with you, you’ll be the bigger (more mature) person. You’ll be keeping the door open to having fun together.

I wish you well.

Article #: 468582

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