How You Can Understand the Toxic Habits of Unsafe People

Jun 23, 2020

I wanted to tell you about something I see all too often, and it really bums me out. I find it incredibly discouraging when people gossip instead of keeping secrets.  
We all know those people who you can't trust with sensitive information. (In fact, some of us may be those people.) The second they hear something, they're already thinking of who they can tell. And most of the time, it's after they've just agreed to not say anything! 

We all have experiences, thoughts, emotions, or behaviors that we don't feel safe telling the world. We need someone in whom to confide. Some of us have secret past actions that plague us. Others have been victimized of abused. Still others simply need a person to tell our private stories to. 

Few things are more bruising than having your secrets betrayed. If you have ever entrusted part of yourself to another, and then heard about it from a third party, you have been triangulated.

Triangulation occurs when person A tells a secret to person B, who then tells person C about it. Triangulation is a form of gossip and betrays a confidence. A trustworthy person keeps a secret, and never tells person C. 

Often, a triangulator will try to justify his untrustworthiness by different excuses, such as: 

◦ It just slipped out. 

◦ It wasn't that serious. You're overreacting. 

◦ It was for your own good. 

◦ They made me tell. 

But just as often, the truth has more to do with the unsafe person. He may be unable to confront people directly, so he does it behind their backs. He may feel insignificant, so gossip gives him the sense that he is important and on the "inside track." He may be pitting one person against another in a repetitive pattern from childhood. Or he may simply lack a sense of empathy for the terrible pain that gossip brings to others. 

No matter what, this is nothing but destructive. We all need a place for our secrets to be held and respected. Secrets don't get well without relationship. We're all looking for safe relationships where someone knows all of our parts. So, when you divulge a private matter with another, it's a big deal. When a confidence is broken, so is trust, hope and healing. 
Let's talk more about how to keep drama out of your life.