The Relationship Between Secrecy, Lying and Confidentiality

[Introduction not needed. Relate points to the story.] Secrecy is a part of every human being. At a personal level, people keep secrets known only to them and not recognized to others. Interpersonally, sometimes, we are compelled to keep other peoples’ secrets to preserve relationships. We are forced to lie about real issues to uphold confidentiality. It is important to know that every relationship has some level of confidentiality for it to be maintained. People share problems and secrets with individuals who are close to them.

I had a friend who was very close to me. She had come to me seeking help after committing an abortion. Since she did it secretly, she was suffering from post-abortion psychological stress. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] I was sympathetic of [word choice: to] the situation [comma] and I tried my best to help my friend to cope with the problem. I advised her to visit a therapist, after which she was put through counseling for few months and later recovered. We promised to keep everything a secret to protect her from being subjected to stigmatization.  [Relate to class: People keep a secret to protect personal space or a name.] Since then, I’ve been forced to lie in three occasions to cover up the story to maintain our relationship. [Did you feel a sense of loyalty, guilt or anxiety? Were you angry at having to lie or otherwise act contrary to your morals to protect the secret?] 

I cherish our friendship because we have been friends over a long period of time. I was remorseful about the situation because it sounded more unethical and might have led to stigma if many people knew. I felt that it was my responsibility to maintain the highest level of confidentiality since my friend trusted me with her secrets to the extent of seeking advice from me. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] What made me feel bad at some point is [tense agreement: was] when one of my friend’s relatives wanted to know more about her. She kept asking whether my friend had ever been pregnant before, which I objected [You objected to the pregnancy or to the questions? How did you respond — ignorance, denial?]. [Do you think the person trying to penetrate the secret had a desire to know, gain control, feel superior, or be intimate?] In as much as I always lied about my friend’s confidential information, I never told her about what other people wanted to know about her. The relationship between us has always been excellent. [How did the experience empower you, the other person, or both of you?] 

The concepts of ethos, pathos, logos, rhetorical triangle, and critical perspective were all relevant. As much as I knew that I was lying to conceal my friend’s actions, I tried my best to appear credible while in the middle of the conversation. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] Some people can easily identify a lie. I was careful to prevent this by creating emotional influence [How did you use emotions?] to accompany the lies. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] The lies had to be logical and the mastery of the art of persuasion was key. One has to be convincing to assure another person that a specific point is not as he/she thinks. For example, one of my friend’s cousins had suspected that she had been pregnant in the past. To persuade her, I faked a story about stomach illness that made her vomit in the past. I told my friend’s cousin how I had accompanied her to the hospital as she went for treatment.

The lies I made to cover up my friend’s situation made me realize the intersection between secrecy, lying, and confidentiality in a relationship. Though secrets can be kept through observance of confidentiality, sometimes it is worth to lie to cover them up. The experience gave me insights on how to discover a lie from someone trying to conceal a secret. [Relate your feelings and insights to the readings. Did you carry a burden the way that Edward Snowden said he did?]


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