Hiding your "real" personality from your family

tallandsweet

I only realised how much I hid and continue to hide from my parents recently. I think almost everyone does this, so feel free to share your thoughts and experiences below!

#1 Music taste

I never shared too much of my music taste with my parents, I would've gotten in trouble for it.

When I listened to "I kissed a girl" by Katy Perry just ONCE, they told me to stop listening to music promoting the LGBT+ community and took my scented Katy Perry CD away from me.

Photo by Simon Noh on Unsplash
Photo by Simon Noh on Unsplash

I love Rap. I always have, it started to gain even more meaning for me when I started to develop an eating disorder, grew more and more depressed, harmed myself for several years and when I was going through recovery.

My parents love Jazz and Soul - they dislike the simplicity of Pop and don't recognize the complexity some good rap songs have. I don't support taking drugs and don't want to do that and for them, listening to rap music is the first step to becoming a full blown junkie.

I love German Rap in particular for multiple reasons, I know that it's embarassing at times, but I still like it.

Listening to Rap when I'm feeling low is a small, but still subtantial part of my personality and identity.

#2 Love life

I guess this is a classic for most kids of rather strict parents - my parents still don't know that I was in a relationship with my ex boyfriend, they met him, but I told them that he was just a friend and they kinda bought it.

I never talked about him ever again, they sometimes ask, but I avoid the topic.

My other "ex" is someone they'd be so deeply shocked about, I always hid it from them - they have no idea how big of an influence that person had on me. He was the most important person in my life for 4 years or so and always supported me. My friends didn't like him, I just completely hid him from everyone I knew at the time.

Photo by Victoria Roman on Unsplash
Photo by Victoria Roman on Unsplash

After dreaming about my parents meeting my boyfriend and falling in love with him as their future son in law, reality crushed me hard (my parents didn't want to meet him, read more about that in this take: How telling my parents about my 6mo boyfriend went (they hate him for religious reasons) ).

I completely cut out my boyfriend from the version of my life I present to them when I meet them or call them. It's like he doesn't exist, otherwise we just fight, so I know that for the next few years, I'll have to lay low about my love life and it kinda sucks.

#3 Leisure time

I used to do a lot of things without my parent's knowledge or consent, especially after getting my driver's licence, I just had to leave.

I was never able to go on dates or to go outside without them knowing, so I mainly laid low and talked to people online in my room.

Photo by Zach Betten on Unsplash
Photo by Zach Betten on Unsplash

When I would go out with my friends, I never had alcohol (legal since 16 for me, I don't live in the US), I never had a cigarette or did drugs, so I guess most of how they raised me "worked". I hate alcohol, despise cigarettes and think drugs are the absolute worst option out of the 3 (alcohol is a drug too though).

Conclusion

All my life, I lied to my parents. Some of those lies were big, some of them were small, and although I had a really close relationship with them for quite a while, those 3 issues were things I was never able to open up about, simply because I knew I'd have to face consequences.

I was always told by my parents that they value honesty above all else, but in reality, they always punished me for telling the truth and when I lied to them, they almost never figured it out.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I have taken away from my personal experience that I won't punish my kids for being truthful, even if the truth hurts (unless they do something really bad and/or irresponsible (kill someone, drive under the influence).

Hiding your "real" personality from your family
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  • Sonorous

    I can deeply relate to this.

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  • TwistedTube

    Tbh coming into this thread I expected something much different. I don't consider music taste, love life or what you do in your leisure time to be part of your personality at all.

    So instead I'm going to make this response as if I'm responding to what I expected this thread to be about.

    My parents don't really know me at all, when I was younger my self confidence was simply severely lacking, so I wouldn't be talking much nor would I ever seem enthusiastic at all. At the table I'd simply sit in quiet and I'd only respect and when talking to, for the rest of the time I would simply be in my own head.
    Growing up and actually gaining some confidence through different online platforms, my confidence has increased a ton. And while I before would just always be on the quiet side I now enjoy talking and joking with others a lot. I've become good at making friends, and I'm much more of a forefront figure then I used to be.
    At home side though, this does not come out. For some reason whenever I'm with or around my parents, I feel like I cannot be who I am and I'm not sure what the reason for this is. When I'm going on a job interview, my dad will tell me to not talk softly and to put enthusiasm into my voice, as if I still talk like that while away from them. I just feel a significant of awkwardness around them and I prefer being away from them where I can be who I actually am. Whenever I talk about this with friends, they just tell me to start acting like myself around my parents too. But I can't. It's not really that easy, there is some sort of pressure around them which makes me unable to. Honestly I can't truly describe it, it's not that they're stern or anything, I just.. can't

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    • Thank you for your response!
      I'm sorry that you can't be yourself around your parents. I understand perfectly how it feels when your parents think you display the same flaws they see in you to all those around you.

      For example, I used to fight a lot with my parents and because of this, they thought I couldn't have a stable friendship or relationship - but I just significantly cut back on fighting with them and don't yell at them anymore. Still, they strongly believe that I behave weird behind their back, it's strange.

      I accept your criticism, but I do believe that in my case, my love life in particular is a massive part of my life that I just can't talk about because it makes them so uncomfortable. I can't even tell them that I'm moving in with my boyfriend.

    • Oh no no! I do believe your love life is a big part of your life, and that not being able to talk to your parents about such things is really shitty. I just don't believe it to be part of your personality.

      And yes for some reason parents will always believe you to be the same throughout time as if you're not a constantly changing being like everyone else

    • Ah okay, that makes sense.

  • HawkPerception

    My parents disagreed with me on too many things growing up and we always butt heads. My friends know me as one of the outgoing, easy going and fun loving guys, but around my family, I'm the quietest guy because they just don't respect my opinions or anything I say whatsoever.

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    • I can relate to that a lot.
      My parents expect me to be outgoing and fun with them like I used to be, but I can't be that person anymore knowing that they think my boyfriend is a horrible guy. It's not easy to know that they think I'll be going to hell due to my lifestyle, for them, it's so omnipresent that out of nowhere, they want to talk about how bad my relationship is for them and that I should break up.

      I try to talk about university and focus on THEM in conversations, my life is simply no longer compatible with their view of the world.

      I think that over the years, I'll also grow more quiet around them, it's much easier that way!

    • It's honestly a real blessing to no longer live with them, as much as I love and care about them, it's too damn hard to have them around all the time.

    • I'm glad you left them. What a toxic thought... to say you're going to hell because you have a different way of living. This is why all religion is a plague on the world. It runs in families and makes even parents willfully disconnect with their kids.

      My ex's parents thought that because she had tattoos, she had the devil's influence on her. They also didn't want her to date me because I wasn't white. She left her religion and her house a long time ago because of those same views.

      Although I disagree with my parents on a lot, I haven't had it rough like you or my ex in that regard. They gave me tons of freedom to do whatever I want, but the main thing is they never valued my insight on any topic because I had no formal education.

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  • I feel like I have different personalities with each family member. There are things only one of them knows, opinions I only share with a few, interests and personal things I hide from others... if they ever actually talked they might have a more complete idea of me, but that won't happen and that's how I prefer it

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  • TodsShadow

    My family is full of military, police, and other officials. It's all seriousness and vanilla questions. I have a uncle who is now a retired chief of police. Who asked me how was high school every time he seen me till I was 25. Most of the women in the family are outspoken a lot. Hard to communicate if you don't agree with them. I stay silent mostly at family functions.

    Like 2 People
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    • That sounds really hard... My relatives aren't that invested in my life either, my aunt tries really hard but I don't feel that close to her unfortunately.

    • Sorry I'm late responding. Try to connect with your aunt. It's good she's trying. I'm not sure your age but as we get older we will loose them. It's a horrible feeling to be at a funeral at not feel a thing

    • Goatmeal

      "Who asked me how was high school every time he seen me till I was 25"

      Sorry, but lol

  • DeeDeeDeVour

    My family has no clue that I went through a '"full-blown" bi-sexual phase' in my life.
    They might have suspected but are unaware that it's true and more than they suspected. Other than that, my life's a very opened book to them and everyone else.

    Like 2 People
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  • Drooogie4

    Same. I love them.
    But I don't have any identity that I'm comfortable sharing with them because it'll only strain the relationship that does exist

    Like 2 People
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  • Cherry234

    I don't tell my parents everything but there's even more I don't tell my extended family. I don't let them know about everything that goes on in my life (my extended family) bc some of my relatives can be nosy. I had an aunt who asked me why I lost weight (I gained it back) and I didn't tell her the whole story but I told my closest cousin about it bc I trust him. There are certain songs I like that have curse words in them but I wouldn't put that music on out loud in front of my parents or other elders (i. e. aunts, uncles, grandfather) but I would just put in headphones to listen to.

    I also wouldn't tell all my elders about my grades in school. I got a C in an accounting class and my parents and my closest cousin know but not my other relatives. I don't want them knowing about my grades bc it's not their business and I'm not comfortable talking about it. As long as I'm getting the best grades I can and passing my classes then that's all that matters. My aunt and another cousin say I'm too shy but I don't relate to them as well as my closest cousin so I would talk to him about anything or almost anything. If I date someone, my closest cousin is the first person in my extended family who will know about it

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  • I-C3_ME

    For me this also holds true, but it's not that i lie or genuinely try to hide stuff from them. It's just that i don't care enough to tell them. My mom isn't that good at showing affection and although she always made sure i was physically cared for i always resented that cuz that was what i needed as a kid, she also miss interpreted my feelings and reasons for why i did certain things. This just naturally led me to stop showing my true feelings cuz it would only disappoint me when she thought i was "hyper", no mom. I just was happy, i know it didn't happen that much but come on XDDD. She also tried to find other people to help me with me emotions and stuff be she used info i gave her against me while telling people the story in the way she interpreted it (which was wrong 75% of the time) so i stopped telling her stuff cuz what was the point? Also when i was 10 i stopped seeing my dad (we had a big fight on vacation about he's girlfriend at the 5time (she was jealous of our mom or something, I don't know to long ago)) and i didn't see him for 6 years but i stopped caring about him and i still really don't give a shit (it's a horrible thing to say but true), i try to go to Christmas cuz i don't feel like he lost the right to see he's son but other then that i probably wouldn't go.

    Basically, i don't tell my parents much and the more time passes, the more outdated their view of me becomes. The only times they can see my "real" personality is when my grandmother is here cuz she did always care and truelly listen so when I'm around her i forget about them and my real personality slips out.

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  • Adam1978

    I never felt the need to tell my parents everything. I never tell my parents or siblings if I go on a date, they only get to know if things go into the state where you introduce them. I got my first apartment before telling them that I was moving out and so on. It's my call, unless I want advice, there is no reason to involve them. I just give them the news next time we interact.

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  • exitseven

    I never told my parents about anything. I never mentioned girls AT ALL. I think when I was 19 or 20 my mother thought I might be gay. Of course all the other stuff I was doing was never mentioned either. I was lucky many times not to have ended up in jail.
    I used to wait until my mother went to bed before I came home if I was drunk. Once I puked on my bedroom floor and promptly passed out. My mother came into my bedroom the next morning before she went to work. She saw the vomit and I blamed it on the cat. She completely bought it.

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    • Oh my, that sounds crazy! Cat vomit is completely different from human vomit though, crazy that she still bought it.

    • exitseven

      Fortunately for me she was not up to the task.

    • exitseven

      by the way, are you really tall and sweet? It's hard to tell by your profile picture.

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  • Joshua0213

    I dont really know much of my family so true I've head many things from them but my best friends family (who basically took care of me from 14-18) knew a lot of stuff about me that I told them

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    • That sounds pretty sad, I'm sorry. Glad to hear that yor best friend's family took care of you!

  • CentralPerk77

    Ok so - after reading your post I think maybe instead of talking about the truth of who you currently are it might be better to have a talk with your parents that you do not feel comfortable telling them things because of how they react and ask if they might be willing to be more understanding. If you can get them to a place where they are willing to try then you can give them, for instance, one of these things you mention and see how it goes and then if it isn’t so good you can use that to further the conversation about wanting to be able to tell them things but they make it so that you cannot and you would prefer they try to see you as your own person and be supportive. Obviously, let them know their advice is welcomed and cherished as they are your parents you should listen to their words too and try to show them you hear them

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    • Goatmeal

      I think self-preservation should be her primary concern. You can try to negotiate with bullies, but it really shouldn't be necessary for children to do this with their parents.

    • @Goatmeal Exactly that.

      @CentralPerk77 my parents don't understand that their words cause emotional harm in others (me and my brother). According to them, it's a CHOICE to think about things that hurt you and you just have to move on.
      This is their way of justifying anything that they say or do.
      I've had the most grown up conversations in my life with them, worked out sample conversations full of ALL OF THE THEORY and rhetorics you should use to bring your point across while keeping both ears open to hear about what the other side has to say with my therapist and it hasn't helped.

      I've tried to get my parents to accept that when they yell at us every day, it makes us miserable. They don't respect boundaries at all either. Nothing has helped. For context, I used to be a really horrible kid when I was 11-14, I yelled at my parents every day and once I calmed down, my brother turned into the person I was. I haven't raised my voice at my parents in two very traumatic and eventful years and their behaviour hasn't changed one bit.

      So yeah. Sometimes there's nothing you can do. I still love them, but I leave situations I can feel escalating immediately now. That's the main difference in our interactions I'd say.

  • Gray-Wisp

    Specifically relating to my political views, as they are Republicans and I am a reactionary.

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  • jshm2

    To be honest you're just coming across as a bratty teen rebelling against your parents.

    It's just a phase, and you'll get better sense when you're older.

    Just remember, it's their house, their rules. You're not being "truthful" nor "progressive" just annoying and small minded.

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    • Goatmeal

      Terrible comment. "Their house, their rules" is such a dumb fucking thing to say. Choosing to have a kid is a responsibility. You're literally bringing a human being into the world and that does not mean you get to treat them as your personal property.

  • Vick2727

    I never hide how I am. What you see is what you get lol

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  • Goatmeal

    I don't trust my parents after they strongarmed me into entering the psychiatric system, which I feel has fucked me up significantly.

    Also they emotionally bullied me into not taking a job that I had put in an uncharacteristic amount of effort to apply for and was proud to be offered.

    Unfortunately, my solution to this is to have a superficial relationship with my parents where I don't open up about my problems, because I don't trust that doing so would be helpful.

    Thanks for sharing your story, it was somewhat relatable.

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  • LeoElias

    My dad doesn't know me. I don't know if it's because of me holding back and trying to act perfect around him or because he makes me or pushes me to act like something he wants. I once told him I met someone on a dating app and he gave me shit for it and basically made me regret revealing it in the first place. When we have fights I always realize he doesn know me at all and why would he?

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    • LeoElias

      He once wanted to put something in my name and he made me sign an agreement he wrote because he thought I would take it away from him. I felt so insulted. I didn't want this thing, he wanted to give it to me. I think told him to not put this thing in my name since he obviously doesn't trust me. He insisted and I reluctantly signed the paper. I would never do such a thing to him but I guess that's the price I have to pay for being a stranger with him..

    • Some parents are not equipped to be parents

    • So don’t really be too harsh on yourself

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  • kevyhanma

    I have to hide my real self because I know no one would approve it’s actually driving insane to pretend to be something I’m not all the time thank god for alcohol

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    • Oh my... That doesn't sound healthy, I hope you know where to get help in case you have issues with substance/alcohol abuse.

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