Everyone has secrets and as humans, we have
the unique opportunity to either keep secret or expose and share these secrets
with other people. Sometimes we choose to reveal these secrets to others and
that is when communication privacy management theory (CPM) comes into play. CPM
was developed by Sandra Petronio as a way to show how we share secrets and how
we manage them. There are three core
principles of CPM; privacy ownership, privacy control, and privacy turbulence.
The first principle of CPM is privacy ownership and it deals with our privacy boundaries.
Privacy boundaries are “a metaphor to show how people think of the borders
between private and public information” (Griffin, 2015, p 151). These
boundaries can be thick or thin. The second part of CPM is Privacy Control.
Privacy control is “our decision to share private information with others” (Griffin,
2015, p 151). When we decide to share private information, we let go of
“ownership” of private information and allow others to participate in the
privacy. When we share information, we authorize co-ownership of the
information, but this does not mean we allow the new co-owner to create new
rules with this private information. Instead, we are allowing guardianship of
this information. The third part of CPM is Privacy Turbulence. This becomes an
issue when “private information doesn’t go the way we expect” (Griffin, 2015, p
152). Turbulence is a precursor to a full breakdown of private information.
Turbulence is a disruption rather than a break down of the system.
The situation with my wife and is an
interesting case of CPM. With her and I, rules were not set for the
information. Her getting up to me was not a big issue. I had felt that the
information was peripheral information about her and therefore did not perceive
the information as private. She believed that the information was indeed
private information and that it reflected her fears. She saw herself as less
because she could not find a job and her waking up late was a reminder of her
failures. When I told my mother about her about the secret privacy boundaries
had not been set because there were no rules set for the information. When we
got back into the car the turbulence began to occur with feelings of anger,
betrayal, and shame. We later discussed the situation calmly and set new rules for
our privacy management and how we reveal information in our home. By doing this
are able to level off the turbulence before a breakdown of trust occurred.
A lesson learned for
a young husband, “Never tell anyone anything about what happens at home unless
your partner gives it the okay first”. I noticed through my situation that
there are no guidelines for CPM when it comes to disclosing unknown private
information. In my situation information was not known to be private therefore
there was no way setting rules prior to violating the trust. When one party
does not know that information is private turbulence will always occur. I feel
that the only way to prevent this is to take a closer look at the other
person’s personality structure and decide then what to do. I feel that Social
Penetration Theory paired with CPM may help with the situation I was in. When
you realize that someone’s concept of self is not that same as your own sharing
unknown private information becomes more obvious.