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When Parental Gossip Destroys Trust: An Adult's Struggle with Childhood Secrets

A reader struggles with a legacy of parental gossip, seeking advice on healing from a childhood overshadowed by a lack of trust and privacy.

Hey MJ,

I've been reading articles lately about the impact of parents who gossip about their children, and it's striking a deep chord with me. My mom, while not a bad person, was a huge gossip. This aspect of her personality continues to affect our relationship and even influences how I parent my children.

The biggest issue I face is the inability to have open, honest conversations with my mom. I'd love to seek her advice on various matters, but I'm held back by the fear that whatever I share will become gossip fodder. This has created a lasting atmosphere of distrust and hesitancy to speak up.

As a parent now, I'm determined to ensure my children never feel the way I did. I want to foster an environment of trust and confidentiality in my home. Despite my love for my mother, it's disheartening to admit that even as an adult, I still can't fully trust her.

I'm looking for advice on how to navigate this complex situation. How do I maintain a healthy relationship with my mother while protecting my own need for privacy? And how can I ensure that the cycle doesn’t repeat with my own children?

Thank you for any insights or guidance.



Dear Anonymous,

Dealing with the lasting effects of a parent's gossiping behavior is a delicate situation, especially when it continues to influence your adult life and your approach to parenting. Creating a healthy balance in your relationship with your mother while fostering a trustworthy environment in your own family requires careful navigation and clear boundaries.

Start by establishing clear boundaries in your conversations with your mom. It's okay to maintain a connection with her, but be mindful of the information you share. You can choose to keep certain details private, particularly those that are sensitive or personal, to safeguard against potential gossip. This approach allows you to have a relationship with her while protecting your need for privacy.

In your own family, prioritize creating a safe and open space for communication. Let your children know that their thoughts and feelings are respected and will be kept confidential. This practice not only builds trust but also models healthy communication and respect for privacy, ensuring you break the cycle from your own childhood.

If the impact of your mother's behavior is deeply affecting you, it could be beneficial to seek counseling. A therapist can offer strategies to manage these feelings and provide guidance on fostering trust and open communication within your family.

I believe it's possible to love and care for someone while acknowledging and managing the impact of their less positive traits. This is part of navigating complex family dynamics and maintaining a balance between personal well-being and familial relationships.

By setting boundaries, fostering open communication in your own family, and potentially seeking professional support, you can navigate this situation with thoughtfulness and care, ensuring a healthier environment for yourself and your children.

Kenbe la,



In 2020, the "Badass Black Girl" book series author M.J. Fievre began receiving correspondence from a varied audience, including parents, young adults, and teens. Fievre, an established author and speaker, is known for her insightful engagement with themes relevant to these demographics. The communication, primarily through Facebook or the Badass Black Girl inbox, revolves around topics covered in her books and public talks. These interactions display a rich tapestry of experiences and viewpoints, highlighting the author's impact on her readers.

“Hey, MJ” is a platform created to foster a meaningful connection between M.J. Fievre and her readers. It offers a forum for open dialogue, personalized advice, and the sharing of collective experiences. The platform's effectiveness is rooted in Fievre's expertise as an author and speaker. Her work, particularly in the "Badass Black Girl" series, showcases her deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by her audience. Her background as an educator and her commitment to empowering young voices further enhance her ability to offer relevant and empathetic responses.

Readers wishing to engage with “Hey, MJ” can send their messages to All queries are treated with confidentiality, ensuring a safe space for honest and open communication.


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