i asked a counselor recently what should i say to people who ask questions about my past. i don;t want to lie, but i don't want to go into all the gory details with everyone. he said - imagine a target with concentric circles of increasingly larger diameters. the smallest circle - or bullseye represents the inner circle of the very few who i can tell EVERYTHING to - my T, my wife, my few best friends. the next circle includes those friends who i can safely tell more details to - but not all the intimate feelings and dark secrets. the next one i can tell a few facts to but in a very general way - nothing too personal. the outer area is those who don't need to know much at all. something like - i had a tough time as a kid - and don't like to talk about it. he had me think through what i would say too people in each category - and figure out in advance which are the people i know fit into. once in a while, i'll move someone further into the center - like what Todd said about the planets - but i consider it seriously and rarely act on impulse.
the beauty of this plan is it gives me control over who knows what. no one else should be able to tell you what position anyone should fall into. i have some family members in the outermost circle - because they are not trustworthy. you have the right to set your own boundaries and guard the information you give out. no apologies needed.
"That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. . . What will your verse be?" Robin Williams as John Keating in "Dead Poets Society"