Everyone has secrets and as humans, we havethe unique opportunity to either keep secret or expose and share these secretswith other people. Sometimes we choose to reveal these secrets to others andthat is when communication privacy management theory (CPM) comes into play. CPMwas developed by Sandra Petronio as a way to show how we share secrets and howwe manage them. There are three coreprinciples 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 bordersbetween private and public information” (Griffin, 2015, p 151). Theseboundaries 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 theprivacy. When we share information, we authorize co-ownership of theinformation, but this does not mean we allow the new co-owner to create newrules with this private information. Instead, we are allowing guardianship ofthis information. The third part of CPM is Privacy Turbulence.
This becomes anissue when “private information doesn’t go the way we expect” (Griffin, 2015, p152). 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 aninteresting case of CPM. With her and I, rules were not set for theinformation. Her getting up to me was not a big issue. I had felt that theinformation was peripheral information about her and therefore did not perceivethe information as private. She believed that the information was indeedprivate information and that it reflected her fears.
She saw herself as lessbecause she could not find a job and her waking up late was a reminder of herfailures. When I told my mother about her about the secret privacy boundarieshad not been set because there were no rules set for the information. When wegot 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 forour privacy management and how we reveal information in our home. By doing thisare able to level off the turbulence before a breakdown of trust occurred. Theory Insights A lesson learned fora young husband, “Never tell anyone anything about what happens at home unlessyour partner gives it the okay first”.
I noticed through my situation thatthere are no guidelines for CPM when it comes to disclosing unknown privateinformation. In my situation information was not known to be private thereforethere was no way setting rules prior to violating the trust. When one partydoes not know that information is private turbulence will always occur. I feelthat the only way to prevent this is to take a closer look at the otherperson’s personality structure and decide then what to do.
I feel that SocialPenetration Theory paired with CPM may help with the situation I was in. Whenyou realize that someone’s concept of self is not that same as your own sharingunknown private information becomes more obvious.