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Should someone be held accountable for what they write in a private journal?

I'm speaking of any type of journal or diary where you write private and personal things that you never intend to show to anyone. Whether it's hand written in a book, typed and save in a file on your computer or on an online blog that you set to private so that only you can view it.
I consider this type of journal to be therapeutic and a great outlet but sometimes I write "angry" entries where I am complaining about something or someone and expressing my feelings. I don't find that being two-faced or mean because I don't plan on sharing these things with anyone, it's just a good way to get my frustrations out.
So what happens when someone goes behind your back and reads these private things and then gets upset about what you wrote about them?
I have heard the excuse before, "Well, you saved your password to your computer so it was like you wanted to me to find it and read it." Or "You don't have your desk top password protected so I had every right to read it." Well when I did password protect my desk top I was accused of trying to hide stuff lol.
I have to hide my hand written book, because there is no lock on it, so that means I left it out because I wanted it read (smh).
I would think that if you label something as 'Private, personal, or Keep out" that that would be obvious. So Now I feel like I can't write anything in my journal that I don't want to have to explain later.
What would you think if you read something in someones journal where they were complaining about you or about something you did? would you have the right to be angry? Would you confront them about it? Or is it simply that you were not meant to read the journal and you were in the wrong for breaking that confidence?


Asked by AnonNdrag at 10:22 AM on Jun. 6, 2013 in Relationships

Level 19 (7,783 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (22)
  • I would be furious about the invasion of privacy, even if it were DH. Those excuses are lame for snooping around where he knows he shouldn't. I would set a new password that was not written down after that breach of trust.

    I don't know what I would do if I were the reader. I guess approach the person calmly, explain what I found and ask about it while apologizing for being a snoop.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 10:29 AM on Jun. 6, 2013

  • i learned a long time ago, never put anything in writing
    while i was living with the crazy person who raised me- she would read my journal and then use it against me
    i.e. journal entry: i understand how someone could snap and kill their child.
    her: you want to kill your baby and that is why the state is going to give me full custody

    reading a journal is like eavesdropping. MYOB, you might not like what you learn

    Answer by feralxat at 10:29 AM on Jun. 6, 2013

  • NO. Some people keep dream journals, and I would hate to think people could be held 'accountable' for the crazy shit their subconscious forces them to imagine during sleep.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 10:34 AM on Jun. 6, 2013

  • What you write in a private journal is your own business, and no one should read it unless you ask them to. If someone does go behind your back and read it, they have no right to get mad. It wasn't theirs to read, and if they'd minded their own business, they wouldn't have known what you said.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 10:35 AM on Jun. 6, 2013

  • If someone snoops, then he has to either admit he's a snoop or keep what he finds to himself. But like Feal, I don't put anything in writing that I wouldn't say to someone's face, which I learned the hard way after my then husband looked at my e-mail and found some vents that he took to heart.

    Answer by Ballad at 10:58 AM on Jun. 6, 2013

  • Honestly, you bring up a good question. I've been writing in a journal for over 10 yrs. And I can honestly say that I find it very therapeutic as well. While I was married however I didn't write it everyday. Infact I looked back I kept the same journal for over 5 years of marriage. He ended reading it shortly after we were married, and because of that the trust was broken. HE's now my ex husband and I live with my parents. I write everything and anything down. Not only is it a vilation of privacy, but if they read it they are getting a real truth they may not want to read. I don't take one responsiblity really for what I write, because I assume no should or will read it.

    Answer by Sillylins at 11:19 AM on Jun. 6, 2013

  • Here's the thing about privacy...& i've been writing in journals or sometimes "letters to myself" my whole life, because I too find it therapeutic....what would happen if you were walking across the street & were hit by a car today, or a natural disaster hit & caused your death. Your loved ones would read what you wrote, probably hoping to get closer to you.

    The truth is, if my spouse read what I wrote, I figure I have no real secrets from him. If I write something in my journal about him, it's probably something I've already said directly to him. If I have something to hide from him, then it's probably something I shouldn't be doing.

    Ideally, a journal should be private, but we all know that there is a chance that someone will find and read what we put into print. If my kids snooped in my stuff and read my writing, I'd be pretty unhappy, but again, I don't think I've written anything about them that I haven't said to them

    Answer by ohwrite at 11:29 AM on Jun. 6, 2013

  • It's breaking someone's confidence to read things they didn't choose to share with you. I guess you know now who you can't trust.

    Answer by SWasson at 11:46 AM on Jun. 6, 2013

  • The person that snoops deserves anything they read.
    It is private and marked private. They are not mean to be shared and they are therapeutic.
    If you are talking about being a mad bomber or planning murder, of course any thing can and will be used against you.

    The person snooping is insecure or a controlling busybody. I had one of those in school. A teacher who had us write our private thoughts and experiences in a journal that she was "only going to flip through to be sure we had done it". When the time came to turn them in I refused and flipped the pages for her to see. She threatened me with not allowing me to graduate. The principal gave me one month to turn it in and privately told me to rewrite it with all sorts of wild tales. Set her back on her heels, it did and I graduated.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:47 AM on Jun. 6, 2013

  • Well, my journal to me, is kind of like my body....the only person who has a right to see it is my spouse. How would a friend get my journal. If my passwords are on a personal computer, they have no reason to be snooping. I can't imagine looking through a friend's things. Anyone who would isn't my friend.

    Answer by ohwrite at 12:00 PM on Jun. 6, 2013