First thing I noticed after getting some sleep (I can't and won't answer something like this when I'm too tired to state it clear enough for at least the first 'go round' is that I shared general situations regarding couples in which one is unhappy with the other, and yet you didn't ask for clarification but instead took a situation from your own mind and turned it into something 'unsafe' (projection, attributed to my post) and made 'truth' separate from the people as well as possible psychological problems that could arise from poor timing.Ok, that's understandable, but it's still your opinion that they should leave the situation. If I were faced with this problem, I'd ask them what they get out of staying and ask them why they are putting themselves in so much danger. [I'd also tell them that their partner is engaging in criminal behavior and can be arrested and put in jail for it]. I admit to learning this in University and in the field in talking to trauma victims, but I never told them that it was "wrong" for them to stay or "right" for them to leave (if they were in danger of being hurt, I'd have to report, though as I'm a mandated reporter). That still seems opinion-based to me. The truth isn't absolute in that situation; it's more about what is safe and what isn't safe which may vary depending on opinions. For example, someone who doesn't believe in divorce, may think it's terribly unsafe for a person's soul to exit a marriage no matter what the circumstances.
[My opinion, however, would be that the person should leave the situation and run as fast as they can. In a clinical setting, I wouldn't be able to say this, but in a friendship, I'd have no problem letting them know what I thought. Still, it wouldn't be a "true" thought; it would be what I, personally, think. I'd still have to report it, though, as if anyone found out that I didn't I could lose licensing. My opinion would be that they are in danger. My fear would be that they could be killed. My ration would attempt to appeal to their ration.]
I'm not trying to pick on you; I ask you for examples because I sincerely respect you and I love interacting with you. I think perhaps that's what I can't wrap my mind around. My definition of the truth isn't what I think is safe, what I think is right, but what I know to be true: it's objective and not up for dispute. [That's why I said that it was neutral and hardly anything I need to absolve myself from if I decide to tell it.] If someone thought that my dog was a cat, I'd correct them. It's a provable, objective fact that my dog is a dog. That's what is true. I guess I'm having trouble finding out how I'm responsible for any emotional repercussions of someone sensitive to being corrected about which species they're looking at.
Like I said to begin with, I don't see a gradient. The truth is true and everything else is informed opinions (or not), etc...
[I suppose that when people are talking about the truth in this context, they're talking about something else. I don't know what it is called, but it's not the way I define truth. To me, truth is objective.]
Further, you brought in a job-related must: "Mandatory reporting" that applies to you but nothing in what I shared indicates I was in that position, so that was confusing.
Laying that aside, I'll give an example of 'facts' withheld from me, and then a second example involving the same 'facts, and a different response and outcome.
Back in 2002, my husband and I visited Ohio. We stayed one month--considering a possible move to the town my parents lived in, and back in SanDiego--having nixed the idea of relocating, we moved in with my only child, a biological son; my son, an issue from my first arranged marriage.
My biological mother arranged it all, from moving the young man in, putting him in the attic above my bedroom, manipulating me to have sex with him--going as far as to tell me to buy contraceptive foam even though we were not sexual, and finally pushing us to marry.
She staged it all, told us what to do; found the young man a job, apartment, and pressured him to become a born again Christian because, she said, I was and I could not 'be unequally yoked with a non-believer.' (I was no longer a practicing Christian and she knew that.)
So, back in San Diego in 2002, several months went by.
I was going through a hard time, having just discovered I had auto-immune disease which was diagnosed as fibromyalgia (since recognized as Raynaud's and one more auto-immune disease), put on medication, tried on an anti-depressant for an increase in energy and decrease in pain.
The anti-depressant "caused" suicidal ideations which I did not have when the doctor put me on that medication.
Back in San Diego, in 2002, one day I was talking to my mother on the phone; she said something off to my ear; I pursued it. She said, "Oh, don't mind me, I don't know what I'm talking about." I wouldn't let it go. Something was off, I was relentless. Finally it came out:
While we were in Ohio, my husband had gone to a coffee house, picked up a newspaper and saw the headline, gist, "Man suspected of double murder released from jail for lack of evidence."
There was a mugshot.
It was my first husband; my son's father.
When my husband got home I confronted him; he admitted he had kept the truth from me because of my mental state, worried that with my having had suicidal ideations, battling physical pain, struggling with PTSD from childhood, and more (additional details don't matter), I might hurt myself.
I was furious that he, my mother, father, siblings, everyone knew what he had discovered, were complicit in keeping it from me.
I felt I had the right to know; he had, to my mind, no right to keep something like that from me especially as I was the one who "lived" what my mother did to me, and all that resulted, from that arranged marriage.
I also went into denial as a coping strategy, stated, "He didn't do it; he's too stupid to have gotten away with it."
The mugshot haunted me. (I had nightmares for years about it.)
The article also disturbed me deeply--what my ex-husband had to say to support his assertion that he could not have murdered the dead men disturbed me further.
But before any of that gelled, I told my son--when he got home from work that I had something to tell him.
He came to my room, sat in a chair, and after a short preliminary, warning him I had something to tell him that I felt he had the "right" to know, I handed him the newspaper article.
My son read it. He didn't have much to say, and he walked out.
My son has never forgiven me for marrying his father.
He never forgave me for lowering his self-esteem further by sharing that newspaper article with him, which was proof to his mind that he is inferior, and like most everything else wrong in his life, the lowering of his self-esteem is--to his mind--my fault.
If I could have taken 'the truth' back, I would have done so.
I would have thought it through--with my son--not just my own take on 'truth' and 'no one's right to withhold it from a person,' as that was my way of thinking, not my son's way.
Had I given it 'any' thought from 'his' perspective; had I been more empathetic, putting myself in my son's shoes, I would have known not to tell him as his position on being given 'full disclosure' and my own radically differs as do many of our attitudes, values, perspectives on events that have happened.
There's no going back once a decision is made.
Normally, I put more care into what I share, when I share it, and 'if' I share it--with the specific person, his or her history, their state of mind if I know it (and I usually do) before choosing to act or not act--and "as a part of that" taking full responsibility for 'my' part in the situation; in the disclosure or withholding.
I can look back now without the emotion clouding my mind and say that my husband did the right thing as after reading that article and one more from the same time period, same newspaper, I dissociated.
I ended up in a crisis center, going there when I was afraid I might hurt myself because I could not hurt the one(s) I wanted to: my ex-husband and mother.
It's my educated "opinion" that my ex-husband did murder the man and his father, respectively in their mid-50s and mid-80s, over what amounted to $50.
After hearing the details, looking at the mug shot, reading the articles, discussing the situation with my husband, mother, others (including a psychotherapist), I relived traumas from what led up to the marriage; the marriage itself; the divorce, and more... all because my biological mother had a loose tongue; an inability, perhaps unwillingness, to keep control of her own thoughts, to refuse to answer my insistent question that day.
There is no 'objective truth' as you use that term.
There is no super-human power who defined Truth and passed it down to us mere mortals to dispense in all situations.
We human beings define truth based on biases; there are no exceptions.
Every culture and sub-culture reflects how groups and individuals define "truth" and how it should be handled, shared, withheld, and even redefined.
It will always be up for debate as human culture is created by human beings, especially by those with the most power at any given point in history--and power shifts, sometimes rapidly, drastically as our species continues to evolve.