My parents have a 'bad' habit of disclosing information about any unfinished business of mine, or about other things I like to keep private for reasons, to people ranging from family to vague acquaintances. I've had several conversations with them about this, carefully outlining the reasons I'm averse to them sharing pretty much anything private about me with people. Most of these conversations either ended in fights or at least them maintaining there was no harm in disclosing these things. Especially dad is very hard to argue with, as my aversion against disclosing anything concerns mostly his side of the family.
They share information about things that I can't keep secret from them: it's either stuff they helped me out with starting (like paying for my driving lessons in the past, so no way to keep the exam date secret, and then I had to tell a lot of people I failed), stuff I need to tell them because I need their help or approval for it (like moving back home, and going back to study, which needed both their approval and a bit of financial support), or stuff that I can otherwise not keep secret (like an attempt at changing my lifestyle by going to the gym, my absences will be noticed as I'm living home and I'm not going to lie about that).
Last weekend, at a family gathering I couldn't skip with good grace, Dad disclosed again something that's still very much in the beginning stage. I overheard Dad telling about this thing to an audience of grandparents, uncles, and some cousins. The audience was big enough to ensure his whole side of the family would know about it the same evening.
After overhearing, I immediately joined the conversation by saying nothing is sure yet, outright telling my Dad that I asked him not to tell because of that, and telling the family that I didn't want to hear or talk about it further. Sadly, this only spiked the curiosity in that group further, and I had to answer a load of questions that I didn't want to or couldn't answer (I said as much in reply to pretty much every question). It also made sure that people 'sensed' some drama and started listening in, making more people overhear what was told.
Of course, I very much prefer the opposite to happen: That whenever I notice that either of my parents discloses something about me that I don't want the family to know, I can cut the conversation short, and let both my parent(s) and the family know that this is not something we're going to talk about and that it's also not a rumour to be shared with other family members or worse, people outside the family.
I assume I can't convince my parents to stop sharing my private information or unfinished business with family, at least not on a short term. I also don't want to lie and deny being busy with unfinished businesses. So what I'm looking for is a better way to handle the situation once I overhear my parent(s) telling someone something they shouldn't know, a way that:
- Avoids being forced to accept premature congratulations and cheeriness, and having to answer all kinds of questions about this unfinished business (most of which I don't know the answer to because things are still unfinished)
- Avoids me having to tell them in the future that I didn't manage to finish my unfinished business, and so avoid the empty exclamations of sympathy and rather annoying jokes about not finishing whatever I was up to.
- Avoids rumours being spread from one person to another so that in the end the whole family and half the town knows. This will hopefully avoid being confronted with my failures again months after I failed, by encountering a random stranger in the supermarket that heard the original rumour but not the result.
In the future, how can I handle the aftermath of a parent leaking my private information to family, in a way that reaches the goals described above?