Yeah, that's been happening to me, too, for decades.
I tell family my personal stuff, and right away quick they deny any part of it. I mean, I only told them about me as 'proof', for goodness' sake! Can't they see how it pains me to admit to it? And that I am only exposing personal information for THEIR own good?!
Then, in two places, I heard about the 'compliment', followed by a matter-of-fact statement, or hint.
Here's how it went with my 19-year-old...
Lying across my bed with heads propped on elbows...I had asked him there to talk...lying down was just a stroke of genius.
Me: I love you, you know. Always and forever, no matter what.
Me: You know how you growled at me this morning?
Me: Well, that's no longer acceptable.
Me: Well, that's good.
Him: That's all?
A little smile, a touch, and we were off to supper.
And, after nineteen years of struggle, it was over...it never happened again...and that was 15 years ago.
It probably helped that we lived in different cities, but it did mark a happy change in our relationship.
I've used the procedure to great advantage ever since. Making the moment intimate and private helps...and the simplicity of the statement...but that warmth is a corker!
If the message is going to be in the form of a hint, it's probably not necessary to draw the person aside, the compliment, first, does the trick.