Get That Dark Secret Off Your Chest

February 7, 2023 | Melissa Gervais

Get That Dark Secret Off Your Chest

Secrets are hard; dark secrets are harder. Whether it be a personal flaw, a murky past, or an unspeakable act, we all have aspects of our lives we don’t talk about—especially if we fear condemnation and ridicule. But dark secrets can weigh heavily on the soul, and before long, harboring them feels even more distressing than facing the consequences of sharing them. Still, the fear is real, so these Redditors tested the waters by confessing their darkest secrets to the internet instead. Try not to judge too harshly.

1. A Deal Breaker

When I was 16, I conspired with an addict I met online to help me off myself and dump my body in a dumpster in exchange for my valuables. I lived in a small town, and he was in a bigger city where my school had an upcoming trip. We planned for me to slip away during the trip and meet up with him to do the deed. He chickened out last minute and ghosted me.

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2. A Garbage Man

My stepdad tried to end me when I was little. My stepdad was a grade-A jerk. He was in my life from the beginning, after my bio dad up and left, until I was about 13–14. He was a cruel, inebriated, jobless cretin who constantly physically and verbally tormented my mom and me. On multiple occasions, my mom or I called law enforcement and watched them drag the sorry sack of excrement out of the house and lock him up for a couple of days. They were, sadly, the happiest days of my childhood. When I was little, I can remember countless times when I had gotten into physical fights with the man, resulting in black eyes, cuts, bruises—the works. I won’t go into detail any further since it’s kinda hard to talk about, but I will say this. I never told anyone about it; this is the first time I’ve gotten it down in writing or out in the open at all. When I was little (five or six years old, I’d say), I lived with my mom and stepdad in my stepdad’s parents’ attic. My mom frequently went out during the day for work and didn’t come home until late evening or night. Well, one day, after my parents had a pretty hostile argument, my mom left for work, and my dad was pretty pent up. This is what I remember, and continue to remember almost every day since the event: My dad took one of those large, heavy-duty trash bags out of his parents’ kitchen, dragged me into the “living room” of the attic, stuffed me in the bag, and tied it after letting out some air. I remember being terrified, too scared to act out of fear of getting hit or yelled at. I waited until I heard him close the attic door, then proceeded to use my fingers to claw a hole through the trash bag. I remember it taking a while since I wasn’t that strong at the time due to malnourishment and my age, but I eventually made it out and lay on the floor, just waiting for my mom to get home. I still don’t know if she even knows what happened or if she just thought I was in there playing with a trash bag or whatever. But that’s what I remember, and I’ve been carrying it for years. Thankfully, she eventually left that dirtbag, and I can now happily say I have an amazing father whom I love very much, so this story does have a happy ending.

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3. It’s Not All Sunshine And Rainbows

I witnessed my fiancé take his own life last year. It will haunt me forever. I moved states afterward and started a new life. My coworkers, clients, and new friends call me the sunshine of whatever room I walk into, but I’m completely numb inside. Even though I choose to fake it, I resent them for not seeing how messed up I am.

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4. Where Reality Meets Imagination

I have a secret fantasy life populated with imaginary friends. It started in grade school, and I have continued all my life. I am in my 50s now, and I still prefer to be alone in my imaginary world instead of being with family or friends. I can’t even tell my psychiatrist because I am afraid he will lock me up or give me medication to make it all stop.

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5. No Half Measures

Last Christmas, I learned that my sister and I don’t have the same father and are technically half-sisters. My sister’s biological father tried to start a relationship with my mom that resulted in a pregnancy and ultimately didn’t work out. That biological father has passed now, but I didn’t probe any further about his identity or how he passed, just in case it was something terrible for my mom to remember. So, she raised my sister as a single mother at my grandma’s house in the 80s. Then she met my father, and they started dating, and it worked out because they got married in the 90s, moved into a new house, and I was born a short time after that. She told me never to call my sister my “half-sister” and that I should just pretend all of this doesn’t matter because she’s my sister, and I’m keeping it that way. If anyone asks about the 10-year age gap, I just tell them, “It’s a long story”.

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6. A Family Affair

I’m the spitting image of my grandpa on my dad’s side. Both my parents are almost a foot shorter than me, but I’m almost the same height as him. When my mother got sick when I was a kid, my grandpa went to visit her daily for extended periods of time in the hospital. In his final months, she did the same. After he passed, we found out he kept a whole other family on the side in secret too. But I don't think that was the worst part. Looking back at my dad’s army deployment history, it would also be dicey if she could have gotten pregnant by him around the appropriate time. Based on a collection of various hunches, I’m fairly convinced I’m the product of an affair between my mother and my supposed grandfather.

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7. He Rose Up

When I was young (probably around age nine or 10), I was walking home with my dog from a house around the block when he cut the corner and walked diagonally through the yard of this super mean old lady who lived at the end of our street. At the time, she was in her yard tending to these really fancy-looking rose bushes she had grown in beds along the border with her neighbor. My dog was a very friendly golden retriever who didn’t even really come near her and certainly didn’t do anything threatening, but she sprayed the heck out of him with some kind of insecticide or another chemical she was using on her roses. I ran back home with the dog and hosed him off. He coughed a bunch but seemed otherwise fine. I didn’t tell my parents because somehow I thought I was going to get into trouble for letting the dog walk in her yard. I’m glad I didn’t tell them, though, because then they'd probably have discovered what I did for revenge. I decided that night to sneak downstairs, out the half-bath window, and down the street to her yard, where I cut down every freaking rose bush I could get my hands on.

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8. Leaving Well Enough Alone

I make up lies about what I do on the weekend. Usually, I don’t do much, and I’m very content with that. Others are always asking me what I’m doing, and I’ve never had anything to tell them. I make up lies to get out of phone calls or plans, saying I’m out of town or with friends. I love just being left alone.

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9. More Money Than Cents

I worked at a novelty tourist shop near me when I was a teenager. Being the idiot that I was, I took a wad of cash from the store. It was $100 in ones. I told nobody, but they knew it was missing. Right about the same time, a coworker who was always trying to get me fired was telling someone she got about $100 in tips from her other job. They ended up firing her because they didn’t trust that it wasn’t her.

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10. Food For Thought

I’ve struggled with disordered eating for at least a decade. It ebbs and flows. I know it’s unhealthy, but the destructive part of me loves the feeling of being empty. Several years ago, it was really bad. I was at my lowest weight ever; I had brain fog and difficulty breathing. When I started eating again, my stomach would get really bloated, even if I only ate a small amount. I gained weight in the last year or so, and my depression and anxiety got really bad for a while. My family thinks I don’t want to spend time with them. However, I just wanted to stay home because trying on my clothes, and the idea of being in public made me want to off myself. It was easier on me mentally to just stay home. I can feel myself slipping back into my old disordered eating habits, unfortunately.

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11. An Act Of Mercy

When I was younger, I lived with my grandmother. Not long after I turned 18, her health started to decline…that sort of decline that you know means she won’t be around for much longer. Over the months, I did my best to take care of her, like getting her to the hospital whenever she needed to go and other things. We had someone coming every day to help her with the things I couldn’t. But my family doesn't know what happened the night she passed. I was in the living room watching TV that night. My dog was in bed with my grandma, and I started to hear him whimper and bark. I knew what was happening; I knew that if I acted, I could potentially save her. I didn’t want to watch her suffer anymore, though, or to watch her live with so much pain and be unable to do anything for herself anymore. So I made the choice to let her pass before making any calls. She lived 92 years, and the only regret I have is that she passed a month after I would have graduated if I hadn’t been kicked out of school. She had been in good enough health at the time to go to my graduation. I still kick myself for how stupid I was back then.

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12. When It’s None Of Your Affair

It’s not my secret, but my mom’s, and I’m not hiding it from everyone, just the person to whom it potentially matters the most. When my mom was in high school in the 60s, she had a long-term serious boyfriend named Jimmy. They were each other’s first; they had been together for years and were planning on getting married. When he went away to college, my mom stayed behind, but they were still together. You know what happened next. He cheated and got the new girl pregnant. So, he came home to break the news to my mom. Abortion was not lawful at the time. He basically said that he wanted to be with my mom, but he had no choice but to marry this other girl. My mom was devastated. Here’s the secret: my mom was also pregnant by him but hadn’t told him yet. She then decided she wasn’t ever going to tell him. Jimmy went on to marry the other girl and never knew my mom was also pregnant. My mom told me that she later threw herself down a flight of stairs to cause a miscarriage. My mom actually reconnected with Jimmy during the early days of Facebook. She didn’t have an account but asked me to look for him using mine. He was still married to the same person. My mom was married to my dad. They wrote to each other for a while (using my account, ugh) and signed their messages saying, “I Love You”. My mom passed a number of years ago. I think about this knowledge I have that Jimmy doesn’t, this major life event thing that he doesn’t even know happened. It could have changed the trajectory of many lives. I’m certainly not going to tell him. It’s not my secret to tell.

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13. Money Back Is Not Guaranteed

Years ago, a drug dealer I knew asked me to hold onto a package of money for him. The guy was straight-up bad news, selling the hard stuff. He was awaiting trial on his third offense, and they were preparing to put him away for a while. Anyway, he figured because I wasn’t in the game, he could trust me with the money, and he was right. So, I said, “Sure, no problem”, and he handed me a bag of money with a 125k stack of 100 dollar bills. It wasn’t what you’d think, either: It was all wrapped up in rubber bands and was only about five or six inches thick. Every week or so, he would ask me to peel off 5k, meet him somewhere, and hand it over. This went on for months. But he trusted me a little too much. Finally, when it was down to the last 10k, he got caught selling while out on bond, and this time, he didn’t get out. He had a girlfriend who kept calling me asking for the rest of the money, but I just blew her off. I knew she would just snort or shoot the rest of the money. They ended up giving him 20 years in prison. One month into his sentence, he took his own life. I kept that 10k and never told a soul.

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14. A Home Truth

My wife, her mom, and I bought a house about two years ago. Just from talking to the neighbors, I’d gathered that the family who lived here before us had a daughter who was mixed up with the wrong people. We had some random person knock on our door at night saying he needed gas (we are down a long driveway, so there is no way you’d randomly walk up to OUR house to ask for help). I think he was looking for the people who used to live here. Then another time, one Sunday morning, while I was making pancakes for the family, I got a knock on the door, and it was four sheriff’s officers saying they received a 9-1-1 call that hung up, and it came from our house. We don’t have a landline, and I assured them my wife and two-year-old did not make any calls. They mentioned the name of the previous occupants, and I let them know we moved in earlier this year, and they seemed okay with that and left. But something definitely Anyway, I was later doing some yard work and struck up a conversation with a neighbor. He saw the law enforcement cars and asked what was up, so I told him the situation. He just goes, “Oh yeah, that family was messed up. The officers were probably being cautious considering the incident”. I asked, “What incident”? He then kinda looked at me with a sad, worried face and answered, “The incident in your house”. Truly baffled, I said, “Wait, what”? He then proceeded to tell me that about two years beforehand, the father in the house confronted his daughter and her boyfriend, whom he didn’t like. He then shot the boyfriend in the house. He didn't make it. Our state doesn’t have a disclosure law, so we never knew. I was blown away; all the strange happenings kinda made sense now. The neighbor said that the victim’s friends terrorized the family for a while because the officers took a long time to press charges; they cut their tires, set off midnight fireworks, and did other odd things that the neighbors hated. I was shocked but just said, “That’s crazy, but hey, do me a favor and never tell my wife or mother-in-law about that. They get a little spooked by things like that”. So now, I’m the only one in my family that knows.

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15. A Living Nightmare

My PTSD isn’t getting better. I have nightly nightmares of the industrial accident I was in; I see my coworker ripping his burnt face off every night. I no longer scream in my sleep because of it. I’m no longer terrified as much by it. Even though I know it’s not my fault, I feel an enormous amount of guilt for what happened to him. Sometimes when I’m not sleeping, I’ll hear the scream he made in the distance. It’ll make my blood feel like ice. Therapy hasn’t done much.

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16. Doing Grandma Dirty

My grandma was in a car accident and broke her ankle, so she stayed at my house, and my mom and I took care of her while she recovered. I was entering puberty at the time and discovered that you could order adult content on cable, and I was like a madman ordering it. The bill that month came out to $500. My mom thought it was my grandma because her telenovelas were on, like, channels 50–60, and the adult content was on 500–600. I’ve literally never told anyone to this day.

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17. Now In The Know

I found my adoption papers a few years ago when I was looking for a copy of my birth certificate. I know my birth mom; I just never had a relationship with her. My maternal grandmother took me in 2002. I never knew she had adopted me; I just knew that I had ended up living with her one day after telling her that I didn’t want to go back home. I also found the letter my mom wrote about why she was giving me up. That one really hurt.

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18. Armed And Dangerous

A man broke into my home about ten years ago. Well, kind of. He knocked, I answered the door, and he pushed his way in. He spoke about the four horsemen of the apocalypse and tried to coerce me for protection, or he and his brothers of doom would come and take my life. He was huge. Ex-navy, if he was to be believed. Inebriated as heck, hand covered in blood, holding a broken bottle. I was terrified. I told him to leave. He wouldn’t. He was getting aggressive. I told him I would splatter his brains against the wall if he didn’t. I didn’t have a firearm at the time. Anyway, he didn’t leave. I went into my kitchen, grabbed a cleaver, and sliced at him a few times. He staggered away, seemingly okay. I assumed he was all right, just wounded a bit. I never saw him again. But that wasn't the end of the story. A neighbor told me days later that a man was found deceased with some wounds on his arms. I can only guess he bled out, but I never got questioned, somehow. There was a lot of blood in and around my house. I lived in a pretty seedy area, so I guess the officers just didn’t care. The guy was apparently a repeat offender.

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19. A Wake-Up Call

This is not a huge secret, but I feel guilty about it often. After my fiancé passed, I napped all the time for over a year. My aunt was calling me one day, and I just denied her call and went back to napping. It was my aunt calling because my grandma (who was very sick with cancer) wanted to say happy birthday a day before my birthday. Grandma passed the next day. I should have picked up the dang phone.

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20. As Clean As A Whistle

In high school, I was a super good kid. I was a straight-A student who loved homework, kept out of trouble, and was quiet as heck during class. So anyway, there was this guy who was also in AP classes with me, but he was super loud and obnoxious. He would pull stunts in such a way that he would always have some margin of plausible deniability. Though we never spoke (I’m not sure he even knew I existed), he rubbed me the wrong way.

Maybe it was from that one cold day when this other girl in our class had her nipples poking through her shirt because she forgot a sweater, and he kept saying to her, “Daaaang, it’s cold, huh”? Or maybe it was because he would pretend to be friends with a kid who was definitely on the spectrum, who was so desperate to be friends, that he would do the guy’s homework, only to get tormented by him as thanks the next day. I don’t know. But all I knew is, I had to get back at this guy.

So at random—sometimes only once a week, or once a month, or even once every couple of months—I would whistle. It’s this high-pitched whistle that sounds like a tea kettle that I can do while barely moving my mouth. Back then, no one knew I could do it except for my family. The super obnoxious kid always got in trouble. I was never once suspected.

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21. Good Riddance

I’m happy my mom’s ex passed. The dude was a freaking menace. He frequently had outbursts where he would destroy our apartment or threaten my siblings or my mom. His family and friends all thought he was harmless but didn’t want to deal with him. One day he was having another meltdown, my mom and siblings were hiding in my room, and I was holding the door shut while he was trying to get in, so I called 9-1-1. The dude blamed me for years after that and targeted me a lot.

One day some neighbor boys tried to inappropriately touch me, and when I mentioned it, he convinced himself that I must’ve led those boys on and kept inviting them over. He was convinced that I did “adult content” and would obsessively search for it (I was 15, so it’s also suspicious as heck that he would try so hard to try to find videos of me that didn’t exist).

I also had to take care of him when he shattered the bones in his arm and hand, and traveling nurses refused to come to our house to flush his IV. I Imagine he was terrible to them, too. I have so many stories about this guy. I was around 22 when he passed, and I was genuinely happy that he was gone. I thought I was kinda over it, but once I had kids, I started to become angry with every adult involved. I couldn’t imagine putting my own kids in those situations.

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22. For Peace Of Mind

My only child, who is 23, has schizophrenia. He was diagnosed a year and a half ago. He is at a point where he has stabilized, but because he has stabilized, he now understands the road he has in front of him…and of course, it’s devastating for him. I am no longer married to his father, but we co-parent extremely well, and we rally around him the best we can. Having said all of this, if my son were to follow through with his ideation to take his own life, my dark secret is that I completely understand because he would finally be out of his pain. Although it would completely destroy his father and me, he would be more at peace than he is now. This kid is my life and my light. But his being at peace is something that I don’t know that medication or his parents or environment can give him. That is the worst possible feeling you can have as a parent.

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23. ’Til Debt Do Us Part

My wife and I aren’t officially married. No one knows. We had a ceremony and everything, a reception—the whole nine yards. We just never did the official paperwork. We realized that since she’s going back to school, it benefits her financially to go through financial aid as a “single” woman rather than a “married” one. When she finishes up, we’re going to head over to town hall and finish the last step.

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24. A Perversion Of Justice

I was married for 13 years to my best friend. We had what I thought was a great, easy marriage. One day our five-year-old daughter told me he was having her perform inappropriate acts on him. I was shocked, devastated, and afraid. He was one of those fun guys everyone loved to be around. I immediately called some officers, and he got taken in. When they started investigating him, they found out that he had also gotten apprehended while in college for exposing himself to very young boys. He only got a mild punishment at the time because he came from a very wealthy family. One of his uncles was the governor of the state we lived in. I was so ashamed I told our friends that he had an affair and moved away. The truth was too hard to admit: He was in prison for five years. I picked up the pieces, sent our daughter to therapy, and spent the next 15 years being a mother: paying for a private school, taking cool trips, etc. She was my life. Then when she went to college, he reached out to her over Facebook. When I saw she was communicating with him, I felt shocked, devastated, and afraid all over again. I called and told her that she was an adult, but I thought she should be careful because he was not safe. She hung up on me and has not spoken to me since. That was four years ago. I still send her $40,000 a year to pay for her medical school. It’s all been almost unbelievable.

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25. Time To Pay The Piper

In middle school, I made a puff pipe out of copper pipe just for fun. I know you should not smoke from copper as the fumes are potentially harmful. My stepdad took it from me and started using it. He smoked with it for years. I hated him for physically tormenting me, so I never said anything. It’s now 30 years later, and he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and likely only has a few years to live. I hope he rots in the inferno. I don’t know if it had any effect, but I like to think the copper pipe played a role in his sickness as karma for being a jerk.

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26. Like A Body Without A Soul

My grandmother had a stroke when I was around nine, and it ruined her. She could barely talk and had very little short-term memory. She couldn’t do anything by herself, and her brain just continued to rot over the next few years. By the time I was 11, she was shambling about; she couldn’t speak, and she couldn’t eat without a feeding tube. Eventually, she lost the ability to walk and recognize people or things. She didn’t respond to anyone or anything. She was gone, mentally. Her body required around-the-clock care to keep it functioning. Even after multiple heart issues and her body constantly trying to let go, some of my family continued to care for her body. They refused to do the right thing and kept reviving her body time and time again, year after year. So much of their lives were squandered while caring for what remained of her body. We even moved to be closer so my mom could help. It sickened me. It was a dark cloud over everyone who knew her and served as a constant reminder of how fragile we really are. If she had actually still existed in that body, I’d have helped. I’d have visited her and comforted her the best I could. But even as a child, I knew better. My grandfather and a few of my aunts kept her shell of a body alive until I was in my 20s. For most of my teenage years, she was just a vacant body. I wished for years that the stroke had ended her life because it would’ve been a heck of a lot more merciful. It sounds harsh, but I truly did love my grandmother—I was her favorite as a kid. She was a mean and sometimes cruel woman, but for me, she had a soft spot. I loved spending time with her, throwing bread to the neighborhood birds, and her telling me stories of her life. I miss her, but because of what they did to her, it’s hard for me to think about her. It haunts me.

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27. Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

The only person in my life who knows this story is my husband. When I was eight, I was desperate to be liked by the older boys on the street. I was the youngest boy (other than a baby or two) on the block, so I rarely had any boys to play with. So, when I got noticed by an older boy (19, a senior in high school), I was thrilled. He (I’ll call him Mike) saw me riding my bike up and down the street one day while he was outside playing basketball with a friend of his (who I will call Shawn). Together, they stopped me and talked to me about school, my bike, and other random stuff. Then, Mike invited me inside for a Coke. Since my parents didn’t keep soda in the house often, this was a treat. Once inside, my can of Coke in my hand, Mike and Shawn started turning the conversation to things I didn’t understand. I don’t remember exactly what they talked about, but I do remember a lot of questions about my body, my privates, and whether I’d ever seen anyone else’s. This turned into them taking their pants off and urging me to do the same. I didn’t want to, but Mike knew I was an insecure little kid. He turned on the manipulation. “Oh, well, I thought you were cool, Faustus. I guess not. I don’t talk to boys who aren’t cool”. That kind of thing. I did what they asked from that point on, afraid to be “uncool” and not have older boys to talk to anymore. That day, all they made me do was touch them. But, for months afterward (until Mike went away to college), I was used by them. Most often, it was just Mike. About half the time, though, Shawn was involved. He seemed less eager about doing this to me than Mike was. The weirdest part about it all was, though I hated it when it was happening, I missed it when it was over. I felt special when Mike would invite me into his house. After he left for college and Shawn completely ignored me after Mike was gone, I felt lonely and unwanted again. I never told my parents. To this day, more than 30 years after the fact, they still don’t know about it. Mike and Shawn never faced any sort of repercussions for what they did to me. Though, in a small bit of justice, Mike did end up going to prison about ten years ago for doing the same thing to another boy. There are probably more than just that boy and me, but at least he finally got caught for hurting someone.

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28. A Dark Discovery

One of my closest coworkers, who is an integral part of our very large corporation, shot a man in his late teens and threw the body in a lake. He only got off on a technicality. I work remotely, so I don’t build a lot of personal relationships with people I work with regularly. I Googled his full name. It freaked me out at first, but I’ve kinda gotten over it. Most days... I wonder if anyone else knows. It happened 40+ years ago. He will retire soon, and then I might ask another coworker about it. I just don’t want to cause problems.

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29. Ask No Questions, Hear No Lies

When I was around five or six, my mom and dad were fighting just about every day. Well, I was napping on the couch one day when my mom came in very upset, and she shook me awake. She asked me if I saw “the girl” my dad had brought home. I’ve always felt terrible about this because I hadn’t seen anyone but my dad that whole day; I’m pretty sure he was just playing video games like usual. But for some reason, in my sleepy kid brain, I answered yes. I said she was with him in their room. I’m honestly not sure why I lied like that, but they got a divorce shortly after, and I always felt like it was my fault. That is until I recently found out my little sister is actually my half-sister, but that’s a whole other story.

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30. Wanting To Want Something

I don’t feel the want to do anything. I feel no excitement for future dates or events; I’m not excited or looking forward to anything except greedy stuff, like getting money or objects. I’m not even materialistic. It’s just like my brain is looking for shortcuts to make me feel some sort of excitement, and so it looks for objects I want. This makes me feel freaking horrible.

My girlfriend asks me to play video games or hang out with her, and I always do, but I never look forward to it until we actually do something. I always enjoy my time with her, but I can’t get hyped up to do anything. I’ve heard of this with older people, but I’m only 18, and I’m horrified I need this motivation.

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31. Running Scared

My grandmother passed from dementia, but of course, that took five years of progression. I was 16 when it all started, and I had never lost anyone before. I was so scared I avoided her at all costs. This was a woman who lived 10 minutes from us growing up, who babysat me constantly, and who was over every Sunday for dinner. I moved away to college and didn’t think about her much until her last month. I only ever visited her twice, and that was in hospice. At that point, I was 21 years old.

The first time I saw her, she was just dying slowly. Not eating, not drinking, a shell of a person. I walked in, sat on her bed, and took her hand. The only semblance of human interaction I saw from her was that her face got really flushed when she saw me, and she kind of gripped my hand. The second time I was only in her room for a few minutes when my mother looked at me, and it kind of all clicked that my grandmother was going to pass that day.

I panicked and said, “I don’t know if I can be here for this”, and my mother understood. I nearly ran out of the building. Fifteen minutes down the road, I got a call from my mom saying my grandmother was gone. I was and am so guilty I ignored that saint of a woman for five years and only showed up the week she passed. I will always carry it with me. I was scared, so I pretended it wasn’t happening.

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32. Cheated Out Of A Happy Childhood

I’ve been an accessory to both my parents’ infidelity. At age five, my mother cheated on my dad while he was deployed, and my brother told me what was happening and said that I shouldn’t tell anyone. My father slept with his secretary two years later (for a few years) and would even bring me on dates with her while telling my mother we were going to the movies.

He took me to her house and had her roommate watch me while they went out or just hung out in her room. They’re still married. I don’t know if either knows what the other did or if they are still doing the same things.

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33. Gone But Not Forgotten

My grandmother has dementia, and she’s been dying for years now. The woman she was before is entirely gone. My grandfather is still convinced she is there—he talks to her and tells us he thinks she’s getting better. She’s not, and he’s deluding himself. She doesn’t laugh anymore or remember anyone’s name and can barely eat. In my eyes, she is already gone. But she’s still alive to everyone else. I wish this husk of her were gone so I could remember her as she actually was, and I wouldn’t have to watch my grandfather or the rest of my family delude themselves.

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34. A Positive Result

Six years ago, when I was 24, my mom randomly told me I had an older half-sister that my dad completely abandoned. She only knew of my sister’s mother’s name, so I searched for her on Facebook and found my sister. She is the spitting image of our father, so I immediately knew that it was true. Both my sister and her mom confirmed it, and my sister and I immediately started bonding. We are incredibly close now.

My father’s side was overjoyed when I found her, as they knew about her but never knew what had happened to her. We’ve all welcomed her with open arms—except my father. It only made him even more cruel. When she reached out to him, he essentially told her to take a hike and then screamed at me that she wasn’t my sister. He continues to call me the “witch that ruined the family”. She and I did 23andMe, and we matched as half-siblings, so now there’s no denying it. I lost a bad father, but I gained an incredible sibling that means 10 times more to me.

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35. Existing But Not Living

First, I’m not a danger to myself or others, and that’s not going to change. But beyond that, I’m feeling pretty done with life. I’ve been a chronic pain sufferer for almost four years now (severe sciatica). I’m disabled enough that there’s no way I could work, but I’m not so disabled that there’s any help available for me beyond what provincial healthcare covers (since I’m originally from the US, I fully recognize how meaningful it is to have healthcare that won’t bankrupt me).

I love my wife and daughters. I want to be there for their milestones, their good days, bad days, and really, every day. I still manage to do most of the shopping and cooking, and I enjoy feeding them delicious meals. But I have no desires left for myself beyond not being a burden to them. That’s my goal: improve their lives however I can. But I can't bear to tell them the truth.

Slowly over the last few years, I’ve just shed and discarded any wants or ambitions for myself. I can’t bring myself to read books. I can’t even watch movies or TV shows that are new to me in many cases. I recognize a desire to watch them, but I usually can’t bring myself to do it. I’ll have to pay attention, and that’s just so hard. The willpower to really focus on something is less easily found these days. So, I most often wind up rewatching things I’ve already seen. Or listening to the same bands and same songs I’ve listened to for years. I occasionally treat myself to something new; in the evenings, my wife and I usually watch something new together. I save my focus for then, so I can enjoy that time with her.

The rest of the day, I just exist. It would be heartbreaking if she knew I felt this way. If there were a solution, I’d take it. But everything that can be done has been done. My condition is degenerative, so it’s just going to get worse. But I still have time, and I intend to use that time to make sure I’m a net positive to the household and not just a drain. It’s bad enough I haven’t been able to bring in a paycheck for years, but there are still ways I can help, and I do.

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36. Someone Needs To Give This Family A Good Talking To…

Everyone in my family is nagging me about the fact that I don’t want to date girls anymore, and they think I’m strange or gay. They don't know what happened, and I'll never tell them. I assume I could’ve had a good life with my girlfriend, but she's gone. She took her own life, and I never talk about that with them. If you knew my parents, you'd understand.

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37. Faking A Smile

It’s been six months since my little sister took her own life, and everything I see and everyone I talk to reminds me of her. I can’t seem to finish my day without crying for at least a few minutes, or at most, for hours. I feel guilty for living while she is lying under the dirt. I hate every Sunday and the 29th of every month. I pretend like I’m okay and laugh like I’m used to it.

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38. Mixed Feelings

I’m living with my mom right now because she’s going through cancer, but to be honest, I can’t wait to see her go. It sounds horrible, but I’d rather see her go than see her suffer even more. It’s not like I would get anything out of her will; it’s more like it sucks because she’s always in pain, and seeing her like that brings me pain.

Get That Dark Secret Off Your ChestFlickr, Judy Baxter

39. Kissing Cousins

This first part isn’t exactly dark, but when I was a kid, around nine or so, my cousin, who was 12 at the time, would make out with me. I didn’t really know better at that age, but I thought I’d be in trouble if I talked about it. For whatever reason, about six years went by before I saw him again, and…it was never brought up. Never mentioned. He was, like, a totally different person. I sometimes wonder if it even happened. My memory isn’t very reliable, and it was so long ago (I’m in my 20s now).

Fast forward a little bit more, and I found out he passed a couple of years ago while cleaning a firearm. He accidentally shot himself. My great aunt, who’s his grandma and who basically raised him, wholeheartedly believes it was an accident. But I suspect it wasn’t. He grew up around them and knew how they worked and how to empty them and everything. I find the odds that he accidentally forgot to empty the chamber pretty low. I also know he was struggling with depression and brain damage from a car accident a year prior. But I won’t tell my aunt any of this. I think it would break her heart.

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40. Lion In Wait

I was the victim of a serial child predator. This person was a teacher—a woman—and no one believed me. This is an important detail as to WHY I did what I would later do. Several years ago, I saw her while I was shopping. At first, I was afraid; then I realized I was not 10 anymore. I was a 25-year-old adult male. I became...angry. I decided to do something. So, I stalked her for weeks. I saw she was still working as a teacher. I found her on social media and catfished my way into the “cougar” dating Facebook group she was in.

I learned she had victimized more kids since she had lost me as her “pet” (she called her victims her “teacher's pets”). After I was sure of everything and had gathered my information, I plastered her neighborhood with her private Facebook group posts about how much she loves the feeling of power as she pins “the little cubs” to the desk in her office. The flyers had her face, her address, her phone number, and a bunch of other stuff. This isn’t a dark secret, really, because if I get caught, so what? I outed a “loud and proud cub hunter”.

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41. Living A Lie

My dark secret is that I didn’t graduate from college. I failed one course during my senior year, in the second semester. The ceremony was already set up, so they let everyone walk. I had no diploma in my award. Nobody knows to this day, and it’s been 17 years. I failed one course; it was three credits. I was ashamed, so I never went back for those three credits. So everyone believes I graduated.

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42. They Probably Knew…

My uncle owned an old Camaro that collected dust in his garage. When I was around 10, my family and I were in town visiting, and I wrote an expletive starting with the letter “F” in the dust on the hood of the car. But I knew how to get away with it. I used my thumb so that the letters were fatter than my normal index finger. A few hours later, my aunt/uncle asked us who did it, and I “proved” it wasn’t me by showing how the person who did it had bigger fingers than me. I’m taking that stuff to my grave!

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43. Cutting The Cord

Cutting off my dad was the best decision I’ve made. I hope it eats him inside every day not to know how his only child and only grandchild are doing. I tried for years to have a relationship with him, from age 10 until 18. From 10 to 13, he would tell me he wished I would’ve passed when I was sick as a kindergartner because I wouldn’t have tattled and ruined his marriage to my mom. I tried multiple times but was unsuccessful. I still tried to have a relationship with him for my mom, to help her financially, and would visit him for months. He’d keep me locked in a closet for hours at age 14. From 16–18, he thought throwing money around would help me, but I was already working by then, and it didn’t matter. I still have my daily battle where I ask myself if he’s right or not, but I see my kid, and I can’t imagine thinking such vile things about them at that age as my dad did about me.

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44. A Real Boozy Doozy

I was drinking with my ex in her room when I was 19 years old. She was 23. All of a sudden, I started seeing images of my uncle (who passed when I was 13) in my grandmother’s bathroom. He was motioning me into the shower and telling me to touch his privates. I felt like I was five years old seeing that. Luckily, my ex was really great, and she realized I was having a full-on anxiety attack during that moment. I was holding my knees, rocking back and forth, with my eyes closed. She asked me what was happening, and I was able to dictate what I was seeing. I was probably in the best place for this to have happened. I still don’t know what that was all about. I don’t know if it was real or something my brain made up in an inebriated state. It’s almost been 10 years since.

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45. Eight Hours Later…

I worked on SpongeBob SquarePants: The Yellow Avenger, and I know for a fact that the game cannot be 100% completed on the DS version (99% max). It’s not my fault, but I hate that it shipped like that and feel sorry for anyone who’s seriously tried.

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46. Mind Over Matter

I suffered from HORRIFIC intrusive thoughts due to OCD, and for 28 years, I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that I might end up being a predator/murderer/psycho (even though all of the thoughts made me physically sick). I was genuinely scared to babysit my two-year-old nephew alone because what if I accidentally threw him down the stairs? I finally opened up to my therapist, and she helped me work through it all. I’m not triggered anymore, and I can finally live peacefully.

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47. Keeping Hope Alive

During a manic episode, I was filled with so much rage and sorrow that I let a homeless man take me into a ditch behind a church in hopes that he would take my life. He didn’t. He just snorted some substance, showed me pictures of his girlfriends and made pleasant conversation. I guess he was just lonely.

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48. Good Grief

I felt relieved when my dad took his own life. While he had a lot of mental health issues, he was also not a very nice person and put my family and me through a lot of pain for many years. I have countless stories of the messed up things he said and did. I now have conflicting feelings where I am sad that someone suffered so much pain and inflicted so much pain on others, but I’m also relieved that it is over, and I don’t honestly miss him at all.

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49. In Sickness And In Health

I’m in a bad place right now. My partner is sick with brain damage after a sudden illness. Most days, he is his old self, but some days he is a stranger to me. He’s angry and confused; he doesn’t know me and gets into a rage, and I have to calm him. I have to remind him of the 13 years we’ve shared together. I’ve had to break his heart and remind him that his dad is gone. It’s worse because he seems totally fine to people on the outside, just a bit quieter than usual. I can't let any of them know what I'm going through.

They don’t see him when he’s confused or wondering who I am. It’s hard, and I’m burning out between work, studying, caring for him, and my volunteer work, and now we have to freaking move house, and as he has mobility issues, so most of it will be left to me. He’ll be upset and confused at the change. I will not leave him; I adore him. But it’s made me realize that the life we had planned is not going to happen. We were planning a baby, and we still want one, but I’ve had to accept that it likely won’t happen as he has mobility and memory issues. He cannot work, so how can I go to work and leave him with a baby, or a toddler, when I come home, and the oven is burning because he forgot he turned it on?

He is so excited talking about this baby we are meant to have in a few years’ time. We had names picked. I cannot bring myself to tell him that I don’t think it’ll happen. I desperately want his baby, but I’ve had to cut myself off from excitement about it because how can I tell him that his illness is the reason why we shouldn’t have one? It’s so hard because we both talk about it, we get excited, he says beautiful things about us having a baby together, and then it hits me again that it’ll probably never happen. I’m angry. I’m heartbroken. I’m sad.

We’re not bad people. We try and help when we can, we keep to ourselves, we don’t cause trouble, and we’ve had such a horrible run of luck lately. This is the nail in the coffin for me, and I CANNOT take much more of this. I’ve never felt such hatred for a god, deity, or whatever cosmic force there may be, but I wake up from what little sleep I get, every day, begging whatever the heck is out there to leave us alone. I want my old life back. I want my old partner back. I want our future back. I’m so freaking angry because people keep telling me to be grateful he isn’t worse. I AM grateful. My god, I was told if he lived, he’d be in a wheelchair, and he defied the odds.

But just because he’s doing okay doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to FEEL! I’m freaking ANGRY! And I’m sick of people dismissing my feelings about what happened because they say it didn’t happen to me. It happened to US. He doesn’t remember a dang thing about that night. I remember EVERYTHING! I remember him seizing in bed, and I remember calling the authorities. I remember him seizing again and again, and I remember doing compressions on him. I remember him terrified, saying my name before he seized again, into unconsciousness for 26 hours. He doesn’t have epilepsy. He’s never had any health issues bar a broken foot. It was so random and so out of the blue. I’m sick of whatever is throwing all of this at us, and I know how horrible I sound because there are people in worse situations, but I’m just freaking done. Whatever is out there, whatever I’ve done to have this fall back on us, just leave him alone. He’s a good, kind, sweet man; he doesn’t deserve any of this. Just please stop because I actually can’t take any more.

Get That Dark Secret Off Your ChestFreepik, wayhomestudio

50. Don’t Give Up The Ghost

This is a funny, light-hearted story from my childhood. My little brother was in the shower; I could hear him singing. I put a coat on backward, pulled a stocking cap over my face, and waited outside the bathroom door. He opened the door (still singing and dancing, kinda), and I did the Frankenstein thing: arms out, moaning, “Uhhhh”. He screamed and fell backward, knocking the toilet completely over. Mayhem ensued. The water went everywhere, the top of the toilet tank broke, and the shower curtain ripped down, with him lying on the floor in the middle of all this. I ran back down the hall, took my coat and hat off, and then casually sauntered back. By then, my mother and father and our sisters were there, and everyone was like, you know, what the heck? I’ve heard him tell this story as proof of the existence of ghosts. To this day (little feller is now a 52-year-old bank manager with two kids), he believes in ghosts. I don’t feel a bit bad.

Get That Dark Secret Off Your ChestFreepik,freepik

51. Family Matters

My brother and I did a 23andMe. We discovered we have a half-sibling with the same father, who is older than us. I messaged them but got no reply. Since the half-sibling is older, it was during my father’s army career (which was short-lived because he got a dishonorable discharge that he still hides from his family).

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52. Playing With Fire

When I was seven, I was home alone. I called 9-1-1 due to a house fire that consumed half the house, and they found me outside. My mother (who was at work, I was a latchkey kid) was told by the fire department that it was an electrical fire. Only I knew what had really happened. In truth, I had a lighter and was fascinated by fire. I was burning the little tassels at the end of the blanket on my bed and putting them out before it caught the whole blanket on fire... At least, until I wasn’t able to, and the whole bed caught fire. An electrical outlet shorted out from the heat, causing the firemen to think that was the cause. I’m 40 now. My mother still doesn’t know the truth, and I still remember it all vividly, complete with the heat on my face as I tried in vain to put out the bed.

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53. Feeling In Over Your Head

My adopted sister knows her birth mother passed in a freak accident. She doesn’t know the cause of her passing was a beheading. I worked with a guy who was a first responder to the accident.

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Sources: ,

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