There's nothing more disturbing than finding out you've been lied to. But even worse? Finding out that your closest family members have been sitting on dark secrets for years. These Redditors have been through it all—their stories ranging from light-hearted revelations to the demented confessions of bloody murder. No matter the case, they've uncovered the truth and are ready to spill it all.
1. Rebel Without A Cause
My grandma didn't drive. I thought she couldn't, but it was just never discussed. One day when I was maybe seven or eight, I'd been trying to get someone, anyone, to drive me to the store for candy. We were visiting my aunt and uncle, and my grandma lived with them. They had Bit-O-Honey at the local store, which I could no longer get at home, but no one would take me to the store.
Finally, I said I'd just ask grandma, and my cousin chimes in with, "Grandma can't drive." She had an immediate comeback. "Oh, you bet your sweet behind I can drive. They just don't let me!" Grandma had overheard and she was very offended. But that's all that was said about it at the time and my aunt finally took me to the store, so I forgot about it…until much later.
Years later, when I'd just gotten my license, I asked my mom what was up with grandma not driving. The whole story came out. She explained that during prohibition, grandma boot-legged moonshine, and she was very successful at it. She was so successful at it, in fact, that when the moonshiners were finally busted, even though the revenuers never caught my grandma, her license was suspended by the state "to never be reissued."
Later in life, she was told she could petition for it back but it came with an admission of guilt or some such. She told 'em to get lost.
2. Horror Exposed
My uncle used to come over and visit us when me and my sibling were little. But every time, a few minutes before he arrived, my mom sat me down and told me not to be alone with my uncle. She also said that if he made me feel uncomfortable, I had to let her know. I found out last year that when my mom was nine, my uncle had inappropriately touched my mom.
3. Romeo And Juliet
After my grandfather passed, we found out he had fathered a child when he was posted in Italy during WWII. But that’s just the beginning of the saga. He never knew, because his mother intercepted any letters from the Italian girl who was the mother. So my grandfather finally came home, met and married my grandmother, and had four children.
I forget who in the family found out and how. It's crazy to think we have a whole Italian family out there! My oldest aunt is 77 so this “kid” would be at least 79 by now I would think. We've considered doing the DNA testing, but some family members aren't comfortable with how those companies could use the information.
It's a really sad story, but if his mother hadn't intercepted the letters, I wouldn't exist. It's a weird place to be in emotionally!
4. Decking The Halls
Not very much a secret, but took me until I was older to understand what was happening. My mom would sometimes have us play a game called “soldiers,” which consisted of me, my mom, and my siblings crawling around our apartment as if we were hiding in trenches. It was kind of a hide-and-seek style game. She would yell “hit the deck!” randomly, and we would all drop and find a hiding spot.
We would giggle and giggle while my mom crawled around on the ground, looking for us. We loved the game so much. I realized a few years ago while retelling the story that there was a chilling secret behind the game we were playing. In reality, it was not a game at all—we lived in a really terrible neighborhood, and she would yell it out whenever she heard shots being fired outside the building. I’m assuming she was worried about stray bullets.
When I realized what had been going on, I shared my appreciation with my mom, and she shed a tear. She feels very appreciated!
5. Secret Sauce
My grandmother recently passed. She was famous in our town for her amazing cooking and catering, in particular her turkey dinners. Notably, her gravy was absolutely amazing. So delicious. She had a heart attack several years ago and the harrowing experience convinced her to share some of her secret recipes with me, all except for her gravy recipe.
When she passed this spring, I was going through her pantry—that when I made my shocking discovery. I found an entire bucket of KFC gravy mix. She was literally using KFC gravy mix as a base to make her incredible gravy. Huge scandal, ha!
6. Resemblance Made Clear
My late mother looked nothing like her parents and exactly like my dad's uncle (my grandfather’s older brother). She even has the same heterochromia that he had (one blue eye, one brown eye). And she was conceived while her mother’s husband was in Korea. When she was born, he hadn’t been home in over a year. So yeah, you do the math.
And that's not all. My grandmother became well known to the local authorities and the other side of my family for absolutely all the wrong reasons. Her roommates and friends were sex workers and she was likely one, too. My mum and my dad dated, had three kids, had an okay marriage until my dad started drinking and became aggressive. Finally, they called time on their marriage and divorced. That's when my grandma dropped a bombshell.
After the divorce, my grandmother admitted that they shouldn’t have been allowed to date, marry, or have children because they were first cousins. My great uncle was her father. All the adults knew and hid it because to them the idea that either family was appearing as less than perfect on the outside was unforgivable. After all, what people would think of them? Each side blamed the other for my cerebral palsy.
7. Getting His Due
My grandpa is a pedo with a horrific track record in my family. That's why, when I was a kid, I was never allowed to be left alone with him. Unfortunately, he managed to corner my cousins, and the expected happened. Then the unexpected happened. After 40-some years of his heinous actions, he finally got reported and is now rotting behind bars.
8. Close Call
My father got a girl pregnant and she decided to go it alone, so she moved across the state and had my half-sister. She met a guy, married, and he raised her like she was his own. They had no other children, and she didn't reveal my dad's identity until after he passed. Apparently, the woman had contacted my grandma and mom, but they kept it from us. Instead, it came out in the worst way.
Years later, my half-sister had a kid with medical issues and needed to know family medical history. She contacts mom and grandma, who again don't tell us. Meanwhile, after dad passed, my uncle had prints made of a favorite picture of dad. He gets them framed and gives them to all us kids, as well as my grandma, aunts, and uncles. Mom gets a picture to our half-sister after their secret meeting. Fast forward another few years.
My brother and his roommate live in a nearby large city, hit a bar, and pick up and bring home some ladies to "sleep over." The next morning, my half-sister sees a photo on the mantle and turns white. She asks, "Whose picture is that?" "Oh, that's my roommate's dad. He died a long time ago." "I need to talk to your roommate." She lived her entire life across the state.
Hundreds of miles. Her friend was going to school in a large city near our hometown. She was visiting, and they decided to go to the bar. They get picked up by my brother and his roommate. That's how we found out. My brother went to my grandma and asked about her, and grandma first denied it, then gave in and spilled the beans. Small world. And thank GOD she slept with the roommate and not him.
9. No Regrets
When my sister was diagnosed with cancer and her survival chances were low, it inevitably came out that she wasn’t my sister. My parents must have felt we should all know the truth just in case. But then there was a big twist. She survived her treatment. Obviously, we had to deal with the fallout a bit differently than we expected, but we were so happy she was okay and she is and will always be my sister.
10. Family Gatherings
Something felt strange about my grandfather’s funeral, just the way they were emphasizing his place in heaven. I later found out that he shot himself in the heart with a 357. The same side of the family also had seemingly random people show up at family gatherings throughout my life that ended up being illegitimate children of my grandma. I just started gaining uncles and cousins. It all confused me as a child.
11. As Luck Would Have It
After my mom passed, I found out the real story behind my parent's marriage. She came to my father's country to visit some of her relatives. She met my father, and after just one week she asked him to marry her so she could stay in the country. My father accepted because he had no one else and his parents were pressing him to get married already anyway.
But the highlight of the story is that over some time, the two of them fell in love with each other. Their love only grew over time and they were really happy together. My mother spent her last days very ill, and she would accept only my father by her bedside. He swears to this day that she was an angel sent from God to take care of him. I am shocked that they got married just like that, out of the blue, and ended up loving each other so, so, so deeply.
I can only hope to have as good and loving of a marriage as they had.
12. The Ex-Files
I found this out about two weeks ago. In my teenage years, my grandmother started dating a rough guy. For about four years, we didn't see her anymore unless we were picking her up from the hospital after he beat on her. Obviously, we were worried about her having this guy in her life. After a recent visit from my mom, I found out the whole truth, and it completely shocked me.
Apparently, my grandmother's boyfriend was a large-scale dealer who routinely, and without consequences, beat people in public. The authorities wouldn't pursue him, and people who knew who he was wouldn't press charges. My mother and her sisters went to county law enforcement. When they learned the man's name and looked up who he was, they literally gasped.
They were amazed that this individual was in their county, and said that they could not discuss him further without consequence. My dad worked for a major hotel and resort, and had the head of security (a retired secret service agent) make some calls. Two days later, an FBI agent showed up in the doorway of his office, flashed credentials, and asked why my dad was looking into this man.
After a brief explanation of the story, the agent told my dad "let it go," and left. The man was in my family's life from 1993-1997, when he passed from a heart attack. My grandmother also passed a few months later. We've speculated on everything from “mob boss” to "high value witness protection program participant." I'm 40 years old and I still have no answers on this VERY dark chunk of my family's history.
13. Parallel Families
A few years after my grandfather passed we found out that he had two families and although he was with my grandmother for over 60 years, he never married her or divorced his actual wife. He had five kids with his "wife", and six kids with my grandmother. Some of the kids overlap and the women knew about each other.
But none of that stopped him from abandoning the first five kids and their mother. The second family moved across the country and never returned to the original area. Near the end of his life, he kept saying he wasn’t going to heaven and his only request was not to tell anyone about his passing, no obituary, no notice in the paper, nothing.
14. Brotherly Love
My mother had a child when she was a teenager, and she had given him up for adoption to a family. After this, she went to college, got her degree, married my father, and gave birth to my four siblings and myself. ~30 years after giving her child up for adoption, I remember her getting a phone call and immediately locking herself in her room. I was about 12 at the time.
I remember feeling scared because I could hear my mom crying, but she didn’t want to see anybody or talk about why she was crying. On an evening later that week, my parents sat each of us kids down and told us about my mom’s past and explained that my half-brother had reached out to my mom, wanting to meet her and get to know her. My dad had known ever since he and mom were dating in college, and I believe my oldest sister had been told previous to this point.
But the rest of my siblings and I and all of the in-laws on my dad’s side didn’t know about this part of her past. We are fairly religious and conservative, so it was really shocking at first. My mom then flew out to the state where my half-brother lived and met him. Both my mom and my half-brother were very nervous about the whole thing, but by the end of their trip and meeting each other, they got to rebuild a relationship.
After a bit of time, my siblings and I got to meet him too. Fast-forwarding to now, he’s since moved to our same state and we see him much more frequently. He’s in all of our family pictures, we see him occasionally for holidays and birthdays, and we all see him as part of our family. We’re a very close-knit and extroverted family, while he is much shyer, so at times he can be a bit more distant than we would like, but we give him his space.
I know my mom stays in close touch with him, and we love it when he’s able to make it for family dinners and whatnot. Back then, I was the youngest and, up until then, the only boy in my family, so I loved learning that I had an older brother. Now that I’m an adult, I sometimes get his old clothes because we’re roughly the same size. He’s got good taste too so I really lucked out, ha.
I love that this family secret was spilled and that we were able to welcome my brother into our family and have him in our lives.
15. The Secret Tragedy
I was told my aunt and uncle succumbed to a carbon monoxide leak in their house. When I was 16, I was told the truth. My uncle was having serious money problems. He shot my aunt and then hung himself.
16. Bit Off More Than He Could Chew
As a young teenager, my grandma shot her horrific father in the back while he was sleeping. He had been mistreating her and all her siblings, and she ran away after being hidden by her brother for some time. Her father survived, though. Thankfully, my grandma never faced any consequences, but she was batty until the day she passed. My aunt told me all this at her funeral because I asked why grandma was the way she was.
17. Weird Uncle
When I learned my family secret, all of a sudden I knew why my uncle was so weird. He would always pick me up and carry me away rather than let me stay alone in a room with my grandfather. I never knew why and for the longest time I thought my uncle was a real prude until I eventually learned the agonizing truth. And I was shocked.
My male cousins could all swim in the buff or run around in just their swim trunks, but my uncle made me always wear a swimsuit and cover-up when I came out of the pool. He later admitted, "God forbid he touched you, I was making sure no one could try to blame you. They blamed all his other victims for being too tempting."
My uncle, bless his heart, wanted to end that man’s life so badly. For that matter so did my dad. Finding out my grandfather was a pedo made all of their mutterings to each other at family gatherings make so much more sense.
18. The Man In The Mirror
This happened around 2013—Instagram wasn’t totally new but it was still a much smaller platform and centered a lot around visual artists. Through Instagram, a friend of mine found a profile that was my gosh darn doppelganger. Like, this guy looked so much like me that I sent multiple photos of him to my mom and she was convinced it was me even after I told her it wasn’t.
Now, for the purpose of the story I’ll just say I am incredibly unique looking. Dark brown hair, fiery red beard, almost a full bodysuit of tattoos. Same for this guy. The brands of clothes I wore, even down to the gold and black Ray-Ban Clubmasters. I am a professional tattoo artist and he is a painter who owns an art gallery.
So, in keeping with how the internet worked back then, we said hey and joked about meeting and occasionally would call or FaceTime the other to prove a point. Then, I got an opportunity to travel to NYC for work. This guy lived in NYC as well, so we made plans to meet up! I bought plane tickets, made arrangements, and we even talked about how funny it would be to get a photo together.
Then we started talking about how funny it would be if we really were long lost brothers, and he goes: “That’s entirely possible! My dad was never in the picture. He was a traveling biker who just hooked up with my mom one night.” A chill ran through my body. This was REALLY weird because my dad was a tattoo artist and notorious biker who traveled in the area this guy lived when he was growing up.
I thought it was a long shot but I said, “Hey! Ask your mom if his name is James Jobin! Wouldn’t that be crazy if we are brothers?!” He laughed and agreed that would be funny, and said he’d ask his mom the next morning before I got into town. Then he blocked me on everything. Instagram, Facebook, text. Absolute radio silence.
I’ve made other accounts to check up on him and see how he’s doing, but I’ve never reached back out. The thought that I could really have a brother is bittersweet for me—I respect his right to have contact with me or not, but it does break my heart a little every time I think about him. Plus, I just don’t have a closure on what the truth really is.
19. You Think You Know Someone
My mother often had stories like: "At your age, we got up at 4 am to work on the farm. After the job, we went home to have lunch with your grandfather, then we walked 10 miles to go to school, and when we were back, we used to work in the field in a tractor until it was 6 pm to go and cook dinner for your grandfather." And I would be like, "Yeah but…he didn't work the farm with you in the morning?" and she would immediately change the subject.
I learned in Easter that my grandfather had a drinking problem, got sloshed every night, didn't get up in the morning to go to work, or was in fake jobs to lie to the family and go to drink, all while the children had to go to elementary school and manage a farm. But it gets worse. He eventually went behind bars because he attacked the neighbor's children.
When he got out, he took out a loan of $30,000 in my grandmother's name and ran away with the money. Then he passed a few years later. My grandmother bought herself a used Ford LTD, and no one cried at the funeral.
20. Fudging The Truth
Gonna lighten the mood with this one. I begged my grandpa for years to get his Christmas fudge recipe and he always told me it was a family secret he'd tell me when I was older. When he passed, I thought the secret passed with him. Years later my mom told me that grandpa's Christmas fudge was the recipe on the back of the marshmallow creme jar.
I laughed until I cried because that was just so like him! I am now the keeper of the secret family fudge recipe and have to make it every Christmas without spilling the beans to cousins, aunts, and uncles.
21. Always Be My Baby
When I was 28, I found out that my dad was not my biological father. This is how the news came out: My dad was battling depression and was suicidal, so I had just flown home to try to take care of him and rescue him from my mom's wrath. My mom had verbally and emotionally harmed him during their entire relationship. He loved her so much, and he tolerated it.
Well, during a solemn walk with my dad, as I tried to help him out, he made a heartbreaking confession. He confided that he's not my biological dad, and he went on to tell me he knew this all along, but my mom lied to him and tried to convince him that he was my biological father. He knew he wasn't, but he wanted to play the role. When I was 10 years old, my mom finally confessed this to him, and he was worried that upon hearing the news, officially, he'd somehow let this affect his relationship with me.
So, when I was 28 years old, during this walk with my dad, as he pours out this story to me, he frames it by telling me that his two most proud moments in his life are: (1) how I turned out and him raising me and (2) that the day he learned he wasn’t my bio dad, he had completely forgotten throughout the day and that it was only upon tucking me in that night that it briefly crossed his mind.
It was at that point that he knew nothing would ever come between us and our father-son relationship would be as awesome as ever. And then the other shoe dropped. He also confided to me that my mom used illicit substances while pregnant with me, and this broke his heart to witness firsthand. They were very poor, and my dad grew up in a foster home without parents.
My mom grew up with six siblings and ill-equipped parents. She dropped out of ninth grade, whereas all of her other siblings dropped out earlier—many of them are barely literate. I'm now in my mid-30s, and tragically, my dad did pass by suicide in mid-March 2020. I was out of the country at the time but immediately flew 30 hours and made it in time for his funeral. I do everything in his honor.
22. Tough But Tender
My grandfather was the typical tough, rugged mountain man. He never expressed emotion and rarely even spoke at family gatherings. He would just sit in the corner drinking. I never felt that he and I had a very good relationship, considering I was the weird, artsy kid in the family. We didn't have much to talk about because we couldn't relate to each other well.
He succumbed to lung cancer two years ago. A couple of months after I was visiting my parents and my mom pulled out a shoebox that belonged to him filled with sentimental photographs that he kept hidden in his closet. Nobody knew about it until after he had gone and they were cleaning his things out. Almost every single photograph was of me.
It broke my heart. I wish I would have been closer to him. He loved me a lot more than I thought he did.
23. Do The Math
This exchange was at my great-grandparents’ 60th-anniversary party at a hotel ballroom, with cousins and second and cousins who hadn’t seen each other in years. My mom and I were talking to my grandfather. Mom: “Wow. I haven’t seen Chuck, Fred, and a Claire in years.” Me: “No kidding. When do you think we’ll get a group this big back together?”
Mom: “Well, Grampa’s birthday is in six months. We’ll see some people then.” Me: “Six months? Isn’t it his 60th?” All: ... Gramps: “Huh. I never thought about that.” My grandfather was 60 years old when he realized his parents had a shotgun wedding.
24. Glass Half Empty
I'm my family’s big secret! I'm adopted and at some point, I managed to find my biological father. He begged me not to reach out to any of my half-siblings as it would "ruin his life and standing in the community." But that's not even the worst part. I'm actually not even his first secret child. I have an older half-sister that he also begged not to reach out to the family.
So that's two kids he's had because he cheated on his wife. I can only imagine how often he actually cheats on whoever woman he's with. My half-sister and I refer to 23andMe as "23andMark," because who knows how many more kids he might have out there. I'm pretty sure he's been terrified since at-home DNA kits became a thing.
When I tell this story, people usually ask me why I don’t tell his wife. I just tell them I don't need to. She already knew about my half-sister, and now me, because she answered his phone when I first called asking questions and promptly told me to leave her family the heck alone. Also, screw him for asking me to stay quiet.
But at the same time, I don’t plan to blow up his life or reach out to my half-siblings. In fact, it is largely because of my half-siblings that I haven't done anything. I did not sign up to be a wrecking ball or to destroy a family. Imagine finding out that everything you thought you knew about your dad was a lie in the worst way possible. I know I'd be devastated.
I may not have met them but they are still my half-siblings and I do care about them on some level. They are just as innocent in all this as I am, so I don't want to be the one to hurt them like that. I really hope that he will just realize one day that he can't keep a secret like this forever and that he will have to come clean to them himself.
Then there’s the question of why I don’t just mail his kids DNA testing kits anonymously. Realistically, it's only a matter of time before one of them gets curious and does it on their own or gets gifted one from an unwitting family member or friend. Believe it or not, some people even ask me why I don't just blackmail or demand money from the guy.
He's a terrible person, so he should pay for what he did, right? The answer to that is pretty simple. That's just not the kind of person I am. I don't want his money, and I never have. I go to bed every night with a clear conscience, which is more than I can say for him. And that's worth a lot more to me than anything that money could possibly buy in my opinion.
I have a roof over my head, a husband who loves me, a beautiful daughter, a great dad, and two new half-siblings that I adore from a distance. From my perspective, I'm already rich.
25. Secret’s Out
My uncle served in Vietnam. While over there, his troop found a baby that had been orphaned or abandoned, they aren't sure. My uncle was shipping back to Australia soon and wanted to adopt him, but my aunt said no. They'd only been married about four months when he was drafted, so while I don't agree with my aunt's actions and generally don't like her as a person, I can understand why she said no.
My uncle's troop found a family to raise the baby, and that's the story the whole family knows. But there’s a secret. The secret is that my uncle and some other guys from his troop stayed in contact with the family and the kid, sending them money every month to help raise him and then to help him go to university and eventually helped him and his adoptive family move to Australia in the late 90s.
My aunt and the rest of my family had no idea all this time, it only came out when my aunt and uncle divorced in 2017 and she had a forensic accountant go through their bank records. She worked at a bank for like 40 years and always noticed the money missing, but his reasons were always justified. Since we all know now, my uncle has introduced some of us to the guy and his family. They're all really lovely people.
26. Why Holidays Are Weird
My grandma and grandpa have been separated since we were all young kids, but they kept up this charade of a marriage. My grandpa would always fall asleep on the couch before we went to bed on holidays and when we’d wake up in the morning, he was “out getting coffee.” We never thought anything of it because they were still always together.
However, looking back, I don’t remember them ever being in the same room or ever really interacting beyond the age of about five. They’re super Catholic and obviously don’t believe in divorce, yet they both have moved on and gotten new significant others, who are now pushing them for marriage. Holidays are very weird nowadays.
28. The Truth Will Out
I see a lot of stories about people finding out that who they thought were their parents weren’t the people raising them, and this one is a little bit different. My dad always thought his father who raised him wasn’t his biological dad, and the father thought the same. He was treated terribly by his father because the father was told he couldn’t have children and my father was born prematurely but at a healthy weight.
So, everyone assumed my grandmother had an affair and got pregnant with my dad. It was to the point that after my grandmother passed, my grandfather failed to even mention to his new wife that he had a son and grandchild—i.e. me. Well, years later, my dad gets an AncestryDNA test for him and me. He finds out that his dad was actually his biological dad. It was shocking and sad.
29. A Real Hero
My dad was born in rural Texas in 1915. He was the youngest of 10 kids, all a year apart, so his oldest sibling, Henry, was about 11 years older than him. My dad’s father passed in an accident not long after he was born, so Henry became the “man of the house” at about age 11. When my dad was about nine years old, in 1924, disaster struck.
A gang of men came through their small town, kidnapping children to work picking cotton about 400 miles away. Apparently this was not an unusual occurrence at the time. My dad and two of his siblings were taken. Henry, who was now 18, came home from working on a cattle drive about a week later, and found his mother in pieces about the kidnapping of three of her children.
Being the man of the house, Henry strapped on his father’s six revolvers—dual holsters, one on each hip—and set out to get his three siblings back. He gathered clues about the gang from other townsfolk who also had children who were taken. He headed east to where he was pretty certain the kids were taken, riding in empty train boxcars and even on the roofs of moving trains.
It took him several weeks, but through talking to locals along the way who heard rumors of child abductions, he finally narrowed it down to a few cotton farms where he thought the kids were. My dad had tears in his eyes when he told me this part of the story. He and two of his brothers, along with about a dozen other kidnapped kids, had been held captive on this cotton ranch for over two months.
They had given up ever seeing home or the rest of their family again. They were kept locked in a barn, fed scraps, and forced to pick cotton in the hot Texas sun. They were beaten if they cried or refused to work. One day, working in the fields, they heard a miraculous sound. It was Henry’s voice calling their names. They looked up and saw my uncle Henry walking towards them.
They started running toward him when one of their captors rode up on a horse and started yelling. Henry pulled one of his revolvers and shot the man. My dad wasn’t even sure if the man had a weapon, and it didn’t matter. The shot drew a couple more of the rancher/captors over, and Henry shot them both as well. My dad ran up and hugged my uncle, and he told them “let’s go home.”
My dad tells me they rode on and in train boxcars all the way back west to their little Texas town, along with a couple other kids who were taken from the town. When they got back to their small farm, my dad said his mom fainted when she saw them. He said Henry put the revolvers away, and never touched them again. Not ever.
There was no law enforcement, no investigation about what had happened, no mention in town that my uncle had taken the lives of three men to get his siblings back. It was basically still the “Wild West” in Texas in the 1920s. The boys eventually all served and survived WWII. My dad didn’t tell me this story until after Henry had passed.
I had always known my uncle Henry as a sweet, soft-spoken, diminutive (he was about five foot four, and maybe 100 pounds) man who went on to own a printing shop. I would never have imagined him capable of the feats of heroics he performed, at age 18, to bring his family back together. Obviously, I'm so grateful he found it in himself.
30. Guess Who
I grew up in a Mexican family and have two younger cousins. My aunt married another Latino guy who basically looked white. The oldest child was a girl and came out looking exactly like her dad, full stop. The second was a boy and came out looking like....his mom? Maybe? He was dark dark. Like, I’m half-Black and this kid is darker than me.
But his mom was pretty brown as well, so we thought nothing of it. The kid looks like his mom, no big deal. Well, fast-forward 16 years later. They’re divorced and hate each other now. The daughter was always treated like a princess. The boy was rather spoiled too, but very much sought out his dad’s approval, which he just wasn’t getting.
He couldn’t figure out why. He’s acting out, getting in trouble, running with gangs. Boohoos about his dad all the time. Well, “dad” had enough and flat-out told him, “You’re not my kid. You’re mom cheated, and I don’t know who your dad is.” He even was kind enough to offer up a paternity test. His mother never said anything about it.
She took the ostrich approach and hoped it would go away. We know now his dad was a Pacific Islander, and while there IS one guy who has always been a family friend for many years, he took a paternity test too and was completely cleared. So the mystery remains on whom she cheated on her ex with. She says she doesn’t even know or remember now.
31. More Than Roomies
My great aunt had a "roommate." I figured out they were lesbians and mentioned it one day when my mom said something about me being the only gay person in the family. She and my dad both looked at each other in bewilderment as all of the pieces fell into place. These women have lived so happily together for 40 years and you never realized they were the loves of each other's lives?
They had both passed shortly before then so there was no way to confirm, but I'd spent enough time around two of the most loving women I'd ever known to recognize they weren't just roommates.
32. A No-Win Game
After my mom’s passing from an apparent suicide, my grandfather revealed that when she was in her teens, she accused him of molesting her right around the time he started cheating on his wife, her mother. It led to them not speaking for years until they reconciled and she allowed him to meet me and my brother. We always knew they had a falling out but didn’t know why. Only that’s not the end of the story.
Anyways, a few months after telling me, my grandpa drove a tractor out into the woods on his property and shot himself. He’d suffered a stroke a few years prior that left him mostly paralyzed on one side and he really struggled with it. At that point, I came to realize that either my grandfather truly did mistreat my mother and was never really brought to justice for it, or my mom was a liar to spite him.
And honestly, both are legitimate possibilities and I’ll never know what’s true...
33. Actions Speak Louder
My great grandfather used to be a quiet tough guy who never spoke, never complained and worked his fingers to the bone. He was very critical of my grandma when she had a third child (my mom) because he believed it was a waste of money to have so many children. He was so frugal he didn't even have a car (important detail, so keep it in mind).
Fast forward a few years and my mum is crazy about her grandpa. She kisses him all the time (despite him not kissing her back), she goes everywhere he goes, she worships the ground her grandpa walks on. Everyone in the family assumed the old man was just putting up with it, and that he would rather be left alone.
Everyone in the family would tell her to stop. However, nothing was as it seemed. One day, my mum was on holiday at a relative's house about 25 miles away from her home. I guess she got homesick and started missing her grandad. She wrote to her mom and told her about it, then her mom must have told my great grandpa. He walked 25 miles, there and back, just to see her.
34. The Hard Hand Of Justice
Uncle-in-law passed in a tragic way…but he fully deserved it. It came out he was mistreating his children (he had been on the run) and his youngest son found him with his sisters. The ensuing beat-down resulted in the uncle getting a stroke and being bedridden until he passed. My aunt (his wife) basically left him to perish after that, too.
My cousin, the one who did the beating, was also the one who found his body. He delivered the news a day after, completely sloshed out of his mind. The uncle’s parents and siblings refused to give him a proper funeral, which is a big “screw you” in our culture, and instead buried him without a headstone. Again, I can’t say he didn’t deserve it.
35. Your Past Comes Back To Haunt You
My great-grandfather didn't go from cancer. He passed from complications after being shot when one of his businesses was being robbed. Maybe. See, he also spent a lot of time in Atlantic City. He also had a lot of partners in the Teamsters and other unions in coal country. Also, everyone called him "Smiling Tony,” but his name wasn't Tony.
He passed in the 60s, long before my time, but when my great-grandmother passed 20 years ago, a very old guy showed up to the funeral in a white suit, and all of the oldest people in my family kissed his hand. When I asked, no one knew who he was. My grandfather moved his family away from central Pennsylvania in the late 60s and disconnected from all of this but…there it is.
36. Fiscal Responsibility
When I was young, I thought it was really nice that my nanna lived with my aunt and her family since she was getting on a bit and it meant she was always being looked after. My aunt has six kids, so the house was never a lonely place. Occasionally, my aunt would gripe about being the one looking after nanna, since she is also one of many kids and her siblings didn’t really help out.
Being young, I sympathized, but given that they all spent loads of time with nanna too, I didn't think it was a big deal. You don't think about financial responsibility when you're young, I think. Well, it turns out there was a lot more to the story than I had ever realized when I was a kid...and let’s just say the truth wasn’t pretty.
Turns out, the real reason why my nanna lived with my aunt is that my aunt and her husband convinced her to put the house in their name so they could "look after her affairs." They then sold it out from under her and invested the money in a pyramid scheme, so it's all gone now. Because of this, her siblings refuse to give my aunt a penny towards looking after my nanna, since it's her own fault that our nanna has no money or assets.
Instead, the other siblings pay to take my nanna out all the time, including for meals, shopping, and activities. But they let my aunt struggle under the weight of my nanna's general living expenses. My aunt’s kids are all independent now, so they are not going to be impacted by money problems.
Now, I look back at her griping with annoyance and realize what a terrible person she is.
38. You’re Not Welcome Here
My father passed when I was 17. At the funeral home during a viewing, a young lady and her boyfriend showed up. She was probably two or three years older than me. Nobody recognized her so she was asked why she was there. Her answer shocked the room. She stated she was there to see her father. My siblings and I are naturally confused, and our mom is just standing there shaking her head.
My uncles ask her to leave, and she leaves crying in her boyfriend's arms. Our mother then takes us to a private area and explains that our father had an affair years ago and that was our half-sister. I never heard any more about her, never learned her name, and have never met her. I would like to meet her and apologize for my family. Seeing her rejected and crying because she couldn't even attend a viewing for her father bothers me to this day, and this was over 40 years ago.
39. Nice Guys Finish Last
A cousin in my family had been secretly stalking and harassing another cousin for like three years, to a really bad degree. He eventually admitted it, however, he didn't face any consequences. He never gave any good reason for it at all and didn't even know the other cousin very well, he just randomly decided to start doing it. A lot of family members were in denial over it because he seemed like a nice guy.
40. Sibling Rivalry
My uncle tells the story that when he was a kid, his older brother wanted him to go out hunting with him in the woods near their house. They woke up really early and started walking much deeper into the woods than they usually did, and way off the normal trails they used. Then my uncle realized his brother was letting him get further and further ahead.
He stopped and turned around—and witnessed a horrific sight. He saw his brother starting to bring the shotgun up in his direction. He asked him what the heck was he doing, and his brother said, "Oh, I thought I saw something." My uncle decided to go back at that point. Later that week, he went back and found a pit that someone had dug a bit further off the trail.
He never went anywhere with his brother alone again. Both of them are my mother’s brothers, and the wannabe Cain was a narcissist of the "not letting a silly thing like being married get in the way of his dating life" variety. He actually decided he had big dreams and bailed on his family when I was a kid, then proceeded to fatally overdose.
I usually don't think of him as my uncle because I didn't have a real relationship with him. I’m not sure why he didn't shoot my uncle—sometimes I think he might have wanted it to look more like an accident, or didn't want to look his brother in the eye. I obviously can’t prove the story, but the way that my other uncle described it, he was really afraid of his brother and thought he was capable of fratricide.
41. Something’s Fishy
I was out of the state visiting my aunt and my grandma when my fish kicked the bucket. When my mom saw the fish floating on top of the water, he called my dad who happened to be in the next largest city (also a 2-hour plane ride away from home) and told him to buy another fish that looked similar to the one I already had. She also asked our neighbor to tell me about how fish can moult their scales as birds do with their feathers.
It worked perfectly and I had no idea that they'd swapped the fish. I thought I had a world record going with my fish’s lifespan. The fish were named Shiny.
42. Law And Order
This is years ago, and I only got a few rough details, but my father-in-law wound up getting caught in a sting…trying to purchase a teenage girl. This whole thing went very, very deep. Like, he had a separate apartment all set up, transferred the funds, and when he went to the "delivery" meet, the feds scooped him right up. H’s definitely the Black Sheep of the family now.
43. A Voice Is Heard
I didn’t know my uncle’s roommate was his romantic partner until I was a teenager, years after he passed. I also didn’t know the cause was AIDS and that he had been a major activist: going to Washington DC and pouring ashes of his friends out on the White House lawn to shame Congress into funding research.
My older family members are Catholic and my grandmother thought AIDS was his punishment for being gay. His partner never contracted it and he’s one of my closest uncles to this day, even though he’s not related to me, and it’s been 20 years. He has never missed a single major achievement day of my life.
44. My Brother’s Keeper
Dad and his brother hate each other. That was no secret. The secret was why. It all came to a head when my grandfather (my dad’s father) was on his deathbed. He needed a kidney. Dad was a match and didn’t donate. Once grandpa passed, things kicked off for real. I always thought it was due to my dad not giving the kidney. It was so much more.
My dad drinks a lot. It would affect him greatly to give up a kidney. There were many accusations about his drinking and being selfish. After the funeral, we were asked to come to take a lot of his belongings and his brother showed up and made a big scene. However, last year it all became 100% clear. That's when the true nature of their antagonisms was revealed.
My uncle likes to play the victim. My uncle has been married six times. He lied to his wife about how many marriages he had. He is a serial cheater. During my grandfather’s numerous hospital stays my uncle would travel to “be with his dad” but in reality, he was out sleeping with everything that moved, namely a nurse looking after my grandfather.
At that time, he was married to wife number six (she thinks she is the third) and has his first child who is now about 10. My uncle had always been this guy, but it blew up when my dad was hanging out with my uncle and my uncle’s business partner. Dad drank too much and laid all his brother’s dirty laundry out to the business partner. All of it, every detail.
The business partner jokingly made comments about it in proximity to my uncle’s current wife. This caused tension, a tension that eventually had the business partners separate. Uncle went nuclear on dad about it. Dad told him 1) if he was that upset about it why does he keep doing it and 2) back off unless he wants him to lay all this out to the current wife.
So all this time, all this hate was due to my uncle trying to keep his secret while masking it and blaming my dad for being an alcoholic and not saving his dad's life.
45. Your Secret Is Safe With Me
My mom’s side of the family are farmers. One particularly dry summer we were playing around with fireworks in a pasture and accidentally lit it on fire. Luckily there was an industrial hose attached to the well nearby, and we were able to turn it on and douse the flames before it got out of control. We didn’t tell anyone until 10 years later, when it came out to my parents and my aunt and uncle.
My uncle, who farmed the land, burst out laughing and told us that it must’ve been not long after that that he was at that property and obviously noticed the burned grass and askew hose. He put two and two together, but didn’t say anything because he figured kids were being kids, and we probably learned our lesson. I think we definitely did.
46. Enough Is Enough
This happened in the 60s or 70s. One of my mom's second or third cousins fatally shot his father. The father was a raging jerk and mistreated his wife and the son, especially when he was drinking. Well, the father came home after the bar one night, started hurting the mom, and son had had enough and shot him. The guy spent a few years behind bars, but I think he lives a fairly normal life now.
47. Speaking Terms
My grandparents didn't talk to each other for 20 years before my grandfather finally kicked the bucket. They lived in the same house the entire time. To this day, no one knows why they weren't on speaking terms.
48. Loose Lips
My parents had a nasty divorce, which was often accompanied by a lot of trash talking about each other. There was a lot of “well your mother blah blah blah” and “your dad is such and such,” most of which I would just ignore because it was incredibly immature and embarrassing, until one day my mom broke out an enormous revelation.
My siblings and I were just watching TV in the living room one day and the conversation moved to my dad coming to town to visit, and my mom overheard. The mere mention of dad prompted this woman to stop whatever she was doing, come into the living room, and say something along the lines of: “Talking about your dad again, huh? Did you know that he was molested?”
My dad had never mentioned anything about this in the 18 years that I lived with him, which is understandable. To this day, I have no idea why my mom felt the need to blurt that out to the three of us, or why it is she thought that being a victim was a stain on someone’s character, but it was a really weird way to find out something so deeply personal about my dad.
Just to ease my conscience, my mom was actually a great mom. She practically raised us on her own, and the divorce wasn’t her fault in the slightest. She got hit with the passing of both of her parents and a divorce all within a two-year time span, on top of losing the house. This was completely out of character for her, which is part of why it caught all of us off guard.
She’s a good woman who said something awful that she now regrets, but it's out there now.
49. I Want It Now
I learned that my cousin called CPS on her parents because her mom was upset that she was out for two days without picking up her phone or calling and texting. She told CPS that her parents physically harmed her. Her dad was put behind bars for some time, her mom sat with the authorities for hours, her little brother ended up traumatized, and our grandparents became sick with worry.
Then two years later, she admitted that she lied because she wanted to get out of the house and get all the money that was in the account in her name but didn't want to wait until she was 18. This witch was 17 years and eight months old.
50. Follow The Party Line
I learned that my parents "had" to get married. They always told us they got married in 1961, but it was 1962, just three months before my sister was born. What's amusing is that my father was an accountant who was insanely fast with math. Whenever he was asked how many years they'd been married, he'd be off by one. My mother would correct him through clenched teeth and then my father would nod and agree.
51. It All Makes Sense Now
My mom was in the hospital, so I flew home. My dad and I were hanging out. He started telling me family secrets, almost like he was trying to get a reaction out of me. An uncle was victimized, an estranged aunt might have a different father than we thought, etc. The one that got me was when he revealed that he used to do coke.
I was imagining he meant like in his 20s. I asked, "When did you stop?" and he said, "I think you were about 19." “My entire childhood?” And he said, “Yup.” “Did mom know?” “Yes.” “How much?” “About a gram a week.” I was gobsmacked at first, but looking back, it made a ton of stuff make way more sense.
I grew up with my dad always having crazy mood swings and starting explosive fights. One minute he would be fine and then suddenly he would be raving about something. I knew he drank so I always blamed the instability in the house on that. But finding out he was regularly doing coke all my life was both astounding and it made complete sense.
52. Cousin Counting
I didn't know one of my cousins existed until I was about 10 years old. Turns out he was diagnosed with leukemia as a child and I was a very sensitive kid, so my family decided not to tell me until the treatment was successful and he recovered. It would have been okay if they told me as soon as he was healthy again, but I guess they forgot. The first time I met him, I thought I'd forgotten that a member of my family had even existed.
53. Cool Grandpa
When my paternal grandfather passed, bizarre things began to happen. First, the federal government reached out to do a state funeral. Now, he'd been a career army guy and a colonel, so we didn't question it at first. But then the funeral came and they went ALL OUT! A huge procession, people showing up who are really big names, like heads of departments, senators, retired senators, people from the CIA and the State Department.
It was nuts and we were all super confused. Turns out, he was a key dude in the OSI during WWII, and when the OSI splintered into the CIA and Secret Service, he went the Secret Service route. He wasn't on White House detail, but instead worked in a covert office that dealt with currency. He went blind when I was a toddler and retired from “the army.”
For whatever reason, he told no one about all his covert work with the OSI and Secret Service, and the only person who knew (my grandmother) was sworn to secrecy and never told anyone. My father grew up thinking he was just a colonel working on base. Only after his passing were we given all sorts of cool stuff like publications by him, lectures given by him, and all kinds of things from various things he did and was known for.
All I knew him as was a blind old man who was perpetually drinking and being a crotchety guy. Turns out he was a total boss and none of us knew.
54. Living The Unthinkable
I had no clue my father was a pedophile, even though I suffered a decade of victimization at his hands. He told me to keep it a secret, by him, and my family kept the secret from me because they had thoughts of him being better, or “reformed”. So, when I was 15, I realized it was wrong, and it all started to make sense. Who knew, as a child, you can’t trust your father?
55. Take A Look At Yourself
My mom was cheating on my dad with my now-stepfather. My parents divorced when I was really young (about one year old), so I don't remember anything about that. When I would ask as a curious kid why they split up, they both said that they just fell out of love. I already had a feeling that this was not true because through my grandma I knew the divorce was in 1996, but my mom and stepfather started dating in 1995.
On my 18th birthday, my stepfather confessed to me in private that they had an affair all that time ago and he still feels awful, because he feels like he broke up that family. I told him that it was okay, because everyone is happy now and I already kind of knew it. Some years later, though, more information came to light. My stepmother told me that my mom actually kicked out my dad without telling him why.
She said she just "needed a break"—remember she just had a newborn and my dad could barely see me at the beginning. My dad later found out through the landlord that my stepfather had moved in. Like, moved into the house my dad rented with his wife where his newborn daughter was now living with a stranger. To this day, I don't know how my dad managed to overcome this without starting a huge fight.
I never talked to my parents about it. Just once when my mom was having a rant about a neighbor who left her husband for another man, I told her that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I hope you know what that saying means—she definitely did.
56. An Accident Within An Accident
My grandfather took his youngest brother’s life to get out of going to Vietnam. He, his brother, and two of their friends had their numbers called in the draft for Vietnam. They didn’t want to go, obviously, but they didn’t come from money and they all worked to support their families. If they got taken behind bars for failing to serve, they’d lose their jobs and their families would lose their income.
So they decided on a different plan to get out of going. They would drive to get their medical checks together and, on the way there, they would crash the car into a tree. The plan was to get too injured to get sent to serve, but not so injured as to be permanently crippled. And it had to look like an accident so that nobody got in trouble.
This was in rural Western Australia, so they were all going to say they swerved to miss a kangaroo, then hit the tree in the process. My grandfather was driving with his friend in the passenger seat, and the other two were in the back. His brother was behind the passenger seat. They hit the tree doing about 40 kilometers per hour...more than enough to be serious.
A broken leg for my grandfather, a broken arm for the guy behind him, and broken ribs all around. They definitely weren’t going to fight. But there was a huge problem they didn't anticipate—they weren’t wearing seatbelts. Their plan seemed solid enough, except they didn't consider the risk of getting internal injuries or possibly dying from the feat.
Tragically, my grandfather's brother bled to his demise from a ruptured spleen in the back seat. He was gone before they could get him to a hospital. My grandfather never forgave himself for what he did, and he never talked about it. My grandma was the only one he ever told, as far as we know, and she didn’t tell my mother and me until long after his passing.
We found a small box in their bedroom when we were cleaning out the house after she passed last year. It had a clipping from the local newspaper at the time about the accident. It said that they had swerved to miss a roo, and the headline called it a tragedy. I don’t think my mother told any of her siblings, so technically this is still the family secret. I guess now you’re all in on it too.
57. Mother Knows Best
When I was five years old, Santa Claus left a Nintendo on our front porch. It was wrapped in newspaper, and my parents had no idea who gifted it to us. My dad in particular really tried to figure it out. He was always suspicious that it had been a family friend. It was by far the best gift of the year, and we played it all the time throughout our childhood.
My dad passed in 2004. Last Christmas, my mom explained that she was the one who had bought it and surreptitiously placed it on the porch. My dad really liked to be in control of things and had forbidden the purchase. She knew better. She didn't tell a soul for 30 years. Thanks, Mom.
58. A Legendary Grudge
It's my wife's family, but it goes like this: A great aunt was one of the family's only survivors of the Holocaust back in WWII. Other than her, there were her brother and sister, one of which grew up to be my wife's grandparent. I can't remember which, since I never met them. The siblings were much younger then, so, they didn't remember much.
Well, the great aunt ends up writing a book about her experience fleeing the country to escape the Third Reich. In it, she details the ends of several family members during a march through a blizzard. Real dramatic stuff. But soon enough, all her lies unraveled. After she passed, my wife's dad gets a letter from one of the “dead” relatives. It turns out the great aunt just simply didn’t like the two family members who “passed” in her book.
In reality, they had just parted ways at some point during the escape. She wrote them out of the family in her book and took the secret to her grave. Fortunately, their last name is very unique in the world because of how many of them didn't survive. So, once these relatives started searching the US, our family popped up right away.
This happened about three years ago, I think. Hungarian grudges are legendary.
59. Sibling Support
From my father's family line: my great grandfather took my great grandmother’s life with an axe while she was sleeping. My grandma, who was the oldest one, raised all of her siblings. She was 19 at the time and just married my grandad, who was 19 too. The youngest sister was just two years old, and there were nine of them in total.
I knew my grandma raised all her siblings but I always thought it was because her mother succumbed to some illness. I only found out what really happened when I asked my aunt. I still struggle to believe it. It's just so awful.
60. Friends In High Places
My biological grandfather threatened to kill my grandmother while she was very young and pregnant with my uncle. Long story short, my grandfather was engaged to someone else at the time. My grandmother became a nervous wreck while pregnant and wouldn’t leave the house, and my grandfather used to throw bricks through her window.
Eventually, she told some of her friends about what he’d threatened to do to her. Shortly after that he went missing, never to be seen or heard from again. We always kind of laughed and joked that one of her friends must have threatened him or “ran him out of town.” We would even go as far as to say someone might have offed him for her.
It wasn’t until we were going through her boxes of photos and “love letters” that we realized she was actually friends with the infamous British mobsters the Kray twins...
61. Be Careful What You Wish For
We recently found out that around 40 years ago, my grandfather had a seven-year-long affair with a woman in his church who was also married. During this time, he had two children with this woman that they never told anyone about. She pretended that those two children were her husband’s, despite them not looking anything like him. But it’s how we found out that was ridiculous.
A couple of years ago, I had gotten one of the 23andMe DNA kits to figure out what my ethnic background looked like. My aunt and uncle had done the same about a year ago as well. Once you get your results from 23andMe, it will also show you any DNA matches you have with relatives. A couple of days after Christmas, a woman had reached out to my aunt and uncle, asking to speak with them because 23andMe was telling her that they were her half-siblings and that I was showing up as her nephew.
Coming from a very strict Catholic family, this was very confusing and concerning to her. They ended up meeting and pieced together everything and then approached their parents about it. At first, they denied it, then came clean about the affair. It's been pretty hard on the family. For the longest time, my grandfather was too stubborn to even apologize to the family and my grandmother for all the pain he's brought, but he finally did.
Shockingly enough, my grandparents are still together despite all of this coming to light.
62. Revenge Is Best Served Cold
My great-grandfather supposedly killed a guy. The story goes that my grandma’s sister, who was five at the time, went missing from the front step of the house and was taken by a neighbor boy. When she was found and quickly identified by witnesses, he went behind bars for around six or seven years. No one in my family is clear on the details now, but the girl passed either soon after or some years later, but she did die as a result of what happened.
Eventually, the guy got out and was sent to live in a halfway house. He basically never made it and his body was dragged out of the Thames two weeks later. Apparently, he showed signs of having been restrained and beaten. My great-granddad had never taken a day off work…except for those two weeks his daughter’s attacker was missing.
The authorities knew. They came around and asked if he'd had two weeks off from work and he was like “yeah” and that was it, they left it at that. This was the 1920s. I've had a search around online since then but I can't find much about it. Still, a lot of our older buildings got destroyed during WWII where I am, so it's possible the records got lost.
The guy who took her was described by a witness, and a local officer instantly recognized the neighbor who had done it, who had fairly distinctive features and clothes. He then confessed almost as soon as he was approached and had apparently suggested to his mother just the night before that'd he'd done something terrible.
63. Addiction Kept Hidden
My aunt and uncle were drug addicts. I adored them but as I got older I started seeing less and less of them and never understood why. My parents briefly told me when I was 16 that my uncle didn’t pass of a brain tumour, but instead that he shot himself while my aunt was in the other room. Sadly, things got even worse. Overhearing my uncle take his life was part of what led to my aunt's fatal overdose on New Year’s Day.
They finally told me the whole story when I was 21. I was literally the last person to know (even my little brother knew before me) because I was extremely close to them and thought of them so fondly. Even after knowing all this, I still remember them with love. I wish I knew the truth sooner but I understand why my family didn’t tell me.
64. Hill Justice
My mom and I cared for her father as he deteriorated with old age. As his mind went, he told stories from WWII and his youth, and about my grandmother's first husband. My grandpa had a crush on her before WWII but never acted on it because he was dirt poor. He lied about his age and joined the Navy when he was somewhere between 14 and 16 so he could be respectable—so he could be worthy of her.
While he was away, she married a man her parents liked. Her first husband beat her badly and would assault her and then make her sleep in the barn. She stayed because divorce wasn't something you did at the time. My grandpa got back, all snazzy in his uniform, and was told she'd married and where she lived. He showed up to say hello and there she was, a bloody mess.
He took her to the doctor, got her cleaned up, and convinced her to divorce the jerk. A year later, they were married, but her ex kept showing up to harass them. The story we'd always been told is that her ex finally got the hint and moved away. The story my grandpa told me, in a lucid moment, was basically this: "I hated him for what he'd done to her. I knew he'd never leave her alone. I made sure he'd never bother her or any other woman again."
I think my grandpa confessed to offing his wife's ex-husband. What you have to keep in mind is that this was a very rural part of the Midwest in the 1940s. Hill justice happened.
65. Why It’s A Touchy Subject
My grandparents forced my aunt to get an abortion before my family moved to America. The procedure was not done by a skilled doctor and sadly, it went so badly that it rendered my aunt permanently sterile. It finally makes sense why none of the adults talk about having children around her. That poor, poor woman.
66. Staying Mum
I was 35 when my mother finally admitted to me that she'd been lying about who my birth father was. She waited until after I'd reached out to his other children and we all thought we were siblings. He later confirmed I wasn't his. After that, she also refused to tell me who my biological father really was. It’s not something I can get over.
67. Alien Probe
My father always talked about how his brother lied to a doctor with a crazy story so he could get on disability. I remember thinking how it seemed so easy for anyone to get disability insurance: all you had to do was tell your doctor you were abducted by aliens. Years later, my father had a mental breakdown and everything eventually became more clear.
My father started telling stories about the government implanting a chip in his brain. He went out and got a brain scan as proof, and he would point to things that weren't there. My dad was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and years later, he started collecting a disability cheque because he couldn't hold a job (kind of hard to perform any job when every conversation, including interviews, veers into the government probing you, literally).
As an adult, it dawned on me when my aunt mentioned mental illness runs in the family. My uncle had never lied to his doctor. He told that doctor what he believed to be the absolute truth: he had been abducted by aliens.
68. Wild Goose Chase
This should be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Terry, Iris, and Joan are pseudonyms. Please don't go around trying to dox every woman named Joan. Moving on. As a teen, I'd heard that my cousin Terry's engagement had failed just a short time before their scheduled wedding date, and that was all that anyone cared to say about the situation.
In recent years, I was given more detail. Apparently, Terry and Joan became engaged after he got her pregnant. All was well at first, but two weeks before the wedding, Terry's mom Iris became violently ill and actually nearly passed. I can't remember what the disease was. This was many years ago. Terry asked if Joan would postpone the wedding just until Iris got better so that she could attend.
Joan instead called off the wedding entirely over the phone. Now, here comes the dark bit—when Terry went home to see her, their home was cleaned out. Only Terry's meager belongings remained. Even their bed was gone. Terry called Joan. No answer. He called her folks. No answer. He went to her folks' place only to find it completely empty.
Not a trace of them was left behind. No note, no nothing. All of their social media accounts were erased and their phone numbers were deactivated. Even Joan's siblings had no clue where they'd gone. It was as if they'd vanished. Turns out, they had gathered their possessions and moved from coast to coast. In fact, they would have moved overseas if Terry hadn't caught them in time.
Joan tried to leave the country with their baby just because Terry wanted his mom to attend their wedding. This whole saga lasted three years. After a long court battle, Terry won primary custody of his child. He is currently a single dad who soaks up every moment they have together. I haven't been told what became of Joan and I'm certainly not going to ask him.
69. Blended Family
When my dad was about 18, he got into an argument with his younger brother, My uncle, a bit of a jerk now, about 15 at the time, ended the argument by telling him that their dad wasn’t his biological father. At that point, my dad confronted my grandma and the truth came out. The worst part was, the whole village knew…but not my dad.
Mad respect for my grandpa, though. He married a woman who already had a child in the 50s, which was quite controversial back then.
70. Let’s Get Messy
My uncle had tried to end his life over a love triangle. He survived and left the country afterward. This was a huge hush-hush story and ironically, I heard it from my aunt, who was the woman with whom he was in love with. Yes, I’m from one of those countries where cousins can get married, but it is discouraged due to the obvious.
From what I was told, he changed into a bit of a religious freak afterward. And no one ever spoke of what happened ever again.
71. Guilt Trip
I have an uncle who is an alcoholic and lived with my grandparents until they passed. We always thought he was just an unmotivated loser. I have another uncle who passed long before I was born (he got hit by a car coming back from the store). But then, after both grandparents passed, my mom told me the true story of what happened.
The alcoholic uncle was asked to go to the store but convinced his little brother to go instead which led to his being hit by the car. My grandmother, with whom I have always held in very very high regard, told my alcoholic uncle afterward that his brother would still be alive if he had gone to the store as she had asked.
I cannot imagine the guilt that he would have felt and completely understand why he ended up that way as a result. In my adult life I’ve found that my uncle is a pretty good man, he was just dealt a bad hand.
72. Daddy Issues
My father tried to kill my mother while she was pregnant with me. He never got charged, and I found out about this when I was 20, after my mom told me in private. She said back then, my father had a drinking problem and he would get really violent sometimes. She said something to him one time so he grabbed a knife, pushed her next to an open window, and put the knife at her throat.
He then made her choose between jumping from the fourth floor or getting her throat slit. My mom said she cried and begged him to think of the unborn baby (me). Some neighbors heard the noise and intervened. They managed to take the knife away from him, and she was safe. But here's the brutal kicker. My mom is religious and doesn't believe in divorce, and they're still together after 45 years.
His violent tendencies toned down after me and my brothers were old enough to knock him out if he tried that again. However, I'm the only one in my family, besides my mom, who knows this happened. I've always had problems with him, but I hated him bitterly after my mom told me what happened then and other times as well.
73. Scar Tissue
The scars on an elder family member's wrist were not from a botched suicide. It was so much darker than all that. They were from her mom trying to “protect” herself and her kids from the approaching Red Army at the end of WWII in Germany.
74. Punch Up
My dad's youngest brother came home inebriated one night and got into a fight with my grandpa. My uncle punched grandpa in the face and went to bed. Grandpa went to the bathroom and never came out. My dad came over in the morning and found him dead in the bathroom. It turned out that he had a massive heart attack in the middle of the night.
After that my uncle drank, smoked, and snorted anything and everything for as long as he could. He eventually did time and when he got out, he hung himself. Maybe he would have turned out the same either way, but my dad told me the full story about five years ago and it made me wonder if his life would have been any better if not for that one night.
75. Do I Know You?
My wife's mother's family (in rural Iowa) had a schism within the family around inherited farmland. So growing up, when she visited grandma for two weeks in the summer, she never knew about her second and third cousins living in that small town. My wife found out when we started using Ancestry and tracing family. Truly the biggest family feud.
76. The Nanny
I found out that the "nanny" I had when I was younger was actually my dad's attempted sister-wife. She soon found out how unhinged he was and dipped.
77. Father Of Mine
I'm the only child between my mom and dad, but they both had children from previous relationships. All of my siblings were 15+ years older than me. When I was seven, everything unraveled in the most brutal way. My mom and dad split because my dad "had feelings" for my mom's oldest daughter, who actually already had four kids.
Ok, gross, but both adults, so whatever. Cut to 13 years or so later and my dad is suddenly all involved in the life of one of the kids of that sister. 20-year-old me was oblivious as to why this was happening. It took me another seven years to put all the pieces together that my dad was actually the father of that kid. I had grown up thinking she was just my niece, but she was in reality my half-sister-niece.
I've never discussed it with anyone in my family. My mom passed before I put all the pieces together. But wait...there's more! My family and I are all from Mississippi. Cue Deliverance banjo music. My dad was born in 1945, so unsurprisingly, he's super prejudiced. Well, that sister-niece of mine? She ended up having two kids with a Black man.
Anyway, karma's a witch. Cheat on my mom with your step-daughter, get her knocked up, basically have nothing to do with said child's life, then the child goes and commits, in his eyes, probably the biggest betrayal possible. I would throw a chef's kiss right here except all I really care about from this story is the pain it must have put my mom through, and I was too young or oblivious to be there for her. Miss you, Cotty.
78. It All Comes Out Eventually
Grandma admitted on her deathbed that her maiden name wasn't Asher (English), it was Oscher (Jewish). This was confirmed by DNA testing my dad. My grandfather was off-the-boat Irish, so my dad spent his entire life thinking he was half English and half Irish. The DNA test said 49% Irish and 50% Ashkenazi, so grandma was as ethnically Jewish as can be.
In retrospect, my dad and grandma had a set of about 20 Yiddish words that they'd use in casual conversation, but we always assumed that was just a Queens thing.
79. Panic Explained
I learned why my mom panics the way she does and jumps to conclusions all the time. If she can’t get ahold of my brother or me on the phone, she automatically assumes we're never coming home and she goes into an intense panic. Recently, she couldn’t contact my brother for a few hours and she lost all composure and had a nervous breakdown.
I only recently found out why. Many years ago, when my mom was in high school, my granny (my mother’s mom) attempted to take her own life. My mom made a horrible discovery: She was the one that found my grandma on the floor. Luckily, she found her just in the nick of time, because if she'd gotten home even half an hour later, my grandma wouldn't have survived. We just are starting to realize after all these years, that she probably has undiagnosed PTSD.
80. Seeds Of A Secret
When I was a little kid I always knew my uncle had something going on. As a small child the details were frequently lost to me so after a while I just kind of accepted it. He is also a notorious jokester so I never knew when he was being serious. I’ve just figured out that one of his favourite jokes was horribly serious.
One time I was sitting with my uncle and he was talking about a recent doctor visit. He told me, entirely straight-faced, that he had eaten some watermelon seeds by mistake, and they had taken root and sprouted in his stomach, so he had to get them removed. To my eight-year-old self, this made complete sense, and I took his advice to be very diligent when consuming my watermelon slices, avoiding all of the seeds.
I went on through life just accepting this whole story and never questioned it. However, when I was around 13, I had a moment of realization. It just clicked into place that my uncle had cancer! Somehow this had slipped past my gullible child’s mind for years, and there was never a moment where my parents decided to tell me about it, instead of at some point in my teens it was just common knowledge.
My uncle is now entirely healthy, nothing ever came back, and he continues to tease me and my siblings whenever he gets the chance.
81. Modern Times
Due to 23&Me, my fad learned that his recently deceased father was not his biological father. It wasn’t a situation related to my grandma cheating either, it was a sperm donation. So, they knew this was the case his entire life. Pretty crazy they never told him, and his parents did not pass until he was ~65 years old. Talk about a curveball.
82. Part Of The Family
My aunt wasn't my grandfather's child. He met my granny when her child, my aunt, was a very sick infant; she had polio and wasn't expected to survive. My granddad married my granny so she could get on his insurance and move to an area that had proper medical support. In fact, my aunt was the first infant to survive open-heart surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Although she had to be in leg braces most of her childhood, she had a great (although not long enough) life. My granddad loved her like she was his own, and I never knew until she went to her biological dad's funeral when I was a teenager.
83. Double Life
I found out over Christmas while doing a family history search online that my dad had fathered two children by a different woman about 20 years ago. He and my mother have been married for over 35 years. His name brought up results for not only myself and my two brothers’ births, but two other births. He has very unusual first and last names so curiosity got the better of me, and I started to find out more.
The births were registered in the north of England, in the Newcastle area. This rang alarm bells immediately because my dad had worked in this region for five years with the company he worked for in the early 90s. I was only a little kid back then, and I missed him so much at the time. So did my brothers and mom; he worked on a two-week on, two-week off rotation, so he was always back and forth.
Then I dug a little deeper. Just to confirm. I found the children (now grown women) and their Facebook pages. They still used the last name given to them at birth—our father’s. I didn't contact them because I had a suspicion they'd have no idea they had siblings, and my suspicions were confirmed when I contacted their mother on there instead.
At first, I told her I was a "relative" of my dad’s and I wanted to know more about any children he potentially had because I was trying to track him down. She confirmed that he was the father of her children after I sent her some details and a photo from that time. She proved it 100% by scanning and sending me copies of the birth certificates and some photos she had of him and their daughters when they were just babies. Then she told me to call her.
I called her—I can't say I was ever nervous or anxious about this call, but I remember feeling livid. Livid at him mostly, for what he'd done to my mother and us as a family while he had supposedly been working hard and "all alone" up north, and while his wife and children sat on their thumbs in Wales patiently waiting for his return every two weeks for five years.
I told her my name and that I was actually his daughter—his only daughter, I thought up until that moment, and that I had two other brothers who were older. I added that my parents had, in fact, been married for over 35 years. This poor woman screeched down the phone crying. She never knew any of this. When she met my father it was in a pub in Newcastle about three months after he had moved up there.
He said he was single and didn't have any family. He told her he was from Wales, but he lied about the area he grew up in. A couple of months later, they were expecting their firstborn, and about a year after that a second daughter. She said when he went back to Wales every two weeks she thought it was for work-related stuff and that he would call every other evening from a local phone box because he didn't have a landline.
When the daughters were just little kids, he left one day to go to Wales and work and never came back. She tried to contact the company he worked for and they said he no longer worked for them. This was around about the time, to my knowledge, his five years in Newcastle was up, and he had left the company and moved back to Wales. And that’s not the worst part.
Because he had lied about where he lived in Wales, she was unable to track him down, and now being left with two girls and no job, she had to get on with it. After about a month, she realized he wasn't going to contact them ever again and he was gone—wherever. She didn't have a clue he had a massive family with a wife and kids and a mortgage and a dog back home in Wales.
If she had, she definitely would not have gotten into a relationship with him, and least of all had kids. I haven't brought it up with him obviously because of my mother, but Christmas was so difficult for me personally knowing this. For two days leading up to Christmas, I drank so much that I slept for 18 hours straight on Christmas day and missed the whole thing. My father was fuming that I'd "ruined Christmas" and I very nearly then exploded, but I kept my mouth shut. But it wasn’t over.
The day after Christmas, I got a call again from the mother in Newcastle, telling me she had told her daughters very delicately what had happened, and that she will leave it up to them to decide what to do. So far, they have done nothing. I have not been in contact with them at all and vice versa since. However, the mother did call me around February to check in with me and see how I was—she's a very nice woman.
At that point, she was curious if I was visiting the north in the future and if I would like to meet her family. I told her I would think about it. I'm actually visiting Newcastle for a hen party in two months, so I'm thinking about it more. Part of me hopes one day they come knocking on our door because they know where to go now. Part of me doesn't because of my mother.
Over the past seven months, my relationship with my father has disintegrated and is the chief cause of his "stress." It's so bad he's telling me it's exacerbating his heart condition (which he is on pills for). My parents are putting it down to some kind of "mid-20s rebellion" because I didn't have a rebellion when I was a teenager. I just want to kick him in the face every time I see him.
The next step in this saga is to tell my eldest brother. He is serious and mature and will be able to deal with it a bit better, I think. He's never had a great relationship with my dad for some reason so I'd like him to know. His wife (my best friend) already knows there is something wrong with me because I think I'm pretty much having a breakdown over it.
The burden is too tough, I'm even struggling with my job. Part of the reason I want them to knock on our door looking for their dad is so that the weight is lifted, but how do you go back from that? My mother is a proud but fragile woman, and it will destroy her.
I’m not sure how my dad discovered this, but he found out he had a secret older brother, his parents' oldest child (Ron, if I remember right, named after his dad). When Ron was preschool-aged, my grandparents were told he was mentally disabled. Horrified, they turned him over to the state and never spoke of him again.
Years later, they learned the truth. Word got back to them that the kid was not, in fact, disabled; he had "auditory dyslexia"(now called auditory processing disorder). He grew up to be a fully functioning, independent adult. He refused to have any contact with the family when my dad reached out. Honestly, I don’t blame him at all.
85. Everything You Thought You Knew Is Wrong
I found out when I was 35 that my mother left my father, not the other way around. It was hard to reconcile all of the judgment I held for decades. I was born with two clubbed feet, and while it didn't actually play a part in their separation, I of course had horrible feelings that my dad didn't want to raise a disabled child so he bounced and raised another family instead.
My whole life my father avoided seeing or speaking with me. I tried to have a relationship, but when I called, he would hand the phone to his wife after just a few minutes so she could get the catching up chit-chat. When my mother would try to arrange visits, he always pushed it down the road. My mother did not hide it or lie to me. She would tell me about it.
He had a drinking problem, and they tried to move from Southern California to Northern California when I was around two. He went back down to get his work van and tools. and didn't come back. I think she thought that I understood the underlying dynamics, but it wasn't until I was 35 that I mentioned him leaving her and she corrected me and filled in some blanks.
Sometimes family history gets told like that. She did a stellar job in her position as a single mother with a kid who needed extensive surgery. However, she also spiraled into depression, but that's a whole different story. Reflecting on this, it's amazing that I'm the positive-thinking, happy person that I am. My father is gone now, but I was able to visit him during hospice and forgive him.
86. Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
My father burned down our childhood home for the insurance money. He took me along as his alibi, so that I could “verify” that he wasn't anywhere near the location when it happened. I was only 13 years old at the time. I remember crying so hard knowing that all of my clothes, books, photos, and everything I owned would be destroyed.
I wasn't allowed to save anything because he told me it would have looked too suspicious. It got even more chilling. I found out years later that he blamed the whole thing on me. He told the fire chief, plus all of our friends and family, that the fire had started because I had been secretly smoking in my bedroom. I've never smoked in my life!
87. Nothing But The Tooth
One day, I started having incredibly bad problems with my teeth. Like, spontaneous abscess that resulted in multiple root canals. My dentist did some looking into what the cause might be and found some really odd abnormalities with my incisors roots and nerves, which were the teeth that had been afflicting me. So he sent out requests for help to a couple of professors he knew in the field.
When my next appointment came up, my dentist got really quiet before he told me the awful truth. He paused for a bit before verbally stumbling about. It turns out that what was happening with my teeth was a classic sign of inbreeding and he was super uncomfortable giving me the news. I brought it up to my mom and she just was like: "Oh well yeah, didn't you know?"
What the heck?? Of course I didn't know!!! Turns out that not very far back in the family tree, several of my relatives decided that it was a good idea to get married to one another, and no one bothered to mention it...ever. The small town where I live is 85% my relatives, no joke. I hadn't even met all of them, that's how many there are. Before this, I had made a big point of going far away from my hometown to meet my husband because I was afraid of having children with someone that might be my cousin.
Only to find out five years after we had been married that I was in fact a product of inbreeding. Thank god, my husband and I are still not related at all.
88. Spilling The Beans
We went to my grandmother's for Christmas dinner like we did every year. This night, though, my uncle on my dad’s side drank too much and kind of hinted that he had an affair with my mother. A couple of months and two DNA tests later…we found out my sister is actually his daughter. My dad never spoke to his brother again, and of course, my parents got divorced. And I needed a lot of therapy... and chocolate. Gosh, we are trash!
89. The Whole Truth
My dad lied in court and falsely sent his mom to prison for victimizing children. It gave him PTSD and honestly explains a lot about him.
90. The Fugitive
1990, I was five years old. I'm at my dad's house after he left for four months to Tennessee. He frequently did that because he supposedly loved the state. My mom is watching America's Most Wanted, and a segment involved a man in Tennessee being slain, with a sketch of the last person to see the victim alive. When I saw it, my blood ran cold.
The sketch was an exact image of my dad. Supposedly, a mutual friend of my parents went to the local law enforcement on other business and the deputy asked, "Hey, have you seen Rich lately?" The friend responded, "Sure, a couple of weeks ago I saw him downtown." They insisted that if anyone saw my dad, they needed to talk to him.
If he did do it, he's an extremely good liar because he was never brought on charges to my knowledge. I've been estranged from him since I was eight.
91. Robbed Of The Truth
My great-grandma is still alive. One day, while visiting, she told me our family's big secret. It turns out that her father (my great-great grandpa) robbed a grocery store in the 1960s and spent a year or so behind bars. This all happened when my great grandma was already a married adult, so after that she pretty much cut him out of her life.
My great-grandma has never discussed him, other than to say he was mean and no one has ever brought him up around her. I understand now that she's probably more than a little embarrassed about it. But also, she probably has some hard feelings about it. You see, while her dad was in the clink, he would have left his wife (my great grandma's mom) alone and struggling.
92. Don’t Judge Me!
I am a judge in a town in the United States. I also have a bit of a secret wild side in the bedroom. I tell all of my co-workers, assistants, and family members that I go up to my cabin most weekends, and that they can't contact me because there's no cell service. They think that’s the way I like it. They don't know the dark truth.
In actuality, I go see a mistress 20 years my junior. I have a college-aged daughter and an ex-wife. I also have a fair share of cash lying around and a lot of people who look up to me in my career. For obvious reasons, I have made sure that absolutely no one ever has any reason to suspect what I am really up to on the weekends.
93. Weeding Out The Lies
My dad used to grow weed at the plant nursery he used to run when I was a kid. That explains why there was an opaque tarp covering the back half of Greenhouse 5! And why my parents told my brother and me never to go back there. And why some real scruffy looking young guys were always coming around blasting music all the time even though the only people I ever saw buying the regular plants were older men covered in dirt and driving trucks.
Apparently, my brother found it and sold it to some of his friends at school in exchange for candy (he was in Grade 5 at the time, only like 10). My parents naturally freaked out and scrapped the whole crop. The back half of Greenhouse 5 went back to growing regular plants and dad sold the expensive UV lights he was using to grow them.
94. Psycho Granny
When I was about 31 years old, I found out my maternal grandmother, who practically raised me, slayed my grandfather. I was doing research trying to build out a family tree and wanted to find out about my grandfather who passed about four years before I was born. We never really talked about him. I found an article about him, with a report number for the arrest of my grandmother.
I didn’t immediately put the two together, but once I did, I put in a FOIA request for the case file. The real story made my heart drop. Apparently, my grandfather was in ill health, had a few strokes and needed A LOT of assistance; assistance my grandmother grew tired of. One day, he was sitting in his chair and she just snapped and stabbed him numerous times.
She was arrested, tried, and eventually found not guilty by reason of insanity. She spent some time in an institution, only to be let out in 1981, the year before I was born, to move in with my family. As she lived in our home, she basically raised me from a child. She was the sweetest lady in the world and this SHOOK me to my core.
95. Double Trouble
My mother supposedly has a fraternal twin. My grandmother couldn't handle the thought of two kids, so she gave the male child away to someone she knew who was moving away. My mom found this out in the worst way. In a rage one night way back when, my grandmother screamed at my mom that she kept the wrong child; this event was never mentioned before or after that moment.
My mom was roughly 12 at the time. She asked my great-grandmother about it, and she knew the boy's name but not where they moved to or who he was living with. My mom actually had met him once but didn't know who he actually was. My grandmother now denies it ever happened and my grandfather felt that "surely they'd have had to tell me." I doubt they would have, though.
When she was pregnant with me, my mom asked my great-grandmother what my middle name should be: My middle name is actually her long-lost brother’s middle name.
96. Fathered By A Friend
I have a great aunt whose children look nothing like her husband. Now I know the wild reason why. It turns out he had mumps as a kid and it left him sterile. So he asked a buddy to "contribute" because he and his wife wanted kids. They kept this secret, insisting that the kids looked like someone on a great uncle's side of the family (whom we never met).
This went on for years until his funeral when she decided to tell her kids that their biological donor was a man who lost his life in the army. Yeah, it was weird.
97. Miss Me?
It was the day of my husband's funeral. I answered a call from an unknown number—that’s when everything fell apart. There was a woman on the other end claiming to be his girlfriend. She’d been calling his cell for weeks but I’d had it turned off when he was in the hospital. I had no idea that he'd been unfaithful, but it was about to get worse. She told me that he'd been paying her rent for a year—while the bank had been about to foreclose on our house.
98. A Secret Literally Carried To The Grave
Sometime in the early 90s, my brother passed on in a car crash. For years I grew up idolizing him. My family held him in a very high esteem: He was going to be a lawyer and his loss was seen as the worst possible tragedy. When I was 16, I discovered a box hidden in a compartment in his closet. What I found inside made my blood run cold. There were journals, sketches, and essentially a plan to kidnap and get rid of a girl from his school.
Whether this would have ever come to fruition or was just a fantasy, I’ll never know…but it messed me up for a good few years.
99. Message In A Bottle
I once got a Facebook message from a guy asking if I was related to my dad, since we don't have a common last name. I thought he was a fan of his work because I was in college at the time and the guy was about the same age as me. And that's how I found out that my dad had slept around and that I had a half-brother the same age as me...
100. Burning Issue
I wasn't allowed to go to my grandfather's funeral, and they told me he had a heart attack. I was so confused because everyone around me would clam up when I asked about him. Years later, I learned the truth. It turns out that he had a heart attack while trying to put out a field fire, collapsed, and got horrifically burned.
I still have no idea how long it took for people to find him, but I'm assuming it was hours. The body was too grisly for my parents to let any of the kids see.