Every family is special in their own way—but it’s not always a good way. All of us get annoyed by family members now and then, but we can thank our lucky stars they aren’t this bad—and if they are, at least you can commiserate with these unfortunate Redditors.
1. The Mother Of All Pettiness
I had my graduation from engineering on the same day as my mother’s birthday. I, of course, had nothing to do with choosing the date. But you couldn’t convince my mom of that. My mother said I “ruined her birthday”—and then she got a cruel revenge. She scheduled her birthday party to be on my actual birthday. Her birthday is in March, mine is in August.
2. The Great Deceiver
When I was six years old, my aunt, who was my guardian, faked my grandmother’s passing. She lied to all of us—local churches, her friends, and strangers—for sympathy and money. She wrote to multiple people asking for support. She needed money for a headstone and the funeral, etc. People bought into it hook, line, and sinker.
So you can imagine our surprise a year later when we received a letter from our grandma saying she was coming to see us.
3. Too Much Of A Busy Body
I did an ancestry test and found out that my paternal grandfather was not my real grandfather. I also found out that my father was the product of an affair or something along those lines. After some searching, I came across the other family that I am related to. I learned that my last name isn’t really accurate and that I come from an ethnic group that I never thought I was a part of.
I think my father’s sister knew, just looking back on all of the facts. But I also think that my father genuinely never did. I found cousins on that side, but sadly, due to my age in my 50s, most of my relatives have already passed, so I couldn’t share the experience with them. My real grandfather passed in 1969. This explains why I never met any great uncles or aunts on my father’s side of the family.
They basically had nothing to do with us. I found evidence in some newspaper articles that my biological and adoptive families were both from the same town. I am not in contact with what remains of my adoptive family today, so no one found out.
What is weird is that I always kind of felt like I was adopted, for years and years. I also always thought that my last name was “wrong” for me. As the test proved, my real grandfather was a very busy man. I had relatives all over the place! One grew up in foster care and knew nothing of her real parents. He would have been her real father.
4. The Safe Room
One of my good friends in elementary school—first through fifth grade—had a deadbolt on the inside of her bedroom door. She also had a phone in her closet that she wasn’t allowed to use. It was a second line and had a different phone number than the main house phone. Meanwhile, the Bible on her bookshelf was full of money.
There were $20 and $50 bills tucked between the pages. I didn’t realize what this all meant until I was much, much older. Her father was very abusive towards her mother. Not the kids, though. Just the mom. My friend’s room was the “safe” room. Mom would lock herself and the kids in there when he got in one of his moods. The phone was to call for help. The money was in case they needed to run.
5. Buyer Beware
My dad gave me the silent treatment because he thought I crashed the car he had just bought for me and I wouldn’t own up. Why? because it had red marks on either side of the window. He thought I must have hit a barrier or something, despite me pointing out that this would have almost certainly smashed the screen into smithereens.
After a week of racking my brain, I asked if there was a red “for sale” banner across it…he replied yes, then slowly began talking to me again.
6. Poisoning The Well
My oldest sister, who is not mentally well, went on a bit of a poisoning streak several years back, and we pretty much told her that either she needs to stop, or she’s officially kicked out of the family. But yeah, so my sister apparently would be spreading salmonella and E. coli into our drinks and food whenever she could.
Me and my dad went into her apartment, and her fridge was full of uncovered raw chicken and it wasn’t even cold. The whole fridge was unplugged. All the chicken had that slimy grey film on top of it and I would have blown chunks right then and there if I hadn’t splattered the toilet bowl two or three times over just earlier that day.
She admitted to us later that before she’d come to hang out with us, she’d rub the slimy, rotting chicken all over her hands and face and then spray on perfume to mask the odor. I always thought her perfume just smelled bad, but I guess it was always because she had the putrid scent of rotten meat all over her skin. Sadly, it gets more horrifying.
Then, for whatever reason, a reason that she couldn’t or wouldn’t explain, she’d take her disgusting hands and rub the rims of our cups or glasses and lick and spit on our food when we weren’t looking. Who does that? Of course, there was tons and tons of mold growing everywhere in her place as well. Every little crack and nook had something growing in it. I left her place fully willing to just cut her out of my life.
7. The Ones Who Are Left Behind
My brother is the worst. He may be depressed or addicted to his computer or something like that, but he’s just terrible with everybody around him. To him, everybody is stupid, nobody cares about him, and the entire world is out to get him and keeping him from achieving anything. He’s 28, without a job, living with our father.
Meanwhile, our poor father is doing all he can to help him, but there’s nothing to be done. This is, of course, after our mother gave up helping him after many years of putting up with him. In the meantime, my brother has been tormenting everyone who dares talk to him. When visiting my father a few years ago, I saw my brother very briefly.
It was tough for him because I’m getting on with my life. I have my own home, a cool job I love, I’m getting married, money isn’t an issue…and he on the other hand is alone, living at his dad’s, without a job. We talked, again briefly. He tried and tried again to find ways in which he was better than me or to say that I’m stupid. He got frustrated, called me names, and left.
8. Love Thy Neighbor
My adoptive parents kicked me out my junior year of high school for being gay—they had already known for a while, but my then-boyfriend coming over Christmas morning to exchange gifts made them “deal” with it. They told me to break it off or get out. I declined and came home one day the following January to find out they’d changed the locks.
My boyfriend’s mother found out that I was staying with my aunt and what my parents did, and immediately drove me over to make my parents let me get clothes and items from my room. She then let me stay with their family. A few weeks after that, my parents showed up with officers, claiming they were holding me against my will and brainwashing me.
We told them our side of the story and it ended up in court. I went through the process of getting emancipated while dealing with them and finishing off high school. I haven’t talked to them since I graduated, over a decade ago. I still hear about how crazy and manipulative they are from the stuff they do to my brother when he complains about them, but I won’t see or speak to them under any circumstances.
9. About Face
My aunt has always been difficult. She could be very nice and caring, but then, for no obvious reason, she suddenly turned into a screaming monster. Once, my mom, who has a key to her apartment, left her a present and a card in her bedroom for my aunt on her birthday, and all my aunt did was scream and yell about “How dare we break into her place.”
A few months later, she was detained for throwing a chair at her co-worker. This led to her being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. She had to get into therapy and was on probation for many months. She’s doing much better now, and her therapist helped her a lot. It turned out that my aunt is the sweetest, most caring person in the world. I’m looking forward to seeing her next week.
10. The Night Before
My family’s secret is that my mom walked in on my uncle “servicing” his best man the night before he married my aunt. This was back in the mid-1960s, so being bi or gay wasn’t something that too many people openly admitted to. She said nothing to anyone and only told my dad about it many years later. The marriage actually turned out really happy, and they are still together to this day.
They just celebrated their 57th anniversary, actually. They’re both retired teachers. They travel a lot and just enjoy life. I adore both of them. They’re lovely people.
11. Bye Bye Baby
My mother was sent to an unwed mother’s home to have her first child. In Australia, this was very commonplace, even as late as the 70s. This is now referred to as “Forced Adoption,” as the mother never had a chance to even try to keep her child. It was common practice for families to send their pregnant unwed daughters to these places.
The idea was for them to complete their pregnancy and then immediately give the child away without “the neighbors knowing.” And that’s not the only bombshell. On top of that, she has since found out through ancestry DNA that her father wasn’t really her biological father, and that her mother had gotten pregnant with her from another man before her parents were married. Talk about hypocrisy!
12. Too Close For Comfort
My dad’s cousin took a dude’s life in a substance-induced rage back in 1990. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then did the same to the victim’s son, who was only nine years old at the time. He was living in my parents’ basement at the time. Investigators first questioned my dad, and then they found my cousin’s shoes in the house.
The dude used to babysit me and my siblings when we were growing up. I didn’t know about any of this until I was almost an adult. He used to call me from behind bars on our shared birthday, and it always gave me the creeps. I stopped answering when I discovered the truth. My dad and grandma swear he is innocent, but I read into the case. He’s definitely not.
My mom and grandmother told me about a family that lived in the town where she lived. This was back in the 1930s and 1940s. The husband didn’t work but the wife did, which was unusual during this time period. The father would whistle commands to his wife and children. Never called them by name, just whistled orders at them.
If they didn’t respond fast enough, they would be punished. Must have been a nightmare for this family to live with this guy. My mom told me that this guy gave her the creeps. People strongly suspected that bad things were going on in that household that weren’t visible. Every time my mom would see The Sound of Music where Captain Van Trapp used a whistle to whistle commands to his children, it would remind my mom of this guy.
14. The Black Sheep Of The Family
My wife helped me come to the realization. Out of myself and my two brothers, I was the only one to have never been behind bars, yet I was the only one my parents didn’t buy a car for. And actually, it wasn’t just about getting a car—they refused to even teach me how to drive. I had to move out of the house before I learned how.
So one day, I had my wife (girlfriend at the time) over to my parents’ for Christmas dinner. My mom offers me a glass of champagne about two months before my 21st birthday. No big deal, right? My stepdad proceeds to throw a temper tantrum about how I’m underage and not in his house and all this. Well, a couple of months later, I found out he bought my little brother, his biological child, a bottle of high-end bourbon for his 18th birthday.
When I was in the service, they had a whole bunch of deep-sea fishing trips and pro sports games they would go to without even so much as asking if I could come. They didn’t come to my boot camp graduation that I offered to pay for. They didn’t see me off when I was deployed. They weren’t there when I came back. Great times.
15. Daddy Doesn’t Know Best
I was 9, and I was really nice to a poor guy selling shirts out of the back of his truck. My father’s reaction haunts me. My dad pulled me away and told me directly “It’s great to be nice to people, Chris, but be mean too. You want people to be a little scared of you.” Even at nine, I was like, “That’s not…great,” and it really was an interaction that shaped our relationship.
I went on to teach, have a vibrant friend group, and generally, I love people. It’s in my work and in every fiber of my life. My dad didn’t come out so well. He passed, alone, of an overdose about 10 years ago. The funeral would’ve been basically empty if not for all the friends who came to console me.
16. Sister Swap
I found out that one of my Aunts had an arranged marriage. She wasn’t actually the aunt who was supposed to be in the arranged marriage, but her sister was adamantly against marrying the guy. I guess my grandma somehow persuaded my aunt into replacing her sister’s part of the marriage. My aunt and the guy got married, moved away, and had kids.
They lived far away so I barely ever saw them. Only as I got older did I learn that the dude was abusive to my aunt, to the point where she still had some intense mental breakdowns long after he was gone. I guess her sister was right.
17. Secret Sister
When I was a kid, I knew my grandfather was odd. He’d call me his grandson even when I was wearing a dress and clearly female, but my parents would tell me to ignore it. Then I found out that when my dad was a kid, grandpa had sold my dad’s sister Barbara to someone, and kept my dad and his brother because he didn’t want a girl in the family.
My dad found his sister Barbara around the time I was in middle school, through making some calls and getting access to records. They were reunited, and she’s my favorite aunt now. No one liked grandpa.
18. Baby In The Cupboard
My dad tried to run out on my mum while she was pregnant with me, because he’d been embezzling money from a photography club at his workplace (a government institution) where he’d been treasurer. It was all about to come out because the club needed the money, so my dad decided to cut and run. My mother’s brother and father caught him by pure accident as he was leaving the house, and my grandad, a burly Scottish coal miner, got him by the throat and told him if he ever pulled a stunt like that again, he’d be dead.
My dad, according to the story, wet himself right there. My grandad paid the money back to the club so that no one found out, as not only would my dad have lost his job, he’d most likely have been jailed too. My mum could never trust him with money again, and so although they had a joint bank account, she had them limit his access and made a separate account to control the bills etc.
She went back to work so she could always support herself, which in those days, in rural Scotland, was really uncommon. In that area, most women were stay-at-home moms, so there was no such thing as childcare for kids under four. Mum went back to her job as a primary school teacher and I spent the first few years of my life sleeping in a basket in the stationery cupboard in her classroom.
At mum’s funeral, some of her former colleagues were still coming up to me, saying, “Oh, it’s the baby in the cupboard!”
19. The Victim
All the lies unraveled after my grandfather died. My mom finally admitted that when she was a kid, he’d touch her. I was pretty shocked, especially since my mom didn’t seem to carry any kind of baggage from it, though of course I don’t know what went and still goes on in her head. Something that made sense though was how she always made sure my brother and I always slept in her room whenever we stayed at Grandpa’s place, which wasn’t too often.
We were never alone with my grandfather, and we never had a warm or loving relationship with him. He was cold to us and we never really got attached to him, and we visited him maybe once a year. I think my mom felt obligated to have a relationship with him for some reason, but she was always very protective of us and my brother and I were never victims of his.
20. Bad Grandpa
My grandfather killed one of his co-workers when they were installing power poles on roads in Alaska before it was a completed town. He was investigated but they couldn’t prove it. I guess he did it because the guy wouldn’t pay a $5 debt owed for liquor brought in. My grandfather was a horrible human and he got away with everything.
Until he ended up with colon cancer that he didn’t get checked out and he died of cancer weighing about 78 lbs. Alone.
21. History Maker
In the film Driving Miss Daisy, when the chauffeur played by Morgan Freeman is driving Miss Daisy to a worship service, they get stuck in a traffic jam. He gets out to see what the holdup is. When he gets back in, he says “You won’t be going to service today, somebody done bombed the temple.” She says “What? Who would do such a thing?”
My uncle, that’s who. And that is my family’s deepest and darkest secret. The temple in question was called the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple, of Atlanta. This incident happened in 1958, if you want to look it up. My uncle was one of the five men taken in and accused, but he was not the one that got tried and acquitted twice.
I don’t know if he ever confessed, but he was definitely the black sheep of the otherwise normal family. My dad, his sisters, and my other uncle rarely mentioned him, at least not while my cousins and I were around. But when I was little, I remember one of my older cousins saying something about my uncle and a church attack.
I thought better than to ever directly ask my dad about it, and over time I basically forgot about it. But then, a few years ago, l was listening to the Missed in History podcast, and they did an episode on the incident. When they listed the names of the men that were involved, a giant light bulb went off in my head and it all suddenly made sense.
22. It’s All In The Game
My great-grandfather shot and took a man’s life in his grocery store back in the 1930s over a poker game. He ran a speakeasy out of the back of his store and lost almost $2k during the game. So, as the guy was walking out the front after the store closed, he shot him in the back. He got away with it too by telling the officer that the man had robbed him.
It wasn’t until he was on his deathbed that he finally told my grandfather the truth about what had happened.
23. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Our family secret is that my grandpa was kidnapped and forced to work for the Viet Cong. When he lost his life in combat, no one on either side would claim him. So he was buried over there in an unmarked grave. My grandma was left caring for three kids back home—my mother, my aunt, and my uncle. It was a very sad story.
Grandma eventually went over to Vietnam to try and find his grave. She left her kids alone back home. Eventually, she stayed in Vietnam and began working in the fields, until someone got her a job as a “bar girl” in Saigon. On that job, she met my now step-grandfather. He was an American GI. After some time, they got married and she agreed to move back to Ohio with him. That’s not even the craziest part.
She never told him that she had any kids, because she didn’t think he would marry her if he knew. When they finally came back to America about two decades later, my grandma made my mom and her siblings pretend to be her nieces and nephews. And they have kept the lie going ever since. I still call him “Uncle” to this day.
24. Brother From The Same Mother
The family secret that I discovered when I took an ancestry test was that I have a long-lost older brother that I never knew about. The backstory is that my mother got impregnated by my father before they were ever married. This was considered scandalous back in 1960. So, with my father’s knowledge of the situation, my mom did something unfathomable—she left town and lived with my aunt until the birth.
My mom eventually gave the baby up for adoption and then returned home. A couple of years later, she married my dad and they had three more children together, including me. Fifty-five years later, after both my parents had already passed, my aunt once accidentally let it slip that my siblings and I were not the only children of our parents.
My sister took a DNA test and, a couple of years later, she got a hit. Soon thereafter, we met our new big brother. We completely hit it off. He has a family of his own now, including a wife and kids, and they have all become very close with the rest of us. It feels like something that was always meant to be.
25. Make Yourself Comfortable
They had two couches and two recliners, but the kids and their friends weren’t allowed to sit on them. Like, we’d get yelled at for sitting on them, and they had bed pillows stacked under the coffee table that we had to use to sit on. I thought it was some weird thing about keeping the furniture new, but the dad would get crumbs and such all over the couch from “his spot.” And that wasn’t even the worst part.
The animals, including the raccoon they had, were all allowed on the furniture. Just not the kids.
26. What Do You Want Me To Do, Draw You A Picture?
My aunt discovered that her mother cheated on her father and that she was a product of that affair. That meant she was actually only half-siblings with her four siblings. The rub was that my aunt’s husband was married before he married her, and that woman is the daughter of the man involved in the affair.
No one knew this, but my uncle had gotten divorced and then unwittingly married his ex-wife’s half-sister. I guess he has a type! In case this is a bit confusing, let’s put it this way. Consider my aunt “A,” her mom (my grandmother) “GM,” her dad “GF,” my aunt’s husband “U,” and my uncle’s ex “X.” A took a DNA test and found out that GM had cheated on GF with another man. A has four siblings that she always thought were 100% blood-related to her.
But it turned out they were all only half-siblings. The big surprise was that the man that GM had the affair with was also the father of X. A knew X growing up and never liked her. X and U were married but got divorced. Now, years later, A found out that this woman who she did not like and used to be married to her husband is actually her half-sister because of the affair.
So U seems to have a type since he unknowingly married two women who were half-sisters. I hope everyone can follow this! It’s complicated but worth the effort to try and understand!
27. An Unhappy Birthday
There was a girl in my school named Lisa. She was kind of strange and most of the other girls didn’t like her, but I thought she was nice. Her mom seemed really, really strange, though. Lisa invited all the girls in the class to a birthday party and only three of us showed up. Their house was like a scene out of hoarders—stuff piled from floor to ceiling.
They had a small dog that was tethered to a pole coming off their kitchen counter who looked like he was out for blood. He was growling and barking while baring his teeth the whole time. We had some boiled hotdogs for a meal and instead of cake for dessert, her mom gave us apple slices (???). The whole party and the whole vibe in the house was just really, really weird.
Her mom seemed to watch our every move. She never said anything, but just kind of sat and stared. She definitely had crazy eyes. Still, the four of us had fun despite everything, but it was easy to tell some bad stuff was going on in that house. Lisa ended up going to my high school as well. We didn’t have any classes together, but I’d talk to her when I’d see her.
I wouldn’t say we were friends, but we were friendly. I found out that about two years later, her mother was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility. It probably should have been done a whole lot sooner. Thankfully, their father was in the picture as well and they (Lisa had two sisters) grew up better than probably could be expected in those circumstances.
28. The Pencil Test
I was in middle school and at a friend’s house. Her elderly grandparents lived with them. I had started wearing bras, but my friend hadn’t. I didn’t think anything of it until one day I was at her house and her grandfather was giving me a hard time about wearing a bra, which is weird enough. That’s when my friend revealed the whole disturbing story.
My friend tells me that she and her sister can’t wear a bra until they can show her grandpa that they can hold a pencil under their breasts. Yes, the parents knew, and apparently, her mom and aunts had followed the same rule.
29. That’s Not Normal
It was my best friend in primary school. He lived with his grandmother and father in a small public housing unit. We were eight years old and I was having a sleepover. I had just gotten a Gameboy color, so we organized a night to play it together. His grandmother dropped a bottle of wine in the lounge, and it hit a table and smashed.
Her reaction was…insane. Instead of cleaning it up, this nice woman in her 70s dropped to her knees, trying to slurp it up from her carpet while crying loudly. Later that night, we saw his dad taking his “medication” (which I now realize was much harder than that) and then “falling asleep” in the room he shared with my friend. We slept on the floor in the lounge because his dad was sprawled out on my friend’s bed.
My friend didn’t bother to explain any of the behavior I witnessed; he didn’t even flinch. I presume it’s because it had been normalized for him.
30. Squeaky Clean
I was staying over at a friend’s house during the summer. We were like 11 or 12, and he told me he was going to shower. I told him cool, I’d stay and play Playstation, no biggie. A little while later, I hear multiple people laughing. It was coming from the bathroom down the hall, and later on both his parents and him all come out in towels.
I was confused, but asked him afterward what the laughing was about. His reply disturbed me to my core. He said his dad accidentally peed on his leg in the shower…yeah, this dude just took a shower with his whole family and his dad peed on him. It was definitely a what the heck moment. Also, they weren’t poor or anything to warrant sharing showers.
They lived in an absolutely massive home that had like six bedrooms, three bathrooms, an in-ground pool, the works.
31. Sibling Rivalry
I was 11 years old when my mom and I came home to my aunt stealing our stereo equipment. When my mom confronted her, she pulled a knife. At the same moment, my uncle happened to be driving by, slammed on the brakes, reversed, and then came into the yard on the lawn and hit the corner of the house a little bit, jumped out of the van, and attacked my aunt. I only found out the dark truth about that day much later.
As my mom unpacked everything to me when I was older, she explained that my aunt was taking things to get money for her substance habit. Much later than that, I found out that my uncle wasn’t sober and shouldn’t have been driving at all. I look back on that day as the day I lost my innocence in a lot of ways. Can’t really go back from that.
To be fair, my nuclear family was generally your standard loving functional family. It was just my mom’s half-siblings who were toxic. They were always taking money and never around unless they had to be or needed something. After my mom passed, my aunt called me looking for money, and I pretty much hung up and never talked to any of them again.
32. Busting A Gasket
I married into a toxic family. My husband realized it when his sister insulted me, out of the blue, to him for an hour. She then blamed him for making her husband hate the entire family. Meanwhile, everyone else in the family who was within earshot of all this all claimed to have not noticed or heard anything. It was loud and long. They knew.
He was pretty shell-shocked by the whole thing. It was ignored and NEVER resolved or discussed. It’s a very large family. I have been the black sheep ever since even though I wasn’t even in the “fight.” I would actually take responsibility for anything if I knew what made her so mad at the time. I apologized to her and she has never even admitted anything happened.
She was having a really tough time in her marriage at the time, however, and is now divorced. We didn’t live in town, so each visit was a nice, pleasant time and we all got along fine prior to this. Really changed out entire dynamic.
33. Free And Not So Easy
When I was a kid, there was this family that had an equal number of sons and daughters. There was a lot of them, I lost count. The family was religious, to the point that it was kind of cultish. The father was super controlling with his wife and all the kids, like they weren’t allowed to even say things to each other unless he was okay with it.
All of them acted like this was amazing. Anyway, the weirdest, creepiest part was that none of the girls wore bras. It was super weird because I don’t think they were allowed to.
34. No Secrets Here
The lady next door used to babysit us while my mother worked. She had children the same age as us (nine and 10 years old) and an older son who was 14 years old. She had a rule in her house that we could not close the door to a room, even if you were using the restroom or changing your clothes. I just hated when I had to use the bathroom.
I tried my best to hold it until I got home. When I could not hold it anymore, her creepy son would follow me to the restroom and just watch me pee. I would tell the mother how uncomfortable I was, but she just said that the rules are rules and I must leave the door open. I told my mother and that was the end of her babysitting us.
35. The Creepy Bunch
My stepfather’s family. His father was married to a woman and they had a bunch of kids. The wife succumbed to some kind of illness, so he married another woman who also had a bunch of kids. Then they together had a bunch of kids. Basically, it was one enormous family. And then it turned outrageous. The stepkids began to marry each other, with the dad’s kids marrying some of the wife’s kids.
My stepfather was child number 25. And then after him, there were two more girls born. All total there were 27 kids. Oh, and two of the boys had the same first name. I never met all of my step-cousins. But one cousin lived in infamy. When he was 12 years old, my cousin Frankie shot and killed his own mother. At first they thought it was self-inflicted, but no.
I was also 12 years old at the time, and these people always held their viewings and wakes in the big family home. It was really creepy to see all this as a kid. They sang songs with no music, too. The whole thing was a new experience to me, so it was scary. While we were eating at the table, the five-year-old sister of that 12-year-old Frankie was sitting across from him and said, “I hate you, Frankie, for killing my mommy.”
I was sitting right next to him. He flew up from his chair and went across the table, had her by the throat, and was down on the floor choking her. It took five uncles to get him off of her. He ended up only doing like five or six months in Juvie Hall, then he was sent home.
36. Mother May I
My first memory is of my parents fighting when I was three years old. I remember my mom looking at my dad and yelling, “This is why we’re getting a divorce.” They separated when I was two, but took some time to figure out custody, as well as the actual finalization of their divorce. My mom was always so angry and would scream, throw things, and tell me consistently she didn’t want me around.
I finally had a breaking point with my mom the day before I turned 17. We got into a huge fight and I realized that she was just taking out the aggression of her past on me. I realized she had been blocking out what she put me through, and finally brought it to her attention. I know her mother was awful, and she kept perpetuating this cycle.
What triggered the whole realization was when I dated someone for the first time when I was 16, and my boyfriend’s mom treated me like her own. It was the first time I felt welcome in a home. She made sure I ate because she knew I wasn’t eating properly at home, she always had a bed made for me in case I ever needed a place to stay, and would always check in with my boyfriend to make sure I was okay when I went home.
37. A Twisted Family Tree
I was eight years old and sitting in my new babysitter’s apartment having an asthma attack. I was very allergic to cats and my mom had left me with her despite knowing my allergy and knowing that she had nine cats. But the reason why she left me there was even worse. She needed me out of the way so she could go sleep with my older sister’s boyfriend.
She hadn’t even sent my inhaler with me. My life nearly ended that day, honest to God. To make matters worse, my sister found out and got in a fistfight with my mom in the hospital hallway while respiratory therapy was working with me. They both caught an STD from the dude, and I learned to always have my inhaler on me. Among other lessons.
38. You Are What You Eat
My cousin Stephanie made a peanut cake, just everything out of peanuts. The flour had peanuts, it had peanut butter, peanut chocolate, and peanut chunks. I’m very allergic to peanuts, and she knew it. I refused to eat it for obvious reasons, and Stephanie shed some crocodile tears about how she had lovingly made the cake so we can all eat it, and how insulting it was for me to pass on it.
Between my Aunt Karen, her husband, and my paternal grandparents, they forced me to eat a HUGE piece of that cake while my other cousin called emergency from outside the house. I literally almost passed on. Afterward, they said they didn’t know about my allergy (???), and “I was a rebellious teenager who was very picky about food.”
39. Rain Check On Decency
I knew my family was toxic when none of them showed up to our youngest child’s third birthday party. Oh, but it gets worse. We had this planned for about a month and a half; you have to when you have three kids and crazy lives. Less than three weeks out, my mom decides to go on a mini-vacation to Florida for three days and asked us to move the whole party.
Her husband, my stepdad, decided that since she wasn’t going to the party, he didn’t have to either. Meanwhile, one of my brothers decided to go on a kayaking trip because he felt no obligation since my mom and stepdad weren’t going. Our youngest brother is the only one with a legitimate excuse because he had work that weekend.
So, the day of the party, everyone’s asking, “Where is your family?” This is both friends and my wife’s family, who I love dearly. For the first time, I didn’t hold back and said, “Because they’re toxic and too self-absorbed.” This was definitely one of those last straw situations. My wife and I were married young, and to be honest, my in-laws have been my parents ever since then.
40. In The Dog House
When I was very young, a friend once mentioned that she slept with the family dogs. Not a big deal, right? Our dog slept in my room, too. Then I went over to her house for a sleepover. We slept in the living room that night, but when she went to change into her nightie, I found out she slept in the basement, on a sleeping bag between two of the four kennels housing the family’s 10 dogs.
All of her possessions were in cardboard boxes. There were three bedrooms in that house—one for her parents, one for her sibling who had moved out a few years ago, and one stacked floor to ceiling with the products for her mom’s various pyramid schemes. No one seemed to think this was at all odd. My friend matter-of-factly said it was her choice to move into the basement so she had “space.”
She didn’t tell me to keep it secret or say anything that made me think it was wrong, so although I felt weird about it, I just kind of dropped it. We faded in and out of contact all through school, and the last I heard, she moved in with her boyfriend when she was 16, but remained on good terms with her parents. So I guess the weirdest part of this story is that no one involved seemed to think anything was wrong with the situation.
41. Paint It Black
My stepfather said that when he was little, he brought a friend home. However, his mother was a bit of a nut-job and decided that the kid’s hair should be black, so she somehow convinced the kid to let her dye his hair before sending him on his way. When he was reminded of it, my stepfather just said ruefully, “I never saw that kid again.”
42. I Wanna Be Popular
As a kid I lived in a rural area of the Southern US in a lower middle class neighborhood. We all had average 50s style brick homes, except for this one neighbor. They moved in when I was in the 6th grade and they lived in a single-wide trailer. Turns out, this girl was really popular at my school, her parents divorced, and she and her mom moved from their own average 50s style brick home nearby into the trailer in the back of our neighborhood.
So I met this neighbor and I go to her trailer. I had never seen anything like it. There were bags of garbage everywhere. Old food and dishes in the sink. The entire place smelled like a cross between sour milk and dog poop. Speaking of dogs, they had two and they pooped in the trailer, and there was a bare spot in the living room carpet where they fed the dogs directly on the floor.
Filth would be a step up for this family. There would just be dog poop on the floor and it would just lie there, and you had to watch your step and sometimes you’d step in it while visiting. But they didn’t clean it up or anything. They would just sit around the living room with dog poop on the floor, completely oblivious to it like this is normal.
Here’s the weirdest part: the girl was incredibly clean herself. She was beautiful, neatly dressed, and easily the most popular girl in our school. However, she also smoked and her mom not only knew about it but also bought packs for her. Every morning before school, she smoked several darts, and every day after school she smoked.
She smoked in front of her mom all the time. She also had a boyfriend who was allowed to stay the night and they got it on all the time. She talked about this constantly. Her mom just didn’t care. Fast forward to the eighth grade and the girl got pregnant. In ninth grade, she had the baby. In tenth grade, she got married. They were together for 25 years before divorcing.
Maybe the whole thing isn’t creepy exactly but it was seriously sad. As an adult she’s had cancer and still smokes. She believes nonsensical conspiracy theories. The baby she had in the ninth grade became an adult who was caught having some sort of inappropriate contact with a minor so she was left to raise her grandkids while her son went behind bars.
Other than that she’s fine it seems, but her childhood was incredibly neglectful.
43. Visiting Hours Are Over
Years ago, I was in the hospital after getting stabbed in the abdomen. I went under and the doctors had to bring me back. I woke up in the hospital full of stitches, but still alive. I had a really great group of friends who came throughout the weeks of my being there, to the point that I got my own room because it was disturbing fellow patients I shared a room with and the staff were super nice about it.
The only family member to visit, however, was my younger sister. My mom, dad, other four siblings….None of them came, and my mom only phoned and communicated to me through the nurses, never speaking directly to me until I was back at home. And this was during a time where we actually had a decent relationship comparative to other times in life.
44. The Family That Rages Together…
As a kid, I had a friend who came from a strongly religious family. This one time I was over at his house, and he angered his brother over some stupid computer stuff, which he did a lot because of his antagonistic personality. This particular time, he made his brother so angry that we had to hide in one of the rooms and push stuff in front of the door in order to hold the brother out.
Eventually, the father—who was a priest—came home. Then he got so angry at us and the older brother that I darn near peed my pants. I was so frightened. I always thought it was weird how a deeply religious family was so short-fused. There was a mild cognitive discrepancy. See, in my family we always talked things over in a rational way and never yelled really.
So this pushed my boundaries quite hard and ever since that event, I never went over to his place anymore. Instead, I’d invite him to my place where things were more chill.
45. Digital Addiction
My high school girlfriend’s family didn’t have a TV in the living room. No big deal right? Yeah. No sofa either. Or recliner. Or coffee table. Just four computer desks, one in each corner of the room, each facing the wall, and each with their own computer and two monitors. I asked her about them when we got to her room.
She said they get on their computers and talk to friends and…each other. In a chat room on the computer, with no one ever saying a word out loud. And true enough, her mom, dad, and brother were on the PCs from after school until 10 pm, when I left. I was convinced we could’ve got it on all day and they never would’ve noticed.
46. Peace And Quiet
I noticed this about my own family: No one was allowed over from outside the family. EVER. It made our family extremely mysterious to the whole neighborhood, and people told all sorts of crazy rumors about my grandfather, and us, and all the sinister things that must be going on in our house. The truth was actually so tragic.
In reality, my grandfather had PTSD when people still didn’t know what to call it, and any and all loud noises could really mess him up. We couldn’t trust other people’s kids to be quiet, so no one was allowed over. Ever. Was totally normal to me, but it made everyone else sure I grew up in a horrific environment. For the record, I didn’t.
47. The Root Of All Evil
Growing up, my family basically pooled together all our paychecks, and whatever was extra after bills was more or less fair game to use for my parents. So I constantly got my paychecks drained. I tried saving money up by saying I had a little less than what I did. After a year, had about $1,000 saved up. That’s when disaster struck.
My mom took my card to “buy dinner” and proceeded to check the balance on my card. She sees I have a lot more money than I was telling them. So she used my card to buy over $150.00 of food that I got none of, and then kicked me out of the house for “making the family do without.” Imagine not being proud of your kid for trying to save money.
48. Holiday Cheer
Not me, but my girlfriend. After a year of being, together I invited her over for Christmas. After all the gift opening, my family sat down for food and we were all laughing and having a great time. Then I looked over at her, and she was quiet and just looked kind of shocked. We get in my car afterward, and she said “Is this how Christmas is every year?”
I told her yes, and she said “This is nothing like my family’s style. We open gifts, get into arguments, and then take the gifts back.”
49. Everything All The Time
One of my friends growing up had a hoarder mom. We would go to his house, which was always dark because the shades were all pulled closed, and every surface was covered with condiment bottles. Ketchup, mustard, BBQ, pickles, and all that stuff. Some full, some empty. It didn’t smell good. Meanwhile, he lived in a trailer in the driveway that he kept immaculate.
This was weird in itself, considering he was like 10 years old. It was so strange when you’re too young to really understand mental illness. His mom was always super nice though. Just kind of sad.
50. Let Your Freak Flag Fly
In high school, I slept over at a new friend’s house and she lived with her father (who was divorced) and her other siblings. The home was mid-century style with large windows, and in every room in the house, except the kids’ rooms, there were life-size mannequins dressed in wigs and lingerie. Mannequins standing up, mannequins lying on the couch, mannequins in the kitchen.
All in different, sensual poses. All of them could be seen from the outside windows. I never went there again.
51. As Close As Siblings
In high school of my freshman year, there was this brother and sister that were fairly attractive. They were probably actually step-siblings, but I can’t confirm. He was the long-haired, laid back, witty, dream boy that girls would chat with. I’ll call him Will. The sister was this cute, shy goth girl with striking green eyes but black everything else and piercings.
I actually had a crush on her because she would always say hi to me and give me the flirt eyes. I’ll call her Iris. One day, we were bored in class and the teacher was feeling lazy. So naturally, we all got in groups and talked. I was around the brother and the topic came to bedroom experience. Obviously, I was virgin. But then Will made a shocking revelation.
He mentions casually that he got it on with Iris just two nights ago. Our group just kind of fell silent. Finally, someone asked, “Like…wait. Iris? Like your sister, Iris? Or some other girl?” We thought maybe he forgot to clarify and we’d laugh about it. But then he confirmed that, yes, he meant his sister. We started to lose our minds. Someone else asked Iris to confirm.
She also said yes. Then, as people start getting grossed out, they moved close to each other and started holding hands. They say they’ve been doing it for a while now—at least a year or so. Some people actually ran out the classroom to cry or throw up. Others just kind of gawked in disbelief. We were supremely upset by this and just kind of stopped talking to them.
I still had a mild crush on Iris, but that revelation always made my stomach turn. I ended up transferring schools a month later, so I never found out what happened after that.
52. Hush Now, Go To Sleep
I spent the night at a friend’s house with a group of girlfriends for a birthday. We were like 12 or 13 years old, and the parents gave us a strict bedtime of 10 pm. We made some effort to go to bed by then, but some of us were still up and talking in low voices. Nothing loud. Her dad came out of his bedroom with a bag and told us to grab our blankets and go out to the backyard.
Inside the bag was a tent. Then he closed the back door and left us out there. His daughter was too afraid to go inside to get a glass of water. We built the tent and everyone was kind of shell-shocked. It wasn’t dangerous out there, but we just didn’t expect to get kicked out of the house all night. Those parents were weirdly serious about bedtime.
53. A Long Way Down
My friend’s dad had his life turned upside down basically. He and I were friends since real early, first or second grade at the latest, clear into our thirties. I was never very well-off, and he was solidly upper-middle-class judging by his house. As I recall, his father was a very good fisherman who made most of their income from tournaments, while his mother was a dentist.
Anyways, they were always super nice and had me over a lot. The dad took me and my friend fishing most weekends in the summers, and he helped us build bikes and go-carts. He was a very good father. There was also a sister. As a 13-year-old, this 16- to 17-year-old was my absolute crush, but that’s totally beside the point. Her life became a tragedy.
Something happened at the lake I am still not entirely privy to and she died. Some form of collision that killed her on impact. Her dad was never the same; he was distant and disheveled, and he stopped fishing or doing much of anything but drink. He was still super nice to me, but he was different after that and you could tell he just never came to terms with it.
Later, his dentist wife would go entirely mental while in the middle of fixing a patient’s mouth, and she had to give up her practice.
54. Bad News Bear
One of my grandfathers only called me with super-negative information. He’d tell me thing like he put one of the cats down, with details on how the cat acted on the way to the vet. He let me know on my 21st birthday that I was an old maid. That one was just after my grandmother, his wife, had passed a few months prior.
When my parents’ house was broken into, he didn’t even tell me. I only found out when we arrived home to see yellow tape outside my bedroom window. When my father passed, he decided my mom and I didn’t need any sympathy calls or anything. Because it “might upset us more.” I had more sympathy from perfect strangers.
He did call me after my father passed to let me know that my father never loved me—which was a crock, as anyone who knew my father knew how close we were. He passed in the hospital last year, and I had to miss the funeral. I couldn’t have shed a tear anyway. Meanwhile, many of the locals think he was great—they only saw his public persona.
55. The Lion’s Share
I will mention one episode only that particularly hit me, as toxicity in my family is basically the norm. I was around seven years old and my grandfather, my mother’s father, a plush of Mufasa and baby Simba from the Lion King. After visiting him, my parents and I went to my grandmother’s, my father’s mother. I had my plush with me.
We stayed at her place for 3-4 days. When it was time to leave, I was collecting my stuff but I couldn’t find the baby Simba anywhere. My mother asked my grandmother if she had seen the plush anywhere and she said no. Also, she commented “She (referring to me) is spoiled” because, in her opinion, I wasn’t good enough at taking care of my things.
I left with Mufasa only and without baby Simba. One year after, we visited my grandmother again. I went to the living room and my blood went cold. In one corner, my grandmother had put all my cousins’ toys so that they could find them easily when they were going to visit her. And…well, together with a giant doll, kitchen utensils, and a children’s book, there was my baby Simba plush. My grandmother had taken it away from me to give it to my cousins.
56. Get Away From It All
When my mom yelled at me for being depressed. She was saying how rude and inconvenient it is for everyone around me that I was depressed. She was screaming so hard that her face was all red. She screamed at me frequently. She would also always wait until I was in the car with her because I would be unable to leave.
I stopped talking to her after that and she played the victim. She apparently was suffering because she was “abandoned by her daughter.” No one in my family wanted to hear my side of things, no one reached out to check in on me. I was made out to be the bad selfish daughter. Now, I don’t have a relationship with anyone in my family.
I cut both my parents off after I realized they both will not change or get help or see they ever did anything wrong. It’s been tough to deal with the emotions of it all, especially the emotions I felt when I was younger and in their care. I’ve been working on it with therapy for a few years now. But it’s been a necessary decision for me to cut those ties, so I can focus on myself.
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. I don’t blame him at all.
58. Long-Lost Son
I was the family secret. My biological parents started having kids as teenagers. For context, when my biological mom found out she was pregnant with me, she was 21 and I was their fourth child. They quickly realized they needed to get their act together. They were already struggling financially, had countless drug issues, etc. They decided that they were going to put me up for adoption when I was a baby.
A loving family adopted me quite quickly, and we lived only about an hour’s drive from the city I was born in. Coincidentally, I ended up returning to that same city for college. During my sophomore year, I decided to seek out my biological family. It turns out that my biological parents separated right after I was born. My biological mom is still in and out of jail to this day, but my biological dad was able to start a new chapter.
He got clean and sober, remarried, started going to church, and built a legitimate career for himself. He told his new wife about me when they first met, but didn’t tell any of his children. My other siblings didn’t know I existed. Thanks to the internet, I ended up tracking down his work number and gave him a call. Later on, he said as soon as I said, “Hi, this might be really weird, but…” he knew it was me.
Apparently, ever since I turned 18, he and his wife were waiting anxiously for me to resurface. They knew the day would come eventually. That evening, they sat my siblings down and told them about me. It was difficult at first, but now I’m 25 and he and I have a pretty solid relationship.
59. Dark Secret
I always thought that my paternal grandfather, from Denmark, was one of three boys born to my great-grandparents. However, I found out that there was a fourth brother that no one would talk about. Eventually, I learned the chilling reason why. It turns out that he was killed in WWII by his own men when they found out he was actually a German sympathizer who’d been trying to act as an agent provocateur.
He woke up one day, was greeted with an armed escort, taken out to a tree line, and shot until they ran out of ammunition. They didn’t bury him or bring his body back. The family got a short letter from the army saying he was KIA, then a family friend who was in the army and in the know sent a letter filling in a few details, just enough so they knew why they weren’t getting a body to bury.
His name was never spoken again until my grandfather was in his 90s and starting to mentally slip away.
My grandfather tried to kill my dad with an axe. He literally showed up to his place of work and went looking to cut him down. Somehow, my unprepared dad fought him off with his bare hands. Grandpa escaped—but the nightmare wasn’t over. He came back the next day to finish the job with a gun, but my dad didn’t show up to work, so my grandfather turned the gun on himself in the parking lot.
I still can’t completely grasp that this story, and the circus of insanity that surrounded it, were real.
61. Letting the Past Lie
My great aunt and uncle had a baby when they were still in the dating phase. They were in love, and getting married was a sure thing down the line. However, coming from a very conservative society in the Middle East back in the 50s, they had to give the child away to an orphanage. Once that was done, they got married and eventually had four other children.
That first child grew up knowing his origins, but was only allowed minimal contact with his family. He still isn’t invited to family events, and has a family of his own. When my great uncle passed away, I was told he was amongst the mourners who came to the cemetery to pay respects, but none of my cousins including myself know what he looks like. My dad and his siblings and cousins all do, but they did not introduce him to us.
It’s sad how he’s punished for something that isn’t his fault.
62. The Cheater
My sister’s fiancé died very suddenly and very tragically from a heart attack. She was 20, and he was 23. It turned out that he had an underlying condition. In the months following his death, she found out he had been cheating on her basically since the start of their three-year relationship. Some women were long term and knew about her, others were just casual one-night stands that probably didn’t know.
She kind of went off the deep end a little, because now she was not only mourning a man she loved; she also had to deal with this fact without being able to ask him for answers. Silver lining though; she ended up dating and marrying one of his good friends. They sort of bonded in the aftermath of his death. He is the best thing that ever happened to her and vice versa.
They will be married for three years this summer.
63. Paranoid Delusions
I had a brother who had some paranoid delusions (FBI, CIA following him, spying on his apartment, etc.). My brothers and I tried to get him help and he would just have no part of it. After a few years, it seemed like it had gotten better. He stopped bringing it up and we felt like it must have just passed. After he died, we found his journal and it was just horrifying.
Right up until the night he died, he detailed all of the torture that they were inflicting on him. I can’t go into much detail—it’s hard for me to write about. Briefly, he believed that they were using some type of focused energy beam. They focused on different parts of his body at different times. Every noise that an appliance made was proof of electronic surveillance. Every bump on the wall or person walking in an adjacent apartment was a message from either the “bad” FBI agents or the “good” FBI agents.
It was just incredibly disturbing to read what an awful life he was living inside his mind while acting relatively normal outside.
64. Hidden Truths
My mom was raised by her mom and her stepfather, who touched her inappropriately. Where was dad? He died when she was 11, or at least that’s what my grandmother said. This would have been around 1961. Flash forward to 2015 and my sister is doing genealogy work on the family. She finds out my biological grandfather not die in 1961, he died in 2005. But it gets worse.
He had five more daughters, one of which he gave the same name as my mom. So, my mom got cheated out of a potential relationship with her dad by her liar of a mom (who moved and remained hidden from her ex, my mom’s real dad). My grandmother moved down to Texas from Virginia to stay in a nursing home and to basically make my mom and dad’s life terrible.
We went to visit one weekend and she came over for dinner. I dropped the facts on her that we’d figured out she’d been lying for 50 years. She then had the nerve to act offended. My dad told her to shut up.
65. Leg Man
My brother shot himself in the leg to get out of Iraq and tried to blame it on an enemy attack. I learned about this the day I arrived in Afghanistan for my year-long tour. All I heard prior to that was that he had been shot. I found out later that it was a self-inflicted wound and that he was being monitored out of fear he would take his own life.
He was eventually kicked out with a less than honorable discharge. He’s never actually told anyone this, I just heard it through the National Guard, which is sometimes like a gossipy small town. I actually don’t hold it against him. The situation over there sucked. He’s absolutely ruined his life since then by becoming a heavy drinker and basically sitting the world out. Just sad all around.
Also, my mom and her sister both married the same man, so all my siblings are also cousins with each other.
66. Throwing Out The Baby With The Bathwater
My family’s dark secret is that my older sister willingly let her baby drown in the bathtub because she knew he wasn’t mentally “all there” as she called it and couldn’t handle it. She swore up and down to the authorities that it was an accident and that she only left the room for a second. She was never charged with anything and it was ruled a tragic accident.
I still have never forgiven her for it, and I never will. My nephew was around 18 months when this happened. My older sister has always kind of been a bit of a dirtbag. She has always been a horrible person in the past to everyone around her, and she pushed a lot of family away by being so terrible. So, when she had my nephew, we all hoped this would make her grow up in a way.
We hoped she would finally become a responsible adult. Her husband at the time worked nearly 60 hours or more a week on a farm, so my sister was the one at home with my nephew. She kept trying to get a job, but kept getting fired or would simply quit. According to one of her stories during the time, she was giving my nephew a bath and she got a phone call about a job.
That’s her excuse for why she stepped out of the room to take it. Several other slight variations of the story were told too at different points. She has never shown any real sadness and has had two more kids since then. One, she just had about six months ago. Her husband left her after the incident and, as far as I know, he still visits his son’s grave about once a month.
My sister has gone to the grave only once, because my uncle offered to take her on the anniversary of his passing. I know raising a child who may have special needs is hard, but she knew she had every option for help from the rest of our family. There was absolutely no excuse for what she did. And I will never forgive her. Ever.
67. All About Me
I am actually the dark family secret. All of my brothers and sister know, but they don’t know that I know. They’ve kept the secret from everyone except one person, and that person told me. The secret is that my mother had an affair that resulted in pregnancy, and my father raised me like I was his own. And none of them know that I found out.
I sometimes contemplate whether or not I should tell my sons the truth about their grandmother, but I think I probably won’t. I actually recalled having met my real father when I was really young, but not again since. And I am not interested in meeting him now. Both of my parents have passed, so I’m not going to make any issues out of it.
68. Lights Out
One of my best friends growing up had really weird house rules. No one was allowed to go into the garage, which we later found out was because her parents smoked in there. But the weirdest things were that both her and her brother were locked in their rooms at bedtime, with a deadbolt on the outside of the door, and they weren’t allowed to turn on hallway lights at night.
Light on in the living room while you’re watching TV? Sure. Light on in the kitchen or bedroom? Of course. But they couldn’t turn on any other lights when moving from room to room or going upstairs. I know there were other things, but those two still stick out the most to me. What the heck was going on there at night? I’ll always wonder.
69. Take Out The Trash
The annual trash trip. While in elementary school, I went home with a friend once a week for a few months due to one of my parent’s scheduling. I noticed that any time we ate at this friend’s house, it was with paper plates and plastic utensils…and they always just threw all trash in a pile in the garage. The pile kept growing. And growing. And stinking.
Then at one point, it almost all just went away…all of a sudden the pile was less than one trash bag. I commented about this to my friend. His response made my stomach churn. He just shrugged and said last weekend was the “annual trash trip.” Apparently, they scooped it all into the bed of his dad’s truck and hauled it to the town dump, about a 10 minute drive away.
70. No Shirt Off My Back
When I was 12, I went to the beach with one of my friend’s families. While most of it was normal, my buddy was a bit chubby and he wanted to wear a shirt while swimming. I assume he was self-conscious, which is fine and I didn’t care. However, this became a huge fight between him and his family, and to an irrational level.
They refused to let him wear it. It just was so weird to me. Now, I was always skinny as a kid but certainly if I had wanted to do something as insignificant as wearing a shirt at the beach, my parents would have no issue with it.
71. Child Detective
I was seven years old, and my dad hadn’t been home for three days. My mom put us kids in the car and drove to every bar in town until she saw my dad’s truck. Then she told me to go into the bar, look for my dad, and tell him to come home. I refused, so she sent my 4-year-old brother in instead.
72. Forgive And Forget
My mother threw a fit about how my son is so involved in his dad’s life. This hit home, because my mother and father have been separated for a long time because she did the same thing to him with us. She decided that I was “neglecting” my son because I didn’t want to limit what he does with his dad. I’m sorry if I won’t repeat my family’s mistakes and that I want my son to have a father.
73. Shoddy Support System
When my parents realized that I had been accepted into a premier school on a partial scholarship, they retracted their promise to pay for my college, just because they wanted me to go to a state school near them. They even gave me an ultimatum, telling me that if I went there, I could never really be accepted back into their house.
I ended up going to the local state school they wanted, and flunked out due to stress and depression. 24 years later, my brother is on his fourth degree and they are still supporting him and his wife. Oh, and his “professional poker playing.”
74. Hush Little Baby
I was talking to a friend about how my allergies had been acting up recently, a problem I had never had until I moved out of California, when she asked me if I wanted Benadryl because she had some in her purse. I told her I built up a tolerance to Benadryl, and she was very surprised because my allergies had just started getting bad when I moved here.
She asked me how in the heck did I build up a tolerance to Benadryl? My answer made her go white as a ghost. I mentioned to her that growing up, my mom would give me Benadryl every night until I was about 14 or 15. It would make me drowsy so I would go to sleep and leave her alone. She was very alarmed.
75. In Sickness And In Health
When my mom opened my mail, took out a credit card check, made it out to herself for $4,000, and put it in front of me to sign…while I was in the hospital getting chemotherapy. I did not sign it, and she was very angry and told me how I owed her. We really didn’t have any kind of a relationship after that because I was just trying to stay alive and the stress was too much.
Then my sister started jumping all over me because I was asleep and didn’t answer the phone when she called me…because I was tired from cancer and the treatment. Yeah, we’re still not talking.
76. Real Mature
This kid in my fourth-grade class that I was friends with invited me to his birthday party. I had a baseball game or something, so I just went over beforehand to hang out a little bit. Well, they just casually had adult stuff playing on the family room TV. I apparently came home and told my parents we watched a movie about two people lying down on a couch and hugging and they kind of did the math themselves.
77. Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover
I grew up in an immigrant home but lived in a white middle-class neighborhood. One day, I was over at my white friend’s house whose parents were divorced. Her dad came by and she gave him some attitude because she wanted him to visit more. In a split second, everything changed. Her dad just pushed her—HARD—right in front of me.
His face was a mask of rage. I was scared and I grew up under a tiger mom. I thought no other parent could scare me. I was genuinely shocked my white friend got pushed by her dad. It was shocking because they had a nice house and all the things middle class families have. Pool, dog, nanny, tickets to the Backstreet Boys.
Also contributing to the shock was the sheer audacity of doing it in front of non-family. My parents hid that from outsiders like they were the CIA. Everyone who met her thought my mom was a tiny angelic mother who couldn’t hurt a fly. She even had a totally different voice she used for outsiders. That’s when I realized it’s true. No one knows what someone is going through. I thought she was pretty tough after that. But I felt for her too.
78. The Welcome Wagon
When I was a kid, I want to say like five years old, I walked into a new “friend’s” house and their family immediately remarked how much they liked my jacket and asked where they could find it. Flash-forward to two hours later, my jacket has vanished from the closet. I searched the closet, then searched everywhere we had played, but they told me “we’ll give it back to you when we find it.”
I never went back to see that “friend,” and the jacket never found its way back to me at school. I’m approaching my 40s and to this day that bothers me.
79. Into Thin Air
We had a family across the street that had a daughter around my age, maybe a little younger. Her house constantly had a distinct smell, and once when I spent the night she told me that God spoke to her and told her she was going to heaven. Then it got even stranger. One day the house was just empty. I came home from school, went over, and knocked for ten minutes.
When I peered through the blinds, everything was gone. I didn’t think much of it at first, since families came and went often in our neighborhood. But a few weeks later, according to my dad, a bounty hunter came looking for the parents. I obviously had no information, but I always wonder where they went and what the smell was.
80. Playing Pretend
There were kind of a lot of moments; but some re-occurring moments were whenever I was seriously sick or hurt, my mom wouldn’t believe me, or she would ignore me. When I was nine years old, I told her the vitamins she gave me made me feel sick. She told me to hurry up to the car so I wouldn’t be late for school. I said that I really didn’t feel good.
She yelled to hurry up. I go outside, and suddenly I’m puking on the lawn. She rolled her eyes at me. When I was 12 years old, I told her that I fell on my elbow at school and it hurt a lot. She just hummed at me. I tell her the next day that my arm still really hurts.
She said I was fine. The day after that, I’m being driven to school, and she asks me why I was wearing a sweater even though it’s hot outside and also, “Why are you holding your arm like that?” I roll up my sleeve and show her my elbow, which is purple and swollen like heck. Her response: “Oh.” 17 years old. I was sick, sick sick sick, and she kept telling me that it was just allergies.
I asked her if I could just lie down for an hour. At exactly an hour, she called for me to do the dishes. I didn’t get up because I was just starting to doze and I really felt like I couldn’t move. She kept yelling at me to get up, stop being lazy, and come do the dishes. I pulled myself out of bed, having to use the wall to support me.
I see her in the main room and tell her that I genuinely didn’t feel well. She scoffed at me and said I needed to stop acting. My brother had stepped in the main room then and immediately took a step back seeing me. “Oh my god, you’re literally gray. You look terrible, Mom are you seeing her?” My mom didn’t say a thing, but my grandmother came out of her room, hearing my brother, and also gasped in horror, expressing how terrible I looked.
It was only then that my mother said, “Okay, let’s get you to a hospital.” I had a particularly bad case of strep throat. Anyway, I’m 20 now. She still doesn’t believe me if I’m sick or hurt. She’s always claiming that I’m being dramatic, even though I’m not the type to play-up my sicknesses. In fact, I even tend to downplay them.
81. A Lifetime Burden
My mother is sending me a copy of her will. She said if I ever open the envelope before she passes, she will kill herself. And if she ever sees me in person again, I need to show her the unopened envelope. She said if I “get snippy” about it, she will turn around and go home. I tried to help her find a different place to keep it. But she doesn’t know of one. And she will hassle me about not opening it for the rest of my life.
My father-in-law is beyond toxic. My wife always said she wasn’t close with her dad, but we would see him for Christmas every year. We lived in southern California, and her family lives in Michigan. My father-in-law once took a trip to southern California and never told my wife until the day he was flying home. On that call, he told my wife that she “was ungrateful” for not driving down to see him.
She had just had a spinal tap for a meningitis scare and couldn’t drive by herself. Then when my son was born, my father-in-law dropped off another family member but said he needed to run an errand. He didn’t come back for a few hours. When he did, he just said he had to leave. Didn’t even talk to me or my wife. Oh, but it gets worse.
For my son’s second birthday, he said he and his wife would be out of town for a wedding. Turns out, the wedding was the next day, and “out of town” meant 20 miles from our house. The third birthday, he just didn’t show up. When my mother-in-law—they aren’t married anymore—got diagnosed with cancer, my wife called him, and all he had to say was “Huh, crazy” and hung up.
When my mother-in-law passed this last January, he never even checked in on his daughter. My wife calls him out now, and I’ve told him off a few times and “ruined Christmas” after he tried to say my wife wasn’t a good daughter since she never visits.
83. Holier Than Thou
When I was a kid I was in a Bible study group, one mom quit as leader so another took over. Her daughter in the group always seemed totally normal, and she was really into gymnastics. The family was insanely rich, like gated community McMansion in California rich, and from the first meeting we had in their house, we started to notice chilling things.
This girl was horrific to her mom. We were only there once a week for an hour and a half, and almost every week this girl would scream insults and degrade her mother, throw food or dangerous objects at her, hit her, and we watched her mom just shrink and take it. It struck me even back then that her husband and son might be doing the same to her, too.
We ended up quietly convincing another mother to take over for the group. I hope that lady is okay.
84. Not All Homes Are Equal
My mom set me up on a pity play date with one of the least popular kids in middle school. I had the social awareness to recognize the situation as it was and treated it as if I was hanging out with any other friend. The whole time we were together, his parents kept telling him that he should be glad that I was hanging out with him, otherwise he’d be alone.
When they weren’t being that blunt about it, they were dropping hints about it. I can’t express how uncomfortable that was for me, being raised in a loving family and seeing someone else’s parents treat their kid that way. I made sure to talk with him every day in school after that.
85. The Family Under The Stairs
My friend’s mom and dad lived together…and his dad’s mistress and his half-brother lived in the basement.
86. Brain Drain
My grandma and I are very close. I live a few hours away from her, and she is not very tech-savvy, so it’s difficult to phone her sometimes. I went home a few weekends ago and we got some time alone to talk. She told me that her sister, my great aunt, is getting pretty sick. She is having problems with her kidneys and it’s affecting her mind.
My aunt and grandma took her to the doctor, and then to get some medications that were about $7. Her card got declined. She hadn’t been checking her accounts, and after calling the bank, she found out they were drained of over $10k in checking and were overdrawn on top of all that. That’s when she discovered a horrific truth.
They called her daughter and granddaughter, and they both admitted to taking the money from her account. My great aunt has been paying their rent for three years and has given them two vehicles. She pays the insurance on them both. This was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, and she is cutting them off. Best of all, the latest update on her health is positive.
87. Don’t Follow Your Dreams
I was on the ride home from school and my mom said, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I answered, “Maybe be an author or something like that.” She replied with “That is so dumb, that is the stupidest thing. You are smart and you have the whole world at your fingertips, and you want to be an author? You can be a scientist or a doctor, but you want to waste your life being an author.”
88. You Are What You Eat
I remember when I was around 15 years old, my little brother had a friend, and this friend had a sister. Their dad was a pastor and both their parents were very strict about EVERY thing. I remember thinking they were crazy. They had their young kids on strict diets so they didn’t get “fat.” I mean, no sweets or soda ever, among other restrictions.
They would come to our house and my mom would let them have soda, and to them, it was the best thing ever. I completely get wanting your kids to be healthy, but they took it to a whole new level.
89. Stand At Attention
I stayed the night at my friend’s house once, and his dad woke the whole family up (including me) and made everybody line up in the living room and stand at attention while he ranted for 30 minutes about Vietnam. He would also ask yes or no rhetorical questions and demand the individual sound off afterward. It got weirder.
See, everybody just acted like it was a minor eccentricity you just had to put up with. The guy also demanded everybody in the house refer to him as sir and salute him when he walked by. Vietnam ended 10 years before the guy was born and he was never in the military. I have no idea what the heck his problem was but it was definitely a problem.
90. Going Whole Hog
After my dad passed, we were cleaning out his apartment. My mom, paternal aunt, paternal grandmother, and I were there. I was 11, my parents were divorced, and while my mom tried telling me that my grandma was not a trustworthy person, she detached her own biases enough to still allow me to be close to my dad’s family and make my own decisions.
My dad had a motorcycle, which he adored. At his apartment, because he had no will, every major possession was supposed to be recorded to the estate lawyers to be sorted out later. Nothing was to be taken home. On his motorcycle keys, he had a keychain of a bike. I was in the kitchen alone with my grandma, and spotted them on his key rack.
Nonchalantly, I said, “Oh, it’s dad’s motorcycle keys!” My grandma said, “Oh yeah, it is.” Then she grabbed them and slipped the keys in her pocket. Weeks later, I overheard my mom talking to the lawyer about not being able to find the bike keys. I told her what happened. My mom asked me if I was 100% sure I saw what I saw, and I was positive.
Lawyers spoke to lawyers, and my grandma denied that it ever happened. It came to the point where I had to give a sworn testimony at a deposition, all while my grandma looked me straight in the eye and calmly told everyone present that I “was a grief-stricken delusional child who was prone to lying”. She then tried telling everyone that my word could not be trusted due to the intense trauma of my dad’s passing, and questioned the courts about whether it was wise to believe an 11-year-old over an adult.
She chose possessions over her family. Every member of my dad’s side supported her—and then she topped even herself. She lied on my dad’s gravestone, making him two ranks higher in the service than he was, and then also stating he served in a war that he never did. I don’t even visit my dad’s grave anymore because it’s just lies.
I tried to sporadically interact with them for a few years after that, but officially cut contact in 2013.
91. Lean On Me
I was waiting outside the toilet at my mom’s house for my partner to come out. I was with her because she has severe depression and anxiety, and wanted someone there. My mother came out of her room and exploded, asking me why I’m sacrificing so much and telling me that my girlfriend was faking it to manipulate me, horrible things like that.
Worst of all, my girlfriend heard everything and broke down really badly. I haven’t taken her to my mother’s since.
92. Big Day, Big Ego
I was at my sister’s wedding, and it was the most fun wedding I’ve ever been to. Everyone was having a blast. I was catching up with some first cousins I don’t see very often when my mom walks up to us and starts complaining about how my sister didn’t want to invite some of my mom’s cousins. My sister and I had only met them a few years before and my sister didn’t like them.
My mom insisted that she needed them to be there so she could have fun. The screwed up thing was my sister had given in to my mom’s demands and some of those cousins were actually there. So my mom was actually insulting my sister at her own wedding for letting her have her way. I had known my mom’s siblings and parents were pretty awful, but this was the moment I accepted that she was just as bad.
93. Evil Stepmother
I didn’t realize this was an example of how awful and toxic my stepmother was at the time, but when I was 11, my stepmother got my two sisters, her biological kids, iPod touches. I did not receive one. At first, I brushed it off as my stepmother not getting me one because I didn’t really listen to music much, but then again neither did my sisters.
I realized years later this was just another example of her blatant favoritism towards her own children, whether she would admit it or not—and trust me, she wouldn’t.
94. Light Bulb Moment
My partner’s father refuses to have more than ONE light bulb on in the living room after dinner when it’s dark outside. We just sit there in this large room, barely able to see one another, with only one 15-watt bulb going in a lamp in the distance. One time, I got up and turned on another lamp so I could read something, and he got up immediately—without a word—and shut it off.
95. That’s The Real Me
I visited a girl who I hung out with at school, and on every wall everywhere in the house hung paintings of crying children. It only got weirder when the girl, who had always been a quiet nice girl, pulled her pants down to her knees and started running around the dining room table in a crouching position while laughing in the creepiest way ever.
She expected me to join in, but I was too weirded out and just left the room. I never looked at her the same after that. I don’t think her parents were home at the time. I don’t remember much about them either, but I always felt like they were the kinds of people you couldn’t have a stimulating conversation with. What was going on in that house??
96. Pinball Is A Full Contact Sport
My grandfather lost his life in a bar when my father was still a toddler. The official story was that he was attacked over a pinball game. Back then, pinball was taken pretty seriously, I guess. It wasn’t until recently that my grandmother made a shocking deathbed confession. She told us that my grandfather had actually taken someone else’s life and buried the body, days before his own demise.
So he was actually targeted in retaliation for a terrible thing that he had committed. Pinball was just the excuse. My grandmother kept this secret for almost 65 years.
97. What Really Matters
My grandmother is the world’s sweetest person of all time. She also, unfortunately, had a horrible, horrible woman as a mother. Her father, though, was incredible. She always talks about the small and sweet things that they used to do together when she was growing up and how much she still misses him to this day.
Recently, she told me that her mother would always tell her, “He isn’t your real father, you know” whenever she felt like hurting my grandmother some more. This continued for as long as they knew her. Eventually, her father escaped her mother’s mistreatment, and the two of them never spoke to the mother ever again.
My Nana doesn’t blame him at all for what happened, and she still loves him very, very much to this day. But at one point, she decided to get some ancestry tests done. She said that she needed to know the truth about her father before she passed; although she said it wouldn’t change anything about how she felt about him one way or the other.
So she took the test. When the results came back, she held her breath and read them out loud. A tear immediately fell down her cheek. As it turns out, her wicked mother was right after all. My grandmother eventually found her biological family and loves to talk about her French heritage with them. This is a heritage that she’s only now starting to learn about. To this day, she doesn’t hold anything against her non-biological dad and she loves him very deeply.
He took care of my grandmother when her own mother wouldn’t. He loved her, soothed her, and nurtured her through everything as if she was his own. He saved my grandmother’s spirit, I’ll tell you that much. He helped shape her into the most miraculous human being that I’ve ever met.
To this day, I will always refer to that man as my great-grandfather, and if I ever have a son of my own, I’ll definitely be naming him after him. This story always gets me teary-eyed. But the thought of Alistair, my Nana’s pretend dad, and his unwavering kindness always makes me really happy. I know it makes her happy, too.
98. They Grow Up So Fast
Sophomore year of high school, I was invited to one kid’s apartment to work on a school project. I couldn’t believe what I saw. His house had no furniture—just a single mattress and the whole place was a complete mess. A giant stack of dirty dishes, etc. While I was there, the guy nonchalantly mentioned what was going on.
His only parent, his mother, had left to visit family in Korea two years earlier, and he’d lived by himself since then. She just sent him money each month for food and paid the bills remotely. Considering he must have been like 15 years old, I was kind of thinking what the heck, but it seemed like he was doing (relatively) fine so I just moved on.
99. Gifter’s Remorse
My husband’s family gathers around the Christmas tree and opens gifts one by one…and if you don’t like your gift YOU GIVE IT BACK TO HIS MOM TO EXCHANGE IT. This was horrifying to my brother-in-law and me. We were used to opening ugly sweaters, smiling, and saying thank you, all while planning the Goodwill run in our heads.
While mortifying, my mother-in-law does it because she wants to buy exactly what you like while still having presents for you to open. At this point, my husband almost never returns stuff. Once I opened a pink shirt and took half a second too long to just say thank you to get out of the horrible tradition. My husband said without blinking, “Oh mom, she hates pink. You should do black or gray,” AND HANDED IT BACK TO HER.
100. The Gift That Keeps On Giving
This story happened to a friend of mine, who is a 34-year-old woman. One year for Christmas, she decided to get her twin sister and parents a DNA testing kit as a present. When her parents opened the gift, they both awkwardly looked at each other and said, “Oh, thanks.” They quickly tried to move on to the other presents.
My friend was slightly confused but she just shrugged it off it. Later on, they went for their customary Christmas Day walk. Her mom and sister were walking on ahead while she walked behind with her dad. While they were walking, out of nowhere, her dad broke down in tears. He spilled the beans! Turns out that both she and her “twin” sister were adopted!
The mother looked back and started crying. She couldn’t believe that her husband told her daughter about this without the two of them talking about it first. They had been planning to keep it a secret from them forever. She had never suspected that she or her sister were adopted because they both look a lot like their parents. They are also very short, as are their parents.
101. Three’s Company
So my wife and I have been together for eight years. We have a little girl who is five now and a baby boy who is two years old. I love both of them more than anything and I finally feel like I have everything. A beautiful wife, two healthy kids, a great career, and a big house. The token “American Dream,” minus the dog, since I’m allergic.
When we talked about kids before, my wife always said she wanted two. I only wanted one, since it would be easier and we’d have more money for vacations and stuff, but my wife maintained it’s important for a child to have a sibling. I grew up with four and my wife with none, so I guess I understand where she’s coming from.
After our son and getting through the baby years and sleepless nights for the second time, I didn’t want to ever go through that again. Both kids were very fussy and colicky. But when he was a year old, my wife began casually mentioning that she wanted a third. I would laugh it off, but finally, she sat me down and gave me a chilling ultimatum.
She said we have to have a third. I said no, we agreed on two, but she said she wanted four, so three was actually the compromise. I refused and said I wanted one, and we have two. She then got angry and called me selfish for taking away her dream of wanting a big family. A couple days later, she apologized and we were intimate.
In fact, over the past little while, I noticed her drive increased exponentially, but so did mine and I was happy to engage with her. After all, she was on birth control, I had a condom, and it was all good. Thinking back on it, I probably should have figured something was up. Still, I was barely handling two little kids and work on top of housework and yard work and everything.
I came home from work one day while the kids were at their grandparents. My wife had a huge smile on her face and she sat me down and showed me a positive pregnancy test, literally dancing in joy. My first thought was, “oh God.” My wife noticed a less-than-happy expression on my face and started screaming at me. She berated me for not being supportive and this was a “miracle from God” and I should be grateful.
I said I was sorry and hugged her and said I was super excited for the baby. My wife was delighted, and later that night she was calling all family and friends to happily tell them the news. When she was talking about the nursery and how we’ll convert my office into a room, I started to get a little suspicious. Everything was so well thought-out and it seemed like she’d been planning this for a while.
When she was asleep, I took the condoms out of the cupboard and ran them underwater. Holes. I nabbed her phone and saw she’d set a password. That was odd. Nevertheless, my wife has a terrible memory, so I tried her birthday and it opened. I saw texts that made me go white as a sheet. They were of her best friend of my wife complaining how I wouldn’t come around to a baby.
Her best friend suggested to “arrange an accident” with a winky face. My wife agreed and said she was going to come off of birth control. It went on for a little while, ending with my wife saying that yes, we were going to have a third. So I woke her up immediately and asked her if this had really been a “miracle”? She got that deer-in-headlights look and burst into tears.
She wailed and then she got angry. Through tears, she screamed how I had no right to go through her phone and it’s her choice whether or not she wants to take birth control; the side-effects are bad and she was sick. She also brought up that if I really didn’t want a third kid, I should have had a vasectomy. She told me to go sleep on the couch.
I laughed out loud and said no, I’m sleeping here, you’re leaving. So while wailing, she packed a bag and left to her parents. When she called the next day, I told her I just need some time to myself. She said that’s fine, but I need to come around for our child. I told her I wasn’t sure if it’d be “our child” and she cried more.
It’s been two weeks since then. We’re back in the same house, and she constantly keeps on stopping me and trying to get me excited for our kid and planning the nursery and names and how happy our kids will be to get a younger sibling. I’ve been ignoring her entirely. I don’t know if I should leave her over this. I don’t trust her anymore.
She entirely betrayed me. I’m angry. But I have another child on the way.