Every family has its fair share of skeletons in the closet—but the burden is so much greater when you’re the only person who knows. From wild infidelities and illegitimate children to scammers and shady deals, the stories from these dysfunctional families are seriously jaw-dropping.
1. Her Secret Life
I absolutely adore my mother—but she doesn’t know that I discovered her secret. She’s a single mother who got a master’s in education while taking care of three of us all the way up to working being a head of a department in the DOE.
I’ve never seen her drink, shout, act immature, act out in any unbecoming way etc.
My whole life the one thing people commented on was how “classy” my mother is. Then two years ago when moving out, I ended up accidentally taking one of her boxes of papers from the attic thinking it was mine.
What I found was truly disturbing.
It was full of court documents talking about an affair my mother had with a married colleague where she got allegedly got so upset he ended it that she started to stalk and harass him. He filed charges against her as well and brought it to HR.
The things he says my mother did in those documents, I can’t imagine in a hundred years. Yet I also couldn’t imagine her having an affair with this guy at all, but she admits it in the paperwork.
I know why she left her state job and we moved to DC—basically, there was some kind of deal made where she would leave and it would go away. And the case was also pretty much dropped with the expectation and deal that she would never contact him or bother him again.
It’s made me really realize that you don’t know ANYONE really.
2. Truth Serum
My dad drunkenly called me and told me my younger brother is my half-brother. My mother doesn’t know that I know.
Long story short is that my mom cheated on my dad and didn’t tell him till the child was two. She then divorced him and left him for the guy that she cheated on him with.
3. Torn Apart
I’ve told my parents that I know my dad cheated on my mom while she was pregnant with my younger brother. There are a couple of parts they don’t know I know—and one they don’t even know themselves.
For one, my dad actively took me to see his mistress (my now-stepmom) while he was still with my mom.
I was really young, but I remember being around her while my parents were still married. It didn’t click for me until I got older, and the rest of the family was really mad to find out when I told them.
Then there’s the thing I know that my dad and the rest of my family don’t know—and it’s absolutely heartbreaking. It’s that my paternal grandpa continued to give my mom $1,000/month on top of what my dad paid in child support, because he was angry at my dad for cheating.
My mom actually told me a story about my dad trying to bail on a dinner where the divorce was going to be discussed, and my grandpa straight up said, “You’re going to that dinner whether you like it or not”. Then, my dad started favoring the kids he had with my stepmom, and my grandpa wasn’t having it.
Until the day he died, he would secretly give my brother and me “extra” for Christmas, birthdays, etc, because he knew the other two kids were getting treated better. My mom told me many times that my grandpa was the only member of my dad’s side she truly still loved after the divorce because of everything he did.
On top of that, my grandparents paid for the house my dad and mom lived in, but my dad wanted to leave it when he got remarried.
He didn’t want the memories from it. Note that this house was three years old and really expensive. My dad threw a fit because he wanted to build a new one on the family farmland.
This made the rest of my family angry because it was active farmland.
This fit split the family in half, and it’s still not fixed. My aunts and uncles still don’t like my stepmom because of her role.
4. In Another Life
I discovered that my mom had a secret husband (she divorced him) that no one knew about. I do the family history research for my family, and I discovered it by accident.
I asked her about it discreetly, and she begged me not to tell anyone—said not even my dad or brother knew.
She passed on in 2003, and I still haven’t, or won’t, tell a soul.
5. Life-Ruining Lies
I’m 99% certain that my brother, who was born three years before the divorce of my mum and dad, is actually my half-brother.
I believe his dad is my stepdad, and my mum was cheating on my dad with the dude who became my stepdad.
To cover this up, my mum made up a bunch of terrible lies about my dad. She said he tried to take my life, he kidnapped us, and that my dad always hated my brother, etc etc.
Her stories made me cut contact for 35 long, angry years. That is, until I discovered all the lies.
I unpacked this stuff with my stepbrother, and we came to the same conclusion about his real father—but there were tragic consequences. All these lies messed with me and my brother’s heads.
My brother took his life at 18 with no note.
For years I tried to figure out why, and now I’m all but certain it was due to the Jedi-level mind tricks from my mum’s attempt to hide her infidelity. My anger was channeled into rage, his went to sadness.
6. Guess It Runs In The Family
My grandfather cheated on my grandma with her best friend! Karma did him dirty though, the “best friend” took his money when they divorced. Then, my father—as in, the son of my cheating grandfather—cheated on my mother when she was pregnant with me! Such a messed-up family.
My grandpa had an entire secret family—but that’s not the most deranged part.
He named his mistress’s kids the same exact names as my mom and her brothers. No one knew until his funeral. They all think I was too young to remember, but I do.
The funny part is, I remember the secret kids and my mom and her siblings all bonding and laughing together later that night too.
8. Now That’s A Dirty Little Secret
My well-known and affluent grandfather DID NOT die of a heart attack in the 60s while taking a smoke break outside a diner during a snowstorm.
We were told he was missing for days before officers arrived at my grandmother’s doorstep to inform her that they had located his body buried in feet of snow.
My grandma told my father on her deathbed that he had been soliciting some working ladies that day and his body was found days later in his car with his pants down to his ankles!
He supposedly suffered a heart attack after an, ahem, performance.
9. Bait & Switch
I grew up with my mother and she always told me horrible stories about my dad. It took me years to find out the truth. My mother is the reason my dad wasn’t in my life for over 18 years. My sibling and I were abducted by my mother and left our country in Europe for the US.
My mother is a US citizen but my father was not, being from Europe. He took her to court here in the US but for some reason, nothing amounted to it. I grew up listening to and believing her stories of how he was a bad person and how he treated her.
Although, she was pretty bad herself with the physical, mental, and emotional suffering I endured all my life with her. But because of the stories she told my sibling and I, I grew up hating him.
I came to a boiling point with her one day and decided one day to move out once I turned 22 and moved in with my then-girlfriend.
But I didn’t know that my girlfriend had a master plan. She knew how much it hurt me not being able to be or speak with my dad so she secretly contacted him and put us in touch.
Five years later, my dad and I reconnected, and we’ve been speaking daily. I get to go back home yearly to reconnect with family.
We both are grateful to my girlfriend—who I then made my wife.
At first, it was difficult speaking to my dad as I had so much anger, hate, and questions for him. But I later learned my mom got married secretly before she met him and had us, and that’s how she got her US citizenship.
Later, she ended up cheating on my dad, and that’s how my dad found out about the previous marriage. He contacted the guy to ask why they divorced.
The guy told him to never contact him again because she ruined his life.
All of my family from my dad’s side told me stories about how my mom made life difficult for my dad. I learned a lot about her and honestly put the pieces together about how she was as a human being.
Five years later and I still have zero contact with her.
10. Caught In The Act
My family knows my secret. Years ago we had an issue with vandalism and theft at our family cabin. I completely forgot there was a hidden, motion-sensing camera in the main room. Guess where my girlfriend and I used to do the dirty when we had the place to ourselves?
11. Hypocrisy In Action
My family member was a flag-waving zealot who never met an American-instigated war he didn’t like. Well, turns out he was hiding a hilarious secret. Despite his bravado, he was a draft dodger during Vietnam. I found letters to another relative from 1968 to prove it.
The letters were found in the recipient’s house after they passed. They have no idea I know. I wish I knew this gem back in 2006.
12. A Sick Joke
I’m named after my dad’s mistress. My mom had complications while having me and my dad was left to fill out the birth certificate.
I think he thought it was funny at the time.
13. Nothing To Be Ashamed Of
My family, or my mom really, hid my potential autism diagnosis from me for over 20 years. I always had trouble in school. I was always falling behind and struggled with writing, balance, speech etc.
The schools would constantly try to get me into special education, which my mom refused.
I remember being in a program as a kindergartener. I researched it and it was an Autism Early intervention program. I asked my mom, and her reaction was chilling.
She got defensive and denied it despite me showing her all the evidence. She said it doesn’t matter and she doesn’t remember.
I’ll never know the full truth, and I accept that…well, I’m working on it.
14. Shelter From The Storm
I got married to my son’s mother in my mid-late 20s and was a grad student at the time. I didn’t want kids and certainly didn’t want them as a grad student, making about $18,000/year.
She was a high school teacher, so about double that, but we were not well off by any means.
Financially, I just knew I could not fully provide for a child and I had a ton of childhood trauma that I was afraid I would perpetuate, as often happens.
She knew all of this and told me she was in agreement with me. Well, I had no idea what a rollercoaster I was in for.
She was on DEPO shots our entire relationship, five years of dating prior to marriage. We were married and I trusted her at the time, and she said she was still on DEPO, even faking appointments to get the shot.
Well surprise, surprise, she got pregnant.
After getting pregnant she told me she had stopped about eight months ago and was trying to conceive without my knowledge. I stepped up and did my very best for my son but he came into the world on a very messed up premise.
Less than nine months after he was born, she was out cheating on me while I was home taking care of him (he is mine, we were tested). We divorced and she eventually married one of the guys she was cheating on me with.
I was totally messed up after all of this and went from split custody to eventually only weekends once he started kindergarten.
She had custody of him for preschool and kindergarten but things were very messed up with her and her husband.
She lost her teaching license when she was caught dealing illicit substances to her current students. I frequently had my son on extra days other than my scheduled weekends, as well as weekdays, because she was completely unstable.
My new wife and I always had a stable household—the kind where rules are set and followed. Meanwhile, my ex’s was a free-for-all, with unlimited screen time and my son basically running around unsupervised.
One night at the end of his kindergarten year, I got a call at 2 am from the lockup in the county two hours away from me, where she and her new husband lived.
Come to find out, she had been leaving our son home alone and going out partying.
Her husband came home from work to a five-year-old home alone and she rolled in later, reeking of men’s cologne. He had apparently caught her cheating at least nine times prior, so an altercation ensued.
She got physical with him, leaving obvious damage, and he called the authorities.
They took her in and she was calling me from behind bars to go pick up our son from a “friend’s house”. She was so messed up that still she gave me the wrong address and it was a huge problem trying to find him at 4 am, a two-hour drive away.
When I finally found him, he was wide awake being watched by a 15-year-old. Her friend was a nurse who worked nights so her teenage son was watching him. They were both up at 4 am on a school night. That’s when I knew things had to change.
I immediately filed for emergency custody that morning and eventually got full custody with limited visitations for her.
He only goes to her place one night, every other weekend, and he must have a GPS device or cell phone on him at all times.
The attorney ad litem recommended full loss of custody but the magistrate wasn’t willing to fully strip her parenting rights.
Our court family file is beyond messed up because even more secrets came out during the custody fight.
He’s now in sixth grade and has lived with me and my new wife (we were together through all of the custody stuff) since then. He’s a straight-A honors student in the gifted program and has absolutely no memory of any of that.
His mom is even more of a mess now and he never wants to go for his visitations.
He is in counseling, but thus far I haven’t gotten to the bottom of why he hates being over there—I fear the worst. Part of me hopes it’s just the jarring social change, we are upper middle class and she is in poverty so I hope it’s just that, but want to be sure.
She is in and out of jobs every couple of months, is $3,000+ behind on child support, and can barely maintain her one-bedroom apartment. She is constantly with a different guy and always brings him to visit them and their kids.
I’ve lost track of how many guys and kids my son has gotten to know and befriended, only to never to see them again when she breaks up with the guy.
That was a lot, but it’s a secret that I may never tell him. If he asks me when he’s an adult and truly wants to know, I may tell him but I’m unsure.
He is definitely trying to figure things out now that he’s older, but I don’t think he can possibly fathom how messed up things have been.
My now-wife and I shelter him from all of it as much as we can, and never speak poorly of his mother to him, so that he can have a normal childhood.
I feel horrible for him having all of this emotional baggage but we try our best to shelter him from it.
I don’t think he knows much, just that his mom is unstable.
15. Two Different Paths
When my grandma married my grandpa she was studying economics and she had only one semester left to finish but he told her that even if she got the degree she’d wash dishes anyway and made her quit.
All of these years my parents—and in general my family—made me believe that my grandma wanted to be a housewife/stay-at-home mom by choice.
16. Burn, Baby Burn
Nobody realizes it, but I know that my mom burned my childhood home to the ground for a very small insurance check.
That’s not the most bizarre part, either.
The cherry on top is that my grandma, her mom, told her how to do it. Way to go granny.
17. Is That Even Possible?
My second cousins are a set of twins. Fraternal twins. With two different dads, because she had a threesome and got pregnant by both guys.
18. If You Can’t Say Anything Nice, Skip The Family Reunion
My grandfather was a high-ranking member of a militia. He eventually ran for president under one of those fringe 3rd parties and got a very low six-figure/high five-figure number of votes, mostly from his group in his state.
He mostly used his position to funnel money into his businesses and friends’ businesses as he could sway local and state elections.
But then his story got even more twisted.
After the 80s, he got driven out of the state by a combination of politicians that were tired of him and other illicit organizations that wanted the money he was siphoning from politicians and were more aggressive than him.
He ended up hiding in a rural area in the southern US until he passed on about a decade ago.
I have a sibling who tries to carry on his legacy but she just comes off as an idiot. I don’t associate with most of my family but they mostly pretend my grandfather was a successful farmer who ran an unusually profitable retail outlet on the side until bikers came into town and extorted him.
They pretend my sister just happens to be really bad at choosing partners and hasn’t been married four times and caught cheating by all of her spouses. I don’t get invited to family gatherings because I tend to say rude things to her about her choices.
When I was younger, I was always told by my parents that I was the first person in the family, out of both sides, to use illicit substances. They told me I was an embarrassment and ruined the legacy of the family name. I recently learned in my 30s that almost everyone on both sides (including my parents) got high and still drinks.
They’re all Christians who isolate themselves from the world. They do it out of fear of sin and usually end up sinning in secret while spending all their time trying to convince others that they are an example of something better.
Then they lie to their kids and bring them up to be deluded and naive, resenting others or themselves for the psychological gap their parents forced into them from an early age.
Being told as a child that you are broken, inherently flawed, and susceptible to evil, and that every decision you make is corrupt unless it’s use is directly guided by God himself and confirmed by scripture…that’s some heavy stuff to unload on a five-year-old kid.
Everything coming from or going into my head, was a dire situation because my soul and eternal experience was dependent on how I navigated the situation.
I had so much self-hate and depression as a young teen, then social anxiety in my late teens, that getting messed up was literally the only thing I could do that made life worth living at that point. I never got addicted to anything, just went on two-week benders where I would use almost anything.
All that pressure and guilt, resentment and sadness, was all built on a lie and supported by lies. Forced onto me as a child because my parents thought it would make them better people in the eyes of the church. What an absolute joke.
20. From Anger To Forgiveness
My parents were married, my dad caught my mom red-handed cheating on him, and then my dad brutally messed up the dude who my mom was with—but that’s not the craziest part. They got a divorce, and then later re-married.
I know my parents do their best to keep that a secret, but all four of their children know. However, it’s really one of those things that are rarely talked about.
21. Cloak And Dagger
My grandfather lied about where he was stationed in WWII. He confided some in me in his last years, but a few slip-ups on his part and some papers I found made me start questioning.
He says he was stationed in Las Vegas at a supply warehouse the entire time, but has papers from the OSS, knows how to hot-wire a single-engine plane, and when I made some remark about a field manual saying to fire into an enemy if your bayonet is stuck in them, he mumbled:
“Yeah, done that a few times”.
My mom and aunts all like to dodge the question, they may not even know it all themselves, but my older cousin and I both agree he probably stacked bodies across Europe.
22. Souvenirs From The Past
Me and my brother know that my parents were swingers.
They don’t know I know. While helping my mom when she was at work, I was cleaning out her closet and found evidence. My older brother knows too—and the reason why is scandalous.
He used to use the video camera pretty frequently when we were kids and he found a tape that was a “party” they had. I will take that secret to the grave and not tell any of my other siblings.
My husband knows though.
23. Keeping Up Appearances
My older brother recently dropped out of college after going to school first nearly nine years. I stopped counting a while ago. My parents tell people that he “finished his classes” but in reality, he finally got the boot after having to nonstop change majors and retake courses due to poor grades.
He and my parents tell people it took so long because he couldn’t find out what he wanted to do so he kept changing majors, but in reality, he just kept messing up all of his classes.
Looking back at this makes me laugh when I think about how I had to move out of my parents’ house a while back since they disapproved of my business major. I’m two semesters away from getting a bachelor’s (four years) and have already been accepted into my school’s master’s program.
Not only that, but I already have a very well-paying job with a great benefits position guaranteed for me once I graduate with my bachelor’s.
24. Family Resemblance
Our secret is that my grandmother isn’t my great-grandfather’s child. My grandmother is a blue-eyed, pale, red-headed, fragile woman. My great-grandfather and my great-grandmother are full-blooded Indian, with dark hair, tan skin, and brown eyes.
My great uncle and his brothers are dark-haired, tan men.
It doesn’t take rocket science to put two and two together. My uncle doesn’t know that his sister is his half-sister. I once found a picture in an old box of family belongings—and when someone told me who it was, I gasped.
It was this man that resembles my grandmother, who turned out it was a close friend of my great-grandmother’s. I overheard my mother and her sister discussing it and they have no idea I know but no one has the heart to tell my great uncle.
He is the last sibling still alive and at this point, I don’t think it would matter.
25. Hereditary Ornithophobia
Before I was born, my mother hand-raised a baby umbrella cockatoo. He was her pride and joy and he ate from her hand. Apparently, one fateful night, he got into the bed, and my mother rolled onto him.
She woke up and he had been crushed.
My dad told me this when I was young, maybe six or seven, and told me not to ever talk about it because it would make her really upset. I think I had mentioned getting a pet bird and he wanted to protect my mother’s feelings.
So I kept my mouth shut, but had a huge childhood fear of pet birds until I was into my 20s.
I was very afraid of interacting with birds because I was scared to hurt them—but I also didn’t want to get bit. Fast forward to literally this year, and I finally spill the beans to my mom that I know about Charlie.
Her response shocks me.
She BUSTS out laughing and goes, “I never told you about Charlie because you were scared of birds and I didn’t want to make it worse! I got over that years and years ago”. Cue the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song.
26. Turning The Tables
My mom and dad divorced when I was about nine.
During the few moments that I can remember of that time and my childhood, I remember my (now) stepmom being around a lot. It was pretty much a given? I guess that my dad had been the one cheating, especially with some of the comments my mom had made throughout the years.
For most of my childhood and into my teens, I did not like my stepmom and sometimes resented her for ruining my parents’ marriage. 14 years later, I’m drinking with my paternal uncle when he decides to tell me the jaw-dropping truth.
My mother cheated on my father, and my father had to be talked down from his threats of self-harm after walking in on her and the guy.
I was blown away. To think that my dad never said anything and practically took the hit all these years, letting my siblings and I think it was him is rough. And to think my mom let my siblings and I believe it.
I think that my uncle told my brother too, and I think that my brother now truly resents my mother for this secret.
Neither my mom nor dad knows that I know this, but my best guess is if they did, my mom would deny it (still) and my dad would shut down or deny it as well.
27. Missing In Action
When I was in 8th grade, my family gave away my pet dog because we were not able to take care of the dog.
They told me it was stolen but in reality, they gave it away to my mom’s friend who loved our dog.
One day I heard my grandmother speaking of the incident where she thought I couldn’t hear her since I was wearing headphones, but I could clearly hear it and that’s how I know.
28. Staking A Claim
In 1991, my aunt made my uncle sign a “will” giving up his part of the inheritance from my grandma—a three-bedroom apartment. It isn’t valid because the paper says he’s co-owner when he’s just co-inheritor, but most importantly, my grandma was very much alive in 1991.
She passed on in 2013, I hope without knowing how shady and how much of a snake her daughter was. My aunt consulted with a distant relative who happens to be a lawyer about the validity of this document and she mentioned it to me thinking I knew all about it.
She thought it was something we as family were all aware of, but it turns out nobody but said aunt and uncle knew it.
29. Secret Agent Man
I always thought my dad was a spy. On the day when you go to work with your dad instead of school, he took me deep into the alleyways in LA to various phone booths.
I would write down numbers for him. My brother was dropped off at a rec center and then picked up at the end of the day.
After my parent passed on, I was visiting in the town I grew up in and met up with my parents’ best friends…who also asked me if he was a spy. It was only later that I found out the real truth about him.
One time, we were fishing in a lake, and a boat came by to inform my dad that he would have to leave. We took him to shore and he left. We didn’t see him for the rest of the vacation.
Random calls in the middle of the night notifying my mom that my dad was safe.
He was airlifted out of a dangerous situation in a warzone in the middle of the night. When I had my first child, he was hanging out with the Bedouins in the Middle East.
They threw him a big party in honor of becoming the grandfather. So many other stories. I just put it all together, with the help of my siblings.
30. Secret Sister
My mom had another sister they tried to hide because she had a mental disorder. I actually saw her once in my grandma’s house, in a room the grandchildren were not allowed to go, but happened to be opened once, but my mom told me I hadn’t seen anyone.
My sister ended up confronting my mom after she found some documents and pictures about an aunt we’d never heard about, yet my mom asked her not to tell me. My sister eventually told me and showed me a pic.
31. Secrets Upon Secrets
My sister thought for years that my dad was cheating on my mom solely based on the fact that he traveled for work. He was in sales so yeah, he had to travel. But there’s something that she doesn’t know—and I do.
My dad is impotent so yeah…unlikely.
I don’t know who did it, but someone broke into my step-uncle’s mausoleum looking for something. Maybe one of my family. It was rumored that he was buried with a very expensive piece of jewelry. A jogger one morning was running through the cemetery and found his coffin and part of his remains out in the open.
After he had passed on his company went bankrupt and his kids lost the high life. I haven’t talked to that part of the family for years so I don’t know if anything happened after that—but only someone who knew what he was buried with could’ve done it.
33. Peace Of Mind
When we moved into this house I did up an old workshop that was away from the house so my son and his mates could use it.
It’s been carpeted and curtained for insulation/soundproofing and has good electrics so the light/heat/fridge are taken care of, fully networked for internet/Xbox and later we improved the ventilation—and he doesn’t know why, but it’s because I knew his secret.
It was due to the copious amounts of weed they all smoke.
It also has its own entrance so people can come and go and pizza can be delivered without it disturbing me. When he was a teenager it was packed with his friends every night, at weekends they’d even sleep in there.
But while he thought he was getting a great deal from us, at least I knew where he was every night and never had to worry about him hanging out on street corners or committing petty stuff because he had nowhere to go and giving myself, and more importantly my wife, that kind of peace of mind was priceless.
34. What A Mess
My great-uncle essentially ran a secret society in my hometown for many years with his “friends” and even some of my family members.
They would screw over a lot of people and run away with the money they managed to make, and this went on for many years until the government came looking for money that he owed when he took out a loan to build a massive bar & grill.
And from there the whole thing came crashing down.
To add insult to injury, my grandfather (his brother) was acting mayor at the time and had no knowledge of this, so to say “Everything hit the fan” would be the understatement of the century…
35. Some Secrets Don’t Change A Thing
My grandpa didn’t want any of his grandchildren to know this.
He went behind bars for three or four years for fraud. The thing is, he was actually the victim.
A guy he was doing business with—rentals of agricultural machinery—used checks without funds to back them up and put all the machines in my grandpa’s name. The other guy left no trace of his actions in the whole business, so all of it fell on my grandpa.
He didn’t want us to know because he didn’t want us to know he spent time behind bars. He thought it would ruin the image we would have about him, even though he was innocent. Anyways even after knowing that post-mortem, we still love him as much as we always did.
36. Ignorance Is Bliss
A cousin of mine lost his life in a motorcycle accident. Loving dad of two. Tragedy and all that. I was in it at the time and was asked to hack his computer because his grieving widow could not access pictures and e-mail. I found a secret e-mail account through which he was messaging his mistress.
This was five days after his crash and his inbox was filled with, “Are you ok?
What is going on”? messages. She was unaware of what had happened to him. So I wrote her an e-mail explaining with a link to the obituary and newspaper article.
She came to the funeral but didn’t say anything. Introduced herself as a co-worker. I removed all evidence from the computer before giving it back to the widow to preserve the memory of this guy to his wife and kids.
37. Dashed Hopes
It’s kinda sad. When my mother was pregnant with me, my dad’s father found out he was dying of lung cancer. He had always wanted a grandchild and I would have been his first. Which makes what my parents did so much more infuriating.
My parents made the decision to not tell him my mother was pregnant with me and he passed on without knowing he had a grandchild on the way. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about my grandfather who never met me. I wish my parents had told him I was on the way.
I don’t know, what do you all think, should they have told him?
38. In Denial
My dad thinks he knows my secret—but he’s got it all wrong. He thought he knew I was gay when I was 13. He gave me a talk about it and everything.
To be fair, I did love musical theater, had no “manly” male friends, hated sports, loved romance novels, and had a pair of pink shoes. But I was just different.
But really, you’re giving a 13-year-old the “I sure hope you’re not gay” talk? Slow your roll, dad, most kids don’t get down and dirty one way or the other for another couple of years. I had barely discovered my own body, for goodness sake.
I didn’t turn out gay. I went on to have several serially monogamous hetero relationships, and I’m now happily married with a child. He still thinks I’m gay somehow. I don’t get it. He didn’t come to my wedding—guess I was denying my gayness or something—and has never met his grandson.
We haven’t talked in almost two years.
39. Flipping The Script
My aunt and cousin embezzled a lot of money from my grandfather’s business.
They were skimming off the credit card machines. My grandpa eventually found out and they left. No charges were filed because “family”. But we weren’t done with them just yet.
My uncle was going to divorce my aunt afterward, but suffered a massive stroke that caused a heart attack leaving him unable to speak past a couple of words.
My aunt is now his caregiver (a whole other story) which is the only reason she’s still around. I haven’t seen my cousin since everything went down.
40. A Gentleman’s Agreement
The secret that I’ve been keeping is that my cousin’s Papillon didn’t run away. I was with my uncle sitting on the porch and watched that poor pup get snatched off the ground by a massive hawk.
A blink and it was gone. There was nothing we could do.
We looked at each other after a solid few minutes of silence and he leans over and says: “That dog ran away”. I nodded and that was the last we discussed it.
41. Wish I Could Unhear It
My mom and dad left in the middle of the night, and I was left home alone with my four siblings.
After a couple hours, at like 2 in the morning, I called my mom to find out what the heck was going on. She paused, and I heard her ask dad, “What do I tell her”? His answer made my blood run cold.
He responded, “Well, don’t tell her he shot himself”. Mom got back on the phone and said they were going to go help my step-grandma with something.
Well, it turns out they were helping her with calling the authorities and funeral arrangements. So yeah, I’m the only one who knows the truth about my grandfather’s passing.
42. Why Bother Keeping It Secret?
It’s a secret that my grandmother had lung cancer when I was a kid. She hid it from her grandchildren and I only found out years later when my father (her son) told me the truth.
She’s in her mid-70s now and still doesn’t know that I know. I’m also pretty sure none of my cousins or my sister know about it, since they haven’t said otherwise.
43. Pay It Forward
My family wasn’t very well off when I was a kid.
When I was about five or six, I remember having a slightly bigger-than-normal Christmas. It was only years later that I found out the heartbreaking truth about the holiday.
I found a letter wherein my mom had given a donation to a family in need through the church.
The card she sent with it made me weep.
In the letter she mentioned that our family was once in the exact same place, getting support from the church, for gifts and the like for the kids.
44. Too Close For Comfort
I got a boyfriend in sixth grade. The cutest boy in the class.
Told my mom his name and she freaked out! Come to find out, his dad had a brief thing with my aunt (mom’s sister) and that my aunt’s oldest daughter was actually my boyfriend’s half-sister.
No one else knew, and how on EARTH did a sixth-grade me keep that secret?
I went to school the next day and told poor Jeremy I didn’t like him anymore.
45. Without A Trace
My maternal grandmother was a paranoid schizophrenic and was off-loaded—that’s the best way I can put it—into a psych hospital in the early 60s. Shortly after, she vanished into the bowels of the mental health system, never to be heard from again…not joking. My grandfather got divorced and remarried.
She was effectively erased from the family history, save my mother and one brother remembering her—the younger children from the first marriage only found out much later that “mom” wasn’t exactly mom.
46. A Tangled Web
My grandmother apparently left with her daughter’s boyfriend to go out of state. She comes back a year later, and grandfather and grandmother get back together since they never actually got divorced.
It really made my aunt unhappy for, obvious reasons, since it was her boyfriend who left with her mother!
Apparently, this is why not one, but two of the nine siblings look so different than the rest…one of them being my birth father. So apparently, I’m 25% of this other heritage.
I know basically nothing about my family history because of this.
My grandfather is going to hit 100 next year, which is kinda amazing, but I’m not actually related to him. I inherited genes from some random person I don’t know because the family never talks about it, other than my aunt apparently who told my mother about it, who told me years after being an adult.
Grandparents actually stayed married since they were 16 and 18, and they hit 80 years together married, technically. She passed on last year, but he’s still going.
47. Denial Isn’t Just A River In Egypt
I got a copy of my medical history a few years ago and there’s a record of an outdated autism diagnosis that my parents claim to know nothing about.
I had a lot of issues at school, I remember seeing a lot of doctors who said a lot of things I didn’t understand but that made me very upset.
I remember taking pills that gave me headaches. I remember my parents not explaining anything to me and I remember doing my own “research” (stealing anything with my name on it and finding the phrase “Asperger’s syndrome” over and over again on documents about me) and thinking I was dying of some disease. But that’s not the weirdest part.
I also remember that suddenly all of this stuff stopped, no more doctors, more pills, no more “Asperger’s syndrome”. And my parents have never spoken about it, and have always claimed to know nothing when I’ve mentioned what I remember.
They’ve admitted that they took me to a doctor on the school’s orders but that doctor said there was nothing wrong with me. They insist I was a normal kid, I just had an overactive imagination and didn’t like to do as I was told.
They’ve also admitted, after watching me struggle through high school and as an adult, that MAYBE there was something wrong. But they insist that they were never told about the diagnosis that was written in my records.
48. The Whistleblower
In the 80s, my grandma’s brother had the audacity to question how things were being run and was concerned about the conditions of the prison he was a CO at.
The warden didn’t take kindly to that at all, and he and his County Sheriff buddy had him detained under false allegations and somehow, he ended up deceased five hours later. They said he hung himself.
No questioning, no evidence that anything to warrant a legitimate arrest had taken place, he was just taken in from the hotel he was living in at the time, and thrown into a cell. The sheriff’s department made the call, and refused to allow an autopsy to be performed.
Yet when my aunt went to claim the body, there was absolutely no evidence that a hanging took place.
The certificate reads “unknown causes”.
49. Code Of Silence
The guy on my mom’s birth certificate is NOT her dad. My mom doesn’t know and everyone in the family who did literally took the secret to their grave. Family lore says he left my mom and her mom (my grandmother) and no one knew why.
A year or two later, my grandmother abandoned my mom as well and left her in the care of my great-grandmother (my mom’s grandma) who then raised her from the time she was three.
My mom’s bio-mom moved to another state with the guy who is on my mom’s birth certificate and had four more kids with him.
The most heartbreaking part? She was never a part of my mom’s life again. Growing up, mom saw her every once in a while, but that stopped after a few years. She also never met the guy on her birth certificate listed as her dad.
I found out by accident during lockdown.
I was bored out of my gourd and started looking through some records from the Forces I had of the guy. Found out that when my mom was born he had been stationed overseas for a little over a year. He wasn’t even in the country when she was conceived.
Obviously, her grandma who raised her had to have known. She had an aunt she was very, very close to who had to have known. Her granddad who she thought of as her father had to have known. Every last one of them said nothing. I’ve done DNA testing on mom and myself and tried to figure it out.
I’ve got matches who are very close to the point where I’m 70-75% certain that one of their parents is a half-sibling of my mom. None of them will respond to me so I have no clue which one it is. I’ve figured out who their parents are but I can’t place any of them in the area where my mom was conceived.
It would’ve been 60 years ago so that proves nothing. Hard to place anyone that far back. This is the big family secret that no one talks about and no one would even know if I hadn’t stumbled on those records.
50. Turning Things Around
I had a half-sibling that no one talks about.
My parents have been together since they were 16, have been married for 25 years, and had four children. When talking about how they got together they made it seem like they were each other’s first real relationship, I always just assumed they hit the jackpot and fell in love with the first person they ever dated.
However, when I was 15, my dad hosted a big work party at my parents’ house. I had a school event that night so when I got home (around 11 pm) my dad was pretty sloshed.
I had never seen him like this before and honestly found the whole scenario to be pretty funny.
He started telling me how proud he was of me. He then started talking about how much worse he was than me when he was my age. That’s when the real truth about him came out. He revealed that at 13 he had joined a gang and at 15 got his girlfriend at the time pregnant.
Unfortunately, when his ex-girlfriend was 26 weeks pregnant she went into labor and the baby didn’t make it. This was apparently enough to set him straight. He moved to Michigan to live with his mom and get away from the gang. He finished high school, met and married my mom, and joined the Forces.
As a result, I had an amazing childhood and it’s all due to my dad working his behind off to provide us with a better life. We haven’t talked about what he said since that night and I don’t think my siblings know. However, it really helped me understand how much my dad overcame and I feel so lucky to have him as my dad.
51. Putting The Pieces Together
I lived with my mom growing up and when I would see baby pictures of me, most of them were with an older girl. I asked my mom who was she and she never answered that. I asked my dad and he told me that was my older sister who lived with him until she was 19.
She was a teen parent at 15 and my mom forced her to leave, but my dad divorced my mother to take care of my older sister until she got herself together. Anyway, when I was in high school, I made a friend who was two years younger than me.
One day, he introduced me to his mother, this was when I was 18. I saw pictures on their dinner table—and I froze in my tracks. They were the exact same ones I had. I said to my friend, “Hey! That looks very similar to my sister”.
His mom looked at me and asked my name. I said my name and she broke down into tears.
It was an awkward day but I found out that I’m an uncle to a 16-year-old (now he’s 17). I hang out with both my older sister and my nephew a lot.
Never told my mother about this, and I don’t plan to for a while.