We all have a public self that the whole world sees and a private self that only we truly know. The question is, just how different are your public and private selves? For some people, the difference between how they appear and how they really are goes way beyond a few embarrassing moments and a desire for basic privacy.
There are people out there hiding demons so dark and unexpected that their best friends wouldn’t even recognize them if they ever stumbled upon this other side of them. Ordinarily, we would never have any way of knowing what secrets other people are hiding deep down. But thanks to Reddit and the safety of online anonymity, we now have a window into just that.
Here are the thoughts of 42 people whose secrets tear them apart everyday.
1. Who’s Your Daddy?
My daughter isn’t mine. My fiancée went away for a mud run the weekend “my” daughter was conceived. I took the baby to get a DNA test one day when my fiancée was at work and I was at home with the baby. Sure enough, just like on Maury, I was NOT the father. I went to a doctor and it turns out I am sterile. I can’t tell anyone because I love the little girl like she’s my own, but it hurts when people comment on how much “she looks like her mom” but never how much she looks like me. I could never bring myself to say anything to her though because I don’t want to NOT be in the little girl’s life. As far as she knows, I am her father and she loves me unconditionally. I can’t ruin that.
2. Someone Out There Has the Answer
A friend of mine killed herself when we were younger. No one knew why. But I did. It was because her dad molested us when we were kids. We never told anyone.
3. Timing is Everything
In mid-December I was headhunted and offered my dream position at a company I’ve always dreamt about working for. I moved away to the capital and made a plan with my university to finish my degree whilst working. But no one knows about my secret. I have early stage cancer. I found out before taking the job. I haven’t told a soul.
4. Food for Thought
I’m a renowned chef (to an extent). I don’t have my own TV show or anything but I have been featured on a few FoodTV shows as well as a few shows on The Cooking Channel. The late Anthony Bourdain has even stopped by one of my restaurants in the early days of his shows.
My Secret: I absolutely HATE most of the food I cook. I cater to the rich snobby crowd and it’s amazing how sheep-like these people can be. I could take a literal pile of dirt and as long as I say it’s been ‘braised’, finished off with some ‘truffle oil’, and served with ‘caviar’, they’ll “LOVE” it because of those random key words thrown in there.
These people are so pretentious. They only buy name brand items and their minds work the same way with food. As long as I’ve got certain keywords on the menu and certain ingredients in the food they’ll claim to love it. Most of these people who claim to have high class taste and an advanced palette are full of it.
I’m trying to sell my share of my two restaurants to my business partner or other investors and get out. I just want to have a small joint making fried chicken wings, not goose liver and fish eggs.
5. War, What is It Good For?
On my deployment in the army, I actually killed people because it was my job. I have a hard time living with myself, knowing that this is what I do for a living.
6. Personal Sacrifice
I am skipping breakfast and lunch most days to save as much money and food in my house as possible. My girlfriend and her diabetic grandmother live with me and to make matters worse, my girlfriend got laid off in October. It’s lucky that so far none of my weight loss is really noticeable. No one has asked about it.
7. That’s Quite the Chain of Events
I went to school with this kid who used to bully me. He was awful, he would shove me down the stairs, hit me with a baseball bat, and basically just give me bruises and broken bones on a regular basis. He also used to do other awful things to me. I got a brand new NFL coat for Christmas and was wearing it in class. He wrote a homophobic slur on it with a sharpie, ruining it completely.
Some time later my parents put me in a different school for unrelated reasons. I start to excel, make lots of friends, no more broken bones, etc. About a year later the guy shows up because my old school had to shut down. He starts taunting me, telling me he is going to make my life hell again. But then later that afternoon, one of my friends starts freaking out. They brought a drug dog to start doing locker searches and he has A LOT of weed on him. I knew what I had to do.
I had the whole class period to think about it. After the bell rang, I caught up to him in the hall and stuffed the stash in his bag. We could have just flushed it or threw it out, but I wanted to get back at him. I didn’t actually get to see it but after lunch he was arrested, expelled and I had no idea what happened to him until years later.
His parents were forced to send him to a boarding school. While he was there, he contracted a serious infection from a minor cut and had to have his leg amputated. While he was at the hospital, his father died in a car accident on his way there to see him. A friend of mine dated his sister during their senior year when all of this happened.
8. Your Unlucky Number Came Up
Woman I was going to marry cheated on me after six years of us being together. Six months later the guy she cheated on me with won the lottery, and received an $80 million payout. They have now been together for five years. I try to act like it doesn’t bother me but truth is, it eats me up inside. I no longer believe in karma.
9. Yikes, Maybe You Should Get Some Help!
I live paycheck to paycheck, pass out drunk every night, have no kids or significant other, and I’m getting older fast. My retirement plan is to kill myself in a way that won’t cost anyone money when I’m too tired for labor anymore.
I will regret this night for the rest of my life. I bought my underage brother alcohol so he could have a good time with his friends. They all got drunk. They got into a drunk driving accident. They all died. Every single one of them. All because I bought them drinks….
11. In the Closet
I’m bisexual but keep it a secret because I don’t want my friends opinions to change of me. It not really ruining me, so much as eating away at me.
12. A Horrifying Story
A very long time ago my mother died of AIDS. She contracted it when I was eight. We were victims of a home invasion and she was assaulted. My mother and father were still together when she died and it completely devastated him. I’ve never seen a happier, more open, or more in love couple than my mother and father.
He couldn’t bear to be alone so he remarried an old family friend. I like her a lot actually and I want him to be happy.
This is terrible, but to people I actually know in person, I couldn’t even begin to tell them how my mother died. So I just say my stepmom is my biological mom if it ever comes up in conversation. I’m a big bad liar, I know. I’ve since moved to a new city and I just don’t think it’s anybody’s business, especially since I spend most of my time in a professional environment.
I accept that I haven’t fully dealt with this yet.
13. Getting Even
I got assaulted when I was about eight years old. A few years later I found the guy and smashed his knees. He can’t walk anymore to this day. He is now a beggar in my home city and I don’t regret anything. I still have some mental problems with it, but after the years it gets better, except for my intimate life. I still have bad days and can’t rely enjoy.
14. Never Learned Your Lesson
I thought I was going to graduate college, then had a massive week-long panic attack. I stopped working on my last paper. I went to graduation, did the walk, and everything, but never turned in the paper. I’ve been lying to my folks about having a degree for seven years. I can’t imagine how disappointed they would be if they ever learned the truth.
15. Thinking Things Through After the Fact
I have a long distance girlfriend that I love very, very much.
Meanwhile, my single and 10 years older (than me) roommate was severely sad. She asked me to do the unimaginable: impregnate her because she desperately wanted a baby. A sperm bank would have cost her thousands of dollars which she didn’t have. She promised that she wouldn’t tell anyone who the father was. I had previously said no to her hitting on me, but she begged for a baby so many times that I finally gave in. It’s the right thing to do, right? Nothing can go wrong!
She is pregnant now and the realization is slowly starting to sink in that:
- I will have to either (a) lie to the love of my life forever or (b) tell her – but I know for sure that she will leave me then.
- Someday there will be a young guy or girl asking who his/her dad is. My flatmate will say it. And then I will get a call, 16 or 18 years from now, no matter where I am or who I am with or whether I have children of my own: “Hey, I’m your child. You’re my Dad. You knew that. Why were you never there when I needed you?”
16. Looking Out For Everyone Except Number One
I have an extreme habit of helping other people out when I should be helping myself. Everyone comes to me for advice with their problems since I come off as very comfortable and empathetic when, in reality, I should be taking my own advice/the necessary steps to improve myself. I just have an insatiable fear of failure, so I avoid putting myself in situations where defeat is a possibility.
17. Maternal Instincts
I hate my mother with every fibre of my being but I still can’t tell her no. I’m tired of taking care of her financially and it’s putting a burden on me and my husband. He thinks I am careless with money (like a wife spending money on frivolous things) but in reality I give it to my mom so that she can get her fix. I’m afraid that the one time she says it’s for food or rent and I don’t give it to her, she’ll end up dead. I don’t want to live with that guilt. It’s been going on since I was a teenager. I’m 30 now.
18. One Big Happy Family
I don’t love my wife anymore. She’s pregnant with a child I’m not ready for. The child, in my mind, is nothing but a financial burden that we can’t afford. But that’s not even the worst part. I’m too afraid to divorce her because the state that I live in always punishes the father with very high child support.
19. Negative Association
While I do love and trust my husband and enjoy private time with him, being intimate is very hard for me. It should be this magical, special moment, but instead, it constantly brings back a lot of terrible memories. The truth is that when I was child, I was involved in incest. That’s why I avoided intimacy until we got married and that’s why I have such conflicted feelings about it to this day.
20. So Did You Get a Second Date?
My father texted me his will hours before he killed himself. I feel as though if I had just called him things would have been different, but I was on a first date at the time. For some reason I just ignored his message, even though part of me knew what was going to happen. I regret what I did every single day.
21. Happily Ever After?
I love my fiancée but we have a major problem. I feel like I can’t talk to anyone about it. The thing is, my fiancée is completely uninterested in intimacy, and it’s making me disinterested in our relationship. I have tried all manner of buy-in over the last three years to get her interest up. We have fought about it many times but I have finally given up. I am extremely interested in this stuff (and so was she when we first started dating) but now she’s only into it a few times a month. She says she enjoys it when we do, but often rushes me to finish so even when it happens, it’s rarely intimate or satisfying for me.
It makes me feel unattractive and undesirable and, in turn, makes it difficult for me to be affectionate with her. She is beautiful and fun and way out of my league so there is intense pressure from all of my friends to stay with her. I get constant “if you don’t marry her, you are a moron” comments. We live together but I spend more and more time isolated from her and my friends because the anxiety of feeling like I am doing the wrong thing by marrying her is crippling. I usually end up at home with headphones on playing games while she watches TV or is out drinking with her friends.
22. Person You May Know
I found out at age 22 that I am adopted. How did I find out? My biological mother added me on Facebook one day.
23. Words Hurt
I didn’t have the best of childhoods. I was bullied – but not for the same reasons that everyone else was bullied (having glasses, braces, being short or tall). I was bullied because I was adopted and because I was a different race than everyone. Being Asian growing up with racism in the Midwest has created a lot of ill feelings towards the people who were racist to me when I was younger.
I would get phone calls from random people that would call and say “NOBODY LIKES YOU, GO BACK TO CHINA” (note that I’m not Chinese), “GOT RICE, LOSER?”, “YOUR PARENTS NEVER LOVED YOU!” I would always write these numbers down and told myself that if I ever found out who these people were I would have my revenge. I never told my parents until many, many years after the fact. They aren’t the same race as me (and as silly as it sounds) I didn’t think they would understand, nor did I want to sound like a tattle-tale when I was younger.
To all those people that gave me racist treatment growing up, thanks. It’s still with me. I have major social anxiety and depression issues. I know those people don’t give a damn about me now, and have no idea what they did to me – but I am here to say to all you bullies out there – you messed some of us up really, really bad.
I never had any urge to go to college or continue schooling. Not because I’m unintelligent, but because I have this fear that some racist stuff is going to be said to me that might flip my switch. There are three large universities within three hours of my location. I have had racist stuff said to me at university campuses multiple times whenever I go visit friends, and no, I don’t go around looking to start up with people.
24. More Than Friends
For the last five years I have been hopelessly, painfully in love with my best friend. I have dated other people and so has he. We’ve moved to different cities and led completely different lives but I am so in love with every single fibre of his being that it consumes me.
25. I Can’t Imagine Why You Haven’t Told Anyone About This!
I have full blown spoken arguments with myself when no one is around. I normally win.
26. Where Did You Come From?
I left a cult, and my entire family is still stuck in it. If I tell them, I will lose them forever. No, I’m not kidding, they will cease to communicate and associate with me and my wife. My parents, brothers, sisters and 20 years worth of friendships, gone. Some of them, including family have already expressed that I am no longer welcome in their lives.
27. Taking One for the Team
I don’t want to live with my parents anymore. I’m 27, make really good money, and could move out whenever I want. But my parents are both permanently disabled and I pay them rent in addition to covering most of our bills. They’re also currently in the process of fighting the banks to keep their house. If I move out everything will most likely collapse. But I want my own life. I feel so, so stuck.
28. Always Thinking of Others
I want to kill myself but can’t because it would destroy my mother. She has already lost three children. I couldn’t make her lose a fourth.
29. Shocking Admission
I remember that my biological mother admitted that she hated me, because I didn’t save her marriage like she hoped I would. That’s the only reason she had me. I think she changed her mind now that I’m an adult, and she wants to be in my life. But I can’t forgive that.
30. Light at the End of the Tunnel
I am in an insane amount of debt from supporting my boyfriend through medical school. I had to pay for his meals and some day-to-day supplies such as toiletries with my credit card and use inheritance money since he had no family to support him and he had student loans. That barely paid for his rent, books, and transportation as well as some food.
Now I owe 30K on student loans on top of car, car insurance, gas and everything else for my bills. I am now employed but still not out of the woods. I need to pay for the 5K on my credit card that was spent when I helped him. I pay for my own student loans as much as I can. But the most ashamed I ever felt came when I applied for a small loan and got turned down. That was a harsh reminder of my dirty little secret. He graduates in May, though, so he will finally be able to support himself.
31. That’s Just Dark…
I have an eating disorder not because I want to be thin or lose weight. I have an eating disorder because I want to disappear. My body is already showing signs that it is shutting down as a result of my anorexia. I don’t have any family close by and my spouse is out of the country for several months. I’ve stopped going to the doctor. I have a sizeable life insurance policy and I am worth more dead than alive.
I have an eating disorder because it is slow and subtle suicide.
32. Say What Now?
37 years, two months, and 24 days ago, I killed someone.
I wish my mom had died of drug abuse instead of forever abandoning me and my family in the process of her sobriety.
34. You Can’t Choose Your Family
My wife, who ruined my life and bailed on both me and my son, ended up running away with her brother and having his baby.
35. That’s My Old Man
I know everything my father has done to my mother and everything else about him. He’s always been and still is a hardcore alcoholic. He constantly tries to tell me he’s been sober for years but I know the truth. I work in a local grocery store and I’ve WATCHED him come in and buy alcohol before. Once, in an argument that got out of hand, he punched my mother numerous times and when she threatened to go to the cops, he forced her to get in the car, drove her to the police station and said,”Go ahead. I dare you to get out.” She was so scared that she stayed in the car.
He’s been trying to get back into my life for a couple years now since I’ve distanced myself from him. All he does is make empty promises and lie. I ignore his phone calls constantly but when I do, he always finds some other phone to use so that I won’t recognize the number. Whenever he shows up at the place I work, he always brings my grandmother so I can’t blatantly ignore him, but I refuse to say I miss him or I love him anymore.
He still lives with my grandmother (his mother) and he’s 45. She loves him so much that she refuses to see how messed up he is. Because of that, all she does is enable him to be a problem for the rest of us. He hasn’t held a job for more than a year and hasn’t even had a job at all in the past five years or so, so all the money he gets is given to him by my grandmother. But despite all of this and how much I want to tell him how much I hate him for what he did to my mother, my sister, and me, I can’t.
36. Living in Fear
I was sexually abused by a family member as a child. I haven’t told anyone and it still haunts me to this day. The reason I haven’t said anything is even worse. That same family member threatened to kill me if I told anyone. I believe them. I believe they’d do it.
37. When Help Hinders
I’m a biological heterosexual woman who has to shave every day like a man. I won’t let anyone touch my face, for fear that they’ll feel my stubble, and if I stay over at a friend’s house, I hide a razor and shaving cream in my bag, wake up at some insanely early hour, and go shave in the bathroom while everyone is still asleep.
I’ve done laser hair removal but a lot of my hair is too light to really react, yet too dark to go unnoticed if I let it grow. I’ve yet to ever find an electrologist who can actually make my hair go away. I also have hair on my stomach all the way up to a few inches under my boobs.
I’ve been tested for hormone imbalances, and all the levels come back normal. They assume I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, but can’t get the numbers to back the diagnosis up. All of that has lead to anxiety over sex where someone would be touching areas I shave. I get so nervous that I tense up, and intimacy is extremely painful for me.
Finally while talking to a close friend about my issues, he offered to help me get past them. We slept together once, and he gave me herpes. He was the fourth person I’d slept with in my entire life. I was 22 at the time, I’m 30 now. I haven’t slept with anyone since, because I fear that there is no one out there who will want to deal with an insanely hairy woman who can’t be intimate, and might give them an STD.
38. It’s a Living
I really hate my job.
I only keep it because I don’t want to go back to school, nor do I want to lose my full benefits.
39. Living a Lie
On the surface, I seem like a happy person. I’m friendly with people, and love helping others.
However, I’m severely depressed. I have hardly any friends, and when I make new ones they seem to forget about me in a month’s time. I try to do so much for people in the hopes that they’ll pay attention to me, but it never works and I just end up feeling sad when we stop talking. I’ve only had one relationship, and I long for the day when someone cares about me as much as I care about them.
To top it all off, my friend of 10+ years stole a lot of money from me and ran off never to be heard from again.
40. Unearned Glory
It’s a more complicated story than I’m willing to tell, but I can never be close to my sister because of her husband. My brother-in-law molested me when I was young, and continued to be handsy when they became my guardians in high school. It, among other things he did, really started to mess with me, especially once I was trying to make it on my own in the real world.
I became depressed, dropped out of college and attempted suicide (none of which my sister knew about). Once I got out of the hospital I decided I should do us all a favor, tell her about everything so that she could know what a monster he is and justify the divorce she’s be talking about for years. Before I got a chance to, he successfully committed suicide (in, might I add, one of the most selfish ways possible).
Now my sister and her kids are devastated, completely turned off to any kind of discussion on mental health, look at me as all the bad things he convinced them I was (to discredit me if I ever gabbed), and glorify him as some kinda saint. I even tried to keep it simple and say “I’d like to get my depression under control so I can focus on school,” to which she’ll freak out and yell at me because “oh so you wanna go kill yourself now and put me through this all over again?!” How could I ever tell her that I’ve already tried, and because of her now dead husband?
In short, I avoid my sister because I can’t be around someone grieving for the monster who ruined my life.
41. I’m Onto You…
My husband is having an affair. I know but I am too scared of what will happen if I confront him. He is so narcissistic that he can’t see anything wrong with anything he does. We have a nine year old and I think it would destroy him. And as a little background, my mom was married seven different times while I was growing up. I have a huge fear of becoming her. I know it’s irrational but that fear is what stops me. I have a good job and can afford it. I haven’t confronted him yet. I know he will lie because he lies every time I confront him in an argument about anything.
42. That’s Rough, Bro!
I wish my brother was dead, I know this makes me sound terrible but there are reasons behind it. My brother was born three years before me. He was born with a malformed brain, which causes him to act like a six-month-old for the rest of his life, meaning he screams at night, always wants to eat, and is very temperamental. Currently he is 20 and he still lives with me and my parents, he also since his birth has developed many things, such as diabetes, a gimp leg, legal blindness.
He also, due to his malformed brain, has an immune system deficiency. Which means when anyone in our family gets a slight flu, he gets so sick we have to bring him to a special hospital. For example, when I was nine and he was twelve, we went to visit family for Christmas, where my whole family got sick. We had to leave early because he started having serious seizures and went into cardiac arrest.
The reason I want him to die is because he has no sense of deep emotion, only vague tones of happy, sad and confused. He has no style of life in his current situation, and he is a terribly large burden on both of my parents. Even though the only reason I was born was because my parents wanted my other brother to have at least one normal sibling, I would happily have chosen to have never been born if it meant my brother would have been normal, or not born at all.
But mainly, I want to end his suffering. He can’t communicate with anyone just as we can’t communicate with him. I can’t imagine how lonely, lost, and scared he feels every day. I love my brother and my protective fraternal love is why I want him to die. I know for a fact that my darkest day on earth won’t come near to the sense of confusion and fear he feels on his average.
I know that if I could do so legally I would have killed him many years ago, but this is not out of selfish reasons, it’s out of love for my parents and wanting them to have the happy life they’re owed after dealing with two kids and a mentally challenged kid for decades. I want my brother to not have a constant isolation from the world that causes him misery and dreariness, I want my brother to die due to love.
43. Fly Me to the Moon
Just got on a flight in London headed to Vegas. Sitting next to my GF, and she wants to show me something she has planned for the trip, so gets out her phone. It opens to the Messages and shows a chat with a guy (I know him) saying how much she is going to miss him and how she doesn’t want to go away with me anyway. The doors close on the plane and that was a really fun 10-11hrs…
44. Like the Brother Never Even Existed
My brother who died. We never, ever talk about him. It’s so strange, growing up I knew I had a brother and I knew he was hit and killed by a car walking home, but I don’t know anything about him aside from that. I’ve seen his pictures, I know what he looked like. I don’t know anything about his personality, his likes or his dislikes, the type of music he listened to. I once found his comics in my mom’s closet when I was younger, but that was about it.
It is almost like it’s just a story and he wasn’t a real person. It wasn’t until my grandfather died about 11 years ago that my mother and I walked to his grave. She broke down into an inaudible mess, and it really hit me for the first time ever that he was a real person, as crazy as that sounds. I don’t understand that pain of losing a child, but it hurt to see my mom mourn like that, almost as if it had just happened.
The only time since then he was ever mentioned was by my dad a few months ago. Out of my mother, father, and sisters, I’m the tallest. My dad told me how the only one of us who was taller than me was Jimmy, and how he always seemed to keep growing, how he probably would have towered over me. I almost cried. I wish I got to know him.
45. Kicking When She’s Down
I was in a horrible place after losing my unborn child. That’s the exact moment my ex-husband chose to sue me for full custody of the other child. My sister consoled me and supported me through it all. I thought she was on my side. Until I realize just how deeply she had been betraying me this entire time. I don’t know if I can ever forgive her.
My sister talked my ex-husband into suing me for full custody at the exact moment I was unable to contest it properly. She also foddered his case with lies to make me look like a terrible mother, while simultaneously patting me on the back and consoling me that he was a terrible man.
He didn’t win, but the case made things contentious for us for years and made it impossible to grieve with my now husband, because I was in survival mode to make sure I didn’t lose my daughter.
46. Family Strife
Somebody said that he was supposed to cheat with his fiancé’s best friend the night before their wedding, but she died in a car accident on the way to the hotel.
47. A Bittersweet Treat
When I was in kindergarten my dad would routinely show up, sign me out of class, and take me for ice cream. Best memory ever.
In retrospect, my dad knew he was dying, and passed when I was 6. He routinely did stuff like this. I feel as if I missed nothing, I’m now 35.