There’s a time for secrets. For bottling it all up, pushing it down, and keeping whatever we’ve done under lock and key so that nobody will find it. All of our shameful acts, dirty pasts, and so much more go right down into the depths of our memory. But every now and again, these secrets bubble up, expand, and then burst—and then it’s time for these confessions.
1. Everybody’s Got A Story
I used to pay my middle school bully not to hurt me…then I found out he actually needed the money. He made my life a living nightmare. He would turn all the boys in class against me and tease me about my eyebrows. Then one time, he begged me to buy him pizza and said he promised not to tease me all week if I did it. So I bought him a box of pizza and he fulfilled his promise.
I loved the idea, and I began to do it on a regular basis. I started asking him every Friday what he wants next week so that the teasing doesn’t happen again. He asked for two bags of hot fries, and another time he wanted some milk from the cafeteria. Once he asked for colored pencils for art class. In addition, my school had a uniform dress code.
It was $25 per shirt and the pants were $15, if I remember correctly. He showed up the first day of 8th grade in regular clothes, a tee and jeans. So he got sent to the main office to wait for his parents. My aunt was there because she used to drop off my lunch and hand me money to buy food after school. She saw him upset and asked what’s wrong and he started crying lightly.
Apparently, his parents wouldn’t come because they couldn’t afford the uniform and decided it would be best to avoid the situation entirely. After my aunt hands me my lunch, she buys him a uniform hoodie, a couple of tees, and a long sleeve shirt. He said he had pants at home and he was hesitant to accept but eventually took them and thanked her.
Now, 13 years later, he runs a non-profit that has something to do with kids receiving books. I think it’s sweet and I forgive him for everything he did because he didn’t grow up to be a jerk, and obviously his home life was awful.
2. All Dogs Go To 7th Heaven
I rarely show emotion. I’m very reserved and levelheaded, so my emotions, whether positive or negative, rarely spike too much. But, I love my dog. More than anything or anyone. She gets more life and emotion out of me than anyone. This has started to cause a huge problem. My girlfriend recently sat me down and told me she needs more affection.
She knows I don’t wear my emotions, and that generally includes her even though she knows I love her. I’m not handsy, I kiss her when appropriate, and let her know I love her when appropriate. Since that talk, I’ve been thinking of my affection for her like I do my dog. I get super excited to see her like my dog does when I get home.
My dog constantly wants scratches, so I always rub her shoulders or play with her hair or have my hand on her thigh. I love when my dog gets kissy and playful so I get kissy and playful with my girlfriend in the same way. My dog loves when I give her a new toy or treat, so I have little gifts and snacks to give to her when the mood strikes.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE. My girlfriend loves it. And it’s easy for me because I literally just treat her like my dog, but without the baby voice. It’s renewed our passion and she is so, so happy and can’t understand how I turned my emotions around so easily.
3. Swapped At Birth
When I was 11, my mother gave birth to my little brothers, who are identical twin boys. My sister and I, who are also identical twins, decided it would be funny to swap them. They had bands on their wrist identifying them, but we were able to ease them off and swap them. We then placed them in each other’s cribs. We did it because we thought our parents would realize straight away and laugh since they were able to tell us apart even when we swapped clothes.
However, they didn’t. A while later (possibly a few weeks to a month), we decided to swap them back because we gradually became scared they’d find out and we’d get into trouble. We swapped their clothing, but by that time my mom had gotten used to their faces and individuality and asked what we were playing at swapping their clothes.
We never told her that we were actually trying to reverse an original and successful trick because we knew she wouldn’t believe us or be furious. So we are the only family members who know that they’re swapped and that the eldest is actually the youngest. Only one of our best friends knows the truth. They are 16 in December. We plan to tell them one day because they have a right to know, but neither of us have the balls at the moment.
4. Fake It Till You Make It, Then Quit
My heart is pounding because I literally haven’t told anyone this. So I work at this one store, and I work on the sales floor; but before all that, I was just one person interviewing for a position at the store. Before I arrived for my interview, a friend of mine dared me to interview in a British accent. I said I’d do it only if they paid me, and to my surprise, they sent me like $10 through Venmo, which was more than enough for me.
I went into the interview with the mindset that I wasn’t going to get hired…and they inevitably hired me on the spot. Accent and all. I was nervous because I had already talked to a whole bunch of higher-ups with the accent and decided to just go through with it, this time thinking it was only going to be a summer job. I was so wrong.
It’s been like seven months that I’ve been working there and I still use the accent to this day. When people ask me where I’m from, I just tell them my hometown because there are several British people from that town whom I grew up with. The accent hasn’t really posed a problem…until now. See my boyfriend is friends with one of my co-workers, so I’m going to have to find the right time to come clean.
When I finally told my boyfriend about the accent he said, and I quote, “Well babe, you just gotta fake it till you make it, and get the heck out of there!” I got a lucky one, y’all!
5. Nip And Tuck
My mom has really had a hard time the past few years. When she entered menopause, she gained weight and no matter how much she works out or what diet she tries she cannot drop it. She is a wonderful person, beautiful inside and out, but I could tell it was really taking a toll on her. So I started (lightly) photoshopping pictures I take of her before I send them to anyone or print them.
I just nip a little here and there, slight reshaping. and smoothing out a few wrinkles, nothing drastic, but enough. Since I have started this, she has started acting more confidently and has stopped making negative remarks about pictures she is in. She loves being in pictures with everyone again. It has really helped. I have not told anyone in my life and never will.
6. A Life-Ruining Mistake
I can’t believe I am actually typing this out right now; it’s making it feel very real. Around a year ago, my older sister, who was the widowed mother of two boys aged eight and five, decided to get extremely wasted and wreck her car into a rock embankment outside of our town. She was life-flighted to the ICU, spent weeks in a coma, and awoke in a vegetative state.
In the past year, she has SLOWLY begun to see some progress. Because of this accident, I was forced to quit my job, leave my friends, and move across the country and back in with my parents to help take care of her and raise my nephews. I love them dearly, but I have never wanted to have kids, especially not forced upon me like this.
She has the mind of a child now, argues about silly things, can’t cook for herself, cries over everything, can’t read, has memory loss, is partially paralyzed on her right side, has aphasia, and a LIST of other problems with me as her caregiver. She tells me how happy she is to be alive after such a bad car accident. I want to scream that I wish she would have perished.
Her boys are a wreck after losing their dad recently and now having a messed up mom. My parents are spending all of their retirement savings for her treatments. I can see the years getting shaved off my dad and mom from the stress. I don’t treat her any differently, I still tell her stories and laugh with her and do my best, but I hate the way I feel when I look at her.
Did you even think about your boys when you got in your car? She is smiling and completely ignorant to the pain she has caused to my entire family. So I guess that’s it. That’s my confession. I have a deep dark hatred and resentment for someone I love. And I will never let her know.
7. A Weight Lifted
A couple of days ago, I found out that the guy who brutally teased me all throughout high school croaked, and honestly I couldn’t be happier. My friends all tell me I’m terrible for being happy, but they have no idea what I went through because of him. He almost drove me to harm myself and knowing he’s gone and can never do it again just makes me feel better.
I feel bad for his parents and I’d never wish that upon anyone to outlive their children, but I just can’t help myself. As for how it happened, the truth is I don’t know. I assume it was substance use, because the obituaries never stated anything nor was it explained on social media. I also made the assumption off of what his personality was like.
It’s hard to put into words the feeling I have. “Ecstatic” isn’t quite the right word. It’s more relieved and indifferent. I don’t know what his home life was like or what made him into the monster that he was, all I know is that all he did was hurt me and make my life miserable. Could he have changed his ways since then? Maybe. I’ll never know.
It doesn’t change what he did. Life happens, people live and people go. There’s nothing we can do about it. Hindsight is 20/20, if I could go back and tell myself to stand up and not take it I would, but I can’t. There are a lot of things I would’ve done differently regarding it, but it’s done, it’s in the past. Nothing can change it. And I’m glad he’s gone.
8. Pour One Out For Dusty
I’m the eldest of four kids in a family of six, and growing up we had a beautiful albino chinchilla named Dusty. Dusty was an awesome little pet to have as a kid. Very sweet, never bit anyone, loved to cuddle and run around “digging” tunnels in the bedsheets. He had this really big cage in our guest bedroom that was connected to my room, and every time someone would walk past his cage, he would run to the gate hoping to be taken out.
If you opened the gate, he would just hop right into your hand. Anyway, great pet. So about three days after I got my driver’s license as a 16-year-old, I noticed that one of Dusty’s eyes was tearing a little bit, which I hadn’t seen happen before. Feeling like a brand new adult with my new driver’s license, I decided to take it upon myself to bring him to the vet and see what was up.
So, I put him into a brown paper grocery bag with his favorite blanket, made some air holes, stapled it shut, and strapped him into the passenger seat of my family’s van. Fast forward maybe a half hour and I’m sitting in the vet’s office holding Dusty and feeling like the most responsible adult ever. The vet is an exotic animals vet and takes a look at him, then asks to do an X-ray.
So she sedates him a little, does the X-ray, hands him back to me, and leaves the room. Adult level 9000 as I sit petting him until he wakes back up. So the vet comes back in and sits next to me on the little bench in the check-up room and starts petting him in my lap. She’s telling me how wonderful he is and how lucky I am to have such a great little pet, asking me my favorite memories of him, all this.
We are talking and finally I ask her something like, “Okay so how much do chinchilla eye drops cost because I’ve got to get going.” Her reply floored me. She smiles gently, saying something like “I wish eye drops could fix this.” She gives me a hug and starts to explain. Dusty was not bred responsibly and had some kind of internal deformity involving the roots of his teeth putting pressure on his eyes and brain.
This would eventually cause an early end. I couldn’t believe it. I remember starting to cry and putting Dusty back in his grocery bag with his blanket and asking if the vet had a stapler I could use to close it again. I paid cash to the receptionist from my babysitting money and got into my car, crying all the way home. When I got home I sat in the car for a while in the garage trying to gather myself as Dusty chewed on his bag.
Looking back I’m not really sure why, but in the car I decided not to tell my family the news. The vet said Dusty wasn’t in pain despite his tearing eye and we wouldn’t have to put him down. She didn’t know how long exactly he had left, but guessed maybe a year. I guess I figured I didn’t want my family to be sad every time they played with him or passed by his cage knowing his time was limited.
I wanted the rest of his little life to be normal. Eventually, I brought him back in the house and put him in his cage. I went later that day to Petco and bought rodent eye drops as a cover-up and “proudly” told my family that night how I brought Dusty to the vet to check his eye and lied, saying the doctor gave me eye drops and told me eye irritation is common in chinchillas. Dusty lived three more years after that, two years longer than the vet had expected.
He passed just shy of his 10th birthday. On the morning he passed, I told my dad what had actually happened at the vet. He told me I was so much more of an adult than I knew.
9. Fudging The Numbers
When I was a student at a major university in the late 80s, I was failing several classes miserably. I had completely screwed up in two of my six classes and I needed to make a plan of how not to flunk out. For one class, I decided to dedicate all my spare time to correcting where I went wrong and fix it by acing the final exam.
The other class, which was much more technical, required that I come up with a plan. Keep in mind that I was a total goody-two-shoes kid who felt like they were in a desperate situation. Failing out of college was not something I could allow to happen. Desperate times called for desperate measures. The class that I needed to pass was a science/engineering class that I had not bothered to go to, so I went to the very last Thursday class to figure out my plan.
One thing the professor did say was that if you had a 93 or higher average in the class, you could opt-out of the final exam that was happening in one week. I had a 64 average, so I had to take the exam. How was I going to ace this exam? My grades were too low to get pulled up enough. The only way to fix this was to get my grades changed.
So I came up with a “Hail Mary” plan. It involved a few rules being broken—and by rules, I mean laws. The science building where the class was given would close for the weekend. This meant that the professors’ offices were locked and most of the labs were locked as well. You could still get into the main parts of the building, but you had to talk to a security person if it was after hours.
So here was my plan. On Friday afternoon after most classes were over, I scoped out the whole building. It was a u-shaped building that was three stories tall. I had to find a way in. Luckily, I found one of the first floor labs on the inside of the “u” had large horizontal windows that could be unlocked and would allow for someone to crawl through.
Even better, a small fenced-in area that housed some of the electrical and HVAC units obscured one of the labs’ windows. Large bushes lined the fence as well. So while I was there, I went into the lab and unlocked a window to allow myself a place to enter the building. The door of the lab was propped open and I un-propped it and let it close.
It locked. Good to know! It also reduced the chances of someone relocking the window. I also scoped out the professor’s office. It was open, but he was not there. It was very small with no windows. Just enough room for a desk, his chair, and a couple of other chairs. His office door was an all-metal door painted beige except for a small center window in the middle.
The window had a wire screen built into the glass held in place by a simple screwed-on frame. There were lots of manila envelopes and schedules on the door as well. This would be a challenge, but I was ready. At around 3:30 in the morning, I arrived back at the building with my backpack and a plan to break into the building.
I had a hammer, pliers, a roll of tape, and some screwdrivers that I had scrounged, and I was nervous as heck. I made my way through the bushes and climbed over the fence. I checked the window and it was still unlocked. I pulled myself up through the window and into the dark lab. Remembering that the lab doors would lock behind you, I slowly opened the lab door and placed some tape on the lock to stop it from locking.
I was expecting a quiet building but instead was greeted by the loud sound of machinery running. Another lab was conducting an all-night test or something, and at least three upper-level students were there overseeing the project. In a way that was good because my presence wouldn’t necessarily be noticeable by others. This would later save me.
I made my way to the professor’s office door, which was in a more out-of-the-way part of the building. The office was located right by one of the stairwells, so I could hear anyone coming down the stairs and also, if someone happened to start coming from the other way, I could use the stairs for a quick exit. I pulled out the screwdriver to start unscrewing the frame around the glass window in his door.
I soon realized that the screws were covered in decades of paint. Not good. What I thought was going to be a two-minute job turned into a 45-minute job. I went into what I would call “screw it mode” and just went to town on this window frame. I had a few starts and stops, but no one came by. I got the frame off and tried to pry the glass out of the frame.
It was sealed in with paint. Getting the glass out took a monumental amount of slow prying and steady effort. After 30 minutes of scraping and gentle pressure, I had the glass pane out. I slowly reached in and turned the lock to unlock the door. I grabbed a large manila folder on the outside of door and repositioned it over the window, a perfect cover for the now mauled-up window.
I slid into the office and looked for something to cover the window that would block light. The desk calendar worked well and a few pieces of tape held it up well. Then I turned the lights on to survey the scene. I was now presented with a desk, a chair, and a small slim table behind the desk. Of all the ways my plan could go wrong, my biggest fear was that the professor may have taken all of his grades home with him.
A quick look into the large flat file on his desk and I had his full hand-written grade register in my hands and the pen he used for recording grades was tucked right inside. He taught six classes that semester and I only needed to change one grade, my grade. However, now that I had seen how banged up the paint was on the glass window frame, I knew I had to alter the plan.
I searched through the gradebook and found all of my grades and saw I had several in the 70s and some lower 60s grades. I had done SOME work in the class. I thought it over for a few seconds and started executing Plan B. I went through every single class he had and began randomly changing anything in the 60s to read as in the 80s. Then I went through and changed all the 70s I found to read as 90s.
I realized that my changed grades wouldn’t stand up under close scrutiny, so I had to create a “herd immunity” of changed grades. I noticed a few bad students in some of his classes and made some extra efforts at changing their grades. A zero? Now an 88. This was taking a while. With six classes and 50 students or so in each class, and about 10 grades per student, there were about 3,000 grades in this register.
I changed at least 1,500 of those grades. Of course, my grades were changed as well. Lots of numbers in the 90s. I closed the grade book and placed it back in the drawer exactly as I had found it, but I hear a little “Plink!” sound. I pulled on the drawer and realized it was now locked, but wasn’t before.
OK, so maybe he’ll think he locked it. No big deal. My mind began to wonder about what the aftermath of this might be. Would this work? Would I be able to get away with not taking the exam by creating this academic chaos? About this time was when I noticed the IBM PC on his back table. Hmmm. Did he record his grades on a hand-written register and his PC?
IF he had a backup of the grades, all of this would be for nothing. Also, I couldn’t reference all the changed grades as the drawer was now locked. I booted up his IBM PC XT and saw that it had two 3.5 disk drives. There are five disks by the computer. What to do? I load each disk in the drive and type “DEL *.* ” and nuke them all. I hadn’t planned on this, but “screw it mode” was activated.
So let’s review the plan: Change so many grades that he would have to take an impossible amount of time to deconstruct the chaos and simply give out good grades or at least better grades as needed. No one particular student would be identifiable as a culprit because there were plenty who had a motivation to change the grades. This was as good of an idea as I could come up with.
After having distributed all the good grades to all the good boys and girls, I gathered my tools and planned my exit strategy. The back of his door had a few items taped to it as well, so I replaced the glass and frame and covered it with another manila folder. I wrote a poorly written note on a post-it that said, “Sorry mop handle cracked the glass. Replaced glass—Maintenance”.
I then split, got past the grad student running the machine, slipped out of the window, and never went back. I didn’t show up for the final exam either because you know, higher than an (edited) 93 average and all…I waited 45 long days that summer to get my grades. Got a 90 in the class. Yeah…okay no complaints. There had to be some other people who got their grades and were happier as well.
I never suffered any consequences on this either, but it was the most stressful night of my life. I haven’t done anything like this ever again. As for why I was in this situation in the first place? Now, it’s not an excuse in any way, but I had a parent pass my first year at college. There wasn’t a lot of counseling back then, just a hand on the shoulder and condolences.
I don’t remember even hearing the word “depression” uttered except in psychology class. Mental health was not freely discussed unless someone had big problems. I was probably on the cusp of what was then called a “nervous breakdown.” I had come from a small town, and had expected to escape my one-horse town and breeze through college, one of the smart kids ya know.
But I had to let my only dream go. I had lost my dad, my academic career, my escape, and my identity at 19. I know plenty had it worse but it felt really bad. I had to eat a lot of humble pie and at first it sucked, but not long after I felt free of the burden of being in the wrong place, pursuing the wrong thing, and I started smiling again. I changed schools that summer and also changed my field of study.
Something about experiencing the absolute “guilt of failure” at the first school really made me driven at my new school. It was also a much smaller school and had fewer distractions. I thrived, made straight As, and loved learning the new subject matter. I’ll describe my field as “Design” as that’s nice and vague. I’ve been doing that since graduation successfully and have my own company and employees.
I’m not world-famous or anything but I would bet most of you have had an interaction with something I have designed. That first school had been my favorite college sports team my whole childhood and was my single plan as a college student. That ended because of this. I had not set foot on that large campus since the day I left many years ago, until this past summer when my son went to go tour.
I had to hide the awful feeling I had as we walked by the building where this happened. Just this low sense of ancient dread from a past life staring at me as I walked by, my son unaware and instead excited to be there. The professor in this story works for the same university still. He had done other things and came back. He’s got patents and a PhD and is an expert in his field.
Here’s a potentially crummy part: He got his PhD within a year of this incident, so I really hope I didn’t destroy any of his research when deleting the computer disks. I’ve thought of *67 calling him to see what the true aftermath was, but this seems like a bad idea and would likely just bum me out. The lesson here might be: If it feels like work, dread, like you don’t belong; be honest with yourself.
There is likely a direction that you will thrive in and this may not be it. I got one of my biggest screw-ups out of the way at age 19, some people have theirs much later. I’m a happy person now. Life is good. It’s all worth it.
10. The Scars Still Stay
Flashback to about three years ago. I was in a relationship with this girl who I loved so much. I would’ve done everything I could for her, and I always did. I did my best to keep her happy, but she was going through her own personal battles. She lost her dad before we started dating, and her mom passed from cancer while we were dating.
She faced a lot, and I tried to comfort her. I think that maybe I started doing too much, because eventually my parents started getting stricter on me, and I used to disobey them to try to make her happy. There was this one time where she got mad because I didn’t tell her I was preparing a surprise gift for her. She got mad, tore up the gift, and broke everything in it that could have been broken.
I started to cry at how she treated something I worked hard for. She told me to “stop being a little wimp” and punched me in the face. This caught me off-guard as she had never done this before. But this was just the start. Every day or two, she would proceed to punch me in the face or anywhere else twice or three times a day. And I would just take it.
I never argued about it, and I never mentioned it to anyone. There were several times that I seemed bruised, but I would just say that I got it while training, since I had started getting into working out. She had gone from being extremely emotionally manipulative, to physically, and I didn’t know how to handle it. I wanted to leave, but I was scared she would hurt herself.
I stayed for two years, until she went abroad to study. This is when I finally got to see how it felt to live without the constant fear of pain. Now back to the present day. I met this wonderful and perfect girl who has made me beyond happy. One day, she was turning really quickly to ask me a question, with her hand up. I instantly jumped away and she looked at me confused.
My eyes instantly got watery, and she began asking what had happened. I opened up to her for the first time about it, and I feel relieved. I just feel terrible knowing that this is how I might react to sudden movements for a long time.
11. Displeasure Doing Business With You
I get scam and spam calls all the time. I am very polite and say that I’m sorry, but this is my work phone and I’m interested in talking with them but I can only talk on my personal phone. See, the guy’s phone number who I give seriously screwed me a couple years back after being lifelong best friends. Screw that guy. Welcome to your spam nightmare. As for what he did? Strap in.
So I’ve known this dude my whole life. We were best friends for 16 years. For probably the past five-ish years before we parted ways, we dreamed of running a business together. He moves to another part of the state about five hours away, and one night he calls me up and says he found a business for us to run together. The time had come.
He’s found what seems like a perfect opportunity. So I pack up my bags, get my now wife (then girlfriend) on board and move to an area where we know no one and I have no job opportunities. But it was my dream, so why not! We literally sign a lease and moved my stuff into a house we’re sharing. The day after I move in, he tells me he’s been working on another business and it’s taking off.
He then tells me without warning that he’s not doing business with me. It really hurt me, but he was my best friend. So I moved on and tried to make a life for myself in this strange place. Over the next couple of years, he starts hanging out with a new crowd, doing substances, and starts saying pretty rude things to me about how I’ve done nothing with my life and I’m becoming a real loser.
I’m infuriated. But I didn’t let him know that. Fast forward a few months. I set up a hard-to-plan weekend with all my closest friends to come to our house, and at the end I was to propose to my now wife. Well, the night of the big engagement she said YES! I’m over the moon! What does he do? Invites all these new friends over and they crash the party, do powder in the bathroom, eat the food that I made from scratch for the night and only had enough for my friends.
Then 20 minutes after all the food is gone and I have a new fiancée, he decides that they’re going to go to a bar and ditches me with the mess and lack of food. I didn’t tell him I was furious. Instead I pretended everything was okay, letting him think he’d be my best man in the wedding. Then once our shared lease was up, I moved out into a new place with my fiancée.
Again, I let him think he was still in the wedding. I sent out invites and he doesn’t get his (hmm wonder why?) and I say it should be in the mail. But as the wedding gets closer I talk to him less and less. Finally I just cut him off cold turkey. No explanation. Complete and total radio silence. I did this because I wanted him to go the rest of his life wondering what happened and why I abandoned him.
He didn’t deserve closure. But, I’m still mad. Thus why I do this relatively harmless piece of revenge with spam calls too. Screw him.
12. The Good Neighbor
You, yes you, woman with the charming smile who acts so friendly in the street. You know I can hear you scream at and beat your teenage daughter through the shared wall, right? I can hear her cry and gasp for air as you choke her. I can hear you screaming at her for coughing for dear life afterward. I am aware she cannot leave the house alone, ever, since you home-school her and never let her leave.
You know I called the authorities on you two days ago. But there’s something you don’t know. I called the non-emergency number as well and had them make up a file of all your incidents over the past few months since I moved in. You also don’t know that CPS will be visiting you soon, and that I’ve started logging everything you do since my call.
You hit a high score with seven different timestamps today! And it’s not even after dinner yet. Congratulations, I wrote them all down. You disgust me and I spit on you. I will be recording and logging EVERYTHING and calling the authorities on you whenever I hear that girl scream. Because she can’t do it for herself. Screw you. I hope you get hit by a bus.
13. There But For The Grace Of God Go I
I’m not Jewish, not even a little bit. If you asked me any questions about Judaism, I couldn’t tell you, but still, everyone thinks I’m Jewish. It all started in high school, in 11th grade. I had just moved from California to the South and it was a rough time. I was called every horrible name in the book because I talked different and got the tar beat out of me multiple times.
Well, I slowly befriended some of the guys on the football team and my closest friend was the center, we’ll call him Greg. Now, Greg is a super chill guy compared to everyone around him, but he’s still very, very prejudiced and very open about all his opinions. One day I’m driving Greg and a few other football players home from school, and he makes a comment about synagogues.
Without even thinking, I mention that I’ve been to one…and this is where it all started. This prompted one of the other guys to joke that I was a Jew, and trying to be chill (since these were the only friends I had) I went, “Haha, yep, I’m Jewish.” And then that’s when it all went downhill. Greg told everyone on the football team how his new friend from California was a Jew, and they all believed it since most of them thought there were only Jews in California anyways.
The football players spread that to the rest of the school. At this point, I still thought it was a joke and everyone was just jokingly calling me Jewish, so I just kept going with it. Then I became known as “The Jewish kid” and started to actually become popular, since everyone wanted to be friends with the different kid. Plus there was the fact that my dad had money, a lot compared to the poor area where I went to school, so I could afford to buy nice things and people tend to be attracted towards that.
So being Jewish almost became my identity, it became who I was. Eventually, whenever someone would ask my religion, I just automatically told them I was Jewish. Fast forward to the end of high school, and the councilors are walking people through scholarship stuff. My counselor calls me into his office and hands me a slip for a $5,000 Jewish American scholarship.
Now as soon as I read “Jewish American scholarship,” I was going to walk out and throw it out, but he made me sit down and fill it out with him, and then took it from me to submit it. I felt horrible for even doing it, but somewhat relieved when I heard that they only gave it to people who were also ethnically Jewish, so I knew I wouldn’t get it.
Nope, I got it. I received a letter in the mail saying I was chosen as the winner of this $5,000 scholarship. I got accepted to Dartmouth due to the fact I worked my butt off in high school and was the valedictorian, though my competition wasn’t plentiful to say the least. But I never thought I would have been able to afford it, and this scholarship was huge in helping me towards that.
I considered spilling everything then, declining the scholarship, telling everyone at school, telling almost every single form I’ve filled out, saying I’m not actually Jewish. I decided to tell my dad and ask him for advice as he’s always been a guy you can talk to about anything whatsoever. So I tell him everything. I tell him about the joke, then the lie, and now the scholarship.
As soon as I told my father, he looked me in the eyes with the most serious, disappointed face…and then burst into tears laughing. The way he reacted, it must’ve been the funniest thing he’d ever heard in his life. He told me he had gotten a letter in the mail asking if I was ethnically Jewish for a scholarship I had entered, and being the person he is, he just saw the chance for college money and went “yep, Jewish” and that was apparently all they need.
So my dad convinced me to keep the money and go to my dream college, and I did. The lie snowballed. As soon as I arrived at university, I was met with some people from the group that gave me this scholarship, some Jewish American organization funded by wealthy Israelis, and they told me/enlisted me into all these Jewish clubs and got me set up in a synagogue.
Finally, they told me they’d set me up with the whole “birthright” thing, where they fly American Jews out to Israel. I was so shocked. I was at my dream school, plus I was being hit with all of this, it was too much. I thought about coming clean a lot of times. But I felt like all the people around me would suddenly feel betrayed and leave me.
I became good friends with a lot of people in these Jewish clubs. I bonded with my teachers a lot better since they believed I was Jewish, I met the most beautiful Jewish girl. I actually met her through her mother when she came up to me in a café and asked if I was Jewish since I was with the local Rabbi. I said yes, and she told me that I’d love her daughter. We went on a date and instantly hit it off.
I also got a free trip to Israel. All the while, I was dealing with severe depression since I felt horrible every second of every day, in addition to the already enormous amounts of stress university puts on you. I came so close, so many times, to just throwing myself off a bridge or a tall building, but I could never bring myself to do it. It kept growing.
I managed to get all the way through 11 years of college to get my doctorate, got a job at a history museum back on the west coast, married that Jewish girl, had a Jewish wedding with her entire family, and we’ve had three little Jewish babies. The museum put me in charge of organizing and creating a huge Holocaust/Jewish American history exhibit even though that’s not my specific field in the slightest.
In a few months, when the current curator retires at the age of 96, I will hopefully be taking his place. He’s been training me for the job, I’ve worked there the longest, and I’ve made sure that I’m darn good at my job. My life has turned out great, but deep down it will always haunt me that my entire life is built on a lie. My kids’ lives, my life, my wife’s life, all came from a joke in a car 20 years ago.
I was never going to tell a soul about this, but today my oldest son told me that he doesn’t think he believes in God, and I told him I agreed. It was the first time in 20 years that I told the truth about my religion, and didn’t lie. My son wants to tell his mom that he doesn’t want to continue being Jewish, and I might use this as my way of getting out as well.
14. Be Careful What You Wish For
So when I was 20, I started dating this girl. We dated for three years, and although she loved me like crazy, I never really loved her at all. The reasons for that are a different story. About two and a half years into the relationship, we found out she was pregnant. I didn’t use a condom once, and that’s it. After about 6-7 months, we found out that she has a damaged reproductive system, and she had to stay in the hospital.
I would bring her food and stuff every day after work and basically live in that hospital for two weeks. She wasn’t allowed to get up or anything. I was by her side through the whole thing. One day out of nowhere, her water broke. She was about to deliver the baby when we talked to some of the hospital staff. They explained that since the baby was being delivered at that point, she hasn’t developed lungs yet, and if we decided to let the hospital staff resuscitate her, she could have permanent brain damage.
We decided that if she is born and she is not breathing, we would not resuscitate her. Here’s the really messed up part. This entire time from the point I found out she was pregnant, I was hoping that something bad would happen so that I wouldn’t be stuck in this relationship and life forever. I started praying that if there was a God, he would get me out of this situation.
When the baby was born, I watched in horror as she struggled to breathe. I’ve lived with this secret my entire life. I’ve never told a single person. It has given me depression to the point where I’ve experienced incredible anxiety and nightmares. I’ve been through mental hospitals and therapists as well. I wouldn’t wish anything like this on anyone.
15. One Woman’s Pain Is Another Man’s Pleasure
Since my wife’s back problems started, I’ve been sleeping like a baby. 15 years of marriage, and traditionally my wife is someone who doesn’t like to be touched while they sleep. Usually when she wakes up, it’s like it’s a five-alarm fire if even my feet touch her sometimes. Her lower back problems have started up again, though, and she’s been sleeping with my arm as a pillow.
For a couple weeks now, it’s progressed into her sleeping with her head on my chest and leg and arms across me, essentially using me as a body pillow and teddy bear. We don’t know why this relieves the pain, but it helps her to fall asleep. She used to wake me up and ask for my arm, but two times this week I’ve woken up to the full on body pillow style snugs.
When I was a lonely teenager I used to put my free weights inside my pillow and lay them on top of me so I would know what it would feel like to have someone lay on you that way. This is literally my dream come true.
16. Wanting What He Can’t Have
I’m a guy in love with my lesbian best friend. My best friend is the closest person I have. We dated for a little in high school, but she got super depressed and we broke up. We stayed friends and only got closer. I like to think that I helped some, but she started getting some professional help and some meds and started doing a lot better.
She came out to me as a lesbian after we graduated, and I was the first to know. Good for her, right? I’ve always been supportive. But I’ll always want more. She was one of the main things that got me through college. We talked every day, we shared stories, frustrations, jokes, everything. Her parents and siblings all love me. We are as close as can possibly be.
There is literally no other human on this planet who I’ve clicked with so well. We are extremely similar in every way: sense of humor, field of study, outlook on the world. I would marry her in a heartbeat. But I can never tell her. I’m not some salty guy who expects something from her. I’ve accepted that she’s a lesbian, and I’ve supported her through everything as she explores this side of her.
She’ll never be attracted to me, and that’s okay. I would never try to change her, she’s perfect as she is. But I’ll always feel the way that I do. I’ve tried all that I can. I tried space, but it just hurt her. She missed her best friend. I tried dating other people, but she’ll always hold a special priority for me. It’s not fair to them anyways, they deserve somebody who isn’t hung up on something that isn’t even possible.
I’m just sitting here at my desk. Grad school is hard. I think putting this all on paper will help me. Somehow. Even now her name is sitting on my phone with the latest update from her. I’ll just do as I always do. Come up with some stupid joke and hope I made her day a little brighter.
17. Guardian Angel
A family member assaulted me until I was 13 and I moved in with my aunt. She’s a good person who took me in and helped me get away from the bad people in my family. When we found out I was pregnant, she guessed how it happened. I hadn’t told her about what had happened but she said she always expected it but never had proof. She came up with a way to get me away.
She pretended to get pregnant and asked my parents if she could get custody so I could move in with her, get homeschooled, and help her out. They said no at first because they knew they’d lose out on food stamps, so she offered to pay them whatever they would’ve gotten in food stamps in cash in exchange for me living there. They said yeah once they found out cash was involved, and my aunt gave them some extra cash every month to keep them out of our lives.
My parents are your regular redneck junkies who are no good to anyone. I had the kid in 1988 and have seen my parents a handful of times since then. My aunt went to court to get custody of me and said my parents dropped me off at her house one day and never picked me up. I went along with that story in court and it worked out. I said we went back to my house day after day, but they were never home.
They were ordered to come to court but never showed up. She got full custody of me and I lived with her until I was able to get myself a good job. I don’t work the best job in the world, but it’s better than where I came from and I’m proud of that. Anywho, she took me to get an abortion, but it was too late by our state’s laws. She pretended to be pregnant, even tried to gain weight, and bought clothes that made her look bigger.
I stayed home every day until I had the baby. So now, everyone thinks it’s her kid. I don’t feel bad about it and won’t ever tell the kid unless my aunt wants to or some big emergency happens where he needs a body part. She always said it’s my choice to tell, but I think it’s her choice too. She raised him, he calls her mama, and I wouldn’t want to take that away from them.
He doesn’t look like me at all. He doesn’t really look like my aunt, either. He thinks his daddy is some guy she met at a bar who she had a one-night stand with and she doesn’t know who he was. He’s an adult now and is settling down with his wife and they’re thinking about having kids. It’s sometimes weird because I know if they do, they’ll be my grandkids but they’ll never know.
I don’t feel like a parent to him at all. I know he’s my biological kid, but I’m not his mama. Every now and then it makes me sad, but I know it was the right decision to make. He’s had a good life. My aunt and I saved up to make sure he could get a good education, and he did that. He knows me as his older cousin and we get along well. He’s a good guy.
Hardworking, a good person, does what he can to help others. I’m proud of him. I know DNA tests exist. I don’t know if he’ll get one done, but we’ll talk about what to do if he ever does.
18. Ring My Bell
My ex used to use a specific shampoo, and over time I noticed that every time I smelled this shampoo on other people, I automatically thought of her and this got me planning. For my current girlfriend, every time we got down to business, I put on a cologne that I saved specifically for those times. No matter how spontaneous the action was, I found the time to put on a puff or two of this perfume secretly and then continue.
After we’d been going out for couple months, I began to do tests. I put this perfume on when casually walking in the kitchen past her, and just sit down in the living room. Soon enough, after couple minutes she’d go there and initiate sexy times. Now I use it occasionally—I’m very careful not to overuse it so it doesn’t spoil the effect—when I want to get her going, and it works well enough.
My favorite is putting it on before going out to a public place, and watching her get super worked up and unload at home. Yes, I’ve Pavlov’ed my girlfriend.
19. Stepping Up
I’m 19 and a guy. My mom married my stepdad when I was 14 and we’ve always gotten along. My dad passed when I was 11, and to be honest, I’m still working through the relationship we had. I’ve always had this fantasy that he was an amazing dad but he wasn’t. He made me fight a 13-year-old when I was 10. When I said I was scared, he told me I was being a wimp.
When I didn’t win he was disappointed in me. When my mom married my stepdad, we kept to ourselves at first but he’s honestly twice the man my dad was. It’s hard to say that but it’s true. The one thing he said to me before he married my mom was that he’d never hurt us and always protect us. It’s been five years and he’s kept his promise.
He’s always been amazing to my mom and me, and I admit that he spoils me sometimes. He’ll take care of my chores for me and gets me whatever I want even if I don’t ask him for it. If he hears me talking about something, he’ll just get it for me. He always asks if I have enough money and if I don’t, he’ll transfer money into my checking account.
We don’t really talk about personal stuff but he’s always said I can talk to him about anything whenever I feel like it. But everything changed today. We were at the store and some older guy accused me of giving him a dirty look while we were in the parking lot. I didn’t know what he was talking about and told him I didn’t even look at him, but the guy shoved me to the ground.
My stepdad jumped in so fast that I didn’t even see what happened. I heard him hit the guy, and when I got up the jerk was on the ground looking scared and holding his nose. My stepdad was shouting at him in a scary voice: “You don’t ever put your hands on him.” He helped me up and the guy got back in his car and sped away.
After that, he didn’t want me to leave his sight in the store. The whole way home he kept apologizing that he didn’t step in earlier and telling me he never wanted me to see him fight. I’ve never even seen him get mad or raise his voice. It was scary but it also made me feel so weird. I can’t explain it, but it feels like I finally know how much he loves me.
We never say it to each other but I always knew how he feels. When we got home I told him I love him for the first time and he gave me the hardest hug I’ve ever had and I almost started crying.
20. Mommie Dearest
I grew up loving my mother dearly, as most sons do. She was protective, kind, beautiful, successful, and smart, and was someone I strove to be like when I was young. However, I wasn’t seeing the real side of her. The one that is at her core. Within the past three years, I have come to despise her. She is selfish, manipulative, two-faced, and an overall bad human, which is a tough pill to swallow when I adored her for 25 years.
It’s weird how you don’t really know your parents until you become an adult. I just need to get this off my chest. So, my parents are in their late 50s. My dad is very successful and is an all-around good guy, great father to my sisters and I, and is a way better husband than my mom deserves. They’ve been together since they were in high school.
In their sophomore year, my mom literally pulled a girl out of his Jeep and got in because she wanted to be with him (red flag). He is more passive, and my mom is aggressive (obviously). Any honey-do list he got, he did it. Anything my mother wanted, she got. His brother and even I always gave him a hard time for being so whipped with her.
They went into over $90,000 in debt when I was 13 because my mom wanted a big house, Mercedes, and other stuff they couldn’t afford at the time. We went on expensive vacations that she planned, we ate at nice restaurants we couldn’t afford, and the only thing my dad ever stood his ground on was that he gets to deer hunt with the guys three weekends a year, which my mom still complained about being left out of.
She has always had to be the center of whatever he does in his life, no exceptions. But that isn’t what made me see her for who she was. It got even darker than that. Four years ago, my now wife and I were soon to be married. My mom suggested we all take a motorcycle trip one weekend with her old co-worker, we’ll call him James.
She explained he was going through a tough time with his ex-wife and needed to get away. We go and have a good time for a weekend, but it just felt weird. It was my mom, dad, my now wife, and James. The dynamic and overall vibe of being around my mom’s old friend was strange. He was a nice enough guy, he was tall, handsome, rich and brawny.
He had an ex-wife and two kids around my age, and he loved taking pictures of my mom and dad, which creeped me out. Anyways, nothing of importance happened on this trip, but my mom starts acting strange afterward and my dad and older sister are the ones who noticed it. At this time, I lived with my fiancée on the other side of the city, but my older sister was living with my parents.
One night, a few weeks after our motorcycle trip, my fiancée, sister, mom, and I went to a concert. My mom was acting weird, downing beers (this isn’t like her at all) and just being weird in general. It was like she was a whole different person all of a sudden. After being there for 10 minutes, she said, “I’m going to grab a drink,” and gets up and disappears for an hour.
I went looking for her after she had been gone for 45 minutes as I was concerned for her safety. When I came back with no luck, I ask my sister if she’s been able to get a hold of her. She rolls her eyes and goes, “I didn’t bother calling, she’s probably calling James.” What the heck? My sister then reveals the truth. She tells me that she and dad suspect she is having an affair with him.
She goes on to explain how sketchy she has been acting, doing things like changing her phone and iPad password, stepping out for phone calls and whispering, even putting a jar of rocks on her phone while she slept so she would be woken up if anyone touched it. Weird. My dad managed to look in her phone before she changed her password and quickly skimmed through her texts with James.
He saw some suspicious and cryptic dialogue. Anyway, my mom finally gets back to us at the concert and at this point, I am angry and devastated all at once. I ask her what took so long and she says, “Oh I ran into some old friends from my old job ” Immediately sensing the lie, I ask who. She didn’t expect this follow-up question, but slyly responds with, “You don’t know them.”
I then ask, “Well, what are their names?” She’s feeling the pressure and stutters before managing to make up some fake names. My wife and sister are listening to my interrogation very intently. I get sick of her, though, and drop it. I am livid and crushed and thinking of my dad. My sister had already gotten to the point of disgust I was at, so she didn’t say anything and we all kind of ignored it…until the next day.
After this concert incident, my sister tells my dad what happened, and he finally approaches my mom about everything. He demanded to see her call history and sees a 45-minute call to James at the time of the concert, along with many others. He demands to know what is going on, and she says he is just going through a hard time with his ex, who is apparently debilitated from alcoholism, and she was just helping him get through it as a friend.
Basically, the sketchiness goes on for months, and at the time of my wedding, my dad has a tracker in her goddarn car, has requested call logs from the phone company, and is looking at hiring a private investigator. I still remember dancing with her at my wedding; she looked at me adoringly and I couldn’t look back at her. Little did my dad or I know, me and my love for my kayaking would soon give him everything he needed.
A month or so after my wedding, I go to stay with my old college roommate for a weekend of kayaking and fishing. He lived by my grandparents’ lake house (my mom’s parents) and I was going to pick up my kayak from their house that day. My dad randomly calls me just to say hi and probably tell me about whatever sketchy stuff my mom had been up to.
Though this is probably not healthy, he is my best friend, and this had been our conversations lately. I tell him that I’m headed to the lake house and he responds, “I doubt she would be this bold, but your mom said she was at the lake house with her girlfriends this weekend and I want you to be prepared if that isn’t the case. If it isn’t, let me know.”
I knew what he meant. I didn’t give my mom a heads up that I was coming on purpose and as I drive up, I’m relieved to see just her car and another girly-looking car in the driveway. I call my dad before going in and tell him my initial assessment is that nothing sketchy is going on from what I see, just looks like her and her friends are here.
He’s as relieved I am. I walk up, knock on the door, and it’s silent. The back-patio door is unlocked so I walk in. The first thing I see ruins me. It’s a leather motorcycle jacket hanging on one of the barstools and I immediately recognize it as James’s. My heart starts pounding and my adrenaline is pumping as my vision gets all weird and my ears start burning.
A million questions went through my head in a second, like “Are they here?” and “Do they know I’m here?” and “Should I announce myself?” I act fast, assuming they aren’t there but could be pulling up any minute. I take a picture of the jacket, I go to the garage and sure enough, James’s motorcycle is there. I take a picture of that and then run back in and see cell phones stacked where they are charging in the kitchen.
I grab a phone I don’t recognize. It didn’t have a lock on it, so I immediately go to the pictures…the first one is of two people I don’t recognize, as well as my mom and James…and they’re kissing each other on the lips. I scroll a little and more of the same. My heart is pumping out of my chest at this point and I take a few quick pictures of the photos in the phone and run out of the house, not even remembering or caring what I had originally been there for.
Something I should add here: When I was seven, my mom left my dad for a doctor, who just wanted to use her and drop her like a bad habit, and my dad reluctantly took her back after she begged and pleaded. She blamed the doctor at the time. My dad later told me that at the time, he told himself he was doing it for the kids and had planned on leaving her after we graduated high school, but they did so well in between then and our graduations that he eventually forgave her and was happy in their relationship.
I remember them being separated, but I didn’t know the details until recently. Okay so anyways, I peel out of the driveway at the lake house, and drive to a secluded street in the neighborhood as I try and figure out what to do. I let my heart rate slow a bit, so I could think more clearly, and then called my little sister, trying to decide if I tell my dad and if so, how.
Up to this point, everyone just had their suspicions with no solid proof. My little sister, who is the sweetheart of the family, agrees that I needed to call dad and tell him immediately because he deserves to know, despite how bad it will hurt him. I then called my wife and she agreed but we were both worried about what he would do.
I hesitate for a bit but eventually I call my dad to tell him his wife of 25 years is cheating on him. When he answers, I just blurt it out: “James is here, I have proof, and mom is cheating on you.” I didn’t know how to put it delicately, so I just gave him the facts. He was in shock like me. He kept saying the same phrase over and over: “No way…”
After the initial shock wears off, he apologizes that I had to be the one to see it and then says he’s on his way (it’s a three-hour drive) and that he will meet up with me at my roommate’s. I immediately call my uncle (my dad’s identical twin and my other best friend) and tell him what’s going on. I tell him I’m afraid my dad is going to do something stupid.
He said he’ll make sure he doesn’t. They end up coming down together and meet me at my roommate’s house. We talk for a couple hours and come up with a plan. They switch trucks with my roommate to go incognito because he must see it for himself. My dad promises he won’t do anything stupid despite what he may see. He sneaks up there after dark, parks far away, and walks a mile through the woods with his brother and a pair of binoculars.
He hides behind some trees when he got in place and sees them on the patio with another couple drinking. They’re cuddling and kissing like they’re an old married couple and like what they are doing is not beyond messed up. It took every ounce of self-control for my dad not to run over there and go insane on them. Instead, he did the smart thing thankfully and just took pictures of them and left. Then he reaped his revenge.
The next morning, he cleared out their bank account, sent her the pictures he and I took along with a text that said, “I know everything, I’m leaving you.” I can only imagine what their reaction was like. Rest assured that the rest of their little getaway was quite stressful. The next year was a nightmare for everyone and my mom’s reaction to this solidified my disdain for her.
She dragged everyone into her nightmare and made our lives horrible. My dad and I caught her red-handed. He just wanted her to go to James and let him live in peace, but instead, she dropped James and begged my dad to take her back. My dad agreed to pay her alimony if she granted him a divorce without lawyers that would’ve drained them both financially.
She reluctantly agreed. After the divorce, my mom cried every day for a year. She moved in with my little sister in an apartment she couldn’t afford. She got on anti-depressants and went into a downward spiral that, because we loved her no matter what, took us all with her. All the lies she had told for a year began to surface more and more.
Thinking back on that motorcycle trip where I spent a weekend with this jerk made my stomach turn. I even bought that rich guy drinks. Though I despised who she was and what she had done, I was still very concerned for my mom and would listen to her sob on the phone and in front of me. She cried to my wife a lot too, which I hated.
This was my wife’s first year in the family and my mom was calling her, bawling about how cruel my dad was being to her. My mom blamed my dad’s twin brother for almost everything, saying he had taken him away from her on all our “guy hunting trips,” and he was the reason their marriage fell apart. She was truly manic. My mom’s parents and brother were disgusted with her because they loved my dad so much and they refused to talk to her about it.
So my wife, sisters, dad, and I were the ones who got the brunt of it. She tried manipulating everyone to make us think she was the victim here. It made me sick. She tried to make it seem like she was the battered wife and my dad had treated her badly. We all knew the truth and I found myself despising her more and more as a person.
My dad on the other hand went full-blown frat boy with his newly found freedom. He’s a handsome guy with money, and though my mom’s reaction was taking a toll on him in every way, he distracted himself by getting on Bumble and banging a bunch of 30-40-something year-old women, hunted every weekend, and went on Harley rides during the week to escape it all.
My mom still doesn’t know about the women and honestly, after being with the same woman for 30 years, being cheated on twice, and having every aspect of his life controlled, he deserved it and needed to get it out of his system. Anyways, getting us more towards the present, my wife and I became pregnant with our first child and the joy of it was completely overshadowed by my mom’s constant meltdowns.
I couldn’t even get them in the same room to tell all my family that they were going to have a new niece/granddaughter. For 10 months, she relentlessly berated my dad for not being able to forgive her and used my unborn child (their first grandchild) as a pawn to get him back. She told him that it would be his fault if their grandchild grew up with divorced grandparents.
It made my blood boil. After a while, and against me and my sister’s encouragement for my dad to stay strong, my dad caved and slowly started to get back with her. They sold their house and now live together in a townhome. My daughter is 17 months old now and my parents have fallen back into their relationship of my mom dominating his life, despite him trying to set strong ground rules this time.
It’s been like when a villain gets their powers back after losing them. She went from weak and broken to manipulating everyone to her will like she has always done. My wife is shy, caring, and always worried to offend my family in any way, and my mom uses this to try and boss her around when it comes to our daughter until I step in.
She’ll constantly play the guilt card about how my wife’s parents see our daughter more when they live four hours away. Uhhh yeah you psycho, they’re good people. When I talk to my mom now, there is never love in my voice. I don’t want to hate her, but her flaws are so apparent. She’s a sociopath who has to be in control of everyone.
We all love her despite this, but I am the only one who calls her out on it. My older sister barely speaks to her. My daughter is obsessed with her and it makes me happy and furious at the same time. My mom doesn’t deserve my dad, and she doesn’t deserve our forgiveness, especially since this is twice now (that we know about) that she cheated on my dad.
Not sure how to end this. Just wish my mom wasn’t such an awful person. I guess I’m thankful these events and my realization didn’t happen sooner, otherwise I wouldn’t know that there are good women out there and instead I’d probably have a very hard time trusting them. Thank god for my wife, too, who is an incredible woman.
21. What Goes Around Comes Around
I put my divorced parents who hate each other in the same nursing home. Yep, karma is a witch mom and dad. Thanks for always putting me in the middle of your drama as a kid. So sad that you two found it amusing to act like children while forcing me into being the adult. Well, now the tables have turned. You’re both old and in need of someone to take care of you.
Obviously this wasn’t going to be me. Hope you two enjoy seeing each other for the rest of your miserable lives and you can figure it out. Waiting to get the phone call of “Did you know your mother/father is in the same nursing home?!” Ah, I’m gonna sit back now and enjoy my cold one.
22. Forever Home
I’ve been a foster dad to my son since he was five, and he is now nine. He’s been through a lot and has made significant progress. I am so proud of him. I’ve been trying to officially adopt him and have spent over $30,000 over the last two years to make it happen. He has no idea. The social worker came by to visit and I told him it was to see how he was doing, but he was worried that I might be getting rid of him so he’s been very anxious and clingy.
I’ve been a bit emotional too. I am getting the paperwork all signed and sealed by my lawyer this Thursday. I want to surprise him by showing him that he is officially my son, although he always was and will be. I thought about surprising him with the news at his favorite restaurant this Saturday with his aunt and uncle and cousins. Keeping this secret is harder than the actual adoption.
23. Dad Knows All
We have 16-year-old twin boys who pummeled each other a few weeks ago. It took me and a neighbor to break them up. My wife was upset and stunned because they really don’t fight. I told her it was because one didn’t clean up after himself and it escalated from there. Teen boys, hormones, etc. I told her to forget about it and not to bring it up because they were ashamed.
She let it go and held onto the belief that her sons are sweet little angels, but I knew the real story. The truth is that they got into a fight because Twin A took Twin’s B last condom and Twin’s B’s girlfriend didn’t have a Plan B. So Twin B wasn’t going to get laid and attacked Twin A. My wife thinks Twin B is a virgin because he has a baby face and told her so. But that’s not all.
Why did Twin A take the condom? To sleep with another boy. My wife thinks he’s the one who is going to be a lothario because he has so many female friends.
24. You Can’t Choose Your Family
I’m staying with my boyfriend’s family for a couple days at the moment. I like to consider myself a reasonable person and not a huge germaphobe, but I am having a mental breakdown in the bathroom right now. So when you’re sitting at the table with them, if you ask for more mashed potatoes or a refill on milk or whatever, they’ll look around to see who has potatoes or milk left that they aren’t going to finish AND DUMP IT IN YOUR PLATE OR HAND OVER THEIR CUP.
And if you say, “Oh, no thanks, I’d rather get my own,” they insist it’s “No problem at all.” Then his grandma INSISTS you clear your plate and snaps at you to finish your milk. It’s so disgusting aaaaaghhh. I have social anxiety. I came out to make myself a cup of coffee and grandma insisted I finish off her 1/3 cup. This is my worst nightmare.
Oh, and my idiot boyfriend insisted on washing my clothes before we head back and washed all of my bras, so now I get the joy of wearing a thin white tank top without a bra around his family or hiding in the bedroom the rest of the trip (or until they dry), but what the heck, dude. There was also a lot of other issues that exacerbated this situation, too.
For example, the shower and bathroom were disgusting, there’s a lot of dust everywhere that irritated my asthma and allergies, and his father has disgusting table manners—like rip smelly farts type stuff. I told my boyfriend about it and he was very kind and understanding and said he would take care of it in the future. He’s a good guy, and actually very clean and different from his family in that regard.
Anyways. If I see them again, I’m getting a hotel and eating before I go there.
25. He Who Smelt It…
Someone had fried chicken delivered to my office for all to share. The smell was potent and delicious, filling the entire building. Shortly afterward I farted, one of those long warm ones, and it was also very potent. The smells mingled in a way that nature never intended. Needless to say, everyone was confused and upset. I saw someone gag into their hand and put down their chicken thigh, never picking it back up. Nobody knows it was me.
26. Bless This Mess
I clean up my house every morning and come back to it trashed after work, and I couldn’t be happier because of it. Don’t get me wrong, I hate cleaning the house, sometimes I enjoy getting in the groove to some music, but mostly it’s just tedious and I don’t get any help with it. But when my now wife and I first moved in together, she was going through a bout of depression, and for a few years I would go to bed with her, wake up and go to work, and come back home most days to her still sleeping.
If she was awake she had yet to leave the bed, with her only really being up when I was home. So every day, the living room was the same way it was the moment I left, sometimes going weeks being untouched, and it started to make me feel lonely because it was like I lived by myself all over again. As if nothing happens when I wasn’t looking.
Growing up in a family of six, with many pets and a lot of stray acquaintances—my folks allow friends and family to bum off us when going through tough times as a sort of halfway home—there was never a dull moment in the house, for better or worse, which made it feel like it was home. After no small amount of therapy and constant love, care, and commitment, she’s been slowly cracking through her depression with only occasional bad days.
Plus, we have recently had our lovely daughter join our life. We just moved to a new area and a new house. My wife plays with the kid in the living room, gets her changed in the child’s bedroom, makes herself and the little one some food in the kitchen now that she’s eating more solids, and our little one destroys whatever she can get her hands on.
Now I’m coming home to see my daughter crawling over mommy as they watch PBS, my wife laughing and playing, my house in a lovely mess of activity and life, and I couldn’t be any happier. Well, if I could get a hand with the dishes, that’d be nice, but with such a big victory, I’m not going to complain too much just yet.
27. You Get What You Give
My girlfriend and I got into an argument over our kids’ Christmas spending budget. We both have a kid from a previous relationship, her daughter and my son. We have an agreed budget of $1,000 for each kid, and we met that budget for both kids last week. Today, she tells me she wants to get her daughter a phone and wants to buy her an iPhone XS Max, easily putting her daughter close to $1,200 over our agreed Christmas budget.
We have a shared bank account, so it’s not quite the “it’s her daughter and her money so what’s the deal?” kind of thing. We argued for three days over the issue. We couldn’t afford to spend another $1,200 on my son to even out the budgets again at a ludicrous $2,200 each. My son would have never known if we spent extra money on her, but that’s not the point.
It’s unfair and in my opinion it’s favoritism. After another very heated argument over the issue, I walked over to the tree and grabbed her present, a MacBook Air that I purchased on my own credit card. I opened it in front of her, and then re-wrapped it and addressed it to my son. Now the budgets are mostly equal again, give or take $100…Merry Christmas, witch.
28. A Hard Lesson To Learn
My son has autism, previously diagnosed as Asperger’s. We’ve done extensive therapy and intervention and for the most part, he is no different than any other kid his age, except he comes across as shy and a bit nerdy (saying that with love). The only issue we had at school was that he would become overwhelmed, panic, and run out of the classroom.
Of course that is not okay. We and the school decided to allow him to take quick breaks to decompress when he starts feeling overwhelmed. He has not had an “incident” since the third grade. He started the 6th-grade last year and it’s hard for any kid, especially for an Aspie kid. We met with all of his teachers and reminded them that he has this accommodation in writing and he will likely need to use it since middle school is tough for an Aspie kid.
All but one of his teachers understood that and were supportive. His math teacher, however, is just a nasty witch. She’s one of those teachers that should not be a teacher. By the way, we’re not those crazy, in-your-face parents. We just want what’s best for our son and work with his teachers to do so. We kept on reminding her, verbally and in writing, of his accommodations, especially as our son’s anxiety started to grow around her.
Imagine my surprise when I get a call from his counselor telling me to pick my son up from school. Apparently, he had bolted from her classroom and ran out to the field. The principal and a counselor tried to escort him to the office and he refused unless they called me. It horrified me because I’ve seen videos of officers being called and tasering or hitting special needs kids.
When I got there, my son was very upset. It was like watching years of progress unravel. H started to feel overwhelmed in her class because she’s so horrible. She turned on the heat too high and closed all the doors. He felt trapped and claustrophobic. When he asked for a break, she refused and told him to sit down or get detention.
That only fueled his anxiety more and he exploded. The school quickly accepted that the teacher handled the situation poorly. I requested that he switch classes and even threatened to get a lawyer for not following the accommodations that they are required by law to follow. That got their attention quickly. They did not send him back to her class; rather he went to another class until the matter was resolved.
The teacher did get into trouble and wanted to discuss it with us before pulling him out of her class. We met with her and she was just a nasty witch, as we had known all along. She accused our son of using his diagnosis as a crutch and said he needed to grow up. I wanted to slap her. Instead, I had much better idea. She went to take a phone call and I saw her keys on her desk.
I put them in my pocket. We finished our conversation and I politely thanked her for her time. Then I threw her keys in a dumpster and got my son pulled out of her class the next day. That made my day.
29. Fighting With My Family
My wife thinks I take our daughter to dancing classes, but I actually take her to an MMA gym. The dancing and MMA gym aren’t too far apart, which is how we have been able to get away with it for two years. My daughter loves it there and everyone is so kind to her. Before you jump in telling me I’ve forced my daughter into being an elite fighter over a dancer—I didn’t!
At first, I took her to dancing classes and she hated it. She said all the girls were already in groups of friends when she started and they wouldn’t talk to her. So I said, “Screw it, why don’t we both learn MMA, it’s way more useful than dancing anyway.” I can’t tell my wife about it because she hates stuff like that and there is literally no reasoning with her on the subject of fighting.
30. Keep It Together, Man
I recently took a short vacation to a lesser-developed country. On my last night, I decided to sample some of the more exotic local fare and had a mixed seafood dish, which was quite good. All was fine until the flight home when I started feeling a lot of pressure in my abdomen. I could tell I wasn’t going to shart, so I leaned over a bit and poofed out a bit of gas, smooth as silk.
I was giving myself a mental high-five when I realized that what was supposed to have been a sly poot turned out to be a horrendous stench that instantly engulfed several rows fore and aft. Little babies started crying immediately, while the adults let out short barks that registered somewhere between shock and despair. In a display of primal instinct, a couple of teens sitting across the aisle reflexively pulled their tee shirt collars up over their mouth and nose.
The gas was so dense and foul that I thought I could maybe see it clouding the air in the cabin. A flight attendant up front noticed the commotion and bustled down the aisle, but upon entering the contaminated zone, instantly spun on her heel and beat a hasty retreat. There was no way I was going to fess up and apologize, so instead I just scowled and pretended to look around for the culprit.
Fortunately things cleared out pretty fast. I didn’t dare try it again, I had taken my fellow passengers by surprise the first time, but now they were wary and fully alert. For the rest of the flight, anyone who made their way back to the lavatory was subjected to the scrutiny of a hundred eyes. We landed and I deplaned without further incident, however, I did totally trash a toilet in customs, but that’s another story.
31. A Crisis Of Faith
I’m a pastor who doesn’t believe in God. Here I sit on another Sunday morning. I love the people I minister to. I believe that there are some really good principles in the Bible (and some really awful ones!) so I feel ok about the message of love and hope that I get to deliver. I push back against the hate and judgmental nature of so much Contemporary American Christianity.
But I don’t believe the underlying myth, and I have to pretend that I do. Overall, I believe I’m doing more good than harm, but there’s a dishonesty at the center of it that I have to try to ignore. For what it’s worth, I’m not economically dependent on ministry work. I work outside the church and do my ministry work on a voluntary basis.
I used to get a (very) small stipend but gave it up a few years ago when I no longer needed it. I wonder all the time whether I am lying, or just withholding, or whether that’s a stupid distinction. I strive only to say what I believe, but it’s a stretch. When I say God is Love, I really mean Love is God—the highest power.
Certainly not Christian orthodoxy. I try hard to teach only what I believe: love, grace, care for others, etc. There are not many other forums where I could deliver that message in the same way. Not an excuse, just a fact. Some might feel I’m defiling the faith. I disagree, but humbly. They may be right. I would hate to hurt those who have trusted me. To everyone: “… but the greatest of these is love.”
My 13-year-old perished in Peru after getting caught in a whirlpool when we were on vacation. His mother, my ex, blamed me for his passing, and our other son also blames me so he doesn’t speak to me. He’s now 13 too. I don’t force him to see me. Nonetheless, when I drive home from work, I pretend that I am talking to my son about how his day was at school, what kind of music he wants to listen to, what he wants for dinner, etc.
That is why I haven’t gotten a new car. There are just too many memories.
33. Sweep It Under The Rug
How this all began was when I was around 15 or so, I started to become attracted to girls around me—I went into puberty very late. As I grew older, though, instead of my attractions growing in accordance with my age, they never moved, which lead me to continually being attracted to girls of that age. When I was a minor, it wasn’t such a big issue, but when I became an adult it was.
When I turned 19, I made the decision to essentially become a recluse. I did not want to hurt anyone, but there were many emotions fighting inside of me. I had urges that I had little control of, and it was a mission every day to avoid following through on them. It came to a head one day when I was speaking to the daughter of a friend and the urges almost overwhelmed me.
I almost broke. This was the point when I shut myself away. I would only go out when I knew that children were at school, or wouldn’t be on the street (after dark). I avoided media involving children. I avoided books involving children. Most days I wouldn’t go out at all, only going out after dark, if at all. I took jobs where I could work the night shift, so that I didn’t have to have any contact with children.
This made my life an utter nightmare. I became a nervous wreck. I would get anxiety if anyone came to the door, just in case it was a child. I still worked, but my performance was poor. This often led to me being fired or disciplined. No one else knew what I was going through. By necessity it was something I had to endure alone, I just had to.
Around seven years ago, I found a psychologist. It had gotten to be too much and I had to speak with someone about it. Over the course of the next six months, we discovered the awful reason behind my urges. My feelings were brought about by my being intimately mistreated at a young age. When it was happening, it was frequent and often violent.
As it turns out, I had repressed most of it. I didn’t know how bad it actually was. However, discovering this lead to that revelation. Over the course of three years of twice-weekly treatments, my feelings towards minors began to fade. Slowly, but surely, I started to get better. I owe my psychologist my life—literally. Now, seven years on, I have no attraction towards minors.
I have a much more normal life. I can actually go out during the day without being anxious. I can talk to children with no urges. I am mostly normal. I am still dealing with the repercussions of my dark times, but the dark times themselves are over. I’m married, and I have a baby boy on the way. The process of getting treatment is so freeing.
I can’t even describe it now. My psychologist is the one who suggested writing this out. He thinks it will help with my healing process. I hope it will. Thanks for listening. For what it’s worth, my psychological treatment was a blend of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Exposure and Response Therapy. Those two therapies lasted for about 18 months, after which we moved into Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which also helped a great deal.
It was hard for me to find a psychologist who was willing to take me on. I live in the American South, so psychologists weren’t cheap, but my psychologist was interested in it from an academic standpoint, so reduced his price for me in order to study my disorder and my mind in general over the long term. I ended up paying around $50 a session, instead of the $200 he normally charged.
I had a fair amount of money saved to pay the psychologist, as I tend to live a frugal life. Not spending a lot of money on things that most people do for fun or in social situations led me to save a lot of money in general. By the way, the person who harmed me was my father. My mother didn’t find out about this until it had been going on for a number of years.
I had never understood why my mother and father split, but once my memories began to resurface, I spoke with her about it. Upon finding out about it, my mother immediately left my father and left the house. She eventually moved us across the country. My father was convicted and was sentenced to eight years behind bars. After five years of incarceration, he passed by suicide.
After leaving my father, my mother looked after me alone for the next six years and then found a new partner. She married him a year later, and I am glad to call him my father. I am still seeing the psychologist who treated me, though on a monthly basis now. In regards to the urges I had, they were different from normal attraction. The best way I can describe it is like an addict looking to get more of a substance.
34. You Do You
I’m a straight man who goes to gay bars. If I feel like getting tipsy by myself, I will go to a gay bar rather than a straight one because I like the attention I get, plus it’s more relaxed because I don’t have to worry about insecure dude brahs with something to prove. Oh, and I can drink fruity drinks without being seen as less of a man. I love fruity drinks.
35. Free And Clear
Not getting married was the best decision I ever made. I’m 29, and my partner (a 28-year-old woman) and I met eight years ago just before I graduated. We clicked almost immediately. A few months after I graduated, she and her three-year-old son moved in with me. Right after graduating, I started making low six-figures working for a large bank and then went on to do my own thing, having a very lucrative career.
My income was more than enough to support the three of us, so I was comfortable letting her stay home to work on her hobbies and volunteering. I thought our relationship was going well, but she’s been pressing me to get married for the last four years. However, the time never seemed right because I wanted to get my own business off of the ground first and she seemed comfortable with that.
Last week, she asked me what I thought about open relationships and whether we could open ours. I know why she asked; I spend a lot of time traveling for work and she probably wants some action on the side while I’m away working. Heck, she might already have something on the side. I knew right then we were done, but I needed to find out how screwed I was before pulling the trigger.
I set up a meet with a lawyer my friend knew and I have to admit I was scared. I’d heard stories of how men were raked over the coals in divorces all the time so I walked into the lawyer’s office expecting to lose 50% of everything and more. At first things looked bleak, but then he asked how long we had been married. When I told him that we weren’t married, he called me “The luckiest man to ever walk into his office.”
Common-law marriage doesn’t exist here, which means that when we split up, she gets precisely…nothing…zero…zip…nada. I’m trying to figure out the best time to tell her we’re done but that’s all I have to say. Not getting married was the smartest decision I’ve ever made.
36. Hindsight Is 20/20
Something scared me and my brother really bad when we were younger and I’m just now remembering the details…We were watching one of the Garfield movies and everything was well until the song “I Feel Good” by James Brown started playing in the movie. Now, you may ask, what could’ve scared you so bad from a song like that?
Well, I’ll tell you. In the beginning of the song, James Brown does this sort of scream I guess you could say. Me and my brother had no idea that it was a part of the song and we thought the scream had come from somewhere in our room. After hearing the scream, we immediately ran to our parents’ room and told them we heard someone scream from inside our room.
So my father jumps up and grabs a knife from the kitchen, then walks into our room to find nothing in there. Now everyone in the house thinks there’s an intruder and we all go lock ourselves in my parents’ bedroom and call the authorities. Officers show up and find nothing. I was watching the movie with my niece the other day again and heard that familiar scream.
I suddenly realized that it was only the movie and we’d had the authorities called for no reason at all.
37. Out With The Old
I have a surprise for my sons when they come home. Things were going well, and then bad stuff happened. For almost two years, we were not sure if we were going to be on the streets, but it seemed likely. I barely got by for a year, but we had to do without. I am so ashamed about this. A father should be able to provide for his sons, especially when he is a single father.
I just take solace in the fact that we played it off like we were not poor. For example, my nine-year-old has not had a proper bed for three years, just a rollaway bed. It was nothing short of a miracle that I got the job that I got a year ago. It literally saved our lives. All of a sudden, money isn’t an issue. I had to still live on a budget because it was too good to be true.
Now I know I am doing a good job, my boss is happy with me, I am raking tons in of overtime, we have good insurance, etc. I ended up finding a spacious house last month (not an apartment like we live in now) well within what I can afford, right across the street from their school and park. I have been secretly filling it up with new furniture this month and had movers move in all of our stuff today.
They were both actually at the park across the street on a play date and seriously had no idea what I was about to do. I met them at the park, and they asked where the car was because they were cold. I pointed to the car in our new driveway and they were confused. I told them that was our new home. They were even more confused and now slightly disturbed.
I took them to the house and told them to look around, and all of their stuff was there including new stuff. They asked about the apartment and I told them we had moved out so we could live in a bigger and better place. They were so overwhelmed and blindsided. At first, they were just worried that if I had forgotten something at the apartment, then they weren’t going to be able to get it back.
Today, however, they were a bit more relaxed and explored the house. They’re getting used to having a kitchen sink—we did not have one at the apartment—AND a dishwasher, plus having a front and backdoor and a backyard that’s all theirs. I’m pretty sure in a few days they will adapt to it and won’t miss their old place.
38. A Gifted Son
I had a small victory with my dad today and it’s making me happy. My dad has Asperger’s and is notoriously difficult to deal with. Growing up, he never really told me that he loved me or hugged me; he just assumed that I knew and wouldn’t say it. It was a difficult time, having a dad who didn’t understand your emotions or any sort of affection.
But he does love me. How do I know this? For his birthday, I made him a small leather bracelet, just a simple band. The inside had an expression he often used with me growing up, and the outside had the nautical coordinates of the dock he used to take me fishing at every Saturday morning when I was a kid. It was our thing. We wouldn’t talk, but I liked being outside and I knew he liked it because every weekend, without fail, he would ask me if I was ready to go fishing, no prompting from mom.
He simply called me to say thanks for the gift, and he hung up. I didn’t think much of it. But then I realized just how much it meant to him. My mom called me yesterday and asked if I had told her neighbors about the bracelet I made dad. I was confused; I had not told them. She said that she hadn’t either. She told me that they were talking to her about what a great gift it was and were asking if I could show them where to make one like it.
We realized dad must have been talking about it to them, and actually showed them. Dad NEVER talks about things he likes, especially to strangers. She then told me that he’s been wearing it almost every day; again, this is a man who is not about adornment. She also saw him sending a picture to his brother. He might not say it, but that’s how I know he misses me. Hope to see you soon, Pops.
39. An Education
I only realized that people shower daily when I was 16. I just had no idea. I had a bath once maybe twice a week, and thought that was standard. It wasn’t until I went to a boarding school that I realized people would usually shower daily. Thing is, I grew up in quite an isolated location in a foreign country with only my sister and alcoholic mom.
My mom didn’t so much as clean the house or cook food, she just drank. My sister and I weren’t really clued up on what normal families did. For as long as I remember, I cooked the stuff I could, washed my own clothes, if my mom was too wasted I would ride my bike (about five miles up steep hills) to school, and generally looked after myself. I didn’t know how often people changed bed sheets or brushed their teeth.
Simple things you’d usually learn from family went amiss. I didn’t even know how to wash dishes manually since we had a dishwasher. It was a weirdly embarrassing moment learning how different I’d been living before boarding school. I learned how to open bottles with a pair of keys for my mom while she drove before I learned that you shouldn’t drink and drive.
I knew we grew up a bit different, but entering the normal world was a big eye-opener.
40. Too Young To Love
I left my husband after 30 years and three kids. We were married on February 4th, 1989. I was 15 years old, and he was 16 years old. He looked at me like I hung the stars in the sky. Our parents had approved of us. The wedding preparations had been in process for a few weeks, but we had met at the beginning of the week when we were engaged.
He did all the talking. I didn’t see him again until the wedding. It was a beautiful day. It’s hard to remember now, and everything blurs together, but I remember thinking about how my world was ending by the time the end of the day came. See, I never wanted to be married. I never wanted to have kids. But I didn’t say anything that first night, or any nights after that.
Not after the birth of our first son, nor after the birth of the twins. He did everything to make me happy, and I’ll never forget that. I’ve gotten the divorce papers ready. I’ve moved out my things. He’s devastated, the children hate me, but that’s okay. I know I’m a terrible person for ruining this. I have no idea what I’ll do after this. I have no high school education, no work experience either.
I’m in my 40s, and I’ve wasted a lot of my life being unhappy. If there’s anything you can learn from this, don’t be like me.
41. Chew On This One
While waiting outside my kids’ school to pick them up, a class of middle schoolers walked past. It was close to Halloween, and I looked up when a girl with makeup and colored hair called out, “Hi!” to me. I was kind of caught off guard but noticed she was made up for Halloween and guessed she wanted some attention for her costume.
I noticed what looked like big teeth and assumed they were fake. Trying to be funny, I said, “Wow, you really need to see a dentist.” Almost immediately, I regretted it. I think I heard her mutter, “How rude…” And my brain finally caught up and realized her teeth were not fake, but just abnormally prominent. There was nothing I could do at that point.
I’ve seen her once more around the school but didn’t say anything. I can’t really say, “Sorry, I thought those were fake costume teeth.” That wouldn’t help. Now, I just feel like a jerk. I physically cringe every time I think about it.
42. The Girl Can’t Help It
My wife needs a liver transplant, and part of me wants her to pass before getting one. Honestly, I struggled using the word “want,” but if I am confessing, I’ll be blunt. Now that that is out there, how about a little background? My wife and I have been married for 12 years and have one child. We met in Germany (she is German) but moved to the States in 2010.
Things were good for the first couple years. Some culture shock, disappointments when education didn’t transfer, and learning the ins-and-outs of living stateside, but nothing drastic. That’s when the depression began. The wife became super depressed. She was working part-time, where I was working 12-hour days. I would leave for work before she woke up, and I would get home after her.
Despite that, I would have to get our son ready and take him to daycare in the mornings, and most days I would pick him. This is where things started to go downhill around the house. Dishes would get left in the sink overnight, floors wouldn’t get swept as often, stuff like that. And I’m not saying that is all her fault; I’m an adult and know how to wash a dish or operate a broom, but sometimes after 12 hours at work, screw that noise.
I chalked it up to having a toddler, a dog, and two working adults. It is a house, not a museum. I mentioned the depression, let’s get back to that. It started simple enough, crashing on the couch. She’d get home after a rough day, have some drinks, and pass out on the couch. Not every night, maybe once a month. This lasted for months, but over the course of over two years, it became more and more normal and she was drinking more and more until it was more often than not.
With her on the couch, intimacy started to wane. Again it was gradual, and again I chalked it up to raising a family. Then the rejections started. As a kind of joke throughout our relationship, we would “trade” things for intimacy. For example, “If you cook dinner and do the dishes tonight, you’ll get lucky,” or “If you want to go hang out with the boys, you better sleep with me now.”
Just our thing. Well, she kept making those same promises, but would never go through with it. Yes, I know that no one ever owes anyone else intimacy. Yes, I know it is her body. But at that point, we were going without for months. I was still asking, she was still saying yes later, and then she would pass out. No biggie once or twice or ten times, but this had become the unending norm.
Every time that she promised but passed out instead was a rejection. I would stare at her while she slept and just feel hurt. Fast forward a few years; she is drinking more and I’ve stopped asking. We are roommates at this point. She has stopped working and stays at home full time. The house is a wreck. Clutter and dirt everywhere.
We stop having friends over so no one will see the clutter. Piles of unfolded laundry in baskets. Every morning I would search for matching socks. Every morning I was reminded of how little she did around the house. This is also when we were fighting all the time. Both yelling, her crying, her passing out…it was our nightly routine.
One of my often repeated points in our arguments was the house. I’m working full time, the kid was in school, she was home all day, why is the place a mess? What was happening was she was getting wasted in the morning, passing out, getting up in the afternoon, just to drink and pass out in the evening, but not before squeezing in a fight.
I was done and was ready for a divorce, but the only thing that was keeping me from doing it was my son. Still, something had to change. I laid down my ultimatum: get a job, go back to school, or GET OUT. She picks going back to school. I help her look for a school and find a program she is really excited about. The drinking lessens (never stops), and good times are here again. Until I get the phone call at work.
She called to let me know she was about to kill herself. Didn’t see that coming. Rush home, get there just in time. Let’s revisit that depression I mentioned earlier. She was in counseling and working to find the right balance of medication, but something that day was too much. She was checked into the kind of hospital that takes your shoelaces and was there a week or two.
After this, she was like a changed person. Fast forward a few years. You need a psychiatrist to prescribe medication. Hers retires. The office where she gets counseling didn’t hire a new one. She stops taking the medication. Hello again depression, and I see you brought anxiety with you. Awesome. Oh, and here comes the drinking again, but it has managed to increase.
Double awesome. This time, the wife couldn’t be without drinks. She started sleeping downstairs again, a drink always within reach. ALWAYS. She would carry a bottle in her purse. Eventually, she got sick. Wow, that was a lot, but it brings us to the last two years. At the beginning of 2017, she was hospitalized. Early stages of liver failure, but still treatable.
Think she quit drinking? Nope. A few months later, I come home with my son and find my wife collapsed and unresponsive on the floor. Ambulance ride, ICU, coma. The doctors aren’t sure she’ll live. At this point, I’m devastated but I try to steel myself for the possibility. The last few years haven’t been great, and I was ready for a divorce, but I didn’t want her gone.
She is the mother of…….OH GOD! It hits me. It hits me hard. I was prepared for her to get sick, possibly pass, but facing the real possibility I realized I would have to tell my son. I would have to look him in the eyes and say, “Mommy is gone.” I hit bottom. I know I cried the rest of that night. She made it. Eventually, she woke up, was moved out of the ICU, and sent home.
For a week. That is when the seizure happened. Another ambulance ride. She aspirated during the seizure, which led to pneumonia, which led to the ICU. However, in her weakened state, she couldn’t be treated locally. She was transferred to a university hospital. She needed a new liver, but to get one, you must be sober for six months.
She got worse. She was transferred again, this time to a hospital we’ll just say is ranked pretty high GLOBALLY. No new liver, but things got better. She was released with a new lease on life. She quit drinking. She was transferred back to the local hospital, and continued outpatient treatment. End 2017. 2018 started good, but, about midway through, her condition worsened again.
No worries. She is being treated by a doctor, and with her new sobriety, they’ll put her on the list. She can’t do a lot on her own. I have to open bottles of water, help with medication, and some activities of daily living. The house is more cluttered than ever, the wife still sleeps downstairs, and intimacy is nonexistent (obviously), but things are looking good.
I’m not going to lie, these last two years have been rough. I know I haven’t been perfect, and things have fallen by the wayside, but the major things are taken care of. The boy gets hot food every night, help with his homework, and clean clothes every day. The wife gets to her appointments and gets her treatments. I’m still working, and even picked up a promotion. Then tonight happened.
I just found two grocery bags full of empty cans and bottles. She has been hiding drinks. I’m done. The last two years have been an absolute nightmare. It has taken every ounce of me to not lose it. To manage everything. I can’t anymore. Every day I would drive home from work, I would get stressed. As soon as I open the door, I’m overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done, but I focus on getting all the necessary things taken care of to keep the household rolling.
I’ve been so lonesome having a wife, who turned into a roommate, who turned into a responsibility. During the many, many appointments I’ve been to, one doctor explained the liver transplant this way: “Two people will pass so that you can live. The person who gave you the liver and the person who didn’t get it in time, because you did.” So here it is, here is my confession:
Part of me thinks my wife doesn’t deserve the transplant, and my life would be easier if she wasn’t here.
43. Take A Hike
Some years ago I decided to go alone on a beautiful two-day hike a few hours away from where I lived. I decided to do it because I wanted to challenge myself as I hadn’t really done much on my own at that age and was highly dependent on other people. If you’re familiar with the route and in good shape you can complete it in one day, but due to me getting lost and stopping to enjoy the scenery, I had to set up camp twice.
A couple of years later, I met a girl who I fell in love with instantly. I hadn’t been with anyone before, so to me she was extra special, and within six months of meeting each other we moved in together. After being together for a little over a year and a half, I took her to the same trail that I hiked alone years earlier, and we had an amazing time.
We didn’t rush it but because I knew the route, and we finished late on the second day. The year after and on the same date we walked the trail again. Due to some bad weather, we had to set up camp twice. Even though that year wasn’t as good as the first, we enjoyed it a lot. In the third year of being together, things weren’t as good as the previous years. I could feel something was wrong in our relationship, but it being my first relationship I didn’t know it had simply run its course.
In an attempt to bring back the spark, I suggested we should do the trip a third time and she agreed. We had a good time, but it just wasn’t the same. A little bit after this, I ended the relationship because I could tell she wasn’t happy. Or I thought she wasn’t happy. The next few months absolutely sucked for me. I decided to go no-contact because talking to her would be too hard.
I still loved her very much. I struggled a lot for about eight months. I quit my job, I moved back in with my parents and I isolated myself completely. I quit doing anything that reminded myself of her. We used to watch TV shows together, play games on my Nintendo, we cooked together and had our favorite recipes. I stopped doing all of this.
I couldn’t even go back to dating. Even flirting with girls felt wrong. I was absolutely miserable, so in an attempt to get my life back together, I thought it’d be a good idea to reintroduce myself to the things we did and make them my own. I cooked our favorite meal, I watched the last season of Game of Thrones and I invited a friend over to play Mario Kart.
It was depressing at first, but after a bit, I managed to enjoy doing it without her. Thinking I was getting over her, I figured I should go on our hike once again alone, just like I did the first time. It was the ultimate symbolic nail in the coffin of our relationship. My plan was to start dating again after this trip, and I knew exactly who I was going to ask out.
The day came for the trip, and I was getting ready. I was excited, but a little bit depressed as well. I felt butterflies in my stomach and was a little bit nauseous. I was shaking more and more the closer I got to the parking site. I arrived late in the day as my sleep schedule had been rather out of sync for a very long time. Once I got my gear out of the car, I debated not doing the trip at all.
It didn’t feel right somehow. After thinking about it for some time I decided to do it. I had to do it. I didn’t enjoy it at first, but it was a beautiful day, so I came to enjoy it after the first hour or so. I was getting hungry so I looked for a spot to camp for the night. After eating and thinking for a little bit, I decided to walk a little longer. I remembered the first camping spot my ex and I used, and it was only a 25-minute walk or so.
Once I got there, I spotted another tent in the exact same spot as we were in the first time. I tried to look around for a person, but I couldn’t see or hear anyone. I set up my tent not too far away, but not too close either so they wouldn’t feel creeped out. I sat outside with a fire enjoying the dusk. It was getting dark when I heard the neighbor talking on the phone.
It was a girl. Her voice was so recognizable I froze up for about a minute. I tried to listen to what she said, but I couldn’t make it out. I was 90% sure it was her, but it had been a long time. She didn’t talk after that so I guess she fell asleep. I, on the other hand, could not sleep at all. I was still using the same tent my ex and I used when we went together.
I hoped she would recognize it in the morning, but to make sure I left my sweater outside that I’d had for years. When I woke up the next morning, I had hardly slept at all. My entire body screamed for me to look outside and see if the neighbor tent was still there. When I finally did, I saw that it wasn’t. I got out, ready to eat my breakfast, and then I saw her.
It was really her. She waved at me and after a few seconds, I waved back. She came over towards me and said hello. I asked her why she was there and she told me she enjoyed the hike so much she wanted to do it again. I asked her if she was with anyone and she said no, it was just her. I remember thinking it was a little odd as she’d always been a little scared at night when we were together.
I couldn’t imagine her ever going alone. I was also very shocked to even see her again. I can barely remember what happened just after that, but I remember eating my breakfast and sharing some of my cookies with her. She showed me her new tattoo and told me she was planning to get more. I never took her for a tattoo person. She had changed so much, but she still had the same personality.
For the rest of the way, we walked together. We talked and we laughed. Eventually, we made it to the second camping spot and we set up our tents. We got ready to eat and compared our foods. I brought spaghetti and she had stale crispbread and liver pate. She looked a little disappointed, so I asked her if we could switch because my stomach hurt a little bit and I didn’t feel like eating spaghetti.
She didn’t accept at first, but after some convincing she happily accepted my offer. It was getting late so we decided to head to bed. I was crazy tired after walking all day so I fell asleep almost immediately. Sometime during the night, I woke up and heard her coming into my tent. She told me she was hearing some scary sounds, though I told her I couldn’t hear anything.
She mumbled something for a bit and then asked me if she could sleep in my tent with me. I was half asleep but somehow managed to move my stuff around enough to make room for her. She brought her sleeping bag and got inside. I was just about to fall asleep when I heard her taking her clothes off, and suddenly I was wide awake.
She never enjoyed sleeping with her clothes on so I knew she was naked. She also made sure to leave her bra between our sleeping bags so I could get a good look at it. It took some discipline to fall back asleep, but eventually, I managed to do it. When I woke up the following morning, she was still sleeping and I was spooning her.
I had set up my tent with a little bit of an incline so sometime during the night, she must have inched closer and closer to me. After so many months of not being with someone, lying this close her and knowing she was naked in her sleeping bag made me extremely, uh, agitated. I decided to go out in the woods and get some air, but the action of getting out of my sleeping bag woke her up.
I told her I was going out to pee, but I don’t think she was fooled. I got out and realized I really did have to pee, so I stood by the trees for a few minutes waiting for it to calm down enough to let the water out. It was close to impossible, but eventually, I managed to do it. Having been out there for a good few minutes, I heard her yelling at me and asking what was taking so long.
I just said I really, really had to pee. She told me to come back, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk all day like this. She yelled again so I went back inside. She was still in her sleeping bag, still mostly naked but she had put on a thin, but still see-through sweater. She sat up straight and zipped down her sleeping bag and gave me a good long look at her.
I swear I almost passed out from blood loss. I couldn’t hold myself back so I kissed her. She kissed me back and within seconds we were both naked on her sleeping bag going at it. For the rest of the trip we were back to our old selves, exactly how we were before the relationship took a bad turn. It felt amazing and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.
When the trip ended we hung around for a bit, but eventually got back in our cars and drove off. When I got home, I unblocked her on Facebook and looked through her profile. A shock of sadness went through me as I looked. I noticed a guy she had introduced me to at the end of our relationship in some of her pictures. I asked my friend and he said they got together a few weeks after we ended it.
I’m not sure if she cheated on me or if she just acted weird because she developed feelings for the guy, but I fell back into the same depression I’d developed after our breakup. It didn’t last as long this time, but it took much more from me to get out of it. I also learned from our mutual friend that this guy was the reason she got into tattoos and that they only dated a few months and that she was the one who ended it.
I wanted to contact her, but after some time and rational consideration, I decided not to. After some time, I met a new girl. She was amazing and I enjoyed her company a lot. I realized that I didn’t love her, but I clung onto her to not be alone I think. We dated for a few months, but I couldn’t get serious with her. I believe she was in love with me so I couldn’t bring myself to end it.
My yearly hiking trip date was coming up. I debated going, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from going just in case my ex did. I packed my stuff and left for the hike. I got there early and waited in my car to see if she showed up. I sat in my car for two hours just waiting when I finally saw a car arriving. Sure enough, it was her, but the car was new.
I waved at her and she smiled and waved back. We caught up and I told her I had a girlfriend. She looked a little disappointed but she was happy for me. She did ask if I minded us sharing a tent so she didn’t have to carry hers, and stupidly enough I agreed. We started the hike and we had a good time. It was not the same as the previous year, it got a little awkward at times, but it was fun.
The first night was tough. She once again got naked in her sleeping bag and I was hot and bothered, but nothing happened. The next morning, she woke me up saying she was ready to eat. When I finally managed to open my eyes and look at her, she unzipped her sleeping bag again, showing me her fully naked body. We kissed and touched each other for a little bit but I broke it off before anything really happened.
I had no idea where that strength came from, but I didn’t want to cheat on my current girlfriend. We ate breakfast and after a quick bathroom break away from each other, we set off for the last part of the trail. Things got weird and we decided to walk the rest of the way over camping another night. We got to the end and said our goodbyes, and I immediately regretted finishing the hike so early.
I stopped her from leaving and invited her to talk for a bit. We sat on a bench and talked. I told her I wasn’t happy with my girlfriend and she helped me a good bit. I realized I had to break up with her. By the end, we kissed and touched each other some more. She ended it there and we went our separate ways. First thing I did after coming home was break up with my girlfriend.
She cried for a bit, but took it surprisingly well. I talked a little bit with my ex after that, but nothing really came out of it. I was so into her at this point, almost obsessed. After some time, I blocked her again. She didn’t really return my messages so I left it at that. Eventually, I had mostly forgotten about her. I had some random hookups but nothing that really lasted.
Then, the date was getting closer and I started thinking about her again. If I went, would she be there? I was happy and sad. I wasn’t in love with her anymore, or not like I used to at least. My feelings for her were confusing. The date was coming up and I made sure to take the Friday off from work in good time, but the day before they called me and said I had to come in.
I decided not to go on the hike, even though I was all packed and ready. When the morning came I got up and ready for work. In the shower, I suddenly felt really depressed. I called work and told them I couldn’t come in. They said it was fine and that the guy who called off was coming anyway. I hurried up and packed my camping gear into my car and drove towards the hiking trail faster than I’ve driven before in my life.
I was super excited to get there, and scared she wouldn’t be there at the same time. I had no idea if she’d be there or not. I hadn’t asked around about what she was up to or looked at her Facebook at all. That made it even more exciting and scary. The only stop I made along the way was to buy the most optimistic condoms and lube I’ve ever bought.
Eventually after some delays, I made it to the trail parking spot. I drove around looking with my pulse going crazy. It was taking forever even though the parking spot is really small. I spotted a familiar car and sure enough, there she was. She was glowing and smiling wider than I’ve ever seen her before. She looked so happy! I got out and gave her a hug.
It felt so good to just stand there and hug her. We hugged for probably five minutes, but it felt like it was only 10 seconds. I could not get enough of her. We set off once again, with only one tent. I had brought a comfy inflatable mattress, pillows, and blankets this time so she didn’t even bring her sleeping bag. We didn’t get far, not even the usual camping spot, before we were all over each other.
The spot was terrible, but we quickly set up the mattress and blankets, not even caring about the tent. The spot was fully visible from the trail, but we didn’t care at all. She got naked, and we went at it for what felt like hours. It was amazing I was more drained after that than I’ve ever been hiking this trip before. We set up camp and stayed there for the length of our trip.
There was a small lake nearby that we skinny-dipped in twice a day. We stayed there for three days and only ended the trip because we ran out of food and snacks. We decided to end it with a decent meal at a nice restaurant. Coincidentally, she met one of her friends there. The girl seemed nice, but also a little confused as to why I was there. Maybe she knew I was her ex or something, I don’t know.
Now, as it turns out, this last trip was almost a year ago. I haven’t talked with her since, but I’ve thought about her every day since that. I’m pretty sure I’m in love with her. More so than any other girl I’ve been with. I can’t get her out of my head, especially now as the date is coming up in a few months. This year I’ve heard rumors that she’s getting married, but I haven’t had the guts to ask around.
My friends probably know, but don’t really care enough about her to even tell me. I don’t know if I should go this year, but I know for sure I won’t be able to stop myself. I haven’t even checked if she has a boyfriend. What I do know is that she’s definitely going. My only friend who knows about it sent me a screenshot of her status saying how much she’s looking forward to her yearly hiking trip, and I got a text badly disguised as an advertisement for the hiking trip that exact day.
It included stuff like “…mountain with sexy scenes” “…hot nights” and “…bring protection from wet weather and cat attacks.” I also get photos of her in camping gear that gets increasingly more revealing. She’s down to a see-through fishnet sweater with no underwear. I’m madly in love with this girl, even though we only meet once a year.
We have amazing chemistry and have so much fun the days we meet. I’m not doing myself any favors meeting her like this. I doubt I’ll ever find someone else if I keep doing it. It’s not right to do it if she’s serious with someone else, either. I don’t know what I should do, but I darn well know what I am going to do anyway. I can’t help myself.
44. The Old Switcheroo
I am a bartender, and I once saw a guy drug another girl’s drink. While he wasn’t looking, I switched the drinks. I then watched the guy drug himself. This has been on my chest for the last few months and it finally feels good to confess. Until now I have told no one and I just feel much better. I feel like I truly did the right thing and I acted on instincts.
45. Forbidden Fruit
My boss is generally a jerk. One day, I noticed his wife, who also works at the company, came up as a recommended friend on Snapchat, so I copied the user name and added her on my burner Snapchat. After a few messages and a few fake selfies, she has told me she is single and sent some darn good revealing pictures. I feel a bit guilty now, but darn she is hot.
46. Bizarre Love Triangle
I have been sleeping with both partners of a married couple. Neither of them is aware the other is cheating, and the wife doesn’t know the husband likes men. The wife came onto me first, but I didn’t sleep with her out of respect for her husband. Until, that is, he messaged me on Grindr and I realized they’re as bad as each other and I may as well have some fun with it.
47. We Need To Talk About Kevin
This is very hard for me and I have been carrying it for a lot of years. On the advice of my therapist, I’ve written it all out to try to work out my feelings on it. I still really have no idea how I feel about it, even after all these years, but I will submit for judgment by the masses. I know I did wrong on some things, probably a lot of things.
I tried to do the best that I could. My son was very troubled. VERY troubled. If you have seen the movie We Need To Talk About Kevin, it will really help to understand what I’m talking about, because I swear to God when I watched that film I thought I was watching a documentary of my life. I felt like the writer must have had cameras hidden in my house, that’s how accurate it was.
The only difference is that in the movie, the boy appears normal to his father and only reveals his true nature to his mother. With my son, he didn’t have that mask. His insane behavior was the same with everyone. From the day he was born, my son just came out wrong. He was planned, my wife and I tried to get pregnant and were ecstatic when he was born.
He was wanted and loved. We showered affection on him and really tried to give him a happy childhood. But from the day we brought him home from the hospital, he was miserable. He cried for 13 months straight. I’m not exaggerating, 13 months without a break, he cried until he had no voice left and kept crying, you could see his little face scrunched up and no sound coming out, totally hoarse.
There were times he would literally be crying in his sleep. I’ve never seen or heard of any other kid being able to do that. We brought him to doctors, specialists, tried changing his diet, held him, rocked him, toys, swaddling, music, mobiles, everything we could think of. Nothing worked. 13 months of grating, grinding, no sleep nightmare.
Once he got over the crying stage, we thought we were out of the woods. We were so, so wrong. It quickly became clear that for some unknown reason, he was just angry at being alive. I never saw that kid have a genuine, joyous smile once in the time I knew him. I saw him grin a vicious, horrible grin many times, taking a perverse pleasure from causing pain or suffering or breaking a rule, but a smile from real pleasure at something nice? No, never. Not once.
He had no interest in anything positive; he was fueled by hate, and everything he did was bent toward that. As soon as he could walk, his mission in life was to destroy things. He would break or try to break anything that came in his range, smash it, chew it, throw it in the toilet, whatever he could. After a while, he figured out how to get his diaper off and took great pleasure in pooping and peeing anywhere he could.
After that, he also figured out he could hide it, and started peeing and pooping in places we wouldn’t find right away, grinding it into carpets and making it even more of a problem to clean and making the house stink. When he got older, (ages nine-15) he would pee and poop in our bed, until we got a lock on our door and he wasn’t able to get in anymore. That made it so much more horrific.
He’d just take a dump in the hallway in front of our room. That biological battle started around two and a half years old and he never grew out of it. I’ll try to speed it up as I could literally go on for days about this stuff, but as he grew older, he became more and more unmanageable. He would bite, kick, scream, scratch, and spit at anyone trying to do anything with him.
He was kicked out of school twice before he was nine, then they let him back in and then kicked him out for good, and he had to change schools. The next one put him in a special class that kept him away from the other students. We had to install a door and lock on the kitchen because he would take knives and use them to gouge the walls and furniture or chase people with them.
When he was 10, he got me pretty good in the hip and butt; I still have the scars. As he grew older, he grew darker. He moved into setting things on fire and tormenting local animals. There was a stray dog that hung out around the park near our house, my son blinded it in one eye with a BBQ fork. He would dip cats’ tails in gasoline and light them on fire.
He became a violent, stinking, vicious beast that lived in our house. We couldn’t do anything with him. I will take this opportunity to pre-empt the tsunami of objections: YES, we had the kid in therapy. He saw a psychiatrist twice a week, and had god knows how many different medications prescribed to him over the years. Nothing worked.
Therapy didn’t work. Meds didn’t work. Nothing worked. He was like a poison cloud of hate and fury lashing out at anything in his reach. When my son was 16, my wife got pregnant again. I can’t tell you how different our reaction was. Instead of joy, we felt horror. This pregnancy had not been planned, and we really were at a loss over what to do.
My son had been such an unending nightmare for 16 years, we couldn’t take the idea of starting again from the beginning. We talked a lot about terminating, but a) access to abortion was not as easy in those days as it is now, and b) my wife was very against it. We talked about many options. In the end, we decided that my wife would have the baby, and if it turned out evil we would put it up for adoption.
We knew we just couldn’t do it again with another child like our son. We had a daughter. She was normal. Suddenly, we saw what our lives should have been like the whole time, how things would have been had our son not been himself. She laughed at things. She breastfed without biting—she didn’t have teeth yet anyway, but you could tell she was just trying to eat, not tear her mom’s breast off.
After four months, she was sleeping through the night. She was happy. She was NORMAL. I can’t describe the relief and happiness that we both felt, I don’t have the words for it. This is where I believe I may have started really pulling back from my son. Up until that time, whatever mistakes I made, I had always tried to do the best for my son, I am convinced of that.
I tried to help him and love him and care for him, I really tried. But when my daughter was born, my wife and I both instinctively just turned toward her. She became our focus, not from malice, but just because she was so much EASIER. She was so happy and sweet, every moment we were with her was like magic. I understand this was wrong, but we honestly couldn’t help it.
I don’t have a better explanation than that. My son hadn’t cared at all about my wife being pregnant, I honestly don’t know if he really understood it, but when we brought our daughter home he started acting out even more. I didn’t think it was possible, but he took it up another notch. At this time he was 17, and we were having blowout screaming matches daily.
Usually after we fought, he would storm out of the house and disappear for hours at a time, or come back the next morning. It was a relief. I started to actually look forward to our fights because it would get him away from us for a while. After the birth of our daughter, my relationship with my son was almost entirely gone, and our only real interactions were screaming at each other.
My wife was even worse with him, she just had nothing left. By that time, if our son even came into the same room as her, she would just stop whatever she was doing and start screaming “GET AWAY FROM ME! GET AWAY! GET OUT!” until he left. He started spending more and more time out of the house, which was a blessing for us.
I have no idea what he got up to out in the world, but we were just happy it wasn’t being inflicted on us. As a consequence of our son’s behavior, we had invested heavily in locks around our house. All of the cheap, thin interior doors in our home had been replaced with thick, dense wood doors that couldn’t be kicked through, equipped with keyed locks that my wife and I carried keys to.
I know it sounds extreme, but locks and heavy doors were the best way we had found to create safe spaces from him. And again, before I am inundated with criticisms, I was not locking my son in rooms; he had free rein of the house and could come and go as he pleased. My wife and I would lock OURSELVES in rooms to protect ourselves from him.
On the day in question, I had fought with my son in the morning and he had left the house in a rage. My wife and I were enjoying some peace and quiet in the kitchen while our daughter napped in our bedroom. And then my daughter began crying. Any parent who has young children can tell you, you get used to your child’s cries and you can tell after a while what they need.
They cry differently if they are hungry, or need changing, or are just restless and want to be held. Babies can communicate pretty well before they can speak. This cry was none of those things. This cry was terror. The second we heard it, my wife and I were both up out of our chairs and running to the room. The door was locked of course, and it took a few seconds to get the right key and get it open.
My son was in the room. We lived in a bungalow, and he had climbed in the window to get to her. He was standing over her crib with a steak knife in his hand. I have no idea where he got it. It wasn’t one of ours; we controlled our knives very carefully and always kept them in locked drawers. I think he may have taken it from one of our neighbors’ houses.
He had broken her skin twice already, once in the belly area and once on her arm. I could see blood running down. When I entered the room, he was dragging the back of the knife down her face, not cutting, almost tickling her with it, teasing her while she screamed. He looked up at us and smiled. Before I knew what I was doing, I was already moving, running to put myself between them.
I didn’t think about it, I just moved instinctively. Even with that, my wife got there faster. It was like a movie on fast forward. She got to our son and bashed his hand away, knocking the knife across the room, and then she shoved him with her whole body weight, so hard that he flew away from the crib and bounced off the wall.
I picked up my daughter and held her while my wife screened us. I could see her shaking, almost convulsing. I can remember the smell of the room, the sound of my daughter screaming and wailing. The look on my son’s face as he stood there. Just nothing. Blank. There was nothing in his eyes, no emotion. He looked like an alien to me.
I watched my wife take a step toward him. I could have reached out and stopped her, but I didn’t. She stepped forward again, very close to him. I could have stopped her again. But I didn’t. She waited, looking at him for maybe three to five seconds without moving. And then she punched him in the face. Now until this point, you may have been picturing my wife as a typical woman, small frame, dainty, delicate.
This is not the case. My wife does have a small frame, but dainty and delicate she is not, never has been since I’ve known her. Since her early teens, my wife has been a boxer. MMA didn’t exist back then, but karate and boxing were big in those days, and my wife was a VERY talented amateur. She was about 130 pounds, she carried a lot of muscle and she knew how to punch.
I had 70 pounds on her back then, and I have no doubt that in a real fight between me and her she could have and would have pounded me flat. Neither of us had ever laid a hand on our son in anger before, but something broke in her that day. All the years of anger and pain and sorrow and frustration just came pouring out. When she hit him, his head snapped back and blood started pouring out of his nose.
He hardly reacted; he just looked at her with this shocked expression like he didn’t know how to process what had just happened. She waited another second. And then she hit him again. I could have reached out and stopped her again. I could have dragged her out of the room, taken her away, and calmed her. I didn’t. I just stood there and watched while she systematically started to pound him to a pulp.
Every time he brought his hands to cover one part, she would blast him somewhere else, body, head, body, head, over and over. He started screaming, crying out, yelling for her to stop. It’s the most genuine reaction I’d ever seen him have to anything in his whole life. But she wasn’t stopping. I watched her ramping up, hitting harder, faster, working him like a heavy bag.
He tried to swing at her and she slipped him easily. She was on autopilot, sinking down into her training. I stood there watching for a minute. Then I turned my back on them and took my daughter out of the room. I brought my daughter to the kitchen and gave her a bath in the sink. I found that he had cut her a third time on the sole of her foot.
All the cuts were superficial. I cleaned her up and held her until she calmed. I put Polysporin and Band-Aids on her cuts. In our bedroom, I could hear my son screaming, calling my wife horrible names, telling her he would cut her head off and things like that. After a while, I didn’t hear him saying anything anymore, and didn’t even hear him crying out.
I assumed that he must have been knocked out. But I could still hear her beating him. That went on for a long time. Long enough for my daughter to drift off to sleep in my arms. I just sat at the kitchen table waiting for her to finish. Finally, she came out and sat down across from me. Her hands were swollen and red. Her face and arms were splattered with blood.
Her chest was heaving. We just stared at each other without saying anything. After a while I asked her, “Is he gone?” She looked back at me and answered, “I hope so.” I nodded. That was all there was to say about that. I understood how she felt perfectly. I felt the same. I didn’t know what to do, so we just sat there waiting silently.
Eventually, my wife started crying and went to go take a shower. I just stayed where I was holding our daughter. After a long while, I heard moaning and sobbing coming from our room. It turned out that my son wasn’t gone. I went in to see how bad it was, and it was…pretty bad. I’ve never seen a more merciless beating laid onto anyone, before or since.
When my wife came out of the shower, I still didn’t know what to do about our son. I didn’t know whether to call the authorities or an ambulance, take him to the hospital myself, I honestly didn’t have any idea what to do. And then it came to me. After a while, I realized that I simply didn’t care what happened to him anymore, and we decided to just let him live or perish on his own.
There was an in-law suite in the basement that we had never really used, and my wife, my daughter, and I just moved down there. We simply ceded the top floor of the house to my son and locked everything down, separated our lives entirely. There was plenty of food in the upstairs cabinets, enough for a couple weeks or more, he had a washroom and bedrooms to use.
We had a washroom in the basement, a small kitchenette, and a separate entrance so we just stopped going upstairs. We just decided we were done with him. I figured we’d let his food run out and see what happened. Over the next week we could hear him moving around upstairs sometimes. I think he just spent most of time lying in bed recovering.
I went to work, watching on high alert in case he attacked me in the driveway, but he never did. My wife stayed home with our daughter. She was never out of our sight. One night we heard him going ballistic, smashing things and banging. We didn’t respond. He never tried to get downstairs or get near us, though. I think he was afraid that if he got near us again, my wife might finish the job on him.
After three weeks down there, we hadn’t heard anything from up above for a few days, and I ventured upstairs to the main floor of the house. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The place was demolished, and there was no sign of my son. He was gone. It took months to repair the damage he had done and get the main floor back to normal again.
There was food and poop smeared all over the walls and broken glass on the floor, big holes in the drywall; he had ripped the place apart. He tore up the linoleum in a corner of the kitchen and emptied an entire foam fire extinguisher into the living room. I feel thankful that he didn’t burn the house down with us in it, I’m honestly not sure why he didn’t, since the kid wasn’t shy about lighting things on fire.
After that, I lived in fear every day that he would come back, that he would ambush us out of the blue and try to hurt us. We moved houses about three years later and I finally stopped being afraid that he would show up again, as now he had no idea where we were. I finally felt safe from him. All this happened a long time ago. My son was born in the spring of 1971, my daughter was born in 1988.
I’m an old man now. I’ll be 70 this year and my wife passed from cancer in 2016. My daughter is 31 now, and I moved in with her and her husband after my wife passed. I’ve got two granddaughters and they are the joy of my life. I see a therapist a couple times a month to talk about all this. I don’t know where my son is. The last time I saw him was when he was lying on the floor of our bedroom, bleeding and smashed.
I haven’t heard from him since he left, more than 30 years now. I don’t want to. I carry a lot of guilt from that time, and a lot of conflicted emotions. I didn’t beat him myself, but I allowed him to be beaten, and I thought he deserved it. I was happy it happened. I didn’t try to end him, but I would have been happy if he passed. I will say that I do hope he was able to overcome his demons and go live a normal life somewhere.
If he wasn’t able to do that, if he stayed the way he was, then I truly do hope someone out there ended him. When I knew him he was a rabid dog, and whichever way it went I just hope he isn’t still out there hurting anyone else.
48. What She Doesn’t Know…
I was diagnosed with cancer a little over two weeks ago, after a regular check-up. Turns out I have a tumor on my colon that has spread to other areas (liver and lungs so far) and will require extensive chemo and surgery for any chance to live longer than eight months. There’s just one problem. I’m not having any treatment, and I haven’t told my wife.
Obviously, she’ll only pressure me to get the treatment, which will result in months of pain and suffering for a relatively small chance of survival. Instead, I’m making sure our last few months together are filled with only happy memories. I’m starting work later and finishing earlier each day to make her breakfast in bed and take her on dates in the evenings.
My landlord who I rent my workshop from has agreed to let me run my business rent-free for the next six months, which means significantly less financial stress and I can save a lot more, so she has something to carry her over afterward. I hope she’ll forgive me for taking this path.
49. Putting It Off
My ex and I divorced six years ago. It was an ugly divorce, and our sons are now nine and 13. We live two miles apart and we get the kids one week on, one week off. After the divorce, we had no real meaningful relationship other than talking about the kids, scheduling and stuff. I had no idea or interest in her personal life and she was the same with me.
This last year, she started acting strange. She started being more chatty and friendly with me, but I still wasn’t interested in having a social relationship with her. On Monday, I picked the kids up from school for my week with them and she texted me around 8 pm saying how I was the only person who she trusted 100% with the kids and I was a great dad and she thanked me for it.
Then she told me to tell the boys that she loved them. That was weird because she would call my eldest to say goodnight every night that they were with me, but didn’t on that night. I drive by her place on my way to work and noticed her car was still parked on the street, but assumed she was working from home or sick. I should have seen the signs.
I had texted her in the morning about picking up my son’s school book that he left at her house, and hours had passed with no reply. That was very strange because she would reply within minutes if it had something to do with the kids. I started to grow a bit worried and called her. Again, I know nothing about her social life, so it wasn’t like I could call her friends because I don’t know any of them and her parents live out of state.
I left a voicemail telling her that if she didn’t call or text me back by 2 pm then I was going to her house to make sure she was okay. I left work early and went to her house. There were packages at her door, which was another red flag. She would never leave packages unattended outside. I called, texted, and knocked at the door and there was no response.
I let myself in and called out for her. I wish I could unsee what came next. I went into her bedroom and saw her body with a large bloodstain on her shirt and something that looked like a phone in her hand. That wasn’t a phone. She had shot herself in the heart. I called the authorities and they questioned me for three hours and told me they would reach out to her parents as I was no longer next of kin.
I had to pick up my kids and kept a stone face as I was still processing the situation. On Wednesday, my eldest started complaining that his mom was not replying to his text messages and demanded that I take him to her house, which is still all taped up. He thinks she’s ignoring his texts or that her phone is broken and wants to tell her to fix it.
I asked to speak with his principal in private and told him that he would be missing school next week. He asked what in the world could be so important that he should miss a week of school. I told him about his mom, and explained that I haven’t told him yet. Meanwhile, her mom has been calling me constantly asking to speak to the boys.
I told her I haven’t told them yet because things have been moving too quickly. My eldest is picking up that something has happened and now the nine-year-old is picking up vibes too. My 13-year-old is demanding that we go to his mom’s and even threatened to ditch school if I didn’t do it. The nine-year-old wouldn’t let me drop him off at school and had a meltdown.
I decided to tell them what happened next week because I am not prepared to deal with the madness coming my way.
50. Into Thin Air
I’m a 26-year-old girl. When I was young, a stranger from school posing as my dad’s friend picked me up. He was saying that he would drop me off at the airport to catch a flight with my dad. Not only did I actually have to travel with my dad that day, but this man somehow knew my dad was getting off early from work, which he’d told me that morning, and that he had to go fishing with his friend.
This man told me that my dad sent him to pick me up and meet him directly at the airport. I believed him, convinced my teachers I knew him (because I was excited to go the airport) and left with him. I was held in captivity for three years. Eventually, 11-year-old me learned to make him trust me. It started with us going around in his car, although I had to sit in the backseat and stay quiet the whole time.
He let me come into his kitchen and make food for myself, and then he let me clean his house. The day we went to feed the ducks at the park, I ran. I ran as fast as my weak legs could carry me. Because of the crowd, I think he lost me. I begged a family for help, telling them I was kidnapped and I wanted to go home. I told them my name, my school’s name, and my parents’ names.
Long story short; they caught him, and he offed himself. I was back with my dad, my sisters, my dogs. I’m now happily married to my wife of four years, still undergoing therapy. I now have a good job and a baby on the way.