Some things are best left in the past.

That’s the philosophy of a lot of families and I can understand that sentiment for the most part.

Young kids really don’t need to know about their family’s dark secrets, but maybe it’s a good thing to air all the dirty laundry once folks grow up a little bit.

AskReddit users talked about the dark family secrets they learned when they got older.

1. Horrible.

“When I was about 10 my cousin and his dad died. I always thought it was an accident and on the same day.

When I was old enough I was told that his dad actually committed suicide and my cousin followed him couple months later.

Truly devastated me although I didn’t know them well.”

2. Family tragedy.

“Apparently my aunt was the product of r*pe, but my grandma hasn’t told anyone in the family yet except me.

She just turned 90, I have no idea what I should do with this information once she passes.”

3. It got ugly.

“My father cheated on my mom with my sister and I’s horse riding instructor. We’d always thought it ended amicably.

We only found this out while mum was admitting to having contemplated driving off the road with us in the car as kids, as opposed to raising us as a single mom with no career or stable job.”

4. Mom!

“My mild-mannered Christian mother casually told me that she dated a gangster who trafficked cocaine in NY during the 1980s.

He bought her a brand new BMW before getting sentenced to prison for murder for 20+ years. Someone who was friends with her and her ex for YEARS turned out to be an FBI informant and she barely escaped jail, had to enter a witness protection program and moved cross country.

Here’s the craziest part: He’s still stalking her, has contacted her on her birthday every year for 40 years, and keeps tabs on her!! My dad has no idea.

I asked her why she waited so long to tell me. Like, what if she went missing? and she said “Oh, honey. He’s the type of person that if he wanted to harm me, I would already be dead by now.”

Very comforting.”


“My mom had a brother who died in childhood, maybe 9 or 10. I always thought he drank cleaning chemicals and died that way, but turns out he was hit by a school bus while riding his bike.

Now I know why my mom was so anxious about me biking on the road.”

6. That’s why.

“The reason I had a “live in baby sitter” when I was 5 that moved in at 2 am was because my mom’s cousin killed 2 kids and we ended up harboring his daughter during the trial.

He’s the only person on Death Row in my county.”

7. Keep it in the family.

“My uncle and two aunts had an incestuous threesome going on in the 1970s.

They invited my mum, who refused and was pretty horrified. My dad (their brother) had zero idea.”

8. Wild!

“My grandparents spent some time in lock up after my grandpa killed their newborn in a shell shock induced frenzy.

They were jailed because they buried her body in a cave and tried to hide it.

My mom and her siblings were all adopted out very young and went back to their parents around 11 years or so later. I knew that growing up, but didn’t know why until I was older.”

9. Traumatic.

“My grandfather molested his children when they were young, my aunts and uncle didn’t speak about it til they reached their 20’s and 30’s.

They hid their experience to their siblings but little did they know, they all experienced the same thing. They all suffered trauma but didn’t tell my grandmother about it because she loves our grandfather very much.”

10. Doing better.

“My cousins lived with us for a while and we thought that was fun because it’s like a sleep over every day. One time our mom even took us out of school to pick them up.

I learned later that it was because child protective services took my cousins away from their mom because of mental health issues. My mom offered to take her sister’s kids until she got her mental health back in order.

My cousins live with their mom now and their mom is in a much better condition mentally.”

11. Got off.

“My uncle shot a man who was having an affair with his wife.

When we was tried, he was let off the hook because the judge was my grandfather’s war buddy in WWII.

Side note: that judge was also one of the judges in the Charles Manson trials.”

12. Whoa.

“That my favorite cousin wasn’t missing.

All I knew growing up (he was 13 years older than me) was that he would come and go alot. He lived with us when I was a baby and after he moved out he would visit every 6 months or so out of the blue, but we never visited him or called him.

His visits were one of my favorite things in the world. I loved him like a brother.

By the time I was a teenager I did understand that he had issues with his parents.. they had kicked him out at 13 and my parents took him in.. but that kind of childhood messes with you. In between visits to my parents he avoided the rest of the family, moved alot, and didn’t hold jobs for long, which is why my parents didn’t always know where he was.

But in my later teens he stopped coming over at all. I asked repeatedly if anyone had heard from him and I was told no.. I asked about contacting him and was told no one had a number or address for him.. he would come around when he felt like it.. But it stretched on for years. I really worried he was dead, and I really missed him.

In my later 20s I finally found out that everyone knew where he was the whole time. He was in prison for murder 🙁 From what I hear it was actually somewhat justified. He was defending his new wife, who I never got to meet.

I also found out some super sh*tty things about how the extended family sided with his f*cked up parents and refused to help him or his wife when he got arrested .. and that they shamed my dad into not helping either.

I tried to send a message to him in prison but I don’t know of he ever got it. I wish he knew that I didn’t turn my back on him for decades like everyone else did. I just didn’t know.”

Did you ever learn any dark secrets about your family when you got older?

If so, tell us about them in the comments.

We’d love to hear from you!