Every family has secrets that they keep buried and hidden from others.
Your family, my family, all of them…
And it’s always interesting to learn about some of the things that were being whispered about at parties when you were a kid when you grow up.
What dark family secrets did you learn when you got older?
Here’s what people had to say about this on AskReddit.
“My father was married with another woman before meeting my mother. They had a daughter and my dad loved her so so so much his wife started going crazy jealous.
My dad noticed some strange behaviour she had towards the girl and when he tried to talk to her about it she started arguing with him. He then left with his daughter to my uncle’s house. She knew my dad would left the girl with my aunt while he was at work, so she called the police and said my aunt kidnaped her child.
The police came in and took the girl away from my aunt. She immediately tried to call my dad. But the woman drove back home, put poison in her daughter’s milk and forced her to drink it. When my dad arrived, he found his daughter already dead and left alone.
The woman was never ever found. My dad had never had justice for his first child. Kinda sad. Then when I was born my mother didn’t mind to named me after my “sister”. We share the same name, and that’s actually how I found it out! I asked my parents about my name and they told me the whole story…”
2. We’re related.
“Got a Facebook message from one guy asking if I was related to [my dad], since it’s not a common last name.
I thought he was a fan of his work, because I was in college at the time and the guy was about the same age as me.
And that’s how I found out my dad slept around and that I had a half-brother the same age as me.”
3. No more.
“My paternal grandfather was an alcoholic wife abuser who regularly cheated on Grandma.
When my father was a teenager he stood up to him, and threatened to kill him if he ever touched her again.
The abuse stopped.”
“When I was around 3-4, my “Aunt” and her 3 sons came and lived with us for a few weeks.
One night my mom stayed up and I found her downstairs sitting in a chair looking out the window. One day, my “Aunt” and the boys “moved” and never came back.
Turns out, she was going through a nasty divorce. She had the boys at the house with her while she was packing things one day, and her husband came home.
He locked the boys in a room, stabbed her, and then shot himself. My mom had been staying up with a gun that night because she had seen him in our backyard earlier that night.”
“I was told that my mother’s older brother had died in an accident (he was intoxicated and got run over by a train, a whole bunch of unfortunate circumstances etc).
My grandmother often mentioned it with sadness, because she considered him a brilliant boy, very handy and had a hopeful career in arts. He was a teenager when he died. However, every time this story came up, my mother’s face hardened and she never spoke about it herself. I could kinda sense that there was something left unsaid, but I was a kid, so I didn’t really question the story.
My mom finally confided in me about a year ago that she was s*xually abused by her brother and that it was not an accident, but a suicide. My grandmother has no idea.”
6. That is crazy.
“My grandfather killed his youngest brother to get out of going to Vietnam.
He, his brother, and two of their friends had their numbers called in the draft for Vietnam. They didn’t want to go, obviously, but they didn’t come from money and all worked to support their families. If they got arrested they’d lose their jobs and their families would lose their income. So they decided on a different plan to get out of going.
They would drive to get their medical checks together, and on the way there they would drive the car into a tree. The plan was to get too injured to get sent to war, but not so injured as to be permanently crippled, and it had to look like an accident so nobody got arrested. This was in country Western Australia, so they were all going to say they swerved to miss a kangaroo, and hit the tree.
My grandfather was driving, his friend was in the passenger seat, and the other two were in the back. His brother was behind the passenger seat. They hit the tree doing about 40kph – enough to be serious. A broken leg for my grandfather, a broken arm for the guy behind him, and broken ribs all around. They definitely weren’t going to war.
The problem was that for maximum impact, and because this was rural Australia in the sixties, they weren’t wearing seatbelts. And nobody found them or their car for an hour or so. And nobody considered internal injuries in this plan. And my grandfathers brother bled to death from a ruptured spleen in the back seat. He was dead before they got to a hospital.
My grandfather never forgave himself, and he never talked about it. My grandma was the only one he ever told, as far as we know, and she didn’t tell my mother and I until long after his death. We found a small box in their bedroom when we were cleaning out the house after she died last year. It had a clipping from the local newspaper at the time about the accident. It said that they had swerved to miss a roo, and called it a tragedy.
I don’t think my mother told any of her siblings, so technically this is still the family secret. I guess now you’re all in on it.”
7. Felt like I had always known…
“My grandparents ran a boys home in the 60s and 70s, for kids with unsafe living situations, abusive family, juvenile criminal records etc.
It was well run and they provided the kids with a good life. My mum was an only child and grew up living around them. When I was small and asked her about it she would say that for the larger part she loved growing up around them because it was like having friends all the time.
In the pictures that exist of her from that time she looks like a little boy herself- she refused to wear girls clothes and had a boys haircut. But in all of these photos of her, throughout her childhood and adolescence, there is a strange sad energy in her face that I couldn’t put my finger on even though she is smiling, I could just feel it when I saw those pictures.
I didn’t understand how she would describe these times as so fun and happy, but when my grandma would say she had ‘heard from one of the boys’ around Christmas, Easter or birthdays, my mum would go quiet and look close to tears, and maybe stay this way for a day or so.
My mum was an extremely over protective mother when I was a teen. At 14 I wasn’t allowed to shave my legs, pluck my eyebrows, wear anything that wasn’t a learner bra. nothing terrible but it felt like I was being kept as a child.
At 15 I rebelled a bit and my mum clamped down even harder. She would emphasise over and over that boys were not to be trusted, they only want one thing, girls that give off certain messages to them will ‘come a cropper’. The horrible twist is that I was assaulted by men on two separate occasions in my teens and when I told her, she basically said to me ‘I told you so’.
I went through therapy a bit later, and managed to process that these things weren’t my fault, and that my mother’s logic had made things worse. I confronted her with this- those events were not my fault. It was nobody’s fault but the perpetrator.
I did not do anything that invited assault. She really could not accept this, it had to be my fault in some way. When I went to the police to make a historical report, she was extremely awkward and unsupportive. My dad stepped in to help me during this time.
Two years later during an argument my mum tells me that she was molested, groomed and assaulted from the age of 6 by two separate boys in their early adolescence who were living at the home.
She didn’t realise anything about this was wrong until her father saw something happening to her, blamed her, implied she caused it to happen, told her mother, said it must not happen again. my mum was 8. Nothing happened to the boys, who had likely been s*xually abused themselves.
The home carried on working for years and no one said anything more about it. When my mum told me this I just held her and told her it wasn’t her fault, that her parents should have protected her when they knew that was happening, that she should have been better cared for.
When she told me I felt no shock- it felt like I had always known. The sad feeling i could see in those pictures of my mum when she was little, and how she had so desperately tried to protect me from growing up, suddenly all made sense.”
8. Family secrets.
“My father met my mother in the Philippines when he was stationed there in the Navy. He married her there and conceived me. He went away to finish his tour of duty.
My mother moved to America when she was a month away from giving birth to me. She moved in with relatives in Texas. My father’s tour ended while he was in Hawaii. He met a woman there and called my mom in America, asking for a divorce. He wanted to take back his recent marriage to her – with a kid on the way – because he had a hot one-night stand.
My mother was already scared, being in a new country, not knowing much English. Add to this that she was pregnant, about to give birth, and her husband was dumping her.
My Texan uncle got on a plane to Hawaii, prepared to kick my father’s *ss. He somehow talked my father into being a man and taking responsibility for his wife and child. The fact that the fling dumped his *ss surely helped. He was back by the time I was born.
I learned all this when I was eleven, around the time my parents got divorced. It was only the first of countless “dark family secrets” I would come to learn during my teenage years.”
“Not very much a secret, but took me until I was older to understand what was happening.
My mom would sometimes have us play a game called “army” which consisted of me, my mom, and my siblings army crawling around our apartment. Kind of a hide n seek style game.
She would yell “hit the deck!” randomly and we would all drop and find a hiding spot. We would giggle and giggle while my mom army crawled around looking for us. We loved the game so much.
I realized a few years ago while retelling the story that we lived in a really terrible neighborhood, and she would yell it out when she heard gunshots outside the building. I’m assuming she was worried about stray bullets.”
“My grandpa died while snorting coke and getting head in his Corvette.”
“My grandmother tried to murder my grandfather when she got sick of him beating the sh*t out of her every day.
She swung an axe at him and he blocked it with his hand and lost his thumb.
She left him before I was born.”
12. Doing time.
“My grandfather got out of serving in Vietnam by robbing pharmacies and going to jail.”
13. I think you mean GUNS.
“My grandfather’s brother left the family business after a feud to sell tractor parts in Africa.
When I was an adult, I was told these were semi-automatic “tractor parts”.”
What’s the dark secret that you learned about your family when you got older?
Talk to us in the comments and spill your guts.
We can’t wait to hear from you!