Secrets, secrets are no fun, unless they're shared with everyone, right? Well, not always. There are some secrets that need to stay buried forever. If they were to come to light, the aftermath could be catastrophic. These people know all too well the horrible things that would happen if certain secrets were ever revealed.
People on Reddit share the dark family secret that would tear their family apart if it were ever discovered. Content has been edited for clarity.
“My Dad Decided To Run”
“My dad tried to run out on my mum while she was pregnant with me. He had been embezzling money from a photography club at his workplace (then a government institution) where he’d been treasurer. It was all about to come out because the club needed the money, so my dad decided to cut and run.
My mother’s brother and father caught him by pure accident as he was leaving the house. My grandad, a burly Scots coal miner, got him by the throat and told him if he ever pulled a stunt like that again he’d be dead. My dad, according to the story, wet himself right there.
My grandad paid the money back to the club so no one found out, as not only would my dad have lost his job, he’d most likely have been jailed too. My mum though could never trust him with money again. Although they had a joint bank account, she had them limit his access and made a separate account to control the bills. She went back to work so she could always support herself, which in those days in rural Scotland was really uncommon. In that area, most women were stay at home mums. So, there was no such thing as childcare. My mom went back to her job as a primary school teacher, and I spent the first few years of my life sleeping in a basket in the stationery cupboard in her classroom.
At mum’s funeral, some of her former colleagues were still coming up to me, saying, ‘Oh, it’s the baby in the cupboard!'”
“For Me It Was Just A Joke”
“This goes back a while.
Back in grade school, there was this one girl. She was from Great Britain. She was an advocate for the British crown. I remember while learning about the revolutionary war, she criticized the Americans.
So one day, we were in science, and were talking about her British heritage. I made a joke talking about how her ancestors being British probably came to India (where I come from) and did something bad to our family. For me it was just a joke. For her, it was a little more personal because her family was a leading general in the British army. We then got her to say that she had a great-uncle who worked in the same region of India my family is from. It turns out, she worked in the same district as my family did (Indian district is like an American county).
The real kick came later when she said that her uncle may have murdered some people back in the early 1900’s. She took an Ancestry DNA test earlier that year and saw the list of last names that her grandpa could’ve killed. My last name appeared.
Later when I went home, I asked my dad about any family members who went missing in the 1900s. He had a faint memory told by his father (father was born 1930’s) about his uncle (my dad’s great uncle and my great great uncle). He went to the main city in the district for some business and never came back. Our family was also very hush hush about the incident not talking much about it. I don’t know what happened to my great-great uncle and whenever I see this person, I wonder if we have a connection that goes back many generations.”
“Dad Never Guessed A Thing”
“When I was three years old, Mom and her mother took a month long vacation together. That was the only trip the two of them ever took just by themselves. It was also the only time my grandmother took a vacation without her husband. Dad’s parents looked after me in the meantime.
The day Mom returned, she handed me a pair of maracas. She and her mother told everyone they had been to Spain. But they didn’t bring back any pictures or tell any stories about it. By contrast, Grandma was full of snapshots and anecdotes about her other travels. When I was around eight years old, I asked Mom about Spain and she quoted old movies.
Right out of My Fair Lady, she answered ‘The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.’
She never showed me a passport stamp. For all I know she never even had a passport. When I was in college, Mom claimed she had never traveled overseas.
‘There’s that month in Spain,’ I replied.
She fell silent. Apparently, she had been hoping I’d forgotten.
There had been other hints that something was off. During childhood, she tried to donate the maracas to charity a couple of times. I insisted on keeping them; they disappeared when I was ten or eleven. Shortly before they vanished, she saw me playing with them she told me they weren’t really maracas. This started an exchange where I asked her what the correct term was and why she had always called them maracas until then. She gave a couple of evasive responses before falling silent.
None of this added up until decades later when I realized her trip to Spain took place shortly before abortion was legalized where we were living, and that something like 30% of women in the United States have had an abortion. Best guess is that she and her mother either drove to Canada or flew to the UK and spent the month shuttling between medical clinics and a hotel room. Mom, Dad, and I had been living in a one bedroom apartment at the time. Mom and Grandma probably decided she couldn’t afford a second child. Dad never guessed a thing.”
“No Way That Is True”
“When I was 18, police showed up at my door late one night and brought me in to the police station for questioning. When I got there, they kept asking me questions about my dad. He works across the country and wasn’t set to be home for a few weeks, so I guess they were trying to get information from me in the meantime since they had no one else to ask about him.
Eventually, they explained to me that the reason they were asking was because a family member had announced that my dad abused her when she was only five years old whenever she would sleepover at my house.
At first I was like, ‘There is no way that is true.’
I’ve known him all my life and we’ve always been incredibly close.
During the weeks until my dad came home, the more I thought about my childhood and my dad, the more uneasy and uncomfortable about the whole thing I felt. Part of me knew it was true but I didn’t want to believe it. My husband was even getting upset with me about it, because he didn’t understand how I could ever think my dad was capable of something like that. My dad seems like the nicest person in the world and he has done a lot for us.
Of course my dad came home, police were involved, he proudly admitted to the whole thing. He even laughed and joked about how people he worked with knew he did it and it was a big joke between everyone.
His reasoning? ‘It is what it is.’
He stated that children aren’t capable of feeling negative emotions, a statement he had said to and about me many times in my life.
To say it broke me was an understatement. I don’t have trust for anyone because you can know someone your entire life and not know the demons they’ve been hiding. Sometimes the people you would never expect can be the biggest monsters.
He got nine months of jail time, but was for some reason allowed to continue to work. So three weeks away at work, come home and spend a weekend in jail (the rest of his time off at home) until his sentence was up. Was given a private room at the jail to read books away from other criminals so no one could pick on him. Ultimately only did about a months time before they said he was free to go all together.”
“It Didn’t Feel Great”
“My Mom’s side of the family is pretty big, I have one uncle and four aunts. There was a period when I was 14 to 16 where we didn’t see one of my aunts (I’ll call her ‘Be’) and my two cousins, because there would be huge arguments whenever they saw anyone else in the family. They especially avoided my Grandad.
My Grandad ended up dying of bowel cancer and other various cancers when I was 16. When the funeral rolled around, I was pretty upset that Be and her kids (both were out of school by this time) couldn’t make the funeral and I asked my Mum why. She said that Be had an argument with Grandad and was being overdramatic. My Dad said he would prefer to stay out of my mum’s dramas.
A couple months later, I organised for my younger sister and me to meet up with those two cousins at a park. We talked for awhile and it was great fun to finally see them again. But I had to ask why we couldn’t see them much and why they didn’t attend the funeral. The oldest cousin who I was talking to suddenly looked like she didn’t want to be there anymore. She said she’d tell me another time.
About a half year after that, she asked if I wanted to meet for dinner and go around to her new place. Of course I wanted to, and told myself I wouldn’t ask anything about Grandad or other family issues. We ate out, and the whole dinner it felt like she was in pain or afraid of me. Either way it didn’t feel great. When we got walking back to her place, we both joked about how much our younger siblings were alike and how we were too.
Later, we went to her room and drank tea. She started crying. I didn’t know what was going on. After a while and a bit of hugging, she calmed down and told me that while she was staying at my Grandad’s apartment when she was 17 and in the final year of school, he tried to touch her. She ran and Be picked her up. Grandad went to Be’s house a few days later, knocked on the door and apparently decided to apologize. Be didn’t say anything and eventually he left.
My cousin said she got over what happened after a year or two.
The worst part is that my whole family would rather defend my Grandad, even considering he’s passed. I doubt my mum will ever tell me because she thinks I hold Grandad in high esteem because of what he previously did for the family.
My cousin telling me this shattered my trust in my parents, and most of the rest of the family. I am glad that she told someone though. Telling me was the first time she’d spoken to anyone other than her sister or mum and dad. She said it helped her a lot. She’s since told other cousins older than me about it. I’m not telling my sister until she’s older because she really doesn’t need to know at 14.
I confronted my Dad and he had the same response my cousin said he would. He just dismissed it as my cousin fishing for attention, and told me to talk to my mom about it.”
“I Brought It To My Mom”
“Growing up, there was always an odd tension between my dad and my aunt, but it was never that noticeable to me. Anytime we’d have get togethers, she would try her best to distance herself from him.
Fast forward to age 12, I went to have a sleepover with my cousin (I did so frequently) and my aunt had work. So being a couple of bored kids, we started snooping around where we shouldn’t have. I went into her bedroom and started to sift through all her stuff, and after some digging, I found what turned out to be a suicide note. In it she described how she couldn’t handle the trauma my father caused her.
Me, being confused and concerned, I brought it to my mom, who then brought it to my grandma who then confronted my aunt. It turns out my dad had assaulted her at my house several years ago and in addition gave her HIV and Hepatitis B (My mom and dad had been divorced for about three years by now).
After discovering this, my grandma and mom confronted my dad. They then learned that not only had he hurt her, but he had intentionally given himself HIV because he was dared to by one of his substance dealer friends who was a real piece of work.”
“I Will Never Forgive Her”
“In 2012, my grandmother died of lung cancer at the age of 76. It was a long and dirty fight, and I was 14 at the time. It hit me bad. The doctors discovered the cancer after she had to go to the hospital because she fell down the stairs and broke her leg.
When I was visiting her with my mom, all of my grandmothers children were there. Even my uncle who lived a few states away made it. Everyone was there except my aunt who lived in the next big city, and visited us every weekend or so. So I was told my grandmother fell down the stairs and got some bruises and she had broken her leg. When I was looking at her, I noticed she had two black eyes but didn’t think anything of it by the time.
Last year, my mother told me that my aunt who didn’t visit my grandma in the hospital had beaten her up with her husband, because my grandma was living on her (my aunts) property that she wanted to sell. My aunt apparently had a drinking problem, and was smashed that night and got angry when my grandma refused to move out. Never heard of my aunt after this incident, and every time I asked I was only told it had something to do with my grandmas house and they had an argument about it. She has always been my favorite aunt and before I knew what she did, I was always open to a reunion. I will never forgive her after finding out what she did.”
“Could Completely Destroy Our Family”
“I’ve pieced this together from a lot of information from various people.
It all started when my sister got together with her first serious boyfriend. After high school, he started a business. They suddenly broke up, and the guy escaped to Germany, as if he was chased by someone. Years passed, and she broke up with her second boyfriend. I didn’t know anything until I started questioning the strange occurrences surrounding my sister.
Turns out that when the first guy started a business, my sister bought us a WiFi router and an internet connection. That wouldn´t be strange, but the guy didn’t know that his name was signed on the contract. He was in huge debt, since that internet connection wasn’t cheap, so he had the two options, pay the huge debt (which he couldn’t afford), or escape to Germany. He came to our flat, took a secondary monitor he had at our place for quite a long time, broke up with my sister, and bailed. He stopped being active on social media. I think he paid the debt later on with his new business in Germany, since he had to close his previous one.
Our second cousin came to our town, and stayed a few days, during which my sister slept with him multiple times (and I believe they even had a threeway with her best friend). However, he got caught in the feelings, and while for her it was just multiple night stand, for him it was a deep love.
Later, she broke all connections to her best friend, since she started dating her neighbor, and she got pretty mad at her. She then posted a status on her Facebook, which made it look like it was hacked. She stated that she was breaking up with her boyfriend due to undisclosed reasons. I found out that our second cousin started making trouble. He wanted to marry her, and he kept threatening to tell the entire family that she got him hammered and then slept with him while he was unconscious in the case she didn´t oblige. My sister confessed to her boyfriend, and he threatened to call the cops on him, threatening him with assault allegations. Second cousin got scared and broke all connections with my sister, and he even went for work to England.
Later when my sister and her boyfriend went to college, they broke up due to her limited time constraints.
This is the one secret that could completely destroy our family on a large scale, and it would alienate my sister completely. Both her second ex and second cousin forgiven her, but I feel like her first ex never forgiven her.”
“Imagine The Look On My Face”
“I very recently learned that for the last 13 years or so, my entire family (extended) knew about me being assaulted in my early teens. Only problem is; I was never assaulted. It was all a figment of my mother’s imagination, based on one comment I made. She told everyone in my extended family that I had been assaulted but not to ask me about it because I was ‘so traumatized.’
Thirteen years later, I am getting hammered with my sisters at a local restaurant, and I bring up this gyno study I was part of through my early teens.
My sisters both go ‘oh thank God you finally said something, we’ve been top toeing around this whole assaulted thing for over a decade.’
Imagine the look on my face, finding out that my entire family thought I had been assaulted, but a) never bothered to ask and b) never did anything about it. I had to very gently tell my sisters that I had not been assaulted, and they had been walking on eggshells around me for more than a decade for no reason.”
“Who’s This Girl?”
“My one cool uncle. Came to our house every Christmas, Thanksgiving, was always really great and pleasant…had a bunch of cats and dogs at his house, was married to my aunt shortly before I was born.
So one day my mom and I went to visit him and my aunt at his house, and there’s this girl there, I think she was a year older than me, so about 15.
My mom and I are like, ‘Who’s this girl?’
My uncle says, ‘Well…I just found out a few days ago that I have a daughter, so…I guess this is your cousin!’
Turns out that before my uncle and aunt got married, my uncle had a pretty wild bachelor party in which a lady of the night was hired…one thing led to another, and my cousin appears 15 years later to find her father.
She was so sweet, and my uncle was actually really good about the whole situation. He even started paying child support to my cousins mom, his idea. My aunt was also very forgiving. I’ve never met my cousins mom.”
“It Tore Him Up”
“My uncle got his high school girlfriend pregnant, and my grandmother drove her to the clinic for an abortion. She agreed to pay only if the girlfriend didn’t tell my uncle that she was going to abort his unborn child. It tore him up when he found out, but that hardly excuses his next actions.
My mother gets pregnant by my father around this time and is not to discreetly offered the same deal, which my mother refuses with a few choice words. My uncle finds out, tracks my mother down, and punches her in the stomach for ‘daring to take what was ripped away from him.’ My mother subsequently miscarried who would have been my big brother.
My mom, the saint she is, forgave him and tried to help him get some therapy. He rejected her help and joined the Army instead. I didn’t find out any of this until I was an adult, which really ducked with my head since my uncle had always been really close to me up until I came out of the closet. He somehow thought of my as the daughter his mother had aborted.”
“He Got Very Emotional”
“My grandfather was born in Lebanon and didn’t move to the U.S. until the 1930s, when he was in his twenties. He had two older brothers and one older sister. They were Christians. When he was quite young (maybe 10 years old or so, I was never able to get the exact date), his sister started seeing a Muslim guy. She did this in secret, as this was pretty taboo.
The secret got out somehow. I don’t know exactly what the family’s reaction was at this news, but it was definitely not good. She ended up running away from home to be with this guy. Her two oldest brothers (so, not my grandfather) were furious, far more so than anyone else in the family. Apparently her parents were very upset as well, but not to the degree as those two brothers.
The brothers decided to track her down and bring her home. This took quite some time, and when they finally found her, she had a newborn son.
The two brothers went in to the house armed with loaded weapons and dragged the guy out of the house. One of the brothers took the baby away from his sister and smashed its head on a rock. They beat the man almost to death, and as he lay there he told them that he cursed their entire family until the end of time. They then shot him in the head.
I never found out exactly what happened after that. When my grandfather told me this, he got very emotional, so I did not press him for additional details. I was also around 10 or 12 at the time, so I was pretty freaked out myself.
My grandfather ended up moving to the U.S., leaving his family in Lebanon behind. He met a woman who was also of Lebanese descent, and started a very normal 1940s-1950s style life. This was the only time I ever heard him mention that he had brothers, and prior to hearing this story all I knew about his sister was that she was very beautiful, he loved her very much, and could never forgive himself for not being able to take her with her when he came to America.”
A Hidden Life
“I was the family secret. My biological parents started having kids as teenagers. For context, when my biological mom found out she was pregnant with me, she was 21 and I was their 4th child. They quickly realized they needed to get their act together. They were already struggling financially, had countless addiction issues. They decided that they were going to put me up for adoption. I was a baby.
I was adopted by a loving family quite quickly, only about an hour drive from the city I was born in. Coincidentally, I ended up returning to that same city for college. My sophomore year, I decided to seek out my biological family. Turns out, my biological parents separated right after I was born. My biological mom is still in and out of jail to this day, but my biological dad was able to start a new chapter. He got clean and sober, remarried, started going to church, and built a legitimate career for himself. He told his new wife about me when they first met, but didn’t tell any of his children. My other siblings didn’t know I existed.
Thanks to the internet, I ended up tracking down his work number and gave him a call. Later on, he said as soon as I said, ‘Hi, this might be really weird, but…’ he knew it was me. Apparently, ever since I turned 18, him and his wife were waiting anxiously for me to resurface. They knew the day would come eventually. That evening, they sat my siblings down and told them about me. It was difficult at first, but now I’m 25 and me and him have a pretty solid relationship.”