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23 People Share the Family Secrets They Were Let In on After They Grew Up

I’ve learned some things about my family over the past several years, but nothing too crazy or scandalous.

But we all know that a lot of families out there are harboring BIG secrets that were kept hidden from certain folks for their own good.

People took to AskReddit to talk about the family secrets they learned when they were old enough to hear them.

1. Crazy.

“My grandfather k**led 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 d**th from a ruptured spleen in the back seat. He was d**d 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 d**th. We found a small box in their bedroom when we were cleaning out the house after she d**d 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.”

2. Scandalous.

“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 a**. He somehow talked my father into being a man and taking responsibility for his wife and child. The fact that the fling dumped his a** 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.:

3. Crazy jealous.

“My father was married to another woman before meeting my mother.

They had a daughter and my dad loved her so much that his wife started going crazy jealous. My dad noticed some strange behavior 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 d**d 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.”

4. Mental illness.

“That schizophrenia ran in my mom’s side of the family. I developed it a year after she told me about it at 25.

She didn’t refer to it as schizophrenia, but as the “(her maiden name) Madness”. She said that every once in a while someone in our family would go mad and that that’s what they would call it. I guess her side of the family also had ties to organized crime and at least one of them was a p**stitute.

My family never talked about issues or emotions at all so it was a shock. I assumed our ancestors were relatively normal, but I also thought my family was sane back then too.”

5. I see…

“My grandfather’s brother left the family business after a feud to sell tractor parts to Africa.

When I was an adult, I was told these were semi-automatic “tractor parts”.”

6. Awful.

“My mom had a brother who d**d in childhood, maybe 9 or 10.

I always thought he drank cleaning chemicals and d**d 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.”

7. Whoa.

“My grandparents ran a boys home in the 60s and 70s for kids with unsafe living situations, dysfunctional families, juvenile criminal records, and a lot more.

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 a**aulted 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 a**ault.

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 a**aulted 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**ually a**sed 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. My Aunt.

“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 g** that night because she had seen him in our backyard earlier that night.”

9. Sad.

“I was told that my mother’s older brother had d**d 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 d**d. However, everytime 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**ually a**sed by her brother and that it was not an accident, but a su**ide. My grandmother has no idea.”

10. Dad.

“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.”

11. Drug lord.

“My mild-mannered Christian mother casually told me that she dated a gangster who trafficked c**aine in NY during the 80’s.

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 d**d by now.”

Very comforting.”

12. Awful.

“Great uncle was taken from his parents, told he was retarded, wouldn’t be right, put in state hospitals, experimented upon, only thing wrong with him was a speech impediment…”

13. Devastated.

“When I was about 10 my cousin and his dad d**d. 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 s**cide and my cousin followed him couple months later.

Truly devastated me.”

14. OMG.

“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.”

15. Family feud.

“My uncle (my father’s brother) used to hit my aunt and when my mother found out, in the middle of a wedding party, she went straight to beat his a**. People had to break up the fight.

I found out because my parents were talking about it as if it were nothing. I was mortified. If I had known what a piece of s**t my uncle was, I would have never treated him well, like I did all my life.

The worst part is that they’re still together. The good part is that I’m proud of my mom.”

16. Tragedy.

“I was in senior year of high school when I was told about the family tragedy by my grandparents. My grandfathers brother m**dered his wife.

She was trying to divorce him and he snapped. He went to jail and their son (my dads cousin) was alone. He was in middle/high school. My grandparents convinced the deceased mother’s side of the family to let them finish raising him and were able to get him back on a good path after the trauma he suffered.

He has grown up into an absolutely wonderful man with a wonderful family and I love him.”

17. Scandal.

“My father cheated on my mum 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 mum with no career or stable job.”

18. Wild.

“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 k**led 2 kids and we ended up harboring his daughter during the trial.

He’s the only person on D**th Row in my county.”

19. They weren’t lies.

“My Uncle was r**ed as a young boy and my grandparents not only didn’t believe him, but beat him and disowned him for “bringing such lies into our house”.

Sad thing is, I was r**ed as a kid and while dealing with that my Dad told me what hapoened to my Uncle (I assume so I didn’t feel so alone).

My Uncle is still the only one I know personally who has experienced the same trauma as me, and I’m not meant to know so can’t talk to him about it.”

20. Not missing.

“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 d**d, 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 m**der 🙁 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 s**tty things about how the extended family sided with his f**ked 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.”

21. Disgusting.

“My grandfather m**ested 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.”

22. Inbreeding.

“To put it shortly – my family tree, is more like a very long branch.

Yes we have the genetic defects to prove it.”

23. What’s that about?

“There was a big fight with my uncle and another family which often broke into a fight. This was when I was about 10.

Never understood what was going on and the scenes always left me shaken. Turns out my 40 year old uncle got a 16 year old pregnant that was working for him.

My other uncle told me when I was much older.”

What are your family secrets?

Talk to us in the comments and let us know.

Thanks a lot!