Parents will tell little white lies to their kids growing up that, for the most part, are fairly innocent and don't do any damage. But every once in a while, a parent will say something that might not have an immediate effect, but years later, it can tear someone's world apart.
Below, people share the one lie that their parents told them that messed them up later in life. Check them out.
Content has been edited for clarity.
"The biggest lie I was told was that my birth father was my brother and that they were my parents. They were my grandparents. My birth father was killed in a car wreck when I was a baby. My birth mother took off, so his parents raised me.
I would have been fine growing up knowing the truth, but when I was 9 years old, I accidentally found out that my other "brothers and sisters" were actually my aunts and uncles. Complete and total mayhem."
"My mom always used to tell me that my dad was abusive and a cheater and a heavy drinker and blah blah blah. In my teenage years, I still believed this and when I had to go to my dad's for the weekend, I would often run away and get picked up by the cops and brought to my mom's. It wasn't until I turned 19 that I realized my mom was manipulative and selfish which is how she won custody of me in court. She had me lie to the lawyers and everything. It messed me up bad, but I think it messed up my dad even more. I moved in with my dad a few years ago for while I went to university, and he said every cent he paid in child support was worth it to have me here with him now. I don't know how it all turned out like it did, but I'm finally happy with where I am."
"My mother married a terrible man when I was about 10 years old. Illiterate and abusive - probably enough to give you an idea of the sort of guy he was.
For Christmas one year, I was given a beautiful Himalayan kitten; I think it was nominally 'given' to me, and it was actually because my mother wanted one. My stepsister also had a cat at the time, your basic brown/gray tabby.
My stepfather hated both of the cats. As time went on, we were told we'd have to rehome the cats, because my stepfather didn't want them around anymore. My stepsister and I went to visit our respective other parents over the weekend, and at the time I discussed with my father the possibility of the cat staying with him. He agreed to consider it.
Arrived home Sunday night, and was informed by my mother that someone had left the back door open and the cats had both gotten out and couldn't be found. My stepsister and I spent days looking for the cats, putting up signs. They were the first real pets that were 'ours' and being only 11 at the time, it was absolutely devastating.
I found out years later that my stepfather had used the opportunity of our absence to take them both to the pound."
"I got brutally beaten by my father from the age of 5, and still have a scar in my hairline where he smashed me with a length of chain for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was angry about something. Every time he felt something had gone wrong in his own life, it was somehow my fault. I went to school a lot of time in long trousers when everyone else was wearing shorts in the heat, so the welts and scars wouldn't show.
At the age of 12, I finally lost it and smacked him right on the nose. He went down like a bag of crap, and started wailing like a baby, telling me he'd ring the cops and have me put in prison and executed in the electric chair, because, and here's the lie,
'It was illegal for children to be smarter than their parents, or strike their parents, and it carried the death penalty.'
So he told me he was saving me from the chair if he administered a 'lesser' punishment himself.
The real problem behind all of this? I WAS smarter than he was and enjoyed soaking up knowledge, and he couldn't handle it, not for any psychological condition, or excusable affliction, but simply because he was a brutal wanker and a power freak. He was also a Freemason, and I managed to avoid getting dragged into that rubbish simply because he felt I'd shame him in front of his fellow cultists, being dumber (if you can count this concession as a bright side).
For a long time, I kept my intelligence to myself, fearing the chair, and accepting my father was helping me by beating the crap out of me. My first years of school I deliberately got average grades for fear of being too clever.
Funny thing is, he only ever tried to belt me once after I'd hit him, and once I raised my fists, he backed down. I worked 2 after-school jobs as a kid to pay my way at home and for school materials (he refused to pay for my schooling as I was supposed to be dumber than him but it was illegal to stop a kid going to school, and he feared the cops finding out, so I could go, but only if I paid for the books and stuff myself). I refused to accept that my father's view of life was a valid one.
I had a couple of good friends who covered for me and two teachers who, to this day, I will always be grateful to for their support and encouragement. They kept a lot of stuff to themselves when I limped into classes, and instead worked with me beyond the call of duty to give me a better start to life with extra lessons, and social knowledge about people and life in the normal world.
It took me about 5 years of hard work after leaving home at 15 to get my head really straight, and fire on with my own life. It can be done, one day at a time, and for me required a lot of determination, and a stubborn refusal to lay down and give up. I did this on my own, for my own future, without any thoughts of revenge, or an attitude of 'I'll show him.'
Life is now good, I've worked hard and still have a great thirst for learning new things each day."
"That my mother was schizophrenic. I was 15 and knew she had been battling depression for years. Schizophrenia runs in our family and as an angsty teenager, it was very easy for me to believe that she was crazy since she told me so many lies. One was that she was completely convinced that my father had a secret second family. She was then diagnosed and medicated for years.
Turns out he did have a second family. It's been over 8 years since we found out the truth and it took her close to 5 of those to even begin to resemble a functioning member of society.
I'm 30 now and still in therapy. I can't even begin to describe how many lies there were and to this day I know very little of what's really true. They are both so full of crap that I gave up trying."
"My best friend, Kyle, died when I was 9 years old. When I asked my mom how he died, she came up with a bogus story of 'He fell down the steps outside his house.' Naturally, I accepted this as it came from my mom.
Years later, I still think about him every day. I thought about it and one day realized that he lived in a mobile home at that time. I brought that up to my mom and asked how many steps were outside his trailer. She told me it was 3 steps, and I had noticed she was apprehensive when I asked her.
Come to find out years later he was murdered by his stepdad. Hit him in his 9-year-old head with an aluminum baseball bat. Even better, the stepfather was set free due to lack of circumstantial evidence, even though 'everyone knew he had done it.' I guess the dent in the child's head wasn't solid enough for the GA jurors.
Anyways, I have always had issues trusting people and trusting my mother after this. This honestly was when I officially lost my innocence as a child.
Now I have a son, and In honor of my long past best friend, I named him Kyle. And he is my life."
"Found dad's pipe when I was like 5, the one that looks like a tube with a bubble at the end. He told me it was a vase for verrrrry tiny flowers when it was really for his substance abuse problem.
In like first grade I was an obnoxious little hippy of a child, and I decided to pick flowers with my friends to give to the teacher. Well, we picked a bunch of those little yellow weed flowers. We were going to give them to the teacher... and then I realized it would be so much better if we had a vase. Soooo... the next day we present the teacher with my dad's pipe full of freshly picked weeds. Of course, she knows what it is. Long story short, the whole lot of us were interrogated for the rest of the day and I got my dad arrested and mom and me went to live with grandma for a while."
"When I was growing up my mother told me if I was intimate with a guy, I would get pregnant. In her eyes, the more she scared me about intimacy, the less chance I would have it. Thinking back this caused me to shoplift pregnancy tests because I kissed my boyfriend and our lower parts touched through underwear and pants.
There was one instance where I had kissed someone while sitting on their lap and I started bawling saying I was going to get pregnant. It messed me up because I would ask her about what I learned in school and she told me that I was extremely fertile. She told me actions that would not normally get a girl pregnant, would get me pregnant.
It messed me up for a long time."
"My parents told me I was a sperm donor baby when I was about 12. It made sense as I look nothing like my father or my sisters. My genetic history was apparently just a huge mystery to my parents and they never explained their process of selecting a donor.
Fast forward to last February when I was 19 and I think to ask my mother about how the donor was chosen. She was reluctant to tell me, but it turns out my parents tried, again and again, to conceive another child after they had my older sister, got frustrated, separated, at which point my mother met another man who knocked her up almost immediately.
She left him, now having the baby she had been waiting for, and returned to my (non-biological) father. The strangest thing to me about the whole situation is how the man who did father me had no interest in my existence afterward."
"I had an abusive father who would regularly hit me from 3rd grade to 8th grade. He told me that if I were to ever tell anyone (like police or teachers at school), Child Protective Services will put me into foster care and my foster parents would be even worse to me.
I believed him and never said a word to anyone. Even when people at school asked me why I had trouble sitting flat on my chair. I had black and purple whelps on my butt and legs that hurt like heck. No surprise that this completely destroyed my self-esteem and I did many self-destructive things for years afterward.
Even to this day, approximately ten years later, if I have too much to drink I'll start crying and talk about my father."
"My parents told me and my brother a lie to protect us, which ended up sorta backfiring on them.
When I was little, my parents had a golden retriever named Jake. Jake used to jump the backyard fence all the time, and my dad would have to hop in the car to drive around the neighborhood to track him down. It was never a big deal, and dad always came back with Jake, who was usually found eating out of someone's garbage cans. When my younger brother was born, he had a lot of allergies, so when he was about one or so, the doctors recommended to my parents that they get rid of Jake to avoid more health complications for my brother. Of course, they didn't tell us that.
So one day, Jake apparently got out of the backyard again and dad went out to look for him. Except for this time, he came back without Jake. Our parents told me and my brother that Jake must have gotten away. We were obviously sad, but time moved on and we eventually got over it. When my brother and I got older, together we figured that Jake must have gotten hit by a car and died, hence the lie our parents told us about him running away.
Years later, my dad mentions to my brother that he got a nice letter from the family who took Jake and that he had just passed away. WHAT? What do you mean the family that took Jake? Jake got hit by a car and died and you lied to protect us. No, apparently they gave Jake away to friends of friends who had a farm and Jake lived a long, happy life with a family who loved him."
"My mom told me that everything that happened in my life was my fault.
Well, let's start off this post by saying my mother is Asian, and my dad works a ton. She was the one who raised me primarily. I had good parents. I was reasonably well-off growing up, they took my brother and I on vacations, they never beat me or anything.
However, my mom had this thing where she would shove blame in my face for every little thing I did wrong. It was to the point where it was soul-grinding. The earliest memory of it was when I was in elementary school and I wanted to bring my Darth Vader action figure on a school trip. I lost it because I was young and stupid. Like any kid would, I come home crying. My mom rubbed it in my face. I was maybe ten.
See, she never understood when it was appropriate or necessary to teach me a lesson. She never got that the pain of my failures was usually enough to make me want to change my behavior and that sometimes I just needed some freaking support.
I went through all of life until college thinking that there was something horribly wrong with me. That I was stupid, or inept. Clumsy. Forgetful.
I've finally learned that I'm not the problem, though she still insists that I am."
"My dad used to tell me he was my best friend and always would be. I cannot even talk to him anymore without being yelled at.
The last thing I was yelled at for was stating that it is logical for us to move over to the Metric system since we are the only ones who don't use it. 'It's because of people like you my shop is failing.'
Yeah, it is totally my fault. Not the guy who made the decision to be different just for the sake of being different. Oh, how I love being yelled at in public. Thanks 'best friend'."
"I'm adopted, my mom was a single mother and died shortly before I turned two and my aunt and uncle adopted me. My parents never hid this from me, but they always said they had no clue who my father was.
I started doubting them when I was a teenager. I met a girl at school who looked exactly like me, and when I told my mom about it, she started asking questions about this girl and her parents, which obviously got me thinking. Then, years later I was pregnant and at my baby shower. One of my real mom's friends shows up and says she has answers to questions I'm probably really curious about. She leaves it at that and I kind of assume that's what she's talking about.
Cut to a few months ago. An older man at the grocery store I go to notices me and immediately takes interest in me. He talks to me differently than he does the other customers, if I don't come up to his department and talk to him, he'll track me down to talk to me. And I just get the feeling that he's holding something back.
I absolutely believe that my family knows who my dad is, and I think this guy from the store could be my dad. I would like to think that they had their reasons, and it's not just a case of wanting to have me all to themselves, but I don't know."
"'If you'll ignore them, they'll get bored and stop.'
No, ignore them and they'll try even harder because obviously, the little things aren't hurting me anymore. Ignore the taunts from behind me? They'll come up and scream in my ear. Ignore a tug on my hair? They'll grab a whole handful or try to cut it. Ignore food being thrown at me? They'll dump their drinks over my head. Ignore a shove? They'll push me down the stairs. And so on and so forth.
And they'll go on to do that to more people because ignoring them doesn't do anything. Would you ignore a man stalking you or robbing your house? Of course not, you'd call the police! And that's what you do to bullies - you call the school police, aka the teachers. Unfortunately, some teachers and some police officers are corrupt or simply stupid, but that doesn't make the idea worthless.
Nobody deserves to suffer in silence, but bullies do deserve punishment."