Everyone's family has secrets. If you think yours doesn't, you probably just haven't heard them yet. But some family secrets are bigger than others. The following stories recount some of the biggest, most shocking revelations that the internet has to offer. Take a seat, grab some popcorn, and get ready for family drama that puts soap operas to shame. You can't make this stuff up.
(Content edited for clarity.)
Facebook Reunites Father And Son
“My mom hid me from my dad and told me my entire life that he was dead before I was born (to prevent me looking into it). She made up a random guy, provided pictures of him (but never of my mom with him), gave a story on how he died and I spent 20 years never thinking to question it.
Apparently, my dad and my grandmother would find ways to try and contact me, but my mom and my grandma on mom’s side would shut it down and threaten them if they did. Whole thing is crazy.
At 20 my dad found me on Facebook and told me the whole story, providing pictures of the two of us together when I was barely a toddler, as well as pictures of him with my mom. Apparently, they had a falling out and my mom wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. My dad and I are very cool now, the whole story is absolutely heartbreaking, especially for my dad’s mom. She wanted to get to know me so desperately, and only did in the last two years she was alive. My dad and I text once a week, and it’s pretty grand when it happens.”
Dad Reveals Second Life
“My dad recently confessed to my sister and me that he likes to dress up as a woman and go out to bars with other men who enjoy the same thing; he even showed me pictures of himself. It’s been bizarre to fully digest it all because it really never occurred to me, but I’m actually very relieved that he does that since I thought he was very lonely and didn’t have any friends. He went through a divorce, the death of both of his parents, and his company went bankrupt in the span of three years, causing him to become very depressed at one point, which I’m pretty sure is what led him to go look for something else in life. I’ve been a very complicated son and our relationship hasn’t been the best lately, but I’m very happy that he found a place to feel comfortable and that he found the strength to confide in my sister and me. I’m also very happy that he knows he’ll never be judged by us for the things he likes to do.”
“It’s my secret that opened up another. I was violated between 2 and 4 years old an unbelievable number of times and ways by my stepbrother who was 8 years older than me. I confessed this and that I was gay to my dad’s brother and his wife because they were my absolute closest, highly trusted and very loved family members. I was probably 18 to 19. My uncle started crying because he had walked in on my stepbrother ‘wrestling’ with me (that’s what he called it) while my stepsister watched (she’s 4 years older) once at a huge family bbq in NJ and immediately told my stepbrother and stepsister to get off of me and to go downstairs and hang with family. He said he just felt like he walked in on something really terrible even though we were both fully clothed. He wanted to comfort me but didn’t know how to, so he left me up there crying (he was maybe 21 at the time, I harbor no resentment).
My confession led him to confess to me that he was abused as a boy as well and had only just started going to therapy and admitted it for the first time more than 30 years later. He told me I was brave, but I told him that he was braver for holding it in and not letting it ruin his life. I was the only person other than his wife and therapist who knew at the time. I have a lot of respect for him.
They are my only two immediate family members who believe that I was violated. It would kill my nonna, and my dad is married to the stepbrother’s broodmare so when I told them they 1) Asked me if I was lying for attention and when I said no, 2) Told me there was absolutely no way that that happened because they would have noticed and 3) Promptly forgot I said anything because they must have had too much to much to drink at the time (always drank too much). I wish I had just gone into detail of one of the many times I was violated. I remember everything I said, was forced to do, everything I saw and smelled. If I shared a single of the thousands of individual flashbacks I have daily with them, they wouldn’t keep calling me telling me things like, ‘Call your brother! I’m sure he misses you and probably has good advice since you both have the same/similar career fields. Plus he loves you!’
Yes, diminish my experience and, of course, remind me how much my brother loves me. Yes please and thank you!
And they wonder why I moved across the country and communicate very little with them.”
Saving His Family, And Bearing All The Weight
“My grandfather beat my father and his brothers and his mom. My dad quit school and worked three jobs to save money without telling anyone. When he had enough money, after like 2-3 years of doing that, he moved him, his mom and his brothers out of the house in the middle of the night when his dad was out drinking, never to return. The guy was pissed, to the point he somehow tracked down my dad at work (it was some factory job where he’d gotten my grandmother a job as well). Anyways, he entered the building with an axe and proceeded to try to kill my dad, who apparently was able to defend himself and my grandmother somehow. Not sure why he wasn’t arrested but he came back with a loaded weapon on another day and waited in the parking lot since they had his picture at the factory and were told to keep him out. Luckily my dad wasn’t working that day. For whatever reason, he decided to kill himself instead. There was some note on him about how much he hated my dad for ruining his life and he was sure they’d see each other in Hell after he took them both there.
He was around 18 or 19 when this all happened, his brothers were 5 and 10 years younger, so like 13 and 8. They know my dad ‘took them away’ and they knew their dad killed himself, but they were never told the other stuff about him tracking them down, etc, so my dad just carried all that for them all.
But my grandma was actually really cruel. My dad effectively saved her and then literally saved her but she somehow blamed my dad too. She’d say things like ‘he was coming to kill you not me’ ‘you shouldn’t never have took us away from him’ and even apparently ‘you should have died not him.’When she died, my dad wasn’t going to go to the funeral I told him he would probably regret that. He said, ‘you don’t know what’s it’s like to have a parent who makes you wish you were never born.’
Very messed up on all fronts.”
He Never Saw It Coming
“My grandfather on my mom’s side had a long road of heart problems. After his either second or third heart attack, my grandpa’s doctor pulled my mom aside and told her that my grandpa only had a month to live, as his heart was so weak. At this point in his life, his wife of 40-50 years had been dead about 10 years, and his life was in the same routine, as it was for those 10 years. He’d eat the same foods unless cooked otherwise, went to the veterans bar daily, and would just rarely leave his home in general. Not that he didn’t want to live, it was just really difficult for him to live without the person who had basically taken care of him since their 20s.
My mom made the decision not to tell him because why ruin the last month of his life…? Since this was his second or third heart attack, it wasn’t strange to him when Mom wanted to get ‘everything in order’ for when he died, not to mention I think he was in his seventies as well. She didn’t make him give her every tiny thing, as it would have aroused suspicion, but only enough so that she could find what she needed when he finally passed.
Mom told her siblings and they all kept the secret, giving their goodbyes to grandpa, who never knew they were, in fact, final goodbyes. He died exactly one month later, to the day, in his sleep.”
But Wait, There’s More!
“My mother’s sister got kicked out of the house when she was 14 because she was stealing from her parents. When you’re poor and one of seven children… yeah, you don’t do that.
Anyway, she soon gets pregnant and has the baby at 15. Gives it up for adoption. That’s not the family secret, though.
She finds and marries a guy in his forties when she’s 18, and the guy has several children, the oldest of whom are around her age. She stays with this man for over 20 years and has a few kids with him.
Then one day, she decides to run away with his daughter. My aunt and her stepdaughter (who is her age!) have been together now since I was a very small child. I’ve met them quite a few times over the holidays, they really seem to genuinely love each other.
Oh! And my aunt is still legally married to her ex. Hasn’t seen him in years though.”
The Unanswered Question
“In the early 1900s, my great grandparents immigrated to the US from Italy. They lived in southern Illinois, great grandfather working in coal mines and great grandmother being a stay at home mom. They had 3 children, 2 boys and a girl, the youngest child being my grandfather. His brother, my great uncle, was always said to be tall and of thick build, and he had a temper and a love of adventure.
When my grandfather was still young, under the age of 10, his brother went missing. This was really no cause for concern in the first couple weeks for he would occasionally hop on a train and take off to Chicago or St. Louis just to see the city. Usually, he’d be gone for a week or two and then show back up. After close to a month, they knew something was wrong, but no one knew where to look. There were no Amber Alerts or missing persons network to tap into. All they could do was wait and hope he would come back.
A couple months later a letter showed up, not in the mail but nailed to the front door. It was from a group called The Black Hand; they had my great uncle. They demanded a ransom; I don’t know how much, but being a poor coal mining family there was nothing they could do. It broke them: my great aunt had a breakdown and spent the rest of her life in an institute. Both of my great grandparents turned to drinking. My grandfather would retreat to the woods to be alone which eventually earned him the nickname ‘Jungle.’
My grandfather told me this story once. He never looked at me the entire time he spoke. I knew he never told anyone this story besides his wife. My mother and her 2 sisters never heard this story until I told them after my grandparents had passed. They never knew they had an uncle, let alone, one who was taken by this group.
I haven’t thought about that story for a long time now, probably close to 20 years. I wonder, and I know my grandfather always did, what became of his brother. How did he get caught up with them, was he a part of the Black Hand or just another victim? An old family question that will forever be unanswered.”
Fourth Of July, Half Of A Brother
“I have a half-brother who lived 3 miles away from me my whole life. And the craziest part was the way I found out.
My grandma got into an argument with my dad. I wasn’t there for the altercation because I had just started college, but it apparently triggered something with my father from his childhood.
So this argument continues on for months and continues to get worse because my dad (and mom, in solidarity) would not visit for holidays as we had done every year and the visits to my grandma by siblings and I began to slow down. My dad and my grandma are both really stubborn, there’s no communication between them because my dad feels like my grandma should apologize first and my grandma feels like my dad should apologize first.
At this point, I’m on summer break and I get a call from my grandma. She wants to invite our family to Fourth of July. She goes on talking about potatoes or whatever, and it’s a bit awkward because I know very well that they haven’t settled the issue. Then she starts casually listing off all my cousins that will be there and then says, ‘And your brother will be there too!!’
I said ‘Oh really? Tyler’s going? Thanks for letting me know?’
Grandma goes, ‘Oh noooooo not Tyler! I’m talking about your other brother.’
‘Grandma, what are you talking about?’
‘Oh, well your father, back a long time ago got another girl pregnant and had a boy. His name is Charlie, and he lives just over by the Starbucks on Rose Street. He’s got a whole family and this precious little daughter—YOUR NIECE—and he’ll be coming to our Fourth of July party! Just thought you should know.’
A million things run through my mind; I’m freaking out. Luckily my boyfriend is next to me trying to defuse the situation. Why would my grandma say this? What kind of mother would do that? Why did she call ME and not my brother or sister? I figured one way or another, my grandma wanted a reaction and wanted to hurt my dad, using me in her little game. I mean who does that to their child and grandchildren?
I meet with my mom later and point blank ask her ‘uh, do I have another brother?’ And I’ll never forget her face. It was like she saw a ghost. Turns out my dad hooked up with some girl and never saw her again. Goes on with his life, meets my mom, and they get married and eventually have my brother. Shortly after my brother was born, someone comes knocking asking for child support for a seven-year-old kid. My dad is in shock, my mom is in shock but he takes a paternity test and sure enough, it’s his.
My family holds a meeting and my parents explain that they didn’t find out until the kid was a little older, my dad thought it would be disruptive to the child’s life, the mother seemingly didn’t make an effort to have him be included, he didn’t feel proud of it, and it obviously was really difficult for my mom so he said he thought it was best for him to stay out his life.
Charlie lives on a street I’ve driven by a million times and his kids go to a local school. I decided to meet him, and looking at Charlie blew my mind. Looks like me, and really looks like my dad. I’m still keeping my distance from him though, as there is A LOT drama going on. But my grandma’s vindictive and malicious behavior seems to have been vindicated as a few months after this attack, she died.”
From A Little Spark May Burst A Flame
My grandpa, who was a really respected electrician before he died, purposely left wires exposed in a guy’s million dollar home, knowing it would eventually go up in flames.
The guy owned a ranch, where my grandfather kept his horse. Sometimes the man would need electrical stuff done around the ranch or his home, so Grandpa would go and do his thing. The hundreds of times he went to the man’s house, grandpa and my dad, also an electrician, would always see a very large cage somewhere (I think living room), but there were never any pets. The only other living thing in the house was the guy’s son and they found toys inside of said cage on more than one occasion. This was back in the day when cops needed a lot more evidence than just a hunch of abuse, especially when the guy could have easily bribed the cops or make up a story that the son just played in there sometimes.
Well, turns out that the man was selling clients’ horses to make a profit and would lie to the horse owners, saying the horse was stolen in the middle of the night. My grandfather was an Italian man who did favors for the mob; he was someone you never messed with. So after the guy told my grandpa his horse was ‘stolen’ and refused to get police involved, grandpa did one last job on the house and left exposed wires in the attic.
Exposed wires will eventually spark… Three years later, the mansion was burnt to the ground and again, this was back in the day it was harder to find the reason why. Plus the guy probably had a lot of other electricians/workers in and out of the house in that timeframe.
A Dark Secret…Literally
“Turns out I have a black uncle. Didn’t find out until my grandmother told my aunt in a semi-lucid moment while she was bedridden.
No, it’s not what you think. When my father was a kid, his family employed a black housekeeper/maid/servant/whatever-you-call it who was around 16 or 17. My dad recalls that sometimes she’d bring her little brother to come by and play with my Dad and his siblings. Then something happened—apparently, things were bad at home, or maybe the parents got in a car wreck–but I don’t recall. Anyway, while the daughter was old enough to become emancipated, she wasn’t going to be allowed to take custody of her younger brother and he was going to be put into foster care.
So my grandfather called his lawyer friend and very quietly adopted the boy so that he could continue living with his sister. Keep in mind my grandfather was a doctor, and this was a small town in the rural south during the 1950s/1960s. It likely would have been somewhat-to-significantly damaging to his reputation had this been made public – hence the secrecy.
Anyway, never met the guy, family hardly knows anything about him, though I know he has a family and is doing all right. So yeah, I have a black uncle. And my grandmother missed taking that secret to her grave by just a few months.”
A Grave Secret Kept To The Grave
“My grandfather had a family that he walked out on when he was younger. I don’t know if he divorced his wife or just straight up was ‘going to get a jug of milk’ and never came back, but apparently he just left one day.
It was a secret he took to his grave until one day a son from his previous marriage tracked down my aunt, called her, and asked to have dinner (my mom came with her). There he explained that he didn’t want to disturb our family or cause any trauma or distress, but he was getting older and needed to know about my grandfather’s medical history. He explained that my grandfather was married to his mother whose mental health was deteriorating, and had left them because he probably couldn’t take it anymore or something. He did not really have many (or any) real memories of my grandfather.
Obviously, my mother and aunt were devastated. My grandfather served honorably in the Korean War, and was a pillar of his community. He was an accountant in a large Italian-American community, and many of his clients couldn’t even pay him. They offered him pastries or whatever they could spare to pay him. When my grandmother asked him about it, he told her he just couldn’t turn them away; they needed help and he was in a position to do the right thing. He was loved by everyone he knew. He had no enemies, just people who loved him. He didn’t show affection much, but when he did, he did it big.
Now, this is particularly weird to me, from a psychological standpoint, because my grandmother had a father who walked out on her when she was young, leaving her to fend for her ailing mother and siblings.
My grandfather died from cancer almost 10 months before I was born. I am named after him. My grandmother and other aunt have no idea and they never will, because only 4 people (including me) to my knowledge know, and we have no intention of sharing. It would devastate my grandmother, who never remarried and loved him more than anything.
I have no idea what to think of this man. I want to hate him for what he did, but he was such a great father to my mom and aunts and did so much for his community. There are just two very conflicting reports on his character.”
Some Things Are Better Kept Secret
“I always thought my dad was the model husband who would never cheat. He was a strict Catholic and a pillar in the community. My friends and I used to joke about how dorky and chaste he was. He would never even look at another woman.
Turns out, it’s because he was gay. I found out when I caught him watching gay videos and later found naked pics and texts with young men, offering them money or concert tickets. Suddenly his entire life made sense to me: why he was never interested in any other women, why he didn’t care for sports, why he loved theatre and the opera and had close ‘mentorships’ with young men. I was furious at his having kept this secret and hurting my mom this way, so I confronted him about it in front of my mother, which I regret doing (I was young and confrontational), and it caused a rift in our relationship. They stayed together, but their relationship was never the same.
Both he and my mom have passed away, both from illness in their early 60s. He stood by my mother’s bedside every waking moment until she died and passed away himself less than two years later. I know he loved her. I understand why he kept this a secret.
When he was in his last days, unconscious in the hospital, I flew in to be by his side. I asked for forgiveness and told him that I loved and accepted him for who he was. I hope he heard me. He was a great dad. I miss them both terribly.”
The Great Escape
“My grandmother was forced to marry the man who violated her.
The timeline is a bit fuzzy, but at some point, her family was like, ‘Hey. Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to have her married to her violator,’ and they helped her escape. This was in central Mexico; they sent her to live with relatives in California (this was in the 1950s).
Her husband went after her, but he mysteriously disappeared—everyone pretty much agrees her quick tempered brother killed him.
She ended up staying in Sonora and married my grandfather. They had 9 kids together. He cheated on her, but to this day she will cry when she sings about him. She has early stage dementia and no one wants to ask her about that time in her life. We aren’t even supposed to know. My aunt found a picture of my grandmother as a young bride and questioned my great aunt.
There’s a lot of stuff I wish I knew. Why did they finally decide to help her leave? With no contraceptives and what I assume was daily violation, did she have any children with her first husband? Did they die? Is my oldest uncle his? Or is the very youngest of her sisters (large age gap) actually hers?
She had a crazy awful childhood, and it actually pains me to think she would never share this part of her life out of shame.”
An Explosive Revelation
“My grandpa’s brother (dad’s uncle) got arrested for selling bombs to undercover ATF agents disguised as terrorists. He was an ex-green beret (US special forces) and worked in collaboration with another former green beret and his wife to manufacture and sell explosives. The ‘leader’ green beret and his wife got charged with 54 counts of manufacturing, possessing and transporting bombs. Each charge carries a maximum of 30 years and a $30,000 fine. They got 54 counts. My dad’s uncle was only charged with a transportation of explosives, which carries a maximum of 5 years in prison. He now works private security for a multinational high-end security firm. He’s based in somewhere in South American and teaches weapon and takedown combat (he’s an expert since he was specifically trained in this in the special forces). I’ve never met him once in my life, but my dad told me all about them, and I’m not surprised. My grandpa and all 6 of his brothers were career military men.”