Some things we keep to ourselves, some things we share with others. These stories are a hybrid of those, and these deep, dark secrets are finally out in the light.
The Guilt Still Haunts Him
“I’m the reason my cousin is mentally handicapped.
We are the same age. When we were 7, our grandpa bought dirt bikes for us. Well, we decided to make our own trail in the woods. It took the entire summer. I put this tree branch purposely at roughly head level, just so he could duck under it and it would look awesome.
The branch was heavy, but I was able to set it conveniently between two trees. He was braver than me, so he went first.
Being dumb kids, we didn’t wear helmets.
I yelled for him to duck, but he didn’t and hit his head on the branch, got knocked backward and hit his head again straight into the ground.
I told everyone it was an accident. Grandpa sold the dirt bikes, I didn’t see my cousin a whole lot after that.
That was nearly 25 years ago. I see him every Christmas and it’s always the same. In a wheelchair, being spoon-fed by his mom. He can’t speak, he likes to draw funny shapes.
He most likely doesn’t remember the incident and I don’t know if he remembers me.
But that’s what haunts me.”
“I Started To Blame Myself, Even Though I Was So Young”
“My mom and her boyfriend abused me and my two younger siblings (brother and sister) when we were very young. I was the oldest. I was 5 at the time of my brother’s first birthday and that’s when I noticed something wasn’t right. But at 5, I didn’t really understand what was going on and I thought abuse was normal. Until one day, a few days after my brother’s birthday, she told me my brother was ‘sick’ and that he needed to go to the hospital. I didn’t think much about it and said my goodbyes, as my mom dropped me off at my aunt’s house on the way to the hospital.
I arrived at my aunt’s house, she gave me a bath, and my cousins and I played and watched television until it turned dark. Then something went wrong. We heard a knock on the door. I heard it and started after the door, thinking my mom was here with my baby brother. I was thinking he was okay and everything was fine. My aunt opened the door and started to cry. I tried to piece it all together before I realized there were two tall men at the door. Police officers. They picked me up and told me I had to go away. I remember screaming for my aunt and I didn’t get to say goodbye. At the time, I didn’t understand what was happening at all. I even thought maybe they were picking me up and taking me to my mother.
We arrive at a place I cannot remember much about, where they fed me and took care of me that night until the sun came up. After I had woken up, it was off to another location. They were taking me to a foster home. I was living with a large family I didn’t know, and it was all too scary for me. I stayed there for a few weeks until I was moved somewhere else. There, I waited in a room when I saw somebody I knew. My grandparents and my sister. But my brother wasn’t there. I began to worry that he was still sick. I got so excited and even more so after learning that they were taking me home. That’s when they began to explain to me where I was and why all of this had happened. All the abuse and neglect was too much for him. He wasn’t sick. He was dying. And the reason why I was taken away was simply that, my mother and her boyfriend were charged for abusing us and causing him to pass away.
All this didn’t really phase me at the time since I was still just a child. But years later, I started to blame myself for not being able to do anything about it, even though I was so young and couldn’t possibly do so. Every year, on his birthday, I go to where he was buried and put a flower on his grave. My aunt told me he loved yellow, so I always make sure to get yellow flowers, and maybe a small toy I think he would’ve liked. And sometimes I wonder if he’s up there, looking down on me, and likes the fact that I still visit him every year.”
“Happy Anniversary, Do We Have Another Year?”
“On the day of our 10 year wedding anniversary, I found out that my wife had been talking to a guy online, trading pics with him, and talking about possibly leaving me for about a month and a half. I sort of knew the guy through the World of Warcraft guild my wife and I were in. The night before, when I got home from work, she was telling me some jokes he had told her and I found it strange that she found them as funny as she did. I felt like it wasn’t something she would normally laugh at. So while we were on the couch watching TV, I logged into her Discord account and the first thing I saw was, ‘I’d send you butt pics but I’m being supervised.’ I immediately excused myself and went to bed, I didn’t know what to think, so I just shut down.
Upon waking up in the morning, I googled a script that would download their chat history from Discord and I read it all. My heart broke when I read, ‘I’m so angry at [my husband] when he’s not with me, but I’m fine when he’s here.’ My heart shattered the first time I saw her say, ‘I love you,’ in the chat logs. It shattered again when I saw, ‘I thought banging [husband] a bunch would cure my desires, but it hasn’t.’
I haven’t cried in…I can’t even remember the last time I cried, but I cried three times while reading the logs. It was a sick train ride of deep sadness, despair, and anger seeing the progression of this happening. Getting further into the logs, I saw them arguing, resolving said arguments and then arguing again. At one point, she exclaimed to him she doesn’t know why she’s doing this and that she really loves me, but he’s like her kryptonite and she couldn’t help it. I could see both of them pushing each other away, yet still trading pics (presumably through Snapchat) every so often. By the end of the logs, it appeared to me that they were basically helping each other get off whenever one or the other needed it, I guess. It seemed like the relationship had run its course and they were just mechanically (or habitually?) doing this.
I confronted her. I said, ‘Happy anniversary…Do we have another year?’
I told her I found the logs and read them. She explained how it happened, that we did have another year, she didn’t know how to end it once she realized what she was doing, that she didn’t REALLY cheat on me (eye roll), and that she would immediately block him on everything. I was pretty catatonic for almost a week.
It’s about six weeks later now. We seem to be doing fine now I think. The trust is still broken, though, and I still find myself wanting to log into all her accounts to check on things if she leaves her phone out or computer on. I am doing mostly okay at this point, though sometimes I’ll hear or see something that reminds me of everything and I’ll have…an attack of depression? It’s hard to explain. I haven’t talked to anyone about this because I still love her and I don’t want my family and friends to hate her.”
Losing His Religion
“I am a leader at my church (volunteer, not paid or making a career of it). I used to teach Sunday school, still occasionally fill in if someone is sick. I went to a Christian college for a bit, minored in New Testament Greek. I married a Christian girl and had two kids who are growing up in our church.
I can no longer bring myself to honestly believe in God. I wish I could, but it just doesn’t make any sense. I only maintain the illusion of keeping the faith because it would cause a lot of heartbreak to people who I really care about if they knew.
It’s like I lost a friend who I had for 34 years, who I was super close to, who was always there for me, who knew me better than anyone else. But I can’t mourn this loss, because my family and close friends still believe this friend is alive and if I tell them I don’t believe, they’ll feel like they lost me.”
Better Off Without Her Family
“My older brother abused me in my sleep from the age of 4 years old until I turned 18. We’re five years apart and he was always too old for it to be ‘kids experimenting.’
As I got older, it would start to wake me up and I would just lay there in fear with my eyes squeezed shut and hope it was dark enough that he couldn’t see my face or didn’t notice my breathing pick up in panic. He had issues and was violent and angry a lot. I didn’t want to die or be hurt. I picked up habits of putting bells on my door handle, thumb tacks on my floor, piling things behind my door, but nothing kept him out. I convinced my mother someone was stealing my stuff (he was doing this, too, as every time a new electronic or game would go missing it was after one of those nights) so she put TWO locks on my door; a handle lock and a hook and loop higher up. It didn’t work. My door was mangled and I tried in every way possible to beg her for security cameras or a nanny cam or SOMETHING. I could never tell her the truth then. She denied me the camera. One night, I left my phone recording audio, and my whole phone was mysteriously water damaged to no return the next morning.
It happened until I was 18 years old. I dropped out of high school because I was so depressed. I wasn’t sleeping. I would stay awake for as long as possible in an attempt to keep him away, but no one can stay awake forever. I became heavily promiscuous and always had a boyfriend or girlfriend sleep over when my mother would allow it. Someone else in the room was the only thing that kept me safe. I tried not coming home a lot but my mother would flip.
In 2015, I finally told her the truth after I found out he had a child with a girl he hooked up with. I didn’t want that piece of trash anywhere near children.
My mother kicked ME out of the house. She told ME that someone with as many partners as I had could have never been assaulted. She told me it happened to her as a kid and she never told and ‘turned out fine.’ Clearly not. My older sister acted like I didn’t exist, my dad told me he would rather go through chemo than ever have a daughter like me. There was an investigation open and childhood diaries and a crappy 5-second audio clip saved from the cloud wasn’t enough and my case was closed. I got a restraining order anyway.
I lived in a freaking shelter for five months of my life because I had nothing. I ended up dating a man way older than me who physically abused me because he paid for an apartment and food for me. I got a new job and worked my butt off until I could pay for my own place and then I changed my entire name legally, packed up my stuff and left the apartment without saying a word.
I wish my brother would die. I used to see photos of my family, including my infant niece, all having a good happy family time and living normal lives like I was never even born. Sometimes I wonder what my mother tells extended family when they ask why I’m not at family functions and haven’t been in three years. I can’t wait until the day my brother dies.
I would have killed him myself had I not been kicked out by my mother. I really would have. It’s still in the back of my head. The day he dies, I’m going to show up at his funeral with freaking bells on and I will tell the WHOLE truth to everyone there.
When my parents attempt to talk to me, I send them screenshots of the things they said to me back then when they ask how I am.
My life is good now, I have my dream job, an amazing apartment and a boyfriend who I love more than anything. He knows everything and still loves me, too. I’m on a lot of antidepressant meds, and I have some PTSD issues but I’m in both general therapy and childhood abuse specific therapy.
I’ve never gotten the whole story out to more than one person that isn’t a cop, a therapist or a doctor…”
The Real Reason His Dad Ended His Life
“Well, this is a secret my mom confided in my girlfriend somehow not expecting her to tell me. I found out a month ago…. still has me messed up.
My dad committed suicide when I was 2 years old, two days before Christmas. It always left me wondering why. I’m 24 now and just found out why. My mom was cheating on him with my now stepdad. She had also told him he would never see me again, so he took his own life at his place of work after hours because he didn’t know where else to go.
I always thought my middle name being my stepdad’s first name was just a coincidence because I don’t remember him coming into my life until a couple years later. My mom found out she was pregnant with my little sister three days after my dad’s death. I’ve always resented my stepdad before because he burnt all my baby pictures with my dad in them and I never knew why. I still haven’t confronted my mom.”
“She Still Loves Me…Just Not Romantically”
“My wife cheated on me with a professional soccer player. She claims to not have slept with him, but I don’t know if I can believe her. Before I found out (I found out by looking at her phone, she did not tell me), we were having arguments and just not getting along. One night, I finally had enough and approached her to discuss what was happening to us. It was then that she told me that she didn’t know if she loved me anymore. Two weeks later, I found dirty pictures of her sent to him. There were texts between him and her that discussed getting together to hook up and the most hurtful things a wife could say about her husband. At this point, I understood why she was feeling detached from me. All her emotional needs were being met by this other man.
We have three amazing kids, a son, and two daughters. They are 10, 9, and 7 respectively. They are such good kids. I am dumbfounded that my wife would do this. We have been together for 20 years and married for 14. I think back to when she loved me and we were so happy. Life has been challenging for us, but not any different or difficult than most couples. I am so in love with her. She is an amazing mom, extremely beautiful to me, and has a very attractive bubbly personality that everyone loves. I am so proud that she is my wife. At least, I was.
Now, it has roughly been 7-8 months, she has yet to show any remorse or show me any affection. I’m so lonely, sad, afraid, and ashamed. I am very ashamed to say that I have thought about suicide. That way she would be rid of me and she could be happy. Of course, that I could never do that to my kids. They would be so hurt and confused. At this point, I pray that I will get a fatal disease or have a fatal accident.
We have been and still are going to counseling. She did end the relationship with the other man the day after I found out. She did say she loves me but is not romantically in love with me. Her actions are just not showing me much.
I haven’t told a soul except for the counselor. Close friends of mine always ask me what is wrong. My brothers and parents do the same. I don’t want them to think that my wife is anything but a good wife and lover.”
“We’re All Still Here For A Reason”
“When I got clean a few years ago, I got my first dog ever. He was a Boxer/Mastiff mix. That dog was my everything. He was 7 when I got him, but he was my best friend. He stayed with me when my longtime girlfriend left and in that regard helped me stay sober. I felt like I would’ve disappointed him if I used again.
Two years ago, he started getting really sick. I took him in and it was cancer, all over the place. I had to put him down a week later. It’s still easily the hardest thing I had to do. I had family members die during the time I was a fiend and it never affected me. However, being sober and having all these feelings was something else.
I went out that night and got plastered and decided to play Russian Roulette. I had a Taurus 38 that held 5. I put two in it and spun. I saw the bullet was in the next chamber, pulled anyway and click.
That’s when I realized my Taurus spins counterclockwise. Had it been clockwise, I’d have been on the floor.
We’re all still here for a reason.”
It Was A Family Affair
“There was an opportunity I had exactly once, wherein if given the chance, I absolutely would have shagged my cousin.
It was at a family reunion. She was a cousin of similar age whom I was only related to by marriage and whom I’d met only a couple of times before. Tall, pale skin, dark hair, thick in the right places….right up my alley. There was immediate tension between us; I felt it clear and familiar, but despite how attracted to her I was, I remained as neutral as possible in interaction and demeanor towards her.
I did not count on her being so friendly with me though.
She invited me to hang out with her, just the two of us, and watch a movie together. So we talked and whatnot, got to know each other a little and moved into the TV room to watch the movie together on the couch while the family was elsewhere. We got closer and closer on that couch, watching ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ on DVD, enjoying the movie but also with the thought in my head that I fully intend to see where this relationship between us can go.
Unfortunately, or perhaps, fortunately, depending on who you ask, we were interrupted. We thought we had some time alone, but family came trickling into the room, then it was time for family activities, and our plan to hang out was stymied. The disappointment on her face was as obvious as it could be, and it hit me pretty hard. Now I look back on that day and wonder what could have been. I totally would have hooked up with her if things went that way.”
When It Came To Bullies, He Took Matters Into His Own Hands
“I was bullied ever since I started going to school. I was big for my age, but I was considered a nerd and was also rather awkward (still am but not so much). One day, I just snapped, as it turned out that a ‘friend’ I had had for two and a half years, my only friend, was really just doing it as a sick bet/game/dare that the other students put him up to. After I found out, they kept laughing at me about how I had believed I could ever have a friend. I waited until school was over and asked my mom to drop me off at the ‘friend’s’ house, as I knew he took the bus and would arrive later. I beat him near senseless and even though he begged me to stop, I kept going. I never felt so good in my life. I also found the kid who had the idea (I got the ‘friend’ to rat on him) and did something similar to him. Granted, I still didn’t have any friends, but you can bet not one of those scumbags dared laugh at me again.
Teachers always said violence wasn’t the answer. Well, if they don’t want things like these to happen they should get their stuff together and do their job for once. Deal with the bullies, especially when a child brings them proof that he is being bullied. I got tired of waiting and took matters into my own hands and guess what, it worked.”
What Happened In The Doghouse
“When I was a little girl (3 or 4), I had a friend who came over to my house to play. She liked for the two of us to play in the doghouse in the backyard where she would try to get me to play a game that she said her dad played with her. The game involved touching each other in ways an adult should never touch a child. My mom thought it was weird that the girl always wanted to play in the doghouse with me, so she got rid of the doghouse pretty quickly.
I didn’t understand what the game meant then and it took two decades for me to realize just what it meant. It was like lightning just struck me one day and I suddenly remembered the incident and understood what it meant.
That little girl was abused by her dad and I can’t even remember her name. I still haven’t gotten the courage to ask my mom if she remembers the girl. I’ve never tried to find her. I have never told anybody and I’m ashamed of my cowardice.”
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