I like to think we have all been traumatized as children…in one way or another. It may be the reason we’ve grown up to be such awesome (screwed up) adults.
The following Ask Redditors share the experiences as children that freaked them out even into their adulthood. United we stand y’all.
Care to read more stories? Take a look at the original thread at the end of the article.
“My parents divorced when I was very young. Before I started school at age 4, my dad used to come get me every Monday/Wednesday/Friday and every other weekend. One Wednesday he called my mom and said he couldn’t get me that day because he had to stay late at work.
I was a daddy’s girl and took this very hard. I remember crying and pleading for him to pick me up. My mom took that as ‘I don’t want to spend time with mom.’ She pretended to call an orphanage, made me pack all my clothes up in boxes and threw me out on the porch to wait for the orphanage truck to pick me up.
I, a little 3 or 4-year-old girl, sat outside, alone, on the porch in a bad neighborhood for at least an hour, convinced I’d never see my dad again. At the end she told me I was so bad even the orphanage didn’t want me.
She also made me take weird pills one time. My dad has confirmed that I never had an illness that would require this. I remember they made me shakey. I think that was in second grade. I still can’t take pills to this day.
I am 21 now and haven’t spoken to my mother in 9 years.”
“I was napping on the couch around the age of 7 or 8 and my dad (being the prankster he is) decided to put a taxidermied tarantula skin (he was a science teacher who had recently bought the stuffed tarantula for his classroom) on my chest. When I woke up I saw the tarantula and started screaming.
Thing was, it was winter and I was wearing a fuzzy sweater and apparently tarantulas have velcro like hair. I was running around the house screaming and crying and the thing would. Not. Come. Off.”
“This may not seem so bad but it haunted me for years.
When I was 12, I had a bad year at school. I was being bullied, I was having a hard time with my schoolwork, and I only had 3 or 4 friends in a school of approximately 300 students. I lived with my mother who wasn’t home a lot and I was left to fend for myself most nights.
As a result of this I started feeling really isolated and left out from, well everything. My grades dropped, I ‘acted out’ for attention and skipped school when I could. I wasn’t a bad kid, I just wasn’t able to cope with the situations I was facing.
Anyway, I got assigned to Saturday school as a punishment. The way my school handled discipline was if you missed Saturday school, you would be suspended.
I wasn’t so much of a little prick that I didn’t understand that getting suspended was a big deal. I told my mother that I got Saturday school and she was angry. And then she told me I’d better find a way to get there.
I ended up having to walk 5 miles and then take a bus to get to Saturday school. Then I get to school and I’m late. I try to tell the teacher that I had to take the bus to get there but he didn’t believe me.
So I get assigned extra work to do. I spend 6 hours sitting at a library table by myself doing math problems, spelling sheets, and writing essays. Not to mention I’m exhausted because I had to wake up at 5 am to start walking to the bus stop.
3 pm rolls around and I’m dismissed. It’s cold and pouring rain outside. I have to walk to the bus stop and stand out in rain for damn near a half an hour waiting for the bus.
This moment is emblazoned in my mind moreso than anything else in my life. I vividly remember feeling so alone, uncared for, and deserted by everyone. I actually started crying at the bus stop.
That was a moment of clarity in my life unlike anything else. It taught me that no one is ever going to look out for you unless you do it yourself. You can’t ever be helpless because if you are, you’ll be left alone to wither away and die and no one will care or come to help.
All in all, it taught me a lot about relying only on myself. After this incident, I actually changed a lot about my life.
It has caused issues for me in that I’m not particularly close to anyone and have some trust issues. Also I can’t stand not having a plan for something. I NEED to know what my next move is.
And I hope this doesn’t sound whiny, that really wasn’t my intention.”
“My knees got stuck in the banister and my mother had to butter them up to get them out.
Lesson learned: If you put your body where it doesn’t belong you might get stuck and have to stay there for a while until your mom butters you out of the situation.”
“I saw a lady at the airport pass out on the escalator and fall backwards and seriously injured her head on one of the steps.
Needless to say I have been terrified of escalators ever since.”
“You know that thing kids do where they push you before grabbing you and then say they saved your life? Well some kid did this to me when I was standing at the top of a waterfall during a hiking trip at a summer camp when I was young.
He didn’t manage to get a good hold on me and I tumbled over the side but managed to grab hold of some rocks, preventing me from falling far down onto some jagged rocks.
One of the camp leaders pulled me back up and the kid was sent home for the summer but I’ve been terrified of heights since. And I absolutely do no trust anyone to stand within ten feet of me near a ledge of any sort. Even people I completely trust otherwise can’t come anywhere near me if I’m at a ledge, I will scream and lay down flat to try and prevent the chance of someone pushing me or accidentally bumping me.”
“When I was 5 or 6 my mom and I were walking down the creek bed near our house in California. It was the middle of summer so it was dried out. My mom saw a hornets nest and walked past it first, wanting to make sure it was safe for me.
Well, they attacked, and my mom dropped her glasses. I ran after her trying to grab them and got stung multiple times, quite painfully, mostly on the face.
The next half hour was my mom, basically blind, walking the half mile back to the house with a crying five year old on her back trying to navigate.
Now if I even hear buzzing I start panicking and have had full on panic attacks when a wasp or hornet is in the same room as me.”
“I’d say this event traumatized me enough into never feeling like a child again. Also, this only happened 3 years ago.
I’m the youngest of four siblings. Two older brothers and an older sister. The eldest are twins, brother and sister. The oldest brother was my idol (for lack of a better term). I’m sure most younger brothers out there can relate to this. He was the classic rebellious teenager growing up. But he was also sad. At the time I never saw that. I saw a cool, tough guy that I wanted to be like. Well he and my parents didn’t get along – at all.
So eventually he left for the Marines and to serve in Afghanistan. I don’t know if he actually saw combat or not, but I was told that he lost friends over there.
Just one month before both of our birthdays my family gets word that he’s acting erratic. He’s back in the states. I don’t recall where. My dad was worried and I was confused. Shortly after a man comes to our home. He’s dressed in military uniform. My dad tells me and my brother to wait upstairs. I had no clue what was going on but I’m sure by now you could guess.
Well the man leaves and my dad calls me and my brother downstairs, sits us down, and tells us our older brother has died. I didn’t cry at that moment. I remember that. I remember being in shock at the sounds of the words. Disbelief. Hands shaking. Then I went upstairs and fell to the floor crying.
Through all the mayhem of having lost a family member and planning the funeral neither of my parents remembered to tell me that my brother had killed himself. That’s how he died. I didn’t know how to process that information. I don’t know if it changed anything.
I remember seeing him in his uniform in his casket. It was strange. It looked like him, but somehow not at all. I broke down immediately at the sight. I think that was worse than actually being told. It’s like all doubt about the incident was gone.
Today I’m having trouble moving forward with my life. I don’t have any relationships really. I don’t have any aspirations. I sleep like 12 hours a night. Mental illness sucks but I just take it one day at a time.”
“My father thought it was a good idea to have me watch him slaughter our pigs when I was 7 so I would know where food came from. It turned me into a vegetarian instead. It was freaking horrible. He didn’t use a big enough gun, and it took several shots per pig.
Nice one dad.”
“Getting pulled out of a frozen pond at age three after falling through thin ice. My legs had collapsed under me and I was up to my chin in water before an older child came to the rescue.
It was also the first time I realized that my mother’s judgment was not to be trusted. She had ordered me onto the pond after I said I was afraid, then she wandered off without telling me that black ice is dangerous.
For years afterward she would recount her version of the incident as if it were a happy-go-lucky adventure and end the tale by laughing in my face.
During grade school I found out from a book that people actually die from that sort of thing and I was furious, but kept quiet because of the stakes: she kept setting up other potentially fatal accidents in ways that would give her plausible deniability if I died.
At age eleven my Dad decided I was old enough that a judge would take my custody preference seriously and he filed for divorce.
The one good outcome is that kind of upbringing makes a person clearheaded in emergencies. For example, a few years ago camping when there was a fire I had already grabbed two extinguishers and was sprinting toward the blaze while everyone else in our camp was wondering what to do.”
Points are edited for clarity.