Perhaps The Truth Is Better Left Alone
“I stole a bunch of money from my in-laws. In my mind, I feel justified and have tenuous plans to make it right one day when I can. However, if it was found out, my wife would probably kill me and I’d never be able to face my in-laws again.
The basic story is that my father-in-law had made our life and his family’s life a living horror for many years. He was a drinker who would verbally harass his family and occasionally beat his wife. My wife lived with him while we were dating and I was glad to have removed her from that situation once we got married and moved into our own place.
However, I soon learned that this would not let us be rid of him. Though we moved to a new house, we were still in the same city as my in-laws. One night, we were surprised by a knock at the door at 1 am to find my father-in-law, out of his mind, wanting to come in. He had been kicked out of his own house and my wife let him in, out of sympathy, and we had to endure his ramblings for the next few hours until he finally fell asleep.
These late night visits would become a regular occurrence for the next four years. Even after my wife and I had a baby, he would come over late at night and insist on receiving food and an audience for his ramblings, leading to many sleepless nights. Occasionally, I’d refuse him entry, only to face threats from him and consternation from my wife for being so unsympathetic. After all, in her mind, he was suffering from a disease and I should regard him as a victim of illness.
The only respite we would have is when he would go to jail. Sometimes for domestic abuse and sometimes for other charges related to his drinking.
I remember being generally mad at the time. Much of it aimed at my in-laws, who just decided to lock him out every night, knowing he would eventually wander to my house and become our problem. I also remember being resentful of my mother-in-law for not calling the police on him more often. The only time police were called were when circumstances were extreme and one of the kids would call. However, I was most mad at the judicial system, who continually let this obvious menace out of jail to repeat what he had been doing for years.
This is where the money comes in. My in-laws don’t own cars and don’t drive. So, being the good son-in-law, but mostly caving under pressure from my wife, I would always be the one who’d have to take him to court dates, to lawyers’ offices, post bond, get him from jail, etc. Sometimes I’d have to take off entire days from work to take care of his legal problems.
Well, one day we learned that he had beaten another person almost to death and was charged with attempted murder. Bond was $10,000. The family spent several weeks getting the funds together from their money, but also from extended family. They were so used to posting bond and losing it that it’d become routine.
Long story short, my father-in-law was convicted and sentenced to several decades given his long criminal history. I remember breathing a sigh of relief that we wouldn’t have to deal with him for the foreseeable future. However, due to some court technicality, the bond was returned. Since I posted the bond, the check was in my name for $10,000 and interest. The in-laws, who were used to losing their bond payments and quite legally/financially illiterate, would have no idea.
So, I decided to pay myself. I know it was their money, but I felt justified given the time I had to give and emotional hardship I had to go through when they refused to clean their hands of this matter.
Again, I don’t feel right about it, and if I can get that much money at one time again, I want to make it right. However, that day is not today.”
There’s A Reason Why People Don’t Talk About This
“I’ve been in a strictly physical relationship with a first cousin for the last five years. We only ever saw each other once or twice a year growing up before she moved to the other side of the country and then never really saw or interacted with each other again until 5 years ago when she moved back. What started as us meeting up once in a while has become a regular thing in the last few months. It’s escalated to the point where we’re now talking each other every day. I’m scared to death of what might happen if anyone in our family finds out but I don’t want to stop what’s happening either.
Here’s the story: It all started out very slow before it escalated into full-on hooking up. I was informed by another cousin of ours and asked to help her move since I was free at the time. We started hanging out throughout that summer and then one afternoon we had brunch and then went back to chill at her apartment. It was a super hot day so we thought let’s just go indoors and relax and watch some TV or a movie. I can’t remember what we were watching but we were chatting the whole time too, just talking about our relatives and what we were looking to do with our lives and careers. After a while, she kind of just leaned on me and got comfortable and I threw my arm around her (almost instinctively) and were just hanging out like that for a bit. Eventually, she gave me a lingering look that was kind of asking ‘what’s happening here?’ and we both went in for a kiss. We were both shocked that it happened but we got over it fast and started making out and running our hands all over each other until my hand was up her skirt. Then I realized what we were doing and stopped it from going any further. We both came to our senses and stopped before anything went any further. We decided to forget it happened and move past it, but every time we met up after that we’d make out and push our boundaries until we eventually ended up doing more. Afterward, we were meeting up regularly until we both got really busy with work and only met up on occasion. We completely stopped when each of us had a significant other but would start hooking up again every so often when we are single. As mentioned before, now it’s become a regular occurrence where we hook up multiple times a week and we’ve been talking with each other now.
At this point in our lives, we’re both physically comfortable with each other and know what the other likes so it’s made it a bit difficult to just end it, especially since outside of us meeting up we’re both very busy with our lives and careers so it’s just convenient. We’re both currently single and as I mentioned before if either one of us starts to date someone we don’t hook up. We both enjoy what we’re doing but the only issue we have is just the anxiety of being found out. We did agree to keep this a secret from friends and family because we’re afraid that they wouldn’t understand and we don’t want to deal with that potential storm. She admits that she may have gotten a little too comfortable since this is the longest interval with us hooking up since this started happening and is going to dial it back to make sure we don’t accidentally out ourselves.”
Not Knowing What Could Have Been
“In 2013, it was my first semester of college. I had this anthropology class, ‘Tribal and Ethnic Religions,’ at 8:30 in the morning. I’m not exactly a morning person and this girl I sat next to wasn’t either. It was one of those things where we just saw each other and knew, we were both absolute zombies still. We had this unspoken bond of, ‘No one else will understand how much we want to sleep, so let’s just stay with each other the rest of the semester.’
When we got an assignment to go do interviews, it felt natural to go with each other and just help out. So we got mine done pretty early in the semester (relatively speaking) but hers took a bit more planning. We had to drive about two hours out to this mountain city where her grandpa lived to talk to him. I didn’t drive at the time so we took her car. There was about three months worth of emotional tension built up between us, so the drive was kind of uncomfortable, but we kind of skirted around our feelings towards each other for the first time.
Once the interview was completed, we had dinner in a small pub, and started heading back. It was about dusk, and both of us said that we wanted to wander into the forest for a bit. Just, take in the atmosphere for a while, you know? So we parked off the side of the road went down into the trees. It was beautiful. We lived in the desert, where most of the vegetation we were used to was scraggly bush at most, a few palm trees here and there. But this was amazing. No sound from the city, no smog from the cars, just people, trees, and silence. She ended up brushing up against me to get past some roots, but in a way that felt almost deliberate. So I tested it back, brushing up against her at times where I didn’t necessarily need to. We finally decided to say ‘forget it’ to all our fears of sin and just decided to have fun.
When we’d finished and had our collective walk of shame to her car, obviously it was awkward. Just, driving back home was awkward for pretty much the opposite reason as when we were headed up in the first place. But the silence gave me a lot of time to think. I decided that I was just gonna tell her exactly how I felt. I know, in hindsight, I don’t know why I didn’t begin with, but I was fresh 18, and always kinda bad with people. But I didn’t have the nerves to do it then. It was Friday, I’d see her again on Monday, and that would be my moment.
Monday came, and I was super excited, dressed better than I normally do, all of it. But she didn’t show. We usually didn’t question when the other person didn’t show, so I didn’t think much of it. She missed the whole week, and I started getting concerned. Tried texting and calling her, but no replies. She missed the second week, and that Friday I asked the teacher. Turns out, he just got the news himself and was going to tell the class before he began the lecture anyway. The Sunday after our forest-escapade, she was killed. A car accident.
For a while, I didn’t react. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t know anything about her family outside of her grandpa, so I used what I could to find her family. I met her brother kind of sporadically, as I showed up at his work. He could see that I was pretty shaken as I spoke, and I could see that he was getting kind of agitated, so we decided to wait until his shift was over and we’d talk.
He told me about how happy she was the days before. How she’d been super depressed, but for just a little while she was getting out of her room more, getting along with her parents, and just felt more fun to be around. Then he told me about how someone was driving while drinking, going 60 in a business area, hit her from behind, and wrapped her car around a tree. That was what did it. That was the moment that I really felt the impact. For days I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t WANT to do anything. I failed all but one class that semester. My entire life was basically falling apart. Through all of it, I never really told my parents, friends, or anyone. They just knew I was in a pretty bad place, but not why.”
The Unjustifiable Justice
“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 and 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.”
Taking Action Where Action Is Due
“When I was 23, I finally found out why my mom would always make us leave the family parties if a certain great uncle showed up. So basically I find all this stuff out, connect the dots, and hear the story from my mom.
Turns out, he had abused his own children for years. Then he adopted younger children every few years and did it more. He eventually went to jail in the 80s and 90s, but people would still take his kids to visit him in jail. They hated it. I found out later that we would always leave fast from family events because he abused my mother as well when she was a child, around 4 or 5 years old. My family is close and that made me rage, though I acted calmly because it was sort of a regular conversation. And then I found out that he had recently been in trouble again for similar things. That was my breaking point. I let it sit a few nights but all I could think of is ways to get to this guy. It was hard to sleep and my mind was always racing.
This was a guy who had set in motion a chain of events in many children’s lives that led to many of them having issues and other things because of the abuse and of these people suppressing it. In my mother’s case, anyway, it led her down a destructive path that only recently she’s escaped. She told me that after that night with him (the great uncle) she was a different person. She realized that as a kid but never the extent at that point, obviously. That’s really what set me off. I am loyal to my family and my friends. And this man in one decision forever changed and shaped others lives. I just couldn’t get out of my head these kids that suffered and it was out of my hands. And that he wasn’t ever fully punished and no one believed the kids and he got away with so much. And even adopted four more children and they were all abused. I don’t want to know what else. Anyways, I finally just decided I was going to do something. Maybe it was wrong, maybe right, I just didn’t care. Honestly, I still don’t.
So I looked up his name of the predator registry. I got his address and all the information on there. I went to his house on a Sunday because I knew he’d gone to church. I found out what car he drove. A few nights later, I went a street down and parked. I saw his car and checked to see if he was home alone through his windows. He was. I waited a few minutes because I wasn’t sure what I was going to say. I didn’t have a disguise or anything to hide my identity. I finally decided to knock. He answered and he looked a bit confused but just looked like scum. He looked like a man who had gotten away with too much and knew it. I asked him if I looked familiar. Looking back, I’m sure he did remember me somehow. Not by a name, but just my face. I look a lot like my mom and that side of the family.
He just said no. And he smiled. And that made me angry. I should mention I am usually a very calm person and I rarely get mad or distraught or enraged, and I’ve only been in two fights my entire life at this point. But I remember getting tunnel vision and as hard as I could, I punched him dead on his face. Knocked him down, he got up a bit and I hit him two more times and I started to low talk-growl what I was saying as to still be quiet because of neighbors. I was threatening and letting him know that I knew what he had done. As soon as I mentioned that, he got quiet and then laughed.
So I kept going.
There was blood. I got up and he backed up to his couch. He was delirious. I took some nice watches and other valuables I saw. And a MacBook. I knelt next to him again and told him his children’s names and the grandkids and his sisters. I remember walking out and shutting his door. I also stole his car keys, I don’t know why, I just thought maybe it’d be annoying and he couldn’t go anywhere for a while.
I drove home. Took a shower and just sat for a while, thinking. I slept like a baby that night.”
Calm, Cool, and Collective
“I was assaulted by my parent’s neighbors. A father and son. The son was in his teens, I was 8. They used to put me in this walk-in closet and have ‘Show Time.’ I never realized what was happening until several years after we had moved from my grandmother’s house in Phoenix to Houston. Fast forward 20 years and I have a daughter of my own. She’s 4 and we decided to visit Grandma in good ol’ valley of the sun. We get there and a few days pass. One day, my daughter’s outside with her older cousins playing. I step outside to check on her and I’m greeted with that very same neighbor’s son holding my daughter, giving her raspberries while his dad is playing with the others cousins.
Something clicked… More like a twitch in my mind, something tipped me just a nudge, but it started something. I walked outside, grabbed my daughter, corralled the kids, and made my presence known. That tipping point sent me into an emotional spiral of brewing thoughts. I’m white collar, I make my money off of thinking. I’d never say this to real life human nor will I ever give the details of how I did it. But several months after our visit with Grandma, my husband thought I had another work training when in fact I came back to Phoenix.
I burned their home to the ground. Everything was lost except for the master bedroom and walk-in closet. PS, a good place anonymous tip does amazing things to mess up someone’s life. They both survived, unfortunately.
I swear to God, I’ve hoped I’ve done enough good in my life to earn at least one wish. That would be to meet those low life maggot creepers in the worst place imaginable and be their eternal tormentor.
I look at my daughter every day and know she gave me the strength I needed as an adult I didn’t have as a child.”
This House Of Cards Has Grown To Tall
“My whole professional life is built on a lie and it’s about ready to come down.
When I was 22, I was in a bad way — halfway through my bachelor’s degree, but with a building addiction to opiates and some mental health issues.
Summer of that year, I was in a bad car accident — in addition to broken bones throughout my body, my head went through the window and my face received severe lacerations that required hundreds of stitches to close and left me looking very rough. As tough as that was to deal with, I also now know that I sustained a traumatic brain injury that left me very confused, angry and overwhelmed by life in general.
I wanted to keep up appearances, so after taking three months off to recover, I tried to go back to school. Within the first week, I knew I couldn’t handle it. Too many questions about what happened, too much anxiety, and I had lost pretty much all my coping skills. When I got overwhelmed (which happened often), I would feel sick and scared and literally forget where I was and what I was doing. It was frightening and embarrassing, especially for someone like me who had always had high expectations placed on my shoulders by those around me.
I had lost pretty much all my friends at this point, and in my mental state, I thought that those who remained would abandon me if they knew how much I was struggling.
So, I told everyone that it was going great. Every day, I would I leave the house for six hours and drive. Sometimes I would stop in a parking lot, sometimes I would just keep driving all day. I would find cheap used textbooks at college bookstores so that I could bring them home and ‘study.’ I created elaborate lies about my classes and my professors in order to have stories to tell when people asked how it was going.
I kept telling myself that I was just doing this until my brain worked again, and that next quarter I would go back for real when I could actually handle it. Problem is, things just kept getting worse and as time went on, I became less able to get back on track.
This went on for 2.5 years until I was supposed to be graduating. So, I lied about that too. I forged transcripts and came up with stories of why I didn’t want to work in the field of my degree and hoped to move past it. I got a labor job and slowly found things working themselves out as my brain chemistry improved and steady work kept me from completely destroying myself.
Eventually, I had to move. For the first time in over a decade, I was finally free of my opiate addiction and starting to feel part of the world again, but I was still carrying the lie of my college degree. I volunteered in some places related to that field and they really liked me.
They liked me so much, in fact, that they hired me on an emergency basis (no transcripts required) and I’ve worked there ever since. Now, three years into my sobriety and seemingly a lifetime removed from the pain of those years, they want to promote me to a career-level job that I would absolutely love.
I’m so good at what I do and it brings me so much joy, but this promotion would come with scrutiny and background checks that I know I can’t stand up to.
When I was so depressed, I honestly didn’t think I’d even live this long, so while I knew that my lies could create this situation, I never prepared for it. Worse than losing this job would be having everyone around me find out what happened, so I am at a point now where I have to quit what I love because they like me too much.
I plan to go back to school for real and I think I’ll do well, but the shame and regret of this situation is something I don’t think I’ll ever shake.”