Every family has its secrets, and some of them are darker than anyone could possibly imagine. Most of these secrets stay buried, and never see the light of day. Although sometimes these secrets are revealed, either on purpose or on accident.
People on Reddit share the dark family secret they need to get off their chest. Content has been edited for clarity.
"My great-great-grandparents were never legally married. They did go through the ceremony and had a marriage license; it was just bigamous.
My great-great-grandmother Lora was married at 16 to her first husband Henry, who was 40. Not long after they got married, their son was born. So, they basically both declared themselves widow(ers) and went their separate ways. A couple of years later, Lora married Davis, my second-great-grandfather, and their marriage certificate listed her as a widow. That wouldn’t actually happen until Henry died 39 years later. Henry also remarried about 20 years after Lora did, and listed his previous marriages as two, both ending in spousal death. It was true of his first wife, but Lora outlived him by almost 20 years.
Ironically, Davis’ mother, my 3rd-great-grandmother Anna, had her second marriage break up because she discovered her 'husband' already had a wife in another state. So it seems to run in the family."
"When I was around seven, one of my aunts had a child with her husband and then they got a divorce. She has severe bipolar disorder and has been on medication for decades. After the divorce, my uncle was granted full custody, which made my aunt lose her cool completely. She put a hit out on my uncle, but plans fell through thank god.
She was arrested and while in jail, put out another hit on him, which thankfully also didn’t happen. About five years ago, she stopped taking her medication for some reason and stole ten thousand dollars from her then boyfriend and disappeared for a week. Turns out she had checked herself into a clinic.
My dad also did crazy things back when he was younger, like stealing the Mayors' car, and countless other things. He’s never told me the stories, but my mom has. He’s never wanted me to be how he used to be. My dad is so polite, the best man I’ll ever know, and hasn’t done anything like that for almost 30 years now."
"After my mom’s grandma died, a woman came forward. She claimed she was the daughter my mom's grandma gave up for adoption before she was married and had my grandpa and his little brother. This took everyone in the family by complete surprise because nobody ever knew or suspected that my great grandma had this other child.
Honestly, it just felt sad that they couldn’t have connected to the rest of the family earlier. My great-grandma was the picture-perfect grandparent- she would do simple things like sending us candy for Christmas and other holidays, she was always baking delicious sweets for us to enjoy, had roses at her cute little house, and loved to travel around in an RV with my great-grandpa.
My grandpa stayed in contact with his new-found sister, but he has since passed."
"My grandfather on my mom's side was in a Communist Czech prison for loaded weapon running from 1948 to 1949. Then, he came out abusive as a father, which gave my mom raging OCD and made her very difficult to grow up with.
My dad was huge into gambling in the '70s and did some shady stuff that gets glossed over when he tells stories.
One of my ancestors was allegedly a medieval pope who had to step down due to an intestinal disorder. Not sure if that one is true.
To the rest of my extended family, I'm the weird one. I was very rebellious as a teenager, my hometown hated me and exiled when I turned 18. I was in the punk subculture and moved to the west coast to be independent until other people from my hometown moved near me and ruined things.
Apparently, my younger cousins go to my high school and hear stories of how I was a kind of a mix between JD in Heathers and Attila the Hun figure. But neither of my cousins have ever met me and don't get why teachers are so suspicious of their last name."
"My great aunt basically fabricated her entire life. She'd moved to a different city at a young age, so even close family only saw her occasionally, and she used this as a way to completely lie and deceive everybody in her life.
She claimed to be a theater actor and dancer and knew many famous people personally. She lived in a large house in an affluent suburb with her 'theater' husband, had tons of antiques and paintings in her house, travelled extensively, hosted dinner parties for the beautiful people, and just seemed to live the perfect lifestyle.
When she died, she left behind a massive financial debt, and we slowly uncovered the truth. She technically did work in the theater, but as a secretary or something similar to that nature. Her 'meeting famous people' was just her putting through calls to her boss. Her house was reverse mortgaged, her 'antiques' and paintings were all cheap throwaways or second-hand, she barely ever travelled or did any of those things. Any money she had came from her husband's parents dying young, and they burnt through the inheritance in keeping up appearances.
You can imagine someone exaggerating a little, but to fake major things for decades, including going into spiraling debt to do so, just beggars belief."
"My grandfather decided to commit suicide due to three of my aunts. The aunts were verbally abusive and manipulative to my grandfather (or their dad) because they had a narrative to want to have him in a senior home since he lived by himself at age 84. They even made an appointment to go for a viewing.
He preferred living by himself in his apartment. Along with realizing how with seniors homes many of the staff (not all) can be quite abusive and downright unruly. His three daughters ganged up to persuade him towards moving to a senior's home, even though he refuted any desire of living in one, or even stepping into one. And they don’t take no for an answer.
So the day before there was viewing, he called my mom to come over as soon as she was able to, but she was occupied with other tasks at home and couldn’t make it. Shortly after that call, he decided to take his own life via suffocation. Wasn’t until the following afternoon he was found in the living room."
"My dad is no longer part of our lives because he was horribly abusive to the 15-year-old foster child living with him and my mom. No one had a single inkling. Apparently, it was going on for almost a year. My mom went into a deep depression out of guilt. Both my pathetic excuse of a father and the poor kid had hidden the ongoing abuse so well she had no idea, she just thought he had taken on a mentoring role for the kid. He was arrested.
My siblings and I found out most of it through a darn newspaper. It was the sort of shock that makes you almost vomit, this kid was almost exactly like me at that age. My mother and I both got intervention orders against him. I moved to a different house, refused to attend any court hearings, and just got the outcome through the media. He can rot. When he left, we got a few questions about where he was and the answer we gave was always separation. No more detail than that.
My kids were three and five when this happened, and I went through weeks of 'Where's Grandpa?'
'Grandpa moved a long way away, he wasn't very nice to someone, and we need to be careful he doesn't act the same way towards you,' I would tell them.
My kids hated me for a month or two.
You'd think this would be bad enough, but nope there's more than this. My husband's dad lives in a different country. He also spent time in prison for having dirty relations and attempting to run away with a 14-year-old. He spent three years in prison and of course, we don't see him.
It saddens me to think that one day my kids will find out that both their grandfathers are both horrific people."
"When my mom was 40, she got a letter from a woman who said she was her sister and had been given up for adoption. My grandma denied this, saying she never had another daughter. It was only when a DNA test proved they were half-sisters my grandma started to talk about it, but was still very careful what she divulged.
My uncle then decided to do a DNA test, and it turns out my grandpa wasn’t his father. After refusing to talk about it, she eventually told him she was married to an American serviceman during World War Two, and married my grandpa pretty much as soon as the divorce was finalized. During which, she was about seven months pregnant.
My mom then started a family tree on one of those websites and discovered another she had another brother from a different father. She also had another sister, who was born after my mom and was given up for adoption. In addition, my grandma had another baby with my grandpa, my uncle Mike, so we know my grandma had about six kids.
We’ve been told there may be another two children out in the world, but grandma refuses to talk about it and says it’s her secret to keep. I have to give her credit though, it must have been hard to hide it all back then. My grandma was from quite a prominent family so I presume it was the family money that helped hide/cover up her behavior. I used to ask questions as a child, and got told not to be nosy."
"A family member of mine was sacrificed to the occult so that certain family members could have access to wealth and fame. They slipped her some sketchy medications, and it caused permanent brain damage.
She was accused of things she didn’t do, but this was all a part of their master plan. They needed to sacrifice someone, and she was the perfect person because she didn’t really have family or anyone that cared for her."
"My dad was abused a lot as a child. Emotionally and physically. One day, he just completely snapped and lost his cool. He grabbed a loaded weapon and shot and killed his stepfather. The bullet then ricocheted and hit his mom in the spine, paralyzing her.
I never knew what had happened until a few years ago. We were drinking and Bohemian Rhapsody came on. He started crying and told me about it. I finally understood why my grandma was in a wheelchair and my dad was the black sheep of the family."
"It's rumored that my great, great, great uncle ran an illegal abortion clinic out of his barn on the property that is now my parent's land. My uncle (who owned the property previously) claims he always found tiny bones around a sinkhole in the backyard, which used to be a pond.
I would often find bones too when I was younger, but I'm sure a vast majority were animal bones. I'm pretty sure that 150-year-old fetus bones probably would have disintegrated a long time ago either way. "
"My great aunt and my great uncle were married for six years before they had kids. My uncle was always very sickly, he also always wanted to be a father. In my religion, which pushed people to procreate post-genocide (Jews), not being able to have kids was considered to be a curse. At the time, if you couldn’t have kids, it was always the woman’s fault.
We just found out recently that my great aunt stepped out on her husband exactly two times. It was with a family friend who was older and had already raised a family of their own. They apparently held up a sheet so they couldn’t see each other’s faces, and did the deed. Each time resulted in a pregnancy. They went back to being good friends following the second conception.
We now know that my great uncle had a health condition that upped his chances of infertility tenfold, but they were unaware of that fact back in the 1950s. He died never knowing, but he loved those kids something fierce his whole life. He was an amazing father. My aunt did something that some may find reprehensible, but she wanted to give her husband the family he always wanted."
"When the woman I thought was my mom died (was actually my older aunt), I found out that she'd adopted me. She did this after my uncle and his wife's marriage fell apart, and so they got divorced. They had bought me from my biological parents (their brother) for $300 (which I later found out was actually narcotics money).
As far as I know, my biological parents died from overdosing while hitchhiking in California. It's really upsetting that l will never know the truth because I was only ever introduced to a few people from my dad's side, and they all died long ago."
"My mum took her own life 15 years ago. She was posthumously diagnosed as a schizophrenic. My dad was the one who found her body the morning after she did it.
In addition to this, my cousin is in a long-term serious relationship with the man that stabbed her in their bed and left her to bleed out about ten or so years. Prior to this, he also beat the heck out of her younger sister for no reason (her face was littered with bruises, and her lip was swollen for days). Her mother (my aunt) refuses to be in the same room as him, but they are now trying for a baby."
"My aunt murdered my uncle but framed it as suicide. The only reason I know this is because the maid found the body in the bathroom with a clothes hanger around his neck. It didn't make sense since he was fully dressed in a suit and had eaten breakfast.
My aunt claimed he suffocated himself with a towel then changed the story multiple times. She paid the cops and got away with it. I hope one day my uncle gets justice, but chances are slim since our police force is extremely corrupt.
My aunt even went so far as to sit in the back during the funeral, and didn't shed a tear."
"My dad never called his stepmom anything but her real name, Margaret. He has seven brothers and sisters and they all called her mom or some form of that. When I got older, I learned my grandfather was actually cheating on my real grandma (my dad's mom) with Margaret while she was dying of colon cancer. My dad was five when his mom died, and as she was dying my dad had to call my grandpa to tell him to come home.
After that, Margaret and her three kids moved in. My dad was forced to live with his sister who was 18 and married from then until he turned 16. Then, he decided to move in with his best friend and his mom.
So I learned that he probably has always had resentment towards Margaret because of everything that happened when he was so young. As a result, he never wanted to call her anything that resembled a mother because that’s not what she was to him."
"My grandfather was the typical tough, rugged mountain man. He never expressed emotion, and in fact rarely ever even spoke at family gatherings. He would just sit in the corner drinking. I never felt that he and I had a very good relationship, considering I was the weird, artsy kid in the family. We didn't have much to talk about because we couldn't relate to each other well.
He died of lung cancer two years ago. A couple of months after he died, I was visiting my parents and my mom pulled out a shoe box that belonged to him filled with sentimental photographs. Nobody knew about it until after he died and they were cleaning his things out. Almost every single photograph was of me. It broke my heart. I wish I would have been closer to him. He clearly loved me a lot more than I thought he did."
"My late father was a great dad; he went to work, came home every night and nothing was really out of the ordinary except that he would ask my sisters and me to let him use the money from our piggy banks because he knew we had it. The kicker was he told us not to tell anyone, and that he'd give it back.
He would also really only have two moods, really cranky or extremely sweet (my sisters and I called it his 'nice face'). This was all we knew until I was about in 8th grade. We went to a private school and my dad would tell us school was canceled. There was a gas leak, institute days, or a number of other things, and we would stay home. When we would go back to school the next, nobody else would know what we meant as they had been in school.
One day, just before my graduation, my mom let out a scream and started screaming. Our house was being foreclosed on and my dad hadn't been paying the mortgage. He had been trying to cover up for the fact that he had been a functional addict. The 'nice face' was when he was high, the school absences were because he'd spent tuition money on substances, and then had to pay before my mom caught wind. Apparently, it had gotten worse by this time but he'd been an addict for more than 20 years and none of us knew."
"My father always talked about how his brother lied to a doctor so he could get on disability. I thought it was so easy for anyone to get a disability check; all you had to do was tell your doctor you were abducted by aliens.
Years later, my father had a mental breakdown. He started telling stories about the government implanting a chip in his brain. He went out and got a cat scan as proof, and he would point to things that weren't there. My dad was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, and years later, he started collecting a disability check because he couldn't hold a job.
As an adult, it dawned on me when my aunt mentioned mental illness runs in the family. My uncle had never lied to his doctor. He told that doctor what he believed to be the absolute truth; he had been abducted by aliens."
"My mom, aunts, and uncle always called my grandpa by his first name, not 'Dad' or anything. When I was a kid, I thought maybe he just wanted them to call him by his name.
Then one day, my mom mentions something about her dad. I think she means my grandpa. Nope.
My mom was the product of an affair, and both men (my grandma's first husband and my mum’s biological dad) thought of her as their own and basically co-parented. This was in the early 1960s. Both men raised my mum as their daughter until my grandam's first husband passed away.
My grandma was married off when she was 16 to an older man to 'save face' for the family. It was not a marriage of love but for convenience. She fell in love with my grandpa, and had permission from her first husband to peruse the relationship."
"When I was a little kid my uncle had something going on. As a small child, the details were frequently lost to me, so after a while I just kind of accepted it. Now he is also a notorious jokester, so I never knew when he was being serious.
One time I was sitting with my uncle and he was talking about a recent doctor's visit. He told me, entirely straight-faced, that he had eaten some watermelon seeds by mistake, and they had taken root and sprouted in his stomach, so he had to get them removed. To my eight-year-old self, this made complete sense, and I took his advice to be very diligent when consuming my soccer-practice watermelon slices, avoiding all of the seeds.
And that was basically it. I went on through life just accepting this whole story, never questioning it. Until I was around 13 when somehow a realization just clicked into place where Holy moly, my uncle had cancer!
Somehow this had slipped past my gullible child mind for years, and there was never a moment where my parents decided to tell me about it. Instead, at some point in my teens, it was just common knowledge.
My uncle is now entirely healthy, nothing ever came back, and he continues to troll me and my siblings whenever he gets the chance."
"I joined my karate dojo when I was about five, which I’ve regularly been to before because my brother was a part of it before me. I never wondered why he joined, or how he started karate when he was only four because it was just a regular part of life for me.
Once, I was messing around on a school Chromebook and thought it would be fun to look up the names of my family. I found a news article that featured names that were suspiciously exactly the ones in our family. Apparently, a dude who was getting chased by the police for stealing cars and high out of his mind ran into a home of four and took my father hostage with a knife to his throat. There was a part about my brother (aged four at the time) grabbing his plastic samurai sword, and running to where my father was taken hostage.
Of course, my mother took my brother and ran, but I (aged 12 months) was left in my bedroom, sleeping. My father calmly talked to the crazy car stealing dude, and the police managed to get him out alive. When I talked to my dad about it over the phone, he said he still has scars from the incident.
I asked my mother about it too, and she confirmed this all as true, adding in small details about running to the neighbor's home, and the police being shocked by the information of a baby being in the house. A couple of months later, I was trying to make small talk with my mother and ended up asking why my brother joined the karate dojo.
She said 'You don’t know? Something happened that made him want to get stronger.'
That was when I connected the dots, and that my brother joined the dojo at such a young age because he couldn’t save his dad with the plastic samurai sword."