34 People Reveal The Horrifying Family Secret That Shook Them To Their Core


Content originally from R/AskReddit

1. Secret brother

Maybe 6 months ago or so I found out that i have a maternal half brother that I never knew about.

Found him on Facebook, he is a very decent human being and has been nothing but friendly towards me. His childhood sounds horribly sad at the fault of my mother, and its for that reason I still cant bring myself to really sit down and talk to him about family history.

2. Parental cheating

My parents met while my mother was still married to her first husband. My mother PURSUED my father while she was married. My father MOVED IN with my mother and her husband-at-the-time for a couple months before the husband moved out. Poor guy.

3. Scheming Grandfather

Grandpa built homes for a living.

If money was tight he’d set it on fire so he could be paid to rebuild.

4. Secrets from the mail order bride

My grandfather homesteaded in western Canada around 1910, and after a few years of living alone in a sod hut, basically ordered a mail-order bride from the U.S. — a girl from the same national/ethnic group as him. She moved to the wilds of Alberta without ever having met him and they married and had a large family, including my mother, and bla, bla, bla.

Fast forward 90 years and one of my siblings takes up genealogy as a hobby and starts poking around in family history and looking at birth dates etc. and discovers that my mother’s eldest sibling was born in western Canada only a couple of months after my grandmother arrived at the homestead.

So it is likely that the lives of myself and dozens of my siblings and cousins and their children who now make up my large extended family were shaped because my granny came to Canada probably to escape the shame of being an unwed mother. She left a rather civilized life in a mid-western U.S. city to live in a little shack on the wind-swept prairies of Western Canada.

5. “What did that guy do?” (Commit murder)

There was a brutal murder that everyone knows about (but me apparently) and nobody talks about. When I was 18, we were cleaning out my grandparents house after their death. Someone dropped a picture frame and a photo fell out. The way it was placed in the frame, one guy in the photo was cut off. I made some joke about “Sheesh, what did that guy do? Are we hiding him?” Everyone looked at me with these stunned looks on their faces, like wtf are you doing??? Everyone just sort of changed the subject and wandered away. It was a weird moment and I wasn’t sure what had happened.

My parents later explained to me that he was my great uncle and he murdered his wife and tried to kill his children…who were among those standing there when I said it. I was like “why on earth did you hide this from me???” They said they thought I knew…

6. Racist grandpa

Whenever we would visit grandmas house she also owned the yellow house next door. It was never in very good shape and no one ever used it.

One day my dad told me that the only reason my grandpa bought it was because the realtor told him that a black family was looking at getting the house. So my grandpa bought the house.

7. Nobody knew…

My great uncle was a sniper in Vietnam. Nobody knew until after he died, not even his wife.

8. Grandma’s secrets

Grandma had a family before ours including 3 daughters we did not know about. She had run away from an abusive husband, and never mentioned it to anyone. We only found out after she passed when we received a letter from one of the daughters.

9. Sons murder father

My two uncles ax murdered my grandpa and then shot the body 15 times with a .22 rifle.

My dad and the uncle just younger than him were off training in the marines. This left grandma, grandpa, and 3 younger siblings at home. For some reason grandma all the sudden took the youngest child and moved to the other side of the country and didn’t tell anyone. This left grandpa, and 2 middle uncles alone. For some reason grandpa kicked the two uncles out of the house (they were high school aged). The uncles, instead of leaving and finding a new home or finding grandma, snuck into the attic and lived there for a few months. Eventually I guess they just decided grandpa needed to die and so they buried an ax in the back of his head.

I was sure surprised to learn that tidbit

10. Found out I was a different…heritage.

Went all my life being told my moms side of the family was Arabic. Didn’t put much thought in it until my grandma died, then I wanted to know more about our family.

Saw my grandma’s maiden name was super Jewish “Toviyah”. Did a bunch of research which confirmed my grandmas family were probably crypto Jews.

Did a DNA test to find out our ancestry.

Ashkenazi Jew.

Some Mexican Americans we are.

11. They weren’t divorced…

I thought my grandparents were divorced and that’s why I never met my grandfather. Turns out my mother would refuse to bring me to the house unless his abusive ass went down to the pub before we got there, but my grandparents were married right up until his death.

12. “Never see them again…”

My dad had an affair and a child from that affair that I’ve never met. My mom told me when I was 21 in case the daughter showed up at some point. My mom’s condition for staying with him was that he never saw that woman or that kid again and he agreed.

13. Nobody thought he’d come back. But he did.

I got pregnant while unmarried, at 22 years old. My Mom was worried my Grandparents, while very accepting on the surface, might be silently judging the situation and shared this with her Father.

He shared with her that back in 1959 he met my Gram and got her pregnant, before they were married. Went off to basic training in another state, promising to come back and marry her. No one thought he would, but he did. She was sent to a ‘home’ for unwed women and he found her, married her and had 4 more kids! (My Mom is the oldest). They kept this a secret from all the kids, although the older generation knew, but were almost all dead by the time he revealed it to her. Kinda romantic…

14. The “secret room”

I was about 5 when I walked into the basement in the ”secret” room. My father prohibited me from going there for some BS reason and one day I went by myself. He was growing weed for personal use in the basement. I never told him I found out and I just carried on.

15. Huge family drama

Before marrying my uncle, my aunt was engaged to his younger brother. Watching those two interact at family functions is super fun.

16. Wha??

The lesbian relationship my grandmother had with an eighteen-year-old she met through a “prison outreach” program.

17. !!!!

My cousin is an incest baby. That is a secret that’s going to the grave.

18. She only told us.

It’s between me and my dad for the most part, but here goes.

My grandmother passed away about a year and a half ago, and my mother was an absolute wreck (still is) over it.

My dad and I were complete realists and came to the conclusion that grandma wanted to die, because she couldn’t handle doing all the work around the house with her husband and mentally disabled 50 year-old son at home yelling at each other all the time. It wore her out to the point that she became sick.

When dad and I were at the hospital with her, and mom and grandpa left to get a bite to eat, grandma opened her eyes and told me and my dad ‘I can’t live here anymore. I’m just tired. I want them to let me go.’

Dad and I swore to never tell anyone that in our family. And we haven’t. And we probably never will. She died 2 hours after saying that.

19. She doesn’t know he was her father.

My uncle had an affair with a woman he worked with. Eventually they separated from their spouses and got married. My new aunt already had two kids when they got married. The family secret is that the youngest is actually my uncle’s biological daughter. She doesn’t know and I’m not sure who else in my family knows. It’s never been fully proven, but she looks a hell of lot like my uncle.

My uncle has since passed away. I feel like because of that it’ll always remain a secret/family rumor.

20. There’s no evidence…but….

It’s believed that my aunt and her sister murdered a man. There’s no evidence, and the case remains unsolved. My aunt was madly in love with the dude, and he was getting married. He was found dead in his home, beaten to death with a bat.

The police believe he knew the killer(s), there was no sign of forced entry. A family friend said on the night the victim was murdered, he saw two blonde women walking down the road away from the victim’s house, in the dark. My aunt and her sister are both blonde.

21. This is really sad

My great grandfather had a lobotomy because of “unknown mental issues”. He was basically a zombie afterwards, and died shortly before my grandmother married my grandfather. Really sad, because I a) Always heard he was a wonderful guy, and it must suck to see that happen, and b) Now know why my grandmother never speaks of him.

There’s also quite a few family members on that side with anxiety disorders, myself and my sister included. They’re all very well controlled and not a hindrance for the most part at all, because of modern medicine and such. That also makes me sad, because I bet it’s hereditary, whatever was bothering Great Grandpa. He probably just needed better treatment.

22. Wow.

My aunt cut off communication with my family after my grandparents died. She was their caretaker and after they died she just disappeared from our lives. About a year or so later, my dad gets a call from Florida P.D. saying he needs to come claim/identify her body. From what we gathered from some people she knew, she had cancer.

When my dad and sister got down there, they’re told she killed herself in a hotel room by drinking antifreeze. She never had cancer. When she stopped talking to my family, she took whatever money she had from my grandparents and traveled the world, and when money ran out, she offed herself.

After we figured some of this stuff out, we were in contact with some of her “friends” who she had made on her trips. They were all (including a nurse) convinced by her that she had cancer. She was just a pathological liar.

23. My dad didn’t want me born

Apparently the day my mom found out she was pregnant with me, my dad yelled and pressured her to not keep the pregnancy. My mom, my brother, and sister left to live with my grandparents for a while because of that fight. He eventually came around, but still pretty damn shocking to find out that your dad didn’t want you initially.

Also I hit a rabbit late at night in the middle of Nevada while on a roadtrip with my dad. Immediately after hitting it my dad says, “At least it wasn’t a person.” Found out a few years later that he hit a drunk guy on the highway when he was in college. He was ruled not at fault in court.

Needless to say, my dad and I have an odd relationship.

24. Murder, not heart attack

That my grandfather which I thought died of a heart attack, actually died from being shot at an underground poker game for reasons unknown, and that he was an alcoholic.

25. He probably killed the guy

My mom was jumped and raped (eerily, around the same day and month I would be beaten and raped thirty-odd years later) and my grandfather and uncle (her father and brother) most likely killed the man who did it.

26. She was the only one who survived.

That my cousin was the only survivor of her family’s massacre. I didn’t know about it until I learned about it on a tv show.

I was watching a documentary on “worst mass shootings” in Canada one day about a man who randomly drove past their farm came in and shot them all. She survived because he didn’t see her in her bed. Ended up being really surreal when I put the pieces together that she was who my mom used to talk about.

Weirder was that this all happened after I moved to a city near by the farm and heard people talking about the incident as well. It’s very bizarre hearing people talk about something that involves family, even if you didn’t have a relationship with them.

It’s always sat unwell with me because you hear about the stories but never think “that’ll happen to me or anyone I know” and suddenly the thought changes when it happens to someone within family ties even if I didn’t know her, my close family did.

27. My mom was so PISSED

Long story short, my grandma and great aunt hid the fact that great aunt’s husband not only molested and impregnanted his own daughter but also molested HER daughter (his granddaughter) – the child she had AFTER she gave birth to her father’s child, a son.

When he got caught molesting the granddaughter, her mother was trying to stop him (maybe pressing charges, I don’t know) and he and my GA left their home state and moved to the state where we are.

My grandma knew, hid it until one day she saw him paying a lot of attention to 8 year old me. He and GA went to church with us and we had lots of family gatherings. She then grilled me alone the next day to see if he’d done anything to me, took me home to my parents and finally told them that he’d been living here for months because of what he did to his granddaughter.

I was sent to play in my room and years later, Mom and Dad said they raised complete hell. They were angry, disgusted, etc that she had the nerve to hide that and put me in possible danger. They told me about the whole situation about 10 years later.

25ish years later, I work as an advocate for families and children. I think of my cousin, his granddaughter and his daughter every day. I have a photo of them together. I look at it to remind me to fight as hard as I can against family secrets, to do everything in my power to protect the kids I serve. They both have lived horrible lives that what he did to them made possible. I take every ounce of hatred I have for him and use it to help kids who are forced to be victimized by people like him. It sounds cheesy but his granddaughter is my age. Looking side by side at our lives and knowing what she could have become if he’d not done what he did…just sad.

28. Too many to even tell

God, my family ended up having tons of secrets that really shocked me when I found out, but that are now just whatever.

Two of my aunts seemed to be incapable of avoiding pregnancy in their teens. One aunt had two abortions for unwanted teen pregnancies, before the doctor refused to give her a third and she was forced to have the baby. She gave the baby up for adoption.

Another aunt had two unwanted teen pregnancies, and went through with both of them. She gave the first baby up for adoption, and tried to raise the second baby for about six months before realising she wasn’t cut out for it. My grandparents were farmhands and moved around a lot to follow where the work was, so during one of their moves it was just agreed that my grandmother would take the baby on instead, and he was raised as my uncle instead of my cousin. Everyone in the family now knows this, and still treats him as an uncle because that’s his preference and that’s what we grew up with.

Two of my great uncles had marriages to the same woman. During her first marriage to one of my uncles, she started having an affair with his brother and eventually left my first great uncle to run off with the second. They then remained married for the rest of their lives, but my two great-uncles never spoke again.

29. Dad is a mystery

“Your mother was married before we met” BUT WAIT, that’s not it. “I broke up your mother’s marriage and we married shortly afterwards. We were so in love for these past 25 years.” STILL NOT IT. “I was in a committed gay relationship when I met your mother and then decided to be straight when my boyfriend left me to chase his dreams in Sweden” OMG THIS IS STILL NOT IT…. “I know your mother just died three weeks ago, but I moved this guy named Jeff into the house and he will be sleeping with me.”

…Yeah that was it. New boyfriend sleeping where my mother literally died less than a month ago. Also “Don’t tell your sisters”. Thaaaaanks, Dad.

30. My aunt’s husband has multiple wives…

My aunt isn’t the only wife and she is so nice that she actually allowed her husband to marry another woman HOWEVER unfortunately her husband now uses her for things like food and shelter but whenever he goes on a holiday he takes the other wife.

I then found out that when he wanted to marry the other woman she said that he’d have to divorce her, they then went to court and the husband says that he will only divorce her if she won’t try to take from him (properties and all that), she disagreed, the guy then bribes someone off, they go to court and he suddenly becomes the victim and doesn’t want to divorce her and she had to remain married to the guy and see him marry someone else too.

She also has to make pastries and even some times takes care of the second wife’s kid. I am so livid about it but she gave up the fight a long time ago.

Nowadays whenever he comes to her house it becomes more of a burden. He expects all his clothes clean and ironed, uses the only car their kids could actually drive (he bought a manual car for himself and an auto car for my aunt and her kids to use to buy grocery and necessities) expects home cooked meals, and constantly verbally abuses her. Her eldest son won’t even have dinner together with them because he can’t stand how his dad is treating his mom. He tries his best to protect my aunt.

The only thing that is keeping the fucking guy useful is that he sometimes gives money to his kids for their education (although he is forcing them to learn what he wants them to learn like how the eldest son was more interested in business but he forced him to take engineering instead) and he also provides the money for food (but my aunt has to go ask him for it and get verbally abused while she does so btw she’s unfit to work and TOO FREAKING NICE, she makes pastries and bakes awesome cakes but if someone asks for it she’d do it for free even though she doesn’t even have the money.)

I’m getting pissed just writing about it. I wouldn’t say it’s a family secret but they were keeping it hush hush about it.

31. WTF

My grandfather had written inappropriate love notes to his daughter when she was 13. He was an alcoholic, and she got married off soon after, so we rarely ever see my aunt.

32. Will the robber ever “finish the job?”

My uncle was murdered at the age of 20. He was a very stand up guy. Very sociable, very likable, and extremely kind. He went to a party one day and stayed afterwards to help the hosts (an elderly couple) clean up. A robber came in and shot all three of them to death. The guy was quickly caught but showed no remorse for his actions. After a relatively short trial he was sentenced and given life + 1000 years. He has sworn to “finish the job” and kill my entire family if he ever gets out. He is up for parole every 5 years or so.

33. Our priest uncle was a child molester

I had a great uncle on my mom’s side who was a Catholic Priest. I’d always thought he was a nice old man. He’d never done or said anything I found suspicious. I’d seen him at numerous family gatherings throughout my life. When he died, my dad told my brothers and I that he was a child molester and rapist.

He had numerous victims. When the police searched his home, they found a trunk full of child pornography, much of which he made himself. One of his victims was so broken down mentally, he was deemed unfit to testify in court. The real kicker? He was simply moved to a diocese in San Diego after all was said and done. My mothers family never talks about it. Some of them resented my dad for his willingness to talk about how atrocious it all was.

Also, when I was a kid, my mom drunkenly told me that she’d had numerous miscarriages before she had my brothers and I. Not terribly shocking, just the sort of thing that makes you think about who your parents were before you existed, or what kind of lives they lead that you’ll never know about.

34. My brother isn’t my dad’s kid…

When I was hanging out with my kid brother (he was 14 at the time, I was 24) he said something to the affect of, “You know, I think I look more like Mom’s friend SoandSo than I look like Dad…

After years of my own quiet denial he was finally growing up and very much starting to look ALOT like string-bean SoandSo and not so much like my inherently flabby dad. So I said to young broseph, “I don’t know buddy, things were rough and weird back in the day. You might be surprised if you investigate.”

So a few months roll by and I’m sitting in an all-nite-dinner and SoandSo walks in, he sees me, and decides to sit with me. Pleasantries are exchanges and after a few minutes I absolutely HAVE TO ask him… So I do.

He admits to a 20 year affair and even going so far as to secretly plucking some of my brother’s hair and sending it in to a mail-away DNA test, which came back positive. He goes into a huge spiel about wanting to come clean spend time with him but not wanting to have be around my mother (things had gone down hill between them long since). I told him that the kid was usually home alone three to four hours everyday after school and he’d love nothing more to hang out with him from time to time (my own dad had moved 1400 miles away). So SoandSo stammers for a minute and makes a shit ton of excuses. I stood up, called him a pussy, told him to pay for my cheeseburger, and left.

My brother figured it out on his own and never could grow close to the man. He later ended up resenting him when SoandSo decided to start a legit family of his own thus making him feel discarded.

Our mother is great and we don’t bother her about the past. We all know love is a strange animal. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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