25 Families On The Dark Secret They Swore To Never Speak About

Unsplash / Andrew Neel

1. My grandmother was kidnapped by my great uncle

“Our great uncle kidnapped our great grandmother, took her 3 states away to a god awful nursing home, liquidated all of her assets and stole her welfare checks, then when she died he stuffed her in his trunk and dropped her off at the nearest funeral home in our state.” — Panda_Hero01

2. My cousin killed the family dog

“Last 4th of July one of my younger cousins(8/F) pushed my great aunts beloved elderly dachshund into their pool and he drowned. Everyone knows she did it, she even said she did it because she was angry about having to get out of the pool for dinner. But her mom and grandma are still in complete denial and tell her she didn’t actually do it. Immediate and extended family have all tried to convince the mother and grandmother to take her to talk to someone because this tiny human is full of anger, but they refuse to see any issue. This most recent 4th of July was awkward as fuck.” — trysaruhtops

3. My grandmother forced my mother to have an abortion

“My grandma forced my aunt to have an abortion when she was 16. It went terribly wrong, and she was never able to have kids. My grandma did it because she didn’t want her daughter to have a child with a sleaze ball. 35 years later my aunt is married to said sleaze ball. My grandma felt with her guilt by spoiling the crap out of my aunts adopted daughter.” — madommouselfefe

4. My half-sister was raped by her father

“My half sister was raped often by her father, he took her virginity, and passed her around his friends. He’s now out of the picture, but having my mother and sister in the same room is very tense. Apparently my mother had no idea what was happening (all happened way before I was born), and mom feels incredibly guilty.” — ahlivia

5. My boyfriend died of a heroine overdose

“My dead boyfriend. Last summer, I discovered that my boyfriend was heavily into heroin use. I told my family about it. I left him. He went through about 6 months of rehab. And, after 6 months, 3 weeks and 1 day of sobriety, he ODed and died. He and I had started to slowly work on a relationship again when he died. I was devastated. My parents and my brother absolutely refuse to acknowledge the situation. I’ve tried to talk to my mother about it and she has said that she doesn’t want to talk about it. My brother changes the topic. My father walks away. My extended family has all been extremely supportive and loving. My immediate family would prefer to just pretend it didn’t happen.” — driveonacid

6. My sister is incestuous

“My younger sister fucks any cousin that she makes eye contact with.” — farfurfida

7. My mother spent time in prison

“Two huge elephants hang out, flapping their ears in the breeze at every family gathering.

My maternal Grandmother owned a brothel for almost 40 years.

My Mother spent time in prison, before she met my Father.” — Mojothewonderdog

8. We accidentally caused our grandmother’s death

“We all killed Grandma at the family reunion.

We were moving her into a home, so everyone showed up to help pack up her condo. The family doesn’t get along very well, nobody keeps in touch, so it was probably the last time for a decade-ish that everyone would be together, so we treated it as a family reunion. On the last night we went to a BBQ joint (because it was texas and what else are you gonna eat there?). Grandma didn’t want to eat much because she had some pretty major stomach issues, but we pressured her because it’s the family! C’mon Grandma cut loose! So she ate a bunch of meat, which was on her ‘do not eat’ list.

A week later she was dead from intestinal blockage.” — Katalystica

9. My uncle held a family hostage

“When my uncle was younger he and his friends stole a car, drove across the country to Montana, and ended up holding a family hostage to run from the cops. Basically the whole family knows except for his kids. It’s so taboo to talk about that I learned more about it from an archived news article that was published online than I have from my family.” — asoep44

10. My grandmother killed my great-grandmother

“That my grandmother and her sisters killed their mom.

(Not biologically related, my mom’s step mom).

Old woman had a stroke, they refused to put her in a home and dutifully cared for her…for about a week, until they realized it was a pain in the ass. Instead of finding a care home or home nurse, they decided to just stop feeding her. My grandmother went to the woman’s house every third day like usual and only mentioned this a few years after the funeral.” — KNSF

11. My sister’s husband was arrested

“My sister’s husband went to jail last year for possession of images of children. She got pregnant like a month beforehand. We found out about what he did 4 months before that.

Everyone acts like them staying together when he gets out is normal. They enabled family dinners though the whole legal process, keeping up the happy little family facade.

Now I can never move back home to have kids like my fiance and I planned, because I won’t let them near him. And I can’t say that out loud.” — ErrantWhimsy

12. My grandfather was an abusive racist

“My dad’s father is a rapist and his mother used to beating the living shit out of him and his brothers. I’m talking choking them out until they pass out kind of thing. No one talks about it, as if he didn’t molest most of my aunts and older female cousins. He’s tried shit on me but you no ~devils advocate~ maybe he didn’t mean it that way.” — crystalhorsess

13. My grandmother once dropped me down a flight of stairs

“When I was a baby, my grandmother was watching me. She got distracted. I fell down a flight of stairs and hit my head several times on the way down. I was rushed to the hospital, x rayed, and everything was just fine

My mom told me years ago. everyone else denied it.

Then years later, my grandmother flat out admitted it, at the dinner table, in front of everyone. ‘Oh my goodness I turned away for a second, she fell all th the way down the stairs, I felt so bad, I felt so bad.’

But to this day, people actually tell me: ‘No, you heard her wrong.”‘

‘No, you must have been dreaming when you heard that.’

Not sure why it has to be kept secret if nothing bad happened.” — spaghatta111

14. My cousin almost murdered a little girl

“One of my cousins is in jail for nearly murdering a little girl at a gas station.

No one but my grandma (who he lived with growing up) even knew about it. My brother only found out because he ran a google search after she had told us our cousin was at ‘church camp’ for the 5th year in a row.

We do not ever discuss it and let her live her lie, I guess it makes her feel better to deny the truth.” — equusoddball

15. My cousin was arrested for murder

“My cousin was just arrested for first degree murder, kidnapping, possession of an illegal weapon x2, along with a few other felonies and a half dozen misdemeanors. His trial keeps getting pushed back and it’s a topic that most of the family just avoids, as his mother is probably the most insane person I’ve ever met, but her, my mother, and their five other sisters are all still really close.” — BlueFalcon3725 

16. My aunt was accused of killing her husband

“My aunt was accused of killing her first husband. Happened long before I was born. Husband was an anesthesiologist. He overdosed (massively OD, like there was no way you accidentally took that much) on her pain killers, that he prescribed her. It happened just after he had take out a million dollar life insurance policy that strangely had no waiting period. She was a key person of interest in the initial investigation but she had moved back home with her parents halfway across the country immediately, before the cops could tell her not to leave town. She had a decent alibi but there were some weird facts about her case (was never able to get the full details on this) they were still looking into. My grandfather was a pretty well know defense attorney and basically told the DA ‘If you follow her I will file harassment suits against you in every state you have to cross’ and they backed off and ruled it a suicide.

I could never see my aunt being a murderer, but my dad is the only one of 9 kids who will even remotely talk about the story, and even he remains pretty vague on the details.” — Star_fox69

17. My aunt died in a tragic car crash

“My aunt died after a tragic car crash. Paralyzed her from the neck down at first. Her husband couldn’t handle it and let her rot in bed (bed sores, moldy feeding tube, etc) and then left her out of the blue. Family did everything to save her and nothing helped. Last ditch effort was a surgery that essentially cut her in half to save her from infection. She died on the operating table. My family is now incredibly dysfunctional and absolutely cannot talk about it.” — mhill3996

18. My cousin is a sociopath

“My cousin is most likely a sociopath. It was funny to joke about how he was going to end up in jail when he was a kid but now he’s a violent teenager and I wouldn’t be surprised if he murdered someone one day.” — trilliumdude

19. My grandfather chased someone with a shot gun

“Many many years ago my grandfather chased a boy off of his property with a shot gun. Shortly there after my mother spent many months at her sister’s home in Alabama. Directly after my mom came home, her sister adopted a little girl and named her the same name my mother had. Her sister already had a son and a few years after she adopted the little girl she got pregnant and had another little girl (so she wasn’t barren). Years passed and my mother married my father and they had me and my sister. Years went by and both of our parents passed away. At different times these stories were told to us but neither of us heard all of the stories. Eventually my sister and I exchanged what we had heard and put the pieces together. I’m pretty sure my adopted cousin is actually my half sister. What makes me think we’re correct is that when my mom died she requested my cousin (half sister lady) to be our caretaker. Why would she chose her? Out of all the people she could have picked she chose her. Also the summer after mom passed we stayed with my cousin (half sister lady) for a few weeks at the beach. One day she leaned over me and asked me if I was okay. When I looked up it was like I was looking at my mom. I honestly have no doubt that she’s really my sister and not my cousin… but no one will admit to anything.” — Hoodlertjoodle

20. My uncle committed armed robbery and attempted murder

“Probably the one uncle thats been in and out of jail for years for various reasons including armed robbery and attempted murder.” — Whatthefuckamisaying

21. My sister died when I was in high school

“My dead sister. It happened 6.5 years ago when I was in high school, but it’s still fresh in my mind. The only people that cared about it were within 1 step from my immediate family so aunts, uncles, cousins, parents. The rest of the family never gave a shit. At our yearly couple week long family reunion they had a memorial type thing officiated by a pastor that still hangs around the family even though he’s not in the family anymore. Our side of the family can’t stand him for what he has done even before this. It was fucking pathetic and too religious. We are the only part of the family that isn’t religious and they know it. That whole thing was just so they could feel good about trying to do something that just made us more mad. A couple days later a card game turned into people talking about who’s ashes they have and where they are. Now they act like she never existed and get awkward when she’s brought up.” — eddyfinnso 

22. I was molested by my grandfather

“I was molested by my grandfather as a child. It was taken care of in the old family sort of way, everyone distancing themselves and leaving him isolated for the most part, but it’s never been talked about at large. They just backed off and let him die alone. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be enough or if I wanted some sort of justice, but it feels wrongly handled.” — sleepysnails

23. My sister is stuck in an abusive marriage

“That my sister is in an abusive marriage with an alcoholic but no body says anything because my parents think that it’s better to be in an abusive relationship rather then get a divorce.” — Cuppycake87

24. No one knows my aunt is adopted

“One of my aunts is adopted. She is almost 70 years old and has no idea. Everyone else in the family knows but it was my grandma’s dying wish that we never tell her. It’s pretty fucked up, to be honest.” — betabomber

25. My brother acts like Norman Bates

“My mom and brother have a very Norman Bates-esque relationship and we never speak about it. He’s 20… and she still bathes him. God help me for saying this out loud.” — Zoesauce23 TC mark

Holly Riordan is the author of Lifeless Souls, available here.

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