25 Disturbing Family Secrets Which People Only Found Out When They Grew Up

Published 11 months ago

There was a recent trend when people finally started understanding that the aunt or uncle who was considered the black sheep of the family was probably not the villain they were made out to be.

Looking back, we realise that there are so many things about our family history that are just as likely to have gone right over our heads as kids. Reddit user u/EgglessYolk, sparked a sombre discussion online when they inquired from community members about the deepest darkest family secrets they only found out about when they grew up. Scroll below for some of the most shocking revelations of the skeletons families tried hard to keep buried deep in the back of the closet. 

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I knew my grandfather was a coal miner, and that he was really involved with the Union, but it wasn’t til after he died that I found out just how much of a Union Man he was… if something needed blowing up or someone needed to not be breathing anymore, they called Gramps.

After he died, my brother remembers some men coming to visit Gran and giving her a lot of envelopes. She took off for a yearlong vacation in Europe after that.

Edit: for all the people saying my Gramps was a great man, thank you for the kind thoughts, but seeing something you think is cool on reddit is not the reality. He wasn’t a good husband and he wasn’t a great father to 3 of his daughters, although he loved my Momma very much, as well as me and my brothers and cousins.

Being a violent person for good reasons does not make you a good person. It just makes you a means to an end.

Image source: tcinternet, Peter Burdon


When i was a kid in the mid 80s my uncle got some serious braces and had to drink liquids only for a whilr

Only when I got older did I learn that he’d actually had his jaw wired after being tortured for information… had a gun put in the mouth and eventually his jaw shattered because he wasn’t talking…

…He wasn’t talking cos he didn’t know anything.

Thank god northern ireland has moved on from those days.

Image source: TNBCisABitch


My parents took me to Disneyland for my 7th birthday. I recall landing, going to the park, having a great first day or two. Then my parents had to step out and take a bunch of phone calls. They sounded very stressed. They kept telling me nothing happened and everything was okay. Eventually we flew home, and surprise!! Took an extra couple days to go to a big Waterpark away from home. I fondly remembered this birthday and eventually forgot about any of the weirdness. Maybe 10 years later my parents finally told me what happened. My uncle, my dad’s brother, tried to k**l himself on my 7th birthday. He was poor, addicted to drugs, no work, etc. He felt depressed my dad had the life he always wanted. He ended up living. My parents took me to the Waterpark so that we didn’t have to come home to him leaving the hospital. By not telling me, my parents let me keep my birthday as my day, not the day uncle tried to die. Knowing how a 7 year olds brain works, I probably would’ve thought I had something to do with it.

Image source: No-Ice-9612, Craig Adderley


I found out I had a sister who had been given up for adoption. The only reason I found out was the person who informed me no longer felt bound to secrecy after my mom died. And the person who told me had “receipts” solid enough that I have no reason to doubt them.

It also explains why mom freaked out when I told her I’d done a 23AndMe test.

Image source: zombiemann, luizph


My dad’s side of the family has ties with the mafia. Thankfully my mom has long since divorced my dad and they life a decent distance apart. I heard stories of my mom’s parents who lived close by at the time circling the block in their truck late at night soon after the divorce to ensure no one was there to hurt us. I was very young at this point, probably like 3-4 so I really have no memory of this. I do remember one night our garbage can was burned to the ground, and my mom has since told me about death threats soon after the divorce. My mom a couple years ago watched a documentary on prominent mafia families and noted multiple names that were at her wedding.

Image source: CosmicVibes_, mahdi rezaei


Y’all’s stories are WILD! Mine is super tame:

When I was in my early 20s, I found an old photo of someone in a family album I didn’t recognize. When I asked my mom about it, she said, “Oh that’s your aunt Gloria.” Then she lowered her voice (even though we were alone) and added, “she’s a *NUDIST*.” Poor aunt Gloria, just wants to be a nudy-lady and everyone acts like she’s a leper.

Image source: WithoutDennisNedry, Travis Rupert


My uncle was actually my cousin. He was kidnapped as an infant and when he was returned a year later, my aunt didn’t want him back. My grandparents adopted him so he was legally my uncle.

Image source: EhlersDanlosSucks, RDNE Stock project


My dad secretly had a vasectomy after I was born, after my mom lying to him about taking birth control resulted in my birth.

Our family is GREAT at communication and conflict resolution.

Image source: squirrely_gig, Tima Miroshnichenko


Not exactly dark, but I found out my father wrote p**n novels under a pen name to make ends meet when I was a baby. I’ve been trying to find one ever since.

Image source: TheTurningWorm, Neel


I don’t know about dark but here goes. My great grandfather m******d the mayor of the village he lived in. Why? Because the mayor was sleeping with his mom while his father worked on the field. I think he was 15 or 16 when he did that.

Image source: Kaiser93, Priscilla Du Preez


Circa 1994 My dad died(32) on Christmas Day. Instead of his family consoling my now single mother of 2, they decided it would be more appropriate to use their spare key to enter our house and clean out all his belongings while we were picking out a tombstone. All his tools, clothes, pictures (he was a model).

Thennnnn grandpa on dads side takes my mom to court while she’s mourning to try to prevent her from using his life insurance to raise us ( sister and I were 5 and 6 at the time). He wanted all the money to be set aside until we were 18. Judge pretty much threw his case out. Needless to say, my mom distanced herself from his side I don’t speak with them either. Found this out when I was like 20.

Image source: Nazathan, Brett Sayles


Found out my Dad’s mom was a lesbian and that my “Godmother” who lived with both my Grandfather and Grandmother was actually her lover. They slept in the same bed while my Grandfather had his own room. Growing up I had no idea, but as I got older I pieced it together… But I loved them all and still do (RIP).

Image source: Historian_Acrobatic, PNW Production


I always thought my two older brothers got addicted to drugs because of their own decisions and the people they hung out with. It turns out that my dad had been feeding them pills since they were about 10 to “shut them up.” Years I held resentment against them for not being good older brothers like they should have only to find out that it was my father who I had praised all those years that was truly evil.

Edit: wow, wasn’t expecting all of this lol. Just to address some of the comments: My brother’s are doing mostly fine now. Both struggled but eventually found sobriety. Luckily enough family didn’t give up on them. We have a pretty good relationship now and none of us hold anything against each other. We realize that none of us are to blame for the sins of our father. Not sure where dad is, no contact for about a decade now. In contrast, mom was and still is an angel. With her showing me who to be and my dad showing me exactly who NOT to be, I think I turned out pretty okay. A lot of the time the cycle just continues but my brother’s and I managed to break it. I’m sorry to every one who has gone through something similar, thank you for sharing your stories as well. Hope everyone finds their peace some day. Love you.

Image source: TheGoochAssassin, Towfiqu barbhuiya


Found this out after my grandfather died. Growing up every older guy in the neighborhood would say how tough he was. I mean he was the most intimidating man Id ever met, you would jump if he sneezed. Im not even exaggerating. But Id never seen him actually fight. But everyone, and I mean everyone, women and men, would say he never lost a fight and usually never had to throw more than one punch to knock someone out. Simply put he was a bad m**********r. But growing up he would always preach to me and my cousins to never fight if you could help it. Just walk away. If theyre insulting you just walk away. Its only words. Sticks and stones and all that. Hed drill it into our heads that you never fight unless you have to and never under any circumstances do you throw the first punch. Ever. I was kind of confused. Every older person in our neighborhood would tell me how nobody f****d with “Blackie” because of how many people he knocked out, and he would always tell us NOT to fight. Turns out when he was in his 20s he got into a fight with someone. Apparently the guy kept insulting him and wouldnt leave him alone. Finally he had enough and cracked the guy. Knocked him out with one punch. Problem is when he landed he hit his head on a step. It was lights out for good. K****d him with one punch. I had never heard this story and confused about how he didnt get locked up. Turns out he did. Got like 15-20 years or something like that. Then WW 2 happened. When I was a kid Id always ask my mom how my grandfather entered the war, was he drafted or volunteered? Shed say oh it was like the movie The Dirty Dozen. Which I had never seen or had any interest in when I was young so I had no idea what that meant. Turns out the Army made him a deal. Go to the front lines in Japan. If you live well expunge your record. If not, oh well. He went. Things made a lot more sense after that.

Image source: TripleSkeet


That my adorable nerdy mom spent 3 years in prison for being an accessory to hiding a body in the late 70s.

Image source: OkiDokiPanic


I found out when I was in my early 30’s that my mom hadn’t only had 4 kids, but actually 6 but gave 2 up for adoption before I was born. Also, i was the last baby she had with some rando before she married my stepdad and she had intended to give me up for adoption, as well.

Silver lining? One of the babies she gave up contacted her a few years after I learned about this and now I have an awesome new brother!

Image source: Pandora1685, Daiga Ellaby


That my grandma didn’t lose her leg to cancer, she lost it because she got injured helping my grandpa fix the roof, and my grandpa was too cheap to have it fixed properly so he told the doctor to cut it off.

Image source: Aggressive-Bat-4000, David Brown


When my grandma’s gentleman friend was admitted into a care home for his dementia they had a problem in verifying his medical records. As he deteriorated he lost his Irish accent and would occasionally speak in German. He was a child during WW2.
My Parents reckon he was probably a Jewish escapee

Image source: Fragmented-Rooster, Matthias Zomer


That my biological mother used to give me pills as a baby and toddler to control me then drop me off at my grandmother’s house when she couldn’t afford to share so I’d go through withdrawals but no one would no what was wrong. Needless to say, I was put up for adoption to get me away from that

Image source: spagyrum, Annie Spratt


My grandpa (15) kidnapped my grandma (14) from a convent. No one even bothered looking for her thereafter cause she was an orphan and didn’t even know who her family was. They had 16 children together.

Image source: afa78, Farhan Al-Gifari


My relatives were a wealthy, childless couple in Chicago. Their housekeeper, who had a baby, took ill and was hospitalized. The couple took the baby to California and raised her as their own. This baby (Marie) grew up without siblings, as my grandmother’s cousin. Marie discovered the truth as an adult, by accident. Even though this kidnapping happened over 100 years ago, I always wondered what became of that poor woman who was released from the hospital to find her baby had been kidnapped by her employers. I have a set of china dishes from Marie that I use at Thanksgiving, every year. Wild story.

Image source: _ItsTheLittleThings_, cottonbro studio


My dads first cousin is Kenneth McDuff. We saw the Americas Most Wanted episode when it aired and were so surprised to hear about a McDuff, not knowing he was a relative.

Image source: lolabam3, garylavergne


My great grand-parents got drunk and locked two of my uncle’s out of the house late at night in the middle of winter. My great-grandparents wouldn’t wake up and my uncles couldn’t get in, so they tried to walk to their grandma’s house that was like 15 miles away, and one of them froze to death and the other had to have is feet and hands amputated because of frostbite. My great-grandparents lied about what happened and said they snuck out.

It was in the newspaper and was made out to be this heartbreaking story, about two dumb little kids who snuck out in the middle of the night because they wanted to see their grandma.

Image source: _Shape-Shifter


My grandfather had severely scarred legs from burns he got as a kid. Growing up we were told that he was in a fire in an apartment building and sustained the burns while escaping. He died when I was 7, and one of my few memories of him is an image of those scarred legs. Well, when I was 23, my great aunt (his sister), told me that it wasn’t a fire. Their father ran a bath with scalding water and put my grandfather in it as a punishment.

Image source: idksomeusername42, mk. s


WHY THE NEIGHBORS MOVED: I was pretty young when this happened so the details won’t be perfect, but the story is otherwise true. I grew up in a coastal town and we had some neighbors whom I really liked. My parents were friends with them, their kids were roughly my age. Wonderful! We played together all the time. One day they very suddenly moved. I was a bit confused as there had been no clue that they were going. I remember some police cars and the moving vans weeks later, but that was it. My mother told me that the kids grandmother had become very ill ( the cops came to tell the family) and they left emergently to care for her and never came back. I was only about 5….. seemed legit. Many years later, as an adult, and long since moved away from that area… my parents and I were reminiscing over our old home. I mentioned that I wondered what ever happened to them. That’s when my mom told me the truth. The parents had gone out that night on a date and left the kids with a 14 yr old babysitter. When they returned home they found the sitter dead. Someone had broken into the home. My mom stated the cops think the sitter pretended to be the only one home to protect the kids. When the parents got home they checked the kids were safe and set them back to sleep. The police obviously immediately came. Once the kids were hard asleep the parents picked them up, put blankets over their heads, asked the cops to be silent as they walked them out, and took them out of the house. They gave the kids the same story my parents told me. Gramma was sick and they were going to live with her. Gramma dutifully played along with the ruse for several weeks until the parents could find a new home to live in. The kids were kept unaware of what had happened just mere feet from them as they didn’t want the kids to be forever terrified of it happening again. Not sure if the kids ever eventually figured out the truth of that one.

Image source: Duffarum, https://unsplash.com/photos/EzmfUgcKrt4

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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dark family history, dark family secrets, dark family stories, family, family secret, skeletons in the closet
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