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Do perfect families exist? It might look that way from the outside. But there are always dark family secrets. How do you deal with a secret your family doesn’t want to talk about? Without crossing the line too far into “poor taste” territory, I’ll just say this: sometimes the truth can be hard to admit, especially when it’s so horrifying that no one else around you wants to hear it. These messed up family tales will show you that no family is perfect, and in fact, some family secrets may actually be better left unsaid.
“My mother told me a story about being at a small funeral in the late 1950s, east Texas. The ‘deceased’ was mentally challenged, and the family was relieved to have the child at peace. During the service, the coffin began to rock, and crying was heard, then she was taken outside and watched as the coffin was carried to the cemetery next to the church and hurriedly buried. I was telling my kids this years later, and my mother walked in the room, listened for a moment, and asked, ‘Are you telling them about Uncle Chucky?'” [Source]
“My great-grandparents were first cousins. They had two sons who were severely intellectually disabled, and instead of putting them in an institution – which is what everyone did at the time – my great-grandparents bought a farm out in the country and kept them home. They both died fairly young. My grandmother never mentioned any of this, I found out after she died by doing some genealogical research.
Also my maternal grandmother had a stillborn son. She told me about giving birth to him one day – I was her caregiver in the last year before she died – and how they buried him at the feet of a single woman who had died. My mother and none of her siblings knew any of this. She also had two miscarriages. So 8 pregnancies and 5 kids.” [Source]
He Had To Get Out
“It’s kind of weird.
My dad was involved with some criminals in California. It wasn’t like the Black List or something, but they organized and did some pretty bad things. My dad doesn’t tell me much, but I do remember that we moved to Ohio for no real reason.
Years later, I’m talking to him about my family history, and ask him why we moved so far from the family. My father was quiet for a few minutes and just breathing heavily.
Me: “Dad, something wrong?”
Dad: “Son, we moved because I saw a man kill a baby and I had to get out of that organization.”
I just moved on. I don’t even KNOW anything about my father’s past, and now I’m sure I dont want to.” [Source]
“My grandpa on my mom’s side had another family on the side. When he died my grandmother’s name was put on his gravestone. The other family chiseled it out.” [Source]
The Sad Ending Of Jim Harris
“My cousin is very serious about his genealogy hobby. He finds relatives we didn’t know existed and jets out to meet them, exchanging stories, tintypes, and the like. Back in 2007 he was visiting such relatives in Iowa and discovered that our ancestor committed suicide by cutting his throat with a pocket-knife while on board a U.P. Train, about 6 miles west of Kearney, Nebraska. I have a transcribed account of the December 1881 newspaper story, which was unnervingly detailed. The headline reads, ‘THE SAD ENDING OF JIM HARRIS’. It is a very spooky, interesting read.” [Source]
One Drunken Night
“Before I start, I should explain that I am the spitting image of my mother both physically and mentally.
One time, my mother was drunk. Like, very drunk. It was actually the first time I’d ever seen her drunk. I was about 15, and it was just her and I in the house. This was a particularly stressful year for my mother, and on that day she’d lost a patient she’d been working with for over a decade, so it was a rough day for that woman.
And for some reason, she started talking to me like I was her. It was like she was speaking to her past self. And she talked to me like that for two hours, and I just listened while she wept, raged and cried.
She revealed all of the abuse she’d been put through growing up. She told me things not even my father knew about her past. She told me about how she watched her grandfather die, because her mother wouldn’t let her take him to the hospital. She told me about how she had to start paying rent at 14, or she’d be put on the streets. She alluded to sexual abuse, and blatantly spoke about physical beatings, and mental abuse she was put through because of her mother.
Then, she started speaking to her past-self about how it was going to get so much better for her. She started talking about how hard she worked to get herself out of that life, and how much she “will accomplish” when she “will be able to leave that house.”
It was a weird experience, and I think in some way it helped my mother a lot. It was like she was able to go back in time, and tell herself “it will get better” and it reassured her a lot to do that.
She doesn’t seem to remember any of it. It was a surreal moment for me.
My siblings only know that our grandmother is a bitch, but they don’t know about the abuse. My father knows about some of the abuse. But she told me all of it.” [Source]
“The mum remarried when her kids were quite young to a new “perfect stepdad”. Roll on ten years and the 15-year-old daughter notices something in the bathroom while she’s showering. It was a webcam, planted there by the stepdad. That’s not the darkest part though. The darkest part is that her mum forgave him for filming her 15-year-old daughter in the bath and on the toilet, told the daughter she would always put her husband first and arranged for her daughter to go and live with her nan.” [Source]
“They kept their handicapped son locked up. Most people didn’t even know he existed. They made his room like a padded cell and just left him in bed all the time with a nurse coming to bathe, feed and rotate him. His parents didn’t even talk to him or look at him often.” [Source]
They Wanted For Nothing
“When I was a kid I knew a set of twins who were friends with my older sister.
The twins (both female), were straight-A students and always dressed modestly. Neither girl was allowed to date and their parents owned a huge house with multiple cars and the girls never seemed to want for anything.
Anyway, a few years later the parents were busted because apparently they owned another house a few streets away, (less lavish) and they were running a brothel out of it with girls the same age as their daughters – who were around 18 at this time and both in university.
I just found it very ironic that they were so protective over their own daughters but were whoring out other people’s daughters.” [Source]
Watch Out For Her Soup
“My grandma (on my dad’s side) put bleach in my mother’s soup, essentially because she wasn’t happy with my father’s decision for a wife because my mom’s not a full-blooded Ukrainian. My dad caught wind of this and my family hasn’t spoken to her since.” [Source]
Curiosity Got The Better Of Her
“I found out over Christmas whilst doing a family history search online that my dad had fathered 2 children by a different woman about 20 years ago. Side note – He and my mother have been married for over 35 years. His name brought up results for not only myself and my two brothers births, but 2 other births. He has very unusual first and last names so curiosity got the better of me, and I started to find out more.
The births were registered in north of England, in the Newcastle area. This rang alarm bells immediately because my dad had worked in this region for 5 years with the company he worked for in the early 90’s. I was only a little kid and I missed him so much and so did my brothers and mum, he worked on a 2 week on, 2 week off rota though so he was always back and forth.
Then I dug a little deeper. Just to confirm. I found the children (now grown women) Facebook pages. They still used the last name given to them at birth (our fathers). I didn’t contact them because I had a suspicion they’d have no idea they had siblings and my suspicions were confirmed when I contacted their mother on there instead.
At first I told him I was a “relative” of my dads and I wanted to know more about any children he potentially had because I was trying to track him down. She confirmed that he was the father of her children after I sent her some details and a photo from that time. She proved it 100% by scanning and sending me copies of the birth certificates and some photos she had of him and their daughters when they were just babies and she told me to call her.
I called her – I can’t say I was ever nervous or anxious about this call but I remember feeling livid. Livid at him mostly, for what he’d done to my mother and us as a family whilst he had supposedly been working hard and “all alone” up north whilst his wife and children sat on their thumbs in Wales patiently waiting for his return every two weeks for five years.
I told her my name and that I was actually his daughter, his only daughter I thought up until that moment and that I had two other brothers who were older and my parents had in fact, been married for over 35 years. This poor woman screeched down the phone crying. She never knew any of this. When she met my father it was in a pub in Newcastle about 3 months after he had moved up there. He said he was single and didn’t have any family, and was from Wales (but he lied about the area in which he grew up). A couple of months later they were expecting their first born and about a year after that a second daughter. She said when he went back to Wales every two weeks she thought it was for work related stuff and that he would call every other evening from a local phone box because he didn’t have a landline.
When the daughters were just little kids (the oldest being about 3) he left one day to go to Wales and work and never came back. She tried to contact his company he worked for and they said he no longer worked for them. This was around about the time to my knowledge his 5 years in Newcastle was up, he had left the company and moved back to Wales. Because he had lied about where he lived in Wales, she was unable to track him and now being left with two girls and no job, she had to get on with it. After about a month she realized he wasn’t going to contact them again and he was gone – wherever.
She didn’t have a clue he had a massive family with wife and kids and a mortgage and a dog back home in Wales and if she had she definitely would not of got into a relationship with him, least of all had kids.
I haven’t brought it up with him obviously because of my mother but Christmas was so difficult for me personally knowing this. For two days leading up to Christmas I got so blind drunk and fucked up I slept for 18 hours straight on Christmas day and missed the whole thing. My father was fuming I’d “ruined Christmas” and I very nearly then exploded but I kept my mouth shut. Then, on Boxing Day I got a call again from the mother in Newcastle telling me she had told her daughters very delicately what had happened (I had contacted her, revealed everything) and that she will leave it up to them to decide what to do. So far, they have done nothing. I have not been in contact with them at all and vice versa since. However, the mother did call me around February time to check in with me and see how I was (she’s a very nice Woman) and was curious if I was visiting the North in the future and if she would like to meet them. I told her I would think about it. I’m actually visiting Newcastle for a hen party in 2 months, so I’m thinking about it more.
Part of me hopes one day they come knocking on our door – because they know where to go now. Part of me doesn’t because of my Mother. Over the past 7 months my relationship with my father has disintegrated and is the chief cause of his “stress”. It’s so bad he’s telling me it’s exacerbating his heart condition (which he is on pills for). My parents are laying it down to some kind of “mid-20’s rebellion” because I didn’t have a rebellion when I was a teenager apparently- I just want to kick him in the face every time I see him.
The next step in this saga is to tell my eldest brother. He is serious and mature and will be able to deal with it a bit better I think. He’s never had a great relationship with my dad for some reason so I’d like him to know. His wife (my best friend) already knows there is something wrong with me because I think I’m pretty much having a breakdown over it. The burden is too tough. I’m even struggling with my job. Part of the reason I want them to knock on our door looking for their dad is so that the weight is lifted, but how do you go back from that? My mother is a proud but fragile woman and it will destroy her.” [Source]
The Black Sheep
“My father was always treated as the black sheep of the family, and I asked my dad why. He told me that his father used to be a traveling salesman, and slept with another woman while on the road. His mother found out, confronted his father, and a huge fight ensued that ended with his father raping her. My dad was the product of this sexual assault, and my grandmother never hesitated to treat him worse than his siblings, or to tell him why.” [Source]
The Stray Bullet
“My paternal grandfather was shot and killed. I knew this for a number of years, but never received any more information, and I was consistently told by my father that it was a “stray bullet”. Finally after researching my family line, my sister and I came across a news article about his death. My grandfather had left my grandmother, and was staying in a hotel while going through the divorce. He was shot and killed in that room. My grandmother was the prime suspect, and it was concluded that she hired someone to kill her soon to be ex-husband. It was never proven, and she was never charged.
My father and aunt are certain she did it, and wouldn’t speak to her between his death and until hers. When she died she left all of her and their late father’s money, a large fortune, to her college, none to her children. They took legal action to get some of the money (ended up being a little less than 5% each) on the grounds that she had murdered their father to keep his money. She was also apparently an insane alcoholic and emotionally abusive shut in, but I learned that one from other stories I heard about their childhood in Long Island.” [Source]
A Round Of Football
“My grandfather was in The Pacific Theatre of World War II. He told me that when they were on Okinawa they found these Japanese soldiers raping and killing women in a small village. His unit went in and shot some of the soldiers and disarmed the rest. They held the soldiers up in front of the rest of the village and cut off their heads while they were still screaming. After that he said they played a round of football with the Japanese officer’s head. He showed me pictures they took after the incident. Scarred for life.” [Source]
The Picture On The Mantle
“It wasn’t necessarily a secret, but nobody talked about the picture on the mantle at my aunt and uncle’s. I found out a few years ago that they had lost their oldest child (of 3) when he was 11 to leukemia. He had been my dad’s best friend.
Changed a lot about who they were and gave me new perspective on them. Sweetest people ever, but there is a never-ending sadness there. Parents should never have to bury their children.” [Source]
“My uncle was sexually molested by the deacon of their church as a kid. When he tried telling his parents, they didn’t believe him because in the 1950s the reputation of the accused was more important. It continued for six years until he became too old. He began drinking at 14 and by 18 he had a serious addiction to alcohol, benzos and quaaludes. He was caught trying to steal a car and given the option of jail or joining the army. He joined the army and was promptly sent to Vietnam for three years.
He came home from the army and at age 25 began acting strangely. He would cut his hands and feet to resemble stigmata and insist that spies from the Vatican were telling lies about him to the neighborhood. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with religious-based hallucinations and delusions.
My family had him committed to the Illinois state psychiatric hospital and he seemed to get a little better there, but was still very much mentally ill. This past July, the hospital he was in was closed by the governor. My uncle was given the option to go into a group home facility or to try independent living. He chose the latter and we haven’t seen or heard from him since July 2nd when the facility closed.” [Source]
“My grandfather was in Vietnam, and he witnessed a napalm strike. There was a little girl who crawled to him, screaming and begging for help, and my grandpa was too shocked to do anything. He shot her on the head to put her out of her misery. He said she couldn’t have been more than 5.” [Source]
A Big Permanent Marker
“One day my grandfather started dressing up to leave the house (it was the middle of winter in Canada). I was about 4 or 5 years old, and the only other person home. I asked him where he was going, and he replied, “This is the last time you’ll ever see me again.” I remember not really understanding what he meant by that, since I was so young. Before he left, he wrote something down on a big piece of cardboard using a stinky, black permanent marker, and set the note down by the toaster. I couldn’t read at the time, so I have no idea what it said.
Later that evening, he still hadn’t come home yet. Eventually the cops get called, and we find out he’s dead. Apparently he went to a nearby cemetery with a bottle of vodka, sat down near a grave and drank himself into a stupor. He froze to death (he’s Russian). To her dying breath, my grandma denied there ever being a note. I know there was with absolute certainty. The marker he wrote it with remained in my grandma’s basement for many years, and I would take off the cap from time to time, and the smell was so distinctive. It would take me back to that moment every time. And now that my grandma is gone, we’ll never know what it said.” [Source]
The Grandmother Knew
“My grandfather, my mom’s father, was a disgusting man. I hope he’s burning in hell. Anyway, here’s my mom’s story…
My mom was sexually assaulted by her father from the age of 7 until the last time he did it when she was 19. My grandmother knew. My grandfather had bullets, each for each member of the family. He had their initials carved in “their” bullet. He told my mom and grandmother if they ever told, he’d shoot them both and then himself.
He also sexually assaulted at least 3 other children, including a 9-year-old girl in a grocery store bathroom.
He lived a completely free life. He was never even arrested.
My dad told me this several years ago. My mom doesn’t speak about it. My dad said he found out when he was still in law school and my mom was a school teacher. He was home before her and watching one of those talk shows. The topic was people struggling with having a past of sexual abuse. Everything on the show reminded him of my mom and he freaked out. He confronted her about it when she got home and she told him the story I repeated above. I was a very small child, like 2 at the time. My dad was pissed because she knew this and allowed my sister and I to stay with our grandparents periodically. They’re divorced now. I have no memory of ever being abused, but sometimes I wonder. I wonder more about my sister – she is 4-and-a-half years older, which I think he preferred given my mom’s age and the 9-year-old girl.
As for my mom, she told me she forgave her father on his death bed. She has always been a nutty person. We have never had a great relationship. We don’t speak much.” [Source]
“Family members told us the story that my uncle’s wife died in a car accident they were both involved in (they live out of state). After he was arrested, we found out that the “accident” was him running his convertible under a semi truck and decapitating her on purpose.” [Source]
She Still Doesn’t Understand
“My mother left her sister to die in an apartment when she should have taken her to the hospital for gastric bleeding or something to that effect. Mom still doesn’t understand why she wasn’t invited to the funeral services for her parents. She’s a classic narcissist.” [Source]
“Not really super dark, but it was supposed to be secret.
I was conceived in a threesome between my mother, my dad, and his identical twin.
Can’t get a DNA test because they’re identical twins, but the one who took on the role of uncle bought me a pony when I was a kid so it’s cool.” [Source]
“Know a brother and sister, live together in a huge mansion and both own amazing beautiful cars, clearly very affluent. One of them began dating a family friend who wasn’t so well-off.
Turns out the reason they’re so rich is because their parents were associated with some Italian mafia, and were brutally killed and sexually assaulted in front of them when they were children. They were given a huge inheritance after this event.
You would never guess, they look like they’ve had the easiest life.” [Source]
The Aunt’s Husband
“I was eight years old when I moved from northern California to southern California. My recently divorced mother and I started our journey by staying with my mom’s sister and her husband as well as their toddler child. My mom and I stayed in a room together in their home.Things were going pretty well at first, but then I noticed how mean and degrading my aunt’s husband was being towards me. I hated him for this but could do nothing because..well I was 8.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night next to my mom and my aunt’s husband was in the room. I didn’t know what to think of it as a kid and simply dismissed it. He sat me down one time, being really nice to me and buying me ice cream and told me not to tell my aunt that he was in the room. Of course I said okay, but on another day my aunt had asked me if I noticed anything weird between my mom and him and I told her he’s been in the room in the middle of the night. This is where the story started.
It became apparent that my aunt’s husband was in love with my mother. My mother refused him completely, at least as much as she could. He became obsessed with her. At this time, my mother and I had moved out to our own place. He would call her and visit her while she was at work or wherever and kept finding excuses to come over to our new home.
Eventually, it kept getting worse as my mom refused him. He managed to make a copy of our house key and had broken in a couple of times. At this point, my mom put 5 extra locks on the door to keep him out. He then started to stalk her everywhere she went. One time he showed up to her work asking for her with a bouquet of flowers. The office staff had been notified not to let him on the premises and thus escorted him out via security. He waited for her to get off of work and was waiting by her car begging her to take him. When she refused, he physically assaulted her by grabbing her wrist and slapping her in the face. A coworker of hers heard some hubbub and diffused the situation and he left.
My mom told me to stay away from him. One day at school (4th grade, 9 years old), I was waiting for my mom to pick me up after school. I was in the front of the school lot with my friend. He suddenly pulled up and told me that my mom and him are fine now and that she asked him to pick me up. I hesitated and I was kind of scared, but I went along with him anyways. Then I noticed we weren’t even going remotely towards my house. We were parking in a Target parking lot and he called my mom on his cell. He told her that he had me and that he wouldn’t let me go until she came down to talk to him. I sat there, ashamed of being played. She came and my uncle shoved me out of the car and she made me march to hers while they talked and argued. At this point, my mom came back to the car and broke down asking why this was happening.
My aunt finally got into the picture and it was time for him, her, and my mom to sit down and talk about this. They locked me and my toddler cousin (their son) in the next room where we could hear everything they were saying. I honestly can’t remember what they were saying because my cousin had been crying the whole time. I found out recently (I’m 21 now) that after that had happen and my mom went to go smoke outside, he followed behind her and put a gun to her head. She begged and pleaded, saying “I have a daughter, please don’t do this”. He backed off and that was the end of that horrible night.
There were a couple nights where we had to stay at motels to keep away from him banging on our doors. The moment I mostly remember.. My mom pulled me out of school early, claiming to me that it wasn’t safe for me right now. We rushed home in her car, him on the phone with her saying that he was coming over to end it. My mom was hysterical and begged again for him to stop all this. We went into our house, locked every single door and ran upstairs. From the window in her room, we can see the pathway leading towards our house. We watched him get out of his car and start walking towards our door, a large kitchen knife in hand. I was crying so hard while my mom was embracing me, crying as well. She was on the phone with the cops, yelling out the window that she had done so and after 10 minutes he ran off. Later on we heard that they had gone to his house and arrested him.
So after all this bullshit ended, more bullshit emerged. My aunt had begged my mom not to press charges, and tried to convince us that he’s a good guy. Up to this day, she’s still with the bastard. Most likely for financial purposes, but still…really? They’re still together, my mom and I are fine (of course with a restraining order) and haven’t seen him since then (and they live 30 minutes away..)
Twelve years after that, the incident hasn’t affected me much other than my great disdain towards anyone holding a large kitchen knife in my presence. No one else in our immediate family knew about our story. My cousin from a different aunt found out about 3 years ago when we sat her down and told her. My grandmother found out last year and from then on does not even mention his name. The one thing that kills me about all this is that my grandfather, who I respect and love more than anyone, has no clue and he loves the guy. He suffered a stroke about a year and a half ago, so we really haven’t bothered to tell him.” [Source]