No family is perfect. As much as the key to healthy relationships is honesty and trust, it's difficult to be a completely open book to your parents, siblings, and extended family. Here are the juicy secrets people keep from their families:
#1 Escaping Danger
I plan on going out of state for college so that I can be myself without fear of my family knowing. I also plan on cutting ties with them when I grow up. I'm an atheist and bi (closeted on both) and my family is Muslim and homophobic so they'll disown me if I tell them anyways. My family is pretty abusive so I feel no love for them. I'm honestly just using them for shelter and food until I'm old enough to leave.
#2 A Sad Reality
That my dog saved my life. When I was 14, I was pretty depressed, and after a particularly difficult day at school (I was not exactly popular) I was really close to ending it all. I started getting it set up, but my dog came running in and wanted to play. If he didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be here today. It’s hard for me to type this because I’m putting him down in a few minutes. He has been living in pain for a long time and has reached the end of his life. I’m crying really freaking hard right now but I know it’s the right thing to do.
#3 Avoiding A Witch Hunt
I was taken advantage of when I was young, and my parents know it happened, but I still refuse to tell them any of the details. I’m from a small town, and there might be a witch hunt; plus, I honestly never saw the person, so there’s no point in bringing it up. It happened at a sleepover, so there’s only so many people that could have done it, but ultimately, I’d just probably get called a liar... again.
#4 Cable Work
I quit my job with the cable company a year earlier than I told them. The pressure and stress from that job became overwhelming and it was right around the time my grandmother passed away. I legit dropped everything and worked at a car dealership for a year before I got my insurance licenses. My life is a lot better at this job and I don't regret any of the decisions I've made.
#5 Joy Of Life
They'll never know how depressed I really am, because, I cannot and do not want to burden them. They are the best thing in my world and do make it better. They are responsible for what joy I do have. I watch my kids closely, mental issues I'll deal with at the root and start if they exhibit themselves. My wife knows about my struggles, just, not how present they are, so it's not a complete secret. But it's the one thing I won't tell them.
#6 Video Games
I have a friend I play video games with, and being the good child, I asked my parents before I voice chatted with him and they LOST it. They say I could be talking to 50-year-old, but he literally streams on Twitch so I actually know he is who he says he is. He's just a kid around my age who plays video games, but nope. Anyone I talk to online is automatically a dangerous person. So now I don't tell them anything.
#7 Different Beliefs
My religion, or rather, the lack thereof. When I was a kid, I remember seeing my mom cry because her friend's son came out as an atheist as she imagined the horror of knowing your kid is going to hell. I'm an adult so it's not like I can "get in trouble" if my parents find out, but I don't want to put them through that. I don't believe my eternal soul will rot in hell forever—why should they?
#8 Struggling With Life
How much I struggle with my life, mainly with anxiety and how I struggle to recognize my emotions and to communicate them or to handle them in general. Most people don't understand depression. I used to think it will pass but I'm pretty old now and still get very tense in confrontations, loud noises, things out my control. If I had a be monitor it would show wild changes often.
#9 The Surprise
That I know that I was a mistake and feel like a burden to them. My family was living very comfortably in a different country when they emigrated to the UK. Shortly after, my mom got pregnant with me, which was a “surprise." They faced numerous different struggles as immigrants but having a toddler (my older sister) and a newborn child (me) didn’t make it easier. For a while now, I’ve been thinking back on our life and I feel as if I was a burden to them and I hindered their progress in their careers. Their life would have been so much better if they just didn’t have me.
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#10 Trying To Do Better
That most days I’m too broke to even buy my son diapers. I often have to choose between diapers and baby wipes, and something I need for myself like shampoo or underwear. They also don’t know that I have severe depression. The only reason I am still alive is for my son. No one will love him or take care of him better than me. And I will not leave him to suffer through life like I did because my mom bailed on me. I have a responsibility towards him and I don’t care if I never buy myself anything ever again. He’s my baby and I will not fail him as my parents failed me.
#11 A Forced Passion
I dropped out of college. It was never-ending, and I was exhausted. They forced me into graphic design, and while I don't mind it, I'd prefer to never do it professionally. I'm more of a freelancer. They wanted their only kid to go to college and graduate, and I couldn't even give them that. Most people can't imagine parents forcing a kid into graphic design—that's the sort of major parents berate their kid for joining.
#12 Age Is Just A Number?
I have no intention of telling my parents that I am in a committed relationship with a person who is much, much older than me. I told my sister when my partner and I first got together, but then I told her that we had broken up because I couldn’t stand her constantly asking about it and pressuring me to tell our parents. I love being in our little bubble. I hope you and your partner are very happy and spend many more years together.
#13 Losing Love
I no longer love my parents anymore and I haven't for years. I don't want to say they were the reason my mental health, self-esteem, and daily life are messed up by them. I tried so hard to find a job and this pandemic ended my chances of it. My parents were toxic to me growing up and still are, from physical, emotional, and mental abuse growing up. I have a lot of memories being scared to death. I just want to move out, begin to accept my life and move on.
#14 Summer School
Honestly, 75% of everything I’ve done or experienced is a secret to my family. The most wholesome is that all those years of school were spent just me waking up early to hit the skatepark. My mom still thinks that summer school was a “punishment” I went through. Shout out to my middle and high schools for never contacting them too. Every time I would come home, I was certain that they would give me the whole “your teacher called” but they never did.
#15 Generous Gifter
For the past two years, I’ve been pulling a “Santa” on my parents by buying gifts for them. I would go to the mall with my friends and then put the gifts under the tree when they are all asleep... It's still a family secret and I don’t know if they suspect me. But it’s really funny, I highly recommend if you are a good liar. Make sure you buy new wrapping paper too, so they don’t recognize it.
#16 No More Interest
If my family wasn't here, I wouldn't be either. I have no interest in this world, and I get the feeling that my personality will keep anyone from falling in love with me. I bottle all of my pain and hatred up inside, and I take it out on them sometimes. It kills me. It makes me want to die. I love them, but I'm a cruel, miserable person who has no one to blame but myself.
#17 Father Issues
I hate my father for what he did to my mother and I hate her for standing by him and telling me that I basically can never confront him. He's straight-up fine with me lying to him when I tell him I love him. He knows I don't. But he told me he couldn't take it if I didn't. Obviously, I'll never raise a hand against him but my mom told me today that whatever mistakes they've made, she's glad I turned out to be a good person. I'm not good, actually, so I have to keep up that charade until I die or they do.
#18 My Kinks
My parents managed to find out about my first two purchases and things went alright. I never inform them of my purchases unless they somehow extract it out of me. Honestly, I should make them never question my purchases again by going into more detail about a purchase. That might allow them to be comfortable talking about it. I should just go into fanfic level detail about my fantasies.
#19 Seeing The Humor
I'm very obviously gay but still closeted. If my family knows, but they just don't talk about it or mention it. I'm out to most people I know, the rest I thought would've hopefully guessed. But the other week, my friend told me her friend had a crush on me and the same week I overheard my grandpa complementing me to my parents: "He's always surrounded by the ladies, that one." I've got to be honest, I found both instances more hilarious than anything else.
#20 Deeply Personal
13 years ago, when I was 16, I gave birth to a stillborn daughter. I didn’t know I was pregnant until a month before I lost her. My family has no clue. Things are much different these days (I'm happy in life, I have a good relationship with family due to what will hopefully be my first surviving child in August) and the past doesn’t hurt me now. It’s just a private thing that has remained secret because it’s deeply personal, and I didn’t have a healthy relationship with my family at the time.
#21 Hiding The Pain
I used to hide my depression from them. I finally felt alone enough (my sister was in the same boat, but I moved across the country) for it to become a problem. I don't think I've ever had such a hard time telling my parents something in my life. The worst part was that even if they expected it from my sister, it came as a huge shock to them that I had the same problem. So, on top of feeling bad for keeping it from them, I felt even worse for making them believe they did something wrong with our upbringing. (They're exactly the parents I want everyone to have, loving, supporting and fun. Their reaction is honestly one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever seen from them).
#22 Gold Mine
I found some valuable stuff at my grandfather's house... well, under it... while looking for tools and stuff. Some jewelry, gold coins and old war bonds I think. It's all in a safety deposit box waiting for when this is all over so I can get a lawyer to look at it. They would tear themselves apart if they knew this was there. I'm half tempted to throw it out there just to see what happens, to be honest.
#23 The ADHD Lie
I was diagnosed with ADHD and have been taking Adderall to treat it for almost five years. I made it all up. I am not ADHD, but what I am now is addicted to Adderall. I can no longer function without it. I began abusing it last year and running out before my prescription was ready to be refilled. My doctor took me off it and it was the worst two months of my life. I was listless, depressed, lethargic, completely uninterested in life, unable to concentrate and focus and severe social anxiety. I got my doctor to put me back on it.
#24 For The Greater Good
How much I'm struggling. I have mental health issues (diagnosed and medicated), which are mostly under control. But any whisper of anything wrong and my family panic and go overboard with worry, making themselves miserable and me worse in the process. So now I hide it. I also hide how badly off I am financially, and lie to them about having enough groceries in, because I know they'd be disappointed in me.
#25 Two-Way Street
I like both men and women. It's probably a normal one for a lot of people, but when I tried to tell them years ago, it was the classic laugh in my face and tell me it’s a phase thing. They’re always asking who I am dating and when I say “no one,” it means “a lovely amazing woman that makes me feel like sunshine and you will never get the honor of meeting her.”
#26 The Revelation
My whole family consists of die-hard Christians, I am named after Christianity too. But I’ve been thinking a lot about religion and I became an atheist. I am afraid to tell them because I know they will do everything to get me to “convert back” and I just want to live my life with no outside influences. I want to be the best version of myself. I don’t want to be pressured by this “God” and to “be holy,” I just want to not worry about religious practices. I am also planning to tell them when I move out.
#27 They Don't Deserve It
I came out, but they took it badly, and they used to freeze up and go quiet when I'd talk about my partner at the time. My sister gave me heck for being hurt by the fact they didn't support me, so now none of them get to know anything about who I'm dating or if I ever get married and have kids. If I do get a wife and kids someday, they won't be welcome to contact them until they drop their homophobic nonsense. I know this is going to be hardest on my mom if it ever happens, she loves kids and grandchildren, but I'm not going to put my hypothetical kids in a situation where their grandma can tell them it's wrong that they have two moms.
#28 Just Not Ready
That four years ago, my husband had a vasectomy. We both don't want children but as the only daughter, my family expects me to be a mother. I've been able to use the excuse of "maybe I'll consider it after I finish college" since I started later in life and am now 29, but I anticipate graduating in December of this year now so I'm uncertain of how I'll proceed. Telling them will break their hearts.
#29 A Couple Of Things
I have a couple of things. 1) I'm an atheist. I haven't told fair and square, just because I haven't thought it's the right time. I'm sure they'll be supportive if I do tell them, but for now, it's my little secret. 2) I'm not sure about whether I want to finish school. Like, I am a pretty good student, but I just can't find interest in it anymore.
#30 Negative Environments
I need therapy in a large part because of my mom. I could never tell her that, but most of my EMDR sessions are about the shit she ingrained into me—all of these negative impressions of myself. Also, my ex-husband spent three years emotionally hurting me. They never liked him to begin with, but I don't want to give them another reason because I'm embarrassed by it and the fact that I chose to marry him.
#31 Obsessed With TV
I don't love my wife but I find it super hard to divorce because she keeps threatening to end herself. Anyway, I won't endure much longer. I HATE television and she loves it. Any day now I will just lose it and call it quits if she starts to watch that stuff at full blast again. I had a pretty happy life alone and now I'm miserable married. No two people are equal. Marriage isn't for me. Some people are really great on their own, like me.
#32 Health Is Wealth
Earlier this year I did the whole, "I'm going to take care of myself, healthwise, this year." I am not an unhealthy person, just overweight and I need to reign that in. In February, I got a new GP and he did a physical and full blood panel. Well... my blood panel came back with abnormalities. Since then, I have seen three other doctors in an effort to figure out just where in my body this abnormality happening. It took a scary turn and I had two biopsies done two weeks ago. I am absolutely terrified of what could be happening in my body and the ONLY person who knows I am going through anything is my husband. I just don't want my family to have more to worry about right now.
#33 Money Leeching
Money. My whole family is a bunch of deadbeats. I stopped telling them how much money I made a long time ago. It kind of sucks because I’ve had huge career milestones and don’t tell my parents or siblings anymore because I fear they’ll come asking for money. I also don’t drive a nice car or have a really nice house, because again, because I don’t want to tip them off.
#34 The Will Is Gone
I'm not interested in living despite having a good, wonderful life and all that jazz. I don't want a successful career, I don't want a beautiful wife. I DON'T WANT TO BE. I just want to stop existing. Like, erased from history or something. Honestly, for me, there's nothing in the universe big enough to justify going through all the nonsense life has to offer. The only reason why I haven't pressed the quit button yet is because of my parents. I can't do this to them, but it is how I feel. Call me weak or selfish, but I don't care.
#35 What's In A Name?
That I don't like my name. I'm non-binary, but I have a female name and it makes me uncomfortable. All my friends know about it and call me using various nicknames, but I'm not ready to tell my parents. It's not because they would not approve it, they are 100% supportive, but they always tell me how they love this name and that it fits me so much, so I don't want to... disappoint them? I think they might be saddened by the fact that I don't like the name they carefully choose for me.
#36 All The Wrong Reasons
I continue to be with my boyfriend even though I am unhappy a lot and he doesn't understand my point of view on a lot of things. He doesn't want to get help with his own problems (sleep issues, depression, anxiety) because if I leave him, I will have no one. No one else wants me. I'm fat and ugly. I don't want to die alone. I don't want to tell him this. It will make things worse.
#37 Doing Better
That I wasn't made redundant from my job. I was having some serious issues and that place was sucking the absolute life out of me. I quit without any future prospects. They helped me out each week if I couldn't make rent from the freelance and contract jobs I was doing. But I don't think they would have if they knew it was all my choice. I'm now working in a much better industry and much better in every aspect now though, so I figure it was all for the best.
#38 Get Me Outta Here
That I actually want to just leave. I want to drop everything and just make try to make a new life somewhere else. No one knows that I’ve not been mentally okay and when I try to explain how I feel, they don’t know what to do. No one does. But when people come to me I give them the best advice as I can and stick by their side to make sure they’re good and they turn out awesome. Sucks to think that the people that said they’ll always have my back are the ones that don’t know how to help me when I need them the most.
#39 So Much Pain
How much I’m struggling in every aspect of life right now. Emotionally, mentally, financially. They’re aware that my marriage has ended, but not aware of the toll everything has taken on me. The fact that I’m effectively trapped in a house with minimal distraction is only making things harder. I know I shouldn't be dealing with this by myself, but it's hard to let anyone else know my pain. It's like I want to feel it all by myself.
#40 My Riches
My family has a rough background, a lot of violence and substance use problems. I left home at 16, haven't spoken to them since, and after seven years of university, I have a pretty high-paying job. I have to constantly ask websites to take down my full name because if my family found out, I'd be swamped with messages asking for money that would go straight to harmful things. They already have an idea after I didn't catch a result fast enough, so it doesn't really matter and I loosened up my social media. But I still hide my income.
#41 Hard Times
I was marked with two absences in my Spanish and English classes one day. When my parents asked what happened, I blamed it on cramps and they just believed me. I actually was forced to go to guidance by my English teacher after she found out I was skipping and crying under the stairs. It goes farther than that. My parents still don't know why my ex-boyfriend and I broke up and why I haven't talked to my "best friend" in two months. I'm sure they connected the dots to assume they're dating now, but man, the whole story is even more messed up. I've been acting overly happy around my parents so they don't suspect that recently I've been crushed by just everything happened.
#42 Bad Outcome
I grew up in a very toxic family. I was having trouble sleeping by 15 and my mother sent me to a shrink. For the first session, she stayed in the room with us as I talked to the doctor. He asked me how I felt about my parents and it was just painful having to say that I loved them because she was in the room with us. The truth was that I hated them. I felt totally controlled by her and hated by my father.
I regretted that comment for the rest of my life. In the next session, the doctor asked my mother to leave the room so we could talk in private. She canceled the therapy right after. My biggest regret is staying in the same town as they were when growing up. I should have moved to another town and gone to college. Instead, she convinced me that I don't need higher education and get a job. I now live alone in the woods and can't relate to people very well.
#43 On My Own
My depression, my anxiety, and my bisexuality. The crazy thing is that I actually HAVE mentioned it to my family, but they just either didn't hear me, pretend to not hear me, or some other messed up reason. So now I keep it a secret and just don't bring it up or talk about it. I've tried several times to try and talk them, before, but it's just never worked or ended very very badly. I'm on my own.
#44 Looking Into Law
That I'm interested in law. My mom indoctrinated me so much with the idea of becoming a lawyer, so when I got in my "rebellious phase," I started hating everything that involves the law. But recently, I started to get some interest in it (not enough to study it, but still). If I tell her that I have some interest in it, she would get in her "I'm the boss" mode and will try to take my freedom and guilt trip me into studying law.
#45 Survival Tactics
If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here; but if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have had such a hard life. They are the reason so many bad things happened to me, they are the reason I have such bad self-esteem issues or trust issues or have so many mental health issues. I would've been so much better off if they just adopted me out to some other family. Also, they won't know exactly the mental illnesses I have because they are overly judgemental and would get me locked in a looney bin and throw away the key... I'm a high functioning crazy person who hides who I really am purely out of survival.
#46 Lost Connections
How little of an emotional connection I have with almost all of them. My mom and I are close but once I'm done with college, I don't really see myself talking to any of them again. I also would never tell my mom how much I struggle with things mentally because I would feel too guilty since she always blames herself for everything. My family has just kind of messed up my view of how interpersonal relationships should work and I hope if I ever have a family I can do a better job.
#47 In Too Deep
That I’m gay. I tried telling my mom once but she just laughed me off when I mustered the words out and since then we’ve both pretended it never happened. I’m a junior in college and I’ve actually been in a relationship with my girlfriend for almost 5 years. I’ve met her family and I’ve even been on family vacations with her and her family. We have plans to get married in a few years. I’m terrified of my family finding out because I know they’d stop paying for my college and more importantly disown me. I love my family but I also love my girlfriend.
#48 Completely Silenced
My emotions and opinions are dead, and they killed them. Every time I opened up to them, they used it as ammo to shut me down further. So I stopped feeling things to combat them. Now they wonder why I don't talk to them on a personal level anymore. They won't find out either, because if they do, I'll be the bad guy all over again for trying to retain my own sanity. Fortunately, that's my only gripe on them. They're otherwise very respectable people.
#49 Waiting To Heal
That I hate being around them and if I could, I would move far, far away and never look back. I have a lot of resentment for how they used, abused and then abandoned me. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. I wish I could just let it all out, but I know it would only make things worse for me. Don't worry, I'm trying to get therapy so that I can heal. Still won't forgive their actions, but I need to let go of the hurt for my kids, my husband and especially my own sake.
#50 The Wrong Upbringing
With the way I was raised, I could never tell my family (or friends) that I honestly don’t see a point in this world. I don’t mean it in a super depressing manner (it's nothing life-threatening), but if I were to randomly die the next day, I wouldn’t be mad about it. I was born and raised in a religious household and I was in the closet growing up, so that could have been an issue.