The Darkest Secrets Come Out
We all have secrets. You’re probably hiding something from someone right now, and so is everyone you know. These people reveal the craziest secrets they ever discovered—or the secrets they wish they’d never found out.
1. Globe-Trotting Tramp
I grew up in a very conservative Christian home with two loving parents who were insistent on my going to church three times a week. My mother led devotions every morning and made sure we were aware of what the Bible taught about relations, marriage, obedience, etc.
When I was 18, I found my mother’s phone—but when I opened it, I made a disturbing discovery. I found some pretty trashy text messages between her and a man who was not my father. I confronted her, and she denied it.
When it was finally brought to my father’s attention, we found out that not only was she cheating on my dad but was sleeping with people professionally. She even had clients in Paris and Sweden, along with a few boyfriends in the USA. Talk about having a childhood illusion shattered.
2. Who’s Your Daddy?
My good friend, who is 28 and has two siblings in their mid-20s, also has a 15-year-old little brother. The little brother is only a half-brother but doesn’t know. Their mom moved out when the kids were in middle school, lived with another man for a year, and the man left her when she got pregnant.
The dad took her back in and raised the now 15-year-old as his own. Of course, the older siblings knew because they were in middle school at the time, so it was pretty obvious because of the timing. The parents have actually asked that they not tell the little brother, though, because they don’t want him to feel less loved by his “dad”.
3. Take Note—Something’s Off
When I was about six, I came home from school with my mom, picked up the mail, and put it on the table. Among the letters I saw a note addressed to me that said, “I’ve noticed you looking down lately. Let me take you shopping and cheer you up. Love, Paul”.
Before I had time to process it, my mom snatched it away from my hand—and said something very suspicious: “That’s not for you!”…even though it had my name on it. I didn’t know if I had a creepy stalker when I was six, if my mom was seeing someone and using my name, or if it was anything else.
It seemed really odd at the time, and nothing was said about it for the 17 years since then. Several other occasions later, I found other evidence of weird stuff going on in my mom’s life.
She would hide her phone from me when I walked in the room, rubbers in the bag she used when she was on work trips—my dad had a vasectomy in 1990—so I guess cheating wasn’t beyond her, but why that note had my name on it? I still have no idea.
4. The Truth Was In Transition
My parents split up when I was about two, so I don’t remember anything. When I grew into my elementary years, my dad came back, had a new wife—my stepmom—and was very religious. As a result, and much to my mother’s chagrin, I became very religious as well.
She never spoke ill of him, nor he of her, and I never asked why they split up. It was at a point in time when there were enough single-parent households that it really didn’t matter. When I was in my teens, my dad and I had a falling out—and the reason why is downright despicable.
My two best friends, who I loved more than just about anything, both came out to me as gay, and I was floored because I was taught they were going to burn with the devil. I confronted my father about my doubts, but he affirmed with no question that they were, indeed, going to if they didn’t change their ways.
I ended up leaving the church because of this conflict, deciding that this ideology didn’t mesh with the loving God he’d told me about. He and I eventually had a huge falling out that ended in us not speaking for over a decade.
During that time, my mother dropped a couple of hints that she knew secrets about my dad that I didn’t. I found out that my mom was his second wife, but she never fessed up to what the secret was. I assumed that, somewhere, I had another half-sibling but didn’t care enough to press anyone for answers.
Years later, just after Christmas, I got a call from a friend who rented from my mom. My mom had a cardiac event and was in the hospital. As I was frantically packing for an eight-hour drive, I heard things from him that surprised me…but didn’t shock me.
It turned out that earlier that evening, my mother was visited by my stepmother, who came to wish her a Merry Christmas and announce that she and Dad had officially divorced. The secret that had shattered my mom’s marriage and, apparently, his first marriage as well had destroyed his most recent marriage, too.
My dad was transgender. At nearly 60 years old, she decided enough was enough, and she couldn’t keep living a lie any longer. She decided to pursue hormone therapy and an operation for surgical transition. She had already changed her name—her last wife helped him pick it out—and she was just updating my mom on what was going on.
My stepmother left, Mom went back into her house, and immediately was onset with chest pains and called an ambulance. She was diagnosed with broken heart syndrome, a form of cardiomyopathy. My mother fully recovered, and she confessed everything to me while in her hospital bed.
My dad is now happily post-op, living with a good friend of hers in Florida and dating a man a little older than her who knows about her surgery and dotes on her anyhow.
5. He Sold The Farm
I always assumed my hardscrabble tenant farmer maternal grandfather had never been able to own his own farm. Later, I learned the dark truth.
It turned out that his son, my uncle, was a gambling junkie and had some debts. They would have cost him, and possibly other family members, their lives had my grandfather not sold his farm to bail my uncle out. I learned this after both of them were gone.
6. No Explanation
A year after my parents divorced, my father took early retirement, sold the house, and moved with his mother from Ohio to Florida. All of this was very sudden and rushed; he accepted the first offer that was made on the house. He passed 18 months later. In his effects, we found his medical records—and that’s when we learned the heartbreaking truth.
He had pancreatic cancer, did nothing to treat it, and never told a soul. He found out, retired, moved someplace warm, and waited. I also found his medals from his time in the Marines, including a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. My father was the poster child for PTSD.
A few years later, Grandma and I had a real heart-to-heart. She said I never really met the real him, a piece of him never really left Vietnam. He expired a broken and depressed man and told no one he knew that his time was up.
7. Secret Bedfellows
I got busy with my best friend’s little sister. My buddy and I shared an apartment, and he was away for the weekend. I got a knock on the door, and there she was. I was so confused as she knew her brother was away. She came in and started crying. She told me about how her boyfriend cheated on her, and they broke up. I just let her vent and gave her a hug. Then I got the shock of a lifetime.
She tried to kiss me, but I pulled away. I was like, “No way”. After saying “No” a bunch of times, she took off her shorts and shirt. She said she had come there to bed me and that no one would ever know. In a moment of weakness and immaturity, I caved in. When I tell you it was good, it is still—to this day—the best nookie I ever had.
We are still best friends, and he has no idea. It was a one-time thing; she used me. She ended up getting married to that same guy, and they have three kids. I am married with two college-aged kids. I saw her at her grandfather’s funeral, and she gave me a wry little smile. No one will ever know, but we’ll never forget.
8. Sorry, Not For Me
I told my fiancée on our first date that I didn’t want or like children. I kept saying it for five years, then the worst happened.
She got pregnant and decided to keep it. Now she doesn’t clean, cook, or play with the kid because she is tired, and I’m stuck with all of it. She won’t even teach him to sleep without diapers because she doesn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night, so I have to deal with that as well.
I love my son and would give my life for him, but my dark secret is that this life is not for me. Every day I wish for the end so I can rest and have peace.
9. What May Not Have Been
When my brother and I were young kids, our mother confessed a tragic secret. Turns out she had been married before meeting our dad. Her husband lost his life in Vietnam or something service-related when she was only 21. It blew our minds that we may not have existed. I now see why we were not told about this sooner. It also explained the mysterious birthday cards we received from “grandma’s neighbor”, who was actually the mother of the deceased.
10. The Flame That Fed The Fire
I burned down the backyard, and everyone knew it was me. I was seven or eight, had no babysitter, and was experimenting with matches and cotton. I started a backyard grass fire but had no hose. I called my mom crying that hobos threw lit matches over the fence, and I tried to extinguish it. For 22 years, they let me believe I had gotten away with it.
At the time, they seemed to believe me. Mom faked a babysitter, and neighbors whispered, but it all settled down. It turns out that this whole time they knew I burnt down the yard. The fireman knew it, the neighbors, parents, they all just let me believe it and kept it a hilarious inside joke amongst themselves until the night I went to admit it. It was my most important confession, and they all cackled with laughter.
11. Something Was Bugging Me
We had a cockroach problem when I was a kid. We kept putting down traps and spraying stuff around the house but could never figure out where they were coming from. As time passed, my parents decided I needed a new mattress for my waterbed, so we drained it. My dad pulled up the mattress and started freaking out at a horrifying discovery. I was in a separate room, so they thought I didn’t hear, but the roach nest was under my waterbed mattress.
It had a pinhole leak which created the perfect environment for them. Since I wasn’t in the room, all I was told was that something went wrong when he was draining it, and water sprayed everywhere. However, I heard them talking quietly about how THAT must have been why I had so many sleeping problems and why cockroaches were crawling on me while I was asleep. I try not to think about it often.
12. Misjudged Mystery
The real reason my aunt moved back to my hometown was she that was briefly abducted by some bad guys she had screwed over while working as a judge. This guy held her against her will and told her she could either leave town in the next 24 hours or be taken back in. I was about eight at the time, so everyone just told me she moved back because she missed us all. I found out about it when my brother and I were rehashing old stuff ten years later.
13. The Cat Got My Tongue
When I was eight, I made the most disturbing discovery. I walked in on my 13-year-old cousin choking a small kitten with both hands. He just stood there with an unmoving expression. When he noticed me, he threatened to do the same to my mother if I didn’t find him more animals to “play with”. So, out of fear, I complied.
For two months, I would get him frogs, hamsters, and even my grandmother’s pet bunny at one point.
Basically, any small animal just to get him to leave me alone. The ordeal stopped when he was sent to the hospital for an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts and was gone for two weeks. I never told anyone. He’s 22 now and seemingly normal. He’s engaged to a pleasant woman who owns three cats, though I fear for their safety.
14. No More Chances
A few people are aware that someone I was very close to took their life. He was the kindest man who would travel two hours by train just to meet me for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. He was someone so consistently there for me. I never considered the possibility of him one day being gone because he seemed really happy. But there’s something I’ve never told anybody.
In the few days leading up to his departure, I had several missed calls from him. I watched one of the calls ring without answering it and received a message from him, pleading that I call him when I had the chance. I had many chances, but I didn’t pick up the phone. I woke up later that week to a message that, once pasted onto a Word document, took me two days to read.
He wrote to me about his life, how insignificant he felt, and how wonderful I was, and ended it with an apology. I then received an email from his mother, informing me he had jumped in front of a moving train. I’ve always been a caring person, and I try to do the right thing. However, for the last eight years, I’ve stopped keeping kind thoughts to myself.
The sole reason I check in on everyone and answer my phone is so I can keep a piece of him alive.
15. Granny’s Final Days
I told my grandmother that I would be back to see her in the morning, but I slept through my alarm and didn’t make it to see her in the hospital. By the time I was done work, I had passed out in my car in the driveway of her house. I’ll regret this forever.
The next morning she had no more brain function. I beat myself up every day, thinking I didn’t get to spend those last few days with her, even though I knew nothing I could have done would have stopped her from going.
16. Karma Is A Coming
I’ve planned out the demise of both my mother and stepfather in my head since I was at least 13. I’d never actually go through with it, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t play through in my head daily. They hurt me in multiple ways since I was in pre-school, and my stepdad accosted me from 14–17. They both have bad karma coming their way if it hasn’t already.
17. A Last Wish
My girlfriend had a long battle with cancer. I had been sleeping anywhere I could for a week, and in my haze, I never noticed just how close she was to the end. That’s when I made a horrifying mistake.
I thought I could go home, recharge, and come back. I woke up to her family in tears, telling me she had gone during the night. The only thing she wanted when she passed was to have me there. Instead, I wanted to sleep. It is easily my biggest regret.
18. Hidden Pain
When I was a young child, I hid in a hideaway sofa and watched—scared and crying—shaking with fear—as my young friend was hurt within an inch of her life by her parent. She told me to hide and stay quiet because I wasn’t supposed to be in the house. If they found out, they would end her.
As soon as her dad stopped and went out of the room, and I knew he wasn’t coming back, I got out. I ran up to her—and couldn’t believe my eyes.
She wasn’t really breathing and was very bloody. To this day, the image of her brings me to tears and has me trembling in fear and trauma. I called for help and ran to a nearby neighbor’s house. I’m sure I scared them, as I was covered with her blood and stammered to get any words out. They called the authorities and made me wait there.
They brought her out in a black bag on a bed. I didn’t know what that meant as a child. I found out when the officer told me.
19. Living A Lie
I grew up in a cult. My grandmother took and alienated children from their parents, making them completely dependent on her. She’s been doing this for 45 years, and despite her advanced age, she’s still doing it. She’ll befriend a young woman with any sort of problem and allow that woman and her child to live in her home.
They give 90% of the money they make to her to “pay the bills”, and eventually, they get sick of it and go to a woman’s shelter or stay with a friend, taking their child. Then, my grandmother calls them, begging them to think about how that lifestyle will impact their child.
They usually end up letting the kid stay with her, and they typically go back to the harmful lifestyle they were living before they met her. CPS is always involved, and they’ll usually open a case on the mother. The consequences are heartbreaking. This frequently ends up with my grandmother getting full custody of the child.
When I was three, my parents had just moved out of her house in Texas and left for Ohio. We were staying in a motel, and my father had a job as a maintenance guy at the motel to pay the fees. One day, he had a friend over and needed to use the pay phone outside to order a pizza. He left me with this friend while he went to do that.
This friend wanted my father’s job and decided to call the authorities for child abandonment to get him arrested. My father was at the pay phone about a minute’s walk away, with a direct line of sight to the motel room door. Officers took me from my loving parents, and because my grandmother was my closest blood relative, I was placed with her.
I was raised until the age of fifteen to believe that my parents never loved me and that I was incurably mentally ill to the point where I had to take medication far above the safe doses for a child my age. At age 10, I was taught to cook and clean; at age 11, there were two new kids I was responsible for looking after.
In the end, I found an old letter that accidentally fell behind the filing cabinet. It had a woman’s name on it, one I didn’t know. Something inside me told me to read that letter, so I did. It was from a woman whose child my grandmother had custody of. I continued to read.
The woman was begging my grandmother to let her see her child, even just once. It had been a year. I continued reading, and it hit me like a punch. I saw my own name right there. I had never known my parents’ names, and I finally had a clue. After figuring out that my mother not loving me was a lie, I began wondering what else was a lie.
I messaged my mom on Facebook, and now, five years and six days after that fateful day, I’m living with her and my father. My entire life up until five years ago was a lie, and I still can’t wrap my head around it.
When I was 16, my parents got into a big fight, which wasn’t unusual. During the course of the fight, my dad kept yelling, “Why don’t you tell them?” Finally, through massive amounts of tears, my mom told my siblings her secret.
Apparently, we had an older half-brother. My mom became pregnant at 16 and gave the baby up for adoption. I later found out that my whole family knew, except for my siblings and me. My mom didn’t want to interfere with his life, so a few years later I looked him up on MySpace.
I was pretty nervous, but it turned out for the best. He and my mom reunited and now he is a part of our lives.
21. One Night Oversight
I found out that I was the product of an affair and the reason my parents both divorced their spouses. Then, I found out the whole story. My dad had two kids with his wife and had been on the fence about divorcing her. My mom was married and living in Detroit with her husband. I guess that marriage was having its problems as well.
My parents both worked at the same place, had met, and started talking. On Valentine’s Day in 1988, they were both sloshed and apparently decided against protection; hence, I was conceived. Due to my being conceived, my mother finalized her divorce and moved out.
My dad, understandably so, was not allowed back into his marriage either and moved back into my grandparents’ farm. Somewhere along the way, when I was about two, my dad moved in with my mother and me and has lived with us ever since.
However, my mother’s ex-husband is on my birth certificate, which is what raised the question about my paternity in the first place. I have an excellent relationship with my half-brother and sister, and they hold nothing against me. Finding out that you were a mistake is kind of messed up, but I’m okay with it.
22. Conception Deception
My cousin is adopted, but for years we kept it a secret because she didn’t know. I was talking about it with my dad one day because I couldn’t believe she didn’t know. During the conversation, he let it slip that my older sister was conceived using donor sperm. After a moment, he added that I, too, was conceived using a donor.
Our two younger siblings, however, were not and were completely unexpected. It turned out that my older sister knew, but my mom made both my sister and dad promise not to tell me. I’m not entirely sure why I wasn’t supposed to know, but they managed to keep it a secret until I was 22 years old.
23. Staking A Claim
My father’s siblings and their families don’t talk to us anymore since my grandmother’s passing. I was told that they were just too busy working and doing their own thing to hang out like we all used to. On the off chance I saw them, I would always be the first and only one to say “hi” and try to catch up. About the time I was 18, I was told the real reason they didn’t talk to us anymore.
They had turned their backs on my grandmother when she was on her last legs and about to lose her house. So, my father stepped up and tried to convince his siblings to help save the house and help with the medical bills. They turned their backs on her and my father, so my father ended up buying the house and restoring it.
When my grandmother passed, my father’s siblings tried to “claim their piece of Mom’s money” even though they didn’t do anything for her when she was losing her life. To this day, they refuse to associate themselves with my father, mother, sister, and me.
24. Grandma’s Little Secret
I learned that the grandfather I grew up with was not my biological grandfather. I found out when I was in my early thirties after he had passed. My grandmother told me the night of his wake that he never got over his anger at the Catholic Church for refusing to marry them since she had already been married once. I responded, “Wait, what?”
She replied, “Oh, you didn’t know that papa wasn’t your biological grandfather? I guess you just learned something about yourself today!” But that wasn’t the only shocker. I then learned that my grandma’s first husband was also not my biological grandfather. Turns out my mother was actually the product of an affair. I found that one out via an Ancestry.com DNA test.
My biological grandfather and uncle coincidentally took the test as well and popped up as “closely related”. My new uncle then contacted me, thinking he had solved a different family mystery of his own, and I asked my mom if she knew anything about the family. When my mom asked my grandma, my grandma spilled the beans. My biological grandfather also didn’t know.
25. Saved By The Barn
My grandmother was the illegitimate daughter of a state assemblyman. I thought that was almost kind of cool until I found out that he marked her as deceased on her birth certificate. He likely never acknowledged her until her mother and sisters passed—probably in a flu epidemic—then he took her into his home. There, she worked as a maid for him, his mean wife, and their children.
She finally met my grandfather at a barn dance and was able to leave that house. She was the sweetest, most generous small-town lady out there. I would never have known she had a difficult life in her youth. She never talked about it, and I don’t think even her own children knew the whole story until she was in her nineties and genealogy became a hobby for someone in the extended family.
26. Switched At Birth
I found out that the people I thought were my parents were actually my grandparents. My actual birth mother—the person I was raised to believe was my eldest sister—got pregnant at 14 and had me. She basically wasn’t ready or prepared to raise me, so my grandparents adopted me and raised me as one of their own. They’re my mom and dad and always will be.
I was around ten when I found out, and it all came out in the worst way. It was during a fight between my parents. There were drinks involved and a lot of shouting. I was trying to get them to calm down and stop screaming at each other when Dad let slip, “Well, why don’t you go ask your real mother?” The way he said it was filled with venom and hurt. He left my mom and me to talk about it.
My mom told me the whole deal then. She mentioned that my sister wanted so little to do with me one night that she literally left me on the doorstep and walked right over me to go on a night out. Apparently, the rest of my mom’s family didn’t approve of her taking me in, and for that and a few other reasons, we moved across the country for a fresh start.
We don’t really talk to them anymore for unrelated reasons. My “sister” also had another kid, someone I thought was my nephew but is actually my half-brother. We were basically raised like brothers. We used to play with my action figures and create elaborate plots and characters that would go on for days. I know my birth father’s name, but I don’t really have any desire to meet him. I’m told that he was a bit of a player and that I probably have a few more half-brothers all around the country.
27. Endo Wasn’t The End
When my health started doing poorly, I asked my mom if we had anything going on in the family related to the uterus, and she snapped at me, saying, “I don’t know anyone that has any major pain because of periods, maybe it’s just you”. I was forced to move out not long after despite not being able to attend work regularly enough and having trouble with money because of it.
A year later, I learned from my aunt that she had endometriosis, and one of their sisters had fibromas. She also informed me about an aunt on my dad’s side that also had a lot of problems with cysts and endo. The aunt I was talking to is very disliked by my dad because of her health problems; he’s always seen her as pathetic and weak. That’s why nobody helped me out.
I confronted my parents about it and was told that if I needed help so badly, I could go see my aunts. I was later forbidden to talk about my health in the family home because it would make my dad really angry. I’m still in a blind rage about it. I can’t even explain why they didn’t tell me.
28. An Emotional Wreck
Growing up, my single mother would physically take out her frustrations on her children. So, I spent time with four weekend foster families, two full-time foster families, two years at a boarding school, a couple of weeks at my dad’s place, and a couple of years at something called an “efterskole”, a type of boarding school specifically for finishing up what is essentially high school.
While all of that was bad enough, I moved to the neighboring country for a few years following my coming of age to live with my then-girlfriend. When she broke up with me, I broke.
It’s been 14 years, and I still haven’t been able to create a relationship—platonic or otherwise—with a woman. Whenever a bond is being formed, it simply snaps as I subconsciously retreat out of self-preservation.
After seeing a therapist, it turns out I have rejection PTSD from not only my mother but from most of the female authority figures I’ve had throughout my life. I don’t hate women. I just can’t trust them because I’m emotionally scarred.
29. He Finally Got Exed Out
I’m happy my mom’s ex is no longer alive. The dude was a menace. He frequently had outbursts where he would destroy our apartment and threaten my siblings or my mom. His family and friends all thought he was harmless but didn’t want to deal with him. One day, he was having another meltdown, and my mom and siblings were hiding in my room.
I was holding the door shut while he was trying to get in, so I called the authorities. The guy blamed me for years after that and targeted me often. One day, some neighborhood boys tried to hurt me, and when I mentioned it, he convinced himself that I must’ve led those boys on and kept inviting them over. But that wasn’t all.
I also had to take care of him when he shattered the bones in his arm and hand, and traveling nurses refused to come to our house to flush his IV. I imagine he was terrible to them too.
30. The STD And Me
I was admitted to the hospital for a positive syphilis test. I went to a clinic to get treated and was told to go to the ER because I saw flashers in my vision, which could be a sign of neurosyphilis. I have been telling friends and colleagues that I have a bad staph infection. My whole family works in the medical field, and I have been too ashamed to tell them.
I couldn’t lie about having a staph infection to them because they would figure it out. So, I told them I had Covid and that they probably wouldn’t see me for about a week. My whole family had Covid recently, except for me, so it was a good excuse. This was the first time I’d ever been admitted to the hospital, and I didn’t know they would admit me when I went in.
I thought it would be a quick outpatient thing with some more penicillin—but I was SO wrong. The neurology team got involved. I was so scared, and all I could think about was that I wished I could talk to my sister, who is a doctor. But with syphilis being an STD, my family doesn’t talk about stuff like that.
My symptoms were a minor annoyance at worst, but since it affected my vision, it was being taken very seriously.
31. Cult Off From Mom And Dad
I grew up in a charismatic evangelical cult. I was physically hurt by the pastor and several churchgoers in an “exorcism” to cure my depression and suicidal thoughts. It didn’t work. When I was 16 or 17, I was spiraling and made a horrible decision.
I tried to take my life. After my failed attempt, I spent weeks and weeks crying on the phone to the helplines at night. I often begged them not to call the authorities and just to let me cry to them, as it would just make things worse for me if they did.
My sister, who was 14–15 at the time, found me one night because I cried so hard that I puked. She asked if I was OK and comforted me. I remember her kindness, and she has always been my biggest support. Six years later, we both escaped our parents and the cult. I went no contact with them while my sister still talked to them, maintaining firm boundaries.
I’m 22 now and had my first birthday without them. My sister made me a cake, got me a present, and we had a get-together, but I didn’t tell her I was pretty sad the whole day. I didn’t get a single birthday wish from any of my family, and while I wanted it that way and there’s really no way for any of them to get in touch with me, I miss my parents.
I’m still just a scared kid who wants his mommy and daddy. I want my dad to tell me he’s proud of me, and I want my mom to tell me I’m perfect the way I am and that she will love me no matter what. I was a heavy user but have been clean and sober for months, but when I remember everything, I start craving again. I am thankful I don’t know any dealers.
32. Missing Mom
I miss my mom—a lot. She is still alive but is barely in my life because she was extremely terrible for my entire childhood. I ended up moving in with my dad after she tossed me out, and I had no contact with her for about a year. I’m talking to her again because it’s easier now that she has moved to another state, but it’s not enough.
I just want her to hug me, even knowing there will be a metaphorical knife in my back if I do. I have many memories about her as a kid that were mostly bad, but there were a few that weren’t, and I miss that.
33. The Pieces Finally Fell Into Place
When I was a kid, I used to live with my biological mom, and my dad would come and stay with us for long periods of time before going back home. I never thought anything of it since my mom always referred to him as her boyfriend. I thought it was a little weird that they never married as well.
I met my dad’s wife and immediately knew that I didn’t like her, but attempted to get along with her for the sake of not getting yelled at by my dad. My biological mother abandoned my older sister and me in a motel when I was nine. My dad came to pick us up and brought us to his house for the weekend. Eventually, he gained custody of us.
Over my childhood, I’d hear my dad make references to his wife about how long they’ve been married and whatnot, but I never put two and two together. I have two older siblings that my dad had with my stepmom who were both in their thirties and had children when I was 20.
When I was in 11th grade, I sat down and thought about my family tree since there were a lot of weird inconsistencies. I came to the realization that my dad had an affair with my mom while he was married to my stepmom, which resulted in my being born. To be honest, I finally understood why my stepmom and her family didn’t like me.
34. Peeping Papi
My great-grandpa apparently accosted his daughters and drilled holes in the walls to spy on them while they were changing and bathing. When he passed, they condemned his house because it was structurally unsound. He had cut peepholes through all the major beams, and the daughters had stuffed them full of bits of cloth, or whatever, whenever they discovered one.
Then, he would just drill new ones in the night. It was not shocking that my grandma—his daughter—would find a guy exactly like him to marry. My aunts did not make it through high school without living a real-life nightmare. My mom was old enough to fend him off and got out after only a couple of years.
No one ever talks about this. My mother told me one night when she was tipsy.
35. Damaging Denial
My cousin has Asperger’s, and only my immediate family will admit it, even though it’s blindingly obvious and makes his life very difficult. He’s in his mid-20s and has dropped out of college, lived in a state-assisted apartment—which he eventually got tossed out of—and at one point moved into a trailer park with a woman at least 15 years his senior and her young daughter.
He has all the tendencies of Asperger’s and my parents, who are psychologists, realized it as well. I think his life would be a lot easier if he was able to receive treatment, as I know many people with Asperger’s can live normal lives. A few years ago, my dad attempted to tell my aunt, but she flipped out and screamed at him in total denial.
36. Silence Isn’t Golden
My mother’s side of the family has a long line of mental problems that we DO NOT DISCUSS. My cousin on my mother’s side had a pretty severe case of depression. He ended up losing his job and his car. His family intervened to some degree, but I don’t know what happened in the end.
Only my uncle comes to visit us, so we have to hear everything second-hand, and it’s barely mentioned. My mother takes some kind of anxiety medication, something that surprised me just this year. She’s never mentioned it, and I don’t think I’m supposed to know, either.
Given my father’s view on depression and mental disorders—he thinks that depression is a modern-day invention because people aren’t busy enough—I’m shocked that she went out and got something diagnosed to the point where she got meds. But that’s not the most shocking family secret.
My maternal grandfather apparently received electroconvulsive therapy. I only know of this because my mother let it slip just ONCE when talking about how she wondered if my cousin and her father had the same problem.
I suspect that he had severe depression and PTSD following WWII, but I’ll likely never have that confirmed as he passed, and it’s not something our family talks about. It might have been interesting to hear firsthand accounts of WWII from a primary source, but he took all of his stories to the grave, as far as I know.
There’s probably more, but no one talks about any of these things, so I’m totally in the dark. I can speak to a physician about how I have a family history of diabetes on one side and hypertension on the other, but as far as mental illness goes, I’m mostly just making educated guesses.
37. He Was Written Off
I found out at my grandmother’s funeral that she had a brother whom no one EVER spoke to or talked about. I have a small, close-knit family, and I had never even heard he existed.
It turns out he lives in Florida and writes conspiracy theory books about reptilians/alien people in the government. There’s a published author in my family!
38. He Turned It Around
I had an uncle who was successful. He taught industrial art design in a known school in a big city, had a nice little house downtown, and was basically the coolest, nicest guy you could ever meet. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body and was all about positivity.
One day, I noticed that when his watch rode up, he had a tiny little “J” tattooed on his wrist. I asked about it, and he immediately shut down and said it was nothing before excusing himself and walking away. I was shocked since he had never been cold to me before.
I asked my mother about it, and it turned out that he was in a gang when he was younger. I guess it got a bit serious, and when one of his good friends lost his life, he got out and got serious about growing up and flying straight—which he did.
He started crushing his schoolwork, dedicating himself to wood and metalworking, and went on to be a success.
39. Got To Be Hiding Something
For years, I felt like there was something I didn’t know about my family. I wasn’t sure why, I just did. I would bring it up to my mom over the years, but she’d say I was just being silly. Years later, after my cousin lost his life driving under the influence, my mom told me she had something to say.
It turned out the man I thought was my birth father wasn’t, someone else was. I was in my early 20s and took it in good stride. My dad thought I would freak out and was glad I didn’t. What did shock me was the fact that EVERYONE in my family knew—my aunts, uncles, older cousins, etc.
How they hid that information so well over the years kind of freaked me out.
40. Dark Cloud Over Sunny Skies
I’ve always hated getting my picture taken. I didn’t really know if there was a reason until I asked my mom why she left her second husband after my dad. After crying for an hour, she told me he ended up behind bars for the distribution of inappropriate photographs.
Then over the next few years, disturbing memories began to resurface and I was crushed. I then sought him out. He was living in Michigan. I strolled up and invited myself in, demanding he tell me everything. I was shocked at how revealing he was.
He was some born-again changed person now and wanted to be forgiven by me. He said he used to make hundreds of dollars a picture and would use the money to feed his addiction. I did not forgive him, nor will I ever. The worst part was when he told me I even had a special name, “Sunny”.
41. Too Close For Comfort
I went on a road trip with a family friend. He was a little more than a year older than me, and we had really hit it off about six months before on another impromptu road trip. Growing up we hadn’t really seen much of each other, just this one time when we kinda fooled around a little in high school.
This road trip was supposed to be from Billings MT to Washington DC, so we were looking at a solid 30 hours of driving. I was also going to hang out for a few days once we got there before flying back. I called my parents to tell them the good news, and my mom said something that made my jaw drop.
She told me, “don’t sleep with him” in that tone which said there was a story there. It turned out he was my half-brother. His dad and my mom cheated on their respective spouses and had me. They never told anyone, not me, not my grandparents, not my biological dad—no one.
They expected me to keep it a secret from my brother which was going to make it weird since he was kind of my type and we had flirted before on a shorter road trip. This was fifteen years after meeting my other half-brother who was only slightly older than my parent’s marriage but younger than their relationship.
The brother I grew up with was my half-brother when I thought we were full-blood siblings, the brother I thought was a half-brother is a stepbrother, and the guy I made out with that one time in high school is actually my half-brother.
It all turned out cool, but it made for some really awkward moments before I came clean to my newfound brother. I came to find out that both my parents have cheated on each other multiple times. Despite that, they are still married and actually love each other now and have pretty well-adjusted kids.
42. No Holding Back
As long as I’d known, my grandmother on my father’s side had always been deceased, and no one ever really told me the circumstances. Then when I became a teenager, I started asking my dad questions about his life and what it was like growing up. It turned out my grandfather liked to stick it to any and every female he could talk his way into bed with.
He didn’t let things like a wife and five kids hold him back from that. This drove my grandmother into a state of depression that apparently no one realized until it was too late.
After she and my grandpa had a fight, her oldest daughter drove her to a cabin they owned in Canada, a hundred miles away from their home, and left her there with no money, no phone, and no transportation. The consequences were disastrous.
She hung herself that night. Years later, it was suspected that the two oldest daughters had been taking money from my grandfather while he had Alzheimer’s. When my dad found out, he froze the bank account. Two weeks later, the younger of the pair blasted her head off, her body to be found by her two teenage kids.
At said Aunt’s funeral, as her daughter mourned over her coffin, instead of offering condolences, the oldest Aunt offered prescription meds to a 16-year-old girl. No one in the family has spoken to that woman since.
43. Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place
I have had the same best friend since I was 16; we met in high school. When we turned 19, she met her husband. I quickly became closer to him than my best friend. We developed a deep brother-sister-type bond. My best friend had cognitive disabilities and anxiety, so I would vent to him because he was just easier to talk to. Then her husband lost his life to leukemia.
I stepped up and helped my best friend through the transition. I planned a memorial service, paid for the cremation, and was basically a rock, but I was completely gutted internally. I do not trust easily, and her husband was one of the few people I felt I could say anything to.
The loss was hard for me, and I had nowhere to go with the pain because the one person I would talk to about it was him, and he was gone. It was a complicated mix to deal with.
44. My Plan Backfired
During a manic episode, I did the unthinkable. I was filled with so much rage and sorrow that I let a homeless man take me into a ditch behind a church in hopes that he would take my life. He didn’t. He just snorted some crank, showed me pictures of his girlfriends, and made pleasant conversation. I guess he was just lonely.
45. The Mistakes Of Youth
I was the family secret. My biological parents started having kids as teenagers. When my biological mom found out she was pregnant with me, she was 21, and I was their fourth child. They quickly realized they needed to get their act together. They were already struggling financially, had countless substance issues, etc. So, they were forced to make a difficult decision.
They decided that they were going to put me up for adoption since I was a baby. I was adopted by a loving family quite quickly, who lived only about an hour’s drive from the city I was born in. Coincidentally, I ended up returning to that same city for college. In my sophomore year, I decided to seek out my biological family. It turned out that my biological parents separated right after I was born.
My biological mom is still in and out of prison to this day, but my biological dad was able to start a new chapter. He got clean and sober, remarried, started going to church, and built a legitimate career for himself. He told his new wife about me when they first met but didn’t tell any of his children. My other siblings didn’t know I existed.
Thanks to the internet, I ended up tracking down his work number and gave him a call. Later on, he told me that as soon as I said, “Hi, this might be really weird, but”, he knew it was me. Apparently, ever since I turned 18, he and his wife were waiting anxiously for me to resurface. They knew the day would come eventually. That evening, they sat my siblings down and told them about me. It was difficult at first, but now I’m 25, and he and I have a pretty solid relationship.
46. They Put Education First
My parents forged my birth certificate and lied to me about my actual birth date until I was a teen. When I was close to kindergarten age, my parents found out that I was born two weeks too late to be able to attend kindergarten. I was born on September 15, and the cut-off was September 1. To them, this was unacceptable because they thought I was ready and another year of preschool and entering kindergarten at almost six would be too late.
They photocopied my birth certificate, covered the number five from 15 with Wite-Out, made a copy of the now fake birth certificate, and took it to a family friend who notarized it for a good sum of money. The elementary school had no clue it was a fake, so I got to start school early. From then on, they celebrated my birthday with me on the first in order to keep me from spilling the secret as a kid.
I didn’t find out until I turned 15 and applied for my driver’s license permit. Obviously, it’s a crime to forge documents like this, especially for something like a driver’s license, so on our way to the DMV, my mom rather anticlimactically handed me my paperwork and the real birth certificate and waited for my reaction. It was kind of a shock, and 16 years later, I still say a little happy birthday to myself on my now fake birthday.
As far as school goes, no one ever found out, and I ended up being home-schooled in high school anyway and getting my GED. I also found out by eavesdropping that my mom faked her knee surgery when I was 14 and actually got her bosom enlarged. She went from tiny to huge. It was the worst-kept secret. I had fun watching her pretend to limp with an Ace bandage on her knee when in actuality, it was her chest hurting.
47. Sacrilegious Secret
My very religious mom was three months pregnant when she got married. She never lied about it, I just didn’t do the math right until I was about 20. She mentioned it was almost her 22nd anniversary, and I said, “You mean your 23rd”, and she just said, “No….my 22nd”. The “talk” my grandmother had with her went something like, “No one will want to marry you if you aren’t a virgin”.
She figured she was engaged, so that was a moot point. Her mom was mad and wouldn’t talk to her for a while. Her dad, who was a Deacon, replied, “Well, you aren’t the first, and you certainly won’t be the last, so it is what it is”.
48. The Second Time Around
My dad is my mom’s second husband. The first marriage was not necessarily hidden, it has just become forgotten and was never spoken about in front of my siblings or me. When I figured it out and asked my mother, she explained that she married rather young, following the Asian tradition of arranged marriages. Her in-laws were strict and demanding, which left her unhappy and wanting more in life than becoming a housewife. She divorced and started studying abroad, where she then met my dad. They’ve now been happily married for almost 21 years.
49. Fallen Idol
My grandfather had an affair with an English woman back in 1941, when he went to study there, and fathered a daughter with her. Unfortunately, he showed his true colors when he left them both and came back home. Eighteen years after his passing, my aunt, grandmother, and mother found out about it after my aunt saw the daughter in a picture. They contacted her, and both parties shared their connection to my grandfather. She said he left her and the mother and didn’t even try to contact them again. It was really sad because I looked up to my grandad, and this really dampened his image in my eyes.
50. This Secret Was Buried
I was lied to about what happened to the cat I had back when I was about 14–16. They told me he probably ran away. At that age, I was fully emotionally capable of handling the truth. I only found out about a month ago that he got run over by my grandpa, who lived in the house across the street from us. They buried him in his backyard. My cousin let it slip when we were talking about my mom getting a pet.
51. Two-Sided Tale
The secret that was kept from me was that my biological father is really, truly, an amazing and upstanding guy. My mom always told me horrible things about him, like that he tried to off us, and then her brothers wanted to “take him into the woods”. She also said that he left because he couldn’t handle me and would get angry at me when I was learning to pull myself up on stuff.
She made him out to be a monster for not paying child support and for suddenly breaking contact when he remarried and had more children. Meanwhile, I bawled my eyes out every night for years because I wanted a dad and not the horrible person she married years later. I constantly asked why my letters to my real dad were never answered—she probably never sent them.
I grew up with a HUGE complex about not being wanted, which was made worse by my mother. She made it very clear that she thought I was the biggest mistake of her life, and she still says that to this day. She is the definition of a harmful parent. I always wanted to reach out to my dad but was too scared. I finally did and was thrilled. My mom kept prying, trying to find out what we were talking about because she knew she was being exposed.
I had to ask my maternal grandmother a few things to verify the accuracy since they were wildly different from what I was told growing up. It was only then that she laid out the whole grisly truth. Turns out my dad had desperately wanted to stay in my life. The man even offered to pay my mom’s rent so he could live next door. He tried many times to contact me and sent me gifts that I never received.
My paternal grandmother was key in all of this. For whatever reason, my mother allowed me to stay in contact with her and fly out and visit her. There must have been some sort of agreement about keeping my father at a distance because he was never mentioned. Yet, in her will, she wrote that I got a certain amount of dollars from my father’s portion of the inheritance.
She didn’t write anything for any other grandchildren. The saint that she was, she was making one final attempt to reunite us. So, I flew out for my paternal grandmother’s funeral and met my dad for the first time. His current wife and my aunt told me at every opportunity about how much he felt lost without me, how he had desperately wanted me in his life, and how he had repeatedly said that there was a giant hole in his heart without me.
They were able to say what we were too emotional to tell each other. My mom should have known that the sudden stop in child support and contact meant that something was seriously wrong. She should have reached out to learn what was happening. She probably did. He was stuck in a really rough situation when his then-wife was struggling mentally and wanted him to have nothing to do with me.
He used a secret account and payphones to be able to send what he did. He tried and went above and beyond. My maternal grandmother knew the situation. All this came to light when I was about 27–28. Now I know it all. It changes how I view some things. Unfortunately, my complex about being unwanted is very deeply rooted, and I still cannot function socially very well. As it turns out, I consider my dad’s family to be where I belong. I wish I could erase my mother and keep the rest of her side of the family.
52. A Semi-Truth
My wife and I were reminiscing about our childhood pets one day. When I shared how hard it was when my cherished dog had to be put down, she got to thinking. All of her childhood dogs were hit by semis. Normally, the thought of a dog getting loose and being run over by a semi-truck wasn’t that far-fetched, however, it had just clicked with her that her childhood home was in the countryside down a long gravel road.
The nearest highway was really far away. She decided that the next time she talked to her dad she would find out what really happened. After all, she was now an adult and could handle the truth that a seven-year-old couldn’t. But the truth was darker than she ever imagined. Her dad just sort of smiled and said, “Oh honey, I never lied to you. Your childhood dogs were indeed hit by a semi…a semi-automatic”.
53. A Friendly Goodbye
I hate my friends, and I think I’ve always hated some aspects of them. I’ve tried so hard to change my views and my ways because they don’t deserve that, but I can’t stand people. Their quirks and their laughs grate on my ears, and their needs are too heavy for me to want to be burdened. I find no interest in the things they like or the foods they enjoy.
The jokes they find funny seem stupid to me, and I’m exhausted from pretending to enjoy my time with them. I’m going to be moving out after being very close with all of them for the past two years, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m better off keeping this weight away from people who don’t deserve it.
54. College Dreams
I used to fantasize about hooking up with the rich college guy who rented a room at my family’s house. He was a varsity player on my grandpa’s football college team, and his mom had moved to Australia, so he needed a place to stay. About a year or two ago, I found out from my uncle that he moved to Australia as well, shortly after he was caught using steroids by one of my uncles.
55. Danke Shame
My great-aunt ran away with an American serviceman back in the day. She was engaged and on a pre-marriage trip with her fiancé in Germany when she met an American and ran away with him. She left her fiancé in Germany to travel back home alone and tell her family that she had eloped. My family cut her off and never spoke to her again.
Then, when she was older, she went back home penniless, with her children staying in the US. She wanted to live with her widowed mother, who was living on a very small pension. In a mysterious turn of events, no one knows what happened to her after her mother passed. I found out about this all at a family gathering.
56. Something’s Buggy
My friends, roommates, and family know that I’m scared of bugs, but they don’t know that I’m downright horrified by them, to the point where it’s probably an actual phobia. A few weeks ago, a mosquito was trapped in my room for a few days. I saw it multiple times, and it would bite me in my sleep. Despite knowing better, I haven’t been able to sleep, thinking I have bedbugs which I don’t.
Even so, my reaction was over the top. I’ve been vacuuming my mattress, constantly washing my sheets, doing exhaustingly thorough inspections nonstop, and worst of all, when I’m tired, I can feel bugs crawling on me that I know aren’t there. It’s honestly been tormenting, and it’s negatively impacting my ability to function in daily life.
I’m rational enough to see the evidence for myself and finally convinced myself there are no bedbugs around. I’m ashamed to share it with anyone, worrying they’d think I’m crazy when I’m definitely not. I sometimes have anxiety, and I think bugs just trigger the worst of it in me.
57. Spam Of A Lifetime
I found out my dad was previously married before my mom, and that my brother and I had a half-sister. I found this out because my sister found me on MySpace. My mom claims she knew about the marriage but not the daughter from it. One day, I got a MySpace message asking some personal questions. I assumed it was spam and ignored it.
There was another message soon after that made me think it was an actual person and got me to pay attention. I politely told them to leave me alone. Then, the person messaging me said that she thought we might be related. I had to laugh because this was a good farce, in my opinion, and it really had me thinking. The problem was that the person was obviously Asian, but I was not.
Finally, after a few back-and-forth messages, this person asked to call me. I figured, “What do I have to lose? I can entertain myself for a bit at work and see how the deception plays out”. I figured she would just ask me to wire her money, but I was wrong. I got the call, and she knew my name, my brother’s name, my mom’s name, and most importantly, my estranged father’s name. I never really spent time with my father, so this was surprising.
Her voice was really familiar, but I couldn’t place it. It turned out my father was in the Army overseas and met a local woman. They fell in love, he moved back to the US with her, got married, had a kid, and got divorced. The ex and her daughter moved back overseas, THEN he met my mom, and they did almost exactly the same thing, producing my brother and me.
However, he never told my mom anything other than he was married once before. We never knew about our sister and due to the divorces, we never really saw our mutual paternal family. My sister came back to the US and went to school here. Her family told her that she had two younger brothers in the city we lived in. Over time, when she started her own family, she wanted to know us and started using MySpace and Facebook to find us, eventually succeeding.
As if the shock of gaining a sibling during my break at work wasn’t enough, she put me in touch with my paternal grandmother, with whom I hadn’t had any contact since I was a toddler. That same day, towards the end of my work shift, I called the number my sister gave me. An old woman with a southern accent answered the phone. I said “Hello,” and introduced myself.
Before I could say anything else, she said, “I love you so much. I never stopped thinking about you and your brother, and I always prayed I would get this phone call”. This whole episode was the beginning of my relationship with my sister, her extended family, and my paternal grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Despite the thousands of miles we live away from each other, we all share some strikingly similar personality traits, features, and mannerisms.
58. A Family’s Funeral Foible
When my grandpa passed, we went about the normal funeral arrangements and whatnot, including putting an obituary in the local paper. Not long after the funeral, something weird happened. There was another obituary for him in the same paper from completely different people. We were obviously confused.
I was about ten when all of this happened, but from what I remember, my grandpa had been married to another woman and had kids before he married my nana. I’m assuming she knew, but they never told my dad.
His other family was upset at us for not telling them that he had passed or inviting them to the funeral, even though we didn’t know they existed!
59. Suspicious Lineage
My great-grandfather owned a bar in Atlanta, pre-prohibition. He decided to get into the liquor wholesale business and asked the other bars in town if they’d buy from him. They all said yes, so he invested all of his money in wholesaling.
When it came time, NO ONE bought from him because he was such a COMPLETE jerk, more than words can describe. He went broke, and when prohibition passed, he became an agent and put all the bar owners behind bars. Then, he offed a bunch of men and got away with it.
I come from a long line of pricks, slippery lawbreakers, and snappy dressers.
60. Finding Happiness Among The Ashes
I was four, and my mom was pregnant with my baby sister. Everything was ready for her arrival. Clothes were given by relatives, her room and crib were ready, and everyone in my family from aunts to uncles was super excited about her birth. Due to complications, my sister passed a couple of days after being born.
My mom remembers me going to her when she was crying and saying, “Everything will be okay, Mom”. They told me this years ago. I have always seen a picture of my baby sister and a lock of her hair hung up, but never asked for any details about what happened.
When I was 25, I lost my job and my house and was severely depressed. Trying to get up and about, I cleaned up the garage one day. I found the usual items we had in our garage before, but this time there was a box I had never seen before, and I opened it.
Inside was everything from the year before my sister Danielle was supposed to be born, from congratulatory cards to clothing she was going to wear. There was even an angry letter from my mom to the hospital doctors that must have never been sent. Then, I found a plastic bag.
It was her cremated ashes. I held it and just cried for 10 minutes. I never told anyone this story and have yet to ask my parents about the box. But I did want to honor Danielle, so I made a tattoo and had a close friend put it on my chest where my heart is.
After that day, I said life is too short, so I told my parents I was moving across the country to live and work in a city that made me happy.
61. I Wasn’t Playing It Safe
As a kid, I took an interest in learning how to pick locks. One time around age 10 or 11, I opened my father’s safe in the bedroom and found a disassembled 9mm, and a box of ammo. Stupid me thought it would be a good challenge to try and assemble it. I got it together, and suddenly, a friend stopped by to play. We went out in the woods intending to hunt birds and such. It was a recipe for disaster.
At one point, the piece didn’t fire. We thought it was out of ammo. My friend was looking at it, with the barrel pointed at him and me at various times. He said we must have used up all the rounds and gave it back to me. During the exchange, a loud bang shattered the silence.
The piece discharged into the ground. One of us could have lost our lives or been hurt miles from anywhere. I have been terrified of arms ever since. I got caught using the piece because I scratched it, trying to get leverage to assemble it. I took the punishment with no issue and considered myself and my friend lucky.
My father was a good man; he did what was right with it. Once he knew I could gain access, he got rid of it, saving me a few years later. I went to get it to take my life, and it was nowhere to be found. I have been that thankful for that ever since.
62. Hard Act To Follow
My friend goes on and on about how many Twitch followers he has and how he’s getting so big as a streamer, etc. But there’s something he doesn’t know.
Most of his followers/viewers are me. He was so depressed that nobody was tuning in that I used a Google Workspace account and a ton of aliases to spawn Twitch accounts to follow and watch him.
However, it’s gotten out of control, and he keeps trying to brag about how many viewers and subscribers he has. I’m not sure how to proceed because he was pretty depressed before I created all the followers, and I am worried he’ll get depressed again if I slowly stop doing it.
63. More Than Meets The Eye
When I was about six or seven years old, I stole a Transformer toy from a mom-and-pop store. This was back in the 80s in France. My mom would just drop me off at the store while she ran some errands. It was not considered bad parenting back then—everyone would leave kids unattended in cars or stores.
I had noticed this Transformer for a while and had really wanted it because they were all the rage back then. We were not poor, but my parents wouldn’t get me new toys for no reason. It was only for Christmas, birthdays, or if my school report card was good. So I knew my mom wouldn’t buy it even if I begged; I had tried before.
I noticed that there was almost nobody in the store and that the owner was behind the register. There was no one near me, and since I was only four-feet tall, no one had a direct line of sight over the aisles. That’s when the devil on my shoulder won.
I decided I was going to take it. I had never taken anything before—maybe a crayon from school, but that was it. This was something around $8 or $10, which was a lot back then, especially for a seven-year-old. It was winter, and I was wearing a big puffy coat. However, the toy was in a box, not just a blistered cardboard back like most action figures.
I couldn’t just shove it inside my jacket; it was too big. Plus, it was a small store, they only had one or two units of each toy, so if one went missing, they would notice immediately, or at least that was what my young mind thought. So, I opened the box very quietly with my tiny fingers, and I was able to get it out. I was constantly checking if anyone was coming over.
My heart was beating as if I was committing the biggest heist. I slowly put it inside my jacket pocket. The toy was actually pretty big; I had to make sure nothing was poking out. I put the box back on the racks, hiding it behind other toys. The whole thing probably lasted 30 seconds, but it felt like an hour. Then I couldn’t just walk out.
I had to wait for my mom to pick me up, and I had no idea how long she would be. I had to stay at the scene. I randomly walked around the store, avoiding eye contact with anyone, staying away from the boys’ section, and suddenly pretending I was interested in Barbies. I was sweating.
I knew it was there in my pocket, but I couldn’t reach for it because I didn’t want to bring any attention to it. I didn’t even want to look down. Then, I saw some other kid going towards the Transformers. I thought he was going to find the empty box, but luckily he looked at other stuff. My mom finally walked in the door. I wanted to rush outside, but I had to act cool.
She started asking me questions, “I wasn’t too long? Did you see anything you like?” While I would normally drag her to show the stuff I wanted, this time, I was like, “Nah, we can go”. I was finally outside, and no one was running after me—victory! I put my hands in my pockets, and I could feel it, but it wasn’t over yet.
I had to wait until we got home. Once we got home, she put my coat on the hanger, so I had to go retrieve it later when she was busy and not paying attention. I locked myself in my room and played with it all day. I would then hide it at the bottom of my toy crate when I was done. I did that for a few days then I became less cautious.
My dad once saw me playing with it and asked where it came from because he didn’t remember buying it. I made up some story about trading it with a friend from school, and he was like, “Oh, OK”. He didn’t really care. I avoided going back to the store for almost a year after that. I told my mom I’d rather stay with her when she went to the farmers market, which made her happy.
My big childhood secret haunted me for months.
64. Survival Tactics
My dad was the one to discover the heartbreaking truth about our family origins. He find out that my grandpa had survived the Holocaust. My grandpa was from the Czech Republic, and after WWII, he moved to the US and raised my dad and his siblings as Christians. My dad had no idea my grandpa was Jewish, let alone a survivor of the Holocaust. Then, one day when he was in his mid-twenties, my dad was walking on his college campus, and my grandpa’s friend recognized him and told him about our family’s past. My grandpa hid it because he wanted to protect his family and become successful in the States.
65. Mystery Solved
Both of my parents were married before they married each other. My mom even lived in Oklahoma City for about two years with her eventual ex-husband. Once moving back to our area, she lived next door to my friend’s parents before her eventual divorce.
My dad had a daughter from his first marriage, and I was always told she was the daughter of one of his fellow firefighters when I saw pictures of her and me. When I was about 11, a new family moved to my neighborhood, and they had two sons around my age who became my best friends.
Their dad had worked at one of the local fire departments with my dad before we were all born, while my dad was married to wife number one. After a while, my friend asked me about my other sister and my dad’s first marriage. I had no idea what he was talking about as he always joked around about stuff.
So, I never believed him when he told me about the mystery sister and marriage. I came to find out my dad did have this mysterious life. About a year later in middle school, I met the kid whose parents lived next to my mom after she moved back from Oklahoma City with her soon-to-be ex-husband.
My mom drove me to his house one day so we could play video games. I gave her his address and told her he said his house was hard to find. She didn’t even have to look around for the house, it was like she knew exactly where the address was. His mom and my mom acted like old friends.
My mom told me she was a friend from high school and she used to work with her. My friend’s mom knew of my mom’s old life. After these pieces fell into place, they told my sister, who was almost too young to understand, and me.
My mom’s husband was always away golfing or bowling, and she never got along with him. So, one day, she packed up her stuff and moved back in with my grandparents, and went to get a divorce the next day. My dad’s first wife divorced him due to his fidelity issues, and he allowed her new husband to adopt my half-sister.
We even went to the same elementary school for two years.
66. Tracing The Steps To Her Illness
My mom’s youngest sister passed of epilepsy when she was 21—or so I always thought. On New Year’s Eve, however, my mom told my cousin and me how she became an epileptic. When she was around two-and-a-half, she fell down a flight of stairs. She missed every step except the bottom one. She had a gash going across her forehead, from temple to temple, and my grandfather butterfly-taped it shut.
The effects were instantaneous. She wasn’t right in the head after that, and when she was 15, the epilepsy began coming through. My grandpa thought she was on dope, but she wasn’t. She was just sick. I also found out she had a kid somewhere along the line but gave it up for adoption.
67. Religious Freedom
A great uncle of mine, who is now deceased, was involved in a high-stakes case that went to the Supreme Court level and made case law. It was later adapted into a plot line of The Sopranos. I learned of this when I was investigating my family history via Google in order to analyze their immigration history to claim Polish nationality so I could earn working and residence rights in Europe.
My great-uncle was an Orthodox Jew living in the United States. When he married his wife, they made a binding promise that in order to get a divorce, the couple must formally do it in a religious ceremony in a synagogue. If they didn’t, then under Jewish law, they aren’t technically divorced, and neither party could remarry.
After 22 years, my great-uncle and his wife got a divorce in a civil court. However, he refused to go get the official religious divorce, leaving his wife in a state of marital limbo. His wife met a new man she wanted to marry but couldn’t marry in a Jewish ceremony without it. My great uncle’s wife sued him in order to compel him to get a religious divorce.
68. Hoping For A Happy Ending
My grandmother recently passed. At her wake, a woman I had never met or seen before showed up and spent a lot of time chatting with my uncle—the same uncle who, at 62, had never married. Ever since I was old enough to know what it was to be gay, I just assumed he was and was not open about it because of my grandmother. Obviously, this woman was just a close friend or something. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the heartwarming truth.
Turns out the woman was my uncle’s first love. They had met many moons ago, he decided he loved her, and wanted to get married. He told my grandmother that, and she forbade it because the woman was Jewish and we were not, so he broke it off. More than 40 years later, they were still close—she never married either.
Not only is my uncle apparently not gay, but he also seems particularly good at holding a grudge. I’m no longer secretly hoping he has a boyfriend somewhere but that the two of them, who have been holding out this whole time, can finally be happy together.
69. Glad He’s Gone
I hate to admit it, but I felt relieved when my dad took his life. While he had a lot of mental health issues, he was also not a very nice person and put my family and me through a lot of pain for many years. I now have conflicting feelings all the time.
I am sad that someone suffered and inflicted so much pain on others, but I am also relieved that it is over, and I honestly don’t miss him at all.
70. Mother Of Pearl! Where Did This Come From?
When I was little, I always admired this really beautiful nightstand my grandmother had in her house. It was inlaid with mother of pearl and very intricately carved. She recently developed dementia and came to live with us.
During one of her “episodes”, she started talking about living in Germany during WWI. During the beginning part of WWII, she was working for a Jewish furniture maker. Then one day, the furniture maker just mysteriously disappeared.
Some officers came to the store and told her and several other girls that they could take their pick of the merchandise. Apparently, the stand I liked so much was Holocaust furniture.
71. Keeping An Eye On The Lie
I have three stepchildren; their mother and I are engaged, not married, but we have all lived together for two years now. Their father is a real jerk and a complete hypocrite. He has a son who used to be a corrections officer. This son, who at 42 is my stepchildren’s half-brother, is in the slammer for holding up not one but two places to fund his addictions.
Their father keeps telling the kids that their half-brother “is one state over and that they have to keep an eye on their brother’s dog for a while”. He mentions nothing about the why and that they probably won’t see him for another 10 to 20 years.
72. Brother From Another Mother
My grandmother’s brother got a girl pregnant when he was a teen. Her parents shipped her off to Ontario to avoid any shame for the rest of the family. She had a son, and he had nothing to do with them. My great-uncle then got married and had six children, five girls, and one boy.
Several years ago, his son was visiting my now-late great-grandmother, who was suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. He made a joke about being the only boy in the family, and she said, “Oh, well there was that [illegitimate] boy, but we don’t talk about him”.
That’s how my cousin learned about his older half-brother from Ontario who he would never get to meet.
73. Keeping It All On The Down Lo
My wife’s uncle has three complete families with 12 kids between them, now all adults. This just came to light a few years ago, and it was quickly hushed up. His official wife refuses to acknowledge that they even exist. I don’t know what his other two “wives” think as I’ve never met them. However, my family is even more bizarre.
My grandmother had a child from a fling she had with a traveling migrant farm worker. She gave him up for adoption, and the whole thing was hushed up. Then, she married a guy who ended up being the mayor of our hometown and a community business leader. They had three kids, one of which was my mom.
As an adult, my aunt met a man and married him. It turned out he was her brother. They are still married and have four kids. My uncle and I are the only ones who know. It turned out my great-grandparents took my grandmother away so no one would know she was pregnant.
74. Onion Bread Sticks
My parents regularly made onion bread sticks for my great-grandparents. For someone not aware, it’s bread cut into strips and onion soup mix mixed in butter and slathered on before baking until crispy. And that’s where this story takes a dark turn.
We found out after both had passed that my great grandma always kept one from each batch and hid it away in a Ziploc. She’d repeat until full and then start a new Ziploc. This went on for ten years. We visited every other month. Imagine finding 60 of those in varying states of decay.
75. A Bond Between Brothers
So, about 40 years ago, my dad’s baby brother was in a BAD accident. He was driving a big rig through Alberta, and the stretch of highway he was on was raised up above the land around it. His cab ended up on one side of the road, his trailer on the other. He had to be air-lifted to the hospital. He was in a coma for days.
He couldn’t walk for a while after he woke up, but couldn’t remember he couldn’t walk, so kept trying to get out of his wheelchair and falling flat on his face—it was BAD.
My dad and their parents flew in from BC to be there for him. He pulled through, though had some minor brain damage. Went on to become a teacher, moved to Japan, got married, and had a couple of kids. Seven years ago, he went for a walk on New Year’s Day, but he never came home.
They found his body on the hiking trail. He’d had an aneurysm.
After his memorial service, my dad and I were staying up late into the night talking over some drinks. And the topic of his accident came up. Now, the first time I’d heard about the accident, I was a curious 10-year-old that had just noticed one of his pupils was bigger than the other. So I’d asked about it, and he told me the story over ice cream.
So when my dad brought up his hospital stay, I told him what I remembered being told: that when he finally woke up from his coma, he was alone in the room, but the room felt like my dad, and he knew he’d been there for him. My dad doubled over sobbing. He’d never known.
76. Withdrawn Cousin
My cousin hadn’t totally withdrawn and become reserved like I thought. It was just around family. I had no clue what was going on behind closed doors.
His narcissistic mother forced him to hide his tattoos (which I also found out about when he was admitted to the hospital) under long sleeves, and our (also narcissistic) grandfather snapped at him when he was younger that he talked too much and was annoying. So my cousin just shut down and didn’t do much at family gatherings.
He was his normal, joking self that I knew and idolized as a kid when he was with his friends, though. It broke my heart.
77. Third-Party Adoption
I found out that my cousin is adopted, and her “mom” isn’t even my uncle’s first wife. My uncle couldn’t have kids of his own, so his original wife left him. As a single man in Korea, he adopted his friend’s sixth daughter because his friend didn’t want another girl. He married another woman shortly before coming to America. We’re all adults now, and this came out fairly recently when her “step-mom” got angry and, while ranting, alluded to the fact she was adopted. It was a pretty crazy revelation.
78. My Family Was Faking It
A few Christmases ago, I overheard my mom and aunts talking about how the family thought I was a problem child and had made the worst mistakes. I was about 23 or 24 at the time. In my eyes, my family had always been extremely supportive and loving toward me. So, it was a horrifying shock to hear that they all thought I was the worst of all seven kids and cousins.
I don’t know if it was because I was extremely depressed around the age of 19 or if they just had high hopes for me that I didn’t live up to. I am a relatively skilled artist and pretty smart, but I never finished college, and maybe they thought I’d be some bigwig by now or something, I don’t know. I am a happy, functioning adult in a nine-year relationship and have a job I actually love. I guess if that’s not good enough for them then it’s their problem. It definitely changed how I view my whole family, though.
79. The Truth Was In The Picture
I found out that my grandma was actually my step-grandma. When I was about 14, I was looking at an old picture of my father as a toddler with his mother and said, “Hmm, that doesn’t look like grandma”. My mother then told me that my dad’s mother passed when she was in her forties. One would think maybe Dad would’ve brought that up at some point in my life, but he didn’t.
I wasn’t lacking for a grandma, so it didn’t matter that she wasn’t blood-related. But I really wouldn’t mind knowing more about my biological grandmother. My dad barely remembers and never talks about her, so it’s a little frustrating.
80. Double Discovery
I have a half-brother from my dad, and I’ve known about him since I was five. He’s 15 years older than me and was from before my parents even met. However, I learned that there is a possibility that I may have two more siblings, also from my dad. I found out from my mom when I was 15. My dad had received a call from a woman he knew a long time ago, way before he met my mom.
She told him that her twins, who were now adults, were probably my father’s children. This turned into me learning that my father also has half-siblings and other “half-relatives”. My mom only told me because she was trying to make my father out to be a bad person to justify her two-year-long affair.
81. Grandma Almost Got Rid Of Me
My mom was almost forced to abort me by my grandmother. Apparently, while my mom was married to my dad, she cheated on him with his best friend after he had slept with a woman a state over. This also led to me having a sister I have never met and didn’t know about until I was 20. My mom got pregnant by the friend, and my grandmother took my mother to get an abortion.
Everything was then all hunky-dory for a couple of months. Then, things took a strange turn. My mom took this weird hiatus, and she was pregnant again. Everyone thought it was the best friend’s, even though she and my dad were together that whole time. But to Grandma, it was personal. She found out, was mad, and worried about what everyone in the community would think of her family.
She demanded my mother abort it. My dad stepped in to claim me after finding out. I was with my dad on a camping trip, and he told me all this. It turned out my brother knew for years beforehand. My mom told him about it and asked him not to mention it. We were both also raised by our grandparents, so it made Thanksgiving very awkward.
82. Like Looking In A Mirror
When I was 59, my parents visited. My mother couldn’t get it out, so my dad explained that she had run off with an older school teacher when she was 15, been the subject of a large and well-publicized search, and eventually returned pregnant. Her daughter was adopted and never spoken of. I believe my dad knew since he’s known her since she was three.
This all came up because my half-sister found them! It was pretty amazing. We get along well and like many of the same things. Looking at my mother and half-sister next to each other is astounding. Their movements, clothing choices, hobbies, many aspects of speech, and something fundamental but hard to describe, are all essentially identical!
83. Lost In Translation
I found out my cousin’s dad isn’t really his dad, but he doesn’t know. It was news to me when we took a trip to Mexico, and his mom kept his passport away from him the whole time. During that trip, all the cousins were passing together through immigration and customs, and my aunt gave me his passport to hold. She told me not to give it to him or show it to him.
When I saw it, his last name wasn’t his dad’s last name, which I always thought it was! I told my sister and other cousins about it, and they apparently already knew this. My mom told me not to tell my cousin about it. I was the last of the cousins to find out. The poor guy adamantly believes his current dad is his biological father.
I can only assume that his mom refused to teach him or let him learn English so he wouldn’t learn the truth. He is 30-something years old, and whenever he wants to open up a credit card or bank account, his mother has to go with him to “translate” his paperwork.
84. Dad Got Around
My dad cheated on my mom multiple times. He was even living a double life with a girlfriend in a different state. I found out about his philandering ways when I was 16. It was around 1am, and the authorities called my house. They didn’t bother to ask for my mom, but they did inform me that my dad had been taken into custody that night for soliciting a hooker. Years later, after my mom passed away, my dad admitted to his double life but still maintains his innocence for the night mentioned.
85. Unidentified Family Offspring
I was the oldest of three kids, or so I thought. At my grandma’s funeral, when I was 30, I met a nice woman who had grown up on my grandma’s street. She was fawning all over me and talking about how beautiful I was and such. I mentioned her to my mom later, saying, “Nice lady….a little weird”. My mom then thought it was as good a time as any to tell me that the woman was the mother of my older half-sister.
Apparently, my dad got the girl down the street pregnant when they were 16. They were from Catholic families, so they made a heart-wrenching decision to put the baby up for adoption at birth. It apparently ruined this woman’s life. She’s been trying to track down the child on adoption sites and celebrates her birthday every year without any luck. It is truly crazy to know you have an unidentified family member out there. I hope to somehow meet her someday.
86. It Was A Setup
I found out several years ago that my grandfather was set up to be held up and was murdered. This was in the late 70s on the Lower East Side. It was my aunt’s sister who set him up. He used to run numbers in the bars on the LES, and she knew he’d have a bunch of dough on him. He was stabbed and later passed from the wounds. He blasted one of the assailants during the incident. My aunt went full bipolar, and during a routine family event four years ago, she told me everything.
87. My Cousin Spilled The Beans
I have an enormous family and live in a decent, average-sized city. My cousins and my nieces, who are my age, and I all ended up at the same private school, which was small. When I was 13, I was at dinner with my nieces and family, and one of them told me one of our cousins was talking about me and spreading rumors. Turns out my niece revealed a shocking secret: I was adopted.
I went home and told my mom about it. She denied it, and we never spoke of it again. I eventually started to learn about genetics in my 8th grade class and started asking my parents questions about the way I looked. Some months later, my mom was pretty hammered. It was just her and me at the house, and my dad was gone.
She came into my room and confessed to me that I was adopted. I have five siblings, and all the people old enough to have remembered my adoption were told not to tell me. My parents wanted to tell me together when I was 18. However, this cousin’s family and mine had a lot of drama. I have my theories as to why my cousin, who would not have been old enough to remember my adoption, was eventually told.
88. Russian Revelation
I was recently let in on a shocking family secret. After my paternal grandfather was released from Siberia circa 1953, he couldn’t find his family. They had moved to Poland 11 years earlier when he was placed under arrest. So, he met someone else, and they had a daughter. Months later, he found my grandmother. She then went to Russia and convinced my grandfather to leave this woman and baby daughter and come back with her to THEIR three children.
He did and never heard from the other family again. Nobody ever mentioned this to any of us until last year, when my father casually mentioned it as an, “Oh, yeah, by the way, you might have a half-aunt living somewhere in Russia”.
89. Filet Of Fishiness
When I was a kid, we went to California on a vacation. My father’s company paid for us to stay at the Ritz Carlton. I was probably about eight or nine years old, and they sent me on a deep sea fishing trip for the day, and I caught a fish. We brought the fish back to the hotel, and because the Ritz Carlton is such a high-class hotel, they offered to filet the fish and bring it up to my room via room service, which they did.
Thirty years later, I found out that the fish I caught was no good, and they just used one from the hotel. What makes the story funny is that every few years, I would bring up how cool the hotel was on the vacation to filet my fish, and my family just kept this story going.
90. Double Dealings
My great-grandfather led a double life—he had two families. He kept them apart, and neither knew about the other. Both families lived on the same street, had the same number of members, and all of the members had the same names. He kept this up until he passed, and then everything came unraveled. My half-family was surprised when my relatively well-off great-grandfather bequeathed everything he owned to another family with the same name.
Even today, the disparity between the two families is clear in terms of social and economic wealth. The other side has been bitter about it for generations, and rightly so. My grandmother had kept relatively quiet about it until someone in our family started digging through Ancestry.com. After many interesting stories, both sides agreed to meet again a few years ago. We are now in touch fairly regularly.
91. The Truth Came Out
I was about 15 when I realized that my grandfather was gay and that he wasn’t allowed to discuss or reveal this to my siblings or me. The thing about this situation was that he wasn’t really great at hiding it. I was just that oblivious and believed the excuses my parents made. He used to volunteer at a theater, which explained what my parents dubbed his “Halloween” closet.
In reality, Grandad was into drag. He worked at a health clinic helping HIV/AIDS patients, which totally explained the books on his bookshelf, like Men on Men. I figured the books helped him relate to his patients or something. Then there was the giant two and half-meter (eight-foot) painting of a shirtless fireman over his bed. I actually don’t remember how I explained away that one.
One day, my boyfriend mentioned something offhand about my grandfather being gay, and it was like a lightbulb the size of the sun went off—the rainbow bumper stickers, the books, the fireman painting. He passed a decade or so ago, and I wish I’d been closer to him. He did a lot of really amazing things for the gay community that he lived in, and I didn’t even know about most of it until after he was gone.
92. His Childhood Was Secret For A Reason
I was the only one who didn’t know what happened to my grandfather. When I was young, I was always curious about why I only had one grandfather. Anytime I asked my dad about his dad, he would just brush me off or dance around the subject. As I got older, I realized it was a touchy subject for my dad, so I just never asked. I assumed he had passed, but the truth was far more tragic.
Then, one day when my older brother moved back home, we were talking and he told me what happened. When my dad was about seven or eight years old, he came home from school, and his father called him into the living room. He told my dad that he loved him and then blew himself to bits in front of my father.
93. All In The Family
I found out that my grandmother used to be my dad’s wife before she was my grandmother. My father’s mother, my true grandmother, passed when my father was 21. My grandfather never remarried. My father married a woman named Robin and had two children—Jason and Clay. My father and Robin divorced shortly after Jason was born.
Soon after their divorce, my grandfather married my dad’s ex-wife, Robin. Nobody spoke of this until my grandfather passed, and my two half-brothers showed up at the funeral. It was weird to find out I had 49 and 46-year-old brothers. Thank God Robin and my grandfather never had children, otherwise I’d have a tough time finding birthday and holiday cards, specifically for Bruncles and/or Auntsters.
94. Who Knew?
When I was a kid, I remember my dad reading me The Grinch after I begged him to, and he fell asleep in bed next to me. The next day, my mom said he was in the hospital, and he had been there for a little while. I remember visiting him and asking why he wasn’t home. It wasn’t till I was in my teens that I realized the horrifying truth of that night. My dad had taken sleeping pills that night and had almost lost his life in the bed beside me when my mom found him unresponsive. He survived, but the knowledge that I could have woken up to my deceased father has always stuck with me.
95. The Cosmos Crushed My Dreams
My partner was sick and developed brain damage after a sudden illness. It was random and out of the blue. Most days, he is his old self, but some days he is a stranger to me. He’s angry, confused, and doesn’t know me. He gets into a rage, and I have to calm him. I have to remind him of the 13 years we’ve shared together and break his heart, reminding him that his dad is gone.
He seems totally fine to people on the outside, just a bit quieter than usual. They don’t see him when he’s confused or wondering who I am. It’s hard. I’m burning out between work, studying, caring for him, volunteering, and moving because of his mobility issues. I adore him and won’t leave him, but it’s made me realize that the life we had planned is not going to happen. But the devastation doesn’t end there.
We were planning to have a baby, but I’ve had to accept that it likely won’t happen. I also can’t bring myself to tell him that I don’t think it’ll happen. I’m angry, heartbroken, and sad. I’ve never felt such hatred for whatever cosmic force there may be out there that did this, but I wake up from what little sleep I get, begging whatever is out there to leave us alone.
I want my old life back, my old partner, and our future back. I get so mad because people keep telling me I should be grateful he isn’t worse, but I should be allowed my feelings.
96. Bad Suggestions
My twin brother died in a car wreck and my family suggested that I should date his girlfriend because…grief, I guess? THAT’S a secret I’m taking to my grief. Jesus, mom…
97. A Family Photo Album To Remember
My good friend in high school’s parents were discussing putting in an alarm on their house once while I was over, but were balking at the price. I told them I would cable it for them, which made they very excited. The attic access was in the master bedroom closet so I had to go through there. And their closet had some skeletons.
When I went up into the attic, I found a bunch of pictures of my friend’s mom with a guy who was not her husband. I mean a bunch of pictures—and she was doing it all with this dude. My friend’s dad was permanently disabled and didn’t have great use of one side, so I’m guessing that’s why she thought that was a safe place to hide her dirty secret.
I never said anything to their family about it.
98. No Show
It was years before my wife told me the story about her grandmother’s final moments. Her grandma, who raised her, believed that when you are about to die your deceased relatives show up to escort you to heaven. She was by all accounts a horrible person. On her deathbed her last words were, in a quiet terrified voice, “They’re not coming.”
I understand now why she never wanted to talk about it.
99. This One Will Make You Sick…
When a “good” friend of mine who I worked under had cancer and wasn’t able to pay some bills, I loaned her $200 just to help. I was only 18 years old at the time and I felt bad because she had kids. It was right around the holidays and I just wanted to help however I could and be a good person in life. She promised to pay me back when she could.
Turns out she lied about having cancer, was embezzling money from the company I worked at, scammed my other coworkers, and would come in after skipping work for her “chemo” to make fraudulent returns while I was overseeing the store by myself because of her absence. I eventually got her fired and got promoted to her position.
100. Step Into My Office
Ever since I was a kid, I loved to fiddle around with staplers. Playing with the automatic ones and doing dumb stuff like any child would, opening the manual ones and swinging it around, stuff like that. One of my favorite things to do was to open up a new strip of staples and break them apart before putting them in. Running my fingers through the staples, counting them, and breaking them apart…I loved it.
There are 210 staples in a standard strip and sometimes I’d break off each individual one until my fingers hurt. I’ve even found strips with 209 and 211 a few times. This progressed from me messing around with staples in Ms. Grady’s second-grade class, to buying a box of staples every other payday to play with, to literally having a collection of different brands and sizes of staples in my college dorm to break apart.
I had a problem, but no one was hurt, so who cares? Well…Fast forward to the present day. I am a functioning middle-class adult with a wife and two children. I have a home, a normal car, and an office job. I am by all accounts a normal human being, and I still love Staples. Working in an office with a supply room full of staples was a problem.
I’d spend my lunch break in the room opening boxes and breaking apart staples to get my fix before returning to work. It got so bad over the course of a couple years that my boss changed our supplier because the boxes all had broken apart staples and were sometimes ripped. So I had to stop doing that…I turned to Amazon first, buying 10 boxes of staples at a time for about 20 bucks a pop. It wasn’t enough. I went to 20, then 40.
My wife got curious then and asked, “Why are you buying all of these boxes of staples,” but I brushed it off as a work issue that I’d get reimbursed for and knew I had to change my methods. Over the course of a few months I enabled myself. I started using cash only at different office supply stores around my town and neighboring towns.
I would sit in my car and break apart staples before going to the next store. I began to stay out late and tell my wife I would be home soon, so I could go buy more staples from different stores. I opened up a new credit card to put online so she wouldn’t know, but she caught it in the mail. She then got suspicious because things weren’t adding up.
This past Thursday after one of my “late nights,” I get home with a trunk full of broken staples and 10 freshly broken boxes in my passenger seat to see my parents’ cars at my house. I walked in and everyone is sitting around like it’s an intervention. Because it is. My wife asked if there was anything I wanted to tell them, and to tell the truth about my problem.
I sat down and kept saying, “What are you talking about?” until my mom said, “Honey, we saw the pictures.” Then my wife tells me that my late nights, excuses, and general weirdness about the credit card, and some other little things made her hire a private investigator. This man followed me around to office supply stores and watched me “do something” with what I had in the bag from multiple stores.
It basically looked like I was a drug runner for Office Depot who was using some of the product for myself. At this point, my wife started to cry and my dad shook his head. I had to come clean and all I could muster was, “I…I like staples.” The “what the heck” looks I got afterward turned into disbelief, then concern, then fits of laughter when I showed them my car.
I came clean. I backed this up by showing my secret stash of used staples in my attic and explained the purchases on the card to my wife. Right now, my only concern is my dad. He didn’t laugh—just kind of shook his head continually in disappointment without saying a word. Believe it or not, I think therapy or addiction meetings may help, as my wife gave me these suggestions the day after. I was told that although the addiction is not typical in its damage regarding my mental or physical well-being, I do need help.
I am going to go through addiction counseling like any other addict would. Just tailored to my specific issue. Apparently, part of fixing my brain is to know that it is not okay to continue this level of staplephilia. That included cleaning out my car, attic, and not garnering more attention through memorializing pictures, and stuff like that.
My wife initially thought I was having an affair. She didn’t think I was doing substances until she got the pictures. The PI just told her what he saw, and she deduced that I had an undercover type distribution thing going with someone in the office supply business. She admitted that she didn’t think it all through, but her mind was racing and conclusions came as they did.
I do not have autism or any diagnosed mental disability. I am just an addict, and an idiot. I know how stupid the addiction is and so I tried to hide it. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things I guess, but my embarrassing white lie just spiraled out of control.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8