Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

"My Mom Didn't Want Us To Know": People Are Revealing Dark Secrets That Their Family Had Kept Under Wraps

"He never drank, smoked, or ran around on my aunt. But apparently he did kill a man."

Note: This post contains mentions of rape, drug use, murder, assault, and suicide.

Here's the thing about spending time with family: the longer the time spent together, the more you'll find out from each other.

VH1 / Via

And while I don't necessarily care about family drama, I don't like feeling left out of a secret. 

So when u/hdmx539 asked people about the family secrets they shouldn't know about, my interest was instantly piqued. I was, however, not prepared for how heavy some got. Here are some of the responses:

1. "My aunt robbed the bank she used to work for. She then had to sell her apartment to pay the money back. This same aunt was caught cheating by her husband, in the same bank. She's from a small town, so it was a scandal. The funny thing is that she is the last person you would suspect to do those things. But she did."

Warner Bros.-Seven Arts / Via

2. "My grandma’s best friend slept with my granddad 30 years ago. Yes, they are still friends."

"My uncle seemed to never like this woman being in my grandma’s house so I asked him why, and then he told me the entire story. Sadly, my granddad died eight years ago." —u/Warm_Technology5873

3. "My uncle gave up his kids for adoption because his new wife didn't like kids. They were old enough to know he was their dad. He just straight up abandoned them. We never met those cousins, he never talks about them, and most people don't know he has kids."

"My other uncle had three marriages end because of his infidelity. All of his kids have different moms. My sister's biological father is that uncle's best friend's, and not our dad's. 

But we're the assholes if we bring it up." —Anonymous, Reddit

4. "I had a cousin I was never told about that was ripped to pieces by a bear and died. My sister and I always got yelled at for making jokes about bears killing people and we never knew why. We eventually found out because of World of Warcraft."

Speed limit sign With bear print on roadside
Felix Junker / Getty Images/EyeEm

"A WoW player posted a meme about how 'skinning a bear should aggro every bears' and my sister and I were running that joke into the ground. Our mom started screaming at us again about bears, and finally let slip that a bear killed our cousin and that's why bear attacks were off the table as far as jokes went." —u/ThadisJones

5. "My great-grandfather ran a racket selling stolen coal and hiding the money by buying land and part of a hotel in Florida. My family found out after he died when the other hotel owners wanted to buy out my great-grandmother's share of the hotel. She ended up with the whole hotel and then sold it and the land a few years later."

"How she did it still isn't known because the kids didn't know anything about it until after she died." —u/Chariot-of-Belenus

6. "My grandmother told me on her deathbed that my dad has a daughter from another woman."


"To finally drop that juicy gossip without worrying about consequences." —u/NDaveT

7. "My great-grandmother did a few years in jail for bootlegging, and my grandfather, 12 at the time, had to raise his three younger sisters until she got out."

Alcohol is poured away into a New York sewer during the prohibition era, circa 1920
Fpg / Getty Images

8. "When I was in 7th grade, I was in the car with my mom and we got into a terrible car accident. I was the only one injured. When the cops and EMTs came, I just kept repeating what she had told me, namely that the guy she ran into was driving with his lights off and she wasn't at fault. I found out years later that she was hooked on painkillers and she was fucked up out of her mind at the time. I was in the hospital after my own horrible car accident. My parents were in the room and they thought I was asleep because my eyes were bandaged shut and I wasn't talking. My dad mentioned that at least this time, she wasn't responsible for almost killing me because she was too fucked up to keep her eyes open."


9. "My great-grandparents were very poor in Missouri back in the 1940s and 50s. They had 11 kids. Apparently, my great-grandfather would make my grandmother and great-aunts sleep with his friends for money. My great-grandmother allowed it to happen. Because of this, none of the older female children of my great-grandparents would refer to them as their 'mom' or 'dad.' It was strictly on a first-name basis."


10. "I'm not supposed to know that the father I grew up with is not my biological father. My sister, in a vindictive moment, spilled the beans that I was born through in vitro fertilization. I was sad for about a week, but it hasn't troubled me since then. I've had a great father for 23 years, and still do, which is more than some people can say."

A newborn born through IVF holds his father's finger with his tiny hand
©fitopardo / Getty Images

11. "My great-grandmother went to jail for killing my aunt's husband. He prostituted my aunt for years. My aunt shot herself in the chest with a shot gun trying to kill herself over the whole thing and she survived. I actually remember visiting her in the hospital when I was a kid. That's when my great-grandmother took matters into her own hands. She died six months later of ovarian cancer, literally days after being found guilty, so I think she figured she might as well take care of some things before she went."

Simon Super Rabbit / Via

12. "My grandpa was married pretty early in his life. Soon into his marriage, my grandpa was having children with both my grandma and his wife — my grandma and his wife were sisters. They each had about each children with him before his wife passed away in a car accident. Then he married my grandma and joined the families together."

"Not really sure how true this is, but my mom’s half-sibling says one time my grandma and her family came to visit when he was about 14. My uncle said that my grandma's sister pulled him aside and told him to hide all the guns and knives in the house. He didn’t ask why, so we don’t really know why. Maybe she was afraid my grandma would kill her own sister's husband?" —u/mrhornung20

13. "My grandfather sold my aunt, who has schizophrenia, for marriage to a guy who wanted citizenship."


14. "Found out one night that my mom planned to leave my abusive dad when I was super little. He was beating us all, making her work three jobs to pay the bills and his drug habit, and was just a bad time. My mom went to her sister and told her what my dad was doing to her and asked for help leaving. My aunt said, 'I don’t believe you.' My mom stayed another ten years because of that. Her own sister hearing about all the abuse and dismissing it really fucked with my mom mentally. My mom didn’t want us to know so we would still have a good relationship with our aunt."

A female parent exhausted while traveling with her child
Globalmoments / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. "My grandfather raped my grandmother. She got pregnant and the parents of both forced them to get married. They had 8 children."


16. "My dad was paying child support to somebody that nobody knows. Found out only after he died."


17. "My aunt is actually my half-sister. My mom had her in high school and my grandparents legally adopted her as their own."

Lilan Bowden points to a younger picture of herself holding her daughter in "Andi Mack"
Disney Channel

18. "My father and mother have been separated as long as I can remember. My grandmother told me that when I was born, my father was still sleeping around. I have the features of both parents, so that lets me know that I was a final one night stand before things ended for good."


19. "My dad slept with my CPS case worker."


20. "My aunt married my mother’s rapist. They were close in age and were both interested in the same guy who grew up near them on another farm. When my mom was 15 or 16, she was hanging out with him and he raped her. My aunt told everyone she was lying and my grandparents believed her. My mom pressed charges anyway, and my aunt went to court and gave him an alibi. He was acquitted and my aunt went on to marry him and have a daughter with him. I believe he may have abused too because she turned to drugs pretty young. The entire family simply accepted him as a member and silenced any objections by my mother. She had to see him at family functions and pretend he never raped her in order to reconnect with her sister. It was a complete secret. I had actually liked this uncle. I only found out after she died, when her husband got drunk and let everyone have it. Totally changed how I see my family."

"My mother eventually killed herself. I strongly believe the rape and her family’s subsequent acceptance and support of her rapist were the causes." —u/EbonyCohen

21. "My biological mom is getting a significant amount less inheritance than anyone else and she doesn’t know it."

Last Will and Testament Document
William Whitehurst / Getty Images

"She doesn’t deserve anything in my opinion." —u/Believe_Deez_Nuts

22. "My grandmother tried to hire a hit man on her boyfriend. It was all about money. She hired an undercover police officer."

"I found a news article. She got 18 months probation and was ordered to not have any contact with that man." —u/seeking_moree

23. "My dad died when I was five in a 'car accident.' For no real particular reason, I started questioning this when I was in my early teens, but could never find any obituary or news articles to prove or disprove it. Family would kind of dodge the question when I'd bring it up and was always quick to change the subject. I'm now in my early 30s and I was discussing this with a friend in Discord maybe six months ago. He found all of the articles back from when it happened. Turns out my dad robbed a store, killed a man, got in a shootout with cops, and caught a bullet to the head. It's nice to have closure."

Close-Up of cordon police caution tape
Miguel Marin / Getty Images/EyeEm

"And I'm not sure how to have this conversation with mom yet." —u/NotTooRelevant

24. "The older gentleman that frequented my aunt’s household was not, in fact, a coworker as I was led to believe. He was the resident sugar daddy."


25. "Great-grandma was a heroin trafficker back in the 50s. Not a mule. A legit player in the game."

Woman holds up a small drug bag of white powder
Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

26. "This is about my step-family. The reason my aunt is never at their family gatherings is because my grandpa molested her and when she told everyone, the entire family turned against her. Not because they didn’t believe her, but because she was going to ruin her father's good name and reputation. I no longer associate with anyone with that last name, including my mother who married into it."


27. "I learned a few months ago that my father, who I was told killed himself when I was two, was actually murdered by my mother."


28. "My great-grandmother was a prostitute when she came to America from Lithuania in 1902. She was 15. It’s never been discussed but when you look at the available evidence, she had no other option to make money. It was only a few months before she got a job as a maid, but it still definitely happened."

Someone holds up a sign that says "Sex Work is Work" during International Women's Day in Toulouse, France
Nurphoto / NurPhoto via Getty Images

29. "In high school, my parents were divorcing. A few days before the divorce was finalized, my dad died. My mom told us that he died in a car accident. I hadn't seen him in a year because we didn't get along. I recently found out, through a document, that he actually killed himself with his shotgun at his parents' house. I understand why my mom kept this secret from us, and I can't tell my siblings or her that I know. It'll be heartbreaking."

—Anonymous, Reddit

30. "When I was 22, I found out that I was adopted when I tried to apply for a loan and needed my birth certificate. My ‘parents’ said they’d lost it, so I spent weeks trying to track a copy down from the government departments. I provided name and date of birth, location of birth, etc. I finally got a letter back. I'll never forget the opening line: 'according to our records, you were adopted in 1982.' I was born in 1976. Turns out everyone else in the family knew but never told me. I’ve not kept in contact with any of them."

Close-up of birth certificate with family tree document in the background
Lokibaho / Getty Images/iStockphoto

31. "I'm not supposed to know how my sister tried to kill herself in early 2019. I know because my mom needed to offload and it's an experience I've been through myself. My sister is a very private, independent person who doesn't like anyone knowing when she's struggling and doesn't like talking about her mental health. I'm the opposite because talking about my own issues has helped me understand so much."


32. "I went to a friend of a friend's birthday party a few years ago, and the birthday boy's dad kept staring at me. He said I looked very familiar. By the end of the night, I found out he grew up down the street from my mom. I look just like her and I no longer live in my hometown. A few days later, the birthday boy told me that his dad was reminiscing on how he hooked up with my grandmother while my grandfather was in WWII. I haven't told a soul."

Upset mid adult woman hugs her military husband
Steve Debenport / Getty Images

33. "My great-grandmother had a house servant (but let's be real, basically a slave) who got so angry that she pushed my great grandmother down the stairs, killing her."

"I only found out after I told my family I kept seeing a woman at the top of the stairs at my grandad's, her son who was two when she died." —u/sp33dzer0

34. "My uncle admitted on his deathbed that he kidnapped, tortured, and killed the man who murdered my grandfather."

"He was a loving and honest man. He was a steel worker for most of his life and married my aunt right out of high school. My mom made fun of him because she said he was too much of a 'goodie goodie.' He never drank, smoked, or ran around on my aunt. But apparently he did kill a man." —u/sporkmurderer135

35. "My great-aunt was a nurse at a mental hospital in the 1920s and fell in love with a murderer who was getting evaluated for trial. She helped him escape and they hid out in Florida until the cops caught up with them. My aunt got off easy, but he got the chair. Found out by accident while working on family history. Mom reluctantly confirmed it."

Finn Wittrock as Edmund Tolleson kisses Alice Englert as Nurse Dolly in "Ratched"

36. "My great-grandfather owned and ran a brothel in my hometown, which my grandfather continued to run. He shut it down and became a minister once my mom was born."


37. "My great-great-grandmother tried to poison the entire family. We did some genealogy research because we knew of other family members that existed but had never met. We found a long lost great-aunt that we hadn't seen since super early childhood. She showed us a newspaper where our great great-grandmother had a family reunion and fed the entire family poisoned food."

Nicole Kidman as "Martha" sits at the head of the table with her daughters after just poisoning a disruptive house guest in "The Beguiled"
Focus Features

"She had diluted it too much though, so when her family ate the food, they simply got a stomach ache and saw a doctor. The sheriff told her not to do it again." u/SubpoenaSender

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US and UK from the Crisis Text Line.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger as a result of domestic violence, call 911. For anonymous, confidential help, you can call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or chat with an advocate via the website.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here

If you are concerned that a child is experiencing or may be in danger of abuse, you can call or text the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-2253 (4.A.CHILD); service can be provided in over 140 languages.