Every family has secrets, and they are often hidden for a reason. Sometimes discovering a surprising revelation can change everything. Here, Redditors share some of their deepest family secrets that altered their view of their life and family. For the most part, it seems the best-kept secrets should be just that.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
I learned four things about my dad in kind of an odd order. I first found out that he had wound up behind bars for 14 years. He was named "The Hollywood Bandit" by the press at the time since he pilfered from celebrities. Then, I found out he is gay. He’s still in the closet, but it's an open secret, and my mom was aware.
He also wears dentures and has since before I was born because of the prison food, and offed a man once in self-defense. The thing that he was embarrassed about—and didn't want me to know—was the thing about the dentures.
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.
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.
My parents had a fast courtship. They met in July and were married the day after Christmas. When they met, they were both seeing other people. They talked about it, and both agreed to break up with their significant others and started dating within a week. That's how my father knows the story, anyway.
I was talking to my mom a few years ago about pecan pie—and she related a slightly different story in a whisper. She told me, “Actually when me and your dad started dating, I didn't immediately break up with my boyfriend. I dated him for another two weeks to make sure I could get his mother's pecan pie recipe. Then, I dumped him”.
She then took a deep breath and said, "Old family recipe" in a loud voice because my dad was in the next room watching TV.
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.
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.
I never met my dad's dad. I had always heard he was the town lush and just disappeared one day. When I was 23, I was the manager of a bar. Our beverage company said they were sending over my new sales rep. When he walked in, it was like looking into a mirror.
After talking for a while, I found out his grandfather was my grandfather. We both later found out he had at least five families at once. It turned out he was not a lush but was hiding families in different states.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
My grandfather ran his own construction company in the 60s. They lived down the way from a dude, Charlie. Charlie was a really well-off kind of guy and was always collecting miniature cars because they were kind of a thing back in the day. My grandpa did a job for him, and they agreed that the end price was going to be something like $3K.
He told my grandfather that he had the money for him and to come over, so he did. Charlie had a trailer hitched to the back of his truck that was filled with three thousand dollars in dimes wrapped in those little papers.
I didn't hear about it until just last year because, apparently, when this whole thing went down, my grandmother FREAKED out and went on a rampage. The last time someone made the mistake of bringing up the “dime incident," she nearly had a stroke, she was so mad.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just before my grandmother passed, she told me a story that she had not told anyone before. She had been accosted by her brother-in-law while her husband—my grandfather—was at sea during WWII. She told me the whole story in chilling detail and then added this little tidbit.
Somehow, my grandfather must have figured out that my father and aunt weren't his biological offspring. That was the reason why my grandfather would hurt my grandmother, my dad, and my aunt when he was drinking. Old Granddad was mean when sloshed and would mow down anyone in his path.
My grandmother blamed herself for the incident with her brother-in-law AND the harm that she and her children went through. My dad had a real love/hate relationship with my grandfather. At one point, they hadn't talked for almost 13 years.
While my dad and grandfather got along well at the end of my grandfather's life, my dad really respected and admired his uncle and wished that his father was more like his uncle, who was most likely my dad's biological father.
To this day, I haven't related this story to anyone in my family except my wife. I just wouldn't know where to begin.
My mother's youngest brother, who happens to be fabulously gay, has HIV. I'm not sure why my mother hasn't told me yet, it's not like I'm not old enough to handle the news, but I assume she has her reasons, so I've never told her I know. I've tried to prompt her to tell me on multiple occasions, but she's still never said anything about it.
I only found out because my dad tends to speak without thinking and made some offhand comment vaguely suggesting it. I probably wouldn't have thought twice about what he said had my mom not freaked out on him afterward, and I put two and two together.
When I was four or five years old, I woke up in the middle of the night, and my mom wasn't there. My dad was working the night shift, so I woke up my brother and sister, and we decided to call the authorities. We called them, and they came over to check things out.
They asked us where our dad was, and we told him that he was with the CHP and was working. The local PD found out who and where he was, so they radioed him and told him what was going on. At the same time, our mom came home. It was 5 AM. She told us she was "at the store".
I always remember feeling funny about that, but I never thought about it again until recently. I realized that I had caused my parents’ divorce by making my dad discover that my mom was cheating on him.
My grandmother isn't actually my grandmother, but my great-aunt. My actual grandmother lost her life when my mother was four, to an electric device of some sort, in a freak accident at my mother's home. My great-grandfather then talked things over with my other great-grandfather.
He decided that my mother, my aunt, and my uncle should have a mother in the household so that they wouldn't have to go to daycare or anywhere unfamiliar outside of the family. So, my great-aunt was asked to give up her life of teaching at a university to take care of my mother, my aunt, and my sister, and married my grandfather.
She gave up her entire life for my mom, aunt, and uncle. I found this out less than a year ago. I saw my grandmother for the first time on that day, as well, in a picture. My mind was blown.
I recently learned that my brother, who is almost 10 years older than me, was prone to rages during his high school years. Apparently, during some of these rages, he would grab me like a shield and wave a bat at my parents to keep them back. I have absolutely no memory of this, but I do not doubt he did it.
This probably explains why I'm a fairly passive person. A few years ago, I found out that my brother had lost his temper at a family function and my parents asked me to take his kids and leave. I later asked why and they told me what had happened. Luckily, he got help after that last incident.
My dad was days away from marrying someone else when he was 21. The last straw for him was peas. When discussing what the wedding dinner vegetable would be with his fiance, he discovered she had made the decision with the caterer that the vegetable would be peas.
My dad told her, "But I hate peas. You know that. We were going to have string beans". She piped in, "But my mother said—" and that’s when it clicked for him.
He called the wedding off with less than a week to go. Then when he and my mom were dating, he was a travel agent, thus he traveled a lot for his job. He apparently made extra cash if he delivered a briefcase through customs. My dad is about as straight of an arrow as they come, and he looks it too.
He'd pick up the briefcase from a guy before going on the plane and deliver it to another guy after they landed. He was told never to open it and never to ask questions, and he never did.
My dad, who was actually my grandfather, was a Marine. He was in the Special Forces as a sniper. He was the type to boast but never gave any details. In 2004, he had a really bad car accident. He was hospitalized in the ICU for a month, then transferred to a rehab facility for another two months.
He wasn't all there, to begin with, so they had to put netting over his bed to keep him from falling out, and he flipped out. He had PTSD, which I never knew about. They had to take it off and put his mattress on the floor instead. Right after that, I had a talk with him, wondering why he had the reaction he did.
He told me that he was once tied down by the Vietnamese and was lucky he had a good platoon that came in and took out his captors and saved him. He told me he had 14 confirmed takedowns in Vietnam and was very sad about it.
I asked him, since he did what he did, if his hits were all performed from a long distance. He said all but two. The first was when he was in a ravine, and they threw a grenade. A buddy of his saved him by accident just because he got down and ended up on top of him. He stayed still while the enemy came to make sure everyone was no longer alive.
One came to the edge of the ravine by my pap’s head. My paps grabbed his ankle, dragged him down, put a blade in his stomach, twisted it, then slashed his throat. The other was on the streets.
A young boy about 16 was trying to pickpocket him and tried to also take his watch. He grabbed him and just jabbed him in the back. He said it was in the spine because he felt the blade scrape the bone. I looked on with horror as he told me this because it was just a boy.
He said yes, but over there, those boys were just as capable of taking out someone as any grown man. He said he really felt it was the boy or him because of the scuffle. He said he knew quite a few men that lost their lives for underestimating "boys" over there.
My paternal great-grandmother married my great-grandfather when she was 13, and he was in his mid-20s in the late 1800s. They didn't consummate their marriage for several years and later had two children, one being my great-aunt and one being my grandfather. My great-grandfather passed in 1933 when my grandfather was five.
It was later revealed that my great-grandfather had married my great-grandmother because he was having an affair with my great-great-grandmother, his wife's mom. My great-great-grandmother became pregnant twice throughout the course of the affair. Her husband was much older than her and was essentially bedridden.
However, no one ever discussed how unlikely her pregnancy was or that she might be having an affair, but there were obviously suspicions. Lo and behold a few years ago, someone mentioned that the people who my grandfather thought were his aunt and uncle were actually his half-siblings.
He didn’t believe it, but eventually, a DNA test was done and proved it true.
My aunt was impregnated by the neighbor's kid when she was between 16 and 19; he was a few years older. He was never around afterward and never paid child support, or anything, even though he lived next door. My cousin grew up without him. About ten years ago, my aunt was pregnant again—by the same guy.
My mother told me he was put behind bars after starting up his own family. His wife or kids didn’t want to visit him and basically ousted him from their lives, so he contacted my aunt. My aunt, who was alone, gave in to the need to be with someone and would drive two hours just to visit him. This went on for years.
Now, he lives with my aunt, and their son is a good kid. However, their first child doesn't speak to him and doesn’t even acknowledge him at Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
I was sixteen and at the beach with my grandma when she started telling me about the summer jobs she had on the pier when she was sixteen in like 1930. She didn’t talk about her life when she was young too often, so as she started talking about college, I didn't stop her.
She said she went to art school for a year and a half and then had to leave school. She explained it by saying something like, "I got married to Arnold". My grandpa's name was Lance, so I asked, "Who's Arnold"? She was just like, "He was my first husband". I was like, “First Husband? What”?
It turned out they got married before he left for the South Pacific in WWII despite my great-grandma warning her that it was a bad idea. About six months after the wedding, tragedy struck. He was in a plane crash and had severe burns covering most of his body.
He had the marriage annulled because he didn't want her to have to spend the rest of her life taking care of him; she was around 19 at the time. She moved in with her mother, who would not drop it that she had been right all along. A few months later, she met my grandfather.
I told my mom about this, and she said she found out about the first husband when she was 13 and asked about a ring she found in the jewelry box. It was her first wedding ring.
I am the only one who knows this. I got it out of my mother once when she was trashed, and she doesn't remember that she told me. My parents were divorced when I was five. My father remarried within two years, and my mother remarried within five.
I found out that the reason they got divorced was that my mother was having an affair. But here's the thing—my parents were also wife-swappers. The man she was having an affair with was married, and they were swinging too. I guess after they "swung" my mother didn’t stop.
My father ended up marrying the wife of the man my mother was having an affair with, and my mother married someone completely different. Also, my mother was the product of an affair my grandmother had with the milkman. Both of my parents were also married before they were married to each other but didn’t have any children.
My mother said she was married for a year, but the marriage was annulled because he was gay. My father was married for seven years before my mother. He has forever claimed that he has only been married twice and the rest of the family just goes with the lie.
My family has addiction on both sides and with the exception of one uncle, everyone in my parent's generation, including my parents, has gotten divorced and remarried at least once. A few of my cousins don't know who their fathers are.
My dad apparently sired one or two children in Mexico when he was a young adult, so I might have 40-year-old half-siblings out there somewhere. He had also had a wife before my mom who passed really young of a heart condition. My mom had a ton of affairs throughout her marriage to my dad, but he was always too sloshed to do much about it. Oh, but that's not all.
My dad's side of the family is pretty sure my uncle is in the CIA because he falls off the face of the earth for months at a time. He also had to serve time under shady circumstances and became crazy rich as an "entrepreneur" through a company that never gives you a straight answer for what they do.
He also travels to Eastern Europe fairly often, and his main house is in DC.
When I was young, somewhere between the ages of eight and 12, my parents told me that my uncle had been in a hunting accident. Apparently, my uncle had been out deer hunting, and on his way to the deer blind, he had to climb over a chest-high barbed wire fence.
When he did, the piece that he had holstered on his hip was somehow snagged, and it fired a round through his foot. He ended up having to have multiple surgeries and now walks with a cane. It sounded like a slim chance sort of situation, but this is what I was told and what most of my family believed. The truth, however, was much darker.
It just came to light that he was actually targeted by a dealer. Apparently, my uncle hadn't been paying up, and he had had a serious problem that had been going on for 15 years.
My great-grandmother had schizophrenia and tried to smother my grandmother when she was six years old with a pillow in her sleep. Then, my grandmother had a two-year-old sister who drank ammonia and lost her life; they buried her in the backyard.
However, the biggest family secret of all was that my mother started sleeping with her stepdad around the age of 15. When she was 17, she was also sleeping with my father. She became pregnant with me, and my father wouldn’t sign my birth certificate because he knew what my mom was doing.
Before my grandmother and grandfather got married, my grandmother, who lived in Northern Ireland, was engaged to someone else. Her father made them split up because the boy was a Catholic, and they were Protestants.
This was common knowledge amongst her sisters but never spoken of, and my mom, aunt, and I only found out when my grandmother passed. We discovered that the ring she'd worn on her right hand her whole life was the ring this boy had given her when they were about 20.
My mom's brother, Chris, is about seven years older than her. She had always said that he was a terrible brother growing up, but I always assumed it was just typical evil older brother stuff. It wasn't until I mentioned this in passing to my dad last summer that he told me Chris had walked into my mom's room when she was about 11 and had been inappropriate with her.
She told her parents. They took care of it, and it never happened again. My dad told me he made sure that I was never left alone with my uncle, but still. I didn't know about this until I was 22 years old, and my mom still doesn't know that I know.
My paternal grandmother had an affair that produced a child. The child was mentally handicapped and passed at the age of four. I never even knew about this aunt until my grandma passed when I was 16. My dad never talked about her. However, my mom's side of the family is even more messed up.
When I was 18, my mom attempted to take her life. That was when I learned from Dad that this was her third attempt. My mom moved in with my grandma after that since my parents were divorced. I visited often, and Grandma passed the time divulging dark family secrets.
My grandma was in the Third Reich’s youth program. Great-grandpa was in the German army and passed mysteriously at the hands of militant Czechs. My grandmother had two children out of wedlock. Grandma says she was forced into it, but others have speculated she was a lady of the evening.
My great-grandmother took her life when the second child out of wedlock was born. Grandma married Grandpa and came back to the US with him. My grandpa's parents were Mormons—as well as first cousins—and they pretty much disowned him when he left the church.
When my mother was about 16-17, her father very suddenly drained the bank account, said he wanted a divorce, and left for Italy. It came out that he was sleeping with my mother's friend, who was the same age as my mother, and that he was leaving my grandmother for this girl.
My mother and grandmother followed my grandfather to Italy in an attempt to convince him to come back to the family. My grandmother loved him so much, she wanted him to come back, and all would be forgiven.
My grandfather refused to come back to Canada with them, and my grandmother's response was heartbreaking. She attempted to take her life. My mother pleaded with her father to help her bring my grandmother to the hospital, but he refused, saying that she was just faking it, even though she had slit her wrists.
So for some reason, they decided not to go to the hospital, and instead, my mother bandaged up my grandmother's wrists and hid them enough to sneak her onto the plane back to Canada. Once back in Canada, my grandmother spent many months in care for her psychotic break.
No one knew about this story. It wasn't until I was around 20 that my mother alluded to it, and it took a long time to get these details out of her. It finally explained why my mother refused to reconcile with her father.
My mom was extremely unhappy. She begged and pleaded with my dad for a divorce, but they were still friends. When I was 20, my stepbrother got ridiculously trashed and informed me that my mom couldn't handle my dad's growing health issues. He was a lifelong diabetic and had extreme complications as far back as I could remember.
She started sleeping around with his closest friends and co-workers, people I grew up with and had known forever. My dad apparently just would not give her a divorce until he finally caved after the 10th or 11th guy. I was appalled, to say the least, but I wasn't sure if my brother was telling the truth.
So, I asked my dad point blank if this was true, and he said it was. Never had I felt so misled in my life, and I could never again look at my mother in the same light.
From my dad's side, I have local "royal" blood. My great-great-grandmother became the heiress of a lot of land due to her late husband's passing. However, being a woman back in the late 1800s, the whole family didn't quite like this. Nevertheless, her child would've been the heir of the land once he came of age.
She was essentially an outsider in a family that wanted nothing to do with her other than take the land. So, she gave her child her last name and got the heck out of town, forever ridding herself and her child of the controversial last name tied to the land.
Little by little, every brother, uncle, and cousin started selling their shares of land that they seized for themselves. Families kept arriving at the town, inter-marrying each other, cousins with cousins, neighbors with neighbors until everyone became a tribe.
The family still fights over their almost non-existent land, BUT, and it's a big BUT, each family member treats my grandfather, who would've been next in line as an heir if his dad's last name hadn't changed, with the utmost respect and they consult him for the most trivial things.
My dad left when I was little, and my mom remarried. My stepdad adopted my sister and me, but he and my mom never had any kids. I thought that was kind of weird, but I didn’t dare ask my mother. My stepdad passed when I was in college, and my sister finally told me the truth.
He was gay, and his parents hated that fact, so much so that he never dared tell them. If anything happened to him, he didn’t want them getting his money, etc. He and my mom were good friends, and he liked us kids, so they got married so that all his money, house, etc, would go to my mom instead of his parents.
The real shock wasn’t that he was gay, it was that my mom was cool with it. She always struck me as one of those “I have no problem with gay people, but I don’t want to see them or hear them or think about them” types.
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