Every family has some kind of skeleton in their closet. However, sometimes those skeletons don't reveal themselves until years later. These Redditors came from families that were hiding a dark secret, but they never found out until they were adults.
For the sake of having a "normal" childhood, it's probably for the best. Content has been edited for clarity.
"As the smallest of three brothers, I always thought that I was a mistake. My brothers are 10 and 12 years older than me. I also grew up kind of overprotected and sometimes spoiled. There were Christmases where I received gifts from everybody. In some way, it made me think that was a compensation of some sort.
This Christmas mom passed the holidays with me and my family and I bluntly asked her, 'was I a mistake or was I planned?' Turns out, I was the most planned one. She had a tumor in her uterus with high risk of being cancerous and for some reason in the late '70s, the doctor recommended her to get pregnant to take out her womb and the tumor. The pregnancy would be of high risk, but she committed.
I was born at 8 months (+1 month in incubator) and mom got all her tumors out. They never told me because I could feel unwanted or guilty."
"My mom died in 2004 when I was 16. My father passed when I was 5 in 1995. We had to find her will to figure out who she wanted to adopt me, but no one could find it. Everyone searched the house and checked her work office and attorney, but couldn't find the paper work to see if she had a will completed. Well, one day, I decided to look in her dresser that had several drawers and doors that led to hidden drawers, so I pulled everything out. In the very back, behind a hidden drawer, was a written will that was copied and signed by an attorney and my aunt as a witness.
I also found my father's death certificate. On it listed three causes of death: 1) fluid in his lungs 2) lung failure and 3) AIDS.
I was shocked and called my sisters and we confronted our family. They then told us that while my father was working as a pilot in the marines, he flew cargo deliveries of aid to countries. During a trip, the crew was given vaccine shots in which the doctor used the same needle for all pilots. When I was born, they found out he had AIDS. For 10 years, I had to do three tests a year for AIDS because this was early '80s and '90s and not much was known of the disease back then. At least that explains my fear of needles.
Looking back on it though, I get why my family didn't want us to know the reason because the general public had been so afraid and so much was unknown. They thought it was only a 'gay persons' disease back then or that if you touch someone with it, you will contract it as well, which we know so much more now 30 years later. No one would of treated my siblings and I the same. I honestly think had people known, our lives would of been so much harder with a single parent because the word would of been judging my mother and us.
My mother was the most amazing woman for holding something so scary as a secret for two decades because she wanted us to have a normal life. I never got the chance to thank her for being such an incredible human being and showing me that true love knows no bounds. Even when the world says all is lost, she picked up the pieces over and over and made it through for us."
"My dog, a cocker spaniel, was very aggressive. Apparently that breed is very jealous and does not play well with children. We were not cruel to him, in fact quite the opposite. He just happened to be attached to my mom the most.
One day, he bit my sister on the cheek after she took all the attention from my mom. It was a light nip, but enough to scare my sister to tears and draw a little blood. My dad, a very muscular man, almost killed our dog on the spot. I picked the dog up and ran right into traffic. My dad finally came to his senses, and after promising not to kill the dog, I came back in.
Years later, the same dog bit my cousin hard enough that my cousin would need surgery. A month later, my dog went missing. We looked all over and, finally, my mom found him on the side of the road mashed up by a car.
15 years later, my cousins and I had a small reunion as they were all military and had done extensive operations overseas. The topic of my dog came up and my cousin said, 'Yeah man, it's messed up what your dad did, but I guess he had no choice.' I looked at them confused and it dawned on them. That look told me everything I needed to know. My dad had strangled my dog and threw him into the street to make it look like he escaped and was ran over.
I was shocked. He denies it, but I know the truth. I don't begrudge what he did though. I also become angry if any children are hurt around me too."
"My paternal grandfather was a white man who had left his home town to come out east. His mother and sister also came east later on. My grandfather married my grandmother who is black, had a bunch of kids, and lived a good life. His marriage ended, although he and grandma were still close.
After Grandpa passed on, my grandmother decided to do one of the ancestry type deals. She showed up to Thanksgiving one year with a huge packet and whipped it out and shows us all some awesome stuff about where her family came from both in the US and before.
Suddenly, my mom (a Latina) pulled the rest of the packet out. Apparently, Grandma used my aunt's DNA as the basis for the search, so it got both Grandparents' sides. My mom started flipping through the papers and asked very loudly before exclaiming, 'Did you get anything on Rick's side of the family? OH MY GOD!'
Turns out, Grandpa had left the town he was born in because his Grandpa was a major KKK member back in the 20s-50s. His name and everything was in the papers since this was back when the Klan was a major public entity. Oh and he and I looked very similar, apparently I take after that side of the family more than my Grandmother's or Mother's sides.
This came out at Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of primarily black household. Things got a little awkward.
Also turns out that my Great Grandpa was also a raging racist. My Great Aunt took my school picture to him (and only mine) since I was the most white passing of my cousins or family for that matter and the only one he would accept and be happy with as he aged into his late 80's."
"I’ve lived a fairly normal life up until Monday night. For Christmas this past year I got an Ancestry DNA test kit and completed it as a joke, not really thinking much would come of it. Much to my surprise, I received an email Monday stating I had familial matches. I opened the email and I have been matched to an aunt and a parent/child relationship. That’s what prompted my call to my mother regarding the test. She said she knew who Michael and Gail were and wasn’t sure how we were related, but was very surprised by it.
This then heightened my curiosity to dig into the situation a little further. Once I investigated the DNA results, I did a little research on how the DNA is measured, and found out I share 50% of Michael’s DNA. This is all so astonishing as I’ve gone my entire life believing my father is someone completely different.
I previously was Facebook friends with Michael, as he’s been a family friend. However, I didn’t know him so I deleted him.
On Tuesday, I confronted my mom about it. Initially, she played coy, but once I point blank asked her if there could be any possibility that Michael is my father she was dumbfounded. She had been intimate with Michael while separated from my father while they were divorcing. She never thought the timelines added up, so she just assumed I was my father’s child, not Michael’s child. When Michael found out she was pregnant, he even asked her if I could be his and she laughed and told him no and he was crazy (jokes on you, ma).
My parents divorced right after I was born. My father has never been in mine or my older sister’s lives besides sporadically. He was always a deadbeat addict that was a worthless human being. He developed cancer in his back (or it was discovered in its end stages) in the fall of 2016 and my sister took him into her home (his house was falling apart and he could not walk). He lived with her for about four months, and went downhill rapidly. I never saw him, hadn’t seen him in person since my grandmother’s passing (his mother) in 1995. I wanted to be with my sister (she’s eight years older than me) during his final moments in hospice care. She and I watched him take his final breaths in February of 2017. I struggled with his death a lot because it resurfaced a lot of anger and resentment I had towards him for not being present in my life.
Since this discovery on Monday, confirmation from my mom on Tuesday, my life has changed completely. I went from having a dead father to having an actual father who is alive and a decent human being. I reached out to him and we are going to get lunch next Saturday. He actually lives about 20 minutes from me. He was an engineer in the navy and comes from a great family.
Life is strange, isn’t it?!"
"My dad left us when I was a kid. Not many things bothered me about it, my mom always told me about him, but she had this massive fear of him. Apparently, he was an aggressive drinker, threatened our lives, abused her, and tried to kidnap me. He said he would kill us both. He disappeared after that.
I'm now 19 and in college. My life was going well when my dad decided to make contact. We met up and started talking. I found out that we actually have a lot in common. He's been sober for 10 years. My mom was skeptical, but we kept contact and met up every now and then to have coffee. He told me my mom made up the whole thing about him threatening her and abusing her.
A few months later, he told me I have an older half sister. This was amazing. As an only child, I've always wanted a sister. We drove 10+ hours to meet her. He wouldn't let us talk alone at all. We both thought it was weird. He kept telling my sister's kids to call him grandpa, which is weird since he only made contact with her a few years prior as well.
So, a year after we got back, I decided to fly up and visit her again. We finally talked alone and figured out he did the same crap to her mother as well - down to threatening, abusing, and bad mouthing her mother. He also attempted to kidnap her when she was a child. We also both suspect that there's another sister out there. We're getting on that and finding the out about the other as soon as I get back. And what's weirder, since he found out I came up on my own, he's been radio silent. He hasn't talked to either of us much.
It's terrifying since I live closer to him. I'm afraid of what he might do. At 22, I still can't help but wonder what other secrets we don't know about yet."
"I always wondered why my father’s family had no interest in seeing or talking to me after he died when I was 6. I figured most people who lost a son or brother would really want to be around their only kid, the only thing left of him. But they never contacted me. His funeral was the last time I saw them. I also wondered why I didn’t really look like him or anyone in his family. I don’t look like either of my parents really.
Years later, I took an AncestryDNA test to see what my genealogy was and it came up with a way different heritage than what I had been told. I didn’t recognize any of the names of people who were related to me on there. I asked my mom about it and she admitted I was conceived right around the time my mom and dad were on a brief break.
My dad, who I’ve been mourning for 17 years, was not my biological father. Still, He was amazing. My parents tried for 6 years to have kids and even after fertility treatments and a uterus operation, they never were able to conceive. It could be because my dad was much older than my mom. So when she did find out she was pregnant, he knew it dated back to their brief month off, but was just so excited to finally have a kid that he didn’t care at all. He loved me all the same and was an awesome dad. H sewed me Halloween costumes by hand, picked me up from school every day. He knew I was always getting yelled at at my mom’s house for drawing on her walls so when he bought his own house, he painted my room plain white, bought a huge thing of finger paint, and told me we were going to spend the whole day being creative and painting the walls however I want. I have lots of great memories of him. He lost his life when I was 6. It was technically a homicide, but we never got any justice.
My biological father is alive with a family a few towns away. He looks just like me and still doesn’t know I exist. My mom told me my dad was always aware I wasn’t his (though he loved me anyway and was an amazing dad). Apparently his family knew too, which is why they didn’t really care about staying in touch after his death (which is wrong in my opinion, I’m still the kid he raised and loved and should be acknowledged as family, but whatever).
I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this information. I still think of my deceased dad as my father and don’t really want to have another father in my life or tarnish his memory in any way. But at the same time, for 17 years I’ve wished I could talk to the man who made me and believed I never could since he’s dead. Now I know that while my dad’s still gone, the guy who actually made me and is responsible for half my genes is still here. He has a little 11 year old daughter who looks just like me. It makes me think of my own 11-year-old half sister (from my mom and stepdad) that lives here with me. We’re so close. I'm constantly taking her out for spa days and trips to the city. I spoil her rotten with gifts and go to every school event and cheerleading competition. It just makes me feel kinda sad that there’s another sister of mine, just as related to me as she is, and I’ve never met her or done anything for her.
But then again, who knows if he and his new wife would even want his illegitimate kid hanging around? The whole thing’s weird. I’ll figure it out in time, I guess."
"My grandpa absolutely adored his grandkids. He sold all of his belongings and moved from Missouri to Virginia (where we live) and lived a modest life in a trailer just so his entire income could go to our college funds.
He died when I was 10 and my grandma died less than a year later. When my brother and I went to college, I noticed my parents were having trouble paying for our college, which shouldn’t have been the case because I knew my grandpa had A LOT of money. I had just assumed it was because my college’s tuition was particularly expensive.
My mom’s mom let it slip one day when my brothers and I were 20 that when grandpa died, he didn’t have a will. So all the money went to my grandma, but grandma was so devastated from her husband’s death, that she never went out and got her own will. She died suddenly before she ever got one. But wouldn’t that mean her only son, my dad, gets all of her belongings? Nope. It turns out my dad wasn’t her biological son. My dad’s biological mom died while he was in college long before I was born. There was no reason all this was kept from me and my brothers, it just was.
The money ended up going to my grandma’s only living brother: a gambling addict I knew nothing about. My parents pleaded with him; he can have everything else, just give the kids their college fund. That’s the only thing grandpa asked for on his deathbed. But no. He refused and gambled it all away.
My brothers and my parents are all in debt now, which is the last thing grandpa wanted. But what keeps me from being angry is that I know just how proud of me he would be just for graduating college at all."
"My kingpin dad got my brother addicted to opioids and coke when he was 13, then used my brothers erratic behavior to turn me against him.
I always thought my brother just fell into the wrong crowd. I used to hate my brother with a passion because he would always steal and lie to me. I knew he was addicted to something, but I didn’t know what or how it happened. Through many years of patch work and bonding over my mother’s ailment’s, we were able to form an honest and loving relationship again.
One night when I was tripping, he told me how it all started. My dad told my brother to grab a tape measure and look under the clip on the back of it. My brother does so and underneath it sat an eight ball of coke. I guess he was too high to realize that’s not how father-son bonding works. My father eventually got my brother into opioids as he felt his vices were to be my brother's vices as well.
As their relationship with substances continued, their father-son relationship diminished. Soon my brother was selling coke to my dad for opioids in exchange. He also noted why weed smelled so familiar to me already as a kid. Turns out my dad was growing and selling right under our noses. Supplying a huge portion of the state. 15 years later and he still hasn’t taken any responsibility for what he did to my now struggling brother. He’s completely changed his life for the better, but left our lives tattered and battered. I’m not surprised because it isn’t even close to the worst thing he’s done to our family over the years. I’m just grateful I had such a bellowing example of what not to do now that I’m old enough to make impactful decisions."
"My dad and his brother hate each other.
His dad (my grandfather) was dying. He needed a kidney. Dad was a match and didn’t donate. Once he passed things kicked off for real. I always thought it was due to my dad not giving the kidney.
My dad drank/drinks a lot. It would effect him greatly to give up a kidney. There were many accusations about his drinking and being selfish. After the funeral, we were asked to come take a lot of his belongings and his brother showed up and made a big scene. I broke it up and went to talk to my uncle. I didn’t make any progress. Keep in mind that I’m like 30+ in the middle of this.
Last year, it all became 100% clear. My uncle likes to play the victim, but was piece of crap trying to cover his reputation. My uncle has been married 6 times. He lied to his wife about how many marriages he had. He is a serial cheater. During the numerous hospital stays of my grandfather, my uncle would travel to 'be with his dad,' but in reality he was out sleeping with everything that moved, namely a nurse looking after my grandfather. At this time, he is married to wife 6 (she thinks she is 3rd) and has his first child who is about 10.
My uncle had always been this guy, but it blew up when my dad was hanging out with his brother and his brothers business partner. Dad got plastered and laid all his brothers dirty laundry out to the business partner. All of it. Every detail. The business partner jokingly made comments about it in proximity of the current wife. This obviously caused tension. Tension that eventually had the partners separate. Uncle went nuclear on dad about it. Dad told him 1) if he was that upset about it why does he keep doing it and 2) back off unless he wants him to lay all his crap out to the current wife.
So all this time, all this hate due to uncle trying to keep his secret and masking it as my dad being a piece of crap or wanting to stop drinking and save his dad's life."
"My grandparents from my mother's side have always had a really hard time talking about money at the dinner table. On top of that, there is something aristocratic about their manners sometimes, especially my grandmother, which at the age of 75 still takes part in parties, galas with old friends, playing cards, and going out. To give you an idea of how old her friends can be, when I was younger, I remember one even referring to the lady helping around the house as a 'nice slave.' It was supposed to be a compliment...
Anyway, there is only so much class you can show when you have diabetes and your left eye doesn't work and your arteries are half clogged.
Whenever money comes up as a topic, they both fall silent fairly quickly. On top of that, they are used to spending money for luxuries they are not in need of, both on themselves and their grandchildren.
One day, I decided to crack open the topic, and my mother told me that my granddad comes from the north and had lots of money in the bank. He arrived so early in the town they are currently living in, that he was able to build pretty much 90% of the houses currently on his street (and it's a long street).
In the span of two decades, he pretty much lost it all on gambling, scams and bad investments. He went from being filthy rich to middle class, even though their apartment is the whole 2nd floor of the building, with high ceilings and spacious rooms. They are the best and most loving old people I know, regardless. The piece of information never changed how I see them in any substantial way."