Photo by saeed karimi on Unsplash

They say that you're stronger together as a family. That those people who raised you, spent holidays with you, and were there in your darkest moments because that's what they believed they needed to do, are the ones who will make you the best version of yourself.

Then why keep secrets?

Some are fun, goofy mysteries kept from your ears for the sake of "keeping up appearances," while others are dark, classified tales that might make you reconsider your place in the entire unit.

*The following article contains discussion of sexual assault.

Reddit user, hdmx539, wanted to get the low down gossip when they asked:
"[Serious] What's the family secret you're not supposed to know about?"

Start with the light, slightly breezy ones.

The secrets that don't make you reconsider the conversation you had with your mom this past Christmas while she was a little tipsy.

Money Redirected Somewhere Else

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


"Oof. Did you get to meet that other person? Do I assume correctly they are a half sibling of yours?"


"Nope it’s a mystery to this day. I’m 34, dad died at 61. So yeah basically he was sleeping around at some unknown point and we have a half sibling somewhere out there. The implication is that the half sibling is under 18 due to the active child support payment. Pretty nuts!"


Crossing A Line You Didn't Know Existed

"Cousin was killed by a bear and they never told us, but my sister and I always got yelled at for making jokes about bears killing people and we never knew why."

"Edit: He was a distant cousin from a remote branch of the family. I'm going to give you guys some context because lots of you seem to be asking:"

"He died sometime around 1990 and I didn't find out until 10-15 years later that he was even dead, let alone that a bear had ripped him to pieces. I'd never met him, or any other of the distant Canadian branch of my family, at that point. So to me it wasn't a huge emotional tragedy in any way. My parents were sort of overprotective when it came to violence and death."


"Oh no! How'd you find out?"


"World of Warcraft. Shortly after release the game was patched so that harvesting resource nodes would cause nearby mobs to attack, making farming herbs and ore a lot harder, but skinning an animal wasn't affected. Someone posted a meme about how "Skinning a bear should aggro every bears" and my sister and I were running that sh-t into the ground humor wise, and 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."


Stole Like The Declaration Of Independence

"I have the recipe to the sacred sweet potato casserole from my ex fiancé’s mom that I couldn’t have until I became part of the family… I cook it every Thanksgiving now. It was worth the failed engagement to get"


Family Came From Germany?

"I'm related to sooooo many Nazis"


"My Opa was in the Hitler youth. My aunt and mum said he wasn’t a Nazi but who knows."


"In high school, I found a photo of some members of the Hitler Youth at some rally/event in our European History textbook. One of the girls in the photo looked JUST like me. I don’t mean vaguely similar; I mean, like, looking in the mirror identical. I showed my best friend in the class and he was insistent that we show it to our teacher. Mr. Smith was beyond shocked. None of us talked about it again. My grandmother was 100% German and I feel very strongly that I must be related to the girl in the photo. The resemblance was just too striking."


The deeper down the rabbit hole you go, the darker it seems to get. Not always dark enough to get you away from the family as a whole, but dark enough to remind you that not everyone is perfect, and mistakes will have been made.

You Can't Sell A Person!

"My grandfather sold my aunt (severely schizophrenic) for marriage to a guy who wanted citizenship."


"My jaw literally dropped. Wow."


"It’s awful. Wasn’t even that long ago either, around 2000. Worst part is that my aunt really thought this guy loved her - she was devastated when he left after a couple of years."

"Nobody’s seen him since, but recently he reached out to their daughter (my cousin) through a blank Instagram account asking if she wanted to meet up and be introduced to his new family."

"Anyway, f-ck that guy, f-ck grandpa, and f-ck anyone else who takes advantage of vulnerable people. True scum of the earth sh-t."


Deathbed Confessions Can Never Be A Good Thing

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


"Gosh. How do you feel about knowing this information?"

"I gotta admit, I don't like "death bed confessionals." The dying person drops some information on the person and now that person has to carry it. What's the point? To clear their conscious? IMO, it's too late now."


"It’s a little odd. She told me it was the result of two irresponsible children during the 60s. The mom got married shortly thereafter, so the daughter had a dad. My dad married my mom a few years later and began the life he lives now. No one knows that I know, and honestly I’d prefer to keep it that way. No reason to stir up controversy. I must admit I have had some moments where I thought it’d nice to meet her, but simple biology is not family IMO."


Better To Know Than Not, Right?

"After 25 years or marriage my wife told me our 22 yr old daughter wasn't mine. From an affair while we were dating with my BF who passed away in 1999. She told after his father passed so no DNA test could be performed."


Doing What It Takes To Survive

"My great grandmother was a sex worker when she came to America from Lithuania in 1902. 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."


Family Is Family, No Matter Where You Come From

"Here’s a pretty good one. After my grandmother died, we found out that her oldest son was from her first marriage to a man who was sentenced to life in prison while she was pregnant (around 1940). My grandfather, her second husband, met her shortly after she gave birth. He married her, adopted my uncle, and they had my mother a few years later. We also found a letter in my grandmother’s possessions from 1976, sent by the Texas Dept. of Corrections stating that her first husband had died in prison."


Seems Like A Standup Guy...

"My (already deceased) grampa had 4 affairs with different woman when he was first married, re married 6 time, forced my dad to immigrate to the US, making him work at his store, and although he was very rich, excluded my father from his will. All of this was not told to me before his death so I would have a good relationship with that a--."


A Lot Of Grandfathers Making A Lot Of Mistakes

"My grandfather had an affair and had a kid right in the middle of his four kids. It goes my dad, my aunt, my grandfathers affair child, and then my other two aunts. He used to bring the child over for play dates with my aunts and tell my grandma it was a friends kid. Not sure how my grandma found out/ how that went, no one has ever told me lol. I know after my grandparents divorced he lived with his mistress, along with my two aunts (split custody) and their half sister."


And then there's these, horror stories buried deep in the family lore, meant to keep the people who don't need to know about it "safe" from the terror they would bring.

Your family loves you, right?

We Don't Invite That Uncle Around Much Anymore

"I only learned about this from snooping in my mom's journal. As a kid, maybe 8 or 9, her older brother had tried to suffocate her while she slept. Her parents had heard the commotion, and the end result was the brother being "sent away". She never heard or saw him again until a few years ago when she learned he was in town."


Finding The Silver Lining

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


How Would You Even Function As A Unit?

"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 “mom” or “dad.” It was strictly on a first name basis."


There shouldn't be a reason to keep secrets from your loved ones.

There shouldn't be, but that doesn't stop the people supposedly closest to you from holding things close to the chest in the name of protecting you. Just try to forgive them when you inevitably find out at the next drunken family gathering.

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