What was I thinking?

Was I even thinking?

Our pasts are haunted with regret.

When we're kids, we're still learning how to be humans.

So many of our actions are wrong or ill-conceived.

And we never know how the consequences of our choices will unfold.

But once we do know, we have to cope.

We've wronged people. Bullied. Stole.

Redditor21078wanted to hear from all the grown ups about what part of the past still haunts them. They asked:

"What’s a terrible thing you did as a child that you really feel bad about as an adult?"

Let's see what some people had to say.


GIF by Steve Harvey TVGiphy

"Hitting a neighbor kid with a baseball bat in the head for calling my mom fat. I was 5."



"I was friends with unpopular kids growing up. To protect my own image, I didn’t defend against their bullying when I was around. They never ever seemed to mind, but my cowardice haunts me to this day."


"As someone who was bullied pretty mercilessly during my school years, I can tell you they knew exactly why you didn't defend them. They wouldn't have done any different if the tables were turned. The fact that you remained friends and gave them someone to have good interactions with was better than any defense of them you could have made."



"Giving a hate letter in middle school to a teacher (who btw looked quite depressed) because my, at the time friend, hated him. I feel so bad about that to this day."


"I did the same but made a voodoo doll of her and left her to find it. Makes me feel sick now that I’m an adult and what the consequences of my actions may have done to her."



"Stole and destroyed a neighbors bike then just left it out in the street and denied any knowledge when their parents knocked our door having seen us taking it. Don't know why I did it. After later reflection decided never to do anything like it again and felt like a c**t."



Sorry Home Alone GIF by filmeditorGiphy

"Once I tied a kid to a lamppost with a jump rope and just left. I feel bad about that every couple of months."


Wow there are some bad kids out there. I mean... woof.

Bless me Father

church pray GIF by Matt MaesonGiphy

"At a church I went to, there were stacks of the boxes that you filled with goodies and gave to children in need."

"I did not know what these were, so I opened one and took a bouncy ball out of it. About a year later when it came time to do the boxes again and I learned what they really were, I realized that I had stolen some kid's bouncy ball. I felt guilty every time I saw those boxes from that point on."


The 60s...

"Back when I was a kid in the 60s, playground safety didn't exist. We had this aluminum slide in the communal playground that was surrounded by concrete. One day, when I was about 8 or 9, I noticed a lot of commotion at the slide. There was a boy, about two or three, who was next to slide but was refusing. There was a line of kids behind him, yelling at him to go but he just wouldn't move."

"I got tired of the yelling so I made all the kids move, climbed up to him, and tried to lift him to either slide him down or carry him down, whatever would work. He refused to let me lift him, and instead, climbed over the side of the slide so that he was hanging by his hands. It was a long drop (at least 6 to 8 feet) down to the concrete below. I tried pulling him up, but he was too heavy."

"I and all the other kids panicked and ran to the other side of the playground, leaving him to his fate. Fortunately, one of the high school boys playing football beside the playground noticed the kid dangling and jumped the playground fence and caught him when the kid finally lost his grip. The high school boy yelled at us for not helping him, and I felt a mix of anger and shame that even today I still think about sometimes."


Oh Poop!

"When I was six (in the early 80’s for clarity) I caused a clog in the toilet from pooping that backed up somehow into the furnace room and sewage came out of the drain in the furnace room, it was a total mess and plumbers galore came and my parents were so upset (not at me just the situation) but it embarrassed me so much and I was so afraid of it happening again, until I was like 12 and old enough to realize I was being dumb about it I snuck outside at night to poop in various bushes around the house."

"Years later as an adult my parents mentioned they thought they had a homeless problem in the neighborhood at one time because they kept finding dried human feces when doing yard work. I guiltily confessed and they laughed their butt off but my Mom said she (only half-jokingly) would have killed me if she’d caught me doing it at the time."


O. M. G!

"You might wanna brace yourself for this one..."

"When I was like 5, I was playing with one of our kittens, maybe a month or two old, unsupervised. I've repressed what I was actually doing with it, but I do remember noticing it was bleeding from the nose and was obviously being too rough. I brought it to my Mum in tears, and I'll never forget the way she yelled 'What the f**k!' in that shaky, cry-scream, voice."

"I dunno what became of it, but I'm pretty sure I accidentally killed it. I don't even have the heart to ask my Mum about it to confirm or deny it, and I still cry about it every time I think about it. I wish I could erase what I did, go back and prevent what happened, but I can't, and I'll forever live with that guilt. It's one of the primary reasons I can't bring myself to believe I'm a good person, no matter how much I've grown in the 17ish years since."

"Because if I can, at my most innocent stage of life, do something like that, can I ever wash that blood from my hands, what will I say to whatever, if anything, greets me after I die? I am so terribly sorry for what I did, and honestly, wouldn't disagree with you calling me inhuman for my actions."


Poor Kid

Oh No Facepalm GIF by AminéGiphy

"I tricked a kid out of seconds at lunch. He looked so sad when he asked why I would do that. School bully came up and told me I was an a**hole because the kids parents didn't feed him. I think about that a lot and it was almost 40 years ago."



"I went to push the shopping cart in the corral and tried pushing it to make it go inside... like making a goal. Instead the shopping cart turned randomly and hit a car. I ran and hid inside the car because I was scared. They came over to the car where my mom apologized and asked me to come out and say sorry but I refused because anxiety. I still struggle with anxiety issues but I can apologize when I make a mistake now that I'm grown."


Saturday and Sunday mornings...

"When I was 4-9 I spent a lot of Saturday and Sunday mornings as an only child trying to entertain myself while waiting for my dad to wake up. One morning I was terrorizing the cat by chasing him around the house, not giving him any time to breath. He got so scared and tired he hid behind the dryer where he stayed for almost 2 hours. My dad asked where the cat was, and I told him I didn’t know."

"I was a d**k and it wasn’t the first time I did that kind of thing, but for some reason that one made me realize what I was actually doing to that beautiful creature. I thought I was just playing with my brother. I think about it quite often and have never treated an animal that way since. It does haunt me the way I behaved towards that animal that gave nothing but love and affection."


Bad Rebellion

"In my first act of teenage attitude/rebellion I mocked my father's suicide attempt from a few months earlier. I was 12 and it felt good to be mean to someone that had hurt me emotionally in such a way. That was the last time we spoke. I didn't realize he was calling to say goodbye. He tried again and succeeded that night."



scared gingerbread man GIFGiphy

"Blaming my brother for pooping in the sink when it was me."


Big Boned

"I used to be a real brat. One of those 'gives completely unsolicited opinions because I’m just so HONEST' type a**holes. I one time in like 4th grade went up to this group of girls, singled one of them out by name, and told her, 'Gina, you’re not fat but you’re chubby.'"

"I in no way did this to be mean. It was just my complete ignorance about how since I had a thought, she needed to hear it. I had no friends. It didn’t dawn on me til years later when I eventually pulled my head out of my a** that I realized what a horrible person I used to be and didn’t know it in the slightest."


“Who told you this?”

"So back in junior high one of my classmates Chris told me that his friend Leon asked him out. Me being young and ignorant didn’t believe this to be true so I confronted Leon and asked him are you gay? Leon replied 'Who told you this?' I told him Chris did. He turned white and I didn’t see him throughout the whole day. I heard ambulances but didn’t think much of it."

"He came back a couple of days later. Told me that the rumor wasn’t true but was noticeably hostile towards me for the rest of the school year. Fast forward 5 years I then found out through mutual friends that he was actually gay and after I confronted him he went to the top of the school building intended to jump. Thank God he didn’t. Still feel bad to this day."



"An older kid in the neighborhood wanted to light a fire, and I didn't tell anyone about it but instead joined him as he did so. Then, when the fire got a lot bigger than I thought, he convinced me to lie to the cops/firemen about what had happened & I did."

"I was in elementary school and he was in middle or high school? I don't remember exactly, but in hindsight there was an element of coercion that I only recognize now, so yeah. Arson, technically. And I shoplifted from my elementary school store. They weren't even things I needed, but like, these. Especially Lucky because it reminded me of my birth stone."


No Reason

Parks And Recreation Donna GIFGiphy

"I called my sister a 'pregnant sl*t' when I was like 11 for literally no reason. She was just trying to say goodbye before going home. Still can't find a reason for why I said it."


Sorry, Dakota...

"For our class Halloween party in 3rd grade, I dressed up as a 'pop star.' The costume’s top was slightly cropped, showing a bit of my stomach. When we were sitting at the carpet, the girl sitting next to me said, 'You’re not supposed to wear anything that shows your stomach.'”

Without even thinking, I shot back, 'Yeah, well you’re not supposed to wear the same clothes two days in a row.' As an adult, I now realize her family was likely extremely poor and wearing the same clothes two days in a row was probably not by choice. Sorry, Dakota."


We all need therapy. And prayers. And confession. Oh my...

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

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