People Reveal Dirty Secrets About Their Parents That They Don't Know They Know

Our parents are people, too. It's hard to remember that sometimes. We have secrets we don't want to tell our parents. So the opposite must also be true: our parents have secrets they don't want to tell us. But, ever the curious humans we are, sometimes we (accidentally) find out.

Redditor Anagoneous asked the internet:

What horrid secrets do your parents have, and are oblivious to you being aware of?

Here are some of the cringe worthy answers.

Secret Life

Someone tried to kill my father when he was in his teens, he has scars on his head from where he was beat with a hammer. He doesn't know that I know this and I only know because I overheard a conversation between my grandmother and her brothers about the incident.

They Said Sex Could Kill

My dad died when I was 14 and everyone refused to speak of it. My grandparents said he "fell down the stairs," and they've maintained that to this day. My mom told me that he "accidentally hung himself" and she'd tell me when I was older.

It took 9th grade me all of about three days to figure out he had died of autoerotic asphyxiation. She confirmed it years later.

The Parent Trap

My divorced parents are both cheating on their current spouses.

With each other.

I Feel Unwelcome Here

My mom had to do some soul searching for AA. She wrote a list called "life resentments" and Having Kids was the first bullet point. Found it while I was looking for my social security card to apply for my first job at 16... She kept it in a safe.


I've been dating one of my parents employees for almost a year now, for personal reasons we decided to hide it from them. My father and my girlfriend always had a good relationship. Few weeks ago my father went by her apartment and told her that my mother and him didn't have sex anymore, You guess what he came for... Obviously my girlfriend told him that there is no way she would do that to my mother. So now I know that my father is actively looking for someone to cheat on my mother with.

Paying It Forward

My dad used to talk about growing up really poor, having to get food from food banks, etc. It's one of the reasons that now that he owns his own business, he donates to food banks and all sorts of charities all the time. Paying it back.

Well, it turns out that my father's father owned a massive construction company, and made millions of dollars (in the 50s and 60s). My uncle was selling massive amounts of cocaine, and got busted. My grandfather bankrupted himself paying off judges and lawyers and all that to keep my uncle out of jail for most of his life. That's why my dad grew up with nothing.

He has no idea that I know.

I Never Wanted To See This

One year my family went on vacation where I took a lot of pictures using my dad's phone and I wanted to put them on my computer so I could share them with friends.

I grabbed his phone and stated looking through his photos looking for my vacation photos when I came across my dad and mom's "personal" videos. I never told them I found it, nor do I go back on his phone because I don't want to see those ever again.

I was fixing my dad's laptop a while later and my mom kept hovering over my shoulder telling me not to snoop through his files and don't go on anything except for what I needed to. I knew what she was hiding, but I wasn't going to tell her.

Secrets, Secrets, Are No Fun--Seriously

This isn't really my parents' secret, more of a secret about someone else they kept hidden from me.

When I was seven, my best friend died. My parents got a phone call the morning after he passed and I remember watching the color drain from my mom's face when she answered the phone. I asked her what was wrong and she assured me that I didn't need to worry and she would tell me after school. She did, and my heart broke. He lived about an hour away from me at the time, so we didn't go to the same school and nobody that I knew knew him, so nobody had heard anything about his death, which was probably a good thing for both me and my parents.

I found it odd that I wasn't allowed to go to his funeral. I don't even remember the excuse my parents gave as to why I couldn't go with them, but I figured it was because they didn't want it to make me upset, so I pretty quickly shrugged it off.

Well, later that year I bought a cheap little heart-shaped locket from one of those quarter machines you find at pizza places and roller rinks. I decided I wanted to put his picture in it, so I'd always carry him with me and never forget his smile. When I got home I typed his name into Google Images, and among the top results were a few pictures of him, including one from his memorial. I found one of him with a big toothy grin and clicked on it, and my heart dropped. Next to the picture was the headline from the article the photo came from. It read "Police Arrest Mother in [friend's name] Death." My heart beating three times its normal speed, I read the article. And then another. The woman I thought of as my second mother had killed my best friend. The woman who called me Cubby and made me hot chocolate and introduced me to The Jungle Book murdered my brother. I think I kind of went into shock for the next day or so. I couldn't believe it.

Anyway, I didn't tell my parents that I knew for six or seven years. I think I was scared of the conversation that would ensue after they found out I knew, or maybe I just knew they hadn't told me because they felt I wasn't ready and wanted to tell me on their terms, and I had taken that away from them. When I did tell them, it broke their hearts to think that I had been carrying that knowledge with me for so long alone. And that broke mine.

I still wear the locket. I bring it with me everywhere, and ever since he died, I try to live my life for myself and for him. He deserves the life that was stolen from him.


I know my dad cheated on my mom several times using AIM/aol (how 90's is that?). He would talk with women online and never mention how he was married or that he had two children. When my mom was out at work or asleep, he would call these women up and flirt, have phone sex, etc. He would make excuses as to why he couldn't meet with them, but continue to pretend like he was super into them and really did want to meet them.

I only put it together later once I remembered coming into my dad's office while he was "working" and seeing nothing but AIM/chatrooms with women's names. There were a couple times I woke up at night and heard him talking to someone in a hushed voice in our kitchen and I KNEW my mom wasn't up.

The real clincher was when I started to walk downstairs while my parents were arguing. My mom shouted, "You don't even have sex with me! You're so much more interested in playing games, talking to women online, and pretending like your children and I don't fucking exist!" I heard a pause and then he tried to play dumb, to which she responded, "Don't lie to me! I see the phone records! I called one of them and she told me everything!"

I have never so promptly turned around, went back to my room, and pretended to be fascinated by Mr. Potato Head so fast in my life.

Mom never talked about it or let on that it happened. Neither of them had any idea I overheard them or put the pieces together. I've never told my brother.

A Past Best Left Untouched

I know that my mom got pregnant at fifteen on purpose. She was constantly being shuttled between early 80's foster care and her own terrible family, and she felt like her only way to escape was to get emancipated through marriage. She knew my dad from school, and thought he'd make the perfect husband. Smart, funny, from a seemingly good family, and he had protected her several times. So she seduced him, knowing their parents would insist on marriage if she got knocked up, and she did.

Unfortunately for her, he turned out to be a drug dealing, mentally ill teenager from a dysfunctional alcoholic family. The marriage lasted only a few months, but she did get her escape. My mom has no idea that I know this, and she'd be devastated if she knew.

The List

My parents divorced when I was 6, after which I lived with my mom.

When I was 10 years old, I found a list my dad had written of "things that could save their marriage", including wife swapping

Never spoke about that to them


When I was a child, we used to be semi-close to my dad's family. My grandparents came up (2+ hour drive) to talk to my parents about an "adult issue" and 10 year old me was told to stay in my room with the door shut. After that, we never spoke to them again, except for one letter that I got from them expressing sympathy when my other grandmother (who I was very close to) passed away. I had no idea what happened.

Years later, I found a cousin on Facebook and we happened to go to the same college, so we met for coffee. I found out that the reason we no longer spoke was because my mom opened a whole bunch of credit cards and racked up a bunch of debt in my grandma's name that she never had any intention of paying back. My cousin and I kept it between us and she has no idea I know.

The Tower

Found this out from my dad's old college roommate as my dad has never wanted to talk about this with me. Pops was working in the financial district during 9/11 and was in charge of emergency evacuation for his floor (way high up in one of the bank buildings). Saw the towers fall and had to herd everyone off his floor and out of the building. Apparently someone had a heart attack and collapsed behind their desk. He didn't find this person and they ended up dying there in the office. I think my dad might blame himself at least partially which, on top of the trauma of witnessing the towers fall firsthand, has lead him to locking that part of himself away from the world.

One day I want to tell him it wasn't his fault and he did the best he could.

Irish Goodbye

My biological dad died when I was two (car accident going to his next duty station), and not too long ago I got a box of letters he had sent my aunt, uncle and his parents. Since he died when I was so young, I didn't really know him that well, but this treasure trove of letters gave me some real insight into who he was. It was a lot of letters from the time he was in the Navy before he married my mom, all the way up to not long before he died.

In one set of letters he discusses with my grandparents how he and my mom aren't getting along. He mentions that they might get a divorce, but he wanted their help in getting custody of me. I think mostly because my mom was born and raised in Ireland and not yet a true citizen of the US, so he was afraid he'd never see me again if I went with her. Apparently she was fine with him taking me. They reconciled, but it's interesting to know that she would have given me up and I'd have grown up in LA instead of with her, ultimately on the East Coast of the US.

Law And Disorder

My dad doesn't know that I found paperwork of his from when he got discharged from the military and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder with narcissistic features. Everything about his behavior suddenly made sense but there was literally no way to bring it up to him without making him extremely (more) defensive or shutting down on me. It did give me peace of mind, though, and helped me work through a lot of trauma on my end after years of emotional gaslighting.

The New Information

This technically doesn't count because I asked my mom about it last year, but until then she didn't know I knew for about twenty or nineteen years.

My dad was a heroin addict and used to take my mom's money to buy drugs and alcohol. He also used to lock me and my mom up in our apartment whenever he went somewhere. My mom never told me and thought I didn't know about it because I've always been pretty oblivious and I used to be on some meds during that time. Last year I decided to sit her down and ask her about it because I never knew much about my dad or about that side of my family.

The Gods Frowned

Welp there's a few but it ties into one.

To start I found out my dad switches partners faster then zeus. I came from a broken home at a young age and every leap year I would end up with a new step mom. Everything would be nice then poof "things didn't work out. Let's give Denver a try, or maybe Aurora." Turns out he would cheat on his current wife for years with other women until they caught on and when the current wife kicked him out he would move in with new wiffy.

Well through the years of cheating he gathered 10 kids (I'm the 5th child, 3rd son) so I decided I'd ask my older siblings if they made the same connection. Turns out my father has been doing this since he was in high school. Same pattern, same timing. Just before me. Welp now he's 50 years old on wife 10. Oh and the child count is on 11, he made another one.

Bonus: usually around our 16 birthdays, we start to make the connection that none of our siblings look alike. so one of the elder siblings take them for a drive and break the news. It usually ends with "that explains a lot.''

Love Has No Rhyme Or Reason

My parents got engaged after a drug fueled 11 day bender in 1979.

First born. Came along in 82.

Still married.

Lost Trust

When my grandfather died he left approx 140k$ american in a trust for me. It wasn't to be touched until after my parents passed away so that it could gain as much money as possible from the investments he had arranged. (My grandfather was an oil tycoon in PA and no one in the family knew it until after he died.) I got a call from the bank one day asking how I'd like to handle closing the accounts. I had no idea why, but apparently my parents had been taking medical bills from themselves and altering them to have my name on them. Then submitting them to the bank to be "reimbursed" for paying my medical bills. They had bled the trust completely dry in less than 5 years. They used the money to remodel their home. I don't think I have any recourse. But whatever. Im 35 and I have my own retirement. It just makes me mad that they would steal from me like that.

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