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Many adults are protective of their children to ensure they have happy memories, even when the situation is anything but optimistic.

When I was in grade school, I used to play with these two siblings because they were the only other Japanese-Americans at the school. One day, they didn't show up to class and I never saw them since.

I understood at the time the family had to move back to Japan. It was a lie. The details escape me but it wasn't until years later I found out their parents were part of a double-suicide.

They were both alcoholics and very depressed after failing to make life in America as immigrants work for them.

Curious to hear about the secrets hidden to them as kids, Redditor Flash_Dimension asked strangers on the intenet:

"Once you were old enough, what were the dark family secrets you were finally let in on?"

Left Unspoken

As adults, these Redditors found out the truth behind the deaths of relatives.

And one person was left to deal with his own trauma despite knowing another family member went through a very similar trauma.

The Cousin And His Dad

"When I was about 10 my cousin and his dad died. I always thought it was an accident and on the same day. When I was old enough I was told that his dad actually committed suicide and my cousin followed him couple months later. Truly devastated me although I didn't know them well."


Grieving Dad

"Not so much let in on, as we found out by accident, but apparently my dad's first love and him got into a serious car crash when he was 25 and she died. He lived with her father for years after her death. He still occasionally comes to visit my dad, even 30 years later. We were always told he was a mentor until my sister pressed my mom on the subject."

"One of my sister's is even named after the girl that died (middle name) and we never even knew about her until last year. None of us have ever brought it up with him."



Children have fixed views of their relatives that later become shattered with shocking discoveries about their past.

This is not limited to memories of an individual. One person recalled a fun situation that wound up being the result of something more dangerous.

Truth About Cousin

"That my cousin was actually my half-brother. Mom got pregnant in college and my aunt and uncle adopted him. And, that my dad wasn't my biological father. Mom and dad got divorced, she got pregnant by another man, and my dad wasn't able to have kids of his own so they got remarried and he raised me as his own."


Terrible Aunt

"When I was young I thought it was really nice that my nanna lived with my aunt and her family since she was getting on a bit and it meant she was looked after and there were always people around (aunt has 6 kids). Occasionally aunt would gripe about being the one looking after nanna since aunt is also one of many kids and being young I sympathised but given they all spent loads of time with nanna too didn't think it was a big deal (you don't think about financial responsibility when you're young I think, just social and caring)."

"Well it turns out the reason nanna lives with aunt is because aunt and her husband convinced nanna to put the house in their name so they could 'look after her affairs' and sold it out from under her and invested the money in a pyramid scheme (so it's gone now). Because of this her siblings refuse to give aunt a penny towards looking after nanna since it's her fault nanna has no money or assets and instead pay to take nanna out all the time, meals, shopping, activities so she doesn't go without but they let aunt struggle under the weight of nanna's general living expenses. (Aunts kids are all independent now so they are not going to be impacted by money problems.)"

"Now I look back at her griping with annoyance and think what a terrible person she is."


A Grandmother's History

"I was never told much but when I was about 15 my grandmother started getting dementia and had a breakdown."

"All I could understand was that she kept repeating 'We are traitors.'"

"I know she was sent to some sort of children's camp during world war 2 to be away from the fighting. (I think it was called Kinderland)"

"I believe she never saw her parents again and it took decades to find her sister."

"I will have to ask my aunt one day. Maybe she can tell me more."


Play Time

"Not very much a secret, but took me until I was older to understand what was happening."

"My mom would sometimes have us play a game called 'army' which consisted of me, my mom, and my siblings army crawling around our apartment. Kind of a hide n seek style game. She would yell 'hit the deck!' randomly and we would all drop and find a hiding spot. We would giggle and giggle while my mom army crawled around looking for us. We loved the game so much."

"I realized a few years ago while retelling the story that we lived in a really terrible neighborhood, and she would yell it out when she heard gunshots outside the building. I'm assuming she was worried about stray bullets."



These people are all-too-familiar with the ravaging effects of alcoholism.

Alcoholic Step-Grandfather

"My step grandfather has always been an alcoholic. As a child he even taught me how to mix his favourite drink. As kid at like 6 years old I would mix his drink as he liked and bring it in to him in the living room. (Don't ask what the drink was a mix off cause I literally can't remember) and my grandpa always acted 'funny'. I always liked spending time with him cause I found him funny. So I never saw the bad side of his alcoholism and he never made me drink or anything so overall he didn't have any negative impact on me at all, but before I was born he could get so drunk he threatened to kill my grandma and when he got in a car accident and came home he was bleeding badly from his head and he started saying my granny shot him. He even threw out some of the wedding pictures my parents had. I never knew how horrible he was. He would make me cocoa and watch Garfield with me when I was a kid, he was never a bad influence in my life. So it was so weird to me when I found out these things about him."

"Before he died tho, he really regretted drinking, and he completely stopped. He became really depressed too until his granddaughter (biological) was born. He was so happy about his granddaughter. He died regretting everything and a sober man who was happy to have been able to meet his one and only biological granddaughter."

"Regardless of everything he really changed in the end and everyone was really upset he died."


Drinking From An Early Age

"Most my mom's family were raging drunks. She was a very late oopsie baby so almost all her siblings were grown once she came around and she spent a lot of time boumcing between siblings, parents, or other relatives. Her older brothers got her drunk at age 5 and laughed while she puked all over herself. She learned to drive around 10 because her brother would get too sh*tfaced and she'd have to drive him home. And there was also pretty severe medical neglect."

"She's never gotten therapy and was a real treat to be raised by. Intergenerational trauma: the gift that keeps on giving!"


Reading through many of the comments, there are so many tragic family histories that could have left people traumatized had they learned the truth at an early age.

Parents shielding their kids from the harshness of reality is admirable.

But it does raise the question of whether believing in a lie as a child and discovering darker truths in adulthood is better than not finding out about the truth at all.

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