People Divulge The Strangest Thing They Realized About A Family Member Growing Up

People Divulge The Strangest Thing They Realized About A Family Member Growing Up
Ben White/Unsplash

Traditionally, when you're a kid, the adults in your life may try to shield you from the realities of the world. But eventually, we realize our parents are also people with full lives lead before we were even a glimmer in their eye.

Once you've grown up, you might put together the pieces you couldn't see when you were younger.

As we lose our innocence, we come to find out a lot of strange things may have been happening right in front of us, but only time would reveal those truths.

Redditor imnotsteven7 asked:

"What's something you realized about a family member once you got older?"

Here are some of the things people realized about their family much later in life.

Dad was trying his best.

"When I was a kid my dad and I had a tradition every week of going to the video store and renting a movie or two to watch together. I remember I used to get really upset at him because every single time we'd actually start to watch the movie he would fall asleep."

"It wasn't until I was older that I realized that the reason he would fall asleep was because he was exhausted from working two very physically demanding jobs to try and give me the best life he possibly could. On top of that, even though he was tired he still made an effort to try and start a little tradition with me and spend time with me."

"Those memories of me having to nudge my dad awake are so great in my eyes, because they made me realize what a caring and hard working man he was and still is to this day."

- -eDgAR-

"That my father (who I blamed for my miserable childhood) was possibly the best person I have ever known. Turns out, I made my childhood miserable all by myself; he was just trying to correct my path whilst raising 4 kids as a single parent and slowly dying from cancer."

- Bramyam

"You were a turd kid but grew up into an introspective adult. How did you achieve that?"

- Arctic_Snowfox

"Emotionally difficult life circumstances and events humble you, and make you realize that good things are taken for granted."

- FistInMyUrethra

What being the "cool" adult really means.

"My aunt was always the fun one who gave awesome presents because she was living well beyond her means, drowning in crippling debt, and committing various financial crimes."

- MightyMinx

"Yup. The 'cool' adult when you’re a kid, always turns out to just be an irresponsible adult."

- Proper_Praline

"My friends and classmates whose parents were 'cool' turned out to be terrible parents in hindsight. Letting your kids and their friends drink and smoke weed openly in the house when they are waaay underage is sh*tty parenting."

- Vegetable-Double

He had a traumatic past.

"That my dad actually had a pretty traumatic childhood. His mom died recently and he and his semi-estranged siblings are working together for the first time since they were kids to clean out her house. I've been learning a lot of new childhood stories as a result."

"My mom told me that my dad has always told her that the best thing he can do to make up for his sh*tty childhood is to give me and my siblings a better one. My dad isn't an emotional, lovey dovey guy at all, so hearing that really got me good."

- ActivityFar178

"My father does not show emotion either, I realized he cared about me when I saw how my friends parents treated them vs. How mine did. As I grew up I realized my dad matured at a very young age for similar reasons."

- spenser1994

He was "traveling."

"That my uncle wasn’t traveling—he was doing 30 years for homicide."

"He was working for sketchy people at some time and the gray area between legal and illegal sometimes gets mixed up over here, so according to him he didn’t do it (which is plausible) as all evidence was circumstantial and he was not directly affiliated with anyone and the people he worked with murder was far from an uncommon option to solve issues."

"He was condemned on qualified homicide with maximum sentence of 30 years, did I think 22 under closed regime and a few more in open and right now is completely free after some sentence deductions."

- Much_Committee_9355

Cop or gangster?

"My uncle was/is a gangster. I thought he was a police officer because of all the guns he always had with him."

- shooki007

"This is funny to me because I have a cousin who I thought was a criminal because of how he looked. Turned out he was an undercover cop at the time."

- pris-0

"I used to live between a cop and a drug dealer. Both great neighbours."

- nanfanpancam

It can take time to see what's right in front of us.

"That my grandfather, who was the best grandfather I could ever ask for, had been a sh*tty, abusive father."

- Hemenucha

"I finally pieced together that my grandfather, who raised me, has never been sober in my entire life. He started drinking in the morning, stopped when he fell asleep. He ran a pawn business with a full glass of scotch always within reach, even in view of customers. He fired a manager for suggesting he hide his drinking."

"That glass was never empty nor left his side, even while driving with my child self in the car. He went so far as to pack a cooler specifically for ice and booze on road trips. He once got on my a** for asking him not to bring a literal open glass of alcohol into my car when I started driving as a teenager. Still, it took me a ridiculous amount of time to realize he was an alcoholic."

- Pervy_writing

"Conferences" aren't what we thought they were.

"That my parents were smoking pot when they had their 'conferences' before watching Godzilla movies with me as a kid."

- StoneCold_SteveIrwin

"I call it getting air lol but I'm sure my kids know."

- Pkdagreat

"My parents called it 'talking about Christmas/birthday presents' and that’s why we weren’t allowed in the garage when their friends were over."

- BananaSlug1876

The gay relatives.

"My uncle didn’t go out to California and THEN turn gay."

- Accomplished-Fig496

"My aunts that live together weren't sisters."

- Trollamp

He was right.

"That my uncle was right about my mum."

"He suffered with alcohol addiction due to depression and when my rabbit died he accused my mum in a blind rage of killing my rabbit. He was drunk so I didn't really believe him but he said I'd realize what she was like when I was older."

"Then it hit me about a incident when I was little my mum was cross at me shed taken my hamster to the bath put him in the tub and threatened to drown him. Turned on the taps and I beat her legs pushed passed her and got him. I started thinking if she did that was it possible she'd killed my rabbit."

"I don't think she did but over the years as I grew older I noticed more and more what my uncle meant he died in 2009 at 40 from pneumonia in our house."

"My mum was being odd when I got in said she was waiting for the doctor for him and then we found him not breathing in his room, I don't think she deliberately didn't call a ambulance earlier but there's always a part of me that wonders."

- ExpensiveMoth

Auntie Was A Man

"(Originally my uncle) is a transgender woman and going to see her as a kid I didn’t understand the concept of transgenderism. I knew she was a woman but in a way she wasn’t, living with her girlfriend."

"My younger sister was smarter than I was and clued in at 4 years old that two girls living together must mean they were lesbian."

"Another thing about that is that I always knew that she was my moms sister but always wondered why she never came to family dinners or for Christmas or birthdays."

"Then all these years later I hear my grandpa talking about his political views and realized he’s a pretty far right conservative and it all came together."

– motorcitywings20

Blood Money

"I always thought my uncle was just a great fun guy that was always a blast to have at christmas dinners. He used to give me $50-100 for Christmas (which is a lot of money for a 9 year old). My parents would get big cuts of expensive meat and expensive bottles of champagne...."

"Turns out he's just a raging heroin addict and mostly those gifts were obtained through crime."

– DPEYoda

The Grandfather's History

"So this isn’t me personally but it’s mainly my mom and grandfather who found this out about my grandfather’s brother."

"My grandfather had a military family all of his three brothers went to Vietnam and Korea. He on the other hand couldn’t go due to him having polio as a young child and messing up his leg. My entire family knew about his brothers being in the military and going off to war and killing people. However, one of my grandfather’s brothers was ALWAYS traveling or gone on “vacation” (you may see where this is going)"

"This all happened when the guy was in his 20s - 30s and then he retired from the military. Going ahead 40+ years my whole family was sitting around the table during thanksgiving and having a good time. I wasn’t born yet so idk what happened specifically. My grandfather’s brother then stands up while everyone is eating and hits his glass with a spoon to get everyone’s attention. He then proceeded to tell everyone he was a spy for the CIA and how he would go on recon missions into Mexico, Vietnam, Korea, and MANY other places. He had just turned 75 which is the age when he is legally allowed to spread the information because most of the information would be of no use by then."

"The few times I met him he was a great guy with the nicest wife. He had the classic biker beard and really long hair. He has sadly since passed away along with my grandfather. His stories however still remain!"

– yougaygitrekt

The Disorder

"That my 'aunt' (My grandmother's cousin? ) acted differently because she was mentally handicapped due to some disorder caused by inbreeding. Her parents were Appalachians, her father was named Alpha Omega and he got caught banging his cousin behind a shed and the family made them get married. They had several disabled children."

"Edit: disorder was PKU. She and her siblings all had it, it is known to be an incest issue. The baby doesn't initially develop handicapped but becomes that way due to an amino acid building up in the body and causing brain damage. It is treatable now so the kids don't become disabled I think? Wasn't treatable back then."

– SincerelySasquatch


"My aunt and uncle were swingers and that’s why the couples living on either side of their house kept moving in, getting a divorce and moving out."

– Lifes_like_this

Blended Family

"Was part of a blended family, and found out my grandparents on my adoptive side were putting money away for my younger sister who was biologically related to them, but not me. I was adopted at 6 and my sister was born that year. They didn’t start saving for her until I was already 10, meaning I’d known them longer than my sister."

"They also would make a point to tell me how I was just as real family to them as anyone and blood didn’t matter. I found out when my parents got divorced at 18 that the whole time they were giving my sister money and not me."

"Gut punch."

– josiahpapaya

Tragic Past

"An uncle was an alcoholic who got into an accident and killed a family of four. He survived. He didn't serve a day in physical prison, but mentally, he was wrecked."

– Viker2000

You Never Know What Anyone Might Be Struggling With

"I always thought my Uncle was just naturally mean and didn't like us, in reality he was just in an unhappy marriage and took it out on everyone else. Since his divorce I still can't believe it is the same guy."

– Alert-Coconut6503

Reflecting back on our childhood can be difficult, but often healing.

We may realize the people in our lives were trying their best and we didn't see it at the time.

However, we cannot change the past.

We can only move forward with the knowledge we have now.

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