People Describe The F**ked Up Things They Saw As A Child That They Were Completely Oblivious To
Kat J on Unsplash/Reddit

WARNING: the following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm

As much as many parents try to shield their kids from the dangers of society, children inevitably witness the very things parents protect them from seeing.

Although children are unable to process many of the problems they may witness at any given time, the unsettling visuals stay with them.

Eventually, in adulthood, they experience an epiphany about the past.

Curious to hear about horrific experiences from strangers online, Redditor titanic_trash asked:

"What’s something f'ked up you witnessed as a child that you were oblivious to until you grew up?"

Although they may never volunteer information, many families have skeletons in the closet.

Mom's Mental Condition

"When I was 5 or 6, my mom used to never want to get out of bed and just kept saying she was sick. Finally, my stepdad took her to a hospital, where she stayed for nearly a month. I thought it was so cool that her hospital let her do arts and crafts all the time, plus she got better and started doing arts and crafts with me too when she got home. I remember telling her that I wished I could go to the hospital and draw all day."

"She sat me down and told me that she hoped I would never get sick like she did, but if I do, there's nothing wrong with needing help to get better, even if you have to go somewhere for a little while to do it."

"It wasn't until I was probably 12 or 13 and didn't want to get out of bed myself that it clicked that the hospital she had gone to was a mental health hospital. But because of her, I've never felt shame about needing therapy when things are getting bad, or even just to maintain a healthy mindset."

– kenda1l

The Drunk Uncle

"I wasn't a child but when I was in college I lived with my uncle Tom, who was only 4 years older than me. He used to come home from work with a six pack of beer and would crack one open as he walked in the door and offer me one."

"15 years later, just before he died a meth addict, we talked about the good 'ol days when we lived together. He confessed to me that after work he would but a six pack and a 40 oz beer. He would drink the entire 40 oz bottle and then walk into the house like he was just cracking his first can of beer. That always stuck with me."

– Loggerdon

Deep Depression

"My mom attempting suicide in front of me on more than one occasion, as well as being in the car as my dad drove her to the hospital after said suicide attempts."

– Resident-Mention-481

Lighting Up

"My mom used to let me watch cartoons late at night in her room as long as I didn’t turn around or be too loud. I would always hear her flicking a lighter but didn’t think too much about it. Years later I found out she was smoking meth right behind me and blowing it out the window, she would use me as a excuse as to why she was awake if my step dad woke up and caught her."

– dirtydandii

Major Withdrawals

"My uncle withdrawing from drugs. He was always the fun loud crazy uncle. I was around 10 and my mom and I came home from somewhere and when we pulled up he was sitting outside and said he needed a place to stay."

"My mom had to work the next day and he and I were both hanging out at the house and I could tell he didn't feel well and was dry heaving. It was really scary."

"I asked him if I should call 911 and he said no he'd be okay. I had no idea he had drug problems until I became an adult. He passed away not too long ago from liver failure."

– CoolHipLady

Complimentary Grandma

"When I was probably around 4-6 years old I used walk my grandma up stairs at her house every time we visited. She said she liked holding my hand. When I went to her room she’d always compliment my shirts and be like 'what’s this on your shirt here called?'”

"And I’d say 'Oh that’s Winnie the poo' Or whatever I was wearing. And she’d go on to tell me stories about the character or talk a bit about it."

"When I was 16 I learned she’d been blind for years. She’d ask me to hold her hand up the stairs so that I could help guide her to her room. She’d ask what was on my shirt bc she could feel a pattern on it."

"Idk why but that kind of made me feel both sad and very loved? Like she couldn’t see anymore but she never wanted to let me worry about it and still managed to compliment what I was wearing all the time. She passed away while I was still very young but those memories stuck like glue."

"Edit: Waking to everyone’s replies on this post was so nice! Thanks everyone for all the love for grandma! _. I’m glad people found this post heartwarming in the midst of the rest of this thread."

"I guess I found it f'ked up just bc while she was alive I thought I would have wanted to know bc there were times where I (as a 5 year old) would think to myself 'man’s grandma always forgets who Mickey is' LOL And when I later found out I remember thinking 'oh god I’m such an idiot' or felt bad that I thought she just had bad memory or something."

"My immediate thought was I wish I would have known so I could have given her even more love. But as I got older (almost 30 now) I realized it probably made her really happy to hangout with someone for a while who didn’t ever think of the disability and just spent time with her. So yeah, thank you again, I appreciate all the awards too I know those cost money so wow, thank you!"

– ADirtyCasual

Predatory Grandfather

"I have a big family (aunts uncles cousins ext) and whenever a reunion came around all the adults told us not to be alone with our grandfather (their own father). It turns out that he was a child molester, even his own kids couldn't escape him until adulthood. They lived in very rural Rocky Mountains where the closest neighbor was five miles away."

– Express_Topic_4081

This is why proper vetting of adults as role models is crucial.

The "Odd" Babysitter

"My really odd babysitter got fired after she broke her glass table. I was playing with her son in another room when we heard a crash. She actually used to lock us in his room a lot. I don't recall much but I remember a big commotion soon after."

"I remember my dad screaming at my mom that night about how I was banned from going over there ever again and how it was my mothers fault for letting me go over there (which I didn't understand)."

"Grew up to find out that babysitter was shooting up and fell through that glass table. Neighbors had heard the crash and rushed over and found her high as a kite with 2 kids locked in a room (me and her kid)."

– NotBadSinger514

Her Foaming Mouth

"Damn. I have a similar story. My babysitter was having trouble with her bf and tried to commit suicide while watching My sister, brother and I. My brother and I were 3, sister 4. She drank bleach and bee spray."

"I can vaguely remember looking at her foaming mouth in curiosity. My sister had the wherewithal to call my mother at work and tell her that Audrey was foaming out of her mouth because of what she drank. My mother called 911 and Audrey made it. Years later she asked my mother for a reference LOL 😆"

– GiantBlueSmurf

Church Secret

"A guy who was forced out of the church and none of the kids knew why. 30 years later he was arrested for pedophilia dating back to when he was kicked out of the church. All the kids loved him as he always showed a ton of interest in us. Turns out, the church covered for him to not lose face and he went on to molest more kids across the state for 30 more years."

"Here is the guy"

– ph3l0n

The "Kind" Officer

"In 5th grade when we had the D.A.R.E program, there was this police officer that came to my class to teach us about drugs and drugs prevention and whatnot. He for some reason had a fondness for me. He told me I looked like his son and from then on would call me 'my son.' He would always massage my shoulders and ask me about my life and sh*t. At the time I thought it was kinda cool, because the police officer gave me more attention than everyone else. A bunch of years later, I saw in our local news paper that that police officer was arrested for child molestation and child pornography."


​Taking Advantage Of Innocence

"My friends in Junior high (around 13-14 y/o) having relationships with older men... Men in their 50s. They were so proud of it, also they were so proud of being sexually active with them. And when I was a kid I never once thought that was weird, I would just think oh it's their boyfriends... So that's ok, yes?"

"Then I grew up, learn things about the world and realized how f'ked up that was, I wish I knew better and I wish I had gone to the police. I still feel bad to this day in my 30s."

– PenutLover

People from broken homes or in abusive relationships often avoid talking about their situation.

The Trigger

"Finding out that breaking a cup or spilling a drink wasn’t a big deal was quite an eye opener, watching my girlfriend look at me like I’m nuts while I apologise for 20 minutes about dropping a glass of water made me reevaluate a lot of my childhood."


Bruised Mother

"Went to a friend's house on the weekend to play video games at the age of about 10. We had a good time and played a lot of games on the ps2. His mom came upstairs from the basement to ask if we wanted food."

"I turned around and said yes please and before I could finish saying please I noticed she had a black eye. I asked my friend what happened to his mom's face and he said 'I can't say.' 10 year old me just said oh okay and we preceded to play video games. I didn't realize until I was about 19 this happened."

– bardownhockey15

The Lonely Girl

"On a day out with my dad when I was little I was playing in the park with a girl same age as me I didn’t know her but she was on her own , me and my dad left after an hour or so leaving the girl on her own again , obviously my dad asked where her parents were etc..."

"Later on that night there was a big story on the news about a girl who had been abducted and all my family kept asking me question about this little girl . It went right over my head at the time being about 5 yrs old . 40 yrs later I still think about her."

– Eve-76

The Friend Who Changed

"From 4th to 6th grade, I would go to a friends regularly. For most of the friendship his mom was super nice and engaged with us as kids, while his dad had always been this mysterious person at a high powered job that everyone tip-toed around once he got home."

"My friend’s attitude started changing near the end of our friendship, being abusive to his dog that he used to be obsessed with and overall high strung. Parents were a little off compared to before."

"I stayed for dinner one night like I had before many times and his mom sits down with a black eye. I was confused, like, how did she get hurt? It was a bit awkward, but the dad was there and those meals were more about finishing up than chatting. I guess everything was always less fun when he was around."

"My friend was not the same as he was before. More aggressive and that wasn’t my style. Our friendship just kind of waned off."

"I didn’t realize till many years later that his dad was likely an abusive a**hole, was hitting his wife, and maybe his sons. I'll never forget the weird anxiety that filled the house in those last few months, and that my presence may have been a kind of reprieve period where the dad had to play it cool."

"That anxiety did end up pushing me away, and looking back I hope my friend, his brother, and Mom got out of the situation."

– DogsBlimpsShootCloth

The Slap

"When I was about 10, my dad offered to buy me candy and stopped at a store to run in. We had a long drive back and I asked where the candy was. He said in the bag in the back but that he’d get it for me when we got home since he was driving. I said 'it’s okay I can reach it' and as I reached for it he slapped me and said yelled that I can wait until I got home."

"My father had never hit me before that, and never did again after. The most confusing part to me was the look of utter sadness and shock on his face after he hit me."

"My dad was an alcoholic and killed himself before my 18th birthday."

"It wasn’t until I was older that I understood he had bought a bottle of vodka and forgot to place it in its own bag…or that I hadn’t seen him drinking water all those times he disappeared to his truck and I snuck to the window to watch where he went."

– WhatATravisT

Domestic Violence

"my dad drowning my mom on her birthday. he grabbed her and went outside to the front yard and placed the hose in front of her face and turned the water on. he was laughing while my mom was screaming and crying. neighbors saw and didn’t do anything. after a few minutes he stopped."

"my mom went inside, changed and went to work. i could only imagine how my mom felt afterwards."

"till this day i think about that when it’s her birthday."

– itbelikewat10

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

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