People Share Their Dark Family Secrets


It’s no secret that every family has their own skeletons in the closet, but what if those secrets were darker and more unsettling than you could ever imagine? The Reddit community came together to reveal some of the most disturbing family secrets—ones they weren’t supposed to know about.


1. Stepsister

My father died when I was 17. During the viewing, a young lady and her boyfriend showed up. She was probably two or three years older than me. Nobody recognized her, so she was asked why she was there; she stated she was there to see her father.

My siblings and I were naturally confused; our mom just stood there shaking her head, and my uncles asked her to leave. She left crying in her boyfriend’s arms. Our mother explained that our father had an affair years ago and that was our stepsister.

I never heard any more about her, never learned her name, and have never met her. I would like to meet her and apologize for my family. Seeing her rejected and crying because she couldn’t even attend a viewing for her dead father bothers me to this day.


2. A Love Story

After my mom died, I found out the real story behind my parents’ marriage. She came to my father’s country to visit some of her relatives. She met my father, and after just one week, she asked him to marry her so she could stay in the country.

My father accepted because he had no one else and his parents were pressing him to get married already. But the highlight of the story is that over some time, the two of them fell in love.


3. My Mom Is A Cheater

My mom cheated on my dad with my now-stepfather. I knew the divorce was in 1996, but my mom and stepfather started dating in 1995. On my 18th birthday, my stepfather confessed to me in private that they had an affair and he still feels awful because he feels like he broke up the family.

Some years later, my stepmother told me that my mom actually kicked out my dad without telling him why. She just ‘needed a break.’ My dad later found out through the landlord that my stepfather had moved in.


4. Inbreeding

I started having problems with my teeth. Spontaneous abscess that resulted in multiple root canals. My dentist did some looking into what the cause might be and found some really odd abnormalities with my incisor roots and nerves. When my next appointment came up, he was really quiet for a bit before verbally stumbling about.

It turns out that what was happening with my teeth was a classic sign of inbreeding. I brought it up to my mom and she was like, ‘Oh well, yeah, didn’t you know?’ Of course I didn’t know! Turns out that not very far back in the family tree, several of my relatives decided that it was a good idea to get married to one another and no one bothered to mention it.


5. Grandma Was a Bootlegger

My grandma didn’t drive. I thought she couldn’t, but it was just never discussed. One day, no one would take me to the store. Finally I said I’d just ask Grandma, and my cousin chimed in with, ‘Grandma can’t drive.’ But Grandma said, ‘Oh, you bet your sweet ass I can drive. They just don’t let me!’

“Years later, my mom explained that during Prohibition, Grandma bootlegged alcohol for moonshiners. She was so successful at it that when the moonshiners were finally busted, her license was suspended by the state. Later in life, she was told she could petition for it back, but it came with an admission of guilt or some such. She told ’em to go to hell.”


6. Unconditional Love

My aunt wasn’t my grandfather’s child. He met my granny when my aunt was a very sick infant; she had polio and wasn’t expected to survive. My granddad married my granny so she could get on his insurance and move to an area that had proper medical support. My granddad loved my aunt as if she was his own, and I never knew until she went to her bio dad’s funeral when I was a teenager.


7. Abusive Mother

My mother abused me my whole life and one day I finally couldn’t take anymore and told a teacher. CPS was called and as soon as my mom realized what was going on she raced to the police station and told them that an hour previously I had gone crazy and tried to kill my baby sister so that **I** looked like the crazy one and nothing I said would be taken seriously.

I was removed from the school in handcuffs and immediately taken to the county courthouse where I had to face my mother in a trial. I chose not to testify because I knew it wouldn’t help, but in the end, the judge realized that she was crazy and I wasn’t. I had the choice between being put in a psychiatric hospital for teens or going home, so I chose the loony bin. Five days later my aunt came from another state and adopted me.

My family doesn’t talk about it and to this day my mother maintains that I was a horrible child and I was “sent away” for my “own good” and that she is so happy I am better now.


8. My Uncle Is a Murderer


10. Wrong Killer

My great-grandfather had a 17-year-old mistress he put up in an apartment, my great-grandmother found out, confronted them at the said apartment, shoots and kills the 17-year-old mistress. Great-grandfather serves time in prison for the murder.


11. Shock Therapy

My grandmother jumped off a cliff and killed herself after receiving shock therapy to cure her depression. She was staying with us during winter when she went missing. They found her footprints in the snow that led up to the cliff. I found this out when I was 20 years old, from my cousin who was 18 at the time.


12. A Little Accident

I only know the story from being told when I was really little so the details are sketchy but apparently, a cousin accidentally spilled my great-grandmother’s ashes into shag carpeting and they had to vacuum her up and emptied the vacuum bag back into the urn with whatever else had already been sucked into the vacuum from previous usage.


13. Trauma

When my dad was in high-school about 2 years after getting his license, he was driving home from school, It was a sunny day and the sun was in his eyes, all of a sudden ‘thump’ he realizes that he has hit a jaywalker, he gets out of the car and realizes that the person he hit was his high-school principle’s son, who in the few seconds has passed away.

He wasn’t arrested and the principal told him that ‘he understood, and not to blame himself because it wasn’t his fault’. My grandfather who was an alcoholic did the one good thing in his life for my dad and that was make him drive that car home, if it wasn’t for that I don’t think my dad would have driven again.

6 years of therapy later my dad was all right. We don’t talk about it, and no one in my immediate family told me about it, I heard it from my friend’s mother who went to high school with him and confirmed it with my mom. Driving with my dad now if he’s driving by smaller children you can see his hands tremble.


14. Pretending

My uncle molested my sister when she was younger. He was sort of exiled for a few years, but now we talk to him again. Due to eavesdropping and discussions with my parents one-on-one, it seems they never bothered coming to terms emotionally with it, but rather prefer to pretend it never happened. I find it odd to watch them interact with that knowledge in mind.


15. Too Much To Handle

My uncle was kidnapped for two years when he was 15. He’s never spoken of it to this day. Also, my super uptight, neo-con, evangelical Christian uncle who lives in Nebraska was actually a hippie stoner in the ’60s. Oh, and his wife is a mail-order bride. Oh, and my aunt’s college fiance was murdered by a hitchhiker.


16. We’re Still Not Sure What Happened

In 1995, my uncle died in a car accident. Not speeding, not drunk, just lost control, overcorrected, and rolled the car. To this day, there’s still speculation as to whether it was an accident, or if my aunt grabbed the wheel and pulled the car into the ditch.


17. Not Weird At All

This was Mexico back in the day, and I’m not quite sure how different it was over there a few generations ago, but my great-great “grandmother” was unable to have children. Apparently, my grandfather was told that because of this, his “aunts” gave his “mom” their children occasionally.

What really happened: The wife was unable to get pregnant so great-grandfather had slept with the wife’s sisters and took the children when they were born. Apparently, this was completely normal and no one cared.


18. Homewrecker

My great-grandmother would always tell the story of how she just knew she was going to end up marrying her soon-to-be husband the first time she saw him. She left out the part about how he was married with a kid at the time.

She also had an affair with a married man after her husband died. Not super strange, but sort of weird to think that our whole family exists thanks to her home-wrecking.


19. Secret Santa

When I was 5 years old (1988), Santa Clause left a Nintendo on our front porch. It was wrapped in newspaper, and my parents had no idea who gifted it to us. My dad, particularly, tried to figure it out. He was always suspicious that it had been a family friend. It was by far the best gift of the year, and we played it all the time throughout our childhood.

My dad died in 2004.

Last Christmas, my mom explained that she was the one who had bought it and surreptitiously placed it on the porch. My dad really liked to be in control of things and had forbidden the purchase. She knew better. She didn’t tell a soul for 30 years.


20. I Needed Therapy After This

We went to my grandmother’s for Christmas dinner, and my uncle drank too much. He kind of hinted that he had an affair with my mother. A couple of months and two DNA tests later, we found out my sister is actually his daughter. My dad never spoke to his brother again. And of course, my parents got divorced. And I needed a lot of therapy…and chocolate.


21. A Brother No One Knew About

After my mom’s mom passed away, a severely disabled, wheelchair-bound man attended my grandmother’s funeral.

It wasn’t until that moment that my mom learned this man was a brother she never knew existed, who was born mentally handicapped & had been institutionalized since his birth.


22. Aunt Candy

I always had an Aunt Candy. I never knew why we called her that when her real name was Karen. Turns out Candy was a prostitute and my uncle was her #1 customer. They later married and she kept the name Candy for some odd reason.


23. An Argument Turned Dark

My great-grandfather hit his wife with a fire poker, and slit her throat. He then proceeded to blow his head apart with a shotgun. He sat in a rocking chair and used his cane to push the trigger.

All over an argument whether it was too cold for me to walk to a grocery store to get some milk.


24. Her Mother Made The Move On Me

I never told my wife that her mother tried to sleep with me. It was early in our marriage when we were living with her to save money for our own place. Her marriage of 28 years had ended badly and she was emotionally fragile.

She was very drunk and was absolutely horrified at what she had done when she sobered up. I promised not to ever tell my wife and I never did, even when she and I were fighting near the end of our marriage. Some things are too cruel to do, even when you’re trying to hurt each other.


25. My Grandfather Killed His Younger Brother

The plan was they would drive to get their medical checks together, and on the way there they would drive the car into a tree. The plan was to get too injured to get sent to war, but not so injured as to be permanently crippled, and it had to look like an accident so nobody got arrested.

This was in Western Australia, so they were all going to say they swerved to miss a kangaroo, and hit the tree. … The problem was that for maximum impact, and because this was rural Australia in the ’60s, they weren’t wearing seatbelts. And nobody found them or their car for an hour or so.

And nobody considered internal injuries in this plan. My grandfather’s brother bled to death from a ruptured spleen in the back seat. He was dead before they got to a hospital.


26. “Army”

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 like hide-and-seek. 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.


27. He Followed 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 a couple of months later. Truly devastated me, although I didn’t know them well.


28. At Least She Left Him

My grandmother tried to murder my grandfather when she got sick of him beating the sh*t out of her every day. She swung an axe at him and he blocked it with his hand and lost his thumb. She left him before I was born.


29. She Did What She Had To Do

My grandmother’s first husband was extremely abusive, but this was the ’60s and he hid it well. She couldn’t file for divorce without proof of injury, so she beat herself in the face with a slipper to get away.


30. Not a Heart Attack

My parents led me to believe that my grandfather (on my mother’s side) had died due to a heart attack. A year later, they revealed he actually shot himself in the head.


31. Weird Family

My dad’s uncle died in a boating accident with his cousins. My family let me know he was possibly drowned in the middle of the lake by his cousins because of some money issues. No one was ever prosecuted though and the family is still very close. Weird.


32. Teacher And Student

My father got my mother pregnant when he was her teacher in high school. He was 30 and married. She was 15 and his student. They ran off together, he got a divorce, and they got married in a state that allowed marriage at 16, two months before my older brother was born.


33. Sleepover

My cousins lived with us for a while and we thought that was fun because it’s like a sleepover every day. One time, our mom even took us out of school to pick them up. I learned later that it was because child protective services took my cousins away from their mom because of mental health issues.

My mom offered to take her sister’s kids until she got her mental health back in order. My cousins live with their mom now and their mom is in a much better condition mentally.


34. Half Brother

I got a Facebook message from one guy asking if I was related to my dad, since it’s not a common last name. I thought he was a fan of his work, because I was in college at the time and the guy was about the same age as me — that’s how I found out my dad slept around and that I had a half-brother the same age as me.


35. Looking After Her Affairs

The reason why my nanna lives with my aunt is because my aunt and her husband convinced nanna to put her 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, my aunt’s siblings refuse to give her 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 my aunt struggle under the weight of nanna’s general living expenses.


36. He Didn’t Keep His Promise

My grandma retired and she still decided to work for her brother in his restaurant to save up money for when she dies. Funerals are, obviously, expensive. She insisted he would hold on to her paychecks and pay for her funeral when she dies. He never did.


37. ‘Live-in Baby Sitter

The reason I had a ‘live-in baby sitter’ that moved in at 2 a.m. when I was 5 years old was because my mom’s cousin killed two kids and we ended up harboring his daughter during the trial. He’s the only person on death row in my county.


38. They Tried To Hide The Body

My grandparents spent some time in lockup after my grandpa killed their newborn in a shell-shock-induced frenzy. They were jailed because they buried her body in a cave and tried to hide it.

39. Secret Daughter

My dad’s sister had a secret daughter that would have been approximately his age. She was 16 years older than him, and the family didn’t tell him until he was in college. In their small town, there’s a chance he could have/did date his niece.


40. There Was Never a Twin

At twenty-one, when I asked my mother why I had no siblings, she confided that I had actually been born a twin and my brother had died because I “choked him” with my umbilical cord. She said I must never tell anyone or mention it to my father because he was still upset “that it was the boy who had died”.

I had wanted a brother or sister all my life so was deeply sad and felt incredibly guilty to the point where I unsuccessfully attempted to end my life. (There was other stuff going on too – death of my boyfriend of five years – so I was already in a dark place.)

Years later when I was carrying my own twins I began to realise that parts of her story seemed unusual and looked into my birth records. And here’s the darkest bit – it turns out there never was a twin. I never confronted her.

41. Jewish Boys

My father is the youngest of 13 kids. But actually, my grandparents only had 9 kids. Grandpa ran a farm and had a truck to deliver the produce from his and the surrounding farms. During WW2 he drove to Amsterdam to deliver food and secretly brought back Jewish boys. He hid them on his farm pretending they were his kids.

Partially very nice of him, but he also just needed extra hands to work. After the war, most of the boys went home to family members, but 4 of them had no remaining family. He officially adopted those 4 boys and just went on as if they had always been part of the family.


42. Not Perfect Enough

I thought my dad had died but apparently, he sent me away because I was born with a hearing problem and I wasn’t perfect enough for him. I also didn’t know I had a sister until four years ago because my father decided that because my older brother was born, dear old dad could send my sister and me away, putting us both up for adoption.

My mom got in the way though and managed to claim me, but I only recently got in touch with my sister and oldest brother, as we all met at Dad’s funeral after he passed from cancer. I’m not sad that he’s gone, but I don’t hate him. He hated me, but I don’t have a reason to hate him. I’m not sad though.


43. Possibly a Killer

My uncle had always been a raging alcoholic. A dangerous alcoholic. Well, my aunt married him anyways. They went to Germany for their honeymoon. Only he returned. We asked about the aunt and he pretended like he had no idea what we were talking about and how he has “never gotten married”.

About five years later he married again despite us all trying to tell the woman not to. They went to Jamaica for their honeymoon. Same thing. He came back without her. Again pretended like he’s never married. We began suspecting he was k***ing them. We called the police. They investigated. Nothing turned up. And then the years later, he married again. But COVID happened and they haven’t gone on a honeymoon.

We’re not sure she’d believe us if we told her. So we have distanced ourselves from my uncle and he remains as the secret we don’t talk about. We don’t talk about Bruno-type situation.


44. Terrible Person

My grandmother on my mom’s side might be the s**ttiest person I’ve ever met. She treats me like c**p because I’m a teenager, a girl, and I remind her of my mom who she also tends to treat like c**p.

She caused my uncle’s divorce because she MOVED IN with him and his then wife because she’s a hoarder and can’t even live in her house anymore. She’s completely ruined my youngest cousin and now he worships her in such a creepy way.

She’s also racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-vax, etc. I just hate her. And we can’t find a way to cut ties because when we’re in her state she finds a way to figure out that we’re there and guilts my parents into visiting. I hate her so much.


45. 50 Cats and 1 Dog In the Freezer

My great aunt was arrested for having 50 cats and 1 dog frozen in her freezer. They thought she was a crazy animal abuser and totally nuts. But she was just a crazy cat lady with one dog, and during the winter the animals all caught parvo.

If you know anything about parvo it is extremely fatal and extremely contagious. It killed all her animals. But since it was winter she couldn’t bury them. So she put them in her large freezer in the basement until spring. Of course, they still put her in a home, but that was probably for the best.


46. Keeping It All In the Family

My Dad was born when my Grandma was 18 and my ‘Grandpa’ was 14. He never looked like his ‘Dad’, and always thought that his Mum had an affair (for context, my Dad’s family is all Lebanese but he is very fair-skinned, which was partially why he assumed it had been an affair).

When his ‘Dad’s’ father, my great-Grandfather was on his deathbed due to cancer, a relative confessed to my Dad that his ‘Grandfather’ was actually his Father. My dad had my Stepmum take a hair out of his real father’s head and had it sent for DNA testing which confirmed it was true.

So basically, my Grandma had an affair with a married man when she was 18, had one, possibly two children with him then married his son and had another four kids. So my Dad’s siblings are both his siblings and his nieces/nephews, and the man who raised him is actually his brother.

Yeah, I don’t talk to that side of the family anymore.


47. The Trans Uncle

That I never met my oldest uncle on my Mom’s side because he was actually identifying as a woman pretty much full-time. She was trans and my parents both didn’t know how to explain that and hoped I would never meet her until “He turns from his sinful ways”.

She’s actually no weirder than any of my other Aunts and Uncles and pretty damned hilarious at times. I could not believe my folks kept that from me long into my early 20s and for that asshat backwards of a reason.


48. Not A Girl

I saw a weird black-and-white picture tucked into a photo album once at my Grandparents’ house. I asked who the cute little girl was, and it turned out it was my Grandfather. His mother had already had three boys and really wanted a girl. He wore dresses and long hair until he was old enough to say “I want all these curls cut off!”


49. Accidental Death

My great-grandfather accidentally killed his brother while on a hunting trip just down the river from their house. He was 17 at the time and his brother was 15. He was taking the shotgun off his shoulder and accidentally hit the trigger. He then had to carry his brother’s dead body back to the little canoe they had and row him back to their house.

His parents never forgave him and blamed him until the day they died. Apparently, he had some serious mental issues resulting from the accidental death and the way his parents treated him afterwards.

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