"I had my best friend die when I was 10. It was my very first experience of death. It changed me, I didn't make friends easily after that. My parents told me she had accidentally hung herself while pretending 'playing dog' with a leash around her neck. Then when I was 17, I was participating in a church youth group lesson that was about an assault. The lady teaching told the story of a 10-year-old girl she once knew whose father beat and violated her then she later committed suicide. Turns out it was my friend and I ran away crying. When the lady confronted my parents about lying to me they said they were never planning on telling me the truth."
"The real reason my aunt moved back to my hometown was she was briefly kidnapped by some bad guys she'd displeased in her work as a judge. This guy held a loaded weapon to her head and told her she could either leave town in the next 24 hours or be taken back in.
I was like eight at the time, so everyone just told me she moved back because she missed us all.
I found out about it when my brother and I were rehashing old stuff ten years later."
"I found out that the people I thought were my parents were actually my grandparents. My actual birth mother, the person I was raised to believe was my eldest sister, got pregnant at 14 and had me. She basically wasn't ready/prepared for raising me apparently and my grandparents adopted me and literally raised me as one of their own. They're my mom and dad and always will be.
I was around 10 when I found out. The way I found out about was during a fight between my parents, drinks were involved and there was a lot of shouting. I was trying to get them to calm down and stop screaming at each other and dad let slip: 'Well why don't you go ask your real mother.'
Not gonna lie, the way he said it was filled with venom, hurt. He walked off then and just left me and mom to talk about it. My mom told the whole deal then. She mentioned that my sister wanted so little to do with me one night that she literally left me on the doorstep and walked over me to go on a night out.
Apparently, the rest of my mom's family didn't approve of her taking me in and for that and a few other reasons we moved across the country for a fresh start. We don't really talk to them anymore. They're not nice people.
My 'sister' also has another kid, someone I thought was my nephew but was actually my half-brother. We were basically raised like brothers. We used to play with my action figures and make elaborate plots and characters that would go on for days, something I still miss, to be honest. But I don't get to see him much more since our family doesn't really talk to each other much.
I know my birth father's name but I don't really have any desire to meet him. I'm told that he was a bit of a player and that I probably have a few more half brothers all around the country."
"The secret kept from me was that my biological father is really, truly, an amazing and upstanding guy.
My mom always told me horrible things about him. Things like he tried to kill us and her brothers. She also said that he left because he couldn't handle me and would get ticked off at me when I was learning to pull myself up on stuff. She made him out to be a monster for not paying child support and for suddenly breaking contact when he remarried and had more children.
Meanwhile, I bawled my eyes out every night for years because I wanted a dad and not the horrible person she married years later. I constantly asked why my letters to my dad were never answered (she probably never sent them).
I grew up with a HUGE complex about not being wanted, which was made worse by my abusive mother. She made it very clear that she thought I was the biggest mistake of her life, and she still says that to this day. She is the definition of a toxic parent.
I always wanted to reach out to my dad but was too scared. I finally did about 2 years ago. I'm so thrilled I did too. My mom kept prying, trying to find out what we were talking about because she knew she lost control and was being exposed.
I had to ask my maternal grandmother a few things to verify the accuracy since they were wildly different than what I was told growing up. It was only then that she laid it all out for me. My dad desperately wanted to stay in my life. The man offered to pay my mom's rent so he could live next door! He tried many times over to contact me. He sent me gifts that were never received.
My paternal grandmother was key in all of this. For whatever reason my mother allowed me to stay in contact with her and fly out and visit her. There must have been some sort of agreement about keeping my father at a distance because he was never mentioned. Yet in her will (she passed last year) she wrote in that I get x dollars of my father's portion of the inheritance. She didn't write anything for any other grandchildren. The saint that she was made one final attempt to reunite us.
So I fly out to my paternal grandmother's funeral and meet my dad for the first time that I can remember. His current wife and my aunt told me at every opportunity about how much he felt lost without me, and desperately had wanted me in his life, and how he said repeatedly that there was a giant hole in his heart without me. They were able to say what we were too emotional to tell each other.
My mom should have known that the sudden stop in child support and contact meant that something was going seriously wrong. She should have reached out to learn what was happening. She probably did know though. He was stuck in a really rough situation when his then-wife was really struggling mentally and wanted him to have nothing to do with me. He literally used a secret account and payphones to be able to send what he did. He tried. He went above and beyond. My maternal grandmother knew the situation.
All this came to light when I was 27/28. Now I know it all, it changes how I view some things. Unfortunately, my complex about being unwanted is very deeply rooted and I still cannot function socially very well. As it turns out I consider my dad's family to be where I belong. I wish I could erase my mother and keep the rest of her side of the family. I really do feel loved by everyone but my mother now."
"I finally learned this after asking a lot of questions about what my grandpa and dad do for kids (you'll see): my grandpa was the product of an assault. His mother (only like 12 years old at the time) was ashamed and left him on the doorstep of the man who assaulted her. He was beaten and eventually, his 'dad' died when he was young. So then my grandpa was left at the church. Now, this was during the Great Depression and apparently, no one could afford him, so he would literally just sit in the church all day and not eat or anything, that is until one fateful day. A wealthy woman had gotten a divorce from her husband and, because of this, she was a social pariah. She was about 28 and my grandpa was about 10, she took him in and took care of him.
Eventually, my grandpa got married and had biological children AND adopted and eventually again, my dad had kids (me -- and I am named after the woman that took my grandpa in). He became VERY wealthy and, though he didn't (legally) adopt any kids, there were 4 kids that he completely paid for while they lived with their own parents (who couldn't afford them) and another 30-40 kids that he paid for all of their sports for.
We live in a normal sized house in a very poor area, so whenever the high school kids come around knocking on doors and asking for donations for sports, my dad gets their name then calls the local high school and pays for that kid's athletics for the full 4 years. I think it has a lot to do with my grandpa never being able to be happy as a kid so they want to make as many kids happy as they can."
"My mum and dad split up when I was about four. From four until about twelve, I had conversations with him over the phone, wanted to go visit but wasn't allowed because I was 'too young,' but my brother had been to visit when he was my age.
Turns out that dad was found getting intimately inappropriate with me, which is why I was never allowed to visit. I don't remember it, but it explains a lot of personal quirks. And all of my family know, but no one would talk about it until I was twelve, and I directly asked my mum questions she couldn't avoid.
The thing that ticks me off about it most is that they let me spend more time exposed to him without making sure I knew he was dangerous."
"I found out my dad was previously married before my mom. I found out my brother and I had a half-sister. I found this out because my sister found me on MySpace. My mom claims she knew about the marriage but not the daughter from it.
One day in the mid-2000s, I got a MySpace message asking some personal info questions. I assumed it was a scammer or spam and ignored it. There was another message soon after that made me think it was an actual person and got me to pay attention. I politely told them to leave me alone. Then the person messaging me said that she thought we might be related. I had to laugh because this was a good scam, in my opinion, it really had me thinking, but the problem was that the person was obviously Asian, probably Korean. I'm not Asian, definitely not Korean.
Finally, after a few back and forth messages this person asks to call me. I figure 'What do I have to lose?' I can entertain myself for a bit at work and see how the scam plays out. I figured she would just ask me to wire her money. I was wrong.
I get a call on my cell phone. She knows my name, my brother's name, my mom's name, but most importantly my estranged father's name. I never really spent time with my father so this was surprising. And her voice is really familiar, but I can't place it.
It turns out my father was in the Army in Korea, met a Korean woman, fell in love, moved back to the US with her, got married, had a kid, got divorced, ex and daughter moved back to Korea, THEN he met my mom and they did almost exactly the same thing, producing me and my brother. But he never told my mom anything other than being married once before. We never knew about our sister. Due to the divorces we never really saw our mutual paternal family.
My sister came back to the US and went to school here. Her family told her that she had two younger brothers and the city we lived in. Over time when she started her own family she wanted to know us and started using MySpace and FB to find us, eventually succeeding.
As if the shock of gaining a sibling during my break at work wasn't enough, she put me in touch with my paternal grandmother who I didn't have contact with since I was a toddler. That same day towards the end of my work shift I called the number my sister gave me. An old woman with a southern accent answered the phone. I said 'Hello, this is ___' and before I could say anything else she said, 'I love you so much, I never stopped thinking about you and your brother, and I always prayed I would get this phone call.'
This whole episode was the beginning of my relationship with my sister and her extended family, and my paternal grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Despite the thousands of miles we live away from each other, we all share some strikingly similar personality traits, features, and mannerisms. My grandmother was the common link that kept us all together and helped foster the connection between us. She passed away this year but her memory is strong with her kids, grandkids, great grandkids and even great-great grandkids."
"My parents forged my birth certificate and lied to me about my actual birth date until I was a teen.
When I was close to kindergarten age my parents found out that I was born 2 weeks too late to be able to attend kindergarten. I was born on September 15 and the cut off was September 1. To them, this was unacceptable because they thought I was ready and another year of preschool and entering kindergarten at almost 6 was too late. They photocopied my birth certificate, covered the number 5 from 15 with whiteout, made a copy of the now fake birth certificate and took to a family friend who notarized it for a good sum of money. The elementary school had no clue it was a fake so I got to start school early and from then on they celebrated my birthday with me on the first in order to keep me from spilling the secret as a kid.
I didn't find out until turning 15 and applying for my driver's license permit. Obviously, it's a crime to forge documents like this especially for something like a driver's license, so on our way to the DMV my mom rather anticlimactically hands me my paperwork and real birth certificate and waited for my reaction. It was kind of a shock and 16 years later I still say a little happy birthday to myself on my now fake birthday. As far as school goes no one ever found out and I ended up being homeschooled in high school anyway and getting my GED.
Oh, also I found out by eavesdropping that my mom faked her knee surgery when I was 14 and actually got a set of implants in her chest but that was the worst kept secret... she went from tiny to adult film star big, um OK mom! I did have fun though watching her pretend to limp with an ace bandage on her knee when in actuality it was her chest hurting."
"My grandmother was the illegitimate daughter of a state assemblyman. I thought that was almost kind of cool until I found out that he marked her as dead on her birth certificate, and likely never acknowledged her, that is until her mother and sisters were killed, probably in a flu epidemic. Then, he took her into his home, where she worked as a maid for him, his cruel wife, and their children until she met my grandfather at a barn dance and could finally leave the house. She was the sweetest, most generous small-town lady out there. I would never have known she had a difficult life in her youth. She never talked about it, and I don't think even her own children knew the whole story until she was in her nineties and genealogy became a hobby for someone in the extended family. I sure do miss her."
"My dad was the one to find out that my grandpa was in the Holocaust. My grandpa was from the Czech Republic and after World War II moved to the US and raised my dad and his siblings Christian. My dad had no idea my grandpa was Jewish let alone a survivor in the Holocaust until one day in his mid-twenties he was walking on his college campus and a friend of my grandpa's recognized him and told him about it. My grandpa hid it because he wanted to protect his family and become successful in the states."
"My cousin is adopted, but for years we were told not to mention it because she didn't know. I was talking about it with my dad one day because I couldn't believe she didn't know.
During the conversation, he let it slip that my older sister was conceived using donor sperm. After a moment, he added that I was also conceived using donor sperm. Our two younger siblings, however, were not and were completely unexpected.
It turns out that my older sister knew, but that my mom made both my sister and dad promise not to tell me. I'm not entirely sure why I wasn't supposed to know, but they managed to keep it a secret until I was 22."
"My father's siblings and their families don't talk to us anymore since my grandmother's (their mom) passing in 2009. I was told that they were just too busy working and doing their own thing to hang out like we all used to. But on the off chance I would see them I would always be the first and only one to say hi and try and catch up. About the time I was 18, I was told that the reason they didn't talk to us anymore is that they turned their backs on my grandmother when she was dying and about to lose her house, so my father stepped up and tried to convince his siblings to help save the house and help with the medical bills. They turned their backs on her and my father, so my father ended up buying the house and restored it. When my grandmother passed, my father's siblings tried to 'claim their piece of mom's money' even though they didn't do anything for her when she was dying. They refuse to associate with my father, mother, sister, and me to this day."
"My grandfather committed suicide. He was an instructor in the marine corps and then got a job with the state troopers as an instructor when he got out. According to my mom and grandmother, he was very safety conscious.
So according to my mom, he was cleaning his weapon one day and accidentally shot himself in the head. Despite having safety drilled into him his entire life, he somehow put his head in the way of the muzzle of a loaded weapon and accidentally pulled the trigger.
The only reason I know the truth is because my great uncle, his brother, talked to me when I was going through depression. He said he saw a lot of similarities between me and my grandfather and he didn't want me to end up the same way."
"That I am actually a middle child.
I am the oldest of 3 (or so I thought). At my grandma's funeral (when I was 30) I met a nice woman who had grown up on my grandma's street. She was fawning all over me and talking about how beautiful I was and such. I mentioned it to my mom later, 'nice lady....a little weird.'
My mom then thought it was as good a time as any to tell me that the woman was the mother of my older half-sister (my dad got the girl down the street pregnant when they were 16). Catholic families so they had to put her up for adoption at birth. It apparently ruined this woman's life. She's been trying to track her down on adoption sites and celebrates her birthday every year. No luck. I tried to help but no luck either. I know there are shows about this, but it is truly crazy to know you have an unidentified family member out there. I hope to somehow meet her someday."
"We had a cockroach problem when I was a kid. We kept putting down traps, spraying crap around the house, never could figure out where they were coming from.
Time rolls around, they decide I need a new mattress for my waterbed. We drain it, my dad goes to pull up the mattress and starts loudly freaking out. Now, I was in a separate room, so they thought I didn't hear...but the roach nest was under my waterbed mattress. It had a pinhole leak which created the perfect environment, apparently.
Since I wasn't in the room, all I was told is that something went wrong when he was draining it and water sprayed everywhere, but I heard them talking quietly about how THAT must be why I had so many sleeping problems, having cockroaches crawling on me while I was asleep.
I try not to think about it often."
"My brother and I learned as young kids that our mom was married before meeting our dad. Her husband died in Vietnam or something military related. She was only 21. It blew our minds that we may not have existed. I now see why we were not told about this. It also explains the mysterious birthday cards we received from 'grandma's neighbor' who was actually the mother of the deceased."
"When my health started doing poorly I asked my mom if we had anything going on in the family related to uterus issues and she snapped at me saying, 'I don't know anyone that has any major pain because of periods, maybe it's just you.' I was forced to move out not long after despite not being able to attend work regularly enough and having trouble with money because of it.
A year later, I learned from my aunt that she has endometriosis and one of their sisters had fibromas. She also informed me about an aunt on my dad's side that also had a lot of problems with cysts and endo. The aunt I was talking to is very disliked by my dad because of her health problems; he's always seen her as pathetic and weak. That's why nobody helped me out.
I confronted my parents about it. I was told that if I needed help so bad I could go see my aunts. I was later forbidden to talk about my health in the family home because it would make my dad super angry.
I'm still in a blind rage about it. I can't even explain why they didn't tell me and how they have been so selfish."
"A great uncle of mine, now deceased, was involved in a high stakes legal case that went to the Supreme court level and made case law and was later adapted into a plot line of the Sopranos. I learned of this when I was investigating my family history via Google in order to analyze their immigration history to claim Polish nationality to earn working and residence rights in Europe.
My great uncle was an Orthodox Jew living in the United States. When he married his wife they made a binding promise that in order to get a divorce, the couple must formally do it in a religious ceremony in a Synagogue. If they don't then under Jewish law aren't technically divorced and neither party can remarry.
After 22 years, my great uncle and his wife got a divorce in a civil court. However, he refused to go get the official religious divorce, leaving his wife in a state of marital limbo. His wife met a new man she wanted to marry, but couldn't marry in a Jewish ceremony. My great uncle's wife sued him in order to compel him to get a religious divorce and stuff really popped off."
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