24 Shocking And Heartbreaking Family Secrets People Always Suspected And Finally Uncovered The Truth About

Recently, Reddit user yanoitsathroawayyano asked, "What family secret did you suspect in childhood, but weren't able to confirm until adulthood?" and people had some wildly shocking answers. Here's what they had to say.

NOTE: There are mentions of sexual abuse and murder.

1."My uncle was a spy. I knew he worked for the government, and somehow, I picked up that he got paid by the government to fly to Asia and take pictures. But no one talked about it until years after he retired."


2."That my grandfather poisoned my grandmother and that my mother knew. My uncle (her younger brother) helped cover it up by getting rid of the evidence. There were odd rumblings about what my grandmother died of as well as how quickly, but I ignored it because my family was full of gossips."

"I only recently found out about it, as I had a box of my mother's from before she died. I knew what was in it were scrapbooks, mementos, and things she wrote down that she wanted me to know or have. She's been gone almost 11ish years now, and I will admit I've never gone through it thoroughly. It hurt too much to see so many things that she saved or all the pictures of now-gone relatives.

I finally went through it after talking to my fiancé recently about one Halloween when my brother, uncle, and I went out dressed as Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia. I couldn't find pictures of us in any of the albums I had, so I went through the box looking for them. I did find them, but I also found a letter from my mom in an envelope addressed to me with the date of my grandfather's death under it.

It turns out that my grandfather poisoned my grandmother after she confessed to abusing my mother for nearly all of her childhood during a fight they were having. He used some old rodent poison he'd had in the basement from the '50s and slipped it in her tea. She eventually became ill and showed signs of dementia; she was put into specialized care, where they diagnosed her at that time with environmentally caused ALS. She passed shortly after going into care.

He confessed to my mom and her younger brother when it was suggested by the care facility that he get his pipes, groundwater, and soil tested. He acted agitated, which my mom picked up on and pressed him about later.

My uncle took the poison to a business he dealt with through his job that did toxic material disposal and would often take people's walk-ins of things like this. He also got rid of the teacup and the spoon that my grandfather used to serve her every day. What's funny is that I inherited the teacup set, and it is indeed a cup short, and the silverware set is a spoon short.

My mom expressed a lot of guilt over it. She felt horrified that her father, in her eyes, killed for her, and she also felt a lot of guilt for not feeling sadness for her mother.

I'm not sure how I feel about it at all. Everyone involved is long dead, so there is no justice to seek, and I only remember my grandmother in vague terms, as rough, mean, and scary. Whereas my grandfather was a stern but loving man who taught me many things and loved his kids and grandkids.

I ended up burning the letter just because I felt like my mom would've wanted that."


3."My dad was in jail for a few months when I was around eight years old. I was told he was at work, and he couldn't call us because it was a really big project. I heard my mom talking about him being 'locked up' and thought he got trapped in the vents somewhere. He did HVAC work. It made sense to me at the time, I guess. When he came back, it was like nothing changed. It turns out he was a drug dealer!"


Walter White: "There's your side and there's my side, and you haven't heard my side yet." Skyler White: "You're a drug dealer." from Breaking Bad

4."My dad was in a 'relationship' with my 15-year-old cousin (mom's side) when she lived with us for a while after her parents died. I was a toddler at the time. My dad was brought in front of a judge, but because my cousin (18 by then) defended him, telling the judge, 'I know what I was doing; I wanted to be in a relationship with him,' the whole thing got thrown out. Different times in the '90s, I guess...I knew there was something weird going on (they were buddy-buddy for a while, and then suddenly she moved out, and they couldn't be in the same room anymore), but I didn't know exactly what until my cousin had psychosis and called me at 7 a.m. telling me the whole story. I was 17 when that call came."


5."My mom had a cousin she talked about a lot that died back in the '70s. She (the cousin) had married a man that abused her. After she got away, she 'died by suicide' by jumping off a building. Her husband and his brothers had been seen in the area. Everybody knew they had thrown her off, but nobody could prove anything, so nothing happened to them. Cut to the cousin's funeral; her husband and his brothers showed up like they wanted to make sure she was dead. For years, that's where the story ended, as far as I knew. Later on, I found out from another relative who had been there that after the husband and brothers walked into the funeral home's chapel, some men from my family dragged them back out and didn't come back in. The men from my family turned up later that day and wouldn't tell anybody where they had gone; the husband and his brothers were never seen again."


6."My dad was never a Navy Seal, even though he spent my entire life telling me stories about it. It wasn't until he died that I found his DD214 (military discharge papers). He was only in the Navy for ten months and was discharged 'under honorable conditions.' He never fought in a war. He was never captured or shot. He never shot anyone. He was just a regular guy. I wish he knew that we never wanted him to be anything but our dad."


7."My dad always told me that my birth mom left us when I was two months old. Then the story changed to 'she died in a car crash,' and that's why she wasn't around. I thought he was just trying to spare my feelings, but it still didn't make sense even to my kid brain. Fast forward a bunch of years, and I got an email from what turned out to be a cousin who found me on Ancestry DNA. My mother had apparently gone to Cali, then ended up in Florida, where she died of cancer. So most of what my dad told me was horse puckey."


Top: Harry Potter looking surprised. Bottom: Hagrid with a serious expression in a dimly-lit stone room
Warner Bros.

8."My grandpa was murdered by my uncle (married to my mom's sister). My grandpa sexually abused my mother and her three sisters. He died when I was four. I have vague memories of him."

"Just after he died, my aunt divorced my uncle. At age 12, I overheard my other uncles (two were my mom's brothers, and one married my mom's baby sister) talking about a vow they had made to keep me from being a victim of Grandpa. At 16, I figured it out. The uncle who had murdered him was a jeweler and insulin-dependent diabetic. He used cyanide in jewelry making. Grandpa drank a 36-pack of beer every night. I suspected he injected cyanide into a random beer. My aunt saw Grandpa alive at 2 a.m. My uncle woke up at 5 a.m., and grandpa was dead and stiff. His body was cremated, and my uncle vanished. I mentioned my suspicions to my cousin, who relayed them to his father.

Three years ago, my uncle was dying. He reached out to me and told me I had correctly figured out how grandpa died. He waited until he was dying since there's no statute of limitations for murder."


9."That my parents were drug users. They sometimes went to the shed in the middle of the night (I heard them and saw the light turned on). Of course, I didn't question it. Later, I found out at about nine or ten years old, and when I was eleven, my mom died."


10."My pop (who died before I was born) beat my uncle (his son) to death when my uncle was three. My dad was the youngest of six. They immigrated not long after. The oldest, at 15, refused to come and stayed in England by herself. My father never knew; he was told his brother fell onto train tracks, and he still denies it to this day. He never saw his father be abusive at all; they had a good relationship. But the oldest three siblings all have the same story. We believe they immigrated to escape scrutiny."


11."I used to spend the whole summer break with my aunt, uncle, and cousin (a child from his previous marriage) —months without seeing my mom. Come to find out, those were just trial runs to adopt me because they couldn't have a child of their own. I do believe that would have meant my mom did not want me, the feeling I always knew to be true."


Elle Fanning sitting by a window with patterned glass, appearing to be in a contemplative or serious mood

12."My siblings, cousins, and I were told that two uncles died in a tragic car accident when they were 17 and 20. As an adult, I found out they both died by suicide two years apart and that one of them may have done it because he was sexually assaulted by a priest. No one in my extended family openly talks about it. I've never heard my grandma even say their names."


13."I was an accident. My parents were already on the verge of a divorce, and my mom suddenly got pregnant despite having tried for over four years. I always felt like I was in the way or not welcome. My feelings were confirmed when my dad threw me out right after high school graduation."


14."As I was cleaning out my dad's house after his passing, I found letters that my mom and dad wrote to each other around the time they divorced in the early 2000s, as well as a handful of both their diary entries. I have always suspected that my mom cheated on my dad with my best friend's dad, which effectively ended my first friendship, but those letters confirmed it. But I didn't know the full extent of what else my mom had done."

"She sabotaged him by draining their joint bank accounts, racking up tens of thousands in credit card debt, kicking him out of his house, and getting him fired from his job, eventually forcing him into retirement. With him unemployed, he couldn't afford to pay child support, leaving only my mom's income, which was barely enough to support us. Basically, if she hadn't been so vindictive, we wouldn't have wound up in such dire financial straits.

It's pretty telling that my dad never spoke ill of her; he just said that he was blindsided and confused by her choices and jealous of her current partner. On the other hand, my mom only ever said negative things about him, and when she was angry with me, she would compare me to him. Projection 101."


15."My dad was cheating on my mom with that woman we met up with when we were looking at colleges in California. He was a headhunter and traveled a decent amount for work, generally to the West Coast, because he did a lot of work for biotech firms. We went out there when I was in high school because I was interested in a few West Coast schools — UCSD, ULCA, Pepperdine — and he had a rugby tournament on Catalina Island with his old club. While we were out there, we met up with her for lunch one day in LA."

"All I knew was she was one of the people he had placed with one of the companies that had hired him. While we had lunch, nobody did anything blatant like PDA or anything, but you could cut the tension with a knife — I knew something was off. I found out about the affair when my parents ultimately got divorced around a decade later — he basically dropped his whole history of infidelity on my mom to hurt her. She wasn't the only one either — just the only one my dad really had feelings for. He was a real piece of shit."


Top: A man in a blue sweater and another in a beige jacket discuss relationships. Bottom: Younger man reveals the dad cheated, another man calls the dad a liar

16."I found the identity of my biological father. Nobody in my family would talk about who he was because my mother was 17 when I was born, and I was the family scandal (back in the early '80s). I grew up thinking he didn't know about me or care about me if he did know. I was definitely wrong and found out my family threatened him to stay away from me. I did a lot of digging some years ago and found out that side of the family knew about me and would have loved me very much. I also had siblings. It really made me angry at the family I grew up with. My biological father also died before I got to meet him."


17."The man on my birth certificate says he's not my father, and I am finally sure he's not. He told me (as an adult) that my mother fooled around with his brother. The thing is, I'll never know the truth unless my mother or my 'uncle' admit it. Why? Because DNA tests are useless when determining paternity in the case of identical twins. I was always so mad when I was a kid because my birth certificate father said that he wasn't my birth father, but I definitely looked like him. Then I saw a picture of him with Uncle Freddy in their twenties. Fuck."


18."That my parents cheated on each other. When I was young, my parents both worked at different times and rarely were together at the same time at the house. My mom would always bring over my dad's older brother. And my dad would bring my mom's younger sister. They found out about each other's affairs and laughed it off. ... My mom married my uncle, and my dad married my aunt ... and I have three half-siblings now, And we all live happily in The Confusing US Of A."


19."That my parents had lived a 'different life' before moving us to the middle of nowhere ... when we were all kids (I was about 3 or 4), and that the 'life' was the reason we moved. And that my dad isn't my biological dad. I suspected it when I was growing up (he was always super kind, but I just had a feeling he wasn't, and his blood type with my mom's wouldn't have equated to mine), and as an adult, I was able to search up a bunch of stuff and hire a P.I. I know it all, but they don't know I know. I'd never hurt them by telling them, but at least I know I'm not delusional."


character saying someone's blood type is o-negative which is very rare
The CW

20."Pre-Roe (and probably soon to return), my great-aunt performed 'kitchen table' abortions at the family farmhouse. When the women in the family got together over some 'sipping medicine,' the talk would get pretty ribald, and it was only after I got older that I figured out what they were talking about."


21."Growing up, I always had a feeling that there was a family secret surrounding my grandparents' sudden move to a different state when my mom was a teenager. No one ever talked about it, but the whispers and hushed conversations always made me curious. It wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that I finally found out the truth — my grandmother had been having an affair with a neighbor, and they had to leave town to escape the fallout. It was a shock to finally have confirmation of what I had suspected all those years."


22."My grandfather had no past. He had even misspelled a common name when coming up with the fake name, and we were told never to look into it or ask about it. I 100% thought he had robbed a bank or killed someone."

"After he died, my grandma confirmed that back in the day, he and some friends were making whisky, and a still exploded and killed one of them. And the local paper made it the story of the fucking decade. So my grandpa and his other two friends scattered and tried to hide from it. He was the last of the group, so I reckon he did."


23."My Nan had a daughter before she married my grandfather, and he made her adopt the child out. The child would have been about three years old by that time. My Nan and grandfather got together by default. They were messing around with each other behind their partner's backs, and Nan got pregnant. Her partner left. His partner left. They were forced to marry each other. It was a marriage full of regrets, and Grandad eventually left her to marry another woman. She died with her first husband's photo in her wallet. By luck, I found his family, and it turned out that he also had her picture in his wallet when he died."


  Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

24.And finally..."That was not a tomato plant growing in a pot that I couldn't tell my friends about."


Now it's your turn — what family secrets did you unearth later in life? Let us know in the comments or via this anonymous form.

Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.