When we’re kids, our brains process things differently, making it hard to see things as they truly are. But as we grow up, memories can return, helping us see the past more clearly. Sometimes, these realizations can be disturbing or even frightening. Today, we’re sharing stories from courageous individuals whose shocking experiences left them in disbelief and shock.
- My mother used never to want to get out of bed when I was 5, and she 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 I wished to 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 13 that it clicked that the hospital she had gone to was a mental health hospital when I realized I didn’t want to get out of bed myself. 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 / Reddit
- I thought everyone goes to jail or prison at least once in their life. It was quite a surprise to me when I moved out to the suburbs and met people who knew nothing about jail or prison. © Doggo6893 / Reddit
- Had a recurring dream/nightmare as a kid about a shadowy figure that would come through the walls of my parents’ room, but as long as I hid under the sheet I used to make a fort with, I’d be safe. I figured it was just a messed up dream for years until I found out from my dad when I got older that some dude had broken into our house when I was playing and tried to snatch me. My (8 months pregnant with my sister at the time) mum chased him out and down the road with a metal pipe from the vacuum cleaner. © FakeSchwarzenbach / Reddit
- Three decades ago, when I was 9 years old, my father said he’d won free pizza coupons, and he had a massive stack of these little business cards, each for a free large pizza. My dad said we had to be careful using them, though, so we would only use them occasionally.
I remember my dad sometimes making me order the pizza and answering the door to get the free pizza, even though I was only 9.
Looking back, I realize my dad worked for a commercial printing company and was not an upstanding citizen. I’m pretty sure he didn’t win those cards. © shyblonde83 / Reddit
- My cousin and I were riding with my grandmother somewhere when we were still car seat age (I think), and she got pulled over. She had a warrant out for writing a bad check or something, so the cop cuffed her and put her in the back of the police car. My aunt had to come to pick us up. We thought it was hilarious then, but I can’t believe I witnessed my grandma getting arrested. © Tayayayaylor / Reddit
- My dad got laid off from a job, and we started to really struggle for a year or so. He woke up early every morning to make breakfast for us all before school and cleaned the house while doing side jobs so we would never know we were struggling. He couldn’t get a basic job because he was “overqualified.” © tuckerb_2000 / Reddit
- When I was around 7 years old, I would see my father kiss women I saw for the very first time. Since I was used to thinking that kissing passionately was just like a normal kiss on the cheek as a greeting, I didn’t care. When my father spotted me while he was kissing some woman, he went up to me and gave me $20 for just standing there. I realized what he was doing a few years later and was immensely disappointed. © Lasok-Yt / Reddit
- My grandma explained to me that she had a miscarriage a little while after her last child. At around 9, I said it was for the best because my mom, aunt, and uncle were troublemakers, so it was better for her. She got furious at me, and I was so confused then. I didn’t realize how messed up it actually was. © wheresmyson** / Reddit
- When I was 6 or 7, I remember my mom went out for the night, and my dad was sad, so I wrote a little note to her, expressing my concern that it was making daddy unhappy. I left the note on their bed. My mom brought the note to me and expressed her displeasure.
Over 20 years later, my dad told me about how my mom was openly cheating on him with her now-husband. My dad would literally drive her to his place so she could continue her relationship with him. Turns out that my younger half-brother was conceived while she was still married and living with my dad. It was all a significant revelation when I found out. © Eat_A_J***_Pal / Reddit
- When I was about 5 or 6 and home alone with my dad, two men came to the door, accused him of stealing something from their house down the street, and began trying to wrestle him at the front door. I was sitting about 5 feet away on the floor, and I’m pretty sure they stopped because they saw me.
I never fully understood what the outcome could have been as a kid. © MjrLeeSt***d / Reddit
- We were at some kind of resort, I had been scared by some kind of jumping rock thing on the beach the day before, so instead of heading down to the sand, my mum and I stayed near the lobby in some kind of kids’ playroom for the day, suddenly alarms start going off and we go outside, I felt my mum’s arm tug me as we began to run through the lobby. I dropped one of my drawings and bent down to pick it up, as I did, I saw ocean water rushing up toward my heels, I survived the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, and what I was most concerned about was a picture I drew with crayons. © Dyljim / Reddit
- In 5th grade, my English teacher gave the class a free-writing exercise. She shared her feelings of being burnt out from working 18-hour days and not knowing when it would end.
It wasn’t until about 5 years later, when she quit in the middle of the school year that I realized she had been teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown for years. © Blenderhead36 / Reddit
- On a day out with my dad when I was little, I played in the park with a girl the same age as me. I didn’t know her, but she was on her own, I and my dad left after an hour or so, leaving the girl on her own again. 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 questions about this little girl. It went right over my head when I was about 5 years old. 40 years later, I still think about her. © Eve-76 / Reddit
- Before my brother was born, my mom had an affair with a gentleman from Spain. My mom sent him faxes from the post office once a month to inform him about our well-being, what we were doing, and what she needed money for — like trips to school, etc. She guilted him into sending a lot of money every month because he thought my brother was his son.
After our stepdad died (we were 11 & 10 years old), I remember her sending our school photos to the Spanish gentleman and also asking if there were any trips he could pay for. This went on until we were basically adults at 17/18 years old.
It was only a couple of years back in therapy that I realized she cheated on my biological father, pretended to have a baby with the Spanish gentleman (which was not true), and tricked him into paying alimony for years for a kid that wasn’t his. Also, my stepdad must’ve known about this, too. © michischaaf / Reddit
We’ve also gathered stories from people who revealed shocking secrets from their family’s history. These moments of revelation have left them astonished as they grapple with the unexpected truths they’ve just uncovered.
Lucky you! This thread is empty,
which means you’ve got dibs on the first comment.
Go for it!