21 Massive Secrets People Are Keeping From Their Parents, Siblings, Kids, And, In Some Cases, ENTIRE Family

We all have secrets, sometimes even from those closest to us: our family. And the closer we are to the people we're keeping secrets from...the juicier the secrets feel.

Woman holding her finger to her lips to say "shush"
Woman holding her finger to her lips to say "shush"


So when Reddit user u/Extension_History57 asked, "What is the biggest secret you've ever kept from your family?" I had to sit down while reading the responses. Here are 21 shocking and sometimes heartbreaking secrets that people are keeping from their families.

1."This is my secret with my mom and dad that we kept from everyone else in the family. My dad is married to another woman; Mom is single. Mom and 'Dad' (hard to actually call him that) have been having an affair for 30-plus years; even their best friends don't know about it. I was an accident. Dad stepped out of the picture because my parents didn't want me to know about the affair and who he was. At 15, when I was told who he was, and tried to act cool so as not to upset my mom, he came back into my mom's life (but absolutely not mine). I have three siblings who don't know I exist: two brothers and a sister. They have the most amazing life — two-parent income, holidays, all the things I wanted as a kid in a family of three with a single mom. I went to high school with my brother. I'm in my mid-20s now. I still want to meet them; I just can't be the one to break the secret and crush two families."


2."About 13 years ago, I was informed that I had a daughter from my first serious relationship who was given up for adoption without my knowledge. Unbeknownst to her adoptive parents or her bio mom, she had the same heart defect I have (mine wasn't found until I was about 26). She collapsed on a field at a park near where she lived in Massachusetts while playing soccer with other 7-year-olds. She passed away before they arrived at the hospital. Her bio mom, my ex, had kept in touch with the adoptive parents over the years, and our girl knew her as 'Aunt xx.' She had even given the adoptive parents some pictures of us together and gave them the story that I was in prison for moving some serious weight in drugs (complete fabrication)."

"After our girl's death, my ex reached out, feeling guilty. I was able to get in touch with the adoptive parents. They were nice, middle-class people who loved her intensely and gave her everything a kid needed to flourish. I'm glad she had people who loved and cared for her the way every child deserved. I'm glad the particular mystery of why my ex disappeared one day without a word was finally solved. But I was absolutely distraught that I wasn't given a chance to be a father. She never got to meet her grandparents, who would have adored her, particularly my mom, who she looked so much like.

"I never told my folks because I didn't want to break their hearts; I know how badly mine was broken. Thirteen years later, I stand by that decision. They deserve to know, but both are in poor health, and I still can't bring myself to put it on them.

"My girl would be turning 21 this July. The only reason I hope there is an afterlife is so I can meet her."


3."My 14-year-old godson is actually my biological child. About 16 years ago, I disappeared in the middle of the night to start a new life away from my toxic family and went no-contact with them for three years. I ended up getting pregnant from a one-night stand. I was homeless at the time, so keeping my son was not an option. My ex–best friend and her husband had been struggling to start a family of their own, so they offered to adopt my child. Plot twist: My husband and I currently have custody of my child and his four siblings. Their parents are in jail for domestic violence and child neglect."

"I want to clarity a few things:

1. My son does not know I am his biological mother, but we plan to tell him soon. My husband and I plan to petition to adopt him and his siblings. Our lawyer warned us that his parentage would come up during the process. I want my son to hear it from me. He is currently battling PTSD due to the incident that brought the kids into our care. We are working with his therapist to find the best way to tell him the truth without causing him more trauma. He mental health is our top priority.

2. My ex-friend has endometriosis, which affects fertility. Pregnancy can put endometriosis into remission for some women. She was one of the lucky ones. Once in remission, she had no trouble conceiving the other four kids.

3. My husband and I are raising 10 children. We are in the process of adopting my 12-year-old cousin and took custody of her two older sisters last week. We also have a set of biological 1-year-old twins. Eighteen months ago, we had zero kids."


Parents with 10 children
20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

4."When I was 14, my mom confessed to me that my older sister was not my father’s biological kid. She said she was in an abusive relationship with my older sister’s bio dad. She finally resolved to leave him when she found out she was pregnant. She then met my dad a few months after giving birth and says that they fell in love. We used to get a lot of comments in school about not looking alike, comments that only increased after my younger sister was born and happened to have a strong resemblance to me."

"My father never treated us any differently. I loved my father a little more after finding out because I never once doubted how much he loved us all equally. I do resent my mother for having told me, though. I wish she hadn't made me a secret-keeper from my entire immediate family (my dad doesn’t know I know). I was young and confused. Now so much time has passed that I feel like it’s too late. I feel like part of me is betraying my sister for not telling her, but I also feel like it would be a betrayal if I did. Fucked if you do, fucked if you don’t. Thanks, Mom."


5."I was very close to killing my biological father and would have followed through with it if a friend of mine, who works for the police, didn't 'prank' pull me over while I was on my way to murder that fucker. My friend walked up to my car with a shit-eating grin and said, "Hello, Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?" bullshit (something he'd done a couple of times before already). But then he realized that I was really not feeling well and asked what the fuck was going on. I told him, and said he's free to follow me and lock me up after I'm done. He looked back to his colleague, who was waiting in the cop car, then back to me and just said, 'Drive home, go to your mother.' And I did."

"He came over to my place later that evening and gave me a stern talking-to because of the situation I would have involved him in as well, simply by telling him what my plan was. We had a couple of beers and talked, and I promised him that I'd never even think about this ever again. Aaaaand that is pretty much it.

"Looking back, I realize how much of a dick move my telling him what was going on really was. And he should have arrested me on the spot. I still don't really know why I even said anything in the first place. Maybe I wanted to be stopped — also considering how easily I 'gave up.'"


6."I had a bilateral salpingectomy (removal of both fallopian tubes, a permanent form of birth control). Most of my (very Catholic, children-are-blessings-and-you-should-have-eight!) family knows I was never into the idea of raising kids and/or being pregnant, but they figured I'd change my mind. I got it done very young, and they think it was something with my ovary (true, a cyst ruptured, so I electively overkilled the whole problem), not that it was a fairly elective sterilization as a result. Now I just let them think that I 'wasn't blessed with children' — easier than the alternative."


7."When I was 19, I had a one-night stand with my grandparents' 34-year-old married neighbor. She insisted on me not wearing protection because she was supposedly allergic to latex. I, being a dumb, horny teenager, went with it because...dick wet. Since her husband was out of the country for a month on business as of three days earlier, she proceeded to rock my fucking world. I only ever joked about having ejaculations in the double digits before that day. She proved that it was possible. We started at about 10 that morning; she kicked me out around 8 that evening. I didn't see her for seven months afterward because my parents had me move back in with them across the state. I saw her at Christmas at my grandparents' house and she was very pregnant. She later gave birth to a blonde baby girl. The mother is brunette and the husband has black hair."

"It took me until I was 25 to process that the little girl in question is more than likely my child. I don't know where their family is now. I'm 35 now and I'm concerned that I have a 15- or 16-year-old daughter out in the world somewhere who might come looking for me in two years."


Woman saying to a man, "Congratulations, Daddy; he looks just like you"
The CW

8."I posed nude in a tasteful art project when i was 20. It was supposed to be a small, private exhibition, but then it blew up, and at one point my naked image was on our major city's website to advertise a popular art festival, and a printed large version was displayed at a popular market during the festival. It was also printed in a book series. I was so worried that my parents would see, but so far it's been 12 years and they still don't know. I am actually really proud of the work we did and sometimes consider showing them the book, but they might murder me."


9."I was addicted to fentanyl for almost a year and then beat that addiction all on my own! I just passed one year off of it, and I haven't considered going back once!"


10."My family has no idea that I had an abortion when I was 23. They would never, ever forgive me. I have no guilt or regret over my decision. If forgiveness was ever needed, I gave it to myself a long time ago. However, it would not be worth the headache I would get from my deeply right-wing family if they ever found out. All they ever need to know is that my mom thought I was pregnant and it turned out I wasn't."


11."I’ve been an escort since I was 17. I came from a poor and neglectful family, and I just wanted to feel loved and taken care of. Luckily, I found a woman who ran an agency that cared about my safety and treated me better than any of my family ever did. I put myself through college, I'm saving up for a house, I have three retirement plans, I pay taxes legally through my 'business,' and I have a relatively normal and happy life. I still lie about what work I do; nothing can compare to making the amount of money I make without sacrificing years of my life to be poor, like many of my peers."


Woman telling another woman that she is a "working girl" and it's just how she pays for "college and couture"
The CW

12."I once tried to kill a family member because they broke my Barbie doll when I was 5, so I added a few sleeping pills to their tea."

"I came to my senses when it didn't work and I realized I would regret it. Glad I listened to my conscience."


13."I was brought to a prostitute and lost my virginity to her when I was 13. My family would crumble if I opened my mouth about the things I know."

"This was 11 years ago. It was my grandfather who brought me to her, supposedly as my reward for placing second in my class; he called it 'baptism.' I really thought I was getting submerged underwater to be baptized."


14."I once told a guy I had been hooking up with to come over and have fun with me while I slept. I kept the back door unlocked. Told him to come in, get naked, and come into my bedroom nude and do things. He walked in, got undressed to his boxers, and ended up wandering around the house looking for my bedroom. He went into my mom's bedroom, and she woke up and thought it was a robber — coming to abuse her. He fled. She called the police."

"They came and took her statement. She got a security alarm installed the next day and paid extra for weekend emergency installation. She got special bars to block her front and back door handles for extra protection. Changed the locks to expensive special locks that can't be picked, with special keys that are hard to reproduce. She never sleeps naked anymore out of fear, and it's been 10-plus years.

"It got so deep so fast that I couldn't tell her it was my fault and an accident before she went overboard, and now I can't tell her the truth because she'd kill me. I've always felt terrible about it."


15."My stepsister's son is my son, and we have been together for 11 years. No one knows; this has been a well-kept secret."


Myrcella Lannister telling Jaime from Game of Thrones that she knows he's her father and she's glad

16."My boss at the time was my girlfriend’s father. He frequently traveled for work and would always acquire multiple types of drugs while he was in Central America (for a commercial fireworks business). He had a safe at the house, and I overheard him telling the code to his wife. I cleaned it out and framed it on my ex’s brother, as he was a frequent and known user."

"After I became addicted to opioids and methamphetamine, my personality, priorities, and life in general quickly began to revolve around my fix. I introduced my twin brother to opioids, who became addicted as well.

"I lost nearly 10 years of my life and stole nearly the same time from my brother.

"Every single day is a struggle living with the fact that I am responsible for stealing thousands of dollars in drugs, for their family rift, and for my brother’s addiction, along with my own serious addiction. My family now knows about the addictions, and we are both in full recovery (five-plus years!). That’s the only silver lining in this story.

"I know I sound like an old man here, but please, please, do not try opioids (or other illicit drugs) unless prescribed for a truly necessary situation. You may lose your life faster than you ever thought possible, either figuratively or literally. If you have an opioid addiction or know someone who does, do your best to receive training for naloxone kits. They can save lives in seconds."


17."I moved with my wife (then-girlfriend) from the Northeast to the South so she could go to med school. We were leaving family and friends behind, although many of our friends were scattering to opposite coasts and elsewhere. Her parents were overbearing and still treated her like a 15-year-old. My parents were pushy and judgmental, with some issues with alcohol to boot. My two younger brothers were in their early 20s and still living at home, having dropped out of college, or working out of my parents’ basement. My parents’ house was like a frat house. Drinking almost every night, weed, and no one in the house worked more than three days a week at one point. We saw the move as a 'refresh button.'"

"We put some distance between us and our families so that my wife could feel like an adult and I was removed from the lifestyle and influence of my family.

"Two weeks into our move into our new apartment, we were living on clouds, just so happy to have our own space and be with each other. Then she got a call. It was the admissions director from the med school 15 minutes away from our hometown, offering her a spot that had become vacant. They gave her 24 hours to decide.

"We sat that night and debated all of the pros and cons of moving back home. We talked about getting a place together in our hometown but quickly realized that it would have been much better financially to just move back in with our parents.

"She turned down the offer. We don’t regret it for a second. We never told a soul that we could have almost moved back home; there would have been far too much animosity."


18."I was going into senior year of high school in 2000 when my family went away on a quick end-of-summer vacation. I worked as a lifeguard and had a dog, so I stayed home. My uncle's (my mother's sister's husband) father passed away while my parents were away. Cellphones barely existed back then, so whoever was making the calls to let everyone know about his passing and about funeral arrangements was calling houses directly. We must have been left off the list because I never got the message to relay to my parents. They probably could have ended their trip early if they got the message, or at least called to offer support to my aunt and uncle, but since there was no message to relay, they were unaware of his death and did neither of those things."

"The family insisted that we had to have gotten a phone call. My parents asked me, I told them we didn't, and my parents said so — a little upset that they were left off the list in the first place. This caused a HUGE fight in my family, to the point where I haven't seen my aunt, uncle, and cousins since 2000.

"I got the call.

"I remember it like it was yesterday. I was running out the door, late for work, when the phone rang. I was told about his death and funeral arrangements, then I ran out the door, promptly forgetting about the conversation until my parents asked me about it. At that point, my parents had already missed his funeral, so I figured the best answer was, 'No, I didn't get any phone calls from them. Maybe they left a message. Check the machine.' I didn't realize it was going to turn into a 23-year feud, and by the time I realized it was a feud, I knew I was in too deep to come clean."


Finally, let's end on a few that are a bit lighter:

19."My brother and I saw Aliens as kids, and we were super intrigued by the flamethrowers. In a feat of idiotic 13-year-old brilliance, we determined that a Super Soaker filled with Aquanet, with a butane lighter strapped to the front, might actually work the same. To our utter shock, it did."

"Shot 20-foot streams of sticky flame. We were just overjoyed. Until said sticky flame hit the side of the house and it caught on fire. Oh shit! So we raced over, and between my shirt and the hose, we got it out, but there was a large dark spot on the side of the house. So we disassembled and cleaned out the flamethrower, and mum was the word.

"Thirty years later, we’re eating dinner over at the folks' house, and Dad remarks that they painted the house and ‘finally got rid of that weird dark spot.’ Much stealthy chortling ensued. Honestly, how do kids survive childhood? We’re all idiots."


Ripley using a flamethrower from the movie Aliens
Ripley using a flamethrower from the movie Aliens


20."When I was a kid, I dropped the rake while working in the yard, and the handle landed in dog poop. Instead of cleaning it off, I used duct tape to seal off the poop from the outside world. It ended up being used for almost 10 years after that, and I always thought about that rake's dirty secret: The secret was poop!"


21.And finally, this one's just sweet: "A secret from my grandparents, whom I adored. They were actually my great-aunt and -uncle, having raised my mother from the age of 2. Her mother had passed away, and her father was an alcoholic who ended up enlisting and going to war during World War II. I had a habit of looking through my parents' wedding album when I was very young. I loved the dresses, etc. At the back of the book was their marriage license, and I saw when I was about 11 that my mother's last name was not the same as my grandparents' last name. I asked her, and she told me they were not her biological parents. I never told them I knew because I didn't want them to feel less than my grandparents, which they absolutely were. By this time, my biological grandfather had passed. They were always Nana and Grandpa to me, and they were amazing grandparents."


What's the biggest secret you've kept from your family — or the family secret someone else kept that eventually came to light? Let us know in the comments below or via this anonymous form.

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.