Not everyone has a secret they need to take to the grave, but we've all watched enough TV to know that the people who do usually have very compelling reasons. Whether they've reinvented their dark pasts or told a trivial lie they feel the need to keep up for years, these secrets often run so deep, they could literally ruin lives if they were ever found out.
And as any TV and movie viewer knows, these secrets are also fascinating to outsiders. When people started sharing their potentially life-ruining secrets on reddit, the thread metastasized overnight. And some people who shared their secrets even came back to the page years later to post updates about their lives.
The stories range from dark to humorous, but one thing's for sure: they're definitely addictive. If you're having a bad day or need some perspective in your life, this one's for you.
Raised as a girl.
[Background, I'm a guy in my late 20s who was taken into care aged 7.] Everyone around me already knows that I was brought up by foster families because I had a #*$(@ early childhood. I deliberately keep it vague and say stuff like "I'd rather not go into it" so that people will just assume I was abused in some way and they'll stop asking about it.
The truth is that for the first seven years of my life, I was brought up as a girl by my psycho birth mother who really really, really wanted a daughter and didn't let the snag of giving birth to a boy stop her from trying to raise one.
She was a pretty successful professional in a legal field (not entirely sure what) and had me via anonymous sperm donor from a fertility clinic. She found out I was a boy at a late ultrasound and then moved across the country. Gave birth to me at home and continued to move about until I was 5 or so. It was just the two of us all my life, we had contact with other people, of course, but they rarely got very close. I had lots of friends, but was always supervised.
I found out way way after that my mother's strong puritanical christianity was a lie she used to explain why she was so strict about me being "private" and never letting anyone see me get changed or anything. I just accepted all of this as fact, having never been told anything different.
I was sent to a religious school for girls and had a really great childhood. i was a bit of a tomboy, and played with lego and toy animals, rather than dolls and stuff, but that's not unusual and no one ever questioned i was a girl — even me. I knew about men and women, but had never really seen much of naked people. My mother never ever spoke to me about it, but I kinda had the impression that when I grew up and got boobs and stuff, my #*$(@ would kinda fall off or something and I would be a woman, and other kids would keep their #*$(@ and they'd be men. I dunno, to be honest, I never really thought about it
Anyway, I carried on with my happy girlhood, and had a bunch of friends and everything was great until I was 7 and a teacher accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee over me at school. The liquid soaked through my clothes and was scalding me so the staff immediately stripped me out of my dress and underwear to get the hot coffee away from my skin. And then they found out.
The cops were called and I got taken to speak with who I guess would be Social Services. They asked me a bunch of questions about life at home and stuff. meanwhile, my mother was taken in for questioning too. She refused to acknowledge me as male and insisted I was her daughter. Because she was, y'know, delusional and stuff, I wasn't allowed to go back home but got put with a foster family and went through loads of therapy and stuff.
The worst part was that literally overnight, I lost EVERYTHING. My mother, my home, all my toys, all my clothes, I moved school so lost all my friends, they cut all my hair off and told me I wasn't a girl any more. It was really really traumatic.
The first foster home wasn't that great. they had three boys already and going from a sheltered 'religious' only-child upbringing to a rough-and-tumble testosterone-filled environment was really difficult. They tried to force me to be masculine and I was just too confused about what they wanted. Anything "girly" was reprimanded and I felt so lost and alone because nothing I did was right.
I tried to commit suicide when I was 11 and again at 13 because I didn't feel I fitted in anywhere. After the second attempt, they moved me to a different foster family who were awesome. I consider them to be my parents. they actually stood up for me, the first thing was that they let me grow my hair. From when I got taken into care, they buzzed my hair short, and I hated it. They always had to hold me down and do it forcibly while I was crying and fighting. My new parents flatly refused to do it and said that loads of boys had long hair. They also let me quit karate and football and take up swimming and jazz dance. Since I'd been in care, no one had ever stood up for my right to choose what activities to do, or how to dress before. It was amazing.
In the end, I came out of it with a pretty healthy gender identity (I'm a guy, but not the most butch guy ever, but I'm fine with that), I went through school and got my degree and have a pretty good job and an amazing, supportive wife. Everything looks great.
But I can never speak about my early childhood, and how I grew up as a little girl.
Talk about a long con.
I once helped out my a female friend's family by taking care of their cat for a week. Every day for a week, I would go over there and snoop around their house. I found my friend's diary, and proceeded to read the entire thing. I used this information to get her to like me, and she is currently my wife.
If walls could talk, right?
I once took a [dump] in the bathtub and then realizing what a horrible mistake I'd made, I flung poo into a hole in the wall.
My parents renovated and patched up the hole. So now there is a ~15-year-old turd in between the bathroom and kitchen wall of my childhood home.
Not even using a throwaway because I have no shame.
Stealing from the dead.
Cousin died when we were both 17. There was a reception at his house just after the funeral. I went into his room and stole all the money that was there, took some other valuables that his parents wouldn't realize were gone. No one knows that I did it, they just assumed he didn't have any money in his room, only loose change. I don't regret it, but I will never admit I did it.
Bullying can be really traumatic.
Well, it's more of a secret to my friends that I've made recently. Some background first: I don't like being touched or hugged, and I'm incredibly uncomfortable with intimacy in general.
When I was in the 8th grade, a bunch of girls in my class convinced me they had a friend who fancied me (they said she had seen me somewhere and thought I was cute). Faked a MSN account and they talked to me every night for a few months, invited me out to the movies and (obviously) didn't show up, then revealed to the whole grade that I had been tricked into having an "imaginary" girlfriend.
I was mocked viciously by everyone in the grade and ever since then I can't really trust women. I also can't believe that a girl may have feelings for me. Even when they explicitly tell me they have feelings for me I can't help but feel like they're trying to trick me. It's caused a lot of insecurity, and I can't get "attached" to people easily. I'm terribly afraid to text, or message people first because I'm convinced I would be annoying them. What's worse is that when I think about it, I know it probably isn't true; but I can't help but feel like it is.
Even though it was grade 8, it was around the time when attraction to women was just starting to get "real," so to be hurt at a time as delicate as that has really done some damage.
The secret of course is that I had been dumb enough to be tricked. As you might suspect, the whole thing has left me afraid of being vulnerable. To have this found out by my newer friends (as in, university friends) would put me in a really uncomfortable place. I probably wouldn't be able to be their friend anymore.
Thanks for reading, you're the first people I've told about what this event has actually done to me.
I wonder how many people in the industry do this.
I run a cake business. I charge people hundreds for wedding cakes... Every last one is made using Pilsbury cake mix I buy for $1 a box at Walmart. I suck at baking. Every time I've ever tried to make a cake from scratch it sucked. But baking is like... My whole deal. My friends all call me the cake girl. It's like my whole life is a lie. People compliment my cakes all the time.
Telling me how delicious they are. Telling me it's so much better than box mix cake. Telling me they could never bake a cake so delicious. Well guess what? For $1, they too can make a cake just as delicious. Just add oil, eggs, and water. In my defense, I love cake decorating. I make all of the frostings and fondant from scratch. I just hate baking cakes!!
I base my prices mostly on the decoration of the cakes and not of the cake itself if that makes sense. Still... No one knows about this except my husband. Even my best friends think I f--king slave over the oven mixing and baking these damn cakes. I have been doing this for YEARS. If anyone knew my business and reputation would be in the toilet for sure. I keep telling myself I have to learn how to make the damn cakes without the box mixes, but I never do it. I feel like such a sham.
I'm not sure how the residents haven't noticed.
Two and a half years ago I was in dire financial straights, so I sold my home to keep my struggling business afloat. I neglected to tell the owners that they have an 800 sq. ft. bunker on the property that I built about seven years ago. The bunker that I've called home since I sold it. The entrance to it is well-hidden, but I still come and go very early/very late in the day.
I'm a single man who keeps to himself. I'm now in a situation where I could move somewhere else, but I love this hidden paradise so much.
Facts of war.
While on deployment, I killed a man in a coup de grace. The feelings of taking a man's life always weigh a heavy burden on me every day. No one like's hurting people. He had been hit by some of our mobile artillery. While part of me wanted the bastard to be in pain, it wasn't right. My medic was busy with my wounded, and as the officer on duty I took out my .45 and put one in his head. I knew my boys wouldn't say anything. Most just watched, accepted it as a fact of war, and kept walking. I remember throwing up afterwards. I came home and everyone acted like I was a hero. I never felt like more of a sham my entire life.
Living a lie.
First time telling anyone this. This thread is so deep that probably no one will see, but if one person does see it, I'll feel better. I am basically living a lie. I told my entire family I was able to transfer out of community college and into a university, but I never finished up the requirements. So since I live at home, every day instead of going to school I go to the local library and BS. My lies are so extensive, I even go to the campus and meet my girlfriend for lunch sometimes. I've made fake transcripts to show my family, and to make it look like I'm actually studying I go to MIT opencourseware to look up facts that I "learned in class" that day. I have become a remarkable liar. I hope to be transferring in the fall and then I look forward to living a normal life. Coming clean is not an option at this point.
That's a long time to pretend.
I have been pretending to be colorblind to everyone I have ever known, including my own parents since I was in 3rd grade. I am now 28 years old. I even convinced an optometrist of it.
Oof. This is a tough truth to live with.
I accidentally killed seven people.
I put a rag into a new water heater exhaust to keep debris out and installed it in a rental.
I get a call a week later, there's been an accident. I show up and there's a ton of EMS and police. They ask me where the gas shutoff is, and I go down to shut the gas off and see the end of the rag I forgot sticking out of the top of the heater.
Ripped the rag out, shut the gas off and head upstairs only to be told all the tenants were DEAD.
I drink all day now and sleep. It's killing me from the inside every single day, but if I say anything my family is ruined; we have a bunch of rental properties and we'd be shut down.
Master plan, TBH.
There was a girl who I had a crush on the moment I saw her on my college campus. She ended up dating a douchebag dude a few weeks later. I happened to end up sitting in a study room with him and a few mutual friends. He talked about how he didn't think she was that attractive and how he liked other girls. I wrote the girl an anonymous email using one of those websites telling her about the things I heard and how the guy was a d--k. She ended up breaking up with him after she found out he was cheating.
The girl is now my girlfriend of six months. She has no idea (and is sitting across from me in the library). I've never told anyone this before.
There's no way they would have known.
My daughter turns 5 next week. If anyone knew the truth behind her parentage, I could probably lose her forever.
I grew up in foster care, never knew my parents or siblings. In my senior year, I met an older guy and we dated for almost a year... getting pregnant about seven months in. One night while we were watching TV, the subject somehow came around to our real parents (he had been adopted as a young child). Turns out the man I was seeing, the father of my daughter... is my half-brother... we have the same mother. Our relationship didn't last, and he is not in her life, per his own choices.
My daughter is extremely smart, beautiful, and well-rounded. She'll never know the truth... her father and I made a pact to never tell her. I just hope she never needs a kidney or something.
After graduating from high school, I went to a small out-of-state college where no one from high school knew me. I was told many times how impressive my false Australian accent was, so I decided it would be great fun to go through college pretending to be from Australia. All of my friends and even my girlfriend of two years think I'm Australian. I have a completely fake Australian identity, family, and past. I will soon be graduating, and I plan on asking the girl to marry me. Everything she knows about me is Australian I don't know how to tell her she doesn't really know me. Guess I'm forever a bloke.
Talk about losing your marbles.
When I was about 12 I went with some family to the Family Dollar. My mother and cousins went off to go look at generic groceries so I decided I would just spend my time hanging out in the toy aisle, in the toy aisle there would always be these bags of marbles that other kids would open and leave laying there so I decided to fling marbles across the floor and one just happened to reach one of the far off aisles.
So about two minutes later I hear a loud crash and someone scream "Somebody help this man!" Being the curious child I was, I ran over to see what the commotion was about and I find everyone gathered around this guy who had seem to have fallen from the ladder as he was getting something off the top shelf. The guy is seizing out and blood is coming from his head as he laid there and his face seemed to be turning blue.
My mother whisked me and my cousins away and we left.
Next time we went we talked to the front cashier and she said that they called the paramedics but by the time they got there he had died from choking. Apparently when he had the seizure he was choking on his own tongue. The cause for the fall according to the front cashier was that he had put the ladder on a marble and didn't check it before he got on it. When I heard what the cashier said I just stood in disbelief thinking I was going to jail, I tried telling my mother many times but all she did was say that I imagined it.
I faked having a chronic pain condition for five years in order to not have to attend middle school and high school (I was placed on a homebound program — NOT homeschooling — and allowed to study at my own pace from home). I was able to fool a team of medical professionals, my family, my teachers, and my friends into believing that my symptoms were real. Also, I racked up over $100,000 in medical bills for my family (that's just what the insurance didn't cover) during those five years (I did not realize the extent of the medical bills until late into my lie and it was one of the main reasons I decided enough was enough).
Upon graduating from high school and getting accepted into a good university, I decided that it was time for my "pain" to go away. No one has questioned the fact that my symptoms vanished over night, my medical team attributed it to the fact that I was nearing the end of puberty.
What I did was a douchebag thing, and my family is continuing to drown in debt from medical bills (I plan to pay them back someday). I simply started the hoax because I was a 12 year old who absolutely loathed middle school. I attempted to end the lie at the beginning of every school year, but eventually fell back into saying my "pain" prevented me from attending school. Today I feel horrible about what I did, and I desperately want to tell everyone that it was a lie, but I know that I cannot because I will never gain credibility back again.
We all have our quirks?
Every night when I go to bed, I have a little pillow and assortment of blankets that I pretend is this girl I like. She would never like me in real life (in fact, she doesn't), so I just play pretend. It's inherently creepy but it's what keeps me from being a total wreck all the time.