30 People Reveal The Deeply Disturbing Secrets They Uncovered About Someone Close To Them, Leaving Them Shocked And Traumatized
"It is wise not to seek a secret, and honest not to reveal one," William Penn, a 17th-century English writer, once said. While there's some truth in Penn's words - how can you not, when stumbling upon or intentionally uncovering something juicy about someone you know rewards you with that fizzy excitement? Of course, as we well know from TV shows like Netflix's YOU, some stones are better left unturned.
Recently, u/Electrical-Lemon187 posed an intriguing question, asking r/AskReddit community members about the most unsettling secrets they had uncovered about someone close to them. After sifting through numerous captivating responses, we have curated a selection of the most gripping accounts for your perusal. So buckle up, dear pandas, because things are about to get rather interesting.
Just after my 6th anniversary, I found a video on my husband's tablet from a hidden camera that showed my 14 year old niece nude. I called the police immediately. He never came home again. He's in prison now.
In one moment I realized I had no clue who I was married (and had a child with!) And I yeeted his a*s into the sun.
In a world where personal privacy has become a rather elusive concept, the allure of secrets persists as an enigmatic force. No wonder, then, that an average person keeps about 13 secrets at a time, five of which they have never told another living soul, according to new research. But what compels individuals to keep their innermost truths shrouded in darkness?
One of the primary reasons people resort to secrecy, it turns out, is the pervasive fear of judgment. Deeply ingrained in the human psyche, this fear propels individuals to guard their unconventional thoughts and desires from the prying eyes of society - even if it results in the fall of the economy, as The Great Recession showed (thanks, Wall Street).
While my cousin was walking around with her son in the woods, she came across a hunting stand. She climbed it, and found a pair of binoculars. Sitting straight forward, and lifting the binoculars to her eyes....she saw her own bedroom window.
Lets be logical here: If it was a legit hunting stand, it was facing, and CLOSER than 500 feet to a residence, which is illegal....which means it had to come down with predjudice.
If it was a peeping tom...well...it had to come down....with predjudice.
When my brother and I visited not long after, she showed us where it was. We tore it down and literally wrapped it around a couple trees. Bent the f****r to complete uselessness.
I got an angry call the next day:
"DID YOU TEAR DOWN A HUNTING STAND YESTERDAY??"
"F**k yeah I did."
"That was your uncle's!" (Her mother’s brother)
Turns out my cousin reported it to the family and they ignored the issue. When the uncle was asked, he said there was just an old tree house out there. Even when he was exposed, they didn't really care. They were more upset about the damage we did.
Suffice it to say I have written off most of that side of the family.
According to Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at The Kinsey Institute and the author of 'Tell Me What You Want', one of the most popular reasons why lovers don't feel comfortable being 100% honest about their kinks and whatnot is fear that their partners won't get it or even worse - use it as a basis to call quits on the relationship.
"In my own research on sexual fantasies, I find that the single most common reason people avoid sharing their fantasies with their partners is because they expect a negative reaction," he explained to Bored Panda in an email. "They’re worried about being shamed or judged for expressing a turn-on that their partner does not share." (A recent study by OnePoll revealed that “most people hide their kinks because they’re afraid their partner will leave.”)
She was my best friend of 7 years, we had literally been through it all together. I moved out of state with my now husband, but she convinced us both to move back to be closer with her, after about a year. We had no real ties to the state we had tried out, so we said screw it, let’s go back, she’s basically family. We were all so happy to be reunited; she was over almost every night for dinner, we all laughed and talked and had a blast. Best year of my life.
Then slowly, she started trying to turn my husband and I against each other. Anytime we had an argument (like any couple does) she would text each of us about how right we were; trying to foster animosity between the two of us.
With me, she started talking about how she had a plan b for “us”, that if my husband and I couldn’t make it work, I could move in with her and we’d live happy lives together.
With my husband, she started talking about her infertility issues and how she wanted to have a kid just like him, she just needed a sperm donor.
This all happened at around the same time, and my husband and I compared texts and figured it out.
She wanted to take his sperm, and have a baby with me. When confronted about it she refused to admit anything and started lashing out at both of us. It got to the point where she would show up unannounced, banging on the door, demanding a place in our home. It was so terrifying and panic inducing that we ended up having to move and change our phone numbers.
I guess it’s so disturbing because I had never had a friend like her, only to find out that she, well she cared about me, but in such an unhealthy and scary way. But yeah, that’s my story.
Husband and I are great now btw.
My former wife (now ex) and I were having problems. I was certain she was cheating on me. I found her notes where she was figuring out and had added up how much I was worth dead.
My mom received birthday cards with money in them for years from her parents. She kept the cards with the money in them, saving to buy a piano/sentimental reasons. My sister, who has repeatedly stolen from family members, found the collection of cards/money and took them. My mom only wanted the cards back when she realized what happened. My sister denied everything. F**k you, Emily.
"People also hide their fantasies for other reasons, such as feeling embarrassed about them or simply knowing in advance that their partner is not into the idea," Lehmiller argues, noting that "it isn’t always the case that we hide our fantasies because we’re ashamed." Some simply want to keep their kinks to themselves or know that they won't be as 'charming' in real-life as it possibly is in their sexually healthy imagination.
When my Grandfather passed away we discovered that he did not exist. His name was not in any government registry. He was a normal citizen, paid taxes, had a license and everything. Lived a long life, married to my grandmother for over 50 years, had multiple children, everything normal.
Still to now, no one knows who he really was and why he had a false name.
My great grandmother was married to 3 different people at the same time. The men were from different branches of the military, she was collecting all three of their paychecks at a time.
My grandfather beat someone to death. My dad was an only child, but my grandmother was once pregnant with my dads younger brother. When she was 6 months pregnant, someone in construction equipment ran over the car she was driving and she lost the baby. While she was in the hospital, my grandfather found the guy and beat him to death. From what I understand, he was in jail for about a week before he was released. Apparently, he claimed temporary insanity due to the circumstances. I learned all this about 4 years ago when my brother was researching family history and asked my grandfather about it. I've always seen him as a nice, little old man.
Of course, there's also the self-preservation aspect of taking a secret to your grave. Whether it involves concealing personal trauma, sensitive information, or involvement in illicit activities, maintaining secrecy can be a matter of survival.
Just imagine what it must be like for those close to Jimmy Savile, the infamous BBC radio personality, who continues to face horrifying posthumous accusations to this day, to learn about his creepy quirks. Or Rose McGowan's, an American actress known for her role in the classic TV series Charmed, culty upbringing in a polygamous commune.
Probably not the most disturbing thing I've seen, but caught my dad and sister together. They don't know I know.
This was ten years ago when my mom was dying from cancer at the time.
They probably still do it. I see my dad less than once a year.
Discovered that my sister stole my father's $25k Rolex not more than 24 hours after he died. I only discovered it when her and her husband made a frivolous purchase and I wondered where they got they money since they were always broke and begging my parents for money. I got suspicious, it hit me that she might have stolen and sold the Rolex. Had the paperwork, ran a track on the sales history and discovered it had been sold to a p**n shop down the street from where my sister lives. Went to the p**n shop and after a bit of persuasion got them to tell me who sold it to them and it was my sister. Me and my mom disowned her.
So my grandmother (who’s been estranged for my family for a long time now for a MULTITUDE of reasons) has this weird thing where she has to share food with people. Are you ordering steak at the restaurant? Well oh boy she’s gotta order the same thing even if she doesn’t like steak. Try her drink, “it’s really good!” Take the first bite of chicken to let her know if it’s “any good.” This always really annoyed me cause I hate sharing food. One day I brought it up to my mom and she was like, “oh yeah, grandma is afraid of being poisoned, so she wants other people to try it first.” SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT, GRANDMA THINKS SOMEONE IS TRYING TO POSION HER SO SHE HAS ME TRY THE FOOD FIRST??? And it makes so much sense looking back because she literally would not take a bite of anything she ordered until someone else had a bite first. Thanks grandma
But there's a whole different side to spilling beans and the nature of secret-keeping that we don't know. "When I first started presenting [The Physical Burdens of Secrecy] research to people, some people thought it was very interesting. Some were asking, 'Is this even secrecy? How can you study secrecy if you don't bring two people together in the room and have one person hide something during a conversation from the other person?'" Columbia University professor Michael Slepian, a leading expert on the psychology of secrets, told Bored Panda.
Found out my aunt’s homophobic husband was cheating when he matched with my brother’s boyfriend (open relationship) on Grindr.
Edit: My aunt still has no idea.
One of my best friends was caught trying to meet up with a 13 year old and was filmed and uploaded to YouTube
One night as a kid I heard my parents having an explosive argument in their bedroom which suddenly went quiet (the door was closed and locked) I found out during a drunk phone call from my mother it was because she attempted to [unalive] my father in the face with a .303 but it didn’t go off when she pulled the trigger as there were no bullets. They were both horrified and just stared at each other apparently.
They’re still together.
"At a certain point, I realized none of the studies on secrecy looked at people's real secrets." This revelation served as Slepian's eureka moment, motivating him to author numerous research papers, articles, and a highly acclaimed best-seller titled 'The Secret Life of Secrets.' Through his extensive body of work, he explored the enigmatic nature of secrets and shed light on the immense weight carried by individuals who guard them.
My dad had a sister only few people knew about. She was born with a brain defect. My grandparents kept her in the apartment for all her life because they were ashamed.
My (former) best friend cheated on his wife, multiple times. I found out because he tried getting me to cheat on my wife, who he was the best man at for our wedding. Completely f****d.
He shot his friend in the foot on purpose.
They were teens and playing with a gun while drunk (stupid I know). And he accidentally shot his friend in the foot. Except it wasn’t an accident. He admitted to it being on purpose later.
Edit: no this isn’t the event that happened in your small American town and we don’t know each other.
I’m not even an American and guns are like super illegal here. I have no idea how he acquired it. He could probably go to jail just on the merit of that alone.
And from us Europeans; are you guys ok? This isn’t a normal thing and you guys shouldn’t relate to it.
"My early studies had people think about significant secrets and then they made judgments that we know vary with actually being burdened, physically encumbered. So when we're burdened for any reason - we're tired, we're out of shape; a distance might look farther, a hill might look steep because it actually requires more effort on your behalf," he explained.
And sure enough, when individuals contemplated their own secrets, Slepian and his team discovered that their circumstances became more arduous to navigate. In a sense, their secrets were indeed exerting a weight upon them at that specific moment, making their interactions and experiences more challenging.
That my ostensibly pious and God-fearing married Mormon dad was siphoning off shared savings/retirement money to bankroll strip clubs, "massage" parlors and visits to SW street corners for longer than my entire life. Had I not personally caught him red-handed, I would never have believed it. My gob is still smacked. 😅
I was pretty close with my youngest uncle growing up, at least in pictures (he was in his mid 20s when I was like 5 for context). One day when I was in middle school he just stopped coming around completely. My entire family told us kids that he was backpacking around the nation. In high school I was going a genealogy project on my grandfather (his dad) and accidentally found my uncles name on the [criminal] offender registry. Come to find out he was running a CP ring and had served 16 years in federal prison. He’s out now and my family pretends nothing happened. I stay far away.
He was not *that* close, but he was a friend and our veterinarian, until he lost his license for doing all the ketamine that was supposed to be for the animals.
Turns out, trying to keep the beans from spilling isn't what takes a great toll on our minds but thinking about them when you're on your own. "The largest harm is the more you think about your secrets outside of conversations, the more your secrets hurt you. Essentially all the harm seems to be based on thinking about a secret on your own time. And very, very little of the harm seems to come from having to conceal a secret in a social interaction," Slepian said, noting that statistically, questions about the thing you're keeping as a secret don't come up as often as we'd like to think.
Graduated boot camp and wondered why my brother wouldn’t talk to me, turns out he was f*****g my ex while I was there instead of delivering my letters. Guess guilt ate him up and he thought it was simpler to keep up the lie and not have a brother, right up until an old friend from my home town told me what happened.
My grandfather is a ghost on paper. We always grew up knowing he had skeletons in his closet but I wasn't prepared for what he had done in his younger years. I started hearing rumours as a teen that he had been a pretty big time robber, his speciality was cracking the safes. But he would never admit it.
In 2016 he randomly told me he also used to deal guns to the IRA like he was talking about the weather it was bizarre. He also told me he helped a couple of triads hide out in Jamaica after they went on the run for beheading an adversary. They were fairly nice guys according to him.
It was only about 10 years ago he finally stopped sleeping with guns stashed under his bed and taking shady phone calls down the bottom of the garden. Only my grandmother knows his real name no one else in the family does.
I adore him but he is an enigma to me
My brother was stealing money from father who had dementia. This went on for a year and the I found out about it was because the bank who had my father's mortgage called me wondering why it hadn't been paid in six months. My father's bank account went into the negative around this time too and when I confronted my brother about it he said "Well, I gotta pay MY bills." I was about to take control of all the accounts and make sure shot got back on track but my father ended up in the hospital and died shortly after that. My brother also stole some of my inheritance too.
In the end, he stole over $5000 from his dying father.
According to Slepian, there's a powerful way to lighten the load of carrying secrets: spill the beans to someone you trust. "Talk to someone else, anyone besides the person or people you're keeping it from. What's helpful about confiding a secret in another person is not that it reduces how often you have to hide that secret because you still might be hiding it from other people," he explained. But how sharing that juicy secret of yours with someone else helps to reduce how much it weighs you down in the end, making the pressure of secret-bearing a tad healthier in the end. Grab a drink, find a cozy spot, and prepare to unload those juicy secrets. Your mind will thank you.
Found a scrapbook of my mom and a guy I didn’t recognize from her immediately post-college days. Turns out he was a long term boyfriend of hers who offed himself when she broke up with him. My grandfather found his body. I learned at age 20, by finding the book/shrine to him.
I just found out my aunt and uncle slept together a few years ago. And somehow my dad is the bad guy for cutting them both off
Edit: For context, they were brother and sister. Not a non-blood related married couple
Met a super nice guy at a networking event when I just starting out in tech. He had a ton of connections and was a nice family man. Super rich. Eventually we became friends and he was acting as a mentor figure to me in the industry. Went over to his massive new house, met his family, etc. He had the demeanor and looked like Al Borland from Home Improvement, to give you an idea.
Like 4 years later I was looking at the sex offender registry map for my local area while I was shopping for houses. Lo and behold, his house popped up. In the early 2000s he was convicted of co-running a commercial CP sales site. Served 5 years for it in federal prison.
I found out that the reason why one of my uncles didn't want to go back to Korea when he retired was that he couldn't - he was fearful for political reprisals if he tried to return.
Turned out his brother was part of the group that [unalived] the S. Korean president back in 1979 and his own innocence was never proven so he was in fear of getting arrested if he ever tried to go back.
My dear ol' Mom started visiting a casino after my Dad died and ran up 850K in debt.
My best friend confessed to me that he has a child as a result of a long distance affair in another country. He has three kids in the US and is in a toxic marriage. His wife doesn't know
A friend of a friend got fired and has a lawsuit filed against her for abusing an elderly woman as a nurse. Shocked me! I mean I don’t envy having to deal with patients but still. Can’t strike them
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