Sometimes it's hard to remember that parents are people, too. They have interior lives, they make mistakes, and they feel strange emotions, just like the rest of us - but it’s still weird when we discover secrets about our parents. Knowing what to do with this information can be tricky - should you tell them, or keep it to yourself?
The people of Reddit have shared what they've learned about their parents, ultimately deciding they’ll go to the grave without letting their parents know that their pasts have surfaced in strange ways.
Their Mom Resented Having Kids
From Redditor /u/happypurplepig:
My mom had to do some soul searching for AA. She wrote a list called "life resentments" and Having Kids was the first bullet point. Found it while I was looking for my social security card to apply for my first job at 16... She kept it in a safe.
Their Dad Hit On His Employee, Whom They're Dating
From Redditor /u/Anagoneous:
I've been dating one of my parents' [employees] for almost a year now, [and] for personal reasons, we decided to hide it from them. My father and my girlfriend always had a good relationship. Few weeks ago, my father went by her apartment and told her that my mother and him didn't [sleep together] anymore, You guess what he came for... Obviously my girlfriend told him that there is no way she would do that to my mother. So now I know that my father is actively looking for someone to cheat on my mother with.
When Their Mom Was A Teen, She Got Pregnant On Purpose
From Redditor /u/Haceldama:
I know that my mom got pregnant at 15 on purpose. She was constantly being shuttled between early '80s foster care and her own terrible family, and she felt like her only way to escape was to get emancipated through marriage. She knew my dad from school and thought he'd make the perfect husband. Smart, funny, from a seemingly good family, and he had protected her several times. So she seduced him, knowing their parents would insist on marriage if she got knocked up, and she did.
Unfortunately for her, he turned out to be a... dealing, mentally ill teenager from a dysfunctional, [alcohol-dependent] family. The marriage lasted only a few months, but she did get her escape. My mom has no idea that I know this, and she'd be devastated if she knew.
Their Dad Was Going To File For Divorce Before He Passed
From Redditor /u/Willard2566:
My biological dad [passed] when I was two (car accident going to his next duty station), and not too long ago, I got a box of letters he had sent my aunt, uncle, and his parents. Since he [passed] when I was so young, I didn't really know him that well, but this treasure trove of letters gave me some real insight into who he was. It was a lot of letters from the time he was in the Navy before he married my mom, all the way up to not long before he [passed].
In one set of letters, he discusses with my grandparents how he and my mom aren't getting along. He mentions that they might get a divorce, but he wanted their help in getting custody of me. I think mostly because my mom was born and raised in Ireland and not yet a true citizen of the US, so he was afraid he'd never see me again if I went with her. Apparently she was fine with him taking me. They reconciled, but it's interesting to know that she would have given me up and I'd have grown up in LA instead of with her, ultimately on the East Coast of the US.
Their Dad Was Cheating On Their Mom Through AOL Chatrooms
From Redditor /u/rivlet:
I know my dad cheated on my mom several times using AIM/AOL. He would talk with women online and never mention how he was married or that he had two children. When my mom was out at work or asleep, he would call these women up and flirt, have phone [intercourse], etc. He would make excuses as to why he couldn’t meet with them, but continue to pretend like he was super into them and really did want to meet them.
I only put it together later once I remembered coming into my dad’s office while he was "working" and seeing nothing but AIM/chatrooms with women’s names. There were a couple times I woke up at night and heard him talking to someone in a hushed voice in our kitchen and I KNEW my mom wasn’t up.
The real clincher was when I started to walk downstairs while my parents were arguing. My mom shouted, "You don’t even [sleep] with me! You’re so much more interested in playing games, talking to women online, and pretending like your children and I don’t f*cking exist!" I heard a pause and then he tried to play dumb, to which she responded, "Don’t lie to me! I see the phone records! I called one of them and she told me everything!"
I have never so promptly turned around, went back to my room, and pretended to be fascinated by Mr. Potato Head so fast in my life.
Mom never talked about it or let on that it happened. Neither of them had any idea I overheard them or put the pieces together. I’ve never told my brother.
They Found Their Dad's Mental Health Diagnosis
From Redditor /u/DirtyAngelToes:
My dad doesn't know that I found paperwork of his from when he got discharged from the military and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder with narcissistic features. Everything about his behavior suddenly made sense, but there was literally no way to bring it up to him without making him extremely (more) defensive or shutting down on me. It did give me peace of mind, though, and helped me work through a lot of trauma on my end after years of emotional gaslighting.