Recently, we wrote about secrets women feel they can't tell their parents, and now we're back with more from the BuzzFeed Community along with some people from the original Reddit thread. Here are 34 secrets people will never tell their parents.
NOTE: There are mentions of sexual assault and eating disorders.
1."My mother used to tell my doctors that she was concerned about my diabetes and ask to have me kept in hospital for observation for a few days, then I'd go back home. I worked out years later that she only did it when she needed a break from me."
"I can't ask her about it now because she'll scream at me and throw another epic tantrum. I also found out that she was claiming disability benefits based on my diabetes when I was in university — she was just keeping the money for herself, meanwhile I was so broke that I had to take shady nudes for very little money to be able to afford basic food."
2."It should have been my mother that died instead of my father. My father was the most selfless and caring man and raised me alone after my mother kept having affairs and was just a sh*t person in general. She was not around much my entire childhood but has taken interest in my life now that I'm an adult. My father died fairly recently and one of my first thoughts was 'it should have been her instead.' I don't even feel guilty for feeling that way."
"My father was my absolute best friend for my entire life and I will never be okay with him being gone. I don't even remotely like my mother, I just tolerate her every now and then."
3.Similarly..."My mother died a few years ago and I regret that it was her and not my father. My father is a good guy but he’s a terrible dad. We live very close together and I hate spending time with him because he gets on my nerves so badly. My mom wasn’t perfect but she was a great mom. We were close and she didn’t deserve to die so young. Not that my father deserves to die. But why did she have to go? It’s honestly made my relationship with my father worse. There’s no buffer (my mom) anymore. I only come around because my kids love him. But, me, I can’t stand him. I wish I didn’t feel this way. I really do."
4."I'll never be able to have a really genuine conversation with my parents about how their suffocating religious doctrine had a horribly negative impact on me, even still to this day. I was literally taught that I was completely worthless without the blood of Jesus, that mental illnesses like anxiety and depression weren't real and that praying would pull you out of that, that women were designed by god to serve their husbands, etc. The list goes on. But they are still just as devout as ever, if not more so, so they don't see anything wrong with the things they did and taught me and I really don't think they ever will."
5."When I was 16, I went to soccer camp and ended up hooking up with one of the coaches. He was my second sexual partner and really shaped my sexuality. We hooked up a lot the rest of summer and some into the following school year. I would skip school and go have sex with him. After my freshman year of college we reconnected and he traveled nine hours to come visit me. A week after he posted on Facebook he was in a relationship (they later got married). I guess our weekend was his last big fling before settling down."
6."I've had two miscarriages, and I cannot tell my mom, who has had seven total. You'd think she would be the first person I would tell, of course, because she's been through it, but a little voice, something in the depths of my soul always tells me that it would absolutely break her."
"I think she would feel so guilty about 'giving me her bad uterus genes' that she would never recover from it. So she thinks I've been practicing safe sex and on birth control and on that for years. Truth is, the last miscarriage was when I learned that I can't carry a kid to full term, would have never been able to, so essentially, can't even have kids. It's better if my mom assumes I just don't want them and have never, instead of accepting my fate overtime and being okay with it.
7."The reason my boyfriend 34M and I 30F haven't got married yet is because I have a fear of marriage due to seeing my parents' relationship growing up. The constant fighting they did, my mom telling me over and over she would leave my dad but she can't leave without me as a kid, how he controlled the money, and it all added up. My mom used me as her therapist and her person to talk to about their bad marriage my whole life so much that I was suicidal at 15 thinking if I died she could just leave him. I have a fear of marriage because they showed me the worst parts of it."
8."I couldn’t tell my biological dad that I feel as if I don't have parents, and sometimes when I can't give enough context I will also tell people I do not have parents and that mine are dead."
"I hold a lot of hatred and resentment towards my dad for being gone my whole childhood. he doesn't feel like a parent to me, because he never raised me. He knows. But I can't tell him. I act like I'm happy to have him back and try to act like a good daughter, as if he’s ever been a father. As a young adult, I realized he never was.
I have no parents. The people who ACTUALLY raised me are dead. The one 'dad' i have left doesn't feel like my dad, at all; I'm much closer to my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins than I am to him.
It's hard to build that kind of relationship when you’re both adults now; it will NEVER be the same. It would break his heart if he knew. He’s guilty enough already."
9."The things they did/said while drunk. And I can’t tell them because they’d deny it and be hurt by it if they truly understood how much it still affects me today. They don’t remember it. They’re trying to make up for it, subconsciously. But they have no memories of my greatest traumas."
10."How badly they fucked me up. Mum left when I was 13 and it was only then it really became apparent that my Dad was not a fit parent. I adored him but he was bipolar and alcoholic and quite possibly ADHD. He didn't know where I was or what was going on with me most of the time. As a result I ended up in some really dangerous situations and got taken advantage of. A few years later Dad had a total breakdown and I ended up being his carer until he died. Now I am a total control freak, incapable of having fun, trusting people or feeling loved. Thanks, folks!"
11."When I was in high school I attended a party. I didn't make it home until the next morning. Somehow my mom had gotten wind of the party and heard I had sex. I was grounded all summer and had my car taken away. I didn't consent, I said no, but the 20-something-year-old didn't listen to 16-year-old me. I was too ashamed to tell my mom what actually happened so I went through the summer grounded over something that was already traumatizing."
12."My older stepbrother abused me from when I was maybe four to about seven years old. I had blocked it from my memory for a while but it came out in a therapy session one day and I just couldn’t stop sobbing. I remember being really close to my stepbrother as a kid so it was really world-shattering when I finally remembered the truth about what had happened to me. I’ve only ever told my mom and my grandmother, who both knew something was going on but never could confirm anything, but I’m absolutely terrified to tell my dad and stepmom. I know that they wouldn’t believe me and it wouldn’t really do anything at this point, but I have been suffering for more than a decade with the memories and just wish I could talk about it."
13."My ex-husband raping me. My parents believe cardinal rights being staunch Christians. My ex-husband knew I was on benadryl to fix a hive attack. I woke up feeling pressure down there and it was him. I started sleeping on the couch and crying to sleep after he went to bed. I became known as a cheater to him. His mother took his side as well saying I needed to give him his wifely duties (staunch Christian as well). Tried to report but was laughed at. My parents think rape is a woman's fault depending on what she was or lack of wearing. It was a hot night so I was sleeping naked and he refused to get our AC fixed because window units worked...keeping the house at 90°F at all times. They would blame me for sleeping nude to stay cool."
14."I can never tell my mom how much it still hurts to this day that she asked if I was partly responsible for a family member molesting me when I finally told on them. It would shatter her heart. I know that reaction came from the era she was raised in, and she and my father did spectacularly in protecting me from my abuser instantly, but it still hurts, you know?"
15."That my trauma didn’t just come from my dad. It came from my mom, too. Just in different ways. I will never tell my mom how violated and sexualized I felt as a child. That when I was about 14/15, we were talking about masturbation and she had offered to 'help' me with it. I will never tell her that I once went live on a sex cam website to try and make money for my top surgery. I will never tell her that the trauma I have with her is the entire reason (besides my depression) I was suicidal a few years ago. She will never know any of this. Maybe my dad to a certain extent, but we have a strained relationship so I don’t see that happening. I can’t even talk about it without feeling triggers and flashbacks. I felt so sexualized growing up. When I think about it, I can’t breathe. My mom is constantly doing things that trigger that. I will never tell her that. Ever. I’m taking that to the grave."
16."My mom will never know that my stepbrother tried to rape me. He was babysitting my sisters and I, and a story about rape came on this news. I was 11/12, and didn't know what the word 'rape' meant, so I asked. He said he would show me, and then told me to lay down on the ground. I did, and then he yanked my pants down and began to get on top of me. I must have known it was wrong in some way because I got up and ran. I didn't tell anyone, and he acted like it didn't happen. It has been 28 years, and I still have not told her. I know she would be devastated because she decided to let him come live at our house with our family and his dad. She'd blame herself, so I keep it to myself."
17."That I hope my dad dies sooner rather than later so my mom won't have to be burdened with him any longer, both mentally and financially. I'm terrified of my mom dying before him and me having to be burdened with his care. I can't afford it or want anything to do with him."
18."My father is a complete narcissistic asshole and I dislike him. He is still alive at age 98. He will never die. At home he was a mean person. Outside the home he played the role of good family man. He was never involved in my youth activities. He beat me regularly. As I prepared to leave for college he claimed he couldn’t provide any financial assistance. That same year he bought a new deluxe Camaro and took a European vacation. Then years later, I overheard him lamenting to someone how expensive my education was. He gave me all of $180 during my four years at Princeton University. He considered me a failure because I didn’t earn $300,000 a year like my brother. He is angry with me because my spouse and I wouldn’t move in with him and care for him and my abused mother. He never lifted a finger to help his parents. I struggle to forgive him. I was glad to move 2,500 miles away last year."
19."I believe the reason I am a 44-year-old virgin is because of my parents unhealthy relationship with each other. My mom is so prim and proper, my dad is the only man she has ever slept with, and she has dusty cobwebs in her because my dad left 33 years ago. My dad was a momma’s boy and she had no idea he was preaching one thing in the pulpit and then laying his pipe all over the city of Chicago. He called my sisters SLUTS, he was emotionally and physically abusive and a HUGE hypocrite. He never called us beautiful or said he was proud of us. I don’t know about my older sisters, but I have a very unhealthy opinion about myself."
20."I had started hard therapy when the country shut down in 2020, and my therapist and I worked together on the thought that I should exclude my parents and sister from my COVID bubble. In the time I didn’t see them, I became emotionally more stable, mentally stronger, and realized I am transmasculine non-binary. I realized that my fear of everything was my parents’ voices elevating my sister and putting me down, as the scapegoat in a controlling and emotionally punitive family environment. Now, I am engaged to a trans girl who they love as my 'best friend.' They are transphobic and insist I am a girly girl. It’s so much easier to walk away from them now and ignore them when they inevitably say awful things. I do not miss them having a large presence in my life."
21."That my decision not to have kids is largely because of them. I know my Mom didn't really want kids, she just had us because it was 'expected' back then. I'm not sure there's anything more damaging than growing up knowing you're not really wanted and I would never do that to a kid. Dad had physical and mental health issues which have also passed to me and there's no way I'm passing them on to another generation either. The cycle ends with me."
22."I could never tell my parents that I hate them. They neglected and abandoned me in the streets when I was a teenager and it hurt seeing them be true parents to other kids that aren't even related to them."
23."I’m an atheist. Both of my mothers’ parents are pastors. My mother is religious and everyone on my father’s side are religious church goers. ... I used to be religious, I think, or maybe I was just going along with what I thought I was supposed to do. Ever since I was a kid, I knew deep down that I didn’t really care or believe in God and Christianity the way I was told to. I hated going to church or Sunday school because I had to sit for a long time and listen to someone talk about something I didn’t care about. Even as an adult, when my parents want me to go to church with them, I am bored and miserable. I believe if I were to tell them the truth, I’d be ostracized and estranged, maybe even abused."
"They’d try to find a reason for it. Blame the people I hang out with, the TV I watch, or the games I play. I’ve already been singled out for being one of the two liberals in the family so I think learning of my lack of faith would be even worse to them. I almost made a slip up once and my mother stared at me in horror as I tried to cover my mistake. Somehow she didn’t find out that time, but seeing her reaction made me realize that this was something I’d have to take to my grave… or at least a secret I’d have to keep for the rest of their lives. Lying and pretending that I’m Christian would be easier than being honest."
24."I was groomed and sexually assaulted (repeatedly as a 15/16-year-old, then again as an 18-year-old) by legal adults who I loved and trusted. I ran to my abusers because I had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like as an insecure, vulnerable, and mentally ill teen, and I have not breathed a word about it to my parents because I don’t want them to be mad at me. I want to tell them so badly and I hope one day I find the courage. I have not come out to them for this reason, and I fear I never will."
25."That a teacher touched me when I was about seven. A couple of my friends started talking about how it had happened to them and asked me if I thought we should say something. To my eternal shame, I said no. Ridiculously, I didn't want to get the teacher in trouble. They went ahead and reported it anyway (thank god) and he got fired. My parents asked me, when it all came out, if he'd touched me. I denied it because I was too ashamed to admit that I'd tried to stop my friends reporting it. I went on to be abused by adults multiple times and I always wonder how things might have been different if that first time had gone differently."
26."That I never once, not once, felt loved by them as a child. If we did get any emotions from my parents, it was anger and frustration. Otherwise, it was just...nothing. I don't remember any affection or kindness coming from them. I read the first Harry Potter book when I was eight and immediately resonated with Harry's treatment by the Dursleys. I spent years wishing someone would come and rescue me. My relationship with each parent improved when I went away to college. I sometimes think it is because my parents now see me as an adult and therefore as a human being. But I don't know how to tell them the damage they caused that I am still dealing with to this day. I don't think they would be able to understand."
27."That I had an eating disorder and am currently recovering from it. ... I feel like my family knows about how messed up my eating patterns are but I don't think they're knowledgeable enough to think that they're disordered eating habits. I don't see the point of saying it either way because I want to forget that I had an eating disorder. I don't want them to see me as their child who had an eating disorder and someone that they should be overly responsible for. I don't want them to think that I have an ED every time we eat and every time they look at me."
28."My mother is great and caring person but she shouldn't have had kids until she at least tried to fix her emotional issues. She thinks she was a great mother in difficult situations and I'm so smart and strong but in reality, she parentified me and used me emotionally to fulfill her needs from her childhood. Her mother denied her emotionally and she complains how hurt she is without realizing she did the same to me just in different way. Not to mention the fact that she's the reason I don't want kids and I can never tell her that. How do you tell 'I already raised myself and my sibling, so why would I want another kid?' without hurting them?"
29."That I'm nonbinary. My mom is alright with a lot of LGBTQ+ concepts, but nonbinary genders is not one of them. One of my former childhood friends came out years ago as nonbinary trans, and my mom absolutely refuses to accept it and use their neutral pronouns. It's probably the only secret I know I'll never feel safe telling her."
30."I am dating my former roommate and her boyfriend, both of whom they know and like very much, but they are religious and homophobic so finding out I’m bi and poly would break my mother, she thinks I’m the perfect golden child who has never done anything wrong."
31."That I'm queer. Embracing my sexuality has been quite a journey, and I was happily married for over a decade before I finally accepted that I was attracted to multiple genders. It changed very little in my relationship because I was already married to the love of my life, but it did feel wonderful to start openly exploring that part of myself I had always denied. Thing is, I'll never come out to my mom."
"She's a narcissist who only cares about her kids as far as it benefits her, and she frequently takes credit for our accomplishments even though none of us have been close to her since our teenage years. All of her friends are super liberal and she prides herself on being so, even though she's secretly quite racist and homo/transphobic. Coming out to her would mean enduring her hatred in private while watching her take credit for being a 'supportive' mom in public. After three decades of living in the closet and denying who I was, I refuse to have this precious aspect of myself be used that way."
32."I worked at my Godfather's strip club (behind the bar) to pay off a stupid amount of debt that I got my 19-year-old ass in. He never said anything about it to my mom or dad, so Mike saved my stupid ass. I still feel that if they found out they would be disappointed, not with working behind the bar but with the amount of debt I had at the time."
33."I slept with an older family friend of my parents when I visited him during a road trip."
34.And finally..."It's fucked up, but I used to watch them having sex...obviously not telling them that."
Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.
If you are concerned that a child is experiencing or may be in danger of abuse, you can call or text the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-44531-800-422-2253 (4.A.CHILD); service can be provided in over 140 languages.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here.
If you or someone you know has experienced anti-LGBTQ violence or harassment, you can contact the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs hotline at 1-212-714-1141.
The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.