Every family has its secrets. Some are simple or predictable while others are kept in the darkest corner of the family history. When the secrets come out, they can cause major plot twists. These Reddit users have opened up their family vaults to share their biggest plot twist moments. Content has been edited for clarity.
Back From The Dead
“My grandpa was having trouble hearing and it took us a while to convince him to get a hearing aid. In the meantime, he got a phone call saying his Uncle John had died. He asked about a funeral and was told there wasn’t one. That was 2, maybe 3 years ago.
I really only saw John when he came up for Christmas, but he was quite the character and my whole family has missed him. A couple weeks ago, my grandpa’s cousin came to visit. Grandpa was talking about how he missed John since he died. His cousin said ‘What are you talking about? I just saw him 2 weeks ago!’
Turns out my grandpa misheard the phone call. We figure someone else died, but we still don’t know who. John’s probably been wondering why no one invites him for Christmas anymore, or visits, or calls.”
Small World For Two Moms
“My twin sister and I were born through in vitro fertilization. Our mom wanted nothing more than to have kids, and her circumstances led her to use a male donor. When we were 3 years old, our mom was diagnosed with cancer. When we were 6, she passed away.
My sister and I were taken in by our aunt (our mom’s younger sister). She already had two sons and a husband. It was a crazy and emotional time for all of us, but we have become an amazing family unit, and I consider my mom, dad, and brothers as much my immediate family as my sister.
You might think this was the major plot twist in my life, but it gets crazier.
About four years ago, I learned that not only did my original mother have sperm donated to her, but she also had eggs donated to her as well – by her little sister. I lost my biological mom only to be rescued by my genetic mom. All those years I had laughed at the people who said I looked like my brothers and my mom, but the joke was on me. When I think about the sacrifices my two moms have made for me and my sister, it blows my mind.”
This Would Be Prime Reality TV
“This isn’t a plot twist about me, but… rather, the son I am hiding it from… I fear if he, or his mother ever found out, they would probably kill me.
I was forced into an arranged marriage to a woman I didn’t love. In fact, I couldn’t stand her at all, but marrying into her family was good from a business standpoint (I come from a wealthy family, you see… these sorts of things – arranged marriages for the sake of business, tend to happen in wealthy families, especially where I’m from).
I was secretly sleeping with another woman, my business partner who I had known for years – my true love. I slept with her often, and because I was expected to bear children for the sake of my family, I was also sleeping with my wife. In the end, they both got pregnant, and as luck would have it, they went into labor on the same day, in the same hospital.
My wife’s child died almost immediately after birth, but my lover’s child was born healthy and very much alive. I was confused, you cannot even fathom the way I was feeling at the time, and so… I switched the children. I knew that if I came home without a child, I would be disowned and my family would fall into chaos, and I certainly couldn’t come home with my secret lover’s child, at least, not AS my secret lover’s child.
For years, my son (and the rest of the family) believed that he was the son of my wife. Then, when my wife died when he was barely a teenager, I tried to straighten things out. I immediately married my lover and tried to get him to accept her as his mother but it didn’t go so well. He thought of me as filth, to abandon his mother like that, and has since left my home and went to live with other family members for the last several years.
We’re going to be having a big family conference soon, and I hear he wants to attend. I’m thinking of maybe explaining everything during the conference, but like I said, for all I know, they may never forgive me, my son, or my wife – his real mother.”
Barbie’s More Than A Friend…
“Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house. My grandfather was a very charismatic man. He was the town handy man. Everyone knew him everywhere he went in town, and people were always stopping by the house to chat. Their house was also a common hangout for neighborhood kids because it was next to a park. Growing up, one neighbor girl in particular was always hanging around, Barbara or ‘Barbie’ as she was known, who lived down the street. Sunday dinner, she was often there. Holiday BBQ’s, she was there. We became friends and often played as young kids do. My grandfather was also always going to her house to fix things for her mother. See, Barbie’s father had died in some sort of military incident and my grandfather had taken it upon himself to do all the manly stuff for her around the house throughout the years – mow the lawn, cut down a stray tree branch, even painting the whole house. He was a veteran of WWII and Korea and was very active in the vet community. He felt it was his duty. I often tagged along being a curious kid. Barbie’s mother never came to our house. In fact, I got the impression even as a kid that my grandmother hated her.
Basically, growing up Barbie was my best friend. However, around 5th/6th grade I started to get made fun of for having a ‘girlfriend’ so we kind of drifted apart. Around that time I also was old enough to not need to go to my grandparents house after school so I stopped doing that as well. We also went to different school districts so I didn’t really see Barbie too much.
Moving forward to the summer before I started high school, I got my first job working for my grandfather. I mowed a few lawns on their block, including Barbie’s house. One day, she came out and said hi and we started chatting. All I remember thinking was that she had suddenly become absolutely gorgeous. I start hanging out with her every time I mowed the lawn. One time, while watching TV she sort of casually held my hand and I got butterflies in my stomach. I knew what I had to do. I asked her out to the movies. Now, this was in the 90s so the movies was basically saying do you want to date or go steady or whatever. We went to the movie and I kissed her after (first kiss here folks) and it was great. We went out as often as possible all summer and basically made out in the back of movie theaters or the empty arcade in the bowling alley. I also tried to keep this hidden because my parents were very strict and said I wasn’t allowed to date until high school.
When school started I stopped mowing lawns and didn’t really have time to see her due to being on the football team. But I had a plan. I was going to ask her to homecoming. This was a huge deal in my town and to my family. I asked her and she of course said yes. I excitedly told my mom at dinner. At first, she was confused and was like ‘who?’ then after thinking she was like ‘oh yeah, ok’ and a few moments later she looked horrified. Later that night my dad talked to me and said she couldn’t be my date. He said she didn’t go to my school so it wasn’t allowed, which I accepted but I learned it wasn’t true by talking to some kids at football practice.
I didn’t see her again. Every time I called the phone would just ring. When her mother answered she said she wasn’t there, and eventually asked me stop calling. I was kind of mad for a while but then I got a date to homecoming basically arranged by my parents and I was happy about that. Didn’t really think about it much again.
Fast-forward a few years, I’m a freshman in college and I get a call. My grandfather died. I need to get a bus home right now. Two days later I’m at the cemetery. Full military honors. As the soldiers are firing and Taps is playing I see Barbie and her mom both crying their eyes out on the side of the road, quite a ways away from the actual funeral. At that moment it finally clicked. My grandfather had an affair with Barbie’s mother (who was about 25 years younger) and Barbie was his daughter. It became obvious the more I thought about it. My grandmother’s hatred for Barbie’s mother, the fact that my grandparents never slept in the same room, all the attention my grandfather gave to Barbie.
I asked my dad about it a couple of years later since my grandmother was dying. He said that while no one (my grandparents, barbie’s mom) ever confirmed it, everyone in the family had long ago accepted that it was true. My grandfather was always making excuses to help Barbie’s mom and go over there. He was even the one to drive her to the hospital when Barbie was born! My dad was extremely embarrassed and said trying to talk to me about it when the whole homecoming thing happened was impossible. A few years ago Barbie facebooked me and we talked. Her mom told her the truth when my grandfather died, but she suspected for a couple of years prior.”
Talk About A Plot Twist
“I used to have a friend named Tiffany in middle school. I wasn’t so good with people, and I was a little rough around the edges. I was very jealous because she was incredibly dainty and feminine while I was a begrudging tomboy. In middle school, her very sketchy and violent father withdrew her from classes and we lost contact. She was home schooled for a while, and then she and her mother escaped to a battered women’s shelter and set up a new life in Kentucky. I learned all this from the grapevine.
I found her mother, brothers, aunts and uncles on Facebook, so why couldn’t I find her? Over the course of two years, I searched every few months for her online, desperate to reconnect and apologize to the friend I had such intense jealousy for, and explain that I was unintentionally rude because I envied how feminine she was, while I felt like a brick wall of a girl.
Finally, one day, her mother replied to my friend request and I found out the reason that I never could find her name on Facebook:
HE goes by TJ now!”
Life Is Like That Sometimes
“I was best friends with a neighbor kid growing up. He was always over at my house or I was at his, and I had a major crush on him pretty much since I was old enough to walk. But it never seemed like he liked me back or that he even noticed that I liked him. As we grew up, he started dating people, and I was really jealous about it. So I started dating people while still pining for him. I figured he just saw me as a little kid (I was a year younger than him) or a little sister and nothing would ever come out of it, so I tried to put my feelings aside. Then when he turned 16, his family moved out of state and we lost contact. I got over my feelings and time moved on.
Fast forward a few years later. We reconnected online, started talking, and then this dude casually mentioned in a conversation that he had a giant crush on me growing up and always wanted to ask me out. He told me that he even asked my mother for permission to ask me out, and she said no, so he never ended up doing it. My mom never told me about this, at all. My mind was blown. My entire childhood of pining after this guy—my first ever crush—felt like a lie. At this point, I had long since put aside the feelings I had had for him, and I had kinda gotten over the crush, but I still felt a lot of residual nostalgia from being 15 and craving intimacy for the first time in my life. He was still into me and I was debating whether I wanted to start something with him or not, mostly so I wouldn’t have to live with the what if of it all. I tossed the idea around while we kept in touch.
Then, suddenly, he stopped messaging me. I was confused because our talking was going well, and I didn’t think I had done anything to make him want to start ghosting me. I messaged a mutual friend of ours and asked if she knew what’s up and she told me the guy was arrested for beating a guy who owed him money to death.
He’s in prison right now serving a life sentence. I never got with him.”
Dad’s Wild Past
“So recently I helped clean out my parents’ basement, since they really needed it- that place was a mess. I find a box with a bunch of pictures in it, and begin to reminisce about how awesome my childhood was- me at Disney World, my brother and I at a football game- but then I get to the last picture on the bottom. It is my dad, my mom, and some random chick that looked to be in her early twenties. The picture, judging by the hair, was taken mid-to-late eighties/early nineties.
‘Hey dad,’ I called. (Mom was out of the house)
‘What?’ he yelled back from upstairs.
‘Who is this in the picture?’ I went upstairs to show him.
He stared at it for a moment, blinked, and said-
‘That is your half sister, Andrea.’
I pursue it more. ‘Half sister? What?’
I then proceeded to find out that he had been married before when he was 18 to some dancer from Vegas (he lived in Arizona until he was about thirty). Lorelei, or by her performer name, Karma (yeah), had been married to him for about a year until he realized she was a shopaholic, shoplifting, coke-dealing, substance-taking, abusive witch to her daughter. He got the heck out, and gave the child to his parents to raise because he was 19 years old.
My dad, shortly after giving Andrea away, moved to Michigan to straighten out his life. He met my mom, they got married, and had my brother and I. Keep in mind that Andrea is still in Arizona, and Lorelei is in God-Knows-Where. My dad, being ashamed of what he had done and his family (from what I’ve heard they aren’t exactly upstanding citizens), didn’t really mention my family often. I have never met my grandparents on his side, nor anyone else of my family. We lived far away and could never afford to travel there. Sure, I talked to them on the phone when I was younger, but that is as far as it goes.
Three years ago, my grandma on his side of the family died, and he flew out there for her funeral. Andrea was there, yadda yadda, tried to get my dad to live with her because she is in a crummy position in her life (basically the same as Lorelei). We have found out that Lorelei is actually alive. I personally do not plan to contact her, but want to contact Andrea.
I now have a half sister who I plan to meet.”
From Bob to Roger and Back To Bob
“I found out my step-father was my biological father whilst who I thought was my dad was still actively in my life.
Okay, it’s complex, so I’ll break it down. I was born to my mother and her husband (let’s call him Roger). So mother and Roger were my parents, I grew up thinking Roger was my dad. I knew of nothing else other than these two as my birth parents. When I was 4, my mother and Roger got divorced. My older siblings were always allowed to go visit Roger, but I rarely got to. I grew up desperately wanting to see my dad.
When I was 7, my mother married a new man who became my step-father (we’ll call him Bob). So I grew up with Bob being a great step-dad to me, but it always hurt that I never saw my dad Roger, and as I got older I got angrier and angrier that I never got to see my dad Roger because, hey, what kid who loves their dad wouldn’t be? So one day, just after I hit puberty, Bob and I got into a fight, and he was telling me off and I pulled the ‘You’re not my real dad!’ line. Cue my mother and Bob sitting me down and telling me that Bob is my biological father, and that Roger is not my father, only a man I was led to believe was my biological father, in order to keep up appearances to the outside world.”
His Grandfather Knew Exactly What To Say
“When my grandfather was on his deathbed, he was very much aware of what he was saying/doing. He talked to each of the family members that were there privately. When I went in to see him, we talked for what seemed to be hours, joking as if it was another one of our ‘every-second-weekend’ camping trips… it was very strange to know he would just be a lifeless shell of what he used to be. He put his hand on the back of my neck and told me I was about to go through the toughest four years of my life and to not act on my depressive actions. I left to room confused and broken. He passed within half an hour.
The next four years (and counting) were the worst. My immediate family found out my father had been cheating on my mother, and just messed with our emotions and thoughts over the course of a year and a bit. I failed to get my high school diploma, so I started to work full time to pay for our home.
Not as big of a plot twist, but he kept me from killing not only myself, but my father too.”
It Gets Even Worse
“My mother grew up in a very abusive home with three sisters and a brother. My grandfather was an evil man and my mother was usually targeted harder than the other siblings. She had been thrown through windows (through, not OUT) had her nose broken at least three times, and on one occasion he chased her around their backyard while he cut at her legs with a saw. There are also some hints at abuse, but I’ve never been able to really confirm. This was in the 50s, when authorities turned a blind eye to child abuse.
Fast-forward to about four months ago, he’s been dead for well over 11 years, which is another interesting story in its self. My grandmother came to visit us for a few weeks for the first time in a few years. I came home from my classes and my mom gave me a strange look and quietly asked me to meet her in the laundry room. She then tells me that my grandmother confessed that her father was not actually her father, and that the years of targeted abuse from him was a result from that. However, my grandmother would not disclose who the father was other than ‘it was one of his cousins.’ After she went back home, my mother and I did some digging on a popular ancestry website.
It turns out that the only candidate to be her father was 13 years old at the time of my mother’s birth. My grandmother would have been about 20. Apparently my grandmother used to baby sit him, and would spend a lot of time taking him to the theater and to the park around the time my mother was conceived. My mother also recalls meeting him once at a family gathering when she was a child and he asked her a strange question out of the blue. He asked her if she was happy at home and she said ‘no,’ and told him about some things her ‘father’ did to her. She never saw him again after that.
Mom was actually relieved to have found this out. Not only is she not actually related to that prick who would beat the crud out of her, but it also explains why she spent decades wondering why she was so mentally different from her siblings.”
He Had A Plan The Whole Time
“The day we found out that the doctors were going to stop being aggressive with my father’s treatment was very difficult. My grandparents flew back from Florida to get his affairs in order. Apparently, my dad (a near broke drinker) had not paid any of his life insurance premiums. My grandparents found out and paid all the late bills which allowed my siblings to collect on the multi-mllion dollar policy.
To this day I am grateful because I didn’t find out until a few days after about the whole situation. Now I have enough money to pay for college and buy my first home.”
“Karma Will Get Ya, Eh?”
“My wife has a large family. Lots of aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, etc. Family reunion attendance numbers in the hundreds.
So, there was one of my wife’s great-aunts: Aunt Veda (born Sierra Nevada). She wasn’t well known to the family, but a few decades after she died, my wife’s cousin is doing some family history, and the story comes out. Turns out, Veda was, in her early life, a mortician’s assistant. Then, she was hired by the state (in the late 1800s, early 1900s) as a …hangman’s assistant. And then she got promoted.
Apparently, she didn’t do a lot of work: Hanging, as a form of capital punishment, was being phased out by the early 1900s. She still had her title and salary, though.
After she died in Minneapolis, she was buried there. Eventually, the family wanted her grave moved down to the family grave site in Iowa. When the unearthed the coffin, the lid fell open, and they discovered possibly the most disturbing thing about Aunt Veda’s life: Scratch marks on the inside of the lid.
After reading this in my cousin’s notes, my wife turned 3 shades of pale, calmed down a bit, and then said: ‘Whelp, Karma’ll get ya, eh?'”