Even though it feels best to keep certain secrets buried, it still feels good to get them off your chest. So, when u/milfsage asked r/AskMen, "What is a secret that you hid from your parents?" I was intrigued to see what people would reveal.
Here are some of the responses that stood out:
1."My 16-year-old sister pointed a Roman candle to my head when I was 10 years old. I had a severe burn and hair loss from it. I combed it over and agreed never to tell."
2."While my parents were at work, my older brother started cooking french fries in a cast-iron skillet and cranked the heat until the oil was boiling. He left the stove unattended for a few minutes and came back to a raging fire. He took the pan, spilled hot grease on the cheap kitchen tile, opened the sliding back door, and tossed it into the yard before hosing it down. The microwave that sat above the stove was completely ruined and two or three floor tiles were badly burned. So my brother goes to Lowe's and finds the exact microwave model, overcharging his card to pay for it. Comes home, tosses the old one, installs the new one. We replaced the tiles with a box cutter and super glue, and exchanged the burned tiles in the middle of the kitchen with tiles from the back of the pantry. They never suspected a thing."
20th Century Fox / Via giphy.com
3."My mom raised me in an aggressively Christian household. When we finally got a TV, I discovered HBO had five-minute previews of movies and shows. Then, I saw the late-night shit — the after-hours softcore porn. But the TV was locked with a passcode. So at age 11, I put a VHS into the receiver, then hit record. I then told my mom that I wanted to watch an animal documentary that was 'TV-14 for the animal violence.' Well, she had me turn around while she scrolled the password in. After she left for work, I rewound the VHS and got the password."
4."When I was 10 years old, I pushed my younger brother while he was in the shower because he was taking too long. He slipped, fell, and slammed his head against the tub pretty hard. There was a lot of blood and a deep gash in his head. He passed out. He had to be taken by an ambulance to the emergency room. When he finally woke up in the ER, my parents asked him what happened. I stood there ready to take off and run...but he couldn’t remember a thing."
"I’ll take this secret to the grave and his scar on his forehead is a constant reminder of my secret."
5."The really great report card I brought home once was actually a fabrication I made on the home computer while they were sleeping. Mom was so proud, I never told her."
VH1 / Via giphy.com
6."My dad had an unopened bottle of Jack Daniel's when I was in high school. I slowly peeled the plastic seal off, removed way more than half, refilled with water and some food coloring, superglued the seal back on, and forgot about it. Ten or so years later, I get a call from my dad. He said he brought the bottle while hunting with some friends. They opened it up and were very disappointed. We had a good laugh."
7."It was me who crashed their new computer with viruses...because of puberty."
Comedy Central / Via giphy.com
8."I put my little sister's hamster out of its misery. It was dying a slow death due to cancer and my parents wouldn't take it to the vet. Everybody left for a baseball game one day and I was the only one home. When they came back, her hamster had 'died naturally in his sleep' as far as they ever knew."
"That was probably 25 years ago and I've still never told anyone...until now."
9."When I was a junior in high school, my mom and I got into a low speed accident with minor damage to both vehicles. Later that month, I was so exhausted from school that I decided to ditch. I drove on the back roads for 10 minutes before I finally parked and then slept. My mom found out and was furious at me. I lied and said that it was because I wasn't feeling good and I had headaches and some BS like that. She took me to the doctor. They found that my C3 vertebrae was fractured, on top of having a tumor growing on it. I ended up having a gnarly 10-hour spinal surgery that honestly completely changed the course of my life."
10."I borrowed the car once when I was 17 and told my parents I was going to my best friend's place for the night and would be back in the morning. The truth: I was taking a girl I was dating out to a party. We ended up having pretty energetic sex in the back of the car. It slipped her mind to tell me she was on her period. We woke up in the car at around 4 a.m. after our buzz wore off. It looked like we murdered someone in the back seat. I sat in the car for a bit thinking about what I was going to do — there was no way I was going to get all that blood off the seats in time. Then, I remembered my buddy had frozen rats he kept for feeding his python. So I thawed one out in a bowl of hot water, cut its guts open, tossed it on the back seat, and hurried home before sunrise. I left the back windows down when I parked the car in the driveway. I got in trouble but only because I left the windows down so a 'cat' could drag a bloody rat into the car."
"I told my dad about it many years later and he told me he already knew what really happened. He'd figured it out while he helped me clean the blood off the seats. He said, 'I know what period sex smells like but I was so impressed by your attempt to hide it that I kept my mouth shut.'"
11."There's a little entryway off on the side of my mother's house and into the basement. I realized how easy it was to sneak in and out of that thing when I was 16 years old and asked if I could move my room to the basement to 'feel like I had my own space.' Actually, I snuck people in and out of it constantly. My girlfriend at the time stayed over two or three times a week and I would sneak friends in constantly to drink and party with me. Either that or I'd sneak out on weekends and go party and hang out with people."
"My mother is a very conservative Christian and if she ever found out, she would lose her mind and probably disown me. I think about this sometimes."
12."All my 'friends' who just wanted to stop by and 'say what's up real quick' were actually there to buy weed from me. You'd think they would have smelled the giant brick of weed I had in my room, but nah. Probably because that shit was pretty trash weed, relatively speaking. High school kids in the early 2000s didn't have the best access to good weed."
13."I formatted the flash disk that they usually hid and filled it with MP3 music to play on the school stereo. Turned out it had some bitcoin. Oops."
"Biggest mistake of my life."
14."I kept from them that I actually qualified for free school lunches. Instead of using the $5 they gave me every day on school lunch, I would save it for alcohol and weed. Honestly, back then I thought I was a genius but now I look back and want to punch my former self in the face for it."
15."The blood stain on the seat belt in the back seat of my car wasn't from my dumbass friend having a nosebleed and wiping his nose off. It was actually from my drug dealer. He got shot three times and I had to drive him to the hospital."
"Most parents don't want to find out their 16-year-old was in that kind of situation."
16."I didn’t get fired from that job and stayed unemployed for months. I quit."
17."In my senior year of high school, I didn't actually go to work the evening of Wednesday, April 11, 2007. Instead, I went to my then-girlfriend's house and had sex for the first time because her parents were out of town. I had it planned out like a Navy SEAL. I left the house in my work uniform and changed at a park before heading to her house. I had my supervisor at Dairy Queen in on the plan and if any of my family members showed up for any reason, then he would tell them that I went to the other location on the opposite side of town to pick up some ingredient that they were 'out' of. Then, he'd call me and warn me so I could leave my girlfriend's house and head 'back to work' just to sell the story in case they stuck around for whatever reason."
18."I always knew what Christmas presents they had gotten ahead of time because every year, they would just put them in the garage under a giant blanket. Like, all of a sudden in mid-December, a mountain of stuff covered by a blanket would appear in the garage. Didn't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure that one out."
19."I was caught looking a porn pictures online when I was in middle school. My parents thought I was looking at them to masturbate like any other teen. In reality, me and four other friends were copying, printing, and selling porn at school for money or trading them for Game Boy games, Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, and even candy. We went as far as to sell tapes and CDs. The school eventually caught on when they kept catching more and more kids with porn so we decided to stop while we were still on top."
Universal Pictures / Via giphy.com
"In the end, I made over $200, a few Game Boy Advance games, a GameCube with Super Mario Sunshine and Melee, and my first Yu-Gi-Oh! deck. Not a bad operation if I say so myself."
20."I'm a first-generation American so my parents don't know how college works. I lied to them when I was in college and told them that taking two or three classes a semester is better than being full-time and that's why it took me seven years to get my BS in computer science. Actually, I had failed a lot of classes due to my anxiety and depression."
21."I used to fake being sick to stay home from school. That didn't work more than a few times so I would intentionally make myself sick. I'd forcefully cough to the point where I couldn't stop and end up in the hospital. I was good for a week in the hospital at least once a year with a 'respiratory illness' between the second and sixth grades. I didn't do it for attention. I did it to escape daily bullying, the 'getting held down and beat on by four people' type. My fucking teachers would just look the other way or tell me to fight back."
22."My two younger sisters and I peed in a ziplock bag for the hell of it and kept it in the closet. I don’t know what we planned to do with it but eventually one of them panicked and told our mom, and she was like, 'What the hell is wrong with you guys.'"
23."The 'Bare Naked Ladies' file that my mother found on my computer that I got grounded for was indeed a music file. However, there was a folder she never found."
24."My mental health status. I tried talking to them when I had a severe depressive episode when I was 20 years old. They told me a number of things that made it worse. That I was being selfish because I have a better life than most, that I was just confused and not actually depressed because 'it was something you prob learned about in school,' and the thing that really upset me the most: how me sharing my problems had such a negative impact on their lives. A couple weeks after this, my dad asked how I had been feeling. I lied and told him my depression had completely gone away. They have no idea of all the things that I've gone through, both good and bad, because I quit sharing anything of consequence with them after that."
25."Back in high school, we went on a family vacation to Hayward, Wisconsin. Me, my brother, and my cousin had these underwater firecrackers we'd been lighting and throwing in the lake. Well, I convinced my cousin to light one and throw it in the toilet of the cabin we rented. It cracked the bowl and all the water spilled out. When it came time to fess up, all of us had 'no idea what happened,' and my uncle had to go buy a new toilet to install."
Paramount Pictures / Via giphy.com
"I think we told them the truth about a decade later."
26."I kept from them that I smoked weed. My dumbass past self would buy cigarettes, dump them out, and fill them with weed. For some reason, I thought my hippie-dippie parents would be anti-weed, though somehow okay with cigarettes. They found a pack one time and tore me a new one. Until they realized what was inside each cig. They laughed at me, told me to stop spending money on cigs, and bought me a vaporizer."
27."It’s my fault the sewer pipe burst in our front yard, costing us tens of thousands of dollars of damage. I'd clogged the pipe with lots and lots of cum-soaked tissues. I thought I could get away with flushing the evidence down the toilet. That backfired."
28."I wasn't tripping on mushrooms and 'hanging out in the bathroom for better energy' like I told my hippie dad when I was 17. I was actually puking from overdosing on cough syrup, trying to robotrip."
29."I used to sneak out of the house on school nights to see movie midnight premieres while in high school. I went to see The Dark Knight Rises midnight premiere and I usually went to Century 16 in Aurora, Colorado, since it’s the closest theater to me. But a last-minute change of plans led me to a different place. I was shocked when I learned about the shooting at the Aurora movie theater. I stopped sneaking out after that night."
30."My secret is that I hate them. I’m Filipino and had the classic upbringing of one parent going abroad, then their eventually separating and having new families. I lived in the old house with caretakers because my grandfather on my dad’s side made sure that I was acknowledged even a bit by them. I never had a childhood and was forced to be reminded every chance that I should be grateful for them 'supporting' me. I’m about to turn 20 years old this year and I’m making sure that I’m in a position to be able to repay every cent they've spent on me before I cut them off entirely."
31."There was a girl at my high school who couldn't afford food and always came to school hungry so I would give her my free breakfast. My school had a breakfast cart that came outside of the classroom every morning and I'd get breakfast then for myself — I was always hungry in the morning and couldn't afford to eat breakfast at home. I ended up racking hundreds of dollars in school debt and wouldn't let my mom pay for it, so I couldn't walk at graduation. I didn't want to anyway. My mom still thinks I got extras at lunch and she'll never know the good deed I did."
32."Being gay. I hid that growing up. I came out in my early 20s after college, though."
"One of them did not react well at first but came around after time. Both of my parents were in the front row at my wedding years later."
33."I was bullied a lot in middle school and this one kid in particular was the biggest piece of shit ever. He bullied me relentlessly and the school administration did nothing. Nobody did. So I purposely caused myself harm and told everyone that he and some other kids jumped me. The kid was expelled. I still haven't told my parents."
34."I hid my IV heroin addiction from my family for 10 years. They finally 'caught' me while I was overdosing. Luckily, my mother is a nurse and she happened to have a naloxene kit in her car due to how many people in our area were dying from ODs. When I came too, saw her face, and saw how terrified she was, it completely broke me."
35."I never told them that I helped my then-girlfriend get an abortion. She made the decision because she had a lot of health issues and thought having a baby would kill her. I was willing to roll with whatever decision she made; though I already wasn't thrilled with the idea of being a dad at 16 years old. I got the state to pay for it, took her down there, and waited my ass in that depressing waiting room for her — all of it."
"She always blamed me for talking her into killing our baby and resented me for it after our relationship ended. But I found out that day that the date of conception was the last day she hung out with her ex-boyfriend, when we'd just started dating. So I kept that secret from her too."
36."Everything I did in the Army."
37."When I was a kid, I was terrified of splinters. Getting them didn't bother me but the idea of taking them out repulsed me. Just the idea of sliding that sucker out made my hair stand on end. I was in fourth grade. I had slipped on my parents' wooden back porch and the gnarliest chunk of wood got wedged in my foot. It was deep. So deep, I couldn't get it out. I refused to tell my parents because I didn't want to go through the excruciation of having it pulled out. So it sat there. For months. Eventually, my mom noticed I was limping, and I finally broke and told her. She sat me down on her bed and pulled my sock off. My foot was dripping puss. It was horribly infected. We didn't have health insurance so my mom busted out the peroxide and squeezed that sucker out. Puss shot across the room and I fainted. Eventually, she got it out and all was fine after a bit of rest and relaxation."
38."I make a lot more money than they think I do and the only reason I haven’t moved out is because I’ll miss my parents too much."
"I’m also hiding a rampant cocaine addiction from them."
39."My parents were pretty critical and judgmental as I was growing up. They were young parents when I was born and there has always been a strange 'competitive' nature to their parenting style. I learned pretty early in life that if I found something I truly enjoyed, like playing an instrument or learning about a particular subject, the quickest way to ruin that for myself would be to tell my parents. It would, at that point, cease to be a labor of love and become a sport with a scoreboard. There would be regimens and benchmarks and expectations for me to 'prove' my dedication to things I only ever wanted to peacefully enjoy."
"They are incredibly warm and thoughtful people, and I've never once doubted their love for me or my siblings. They are just not capable of watching my life's journey unfold without trying to take the wheel. So I don't let them in 'the car' anymore, and at the end of the day we're all happier for it."
40."I got my driver's license a few days after I turned 16 in the summer. I told my parents that a friend and I wanted to drive 100 miles away to go help my friend's grandpa with chores around his house because he was getting too old to do them on his own. My mom and dad thought that was a great idea and even offered their brand-new car for us to use the week we would be gone. We didn’t go to my friend's grandfather's house. We drove 1,000 miles, each way, to Las Vegas."
41."When I was 15 years old, I stole the keys to my parents' place of work and had a little party there. I completely forgot to put the keys back in their place when I got home and my dad thought they were stolen. My friends had played with the medical instruments and some chairs, and didn't put them away so my dad thought someone had stolen the keys and was squatting in the place. So they changed the locks and installed cameras — it cost a few thousand euros. I still, to this day, haven't confessed anything."
42."When I was a teenager, nobody ever told me about using tissues or a sock to masturbate. When it was time to finish, I would simply lean my body to the left and aim at the wall. Years went by. There was a pattern on the wall that looked like a thousand slugs had just walked up it. One day, when I was 17, my parents decided to paint my room while I was away for the weekend. When I got back, I was questioned about the stained wall. I told them I had gotten sick and thought I had cleaned it all up. I was informed that my father scrubbed it down and painted over it. My father must never know he deep-cleaned my years-old cum off the wall. This secret will stay with me forever."
43."I had this girl pierce my bellybutton when I was 15 years old in high school in the band hall restroom. She actually did a really good job and had sterile needles and grips. I went out of my way to hide it from my mom. One time when we were at the beach as a family, I took out the piercing and buried it in the sand right next to where our umbrella was sticking in the ground so I could remember where it was. Every half hour or so, I would sneak over while my mom was distracted and poke the piercing through to make sure the hole didn’t close."
"She eventually found out when I took off a sweatshirt in front of her and my shirt stuck to it. She was like, 'What the FUCK is that?' and it was not a good time."
44."When I was very young, I sometimes hid a bottle of Coca-Cola in my room to drink at night. One night, I drank a lot of it and needed to pee like eight times. My parents told me to stop going to the toilet so often. I was pretty scared they’d find out why I was peeing so much, so I tried to hold it in but couldn’t anymore. At the time, we had a small Christmas tree in my room. I came up with the genius idea of peeing in the soil. It smelled terrible for ages and my mum couldn’t figure out why."
45."All the ticks I was bringing home weren't from my dad's dogs. They were from me and my now-wife having sex in the woods. She blamed the dogs. I just rolled with it."
46."When I was around 9 years old, I told my parents I couldn’t see and thought I needed glasses. I only said that because I wanted glasses like one of my good friends at the time. I went to the optometrist and he said that my eyes wouldn’t focus (because I would just unfocus them at the appointment). Well, I got my glasses...and realized they were a huge pain in the ass. I lost a few pairs and would get in trouble. They were also hideous. I got the same pair as my friend and they looked like '70s dad glasses. I didn’t want to wear glasses anymore and an opportunity presented itself: My mom had a man from my church who would give me a 'blessing' and that might heal me. So I said I was healed. My parents were so happy, my mom told the 'miracle' story to everyone who would listen."
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.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.