Unsplash | Priscilla Du Preez

People Share The One Thing They Don’t Have The Heart To Tell Their Family

Families are supposed to support each other, no matter what. However, sometimes there are things that you may feel like you have to keep from even your closest family members for a variety of reasons.

One person took to Reddit to find out what sorts of things people were keeping from their family that they would never be able to reveal, by asking, "What is something you don't have the heart to tell to your family?"

Some of the answers were saddening, while others were tinged with humor; so, here are a collection of some of the stories that people had to share.

They're Seriously Ill

Unsplash | pixpoetry

"I have cancer, probably the same kind that killed my mother's parents and is killing her brother. Not curable, but won't start to show for a while, and I want to enjoy what time I have left. Thing is, and here's a bonus relevant to the initial question, I wanted to enjoy most of it without them." — Post-Alone0

This person went on to say that they plan on traveling the world for the next five years, before returning home to start a little entrepreneurship business, as that was their dream.

They're Not Ready To Lose Their Parents

Unsplash | Mayron Oliveira

"You're getting really old and I'm not ready to lose either of you. My dad is gonna be 76 in a few months and I'm dreading him not being there for me. And to my younger brother. Get a f*cking divorce bro." — PM-ME-UR-KNICKERS

No matter how prepared you can think you are to lose a family member, it is a horrific experience that will blindside you in ways you thought unimaginable. However, holding on to the happy memories you share with that person is crucial.

They Suspect Their Mother Is Mentally Ill

Reddit | 8ndless

"My mom is getting old and I believe she is developing some kind of mental illness, like dementia or something. In her world, everyone is always to mess with her. She set up 'traps' around her room to make sure no one comes in, constantly watches out the window, doesn't want to make any big noise in our home like music, in fear that our neighbor will complain and bring more problems. When I go out, she asks me about it... not to make small talk, but to investigate, so she knows at what time our landlord could've entered our home without telling us. Everything in our home that 'shouldn't' be there, is because our landlord did something. Something breaks? Landlord broke it. Soap container refilled? He refilled it.

"I told my brother about my suspicion about the mental illness but he just told me to not say these kind of things about our mother. It's taking a toll on my mental health and I just want to move out and abandon this shit. I feel like I'm in jail living here." — 8ndless

They attached the above images to demonstrate the sort of traps that their mother is leaving. A lot of people suggested that they should take their mother to the doctor regardless of what their family thinks.

Sexual Assault

Unsplash | Volkan Olmez

"My brother r*ped me regularly when I was between 7 and 16. He was 18 years older than me and always lived in the same house when he wasn't in jail or on the street because he was an addict. He died of an overdose after one night when I was 16."

Even if you can't talk to your family about this sort of thing, there are plenty of online anonymous helplines you can contact. It is good to talk about these things, even if it is with someone you don't know, who is a trained professional.

They Had An Abusive Upbringing

Unsplash | Philipp Wüthrich

"That the way they raised me was abuse and it seriously damaged me as a person. My parents think they were great parents, especially my mom, who was the more abusive one. And it's not even that I don't have the heart to tell them because I don't want to burst their bubble. I don't have the heart to tell them because I don't have the heart to sit through an hour-long lecture/beratement on why I'm wrong and how what they did doesn't count as abuse and I have no right to be upset.

"I just keep not answering or returning their phone calls and texts, but they keep obliviously trying to reach out to me thinking that I'm the asshole here and they have a right to speak to and see their daughter regardless of my feelings." — Leelluu

This person wrote that they are now in therapy. Sometimes, cutting the toxic people out of your life, even if they are close family, can be the only way to move forward. There will be people in your life who only want to keep you down and hurt you, and you're better off without those people.

That They Hate Their Parents

Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

"That I despise my parents for being so selfish during their divorce and not putting us kids first. Still, 20 years later we get sh*tty comments from one about the other. At my wedding, they wanted some sort of acknowledgment for being able to be civil. Congratulations on doing what 99% of the population can do, assholes." — sruzz

The Family Home Is Too Hot!

Unsplash | Stéphane Juban

"My parents' house is about 4-5 degrees too warm. Makes it just a tad uncomfortable." — AndrewLBailey

Things to do with the temperature in people's family homes were incredibly popular. You people really need to just come clean about the temperature you like to be at, I'm sure they'll understand!

That They Make No Effort

Unsplash | Suhyeon Choi

"That the reason I hardly visit anymore is because there is no effort. I take 2 flights across 3 states, rent a car, spend a decent amount of coin, and get to my folks' house to find that they haven't even made the bed in the spare room. Or cleaned it up. Or take some time off work. Or want to go anywhere or do anything.

"I love them dearly. They love me. But that always stings a bit. I don't want the world to stop, or revolve around me, but a bit would be nice." — TTR1981

It is far from unreasonable to expect your family to make even a bit of an effort to show you that you are welcome in your family home. No one should be made to feel unwanted, or like a burden.

How Tired They Really Are

Unsplash | Abbie Bernet

"That I'm so exhausted 24/7 that I just want to sleep and fade away. I'm still battling depression every day, but I'm 'functional' because I'm still able to get up and work and I'm not suicidal. I'm just constantly overwhelmed and so f*cking tired." — TourmalineDreams


Unsplash | Eric Ward

"That I know you cheated on my mom." — strvvy

They wrote another post explaining that their mother had actually told them in confidence. Their parents are already split, but they feel that if they tell their father it will only force the pair further apart.

A Message To Their Adult Siblings...

Unsplash | Debby Hudson

"Now that our parents are both dead, it's become very apparent that we really have nothing in common. No real rapport. I don't feel like I really know you as people as you won't share anything real about your lives with me. And every time I tell you personal things about my life, you give me one word 'hmm' or 'yeah' answers that make me feel like you don't give a sh*t what I just told you. And then the subject changes to some meaningless bulls**t topic.

And if not for being related, I can't imagine why we would spend time together. And I also felt this uneasy detachment my whole life, but always blamed myself, and now that I am older I realize it's not just me, or maybe not me at all. And not only that but I kind of realize what a bunch of self-centered jerks you all have been. And I feel like I went above and beyond to make things fair, work together, help and be supportive, while you guys just looked out for yourselves. And that hurts." — ChewbaccasStylist

The Truth About Their Sexual Orientation

Unsplash | Sharon McCutcheon

"I'm bisexual. My parents aren't homophobic or anything so I don't know why I'm so scared of telling them. I almost have a couple of times. But I always pussied out for some reason" — dankleprechaun

Even if you believe that your parents will be fine with the information, coming out can be a daunting prospect. If your family truly loves you, they will accept you for who you are. And, if for some reason they aren't immediately understanding, you can always find support in your friends. There are wonderful people out there who will love you and support you, no one should ever feel alone in this busy world.

They're No Longer Religious

Unsplash | Priscilla Du Preez

"That I'm not a Christian anymore. Knowing that my parents will think I could go to hell for eternity if I were to die now would break their hearts, and I don't think I could tell them" — slothbarns7

A considerable amount of people shared their own similar stories. A lot of people pointed out that it will be better to tell them and hope that they come to understand over time. No one should be forced into a religious belief system.

They're Drinking Too Much

Unsplash | Sérgio Alves Santos

"I still drink too much. I have just got much better at managing when I drink and when to stop so I can turn up fresh to family events and work. Maybe I am getting better."

Progress can come in a variety of forms and guises. If you really feel like you need help making extra steps towards living a healthier life, then therapy can occasionally help. While it is possible to beat addiction alone, it is better with a support network.

Spousal Difference

Unsplash | Sandy Millar

"My wife hates them." — -Boredatwork-

It can be an incredibly difficult situation having a spouse who is at odds with the rest of your family. Sometimes you can only hope for them to be civil at family functions.

The Spirit Of Christmas Means Something Else To Them

Unsplash | Kat Yukawa

"I wish everyone just bought one sentimental and well thought out gift for each other and save our time and money for things that matter like helping each other with dr bills from extreme health problems, or other enormous bankrupting disasters, or large donations for the poor, or sending money to places that were crushed by hurricanes, or donation to our local community, or even saving money for ourselves when that's not needed and improving our families' lives.

"Instead we spend thousands on bullshit and stress our selves out, turning what should be an honest and exciting time for friends and family into some materialistic contest where everyone is anxious that they didn't buy enough or spend enough" — lambofgun

There is nothing wrong with wanting to do a little more for others at this time of year, and it can be incredibly rewarding. Perhaps this is something that you really should bring up.

Mother Dearest

Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

"That my mother isn't a good parent and never was. I don't blame her, because my grandmother wasn't the best either, but she's a better mother to my 50 something years old uncle than she ever was to me." -ThaisM24

Where The Money Really Went

Heather Gill on Unsplash

"I have lost a lot of money in gambling" -HHealth2070

Picking Favorites

Becca Tapert on Unsplash

"I don't think my mom loves me as much as she loves my siblings. My big sister's oldest, my younger sister's the youngest, and my brother is the only boy. Plus, my mom just acts differently around me and a lot of our conversations are either really awkward or her making me feel bad about myself, be it intentionally or unintentionally." -Techychic06

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Specna Arms on Unsplash

"I really want to join the military but my mom would be crushed if she found out." -uzi2401

Dying Legacy

Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

"I'm not going to come back home to take care of their land when they get too old or die. I'm selling the land back to the family they purchased it from or someone else.

"There are no jobs there that I have the qualifications for that would pay me enough to live in that frozen hellhole. I do plan on buying land down here, though and if they are still around I wouldn't mind moving them down."


"The reason I dread any sort of wedding planning and would prefer to elope is because of my future in-laws. I've been through several weddings in the family now and everyone talks shit about every single aspect and decision people make. Then they complain they aren't being included enough." -DyingInAVat

No Contact

Jonah Pettrich on Unsplash

"I want to run away and be free from them for a couple of months. No phone calls. Nothing." -physicsandanxiety

Second Hand

Ander Burdain on Unsplash

"Stop smoking. You keep hiding it and it's taking away from our relationship." -PM-me-your-toes-owo

Job Hunting

Bram Naus on Unsplash

"That I am trying to get a job but I'm legit unable to get one. Like I've tried really hard even getting help for my career job (Truck Driving) but nothing. They believe I still haven't even tried finding one so I'll let them think I'm lazy than a screw-up." -CheesecakeCorgi

No Plans For Marriage

Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

"That I truly don't think I will ever get married. It's not that I don't want to or am a psycho, or think I don't deserve it. I'm actually a pretty normal dude, aside from being a nerd that cooks(I live in redneck country). I live in a poor area, being poor, and live super far from town. I also am very, very slow with relationships, and have had people tell me that I go too slow. I'm just not seen as a dateable/marriageable person where I am and don't have the option to leave. So I'm probably not going to get married, and have accepted this. I'm sort of okay with it too. But my family all wants me to get married, and I don't have it in me to tell them it's probably not going to happen." -TucuReborn

Terrible Cooking

Toa Heftiba | Unsplash

"Well mine is, uh, less impactful than what's already on here but...they're all terrible cooks. Like, don't even understand fundamental cooking techniques. I'm no chef but their food is borderline inedible and it's a miracle they haven't given each other food poisoning multiple times.

"Problem is they LOVE cooking and are proud of their repulsive standard dishes. I could never tell them the truth and I don't want to ruin our family memories. So I roll with it, have a small helping of everything, and just hit a drive thru on the way home whenever I eat with them." — Corporate-Asset-6375

There can be nothing worse than having to force down a terrible family meal out of politeness. This was actually the most liked answer on the list!

That They Regret Driving Their Family Away

Unsplash | Christian Erfurt

"That I love them so, so, goddamn much. But I drove them away, and I went out to live on my own, and I just miss them every f*cking day." — Alex_Sylvian

A lot of people pointed out that it is not too late yet, but it will be when they are gone. If you hold back telling someone you love them until it is too late, it will hurt more than anything in the world.

They Hate Christmas

Nastya Petrova | Unsplash

"How much I truly loathe Christmas since my fiancée died and how I'd really rather not celebrate. It would really hurt them." — flooferkitty

Christmas can change forever once you lose someone close. It is supposed to be a time of togetherness, and so it can expose holes in your life that you had otherwise been ignoring.

They Don't Want Kids

Unsplash | Joshua Reddekopp

"My wife and I don't plan on having children. It's just not for us." — ckuiper

What you do with your life is your business. Also, it is better to realize this now than to bring a child who you truly do not love into this world.