No matter how perfect they may seem, almost every family has its secrets.
There are innocent secrets – like pretending to love Grandma’s chocolate cake when it really tastes like a brick slathered in chocolate icing.
And then there are the deep, dark, expertly-hidden secrets.
We’re talking the secret second family, the hidden addictions and even secret adoption.
While these secrets may be known within the family circle, they’re never ever mentioned. And there’s good reason why.
Here’s a handful of their responses…
“Nobody talks about my mother-in-law’s personality disorder,” one reader told Mamamia.
“I was warned about it before meeting her for the first time, but have never spoken about it or acknowledged it with anyone apart from my husband.
“She’s hit members of the family with closed fists at the Christmas dinner table, and everyone remained silent or continued with chit-chat. It’s horrible.”
“My mum’s cousins were all adopted during the forced adoption period in the 60s and 70s. Everyone knows except them,” one reader revealed.
“One has died from breast cancer, one’s son has extreme autism. They’re trying to do family research into these conditions and we’re all watching it with sadness because no one is allowed to tell them they’re adopted.”
“My grandma tried to get my cousin’s wife to move back to her home country instead of marrying him.”
“My father-in-law was married and had four kids before he married my mother-in-law and had two kids with her.
“He has never had anything to do with those kids and that whole previous life stuff is never spoken about.”
“We don’t talk about how my mother was almost killed by my father’s cousin because they weren’t invited to their wedding.”
“My late sister’s partner was five times over the legal limit when he was driving their car on the night they both died.
“Out of respect for him and his family, it has been kept very very quiet.”
“Back in the 60s my grandma got pregnant before her and my pa were married. At the time, this would have been a scandal and they’ve lied about it ever since.
“The family has learnt to never ever ever bring the dates up between their wedding and the birth of their first daughter.
“Grandma is very sensitive about it and as far as shes concerned they got pregnant the day of the wedding. Not three months prior!”
While we’re on the subject of secrets, these are some things we’ve been keeping from our partners…
“My uncle and aunt are married and they’re first cousins. Her mother was born out of wedlock. She met my uncle and they fell in love. It’s an unspoken and known secret.”
“All of the family (except the woman herself) knows her dad isn’t her biological father,” one Mamamia reader shared.
“She’s a particularly unpleasant person so when she’s being difficult I use that to stay calm and polite.”
“My mum had a baby at 16 and adopted her out,” one reader revealed.
“We didn’t find out until she died 30 years later.”
“My dad had a daughter with another woman while he was still with my mum.”
“Growing up, I knew that my aunty wasn’t my cousin’s mother, but he didn’t,” one reader said.
“She [my aunty] had met his dad when he was a baby (his birth mother had walked out) and they married.
“She was the only mother he ever knew.
“My mother told me about it when I was around 10 years old.
“Then when my cousin was 16, his birth mother returned and demanded he be told.
“There was a lot of arguing and battling before he was eventually told. I’m no good at keeping secrets but I kept that one for years.”
“There’s a great uncle who is in a wheelchair, not because of a ‘motorbike accident’ though.
“Because of a heroin overdose.”
“My brother conceived a son in his early 20s with a girl he was with for only 10 days.
“He has now married and has three more children. His first son is 19. They all live in the same country town.
“My brother paid maintenance for his son but didn’t have any relationship with him.
“No one discusses this in the family openly.
“I have never had the opportunity to meet my nephew but I have checked out photos of him through Facebook and he looks like my brother did at the same age.
“Eventually more friends will find out the family connection.”
What is the “thing we don’t talk about” in your family? Let us know down below.