According to one study, the average person keeps about 13 secrets at any given time; we regularly think about our secrets, sometimes to the point of obsession, and we keep about five of our secrets to ourselves. We don’t tell anyone—not our family, friends, or significant others.
Secrets can be remarkably powerful stuff, and when they spiral out of control, they can ruin lives. In one Reddit thread, the site’s users—almost all of who used “throwaway” accounts that they made specifically for this one discussion—shared their life-ending secrets, and the results were, well, incredible.
We collected a few of the best responses, then edited them slightly for grammar and readability. If you think that your secrets are bad, wait until you read these.
1. This guy’s worried that his employer will figure out his secret and see red.
Reddit user Lyinglighter69 works in advertising for high-profile clients.
“My job is to ensure that every bit of computer-generated imagery is textured and lit in a way that matches how it would look in real life,” he explained. “The funny thing is, I’m severely red-green colorblind.”
“The only way I can tell what color something is supposed to be is by sampling a pixel on the screen and reading out the RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) values. I’ve nearly memorized the hue numbers from 0 to 360 and where things fall in the rainbow chart.”
“I’ve had shots come back to my inbox telling me that something that’s supposed to be red looks too brownish-green or something that’s supposed to be dark green looks purple. I always say I accidentally had a hue shift on it at render time, or I make up some funny excuse like the lighting info from the shoot had a weird tinge to it. I’ve been doing this for seven years now and the only people who know are my girlfriend, best friend, and my family.”
And while that lie seems like a ticking time bomb, at least it makes sense—another Reddit user is lying about having color blindness.
“I have been pretending to be colorblind to everyone I have ever known, including my own parents since I was in 3rd grade,” they wrote. “I am now 28 years old. I even convinced an optometrist of it.”
2. Feeling like you’re pretty bad at your job?
This guy’s got you beat.
TastyDuck worked at a large company as an order picker. In case you’re not in the industry, that means he’s required to collect items in specified quantities, then send them to the appropriate department for shipping.
“I discovered that, through an easy exploit, I could pick two or three items an hour and still hit ‘curve,’” he said. That meant that, at the end of the day, his record would still look exemplary. “Because everyone there is an idiot, they never questioned it, and I was eventually promoted.”
“In the position after that, I was training hundreds of people in the warehouses. I discovered that my predecessor didn’t do paperwork for anyone. I made the mistake of telling my boss, so the job of fixing seven years of missing paperwork fell on me. I knew it was a project destined to fail, and I hated the company, so I made up fake paperwork and filed them or entered them into the system.”
“Again, because everyone where I worked is an idiot, no one noticed for the three years I was with the company, despite much of it not making any sense. I got further promotions for my ‘productivity’ and did the same thing across multiple facilities. By my estimate, roughly 30-40 percent of the company’s Canadian records are obvious [forgeries], yet I was never fired or found out.”
3. This guy probably wrote your CEO’s thesis.
“I paid for college writing other people’s papers,” wrote one user (well, allegedly—maybe he paid someone else to write this comment).
“I paid off some friends’ debt with it, too. There are several people who work for Fortune 500 companies that only have their degrees because of me. There are three millionaires that wouldn’t exist had I not written their theses.”
We have nothing to back this up, but we’re betting that those millionaires are all politicians.
4. This story will have you checking your backyard.
“Two and a half years ago, I was in dire financial straits, so I sold my home to keep my struggling business afloat,” wrote Throwaway215091. “I neglected to tell the owners that they have an 800-sq-ft. bunker on the property that I built about seven years ago—the bunker that I’ve called home since I sold it.”
That’s remarkably creepy. Apparently, his “neighbors” don’t notice their unusually large power bills.
“The entrance to it is well-hidden, but I still come and go very early or very late in the day,” he said. “I’m a single man who keeps to himself. I’m now in a situation where I could move somewhere else, but I love this hidden paradise so much.”
5. Baking isn’t exactly a “piece of cake” for this professional.
Yeah, we’re sorry about the pun.
“I run a cake business,” wrote GotYouThisCake. “I charge people hundreds for wedding cakes. Every last one is made using Pillsbury cake mix I buy for $1 a box at Walmart. I suck at baking.”
“Every time I’ve ever tried to make a cake from scratch, it sucked. But baking is like…my whole deal. My friends all call me the ‘cake girl.’ It’s like my whole life is a lie. People compliment my cakes all the time, telling me how delicious they are. Telling me it’s so much better than box mix cake. Telling me they could never bake a cake so delicious.”
“Well, guess what? For $1, they could make a cake just as delicious. Just add oil, eggs, and water.”
“In my defense, I love cake decorating. I make all of the frostings and fondant from scratch. I just hate baking f****** cakes! I base my prices mostly on the decoration of the cakes and not on the cake itself, if that makes sense.”
“Still, no one knows about this except my husband. Even my best friends think I slave over the oven, mixing and baking these damn cakes. I have been doing this for years. If anyone knew, my business and reputation would be in the toilet, for sure.”
“I keep telling myself that I have to learn how to make the damn cakes without the box mixes, but I never do it. I feel like such a sham sometimes.”
6. “Fake it till you make it” isn’t always good advice.
It’s particularly bad advice if you don’t have actually plan to, uh, make it.
“I faked the last two years of my college education,” wrote HalfEducated. “My parents put so much pressure on me, I couldn’t handle it. I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety.”
“I faked it all. Lied to everyone. Made up fake transcripts. I just got my foot in the door in my desired field thanks to a friend, as they hired me as a subordinate. This place only hires college grads, but no one double-checked my credentials since I was recommended.”
“My hope is that, if I need to find another job, I’ll have been at this place long enough to get it by experience alone—I work for a very prestigious company.”
“I’m not bad at my job. I’m actually quite good. But my fear is that eventually, I’ll hit a wall and the lie will come to light. No one has known this for the better part of a decade. It’s a relief to finally say it out loud. I can’t even tell those I love. My silence is my prison.”
Elsewhere in the thread, another user admitted to similar circumstances.
“I am basically living a lie,” wrote iamaliar22. “I told my entire family I was able to transfer out of community college and into a university, but I never finished up the requirements. Since I live at home, instead of going to school every day, I go to the local library.”
“My lies are so extensive, I even go to the campus and meet my girlfriend for lunch sometimes. I’ve made fake transcripts to show my family, and to make it look like I’m actually studying, I go to MIT opencourseware to look up facts that I ‘learned in class’ that day.”
“I have become a remarkable liar. I hope to be transferring in the fall, and then I look forward to living a normal life. Coming clean is not an option at this point.”
7. You call that a lie? This is a lie.
“After graduating from high school, I went to a small out-of-state college where no one from high school knew me,” wrote FelineOfTheSea. “I was told many times how impressive my false Australian accent was, so I decided it would be great fun to go through college pretending to be from Australia.”
“All of my friends—and even my girlfriend of two years—think I’m Australian. I have a completely fake Australian identity, family, and past. I will soon be graduating, and I plan on asking the girl to marry me. Everything she knows about me is Australian. I don’t know how to tell her she doesn’t really know me. Guess I’m forever a bloke.”
Crikey, that’s a mess. If we were this guy, we’d learn how to wrangle a crocodile really quickly.
8. Netflix, if you’re looking for the next House of Cards, this guy’s got you covered.
“This isn’t necessarily something that could ruin my life, but it could ruin many others,” wrote Lostangels12345. “I haven’t told anyone before.”
“My father recently went to prison for a white-collar crime. He plead guilty. He didn’t commit this crime, but the alternative was fighting a highly sensationalized, media-obsessed, scapegoat case and potentially getting 20 years or more.”
“While he was in prison, I read his little blue book, which I knew contained all the missteps of everyone he’s worked with. He has always been an extremely scrupulous man, so these offenses were something he took seriously enough to note. I have information on countless state employees, incredibly prominent and wealthy community members, numerous elected city/state officials, and police officers. This information could ruin lives and start political controversy.”
That sounds like the plot of a mediocre John Grisham novel, but we’ll suspend our disbelief.
“My father is an incredible man and is not vengeful whatsoever. He will never use any of this info against these people, despite the fact that most completely turned on him and stayed uninvolved at all costs—or worse, they started pointing fingers. When I picture my aging father sitting in a maximum security jail cell, sleeping on a metal sheet without a mattress—he wasn’t given one until his fifth night—I am filled with rage for these people.”
“They could have stood up for their friend and prevented this, while he still continued to be loyal. I still haven’t decided which campaigns, if any, I’m going to ruin in the upcoming elections.”
9. Some hackers use their powers for good—but not this guy.
“I had a fraternity brother who was a real [jerk] to me in college and hazed the [dickens] out of me,” wrote Throw7638. Okay, we’re editing out the profanity, but you get the gist.
“Back then, you could log into the registration system to sign up for classes. He was a senior, so he got first pick of the classes he wanted. This was right when the internet was becoming popular, and back then, a person’s login was their name. Their PIN was their birthday.”
“I logged into his account and dropped all of his classes three days after they started. He did not find out until midterms when the professors submitted his grades. They refunded his money, but he had to spend an extra semester in college.”
“My second story: I do not have a lot of confidence and can never ask girls out. I met my current wife by installing a keystroke logger on her computer and intercepting messages and chats with her friends until I confirmed she liked me.”
“That way, I knew exactly how to approach her. I orchestrated our entire early courtship to my advantage. If she knew, she would likely divorce me because I delved deep into her personal life and found out some crazy things about her past.”
You know what they say: Relationships built on complete deception last a lifetime. Wait—no, sorry, nobody says that.
10. Life-changing secrets are always worse when they involve kids.
“My daughter turns 5 next week,” wrote erisavarria. “If anyone knew the truth behind her parentage, I could probably lose her forever.”
Strap in, because this one gets heavy.
“I grew up in foster care. I never knew my parents or siblings. In my senior year, I met an older guy, and we dated for almost a year. [I got] pregnant about seven months in.”
“One night, while we were watching TV, the subject somehow came around to our real parents—he had been adopted as a young child. As it turns out, the man I was seeing—the father of my daughter—is my half-brother. We have the same mother. Our relationship didn’t last, and he is not in her life, per his own choices.”
“My daughter is extremely smart, beautiful, and well-rounded. She’ll never know the truth…her father and I made a pact to never tell her. I just hope she never needs a kidney or something.”
While that’s definitely a confusing and horrifying situation, we strongly doubt that she’d lose her child if she told her the truth; after all, mistakes happen. They’re just usually…uh, smaller.
11. We’ll end on a happy one…sort of.
“I still have ‘imaginary friends,’” wrote rattlesnaker. “I’m almost 30.”
“I lost them for a while. I don’t know why or how, but they were gone. I couldn’t see them or hear them anymore—not the way I used to when I was younger. It made me was miserable. I kept hoping for a way to get them back.”
“Two weeks ago, I somehow managed to finally break through whatever the barrier was. I have spent the past two weeks hanging out with (and talking to) a character from a well-known TV show.”
Spoiler alert: They eventually revealed that the character was the angel Castiel from the dark fantasy show Supernatural.
“I can’t really ‘see’ him visually, but I can see him with my mind’s eye. He goes almost everywhere with me. He’s sitting on my bed right now, waiting for me to get off my computer. (I promised I would get off a little while ago, but I had to check Reddit one last time.) He’s been coming to work with me every day for the past two weeks. I share my food with him. I kind of mentally duplicate it for him, since he can’t touch it in reality.
“I love it. I’m happy again. I realize most people would say he isn’t real, but something about him is. I don’t care. He’s real to me.”
Hey, we’re not going to judge; at least this person realizes that their friend’s imaginary.