Slacktory

Oh god why

A recent AskReddit thread titled Throwaway time! What’s your secret that could literally ruin your life if it came out? got people creating temporary accounts, then confessing their deepest, darkest secrets. The results ranged from creepy-but-cute, to fascinating, to horrifying.

I hope to walk you through that gigantic thread, because there were so many weird confessions, and browsing the comments on Reddit is time-consuming. Consider this a highlight reel of car crashes, I guess. I’m your Virgil, guiding you through Hell and Purgatory. I’m not condoning any of this, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t fascinating.

Another thing about this thread: It’s uncommon to see this level of honesty anywhere. People created (relatively) anonymous accounts and dumped their secrets onto the internet for everyone to see, with many posters saying they’d never shared their secrets with anyone before. This thread was exhausting to read, and with recent research suggesting that we, as people, carry secrets not just as emotional burdens, but as physical ones as well, at least now I understand why.

From here on out, things are about to get dark and/or gross. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

The thread opened with the original poster (OP) telling a story of a friend’s suicide:

I decided to post this partially because I’m interested in reaction to this (as I’ve never told anyone before) and also to see what out-there fucked up things you’ve done. The sort of things that make you question your own sanity, your own worth. Surely I can’t be alone.

My secret is that I allowed my friend to kill himself, and everyone thinks I tried to save him. The reality is that I thought he was joking. He was always overly dramatic, not in a gay way but in a emotional teenager way. This would have been back in the mid 2000s in junior high and when brick nokia cell phones were pretty exciting for 15 and 16 year olds. Apparently he’d called up a few of our mutual friends in the previous few months threatening suicide, but this all came up after the fact. I had no idea. Evening of he calls me up, sobbing and swearing, telling me he’s going to kill himself. I had no idea he was depressed or suicidal, and was also a bit high and so intelligent me responded “Well you’ve always wanted to be on TV.” A few more sobs and he hangs up. I think nothing of it.

The next day news spread all over the school that he’d hung himself, and I was feeling pretty sick, figuring that it couldn’t have happened long after our conversation. I was called into the principals office, pretty much fearing that I’d be imprisoned for causing this and this guys parents were there, obv crying their eyes out. I just kinda sat and waited to be torn a new one. They told me that they found his phone nearby and a call to me shortly before was in the history. I froze, waiting for something to happen, for someone to yell. No one did.

His mum, and then his dad came up and hugged me and sobbed onto me, stepping back to profusely thank me and praise me for talking to him and trying to be there for him, for being such a good friend and staying on the line. Through their teary eyes I could tell that they totally believed I had done good by their son. So I lied, and said that I did everything I could and I’m sorry I couldn’t have done more.

I’ve been telling that lie ever since.

You guys, that was the first post, and it only got worse.

After browsing the thread for a few minutes, it became clear that death and the suicides of loved ones and strangers alike were going to be a recurring theme here. Ponythrowawaydinky shared this story:

I basically killed my father. or at least intentionally  allowed him to die.

He was an abusive father all my life, and when I was 19, he had a heart attack. I calmly took the phone away from him before he could dial 911, put the recliner he was sitting in up so he would be laying back and his weight would make it harder to breathe, took one last look right at him, then left the room.

About an hour or so later I found him sitting there staring forward with foam in his mouth, not breathing.

I should clarify that I had been working at a hospital for at least 4 years at that point (volunteer work) and I was first aid certified. I knew exactly what was happening, and what I was doing.

Holy hell. I should note he later amended his post to remove the part about taking the phone away, and the part that said he knew what he was doing. He noted that this was “YEARS ago”, that he’s been in therapy, and that his memory had likely dramatized the whole thing. I think I believe him; he posted this from a dummy account where no one knows who he is, so why would he lie at this point? Some short-lived shame? Either way: yikes.

admiral_crunch_ also had a confession about death:

This is my old account, so might as well throw it away.

While on deployment, I killed a man in a coup de grace. The feelings of taking a man’s life always weigh a heavy burden on me every day. No one like’s hurting people. He had been hit by some of our mobile artillery. While part of me wanted the bastard to be in pain, it wasn’t right. My medic was busy with my wounded, and as the officer on duty I took out my .45 and put one in his head. I knew my boys wouldn’t say anything. Most just watched, accepted it as a fact of war, and kept walking .I remember throwing up afterwards. I came home and everyone acted like I was a hero. I never felt like more of a sham my entire life.

Jeeeeeesus. Kinda makes you appreciate your mundane civilian life, huh?

Other Redditors responded by getting skeptical about his choice of sidearm (“What war was this where you had a .45 as a side arm?“), and admiral_crunch_ clarified that the man he killed had fired at his friends and him. Another person with a throwaway account told a story about he killed an armed 12-year-old during wartime. These responses may not sound remarkable, but since you don’t really hear remorseful war confessions often, I think they’re all interesting responses to something like that.

Zarokima (who, surprisingly, did NOT use a throwaway account) shared this story of a failed suicide attempt:

I tried to kill myself once. I grabbed my grandpa’s revolver out of the gun case, went out back, sat down against the big oak tree I used to climb as a kid, and put it against my temple. I forgot to make sure it was loaded. I’ll never forget how the dull click resonated in my skull, through my jaw, and down my neck. You know how they’ll do that echo-y slow motion type of effect for stuff in movies and TV? It was pretty much like that — that split second seemed to last forever. That was about 6 years ago, and that was the only attempt I ever made, but I still think about doing it again after that lesson in preparedness.

The worst part is that everyone thinks I’m this happy-go-lucky guy who’s just a loner, when I’m actually really depressed and terrified as fuck to open up to anyone, but you guys are just random jackoffs on the internet so it doesn’t count/matter.

Perhaps his refusal to use a throwaway account is the most disturbing part of this story. If he truly didn’t care what they thought, why’d he use an account where people could reach him later? Sounds like a thinly veiled cry for help, and that’s what’s scary.

This story got a few replies about seeking help, and other people shared similar “no one knows I’m also sad” stories. I consider that a somewhat happy ending to a huge downer of a story.

Amgpu (throwaway account) confessed to accidental murder:

I accidentally killed seven people.

I put a rag into a new water heater exhaust to keep debris out and installed it in a rental.

I get a call a week later, there’s been an accident. I show up and there’s a ton of ems and police. They ask me where the gas shutoff is, and I go down to shut the gas off and see the end of the rag I forgot sticking out of the top of the heater.

Ripped the rag out, shut the gas off and head upstairs only to be told all the tenants were DEAD.

I drink all day now and sleep. It’s killing me from the inside every single day, but if I say anything my family is ruined; we have a bunch of rental properties and we’d be shut down.

The top reply for this post warned that this story was too specific and could be tracked down. Then, 13 hours later, someone using a throwaway account posted links to what sounds like a news report about those very deaths. It’s haunting to see an anonymous person’s story get validated by an eerily similar news story. Jesus.

And what would a bunch of death confessions be without some sex confessions? Oh goodness, the sex confessions. They ranged from scandalous to horribly depressing.

Audir8 (a throwaway account) shared:

I have sex with my step mom when my dad isn’t around. I’m junior in high school and its been going on for 6 months now.

Someone called him a “step motherfucker” (Levity!), then the OP asked him to elaborate. He obliged:

sure. She pretty much married him for money, she spends it all on plastic surgery and shoes and clothes. My dad travels quite a bit for his job, so he is gone for several days at a time. I was watching netflix and she came in my room and sat next to me and started talking about all kinds of shit, how she missed being young bla bla bla – she’s in her mid 30′s or so. She offered me some pills – i’ve never done drugs of any kind, but i figured it would be ok since she was giving them to me. I got in weird mood, where i didn’t care about anything, i just felt good and fuzzy inside. We laid down and cuddled a bit, i didn’t have a care in the world at this points so i decided to try to kiss her. She didn’t resist, we made out for a few minutes and then she decided we should stop. I fell asleep with her and several days later we ended up having sex on my dads bed. Now we have sex about 1 or 2 times a week, depending on my dads schedule.

This one’s juicy because it’s still happening. I honestly expected a lot more high fiving from the replies, but people were pretty consistent in telling this kid that his step mom’s bad news.

Turns out, incest was one of the most common dark, dirty secrets Redditors were going to share in this thread. One guy’s been having sex with his 1st cousin for 10 years. (Someone asked “She hot?” and another person replied “Maeby, Maeby not.”)

A man posting under the throwaway account SiblingFucker shared another incest story. It was too long to share here, but here’s the comment he added at the end:

TL;DR Had consensual, oral sex with my one-year-younger sister repeatedly for two years, then oral and anal sex with two-years-younger brother for three years. All three of us are now in monogamous, heterosexual marriages with children. I am a city councilman, a business owner, and all of my immediate relatives including myself are active Mormons.

And then, “because it’s been asked and answered nearly a billion times,” he amended his original story to include the fact that he doesn’t know if his brother and sister ever had sex with each other. How darkly hilarious. “Ugh, you guys, I’m so sick of telling everyone about my family’s incest situation! Here’s my answer in a more prominent location!” —that guy, basically. I cannot believe that ever became a thing someone would have to do.

All the dozens and dozens of incest stories seemed tame once I read a confession from a guy who confessed to being a pedophile. Not only that, but his dad was a child abuser. It was chilling to read. And then it got creepier (because of course it did) when other pedophiles chimed in to say, “Hey, I can relate to that pedophilia!” Suddenly I felt like I was spying on a meeting of the Pedophiles Club. Sorry, guys, I came here for the accidental murder stories and tales of steamy incest! (Of course, I’m joking, but those stories made me feel more uneasy than any of the others. Like, everything else was fair game but only now do I feel terrible.)

Sex and death aside, other people were living good ol’-fashioned lies. After the heavier stuff I just covered, it became a relief when someone confessed to lying to everyone they’ve ever loved. “Oh, thank the heavens, they’ve only betrayed their family but nobody got killed or molested!”

AwayIThrowThis shared a story about a terrible long-term lie:

I faked having a chronic pain condition for 5.5 years in order to not have to attend middle school and high school (I was placed on a homebound program — NOT homeschooling — and allowed to study at my own pace from home). I was able to fool a team of medical professionals, my family, my teachers, and my friends into believing that my symptoms were real. Also, I racked up over $100,000 in medical bills for my family (that’s just what the insurance didn’t cover) during those 5.5 years (I did not realize the extent of the medical bills until late into my lie and it was one of the main reasons I decided enough was enough). Upon graduating from high school and getting accepted into a good university, I decided that it was time for my “pain” to go away. No one has questioned the fact that my symptoms vanished over night, my medical team attributed it to the fact that I was nearing the end of puberty.

What I did was a douchebag thing, and my family is continuing to drown in debt from medical bills (I plan to pay them back someday). I simply started the hoax because I was a 12 year old who absolutely loathed middle school. I attempted to end the lie at the beginning of every school year, but eventually fell back into saying my “pain” prevented me from attending school. Today I feel horrible about what I did, and I desperately want to tell everyone that it was a lie, but I know that I cannot because I will never gain credibility back again.

He added that this was a decade ago, and that he agrees with any comments that call him a douchebag, and that he hopes to one day convince his parents to let him pay them back. It’s overwhelming to imagine someone living with that much shame.

Takeittothegrave (throwaway account) shared a story about his probable body dysmorphic disorder:

Never, ever told a soul about this. No one knows, including the parents that would accept me no matter what.

I have a major identity disorder (untreated) because since I was ten I’ve been contorting my facial features at all waking hours to disguise my true appearance. I have naturally droopy eyes, large lips for a man, and an overbite. Everyday, I squint my eyes, curl my upper lip in when I smile, and jut out my lower jaw just enough to drastically change the shape of my face and the general relationship between my features.

When I became aware of the strangeness of this behavior as a teenager, I was desperately concerned that others would notice the cracks in my veneer, and so had difficulty sitting on the left side of people (the right side of my face was the least controlled) and having any pictures taken of me (still do, to an extent). This coupled with deep depression made the years of quintessential self-discovery in a young person’s life ones of intense confusion and detachment.

Over the years, however, I’ve fine-tuned this behavior so that among most I’m now considered to be a conventionally handsome man, when in truth I’m conventionally ugly by normal standards.

When I approached adulthood and went to a large public university, I took the opportunity to create an public identity that matched the physical countenance I had molded for myself– one of the utmost confidence and charm. Many people bought it, but the image flickered on bad days. I grew further from myself.

Then, two years ago this summer, a close friend of mine killed herself, shattering my false sense of social standing and condemning me to a relationship with a girl I didn’t love, who also had severe identity issues spawned from abuse as a child. After getting her into therapy long enough to break up with her, I immediately entered another relationship simply because it seemed a light at the end of the tunnel. I do not love my current girlfriend either, as much as I tell her I do.

As a 21-year-old today, I deal with crippling anxiety and ontological dislocation on a regular basis. I cannot reconcile the physical differences between my true appearance and the image I’ve contrived, and I fear that it is too late to let go. In fact, I have no idea what physical toll “letting go,” aka relaxing my facial features for longer than a minute or two, would have on me, let alone on my psychological state. It will need to be a gradual process, if I ever decide to accept it.

Does anyone else do this? Or has anyone heard a similar story? I haven’t been able to find any similar cases online.

For now, as a perfectionist in all of my pursuits I live in constant fear that I will lose control and others will see the shadowed figure behind the mask. I am afraid that that figure is my true myself, because I don’t know what that would make me.

I realize that was a very long quote, but holy hell, is that not a fascinating story? Commenters were a little surprised, but more supportive. One person even offered real help from a non-throwaway account. In this particular thread, communicating from a genuine, long-term account meant that much more. Anonymity became the standard. This thread is about shame. Speaking up as yourself suddenly meant that much more.

One of the more interesting confessions came from someone with schizophrenia who described two distinct voices they heard growing up, one supportive and the other more abusive. Their confession didn’t focus on the voices, but rather that they had gone away and that this person missed them dearly. It’s a long post, but I recommend you read it yourself.

However, if there’s one post that seemed to “make” this thread (if that’s even possible), it’s this one from (non-throwaway account!) Lynfect:

Cousin died when we were both seventeen. There was a reception at his house just after the funeral. I went into his room and stole all the money that was there, took some other valuables that his parents wouldn’t realize were gone. No one knows that I did it, they just assumed he didn’t have any money in his room, only loose change. I don’t regret it, but I will never admit I did it.

Also my cum box.

Wow, I can’t believe he stole from his c—… WAIT, WHAT? Cum box? Someone requested, “Please elaborate on this cum box, please.”  Lynfect, to everyone’s horror, did exactly that:

Well, it is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a shoebox, or at least once was, and whenever I masturbate I cum into it. I’ve had it for two or three years now I think, so it has a fair amount of cum. It smells atrocious, and I tried to burn it once. When I lit it on fire, it was too damp due to the cum that it simply sizzled and didn’t manage to actually lite up. Turns out burning cum smells awful, so I had to spray it with a deodorant body spray just to get the old smell of burnt cum away. It also has some drenched papers stuck to it. That’s pretty much it.

Because people were asking, my greatest shame. (Ed: “my greatest shame” links to an actual fucking imgur gallery of his cum box.)

EDIT 2: A lot of people are asking me, why? Well, I’m apparently a rather disturbed individual. But, it just kind of happened, bought new shoes and needed someplace to cum, used the box. It just escalated from there, kept using it each time, telling myself I would throw it out soon. Never did, two or three years later, I still have it. It was planned or anything, it just happened.

EDIT 3: Fuck, this really exploded. ~20,000+ views of my cum box. Did not expect this.

And to think I’ve only used my old shoeboxes to store shoes. What was I thinking???

So wait, he tried to burn it? Like, to destroy it, but in the smelliest way possible? And then he deodorized it, got some papers stuck it, and kept it? Oh man, this is just about the weirdest confession you or I will ever read.

And he shared photos of it! I removed the gallery link from the quote because I didn’t want anyone clicking on the link and, I dunno, not finishing this article because they weren’t ready to look at photos of a fucking cum box.

I guess it’s not too surprising? It’s just a stained, burned shoebox with some kinda charred wax in it (Spoiler alert: it is not wax). If you really, really want to see it, fine. Here’s a link. Lynfect’s cum box imgur gallery

(I just felt terrible adding that link, and it’s not even my cum box. Uuuuugh.)

After Lynfect’s post, I guess you could you could say that Reddit was swept up in Cum Box Fever! Now, when people wanted to express how uncomfortable this entire thread made them feel, they at least had the cum box to fall back on for levity! Says Redditor Pfmohr2:

Seriously, this is one of the more fucked up things I’ve seen on reddit.

I’m totally torn. On one hand, OP actually delivered. So, respect.

On the other, cum box.

The notion of a cum box is horrifying at first, but after a while it’s so grotesque that it’s actually kinda funny. Hey, at least no one got hurt, right? (Not counting the people who clicked through to the cum box photos.)

So while most of the posts on this thread had to do with death, or sex, or deep shame, one of the top voted ones was actually kinda sweet (if you can see past how creepy it is). Throwaway2389 shares:

I once helped out my a female friend’s family by taking care of their cat for a week. Every day for a week, I would go over there and snoop around their house. I found my friend’s diary, and proceeded to read the entire thing. I used this information to get her to like me, and she is currently my wife.

That’s practically a romantic comedy, right? Isn’t a romantic comedy usually just a movie where a handsome guy stalks a cute lady until she hooks up with him? Is going to a girl’s house and holding a boombox outside her window all that different from going into her house and reading her diary? They’re definitely in the same realm. I can easily imagine a wacky romantic comedy where Matthew McConaughey steals a woman’s diary just so he can win her heart. Or how about how everyone is constantly Facebook stalking everyone else? That almost makes this guy’s story cute. “Awww, he Facebook stalked pre-internet.”

I guess it’s also worth pointing out that people shared links and phone numbers for suicide hotlines throughout the thread. One of the top-voted comments was a list of support hotlines. It’s good to know that a popular reaction among anonymous readers wasn’t to antagonize or poke fun, but to offer help.

This is all I’ve got to say about the thread, but since it’s got over 20,000 comments, this really is just the tip of the iceberg (an iceberg made out of car accidents). Go forth, explore it yourself, and share any interesting findings in the comments.

Thank you, and sorry.

See also: Reddit’s Latest “What’s Your Darkest Secret?” Thread Is Heartwarmingly Not About Murder and Incest This Time

  • Dom

    You were surprised that people admitted to being peodphiles on reddit?  Didn’t you know that just a few months ago reddit still had a section  that was based entirely on child pornography?  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fco-Fernando-Gosch-Acosta/100000185633550 Fco Fernando Gosch Acosta

      is it no longer up?

    • Sarah Edwards

      It wasn’t child porn. Anderson Cooper made a big stink about a subreddit called Jailbait. It was sixteen year old girls in short shorts making duckfaces for their facebook. Very tame.

      • http://twitter.com/sacapunta27 ahehehe

        No, those pictures were stolen from their facebooks and used without their consent. Not tame.

  • Matt

    Whoever wrote this has never seen 4chan and the daily threads that are like this.

    • http://toomuchnick.com Anonymous

      > implying that 4chan is still as interesting as Reddit

      • http://twitter.com/continuants amanda brennan

        This came up a few times to me today.  There’s just something about Reddit and it’s account history and archival process that makes it seem a lot more palpable and real.  Also, it’s way more accessible because of the traffic – searches for Reddit far surpassed 4ch in August 2011 and have been increasing like crazy

        • Scott Anger

           @17d26b9d9cae4cb37b6b74e32e709e6e:disqus , @Nick:disqus , @twitter-17886323:disqus ,

          Each of you is implying that any one particular site is somehow different than the entire internet as a whole.  Sure reddit or 4chan’s demo’s may overlap to some extent and both tend towards a younger audience but both are subject to the same rules as the rest of the ‘net. There are some douches, some sincere folks and some outright liars.  Honestly, do you take everything in this or any other thread completely at face value?

        • Anonymous

           Actually, there is a good reason for this. I can search, using google, Reddit’s entire history to find an article from a very long time ago, and everyone who has been to 4chan knows how to get there.

          As a reader of both, I can state that this is why there are less ‘searches’ for 4ch. Because each thread usually 404′s within the day, whereas Reddit keeps them. Just a thought.

  • http://twitter.com/desjardins Jennifer

    You are extremely credulous.

    • http://www.twitter.com/tehawesome Henry

      I don’t believe you.

  • Finkleje

    thank you for this article !

  • alloy_20

    Cumbox is fake, it is from 4chan a while back.

  • Fucke

    reddit is for faggots

  • http://www.facebook.com/Treebayerdruid Fluorine Bayer

    I was disappointed by the jack in a box.

  • Crammer

    The “maeby, maeby not” comment is in reference to arrested developement and michael cera’s character and his relation with his cousin maeby.

    • Sean Murphy

      Thanks, by the time I got to the end of the article I had forgotten that comment. It was obviously a reference joke, but I had no clue what it was referring to, and I hadn’t cared enough to interrupt the flow of the article in order to look it up. I’ve heard of “Arrested Development”, but not Michael Cera or cousin Maeby.

  • http://twitter.com/ablestmage ablestmage

    These threads are dime-a-dozen on [rules 1 and 2].. and most of them are concocted to bring out a reaction. I would not have been surprised if any number of them on the original thread ended with “everybody walk the dinosaur” or someone turning into a bear, or “so I went to move in with my aunty and uncle in bel-air” — it’s from experience that I have immense skepticism on any confession thread. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UQZ2UFA6CB6NLBFH3QRAT3K32U Frankie Dysart

    ” Everyday, I squint my eyes, curl my upper lip in when I smile, and jut
    out my lower jaw just enough to drastically change the shape of my face
    and the general relationship between my features.”

    You took this seriously?

    • http://www.twitter.com/tehawesome Henry

      Oh, goddamn it.

    • John Doe

      Son of a bitch, how did I not pick up on that.

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