"When I was 6 and my brother was 4 we used to walk to our cousin's house which was 2 houses down. One evening, we ask our mother if we could go over and she said yes and let us walk over by ourselves. While we're walking, this car drives up to us and asks if we knew where the nearest McDonald's was and if we'd like to come with him. I told him we weren't allowed to eat McDonald's without our mother's permission and turned to get her to ask if we were allowed. She was already running outside to get us when the car sped off. I was around 15 when I was reminiscing with my family and she brought it up. Creepy realization."
"We had this gym teacher in elementary school that would bring a bag of apples to class and give the girls one if they'd give him a massage.
I was mad because I absolutely loved apples (still do). I thought it was unfair that only the girls got apples, so I told my teacher how Mr. Soandso would only let the girls massage him for apples and we had to do sports (I was not an athletic child, so the idea of eating apples vs gym activities greatly appealed to me).
I had to go to the principal's office to tell them my story which was basically 'This is nonsense. Everyone should be getting apples, or no one should be getting apples.' Other students corroborated my story and soon enough Soandso was gone."
"I had this amazing dog, Gus, when I was a kid. He was a Brittany Spaniel and he was a bit wild. When I was about three years old, my sister, who was one, broke her arm after falling down the stairs. Only she didn't fall, she was pushed by Gus. This wasn't his first incident, either. A couple days later, my mom loaded us up in the car and said we were dropping off Gus because he was 'going to live on a farm, where he can run freely and swim in the pond,' as my mother put it. I still remember the conversation and the storefront where we dropped him off where he would be put to sleep, but where I assumed they would be taking him to the farm.
I was 22 years-old before I put it together. Gus never went to live on a farm. At least, not any farm on this mortal coil. Hopefully, there is a big farm in the sky where he's still swimming in a pond."
"My father had a drinking problem and severe depression and because I was 5-6 at the time, I didn't realize what was going on.
My father died when I was 6 and I never knew why - I didn't understand death and it confused me to see everyone so upset. Mum told me that dad got really sad and died from drinking too much.
I took this as truth until I was 12 years old, and I googled my father to find photos of him only to find news articles about how my father had committed suicide.
It really only hit me then that Dad had died and I broke down because I finally realized that what Mum meant was that dad drank a lot and couldn't handle his depression anymore.
Only now do I realize that Dad drank to escape his depression."
"When I was 12, I went on a week-long canoe trip with Girl Scouts down the Suwannee River in Florida. We were five girls 14 and under, an 18-year-old woman who had advanced first aid training, and an adult male, actually a father of one of my friends, so I knew him. His name was Ben. It was a glorious trip, not too difficult paddling, pull the canoes up the bank and camp overnight in a tent every night. Wash in the river, very primitive, but really fun and educational.
The Suwannee is dotted with springs that feed into the river. We camped at a small swimming hole called Fanning Springs on a Friday night near the end of the trip. Fanning is pretty rural, or it was at the time. Also at the time, it was apparently the thing to do on Friday nights for the local gentry to get 'loosened' up and drive donuts in the county park, part of Fanning Springs, so that's what the locals were busy doing after we had had dinner. Our canoes were up a 20-foot bank, our tents set up, and we were getting settled in. Although we were in a county park, our tents and canoes were difficult to get to from that park. You had to climb almost vertically up a 25-foot rocky incline to get to our campsite. For the girls, it was not a thing, you know, just climb it. If I had to do it today, I'd say no way in heck can I get up there.
Gary and Odie thought otherwise. They were two of the local gentry who had done their jobs getting loosened up and driving donuts in the grass. We heard their truck. We heard them. It was impossible not to. We thought they were funny because they hooted and hollered a lot and wore overalls. They tried to climb the embankment. They were comically, slapstick wasted. They tried the embankment four or five times, hollering every time they slid down in failure. Ben expressed some worry combined with good-natured 'whatever,' at them, until Gary and Odie made it into camp. I was seated on a pickle bucket deep into our campsite and closer to the river, so I saw Ben go up to them and speak with them in hushed tones. I did not hear what Ben said to them, but he said it with a hatchet behind his back, almost like he was using the hatchet head to scratch an itch between his shoulders. I did see that. The rest of the girls were in camp, now watching very closely. Whatever Ben said made Gary and Odie leave quietly. He put the hatchet down and breathed out an enormous sigh of relief. I'm not sure he slept that night.
We all thought it was hilarious at the time. I had no idea Ben was holding that hatchet to keep us from getting attacked or murdered. Thanks, Ben, for keeping us safe."
"I had reoccurring dreams of crying in the tub while someone threw water in my face from a very young age. I told my mom about it in my teenage years and she told me that I had been assaulted by my babysitter's older son while being given a bath when I was 2. Sad story but I feel pretty disconnected from that whole experience, it just feels like a bad dream.
My mom was pretty torn about telling me, she started by saying it wasn't a dream and I pressed her for more info and she told me everything. She asked how I felt afterward and even offered to take me to my therapist again. There was no bluntness about it but she tried to make it as clinical and straight forward as she could, that traumatic event wasn't just hard for me but her as well and so talking about it between the two of is as adults was actually relieving to both of us."
"My abuse counselor had these two big plastic bins full of wet and dry sand in his office. Every session he would lock the door and tell me, 'Pretend you're at the beach. You've got to take your shirt off at the beach.'
So I would and he'd give me a massage, which hurt because I was six and had no muscles to massage.
It never went any further than that but there was another counselor who would hide X-Men trading cards in his pockets and he would have me look for them.
It's kind of messed up that these guys were abuse counselors. And maybe they still are. This was twenty-three years ago."
"When I was about 7 or 8 I was at a train station with my parents and saw a guy on the opposite platform jump in front of an oncoming train. At the time I didn't really get what was going on and was just really curious to look but now I understand why we left the station in a hurry."
"I was in LA at the age of 10, and ended up with sunburn as I am English and not used to the heat. My dad took me to the restroom where we shared a stall, and he helped me take my t-shirt off so that he could reapply aftersun. This was pretty painful.
I was screaming inside a locked stall, saying that it hurt, so was surprised when a burly guy forced open the door, looking quite annoyed at my dad, who explained correctly what was happening. I grimaced through the pain and agreed as best as possible.
Only years later that I realised that burly guy was a top bloke, and that the pain he was trying to save me from wasn't that kind of chafing."
"From 2-5 years old, I lived with my parents and one of my sisters on the streets of Harlem. My parents had substances problems and we bounced around homeless shelters a lot. I befriended a black girl at one of these shelters, with what I thought was snake-like skin. We became the closest of friends until I was taken away from my parents, and I never saw her again.
The image of her face lives with me to this day, and it wasn't until I was about 12 that I realized that the girl didn't have snakeskin, she was covered from head to toe in burns."
"When I was 11 I met a boy at camp. He was a camp counselor. He told me I was his girlfriend and that he loved me. He wanted to marry me. He lived really far away, about 2 hours driving. But we continued our romance over hand-written letters and phone calls for a month after camp was over. He told me we would have 4 kids. I was so in love with him and excited for the possibility of getting married.
One day when summer was about to be over he drove to my house. We made out and he touched me on my private area. I felt like such a grown up. He continued to come over frequently after that day until one day my dad came home early and caught him. It was a horror show after that. But when I got older, I realized that this guy was 24 and abused me that summer."
"When I was about 4 or 5 we got two very important life-changing bits of medical news. The first was my baby brother was on the way. The second was that my father was diagnosed with acute lymphoma and had about 2 weeks to live. When I was little I had no grasp of how serious cancer was. My mom told me my dad was sick, but that was about it. I remember my mom kept insisting that I spend time with him, but I would always get angry when he got too tired to play or kicked me out so he could vomit from the chemo. I remember one night in particular where my school had my first back to school night/carnival. They had all sorts of rides and stuff. My dad had just had extensive surgery and had staples across his entire neck. I used to joke that he was like Frankenstein. My dad managed to make it through the big presentation the teacher made to the whole class and their parents, but barely. I thought this was boring, but would be worth sitting through because I would get to go on carnival rides afterwards. But my dad had to leave. He couldn't even stand up. I could not understand how my strong 6'4" father could be so selfish. If he could sit through the boring part why not the good part. I to this day feel tremendously guilty over how I treated him and the tantrum I threw when my mom was struggling to hold my dad up and my dad was struggling just to stay conscious.
Fortunately, the doctors were wrong. He made it well past the 2 weeks and eventually beat cancer 5 years later. It took years before I understood how seriously sick he really was. He had gotten down to 90lbs, but to me he was still a super-man."
"In kindergarten, I had a best friend named Daniel and we played with toy dinosaurs and traded them all the time. January comes around and I invite him to my birthday party that I was having at my house. He never showed up that day, and my mom told me that day he wasn't going to be able to come to school again, either. Little kid me was like, ok I'll see him later. He had died in a car crash on the way to my birthday party."
"When I was 12, my divorced mother and I lived in a nice duplex in my hometown. She would go to the city after I fell asleep, and party downtown with my aunt almost every night. I didn't know this until I was older. One night, in particular, I fell asleep on the couch, and halfway woke up to the sound of the front door opening and closing. I saw my mom walk in, with a creepy, hooded, shadowy figure close behind her. I fell back asleep. The next morning, I asked my mom who was with her when she came home last night. She looked terribly confused. I told her about the figure behind her, and the color drained out of her face and she shook her head and told me to stop playing games. That if I kept telling ghost stories I would invite malevolent spirits into the house. Found out like a year ago that she brought a guy home and made me believe it was a ghost so I wouldn't tell my grandparents. Crafty woman."
"I actually was assaulted by a group of 'family friends' from my parent's home country when I was 8. I later realized that not only were they not family friends, but they didn't have paperwork and my parents were doing shady things. The brain's a funny thing... I blocked out so much, I just remember waking up downstairs in their bed and feeling ashamed and having wet underwear, I don't even remember how I got there. I have an innate dislike for being held down or having someone on top now. It also took a long time for my wife and I have a regular life in bed. So even if I don't remember, my subconscious likes to kick in sometimes."
"I used to have a babysitter when I was 5, she was a sweet old lady but she wouldn't let me go outside sometimes. One day I decided I'd had enough and I snuck out. I was sitting on the corner of my street, just staring at this mountain that was literally within walking range (2 hours or so). This was in Monterrey, Mexico.
I notice this guy walking from around the corner, he sees me and shortly after, his direction changed and he was walking towards me. He reached behind his waist as he was only about 10 feet away, when he looked down the street and he noticed the neighborhood watch guard that often spent his days patrolling the streets. He immediately changed directions and walked away. As he walked away, I noticed he had a knife tucked behind him
I didn't understand what'd happened at the time but years later I came to realize that he had some malicious intent as he walked towards me. I still thank the guard for what he does every time I revisit Mexico."
"I was living in Argentina at age 11 or 12 and my family became members of an athletic club. I went to the pool and had to shower before entering the pool. In my mind, they were pretty strict about showering before entering the pool in the men's locker room because they stationed a guard in there to make sure the kids dropped their pants to wash very well. The guard demanded I pull down my swim trunks so I could wash my junk.
I had an epiphany a few months ago thinking back to the incident that happened some 30 odd years ago. The guy was some sort of degenerate and was watching all the little boys shower and wanted to see my junk, not make sure we showered well."
"When I was about 14, a guy who I went to school with had leukemia. He'd disappeared from school for a while he had chemo, and then came back when he recovered a little. We weren't particularly close, in fact, there'd been a little bit of animosity between us (for no particular reason, just petty kid's stuff), but last day of term as I was walking towards the school gate, he caught up with me and walked with me. He told me he was sorry there'd been tension between us and that he liked me and hoped we could be friends.
He died during the summer break and I realized sometime later that maybe he had known he wasn't going to make it and was trying to make his peace with the world before he went."
"I'm a red head, but neither of my parents or my brother are a red head. So when we were out in public when I was young, a lot of people would ask where my red hair came from. One day, when I was probably six or so, my parents told me to start answering the question with 'from the mailman,' which I did constantly cause people always seemed to react to it. It wasn't till I got to high school that it clicked that the mailman in this scenario had not delivered my red hair in an envelope but that it had come from a much different package."
"Car-jacked with my cousin. I was 12, she was 16. Loaded weapon pointed at my head and everything. At the court hearing (they were caught) my lawyer asked if I was aware that the 4 men who car jacked my cousin and I had the intention to kidnap us, as the police found duct tape and rope in their get away car and they fessed up to it.
That was a heavy bomb dropped on me while I was testifying against them, but I never really understood how lucky I was until I was older."
"I was 8 or so and my dad took me to a WVU football game. We were leaving the game and walking to the car or PRT or whatever we were using to get home, and on the way out of the stadium, we saw a college girl passed out on the sidewalk. Everyone was stepping around her and her friends were trying to get her up. I asked my dad if she was hurt or if we needed to get help.
My dad stopped me and explained to me in good detail about narcolepsy. I don't know why that memory always stayed with me, but I always just assumed that the passed out girl outside the football game had an unlucky sleeping disorder that made her fall asleep randomly.
It took something like 15 years, but all of a sudden I realized that girl didn't have narcolepsy. She had just had too much and my dad was just being a good dad."