Children are naturally more innocent and naïve than adults, and they often see the world through a lens of wonder and good intentions. But there are some childhood memories that may stand out as being pretty suspicious from the perspective of a wiser adult who's experienced more of the world.
Here, grown-ups describe the situation from their childhood that they later realized was completely messed up and inappropriate.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
I nodded and went back to coloring.
She later found out that she had be calling our landlord to inform him of my brutal and untimely death. I remember her sob and relay the details of my horrific death to this man (kidnapped, violated, and beheaded, for the curious).
This was one episode in a long history of messed up behavior coming from her, but it's probably the first one I remember. I was about 15 or so before I looked back and was struck with a sense of 'Well, that's definitely not normal.'"
"When I was young, I walked in on my stepdad strangling my mom. I came out of my room, saw him on top of her with his hands around her throat, and saw that she was turning purple and making noises. I told her to keep it down because her screaming had woken me up, and then I went back to bed. I didn't think about it much after that.
It didn't hit me until my early 20s that my stepdad was in the process of actually trying to murder my mom, and I had told her to die quieter."
"When I was about 11 or 12 years old, my mom was driving and approached a bridge, and as we got closer we saw a guy 'fall' from it. My mom pulled over and my sister and I sat there in the car, while she went to look and call 911. She told us to pray. So I sat there just praying over and over, not really knowing the story.
Turns out, a young man went to the bottom near the water and took his shoes off, then walked up the steps to the bridge barefoot, said hello to the couple who was walking down the steps (They noticed his missing shoes but thought nothing of it). He got up to the top, took his headphones out, left them on the railing, and jumped.
He landed right next to his shoes, which he had placed on the rocks. He didn't want to hit the water; he wanted to hit the rocks.
I visit that spot every summer and say a prayer for him. Every time I drive under the bridge I think of him. Whenever I walk across a bridge I smile at every person and turn around before I leave; making sure no one is waiting around.
It messes me up to think about what his train of thought must've been, what he went through, his thoughts the entire time. Seeing his body fall, seeing his feet under the sheet while they took his body away; it's still hard to think about to this day."
"When I was around 8 years old, I visited my friend's house often to play on her trampoline. We didn't live on the bad side of town but didn't live on the good side either. Sometimes, when I came over, her mom had a client at the house from her new massage business. We weren't allowed into the house during the massage and were told to be quiet. So we'd sit out there on the trampoline with the feral cats that infested our town.
The public schools there are notoriously awful, so we went to this Christian school on the side of the highway with a few other kids our age. It cost about $2,000/year to attend, which narrowed the student body down to a small number of kids in our town. My friend's mom was a single mother of three and her house was dumpier than mine. There's no way she would have been able to pay $6,000 cash with her salary, especially when the business was just starting.
Looking back on it, I think her mom was engaging in favors for cash at her home. Yikes."
"When I was young and in elementary school, my sister and I got our own cameras. Mine was Looney Tunes themed and said things like. 'What's up, doc?' When you pushed the button to take a picture, and my sister had a Barbie one that said things like, 'Let's go shopping!'
We'd had them for a full year before the Barbie camera went missing. My sister didn't know where it was for at least a summer. We found it again one day in her closet. It was spring, which I remember because my walks from the bus stop to the house were pleasant and it was the first year I was allowed to walk by myself.
The film for the Barbie camera was processed, and a week later my parents sat me and my sister down for a serious talk. The camera had developed and some of the pictures on it were being called into question.