They Witnessed Things As Children That They Realized Later Were Truly Awful
by Trisha Leigh
So many things fly right over kids’ heads. Kids movies depend on this, as they make jokes that adults will chuckle at while their littles are blissfully ignorant.
Sometimes, though, this trick is darker, as kids see or hear things they don’t realize are truly awful until later in life.
She made a point.
Jimmy Savile came around to my gran’s house because he was friends with my uncle.
Thankfully the family seemed to make a point of not leaving me alone with him.
Sort of wholesome.
One of the times my dad left he would send me beautiful letters with the envelope decorated in different cartoons and cute drawings. I was maybe 9 at the time and clueless.
A few years later I realized he would decorate the envelopes to take attention away from the red “inmate mail” stamp on it.
So much pain.
I was staying over at my best friend’s house when I was 8.
Happened to be the night his Dad caught his Mom cheating on him.
She locked herself in the bedroom, he used a carving knife to get through the door.
It was scary, but worst was knowing I was witnessing it, and my friend knew I knew, if that makes sense.
Saddest part was when his father clearly had a “What the actual f**k am I doing?” moment. Just complete silence from the hall. And then he walked into my friend’s room, and just stood there a moment because quietly saying “F**k” and walking out.
There was so much pain, and self disgust in that word.
Days of setback.
I was adopted. Due to being an orphan, I didn’t get the social interaction as other kids.
Fast forward to being adopted and meeting with girls and boys on the neighborhood-
A rumor went around I was incapable of feeling pain or reacting to it.
Well two of these girls decided to test this.
They took scissors and cut my face with the straight blades.
I don’t remember this — I only have what my parents have told me, and what I had supposed told them when I came home.
According to them, my lack of reaction to pain or blood freaked the girls out and they had refused to ever play with me again after.
I was maybe 4-6 at the time
Edit: I did eventually learn to react to pain and blood — I was adopted after all.
More so, I worked as a Medic/Corpsman in the Navy (4-5 years) and currently work with patients at a hospital.
I’ve had my days of setback, the few patients who fought, bit, punched, and kicked; and those who I couldn’t heal, help, or save.
I work daily with blood and pain, so that patients feel neither, flourish, and, one day, walk through the doors upon discharge.
My elementary school used to be a high school in the 60s/70s before I came along early 90s. even as a kid I always thought it was weird that there was an office in the boy’s bathroom with a clear view of the boys toilets/urinal. (I saw cause I wandered in there by accident once)
…it’s since been torn down but that’s creepy.
When I was a kid, we took a family trip to Las Vegas and stayed at Circus Circus.
My mom wanted to get a magnet or souvenir from Caesar’s Palace, so we parked somewhere and went inside.
I wanna say we might have parked in an area reserved for staff? Or it could’ve been for guests/visitors. That part is very fuzzy.
My parents didn’t care regardless and had never been there. When we were walking back to the car and over a sewer grate (the kind with slots) I sneezed. A gruff, male voice from below in the sewer said “bless you!” Being an innocent kid, I said thanks as my parents hurried my brother and I into the rental car.
Years later as an adult, I watched a documentary about homeless people who live in the Las Vegas sewers. Usually drug addicts and even women hiding from pimps. In it when they’re inside one of the sewer tunnels, their guide pointed up at a sewer grate above them and said “you see this?
This is the parking lot of Caesar’s Palace.” That whole realization that I was there as a kid gave me whiplash.
Takes you right back.
When I was about 12, me and dad were walking the dog, when we saw a huge fire at a house at the end of our street. My dad was a fireman at the time, so his first reaction was to sprint towards it. Naturally, I followed him.
A crowd of people had gathered around a bus shelter nearby, so I went to see what was happening. On the ground was a kid from my school, I think he was 2 or 3 years below me. I’ll never forget how badly his face and hands were burnt. The skin was a strange mixture of charred flesh and fresh blood. I just froze for what felt like an eternity before my dad found me and sent me home whilst he stayed to help.
The kid survived, but it was years before I saw him again. He was horribly disfigured as a result.
I don’t think about it much, but every summer we have a barbeque, and the smell of the coals takes me right back to that evening.
Oh my god.
I had many cats when I was a kid. My dad had physically been violent with me and the cats several times. Eventually my dad would got tired of the cat and he would go and “donate it to a farm”.
When I grew up I realized that 1. There was no farm near my city for 70 miles 2. There are no buses or cheap transport that go there at all and my dad didn’t have a car or much money 3.
My dad kept a baseball bat around despite never ever playing baseball and it would be washed whenever one of my cat was “donated”.
When I decided to stop talking to my dad forever when I was 16 and left home I realized my dad had probably killed all those cats himself.
A lot of abuse.
I was in a self-contained room for special Ed for years because of my disability (visual)
I watched a kid with Tourettes be forcibly restrained because he got up to back away from a teacher who didn’t like his vocal tic. She called in the assistant principal who decided to try to lift and carry him out of the room (he was just standing there, no reason for this to be done), and she did this maneuver where he ended up falling forward. His face hit the desk so hard it moved the desk. Instead of giving him aid, she snapped at him that “maybe he shouldn’t have done that.” He went to hospital and I never saw him again.
I watched another kid get beaten by a paraprofessional in the name of “restraint”. He was taken to the coat room (back room in the classroom) and I heard him hit the wall. Hard.
I watched my best friend at the time climb a fence to avoid our teacher, who yanked her down and slapped her, and then turned to me and told me to go to the wall. My head pinged off the brick.
My head pinged off a lot of stuff because of teachers. I was routinely grabbed, slapped, my hair pulled, my head held in a certain direction, screamed at, once cornered and beaten for not being able to see something (this is back in the days when they would lump all the disabled kids together).
They knew how to hurt you without leaving bruises. They knew what to do to get you to not tell your parents. If you did, the punishments would get creative in the name of “therapy”.
I witnessed a lot of verbal, emotional and mental abuse.
My Dad kidnapped me when I was a kid. He decided he was going to leave my mother and shack up with the woman he’d been having a long time affair with and I was going to be the baggage in tow.
He took me out for a day, left my mum a note and drove to the other side of the country with me.
It wasn’t until about 20 years later when I told this to a friend that I was informed how f**ked this situation was.
Loved with her for about a year she stole all his money and my savings and vanished, dad went crawling back to mum, another few years later he got her best friend pregnant and she booted him out.
So many things.
Saw my dad get stabbed to death about a meter away from me. I think it just happened and then so many more things happened because there were arguments about custody, so so so many trips to the police station, police interviewing me, processing papers.
I was only really able to sit down and process everything about 10 years after the murder. I still can’t forget the time it started, 6:03 pm.
She doesn’t want to tell.
My great uncle groped me when I was about 9 years old. I had no idea what he was doing at the time. Want until I was probably 30 that I remembered it.
My mother sometimes talks about how great he was, I’ll never tell her.
He broke up a family.
My seventh grade English teacher accidently gave me a document he had written. It was on an old floppy disc he assumed was blank. It described how he volunteered with an humanitarian group in the 70’s that traveled through impoverished countries and provided free vasectomies. They eventually trained him how to do it, and he would do them, even though he had no real medical training. This is not even the messed up part.
He goes on to explain that he decides that he wanted a vasectomy and to do it himself. He then described in very graphic detail how he did it to himself. He even said the date, like March 1st, 1981, or something like that. He described in detail cutting through things, and how rubbery it felt. Again, not the f**ked up part.
I thought the story was hilarious because he wrote scrotum so many times, and I was a seventh grader. Well, I spread the story around to my friends. It eventually spread to a parent, that shared it with the school. His wife who was also a teacher there, promptly quit. Their son who was younger than me, born in the 90’s, also left the school. He kept his job.
What I figured out much later was that his wife had cheated on him and had gotten pregnant, but pretended like it was his. The f**ked up part is that he obviously knew she cheated, but never told her. He had raised the boy as his own son.
Once she realized he was sterile, and he’s known the entire time, she left him and took the kid. Had I not shared that story, that kid could have lived his entire life without knowing, and that family could have stayed together.
An accomplice to robbery.
Pretty sure when I was 7 I was an accomplice to robbery.
I was supposed to stay the night at my friend’s house. Her parents said we’re stopping to look at a house real quick. I didn’t think anything of the adults all black outfits. They were still professional. I did think it was odd that they had me go through the bathroom window to unlock the door, but they said the realtor forgot to give them the key.
This was such a beautiful, wealthy home. They didn’t take anything large, but I did notice the mom leaving with a lot more jewelry on the she came in with. She said she left it last time they were there.
Remains in their memory.
There were some doozies that are too dark to share tbh.
But one I still feel bad about is what accidentally happened to one of my best friends because of me, when we were 12 or 13.
My mum was an alcoholic and opiate addict and when phones with cameras first became a thing, my brother and I thought it would be a good idea to confront our mother about her drinking by filming the way she behaved drunk (and high, though we actually didn’t realise about the codeine for years).
Which was a depressing saga of her noisily coming home at like 4am, usually partially naked, sometimes wounded, breaking stuff in the house, needing to go to the hospital, being super mean, eating all the food, etc. So I filmed her and I can’t remember exactly what happened but I think we both forgot I’d taken the video at all. It was a very chaotic time and she could be pretty abusive. Sometimes we would have to hose down our front yard early in the morning so none of the neighbours would see the blood she’d tracked everywhere after hurting herself from just being so wasted.
(And then catch the bus to school like 2 hours later, like everything was totally normal.)
A few days go by and I’m hanging out after school at my wholesome normal friend’s house, and I’m showing him a video of my cat being cute cos we’ve swapped phones (pre WiFi and 1-3g networks, this was how you showed people stuff) and then all of a sudden I realise he’s gone super, horrifically still.
I go “What is it?”
And he really quickly went “Nothing!” kinda frightened, and almost threw my phone at me because of how fast he gave it back.
Years later, I suddenly realised he must have seen that video, of our mum, in a very frightening and also very vulnerable, private state, which we had only ever intended to show her and nobody else ever.
I actually did tell him mum was an alcoholic a couple of years after the video moment and his genuine response at the time was “oh is that all?” So I’m not sure how much of an impact this actually had on him. Hopefully not much, but I still feel bad that he chanced across it with 0 context.
And because he never said, I never explained. Which I think would have made the video seem even scarier (and honestly probably a bit perverted) tbh.
We ended up drifting apart towards the end of our teens, as kids do, but I actually saw him in an airport a couple of months after my mum had died and I know he recognised me.
But we hadn’t been friends by then for more than 10 years and I was so clouded by grief (and trauma, tbh) that I just looked through him and kept walking.
He remains in my memory one of the best friends I ever had, though.
Too many stories.
My mom got angry at me because I wanted to take the time to iron my shirt for a wedding . Instead of leaving 2 hours early.
She picked up the extremely hot iron and put it to my bare chest .
Smoke on the horizon.
I was sledding with a friend and saw smoke on the horizon. His mom came and picked us up. It was my 3rd-floor apartment on fire with my mom and grandma (and others) outside in the cold.
Everyone got out safely, but we couldn’t find our cat (until later), my computer and Star Wars collection among so many other things were destroyed. We still have the photos.
Found out later, unknown to her, my mom’s BF owned the building and had the dumb a$$ manager wack a pipe so he could get the insurance $$$. My mother has been somewhat of a hoarder since.
I hope all of these kids are doing ok now.
It’s never easy realizing your childhood wasn’t exactly what you thought.