Confused about my parents


#1

My parents and I argue a lot. I’m 16, and of course I know that teens don’t get along with their parents all the time. But I don’t know, this just doesn’t seem quite normal to me. Or more like my reaction to it doesn’t seem normal.

I don’t trust my parents at all. They’ve done things like snooped in my emails, taken away my wifi (but let my brother, who’s 19, have it), lied to me, and confiscated a book on faith my friend let me borrow (still waiting to get it back…). They claim they trust me, but I don’t really believe them – their actions don’t back it up.

My parents also seem to want to dictate what I do with my life. I hate playing cello, but they won’t let me quit. I want to get more serious about soccer, but it doesn’t “count” for much in their eyes. They don’t really approve of hanging out with friends (but of course they won’t admit it) and they don’t want me going to youth group at church. I feel like I’m constantly competing with my brother, who is practically a genius. It’s almost like he can do no wrong in their eyes, and if he does, they often take it out on me. I feel like I can’t ever do the right thing and I’m always disappointing them. If I don’t stand up for myself, they walk all over me. When my brother came home from college for the end of the semester, he couldn’t believe the way they were treating me.

I react to all of this really harshly. At first, I was pretty patient about it, although really confused, but now I’m really bitter and angry. I instigate as many arguments as they do, and I blow up really fast. I’ve started hating myself really intensely; I just feel like I can’t do anything right. It seems like I react too harshly sometimes to the things that happen, and I don’t understand why. I mean it’s nothing big like my parents are getting divorced or something. It’s them making me feel like dirt and telling me I make everything impossible. The confusing part is that sometimes they can be so loving.

My faith is falling apart as well, which might be a result of all of this to an extent. I contacted one of the priests at our parish and I have an appointment with him, but my parents have no idea. It feels so weird because we were always really close and I feel a little like I’m betraying them. I don’t want to portray them badly, but at the same time, they’ve really hurt me and some of the things just don’t seem “normal” to me. Sometimes I’m not sure I’m being honest with myself or other people. I feel a little like I’m distorting the truth, because if I ever suggest something to my parents, they assure me they’re proud of me and they trust me, etc. Maybe they are proud of me, but that doesn’t take away what they’ve done to me. I guess I can’t get my head wrapped around the idea that my parents might not be as awesome as I always thought they were.

I guess I’m wondering… what’s going on here? I’m too close to it to know anymore. I feel like I’m going crazy, though. Is this normal? I feel kind of sick and panicky and I guess I’m looking for another perspective. Thanks.

~Lefty22


#2

:hug3:

You know, as the parent of a 19 year old and a 17 year old (both boys), I’m on the other side of your post. But our 2 sons are competitive and the younger one always has felt that his brother has it a lot easier. It’s true, his older brother has no problems with school and has always gotten awards, high grades, gets along with teachers etc. And the younger son struggles with ADHD and doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. He’s also got a completely different temperament. He’s the type that jumps in with both feet and figures out what went wrong later. He’s more emotional and less rational. He’s just a different person altogether. It’s not that we love him less, but he is harder to get along with. We’re learning but he’s had a really hard adolescence. I hope you don’t have such a hard time. It’s a real strain on the whole family.

Your parents love you. I am sure they do, and you know they do as well. Did you give them a reason to snoop in your emails or turn off your wifi? I have done both of those as well as limit my son’s phone time and text messages. But he has given us a lot of reasons not to trust him.

It sounds like your parents need to let go a little and let you decide what you want to do with some aspects of your life. Are you really good at the cello? Maybe they don’t want you to lose that skill and talent. Soccer is a good thing to pursue though, and it’s not that you are just wanting to quit cello and sit around.

Can your brother help you talk to your parents? You need an advocate to help support you and let them know that they are holding on a little bit too tightly now.

Part of this is just your age, too. The turmoil you feel right now will sort itself out in a few years. But you don’t have to sit and wait. Definitely talk to your parents and tell them some of what you told us. That you are trying to be more of your own person and you’d like to try and do some things differently. To give you a chance to change and grow - you need another type of challenge besides what you’ve always done.

And what about the change of your brother leaving for university? that also really threw us off-balance. It still feels weird when he’s not here. We’re all adjusting but at first it was horrible. Felt like an amputation.

Well I’m sort of rambling, and I’m sure others will leave you excellent advice. I’m glad you came here and keep praying for God’s help and guidance.


#3

Maybe they are having financial troubles. Can you get a part time job? This will give you a place to go to, some financial independence, other adults that you may know … Expanding the array of people that you can trust personally, perhaps. Do you help out around the house? Laundry, dishes, outdoor work, or just anything that would help your parents. Be Christlike. He will not give you more than you can handle, and your parents will also see how they may have been in the wrong. Think in terms of the holy family in your interactions! You CAN turn it around. Apologize for your past behavior, and tell you that you love them! Accepting responsibility for the household and the peace there is a step towards maturity. It is usually true that parents want the best for their children, and, may even spoil them. Sometimes even giving their children more than what they had when they were young. The cello … Well I happen to love listening to cello music! Yo Yo, I know his story … Usually one thinks of families of oriental lineage … May God help you during this very important time of your life, when you are making choices that will define your character to others!


#4

[quote="ohioszo, post:3, topic:224407"]
Maybe they are having financial troubles. Can you get a part time job? This will give you a place to go to, some financial independence, other adults that you may know ... Expanding the array of people that you can trust personally, perhaps. Do you help out around the house? Laundry, dishes, outdoor work, or just anything that would help your parents. Be Christlike. He will not give you more than you can handle, and your parents will also see how they may have been in the wrong. Think in terms of the holy family in your interactions! You CAN turn it around. Apologize for your past behavior, and tell you that you love them! Accepting responsibility for the household and the peace there is a step towards maturity. It is usually true that parents want the best for their children, and, may even spoil them. Sometimes even giving their children more than what they had when they were young. The cello ... Well I happen to love listening to cello music! Yo Yo, I know his story .... Usually one thinks of families of oriental lineage ... May God help you during this very important time of your life, when you are making choices that will define your character to others!

[/quote]

I too love the cello! It takes a certain kind of person to bring out the feeling of the instrument. Yo Yo Ma does the Bach Concertos incredibly well. Some of my favorite music ever.


#5

Happy New Years Everyone:extrahappy::extrahappy:
lefty22 I don't know, have you tried talking to them? How about printing what you wrote on here. Then sitting down with them and address your concerns. They do love you. Hold your head up even tho for the moment you don't see. This to shall pass.
May the Holy Spirit guide you.
jesus g


#6

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:2, topic:224407"]
Your parents love you. I am sure they do, and you know they do as well.

[/quote]

And you're sure of this HOW, exactly..? :shrug:

Not saying you're wrong, but that's a pretty big assumption there seeing how we have no evidence one way or the other at this point.


#7

[quote="jesuspsr, post:5, topic:224407"]
They do love you.

[/quote]

see above


#8

This may not be good advice, but it is what I do when I encouter a situation like the one you described. I simply think about the lives of the saints. How they endured all kinds of trials with Love and Faith. People spit on them, mistreat them and call them fools, but they responded with more and more Love.

And you know what? When I see this, I dont think to myself, "what a pathetic gool". Instead, I almost desire to endure persecution so that I too may have the oppertunity to respond the way they do. It breaks our hearts with awe and Love to see mistreatment repaid with pure Agape Love.

So my advice to you: Learn more about the Saints. Watch movies about their lives, get inspired. Live your life like a Saint starting today. Respond like a Saint. Because you have been sanctified by the blood of Christ. And if he can forgive sinners like you and I, surely we can forgive our own parents who despite their treatment, Love us.
I hope this advice helps.


#9

[quote="exoflare, post:6, topic:224407"]
And you're sure of this HOW, exactly..? :shrug:

Not saying you're wrong, but that's a pretty big assumption there seeing how we have no evidence one way or the other at this point.

[/quote]

I am going to assume it because he or she has had a good relationship with the parents up to this point (which is stated in the post). The poster is well-spoken so has had a good education, sounds like a pretty happy family life although perhaps some competition between siblings, which is normal. I assume there have been music lessons all along, which means some amount of sacrifice on the parents' part - usually abusive or neglectful parents don't pay for an instrument and lessons.

I give parents the benefit of the doubt as being loving toward their children, since that is how God made us to be. What a strange thing to call attention to. Why don't you give the OP some advice instead of singling out this one statement of mine?

:shrug:


#10

Thanks for the replies, everyone. Yes, I'm really pretty sure my parents love me. They do a lot for me, in terms of taking me places without complaining, and the whole deal. Of course, it has to be places they want to go... but still, they do sacrifice a lot for my brother and I.

I've considered that maybe they're borderline emotionally abusive, but I'm not sure. The main reason I even think about that is because I've been so down on myself lately, and I think it's a result of the way they're treating me and blaming me for just about all of our arguments.

TheRealJuliane, thanks for your input; it really helps to understand the "other" side better. The only thing I can think of that I've done is over the summer I stayed up talking to a friend on my iPod until the wee hours of the morning. I don't think my parents ever knew about that, though, and honestly, I only did it a handful of times (running on four hours of sleep wasn't so awesome ;)). I do chat with friends fairly often, which they don't really like, but what teen doesn't talk to their friends a lot? I guess I feel like if they're worried I might be doing something "bad" or whatever, I'd really appreciate if they'd come to me so we could discuss it. I really can't figure what I did to lose their trust, and they don't explain. With wifi, I was told I don't need the "distraction" of it. I could understand if I was falling behind in school or just hanging around the house, but I'm a straight-A student, I work really hard in school, I've been playing varsity soccer since 9th grade, and I'm in the local youth symphony, plus I'm involved in a bunch of other extra-curriculars, like steel drum band and chorus. It's really not like I'm just hanging out doing nothing. Even if my parents told me I could quite cello, I'm not positive I would. I think more than anything I'm looking for the freedom to make my own decisions about these things.

CSUNGerrie, thanks. I used to try to handle it like that, but I don't know, it's like something snapped in me and now I'm really bitter and angry like all the time. I will try to be more loving and patient again, but sometimes it's hard to find a balance. Arguments spring up when I try to stand up for myself. If I just do whatever my parents tell me, we get along pretty well. I feel kind of like I'm their puppet.

The thing is I could never talk to my parents about any of this. They would be really angry I contacted a priest. My brother says, "they'd kill you," and it's true in the sense that I'm absolutely terrified of them finding out. My fear over a lot of this stuff just seems so irrational, and that's another reason I'm wondering about the abuse thing. Sometimes if I'm doing things that aren't at all wrong, but I know my parents wouldn't approve of -- like contacting the priest -- I start shaking like crazy and I feel so sick and dizzy. I don't understand why. I mean it just doesn't make sense. I'm really confused!

Any ideas? Thanks. :confused:


#11

Hi Lefty,

My heart bleeds for you as if there is no tomorrow. My teenage years were the same.

First I want to say, I realize that the other posters had good intentions but they perhaps did not walk in your shoes so they don’t fully understand. So please other posters do not take offence at my genuine attempts to show lefty he is not alone ( Iam assuming you are a boy, correct me if I am wrong)

Lefty, reading your post brought back bad memories (just trying to show I can relate). Reading the post of evey who responded brought back the memory of the massive frustration that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS.

Lots of people said similar things to me. "talk to your parents about how you feel about playing the piano. Once you explain you have other interest did will understand!’:banghead:

These people NEVER met my parents. My parents made the decision when I was born that I was to play half an hour of piano every day from the age of 7 until I finished highschool and since that decision was made in 1970 there was to be no changing it. Everytime I tried to tell them I HATED piano, my father would say something to the effect ‘Who encouraged you to tell me you didn’t want to play piano. I need to know who to forbid you from spending time with’

They loaned my brother the car one New Year’s eve. When I wanted to go out with everybody they said ‘CM you can not go out tonight because there are alot of drunks on the road and we don’t want you in an accident’ When I tried to explain ‘If Paul is driving he will be in the accident as well’ They told me to shut up. that was New Year’s 1988 and I still struggle with the resentment and am CONSTANTLY praying to God to help me forgive.

And then I hear people suggest your older brother talk to your parents:banghead: My brother milk it for what it was worth to have all the priviledge and the knowledge he had more than me (not so sure how your brother would react)

So enough about making it about me. Although I did enjoy this rant

I will offer up my next mass for you. We meet all types in this world and sadly that is often close family members. One thing that I think you need to know is it will not always be like this. In 10 years you will probably be financially independant and it will be better. Pray to God for guidance. I know you probably start more fights than you care to admit but you are the child and they are the adult surpressing you. Go easy on yourself. Once you do leave home, don’t let the new found freedom go to your head to make mistakes. Keep up your faith journey no matter how much you need to hide it from your parents. Maybe they are jealous that you can find comfort in the Lord.

And lastly, send me an email if you want more of a personal discussion

CM


#12

I have to ask,and don't think I am racist for asking - it's just that I know a lot of Asian kids and their parents have very high standards - are you by chance Asian?


#13

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:9, topic:224407"]
I am going to assume it because he or she has had a good relationship with the parents up to this point (which is stated in the post).

[/quote]

I honestly can't find this part.

The poster is well-spoken so has had a good education,

irrelevant

sounds like a pretty happy family life although perhaps some competition between siblings, which is normal.

This is another thing I really just don't gather from the OP. It never says overall there's a completely miserable family life rather than a happy one, but at the same time all of the points made about the parents in that first post happen to be negative ones.

I assume there have been music lessons all along, which means some amount of sacrifice on the parents' part - usually abusive or neglectful parents don't pay for an instrument and lessons.

You need to learn more about the different types of abusive parents if you really assumed this. The sad part is that stereotypes like this is probably why most of the abusers who aren't ever taken to task end up getting away with it. Most people are so ill-informed on the subject (I was) that the only abusers they can pick out are the less intelligent ones who don't know how to put up a sufficient facade toward the public like the more successful ones do. Many abusers actually DO sacrifice for their kids financially but it's only for certain ulterior motives, and also some of them view these purchases as investment in emotional leverage later on so that they have a ticket to make the child feel guilty later on if they ever dare to call the parent out on the abuse.

I give parents the benefit of the doubt as being loving toward their children, since that is how God made us to be. What a strange thing to call attention to. Why don't you give the OP some advice instead of singling out this one statement of mine?

:shrug:

Because it was constantly hearing assumptions (aka the "benefit of the doubt") like this from people, among other things, that kept me in a state of denial and self-doubt for many years before finally realizing my father's true nature as a pathological narcissist who isn't capable of loving me or anybody else but himself. Nobody caught on to it though, because they were all to busy falling for the convincing fake displays of charming and outwardly generous behavior he would put on for everybody else outside his family (more like cult) as well as the good education and financial resources we were provided with. Also he was also very skilled at manipulating me, my brother and my mom so that we always had the guilt turned on us for having the nerve to "blame" him for the constant belittling, excessive criticism and everything else... or we were just being "too sensitive". He even got away with hitting me as a baby and threatening violence on a regular basis with me when I was very young and somehow conditioned my mother to say/do nothing about it even though she saw a lot of it first hand! She would actually try spoonfeeding me these same type of excuses herself.. "oh but you know he really loves you deep inside", "he's just like that but he has his good points too" etc... so anyway please pardon me if I don't put too much stock in these same assumptions when they're quickly projected onto a situation we don't even know that much about yet.

Really, I apologize since I know you viewed this as a meaningless tangent but there was a reason I found it important enough to address.


#14

Lefty,

Just a quick note.. since you stated after my other post that you believe your parents love you, I'll take your word for it. I wrote the other reply because of the jumping to conclusions others were making, but please don't take it as saying that I necessarily think your situation mirrors mine in any way.


#15

[quote="cmscms, post:11, topic:224407"]
Lefty, reading your post brought back bad memories (just trying to show I can relate). Reading the post of evey who responded brought back the memory of the massive frustration that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS.

Lots of people said similar things to me. "talk to your parents about how you feel about playing the piano. Once you explain you have other interest did will understand!':banghead:

[/quote]

ugh tell me about it :(


#16

Okay now finally I can offer some direct advice ;)

Lefty, I might have missed something but I didn't see anywhere that you stated whether or not you had already tried talking to your parents about all this stuff they're doing to you and how it makes you feel. If you have, could you let us know what you told them and how they responded?


#17

CM, it is so good to know someone else has felt like this! It seems like such an insignificant thing when you put it out there (I've been feeling kind of foolish the last few days about it all), but it just feels awful. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it.

Nope, I'm not Asian. Far from it -- Slovak, Irish, and German -- so I don't think the cultural/ethnic piece is really a factor.

Exoflare, I know next to nothing about abuse. Is it possible for your parents to be abusing you when they love you? My parents LOVE to put the blame on me when we argue (sometimes I deserve it, sometimes I really don't and I'm just honestly trying to do the right thing). They have a way of making me feel like asking to do something they don't want me to do -- like quitting cello -- is disrespectful and proves that I'm not listening to them. My friends and their families can't really understand where I'm coming from because to them, my parents are awesome. They will never argue or yell at me when people outside the family are around. It's this little "inside" circle that is so nasty. I feel so trapped.

The other day my dad gave me a hug (it felt so awesome) and he said, "Have I ever told you I could never have asked for a better daughter?" I kind of shrugged, and he said, "Well, remember that next time I yell at you." I just stared at him... what am I supposed to do with a statement like that?

Thanks for all of the help!


#18

I've tried to talk to them about some of it; I'll give you guys a few examples.

I've asked many times if I can quit cello. We always get into a huge argument over it. My mom is fixated on the fact that I "used to like it" and she wants to know what happened that I hate it so much now. Honestly, I'm not sure. Then my parents ask me what I'll do instead and when I don't have an answer other than joining the Lifeteen group at my parish (which they don't approve of), we get nowhere. Both my parents get really upset and angry about it and then usually Mom will yell "fine, I don't care if you quit," which is obviously not true. Though I have asked them really nicely not to do competitions, they force me; it's almost like they want me to do them just so they can be proud of me.

One of the few times I've recently talked religion/faith with my mom was after she confiscated the book I was borrowing from a fundamentalist friend. She made me feel absolutely awful because I hadn't told her I had it and she started yelling at me that I could become a Baptist if I wanted (although she said she would think I would wait until I was 18). I don't know how she got the impression I want to become a Baptist (trust me, I don't)! My aunt, when she was here over Christmas, asked if I was becoming a religious fanatic because I wanted to go to Mass, and Mom didn't say a word to defend me.

If I ever suggest that my parents aren't listening to me or that I'm angry because I feel like they're controlling my life, they like attack me and make me feel really guilty for thinking that by throwing the blame all on me. Like I feel way guilty about this whole thread... and they haven't even seen it.

On a side note, my brother will admit in a minute that my parents favor him and he has it way easier. What annoys me, though, is while he occasionally will stand up for me in an argument, he still takes advantage of it.


#19

[quote="lefty22, post:17, topic:224407"]
Exoflare, I know next to nothing about abuse. Is it possible for your parents to be abusing you when they love you? My parents LOVE to put the blame on me when we argue (sometimes I deserve it, sometimes I really don't and I'm just honestly trying to do the right thing).

[/quote]

I'd like to reiterate first that I don't want to jump to conclusions in your case, as far as labeling your parents themselves, either way. However the answer to your question is basically "yes". It's important to consider exactly what you mean by "love" though. Sometimes for example abusers will use the words "I love you" or whatever else even though they don't mean them because they see it as another method of emotional control that most healthy functioning people would not ever bother to question. Without seeing the arguments between you and your parents first-hand, I can't really say much with the information you've given so far. If you are always keeping track of what you say in these arguments and making a conscious effort at keeping the exchange objective and not personal.. and they STILL try to put the blame on you all the time then that's a definite red flag though.

They have a way of making me feel like asking to do something they don't want me to do -- like quitting cello -- is disrespectful and proves that I'm not listening to them.

This is a very bad sign, I'm afraid. Your parents have absolutely no right to force something like that on you in the first place.

My friends and their families can't really understand where I'm coming from because to them, my parents are awesome. They will never argue or yell at me when people outside the family are around. It's this little "inside" circle that is so nasty. I feel so trapped.

This part actually does mirror my situation and is a typical tactic of overly controlling parents. One face towards the "inner circle" and another for the public. Also in many cases there will be hell to pay later on in private if one of the members of the inner circle refuses to play along with the facade, or doesn't "keep it in the family".

The other day my dad gave me a hug (it felt so awesome) and he said, "Have I ever told you I could never have asked for a better daughter?" I kind of shrugged, and he said, "Well, remember that next time I yell at you." I just stared at him... what am I supposed to do with a statement like that?

Okay quite frankly this just creeps me out. :eek: Do you happen to remember how long it had been since the last time he had yelled at you when he said this, by any chance?


#20

[quote="exoflare, post:19, topic:224407"]
This part actually does mirror my situation and is a typical tactic of overly controlling parents. One face towards the "inner circle" and another for the public. Also in many cases there will be hell to pay later on in private if one of the members of the inner circle refuses to play along with the facade, or doesn't "keep it in the family".

[/quote]

Yes, that is totally the way it works! My mom is always saying "don't share this or that with other people" and I didn't used to, but now I really don't care. It's like my parents want to appear perfect, and you're in big trouble if you say something that's not cool with that.

[quote="exoflare, post:19, topic:224407"]
Okay quite frankly this just creeps me out. :eek: Do you happen to remember how long it had been since the last time he had yelled at you when he said this, by any chance?

[/quote]

Um, I can't remember for sure, but I'm thinking it might have been the day before -- it was pretty recent, I do remember that much, but he wasn't at all mad when he said it, which was kind of creepy, as you said. I mentioned it to a friend and she said "oh, it's probably because he loves you but he knows he messes up and yells at you and he just wants to make sure you know he loves you." I'm not sure... it has me all mixed up.


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