I've posted about my family situation before, but I think I can talk about it more objectively now, so I'm interested to get a few more opinions.
I'm 16 and I have a brother who's 19. Here's some of the stuff that's going on:
-- my dad will go crazy over the smallest things (ex. I lost my phone for a week for "not communicating" well-enough about staying after church to do homework before religious ed. And I DID tell them I planned to do that. Another example: once when my brother and I didn't make a salad for Sunday dinner, my dad went seriously ballistic over it with absolutely no warning. All he or mom had to do was ask and it's not a regular chore that we just didn't feel like doing that day). These kinds of things happen all the time.
-- my mom distorts the truth, leaves important things out, or outright lies whenever she needs to in order to make her look good to others or my dad (often at me or my brother's expense). If we ever point it out, she absolutely insists that she's correct and my dad believes her over us, which is incredibly frustrating and sad; telling the truth is useless sometimes because no one will believe you.
-- my dad went snooping through my email one day and before I had a private account, he and my mom must have read at least some of my emails, because they would ask things that they couldn't know unless they had. If I ever gave them reason to do that, I can see how it would be a little more understandable, but I never gave them reason and also, they have openly denied it.
-- Talking to my parents about things is useless, too. I tried to tell my mom how I've been feeling and in tears, she told me she was sorry if she'd made me feel like this, but after a week or two of obnoxious overly nice behavior, everything was back to normal -- with the addition of snide comments about what I'd told her I was feeling. My brother also tried to talk to my dad and be honest with him and that went equally badly (in fact, my brother still won't tell me the details... the conversation crushed him and I've never seen him look so shattered).
-- my parents have forced me to continue playing cello competitively, despite my extreme dislike for it. This has led to some really embarrassing moments for me and also put a LOT of stress on me. This and several other things have led my brother and I to think my parents are using us to gain glory for themselves. (In fairness, after 6 years of this, my parents have finally given me permission to quit some aspects of cello.)
-- We used to argue practically constantly about pretty much anything and everything. Often they blamed me, saying everything was my fault or I tried to make everything as hard as possible. Usually they distorted my words, made it impossible for me to win and stuck me in impossible binds, and I ended up having a hard time discerning reality because of all their flipping sides and lying to me.
-- Now, we don't argue as much, but we also don't really talk about anything substantial. Silence is kind of our "communication." My parents know next to nothing about what's going on in my life.
-- My dad has started heat-of-the-moment "spanks" that he laughs off, but really have a bit of oomph on them. He also threw an almond at my brother once when my brother said something that was too honest for him. Might not seem like a big deal, but my brother has life-threatening allergies to nuts... and dad tried to laugh it off, too. Needless to say, my brother didn't find anything funny about it.
-- For all the times my mom has suggested counseling and I've told her yes, let's go, she never follows through.
-- Dishonesty is the best way to live in our house. My brother will readily admit that I'm the "good kid" of the two of us, but to my parents, it's the other way around because I don't hide half my life -- chatting with friends, texting, and other "useless" things -- from them like my brother does.
-- My parents are threatened by my interest in Catholicism, though they are Catholics and attend mass weekly themselves. I would likely be in huge trouble for being a member of CAF (though they probably wouldn't care to know that I felt so trapped, needed help, and some of the people I've met on here have totally turned my life around), and I can't even imagine what they'd do if they knew I've been meeting with the priest at our parish without telling them and that I've been to Reconciliation recently.
-- The strained social interactions at home are starting to rub off on my life outside the house. I don't know how to interact with people socially and there are basic situations where I don't know what is "normal" behavior anymore.
-- My parents are overly concerned with their reputation (ex. my brother is in his first year of college and he's going to be transferring to a music conservatory, but my parents won't let us tell anyone because they're afraid people will think badly of them for letting him pursue music).
-- I'm terrified to express my emotions and show any kind of reaction to things at all. That seems to bother my parents more than anything and has led to some pretty ugly scenes and exchanges. I'm pretty sure repressing my feelings is what led me into pretty severe depression for a while.
I'm probably forgetting some things; it all blurs together after a while. My parents seem generally oblivious to everything, too convinced that they are great parents to stop and think about what they're doing. I've struggled with guilting myself for everything and particularly when posting something like this, I still do feel guilty and question my perception of the reality of things because my parents can be so manipulative.
But, I guess I'm just looking to see what you guys think of this. Normal? Not normal? My friends' families don't seem to work like this. What should I do?
Thanks for reading. :) I'd appreciate any advice you can give me.