I am blown away by your post! This could be my life story because I am going through the same. exact. thing. I just want to tell you that you are not alone. I only have one virtuous friendship whom I completely trust, so she knows about my situation. Frequently, I need to ask her for a reality check from her because I feel like I imagine all of this because they gaslight me and have manipulated me for years. They can be so nice sometimes and say they love me, but I can’t believe it when I hear what they say about me behind my back. I felt so guilty seeking therapy and spiritual direction from my priest because my parents brainwashed me to never think anything negative about them. But, reaching out feels SO good. I know it’s hard and I feel like people will blame ME when I tell them about my situation, but I can promise that people do care about you. My priest was deeply moved and sympathetic of my struggles.
My parents have made me completely dependent on them and have said I am disrespectful when I told them I am car shopping, wanted to get a job, anything that will have them lose control over me. I have always thought them overprotective and controlling, but my priest told me that I am being emotionally and verbally abused (I don’t know if this is the same for you). Only recently when I sought therapy for depression, anxiety, binge eating, low confidence, self loathing, and perfectionism that I realized how dangerous this is and how much my negative, critical parents have affected me. They tell me that family is the most important thing and that no one else will care about me like they do (God, I hope not!). But, I’ve been mentally separating myself from them and opening up to my friends and am finding, people like me! and they accept me as I am! What I did was I made a list of the things my parents have done (I feel guilty making a “everything my parents have done wrong” list, but I need it as a reality check because I still don’t believe it) and negative worldviews they taught you. Sort out what they brainwashed you with, and what you actually know to be true. Identify these behaviors and work to eradicate them. You don’t deserve to be treated like this!
What is the worst is that I have an older sister who thinks absolutely nothing is wrong. She moved away for grad school, but texts practically every hour. She worships my parents and thinks they are the best…which is what they want! So, I can’t even talk to her about this. But, she realizes that our parents treat me differently. When I’ve tried to address problems in the house (like wanting to be closer to my father), I am called ungrateful and completely invalidated. The only time my dad has spoken to me is to yell at me. We have no other relationship. What is sad is that, I don’t even want one with him anymore. My therapist (an LMFT) urges me to work with them and let them know that I’m not abandoning them, but I disagree with this. It only feeds the dangerous behavior and would insinuate to them that they’ve done something wrong. My instinct is screaming that this is a bad situation and I need to get out now and do healing on my own.
Sorry, this got long, but I wanted to share with you. Sending love.