I am not OP; that would be u/throwrathem22

OOP was 15 when she made her first post, and she is now 17-years-old. This is her 4th update, and I want to thank u/rogueShadow13 for picking up her previous update. Her first post in r/atheism was one of the biggest in 2021 with over 2,000 comments, and it also trended at the top of r/ relationship advice along with the first update too. I received permission to post her original and subsequent updates here, and she said she appreciated the advice/support she read/received from these r/BestofRedditorUpdates posts, and she sometimes reads it for encouragement when she’s feeling down. Thanks to many who reached out, she has received advice that will hopefully help her soon be able to move out from under her parents. If you read the previous updates, scroll to the very bottom for the newest update from January 18th, 2023

Original Post: June 26th, 2021

My parents and I were talking about my sweet-sixteen plans for the past couple of weeks leading up to what happened, but it wasn’t about dance in the beginning. My parents aren’t vaccinated and they don’t believe in getting flu shots either, and they also didn’t believe that covid was real when it happened. My parents are very religious, and while our church moved to online services in the beginning of last year, they went back to in-person services that were open-air within a few weeks, but people didn’t seem to socially distance afterwards despite the chairs being separated from other people

Why do I bring that up? Because my parents would bring up my sweet-sixteen and how I wouldn’t have one if I wanted to get vaccinated despite how many times I told them it was unrelated, but they said they didn’t care because it was “their money” and that “they didn’t have to do anything for me” in throwing me a party because it was a “privilege”, along with how getting vaccinated “wasn’t putting our trust in God” and how the virus was just a “tool that Democrats used against the 45th”, and we argued a lot about how my party had nothing to do with their beliefs, but they kept holding it over me until they eventually said I wouldn’t have one, but they’ve been angry with me ever since I voiced my opinion, and them taking me out of dance is the latest thing they’ve done

Every so often, they will sit me and my sister down for a talk on a quarterly basis to talk about whatever regarding the family, and I really hate these talks because it’s just them telling us their opinions and things like that, along with new rules that they’ll sometimes have. However, in their last talk, they talked to me without my sister and told me that my current semester in dance and gymnastics will be my last one, and they pointed to what they taught me about purity as to why

Mom said that women are supposed to be “honorable to God and themselves with their bodies” by not showing too much and stuff like that, and in the past, she’s been really controlling with what we wear. No shorts or two-piece bathing suits when we go to the beach or pool, but in regards to the conversation, dad said that he “felt led” to address dance and gymnastics, and that “as I grew nearer to adulthood”, I needed to start thinking differently too. And when I asked him what he meant, he said that he felt “challenged” being in the gym environment in his walk with God, and that he felt God telling him to address it. But I told him that that has nothing to do with me, but he kept pointing to purity and how mom agreed with him too and said it was a “big thing” for him to address it, but it has nothing to do with me, and they’ve been treating me like crap ever since I told them that I want to get vaccinated and wear a mask… something that they’ve refused to do and still do, and I’m now losing dance right after my party, but they just won’t listen to me. I told dad that mom can drive me or one of my friends, and I even told my grandma about it who talked to them about it, but dad yelled at me for “going behind his back” and for being “disrespectful” by going to his mom, and I just feel like I’m losing more privileges the older I get, and I don’t know what to do to make them stop. Is there anything I can do to at least let them have me continue dance, since I can’t talk to anyone else because I’ll just get yelled at again

First Update: July 12th, 2021

When I talked to them again, they said that they would help me keep some of my friends if I was respectful and that it’s a privilege and that they don’t have to drive me. But when they bought up how I was wrong to tell grandma, mom said that we should “build each other up” as Christians and not the opposite by talking about people, and she said that we’re “supposed to help each other in their walk”, but after they said that, they gave me some other options

Dad said that he wanted me to still play sports and try something else, but that I couldn’t do dance or gymnastics or swimming or cheerleading, and mom said the verse about not conforming to the world and that “the world tries to tell you to show too much”, but we are supposed to be different because of God, and dad said that he turns away from commercials that are like that too, but I’ve seen him not turn on many commercials too. When I asked mom what that had to do with me, she said that the uniforms I wore in dance were inappropriate and that I should be “thankful” that they let me do it at all, but dad said that’s why he doesn’t watch olympic gymnastics either, but I told him again that it has nothing to do with me

Since our first talk, dad has not been back to the studio, but he still won’t let me continue after classes end. He also doesn’t want me talking to grandma either, and mom has not allowed me to go over to her anymore. I haven’t told my coach yet, but I plan to before classes end, and I don’t think I’m going to tell my friends since I might still be allowed to hang out with them. But if they find out that I told anyone else, mom said I would get punished because they “already told me once” after talking to grandma, and as someone commented in my first post, a coach might have to tell, and I don’t want to get punished after they already said I would. Is there anyone I can tell who doesn’t have to tell them but can still help me? My sister does dance too, but they’re not making her stop, and I think it’s because she’s younger, but I hate it so much and how I’m the only one who gets punished… not that she should, but it’s just not fair. I’m going to tell my coach, but I don’t want to be punished and I want to ask if there’s anyone who doesn’t have to tell them, since if I tell my doctor, they may tell my parents because they’re paying for it, and I don’t know if they have to tell them

Second Update: August 1st, 2021

Since my last update, I talked to my coach, and I also had a chance to think about everything more. Before I get to her, I want to talk about dad and what I now think of the whole situation. When dad talked to me, mom said he was doing a “big thing”, but he hasn’t done anything to work on himself, and I want to explain what I mean. When mom took my sister to gym without him, he stayed home and watched TV, and he hasn’t seen a therapist or anyone in church about it; he said that no one outside our family should know about it. As part of “working on himself”, he said that he wouldn’t watch olympic gymnastics/swimming this year, and he wouldn’t go to the gym for 2 weeks while he’s “fasting”. But as of right now, he’s been back at the gym, which is why I decided to talk to my coach

When dad first talked to me, I didn’t know what “challenged” meant, but after our follow-up talk about how I can’t do sports that require a similar uniform to gymnastics, it made more sense, and I want to explain why. If dad was feeling challenged by one of my classmates or instructors, he would’ve let me continue gymnastics and just move to a different gym, but because he didn’t want “me” doing dance or swimming or gymnastics because of the uniforms, I began to think that it was me who challenged him, and that is what I talked to my coach about too. I didn’t want to think it was me, and I kept telling myself that it wasn’t in my mind, but if it was a friend or a teacher, we’d just switch gyms. But because he didn’t want me doing gymnastics or swimming or dance anymore… it wasn’t a gym thing, and I didn’t want to believe it. He could’ve had mom drive me permanently if he was feeling “challenged” and always stay home, but even me getting dressed at home could “challenge” him, and that made me scared about something else

Given how dad isn’t watching olympic gymnastics/swimming, I began to feel uncomfortable with him having sports pictures of me through the years, and now that his 2-weeks of fasting at home is done, he’s back at the same gym watching my sister’s practices, and that also made me believe that it had everything to do with me. I hate writing that, and it makes me feel horrible when I think about it at home. I don’t want him having pictures if he sees me like that, and I don’t want him at the gym for my sister either, and my coach said that she would talk to the head coach about it, and I could barely make it through that practice because I couldn’t get it off of my mind. I’m scared that dad gets off to me with old pictures, and grandma also told others in the family about whatever she and dad talked about, and dad’s mad at me because now it’s “a thing” in extended family. He’s been to one practice since his 2-week fast, and my coach said that she would have a follow-up with me at my next class, but she also told me that she may have to talk to them or authorities after talking to our head coach, and we’re going to talk again at our next practice

That’s basically it; dad is upset that the family knows, but he hasn’t told me anything about calls or anything else, and I don’t think I’ll know until I see them for the holidays. I don’t know what will happen when I talk to my coach again, but she agreed that dad shouldn’t be at the gym, and she said that the head coach might talk to my parents before our follow-up, if they weren’t talked to already when dad went to my sister’s practice for the first time since his fast. Dad’s been really upset with the family stuff, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got talked-to by the head coach and didn’t tell me yet, but he said that we’re going to talk again soon, and I wanted to write this because I’m afraid that I’ll lose privileges or maybe my phone, and talking here has been really helpful when I can’t talk to grandma or anyone else, and I don’t want to lose that. That’s why I wrote this now because I don’t know what privileges I’ll lose. I should delete this, but I don’t want to because I have no one else to really talk to. I thought about showing them, but that’ll definitely make things worse. I know I’m probably getting punished, but I want to ask if there’s anything I can do before that happens, before we talk again about extended family now knowing, and most definitely if/when the head coach talks to them too. Is there anything I can do to just let this die down? I don’t even care about gymnastics anymore; I just don’t feel comfortable around him anymore, and I’m also afraid that the same will happen with my sister if it hasn’t happened already. Is there anything I can do or plan to do after we talk and after I get maybe punished?

Third Update: September 15, 2021

When I made my first post about three months ago, my sweet sixteen party was one of the main points, but in the aftermath of everything that’s happened with gymnastics, I really couldn’t care less about it and was rather glad that it didn’t happen, given all the extra baggage that came with the party surrounding the vaccine and their religious views on it. However, as of writing this, I am now 16. There was no party, and I honestly don’t mind. My mind has been on other things, and I told my parents that I didn’t want to celebrate either, since I’d be losing my friends from gymnastics, and as punishment, they wouldn’t be allowed to come because I told grandma. However, the main reason why dad wanted to talk to me last time, was because grandma told his family what I told her, and now more people knew about it too. Dad said he received calls from other people about it too, and that made him want to talk to me again, since he said that it could “ruin his job” too

When I made my last post, many people encouraged me to call my grandma and inform her about how I was punished for reaching out to her, and a few even encouraged me to ask her to help me call CPS too. I waited until my parents went to sleep to call her because they have a habit of standing outside my door if they hear me talking on the phone recently, but because of the time that they went to bed when I called her, it was almost midnight and I couldn’t get through to her. I called her numerous times, but I just couldn’t get through. I didn’t feel comfortable calling CPS on my own, and I didn’t want to explain it by myself without talking to anyone, but I was able to call my aunt (on my dad’s side), and talk to her. I didn’t want to have to tell her the entire thing from the beginning, but she said she already knew because grandma had told her, but she didn’t know about how I was punished for telling her and that I was scared about our call tomorrow. I also told her how I had to hide that I was talking to her, but when I mentioned CPS and wanting her help to call them, she told me that grandma told dad that she would call CPS if he followed through on removing me from gymnastics, but that she wasn’t sure if she actually called them or not. I assume that that was probably a part of what they were arguing about, but auntie said that she’s not sure if grandma would actually call on him despite wanting to or thinking she could convince him. So, auntie said that she would call them for me because I didn’t want to talk to them, and I was afraid of my parents hearing me and coming down to ask who I was talking to

When my parents talked to me the next day, they talked about grandma and some things I didn’t know. Mom said that someone in dad’s family messaged one of her relatives who called her about it, so now someone on her side of the family knows too. And despite the issue with me telling grandma already being handled weeks ago, they were upset that more people besides grandma knew and said that it was stressful for them. When I asked if I was going to get punished for it, dad said that I wasn’t going to finish the rest of my class, but in regards to my phone, he didn’t take it away from me. When I asked him about my friends and when I could see them again, he said that that “wasn’t important” right now and that my sister won’t be going back to her classes either, but he didn’t say whether or not one of the coaches talked to them or anything, and I don’t know as of right now. Mom also said that her parents were pretty upset when they talked to her, but because of the stress, dad would be taking some time away from work and staying with his brother to work out some things, but he didn’t tell me specifics or for how long. Mom said it’d be temporary and that he would still be here some of the time, and she also said that her parents might try to visit her as well although she told them that she doesn’t want them over. However, as of writing this, dad has been home a little bit here and there, but he’s also spent time at his brother’s and sometimes overnight, which is why it’s been slightly peaceful at times

I’m not sure when CPS called them, but the day after we talked, mom told me that she received a call from CPS, and dad thought that I had called or told someone else. I told him that I didn’t and that I didn’t know who called, but he didn’t seem to believe me, although he hasn’t bothered me much about it since. However, mom has been talking on the phone about it at home, and when I was able to talk to my aunt again, she said that she might’ve been getting advice or something. But since they called, mom has been upset ever since dad started going over to his brother’s. She’ll get on me for small things, and I feel like she’s just taking out her frustration on me whenever she can, usually yelling and just not talking to me sometimes. My sister, on the other hand, hasn’t talked to me much either since she got pulled out of gym, and I think she’s holding it against me that she was removed. She’s given me short answers and has avoided me some, and while it’s been quieter for a little bit without dad, mom said that he’ll be coming back soon permanently, and I’m afraid that things will go back to the way they were when he does

After mom told me about the CPS call, I told my aunt about it, and she suggested calling CPS on my own since my phone wasn’t taken away and in case she missed anything. She also said it’d be better to call before a potential visit in case my parents don’t let them in or try to tell me not to say anything. I didn’t want to call without her, but she was right when she said suggested that mom might not let them in because that is what she did. However, nothing has happened even after I called or they visited, or at least nothing that I’m aware of. I’ve talked to my aunt about trying to stay with her closer to when dad returns, but as I’m back in school now, I’m considering talking to a teacher, since I couldn’t a few weeks ago when school was out. But I feel like there’s a lot they’re not telling me, and I don’t know if there’s anything they can or will actually do, since dad hasn’t done anything besides say a lot of things, and he’s never touched me or anything like that. He’s also allowing me to do sports, but not the three ones that I mentioned, and because he hasn’t done anything, I don’t know what to do from here. Mom’s upset at me, and my sister is upset at me too. My dad is really stressed, and I’m having a hard time focusing on school too. I’m sorry for this being so long, but I just want to ask if it’s worth it to call them again, since I’m afraid that because it’s all verbal, they won’t do anything unless I’m just not aware of them of them working on it

Fourth Update: May 18th, 2022

I really don’t feel like retyping my last 3 updates, so I’ll just leave a link to it (https://www.reddit.com/r/AskParents/comments/pp0plt/final_update_myf15_parents_are_pulling_me_out_of/). I didn’t plan to make any more posts, but something happened recently that’s been annoying after I found some peace. It’s been a few months, and I talked to a teacher about what happened and she said that she would have to report it as part of her job, but nothing really happened despite my aunt saying that they might call CPS as she did. But besides that, nothing much has happened besides talking to my teacher from time to time as things had quieted down until recently. My younger sister has been allowed to go to her practices after dad took a 2-week fasting break from attending (along with telling me that I couldn’t do it at my age anymore) so that he could “work on himself”, but not seek therapy at all. He just stayed home and didn’t even talk to a church therapist and said he wasn’t watching the olympic gymnastics as “fasting”, and then in 2-weeks, he was back at the gym again. However, this post is not about that

A few people suggested trying to keep up my skills by practicing at home, and I began to do that after my parents went to bed downstairs in the garage where we have some space, and I’m always downstairs after they go to bed and had been doing this for a few weeks. However, my mom came downstairs randomly and saw me practicing when she went to get laundry from the boiler room. I had headphones on and wasn’t bothering anyone, but mom said I’m “not allowed downstairs after she goes to bed”, and when I asked her why, she said that I was being “disobedient” and that when dad said stop, he meant stop gymnastics entirely and “not going behind his back”. I told her that I could try to practice in my room although it was a little small, but she made the new rule, and I can’t stand it. Even when I go down to get a drink, she’ll hear my footsteps on the stairs and get up to come down and tell me to go back up (a few times), and I haven’t been able to practice in over a week after finding a way to do it for the past few (we have a mini-beam in the garage too).

She also told dad who yelled at me about it, but I’m at the point of just about being done with gymnastics (again) after the nonsense with the gym. Mom has even put up a camera in the living room that goes to her phone after we talked, and that is what made me want to write this. Yes, I could try to practice outside or at a park, but I’m just tired of all of it and want to ask how to deal with the camera. My aunt has talked to my parents a few times, but they got into an argument and they don’t want me talking to her. I also told my teacher who said that she’d report it, but nothing has happened and I’m just tired, and I regret trying to practice in the garage because mom said that the camera isn’t leaving and that I’ll get punished if I do anything to it. But, she never said anything about not practicing at home until that one night when she made that rule. I’m sorry if I’m posting way too much, but if I can get the camera removed (apologizing didn’t work), I’ll just lay low… although mom pulled that rule out of her behind as if I was supposed to magically guess it

Fifth Update: January 18th, 2023 (New Update)

I’m 17 now, and a lot of people who reached out really helped a lot mentally on previous posts. Parents recently talked to me about college and explained how dad’s fasting has become a “testimony” which makes no sense

One of the main reasons I came back to this was because a lot of people reached out in my other posts, and I can’t stress how helpful it’s been. I talked to my aunt and my teacher at school as mentioned in my previous post. Auntie said she called CPS, and my teacher said she was required to report on it too. But as I said in my last post, nothing came from it. A lot of people said to call CPS myself too, but others said it wouldn’t do anything because dad hadn’t done anything to make CPS get involved. I also didn’t want to call at my home because they could overhear me, so I called with the same teacher I spoke to at school. But that was a few months back, and nothing has happened since. I told them about the fasting and bullet points from my posts, but nothing came from it. However, some of the people who commented/messaged on my posts really helped my stress, and I can’t stress that enough. I was really stressed when I made my first post, but hearing others say I wasn’t crazy really helped because there were so many emotions going on. Someone even messaged to ask if they could summarize my post on a subreddit that archived posts (r/BestofRedditorUpdates) in case my parents found my account/took my phone, and revisiting some comments has honestly helped on days I’ve felt down

In regards to mom’s cameras, she still has them up, and I haven’t practiced gymnastics in months. I’m honestly done with it and don’t know if I’ll return. I also wanted to get a job last summer, but they said I didn’t deserve it with how I was acting, and by that I mean asking dad to keep explaining why I couldn’t do gymnastics along with trying to practice skills at home… only for him to make up some nonsense about how I wasn’t allowed to do that too after mom caught me practicing in the garage and told him. I hope to work this summer, and it’s been a few months since then. I’m not getting my hopes up, but I hope I can. The reason I’m posting today is because of a conversation we had surrounding college, and they wanted to talk to me. They said they wouldn’t consider letting me go unless I showed respect, and they also talked about the gymnastics thing again when they said they didn’t want me doing it in college. I talked about college a little in my previous posts, but they flip flop on “you’re not going” and “we’ll think about it” depending on their mood/my behavior and trying to hold it over me

Dad said he wanted to explain his fasting again because it had something to do with college gymnastics. As of right now, my sister is still in gym, and he pointed to the scripture about how we’re “supposed to be in the world but not of the world” (John 17:11, 14–15) to explain why he returned to the gym after fasting. He said that God put us in a world with temptation because it allowed God to show his power through us and give us testimonies, and he said that his struggle was a testimony too… but it makes no sense because he punished me for venting to auntie way back and didn’t want anyone else to know (what’s a testimony that you don’t tell people?). That’s why he fasted and went back to the gym that was making him stumble, and he said that fasting attending for 2 weeks “gave him new strategies” for when he returned, but he didn’t say what they were when I asked. When I asked why he had to go back at all, he said it was because my sister was younger and that she’d also find a new sport as she grew older and her body began to change. Mom said that the uniforms became “more” inappropriate for girls as they grew, but that they were “also” inappropriate when they were younger and making dad stumble currently. It makes no sense, and they’re talking from both sides

I want to go to college and I’m considering sucking up to do so, and they’ve been back and fourth about letting me go and flip flop a lot. But part of me thinks it might be better to just focus on moving out as some suggested without college as soon as possible. If I do college with their money, they’ll be super controlling about it. Heck, they’re trying to control me not doing gymnastics in college already, but I just threw that out there because it’s not likely when I’ll be rusty of over two years of not practicing until I turn 18, so it’s not realistic that I’d be in any shape to make a team. But that’s where I’m at, just trying to focus on moving out, but I do get depressed over having to give up gymnastics for nothing I did wrong, and I want to talk to someone about it one day like a professional outside of school. It just might be awhile until I turn 18 and longer if I don’t have a job before then, but talking to many who reached out here has really helped mentally, and I wanted to say thanks for that. I’m also open to any suggestions on my plans or anything else I said from an outside perspective too

edit: What I hate the most is how dad ruined my chances at making a college gymnastics team. My coach and I were working to prepare me for it, and we did private lessons too. But when dad pulled me out, everything just stopped, and when I tried to practice in the garage, mom told dad and made up a rule. Dad said that no more gymnastics meant “no practicing at home too”, but he NEVER SAID THAT until then

When he said no gymnastics months ago, he said I’d be “done with gymnastics at the end of the class”. He never said anything about not practicing at home, and he punished me by not letting me work last summer RIGHT WHEN HE MADE THE RULE. He didn’t even give me time to obey the rule; he just made it up and punished me for it minutes after making it. And by the time I turn 18, I will have been out of gymnastics for 2 years and unrealistic to make the team. He literally destroyed my chances of doing it in college


Comments from OOP:

“I applied for jobs last year, but they said I wasn’t allowed to work last summer after I began trying to keep some gymnastics skills by practicing in the garage. Like, mom caught me, told dad, and dad made up a rule saying that no more going to gymnastics classes meant no practicing at home too when he never said that beforehand and expected me to automatically know, then punished me and said I couldn’t work. I’m trying to work this summer, but am nervous if they pull some crap like that again and don’t give me my work papers/other stuff I need. I’ll apply again way before this summer, and I hope to have better luck than last year. If not, then I’ll work on finding a job as soon as I become 18 and applying before I turn 18 too if I can, but it might push back my college start because the priority is just getting out”

“Might have to delay my college start if they don’t allow me to work before 18 as they did this last summer, but I’d apply for jobs before turning 18 to be ready. It just might push back college a little bit (assuming I can’t get financial aid without my parents signing off or something) to get out of the home first, but it’s something I want to do. I’ll also look up the book too because I’ve wanted to talk to a professional, but have mostly been talking to my teacher”

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