Adulting someone else's kids is hard

Last night was a 2 1/2 hour call untangling all kinds of stuff, and it’s another reminder how angry I am at their mom for mentally fucking them up.

m called last night, we had to fill out paperwork from one of the credit card issuers on fraud. OK, no big deal, we get through that pretty easily. Then we get to talking about other stuff and m talks about M talking to the POSF about money and it makes m uncomfortable. [Note: m has zero relationship with the POSF because of past comments and actions of POSF, especially as the mom is dying], m asks if we know about it and if we condone it. Our position is “when he says he’s going to give you money, push him on it - if he doesn’t, you’re no worse off; if he does, that’s a bonus.”

This turns into a discussion of their relationship with POSF’s parents, who are the grandparents they never had and the twins have a really close relationship with, and their fears about losing that because of POSF. And that turns into a discussion of how m is more independent and has dealt more with losing their mom, while M is much more dependent and hasn’t dealt much with losing their mom, and talking to POSF gives them a connection to how things used to be because living in that fantasy world is better than dealing with reality. Which, that might have been OK, and then Mrs. Hoffman had about a 30-minute speech and ripped all the band-aids off and m became completely apologetic about being a burden, causing us problems, upsetting us, … the whole gammut. And then I spent about the back hour of the call trying to walk m down by repeatedly showing how they’re not a burden, we really do love them, we’re in this for the long haul, etc.

So, I’ll get to spend this week trying to undo some of that and trying to undo the mental trauma their mom inflicted with no one will love you as much as I do, no one else will want you if you leave type comments we know she made to them. :slight_smile:

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I’m sure it’s hard for them to stop seeing themselves as a burden after the trauma they’ve experienced. I’m positive you tell them this all the time, but in case you need a reminder of how important your words and presence are to them, let them know at every opportunity that the reason you’re so angry about this situation is on their behalf, and not because of them; because they deserved so much better than what they got, and they are worthy and deserving of love, resources, time, kindness, etc.

I’m glad you’re giving them so much of yourselves in all of this. :heart:


I can’t compliment you enough on what you are doing. Awesome.

Only tiny quibble I have is about being a burden. Summary of what I’d say: “No one wants to be a burden, but sometimes they are, because some parts of life are a burden. We bear it because of love. Sure you can help yourself, continue to do that, but since we love you, we are here to help you with that burden. If you can’t help it, it’s OK.”
Of course, not everyone can hear that, and you surely took into consideration what they needed to hear.


So much brainwashing (long-term bad parenting) to undo. Keep fighting the good fight, TH!

They keep saying “well, I’m 20, I should know this stuff.” When I was 20, I was pretty goddamn smart and I can look back and say “there was a bunch of stuff I still needed to learn.” And I know money is a major sticking point for them, because of things previously outlined, and I keep repeating “you don’t worry about what we’re doing, we can afford to help, if we have a problem we’ll say so and we’ll talk about it.” And they’ll vacillate between “I’m not worth this” and “thank you so much, I really do appreciate it” and it’s reminding them that they really are worth it.

It really is a lot of

and the only time I kind of get upset is when they apologize for being a problem, asking questions, etc. because they shouldn’t ever have to apologize for that. But, I’m not about to tell them when they do that it grinds on me a little. It’s not that they grind on me, it’s their mom’s selfish antics that kept them dependent on her and created all of their issues that grinds on me.

Probably should keep a list of what their mom did that has caused all this, to remind them that it’s not their fault. You have proof that all of it happened. They cannot refute it.

Can also try “I’m rich, b!tch!” cuz actuary :rock out emoji:

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Going through the credit cards was a big one. They had to say out loud “my mom took out credit cards without my knowledge, she committed fraud in my name.” How much that sunk in, I don’t know, but just saying it and having to do the work we’re doing is significant - it’s not been “wait, Mom would have never done that, maybe this was POSF” and we have to fight through that.

The rest of it? [Scrolls up to see what all I’ve said so far about things.] I did mention they lived in a shithole, courtesy their mom and POSF. I haven’t gone into everything we know about that. Or, how long that’s gone on. Or, things we’ve learned from their godmother about her experiences with their mom. I’m not about to remind them of it. Or, fill in details they didn’t know. Of course, last night was quite a bit of Mrs. Hoffman going through the “list of things that happened” and m was not ready for that. Maybe one day when they say “I want to know” we dive into it, but I’m trying to smooth into those things and not drop the bomb on everything at once.

Keep it on the ready.
Perhaps you can provide an “On this day…” calendar?

I could probably post an update on things, but this is worth a special post.

Mrs. Hoffman gets a call from someone. She thinks it’s pain management calling to set up an appointment. No, it’s someone looking for the twins’ deceased mom. They won’t tell Mrs. H what they’re calling about, they can only speak to [dead mom] about it. Mrs. H calmly explains “that’s going to be a little difficult at the moment.”

“Oh, is she available?”
“No, she’s definitely not. She’s been dead since late July.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, you have my sympathies.”
“Oh, I don’t need that. She was a fucking piece of shit who ruined her kids’ lives, the best thing she ever did for them was die so I’m really glad she’s dead now.”
“… um, OK, thank you.”


Might be adulting somebody else’s 20-year-old kid before long here. She’s my spouse’s goddaughter.

Mother is an insane narcissist and I could go on a LONG time, but just to give the basics - she came to visit us this weekend. She had ended up taking a semester off college due to anxiety/stress issues that aggravated COVID-induced autodysnomia.

She is living with her parents for the moment. She wants to apply at a few different places but Mom won’t let her, instead she is forced to work at the school where Mom works.

While at our place, she stood up to her mom to say she was staying another night (when she was completely on free time) and got screamed at, and thankfully she didn’t back down. Upon arriving back home, Mom had set up a date for her with a boy named Zebediah she had never met. (The mom is a fundie Christian and goddaughter has come out as bisexual, so she is trying to make her straight enough by getting her engaged to a boy.)

When goddaughter was getting ready for the date, mom yelled at her for not wearing the outfit she’d picked out for her. She was also screamed at because we told her that as long as she doesn’t hurt anybody, she should live her life to be happy. Apparently we’re a bad influence and are putting her on a path to Hell.

Dad and his previous now ex-wife had 3 kids, or to hear goddaughter tell it, “technically 3, but really 2”, because they entirely cut one of their children out of their lives for converting to Islam. They previously threatened to cut goddaughter off for being bisexual as well, but seem to have settled into a stance of “You’re not allowed to talk about liking girls or ever introduce a female romantic partner to us, but as long as you only fuck boys you can be bi.”

Mom tried to lease a condo next to goddaughter’s college campus (>1000 miles away) so she could stay for extended lengths of time and see her every day. She also tried to force herself into a college girls’ trip to New York City (also far away from us) by renting a hotel room at the same time and asking goddaughter when they were going out together.

Goddaughter’s little sister is still in high school, but has begun also expressing “mom is crazy” and “I can’t wait to move out” and “I can’t tell mom anything about my life or she uses it against me.”

I’m 100% waiting for goddaughter to tell us she’s going low- or no-contact shortly after she graduates college and can support herself.

In the meantime, we’ve made tentative plans for her to move in with us in May through August to get away from mom and be able to enjoy a life.

It’s taking all my effort to not tell goddaughter’s mom, “The way you’re acting, you will end up in a nursing home and your daughter will visit once or twice out of a sense of obligation then never see you again, and finally she will sigh in relief when the problem resolves itself as you die.”


Another detail I forgot is that Dad is drug testing goddaughter weekly, because she admitted to smoking pot. She only did it a few times specifically because she wanted to do things her parents would never allow while in college. If she’s found to be positive for cannabis she’ll be kicked out.

She’ll rarely have a glass of wine or a couple of tokes. Not that we encourage her to smoke or drink more, but we don’t care if she wants to have a couple puffs every week or two. We certainly won’t be drug testing.

(Mom, FWIW, is a drunk.)


good for you. Just… wow. Obviously some boundary issues. Yelling about clothes and following along on a girls’ trip for a 20 year old is outside the pale. And the attempt to move in nearby. You can believe is some religion (and be against any drugs, although, if you are, it helps not to be a drunk yourself) and still have the obligation to be gentle about the religion part once your kids are adults.

Many religions do believe that there are obligations outside " as she doesn’t hurt anybody, she should live her life to be happy". Your goddaughter doesn’t need to listen to her parents, but it might help to not make it obvious until she leaves (although it sucks to try to be the only adult in the room). It’s good of you to be there to take her in.


We’re not overly trying to influence her, but when she comes to visit us and is complaining about all this and asking our advice, we’re also not going to withhold advice from an adult.

She’s currently walking a line of sometimes standing up for herself, and sometimes acceding in order to stop the screaming. Everything is eggshells for her. When her mom (just today) was yelling at her for not wearing the outfit mom had picked out, goddaughter mentioned that she was on her period so she was bloated and those pants weren’t comfortable. Mom then yelled that she shouldn’t talk about those things because they’re private, even though it was a private conversation between daughter and mother.

I’m not worried just that “the parents are Christian”. So are mine and they’re good. So are my spouse’s and they suck, but they just happen to be Christians who also suck. Right now, goddaughter is not Christian and has interest in some wiccan/pagan stuff including crystals and horoscopes. I don’t think it’s exactly a religion, but she’s exploring things that were forbidden to her before after having only 2.5 semesters away from home, and she’s figuring things out. If she decides she’s a witch, okay it doesn’t hurt me, or she changes her mind. Personally I think both Christianity and wicca are a bunch of BS, but I have no need to push my beliefs onto others if they don’t ask.

Make sure she never weighs the same as a duck.


Needs a restraining order, if possible.

Cross-postable to Happy Thoughts: 8:30am, and this is going to be a great day.

We have letters from one creditor. They acknowledge m and M’s mom opened up credit cards in their name, without their knowledge or consent. The accounts are permanently closed and credit reporting agencies have been advised to remove it from their credit files.