Adulting someone else's kids is hard

Oh right, because of dad they are relatively wealthy - live on a gated estate of perhaps 10 acres. It’s financially no stretch for them to pay for college and such. Actually, goddaughter recently learned that mother’s upcoming boob job and liposuction will cost $15,000, and she gets plastic surgery at least once a year. From a friend of mine, “I didn’t know cheekbones could be higher than your eyes.”

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Things have been progressing nicely.

We co-titled Goddaughter’s vehicle in my name so she could be on our insurance, and I’m getting a $1M personal umbrella policy, which was vaguely on my radar before but with an additional youthful driver on my policy, thought it made sense to finally do.

Goddaughter is waiting for acceptance to her new college this week. Her parents made her go to one because it has a high number of Broadway graduates, and former mother (FM) always wanted Goddaughter to be on Broadway.

It was always about FM’s expectations for Goddaughter’s life. Goddaughter opened up that former mother instilled an eating disorder in her, because FM expected that she would stay between 100 and 110 pounds. I mentioned above that FM also pressured Goddaughter to get liposuction because she was more like 115 pounds, which thankfully she didn’t do. Goddaughter says that she’s since repaired her relationship with food, and I believe her. Over the weekend while we were gone, she ate (as I said she could) a decently large amount of candy and got Chipotle, so out of concern I gently prodded to make sure she wasn’t swinging in the direction of binge eating, and I don’t believe she is. I doubt she’s any more than 125 pounds now, and to my eye appears skinny but healthy.

We helped her fill out her FAFSA, which has a section for “unusual circumstances” for which one option is “left an abusive or threatening household.” This includes mental abuse. Called their financial aid office and waited on hold behind 178 other people for a few hours to make sure our ducks were in a row, and we need to wait a couple of weeks for the provisional FAFSA to process to them so we can start the unusual circumstances process. We will require a letter from her therapist as well as myself and my spouse explaining the situation. It’s our expectation she will receive as much as $7,400 from a Pell grant, and possible additional assistance from the school. The Pell grant alone covers a little over a semester, so if we receive that 2-3x with her existing savings it should get her through the remainder of college.

We both reviewed the resume that she competed on her own and she has an interview with Outback Steakhouse… forgot which day, maybe today? But we are friends with service industry folks and we have about 8 references lined up at different restaurants. We’re hoping for a full-time position with medical benefits, but we can always go Marketplace.

Or - has anybody had experience with getting medical insurance through a college? I understand my old university had a plan to buy into, but I was on parents’ insurance so never researched it.

She has a new phone not on the parents’ plan and we keep the old phone off. I know I could factory reset it, but it just upsets her because of all the software on there to track her location and forward texts and call logs to FM. Apparently parents have asked for the phone back, and while I believe we have legal claim to it, we’ll send it back soon. We’ve had 0 contact with parents since we picked her up on Wednesday, except a 10-second phone call from former father (FF). He had texted to inform her she was officially removed from their auto insurance and it didn’t deserve a response, so he called to say that to her, then hung up without saying goodbye.

My MIL has been long-time “friends” with FM. That’s the best I can call two narcissists who talk at least weekly, then MIL constantly talks about how horrible FM is behind her back. Anyway, according to MIL, FM is now in therapy. I’d be so curious to be a fly on the wall - I expect the therapy is mostly (A) a complete show to get Goddaughter to believe FM will change or (B) FM is more seeking validation from a therapist and tips on how to get Goddaughter back. If she actually sticks with therapy for more than like 4 sessions and apologizes and shows improvement, perhaps Goddaughter will maintain contact. I wouldn’t pressure her one way or the other, I would only watch carefully that she isn’t hoodwinked by seeming improvement back into abuse. Either way, I don’t expect Goddaughter to ever move back, and FF seems adamant that she’s only accepted back (not just financially but as a family member) if she moves back home and obeys FM.

FM also had to cancel her lipo/boob job, because Goddaughter was expected to drive her then wait on her for two weeks. I’m not sure if she was more upset to cancel the plastic surgery or to lose her daughter.

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There is another option. She is likely framing the situation amongst her social circle as “I am suffering so much because of what my daughter has done” and is using the therapy as the explanation. They are also getting their excuses in by projecting blame to the daughter vs themselves.

This is win-win for narcissists because they get to project being martyrs to their friends (they get supply in terms of their sympathy) and also make their intended target (their daughter) feel guilty about being in therapy (more supply).

I don’t think people like FM can be “fixed” from a behavioral standpoint (based on the science that I have read), even with therapy. I would not put much hope on that front.

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When I was an undergraduate I had the health insurance through the college. My dad was self-employed, so he was buying in the individual market and he said the college’s plan was cheaper than what he’d been paying… and it was better coverage too.

This was pre-Obamacare so the market is very different now.

It’s certainly worth looking into as it’s essentially underwritten insurance in that college students are typically young and healthy.

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Goddaughter has officially been accepted to college, kicking off an approximately two-week lag time for her provisional FAFSA to process. At that time, my partner and I and Goddaughter’s therapist will submit letters attesting to the abusive household.

Job interviews begin today. She has applied to perhaps 6-8 places so far and had an unexpected impromptu interview at a bookstore, where she’d mostly be stocking the coffee bar and doing light janitorial and book-restocking work. She’s also interviewing for Outback Steakhouse this afternoon. We think a better prospect is a local restaurant interviewing her on Friday, and they’ve already asked “If this goes well, can you start training Saturday?”

I am realizing she was never taught a variety of basic skills, one being how to cook. She offered to cook anytime we wanted but said she didn’t know how to make anything. I said “Hey if all you did was boil spaghetti and put sauce on it sometime, I still wouldn’t mind that!” and she admitted she “could probably figure that out.”

She noted that in her former parents’ household, everything from steak to vegetables was cut with 1 serrated bread knife that went into the dishwasher. She was astonished I made dinner (pan-seared sliced steak and bell peppers with a jarred sauce over rice) in 15 minutes (other than the pre-set rice cooker) as apparently dinner was always a 2+ hour ordeal when made in her home. So, I will teach her some basic cooking.

Adding to list: Brewing coffee (high priority), laundry (middling priority), basic vehicle maintenance (lower priority).

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