Feeling like I failed granddaughter - what to do?


Hi MollyB, glad you're here, but sad that you're dealing with this situation :(

You did everything right. Trust me. You did. The guilt is horrible, and we can all relate to your feelings of guilt. That might be the hardest part of dealing with a difficult grown child/grandchild. We always just know we did something wrong to cause the messes they make. NOT TRUE.

I wish I'd found this group many years ago when I first started having issues with my grown daughter. I was a fixer, and a helicopter mom. I continued with that nonsense way longer than I should have, thinking it was the right way to parent, but now I know it wasn't.

There comes a time when nothing you do for them will be the right thing, and they will always want more and more. It's one thing to help support a college student who is responsible and making good grades (when they make good grades they WANT to share that info with you). When they decide they want to do their own thing, but send you the bill, that's the first sign that you might be an enabler. Enabling (doing something for someone who CAN and SHOULD be doing it for themselves) is never a good thing.

Read the post here about disengaging (I think that's what it's called). Print it and read it often. There will be a lot of helpful folks come along with better advice here, but I just wanted to say hi, and hang in there. Come here for support. We understand each other, and some of these gals have been a bright light in my day so many times.

Hugs <3


Roll With It
MollyB, I am sorry that I didn't see this until now. I am so very sorry that your granddaughter is behaving in such a hurtful, ungrateful and terrible way. NONE OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT!!!! Please let me repeat this - Not one single bit of this is your fault.

You gave this girl everything. Literally handed her a gift that so many people would be incredibly grateful for. She not only threw your gift back in your face, she stomped on you as she did it. She is an ungrateful, spoiled selfish brat. I strongly suspect that she has some sort of personality disorder or character defect. Some people are just mean and wrong and won't see the error of their ways until they have burned every single bridge and are living under an overpass. It may come to that for her, and you must learn to be strong enough to let her deal with whatever the consequences of her actions are.

You continuing to pay her way will accomplish NOTHING but the loss of your self esteem and it will increase her belief that it is perfectly fine to treat people who are loving and generous and kind in this abominable way. Yes, her behavior is abominable. I actually cannot find enough horrible adjectives to describe how she is treating you.

What she is doing is gaslighting you. She is trying to tell you that something happened that didn't. She got caught doing something she shouldn't, she got caught in her own web of lies and she went on the attack. I swear there must be some sort of manual out there for twisted difficult children because this is pretty much a textbook attack. She is trying to convince you that things that didn't happen, did happen, and that things that did happen, didn't happen. It is ridiculous and rather like the 3 or 4 year old who is standing there with icing smeared all over his face trying to tell you that he didn't eat the cupcake, what cupcake, do we have cupcakes? When did we get cupcakes? Only with an adult it is calculated, nasty and ugly. It is also stupid. Just because you say something 50 or 100 times doesn't make it true. Sure, you may convince people who were not there and who don't listen critically to what you say that you are telling the truth, but that doesn't make it the truth.

Given the amount of money she is burning through, I suspect drugs are involved to some extent. Or maybe alcohol, but likely drugs. I would not give her a single dime. I can see maybe the phone if that gives you comfort. But if she uses that phone to abuse you, cut it off. Do NOT tolerate abuse or disrespect from her - you do NOT deserve it.

As far as her being in debt because of you, that is 100% bovine excrement. She is in debt because of her foolish ways. SHE signed those documents. You did not hold a gun to her head to make her sign. You did not choose the school, make her go and spend all that money, or in any other way drive her into debt. You gave her everything and asked for an incredibly small thing in return. You asked her to get an education. How DARE you! What a HORRIBLE thing to want! You wanted her to better herself! What an outrageous and awful request!!!!!! NOT!!! Her accusations are simply ridiculous. She is blowing hot air because she isn't getting what she wants.

It is time for her to grow up. You need to help her do this. The absolute BEST thing you can do for her right now is to NOT contribute to her toxic ways by supporting her. She needs a clear message that her behavior is unacceptable and until she changes and shows true remorse, she is on her own. She can deal with the debt, the boyfriend and whatever problems she has on her own. The rest of the family is right about letting her stand on her own two feet to face the consequences of her choices. Just because you CAN pay her debts does NOT mean you should. In this case, you should not. It won't help her and will tell her that she can continue in this way and continue to harm people with impunity.

I am sorry it is so painful. Posting here, to people who understand, will help. I also suggest you read the article on Detachment. You may find wisdom in the following books, "Codependent No More" by Beattie, and Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. Both are excellent and are fairly easy to find. Given that you mention that granddaughter has had problems with drugs in the past, it would be a good thing to go to Alanon or Narcanon Family Meetings. Addiction is a disease that makes the entire family sick and the entire family benefits from treatment, not just the addict. I am the adult grandchild of an alcoholic. I didn't know it until I was an adult and I was flabbergasted. I was more shocked when I realized how much those alcoholic behaviors of my much loved grandparent impacted MY behaviors. I never even saw my grandparent drink. So your granddaughter's problems and use of substances DOES impact you and it is likely that Alanon or Narcanon will help if you let it.

(((((hugs))))) I am sorry that your granddaughter is so ungrateful and unloving. If I could have even one day with any of my grandparents, I would treasure it and give up any amount of money. Your granddaughter is a fool to treat you like this. An absolute fool to turn her back on so much love.


Well-Known Member
I am always flabbergasted by loving parents/grandparents who think doling out cripe loads of money is a good thig to do for even a college student or that its a real horror if tbe poor kid, who is badly abusing those parents, do not buy them cars. Even more surprised that they actually believe they should pay their adult kids debts when they steal, lie, and quit obligations. I also am quite sure bad drugs are pribably here and you are unknowingly paying for her and boyfriend to buy them. Susies post was spot on. I agree with petdonality fisorder also posdible.

Maybe because we have always been of very modest means, no extra money, it just stuns me. From where I sit I think a lot of the problems our sassy abusive kids have is they think its Christmas every day snd that, like a selfish three year old, they should get wads of money from their families on demand and abuse you if you dare say no. Then you feel guilty.
Here is my story as a challenged financially mom. My kids, even difficult ones, worked part time in high school. They were not bought cars and had to pay for their part if the insurance and gas in order go drive our beater. They only got enough money for Walmart clothes and could save from work if they wanted to spend more, but they werent really picky about brands and were still pretty popular. One of my faughters was homecoming queen. My kids that went to college went to two year colleges and one paid her loan back. Our name wasnt on the loan. She bought a house (now this is an ex meth addict). All my kids, including an autistic son, work hard and live i independently and got their own cars. They all have excellent work ethics. They know they have to do it. We cant. They are prpud of themselves. We are proud.

Im very glad we couldnt and never felt handing them free money and housing and vacations and pedicures showed love. I know you meant well and love yoir kids to tje moon. We just had a different way of showing it. I always felt that warching them learn to grow up independetly was a greater gift. They are not bitter about not having had things handed to them, not evrn my oldest and still difficukt child. Financialy he does very well, has his house, car and makes a college grads income but he never went to college. College is not as important as drive.

So do I think you let granddaughter down by not paying for her lies and bad behavor? I think you let her down every time you give her money and no consequences. You owe her nothing. Its sad ypu even paid a nickle for the boyfriend. What would she have done if you hadnt? Been abusive? She already is. Why does a 19 year old have the power to ruin your life? Forget tbe guilt anf lies. You cant live fior her and she isnt learnibg how to make it on her own. Many must stumble to learn how to be an adult. She is young but she is living without concern for anypne else. She needs to grow up.

Its your time to take care of yourself. You parented already and you cant be young. Dont waste the rest of this life kowtowig to her selfish whims. In the end, that hurts both her and you.

I assume she us able bodied. Her and this boyfriend can work. My autistic son doesnt drive. He walks or rides his bike to his two jobs even in Wiscobsins winters. Our adult kids are not china dolls. Tbey can handle cold and get to work. Cars cost a lit of money that your granddaughter doesnt have. Why is that in your shoulders? She can save for an older car. Thays how my kids started out, many kids, not just mine.

I wish your kind heart well. Start to get excited about the rest of your life. Travel. Do new things. Explore. I am 63 and we are going to RV in a year.

Granddaughter has to choose her own oath, like we did. Take care. Ypu are so very kind...people walk over kind people and dont respect them. Sad but troubled kids give us blame, never credit.


New Member
I asked the moderators to delete my original post -- I thought maybe I wrote something objectionable or violated privacy rules because my post hung for hours "awaiting moderation". I'm glad it was eventually posted so at least a few people could see it, before they acted on my request to delete it.

Thanks to all who sent helpful advice and good wishes. I know you're right. I gave her too much, expected too little of her, and caved in to her demands to make her happy, or to avoid her anger if she didn't get her way. I know first-hand how poverty feels, how hunger and hopelessness feels -- things I wouldn't wish on anyone -- and I suppose I was trying to shield her from that. I'm so sad she has made these choices and thrown away family love and opportunities for school, jobs, sports, etc -- looking back now, I see a long trail of these behaviors and a tendency to make self-destructive choices for herself, and then blaming others for her choices. It has always been someone or something else to blame, never her (in her mind). Things spiraled out of control quickly when the current boyfriend entered the picture, but it's not a new pattern for her and I can't really blame him for turning her against us. This was her choice, probably encouraged by the boyfriend but still her choice. She seems determined to learn things the hard way and somehow I must detach and let it happen. It breaks my heart to look down the path she is on, see the pain headed her way, and know that I can't save her. I read and re-read the Detachment post, as well as your responses, and it does make sense and helps to push the guilt and shame away, at least partially. I'll still pray that she comes to no harm and turns herself around. I know there are many more tears and sleepless nights ahead, self-blame, second-guessing whether I did the right thing, but hopefully that will fade with time and work. Thanks again and kind regards to all the hurting families.