New to Group! Help! Daughter in College Is Clueless

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-2013
New to Group! Help! Daughter in College Is Clueless
Mon, 11-11-2013 - 2:18pm

Hi! I have been an I villager in the past, but never in this group. I spent years trying to wing it with my DD, with little outside advice, because frankly, the situation is so multifaceted that it just seemed like too much info to try and sort through, in an online forum. But I'm at a point now where my DH and I can't agree on which direction to go with her...I am disconnected from the rest of my I don't know where else to turn, to seek advice.  If anyone has the patience to try and sift through this with me, and offer some opinions and advice, I would appreciate it.  I suppose the response that I get here will guide how indepth this conversation becomes, but the basic problem I have right now is that I think she's about to fall flat on her face. How (and IF) I intervene at this point could very well impact our entire future.  I'm afraid to do nothing, for her sake, but stepping in could be risking my other kids, my finances, and even my marriage. I don't know what to do. 

My daughter is 19 going on 15. I love her dearly, and I'm very concerned that she's not mature or responsible enough to make the adult decisions required of her now, yet she's so head strong and blatantly disrespectful to me and my DH that we have been unable to successfully guide her...every learning opportunity erupts into a battle of the "I'm over 18 and you can't tell me what to do."  Parenting her has always been a challenge, but I'll spare you the years of details at this point. She's in college now, living in off campus dorm style housing, and her poor decision making is mounting to the point where it appears as though her world is about to come tumbling down.  I don't want to see her fail, and my heart aches for what I can see coming a mile away. 

She chose to enter into a lease contract ($550/mo), but is about to lose her job (again!), so will soon not be able to pay for it. She's a full time student, but lost her scholarship because she couldn't keep her grades up, so the student loans are mounting. She's still a good student, and I'm proud of her for that, but her GPA fell below the necessary level to keep her academic scholarship. There are so many reasons that living at home with us is difficult at best (torture on all of us, frankly), yet having her at home is really the only way I think she moves in a positive direction. Sadly, she's not mature enough to handle even the basics of life (seriously, she doesn't even brush her teeth at night without being told), yet she just went out and got herself a dog (despite us talking to her about all the reasons it was a bad idea). She relies on everyone to drive her around because she refuses to learn how to drive. She has some real emotional issues (heartbreaking, as a mom, to see this), that despite my best attempts to get and keep her in counseling, seem to mount rather than resolve as she gets older.  She's more concerned with posting "selfies" on various social media outlets than she is with figuring out how to have real life relationships, and she refuses to discuss this fact.  She's not able to sustain friendships because she is unbelievably self absorbed, competitive, jealous, and negative. I'm sure this is a result of poor self esteem...another fact that she refuses to discuss, probe into, or do anything to change. I have tried and tried to help her and guide her in many ways throughout her life, and have done everything I know to do. We've tried coddling, tough love, and everything in between. I love her, and will never give up wanting to help her, but now that she's an "adult" there seems to be nothing I can do to help her succeed and grow in a positive direction.  She always finds a way to go against any logical step towards growth and responsibility. 

If you're still reading, thank you. Again, this conversation can go in a bunch of different directions if anyone is interested in diving into this with me, as there's so very much that I have not touched on. But, I guess my general questions are these...

Do I help bail her out of her lease, when she finally admits that she's in over her head? Financially, I can not comfortably take on her lease. This will put a huge strain on the rest of the family. I can help her find someone to sublet, but then what? She (and now this new dog!) should move back in? She is not willing to keep a clean room and bathroom (seriously, her room looked like a bomb went off for years), she will not help out with household chores, she does not feel like she should follow any rules, she's nasty to her brothers, and she's downright disrespectful to me and her dad when she doesn't get her way, despite being told that it's not acceptable. No amount of consequences or loss of privleges was ever enough to guide her towards respect or positive behavior.  Her mantra always seemed to be that she would do what she wanted, how she wanted, and when we wanted, and there was nothing we could do to change that. 

If she were to move back home, I'm concerned about the negative impact it will have on all of us, but as a parent, my door is supposed to always be open, right?

Regardless of her living arrangements, how do I get her to want to learn how to drive, so that she can become a self reliant individual? We learned that forcing her into the drivers seat only causes more arguments and animosity, and closes her mind off to learning, even more.  We tried to promote situations where driving seemed like her own idea, with no success.  Driving school was a waste of money, it's like she never went. She learned nothing from a paid instructor, as putting her on the road is still downright dangerous. She just plain refuses to learn how.  The first semester of school, she literally called on friends to drive her to school every day. She'd pay them or guilt them, and once they got tired of carting her around, she'd find new people to do it. And if she couldn't get a ride, she'd just skip class.  I tried entering into agreements with her where we'd take her to school if she would make the effort to learn how to drive...or make an effort to keep her room moderately presentable...or help out around the house...or simply speak to us with respect...but she refused to hold up her end of the bargain. 

Again, sooooo much info being left out here.  A little background info for anyone who might be interested in helping me sort this out...Her bio father walked away from her as a baby, and made years of broken promises, thus causing a ripple effect of daddy issues and trust issues. Eventually I remarried and had 2 more children, which my daughter never figured out how to accept and embrace, rather than resent and revolt. Her real father gave up custody when she was 8, and my DH adopted her...but no matter how hard we tried to help her feel and see that "daddy" can be the one who chooses to love you as his own, she just couldn't drop the chip on her shoulder or that "you're not my daddy" attitude.  Anyway, I was a young single mom for the first 8 years of her life, and made many mistakes, I know. My family all tried to make up for her father by making sure she didn't want for anything in life...which inevitably has caused some of her issues, I'm sure. People used to tell me she was a classic spoiled rotten brat. I recognized the pattern, and worked to show her gratitude, humility, respect, and compassion.  This was a process, and was very trying on my new marriage, at the time.  She knew she could be difficult and cause arguments, driving a wedge between everyone while putting herself on center stage. She actually seemed to enjoy it.  My parents overstepped their grandparental bounds a gazillion times, causing more of the issues we still battle. My daughter quickly learned that she could manipulate everyone, get what she wanted, and start family wars in the process.  So now, after years of battling, I have chosen to disconnect from my extended family rather than battle them on every thing, and have them sabotage me, my DH and kids, around every corner (that's a whole other post!).  My husband and I learned how to be a team and not let our daughter use us against one another, which has made her revolt against everything even more.  So here we are!

That's the tip of my iceberg of issues and questions. If anyone feels compelled to offer advice or engage in helping me "right the ship," I would very much appreciate your positive guidance. Thanks so much!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Unfortunately some people really have to learn things the hard way.  Should you bail her out by paying for her lease when you can't afford to do it?  No.  For some college students, the parents would agree to pay for an apartment instead of a dorm but if you did not agree to do that and as you said, she is losing her job (again), then she should be responsible and get another job!

You mentioned a whole host of reasons why you should not let her come back to live with you.  I don't see any reason that a parent has to let an adult child live with them when the child won't do the basic things that any family member should do, like clean up after herself and obey household rules.  My DD lived at home after college until she got a full time job, but she cleaned up (not only after herself but I'd come home & find her cleaning the kitchen), she paid for her own expenses and she was no problem at all to have around.  I wouldn't have let her live there if she acted like you described.  It's very simple--you don't want to follow simple rules, then find your own place to live.  She wants to do whatever she wants whenever she wants--well then she can figure out how to do that!

As far as learning how to drive, if she doesn't want to learn, why would you force a bad driver onto the strees to possibly kill herself or innocent other people?  She doesn't seem responsible enough to drive--not to mention, who is going to pay for the car & insurance?  Hopefully your town has buses.  There are plenty of people who can't afford a car and manage to get to work or school on the bus.  And I don't think she is such a great student if she can't keep her grades up enough to maintain her scholarship.

If the grandparents and assorted other relatives think they know everything, then maybe they will take her in.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

I agree with Musiclover. If she doesn't want to learn to drive, don't force it. She can walk/take the bus/ride a bike/take a cab....just like all of the other people who don't have cars or chauffeurs. It sounds like her friends will all "just say no" when they get tired of being her taxi. Anybody else who doesn't want to be her taxi should follow their lead.

I also agree that you are not obligated to let her move back to your home. Your first responsibility needs to be to your minor children, and to your marriage. Since you know that she will disrupt the household in every way, you cannot invite those problems back into your home. This is where the "I'm 18 and an adult" kicks in for her.

What was the arrangement about how college was to be paid for? If she needs the scholarship to afford school and she has lost the scholarship then the result is that she cannot afford to go to college anymore, correct? I understand that its a shame when a student with potential cannot attend college. Unfortunately, to be a successful college student requires more than sounds like she does not have some of the other skills required.

I do not think you should take over her lease. I think its time to let her take responsibility for herself in all areas. I do know that its really hard to step back from it, especially since you have been trying so hard to help her for so many years.

Like Musiclover said, some people have to learn things the hard way. Every time you prop up your dd you postpone the day that she will "get it". I also have a strong willed dd who thought she knew everything at 18-19 and wasn't open to listening to advice. We had to let her fall far enough to realize--and accept--that she didn't know everything, and was ready to start listening. Then it was still hit and miss as she slowly matured and accepted responsibility for herself. So I really do understand how difficult and frightening it is for you. 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

Your child displays all the symptoms of someone with psychiatric/emotional disorders that have never been adequatly addressed.  I'd say, personality disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety and ADHD would be the most likely candidates, plus whatever trauma caused by abandonment, etc.  I would no more throw a child like this out on her own, than I'd throw an untreated diabetic out, and say figure it out yourself.  But that's me.  What *I* would do, would be to take her home, and tie living at home to receiving ongoing psychiatric and medical care.  And I would suggest counseling for YOU, to teach you how to care for, and cope with your child.  Plus, going for counseling yourself may make it more acceptable to her.  I would also suggest you use the SAME psychiatrist, so they can see both sides of the problem.  But at this age, I wouldn't expect immediate, or complete success.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 11-11-2013 - 7:48pm

Sabr, I would agree with you except---if her dd is like mine was, and I suspect she is---she won't abide by the "rules" to get psychiatric help at this point, but will drag the family into her chaos if she is in the home. We had to let dd sink pretty close to the gutter, then bring her home for a long weekend so she could contrast "cozy and normal" to her situation. Only then did she have enough perspective to realize that she was a mess. (plus it helped that she was very weary of struggling on her own) THEN we brought her back home on the condition that she get a diagnosis and follow doctor's orders. Which she did, because the meds and therapy helped her to maintain more appropriate behavior, and she knew that if she didn't stick to the plan she would be back out in mess-ville again. Once they're legal adults they have to buy in to the process.

By all means, the OP should suggest professional help and if her dd agrees then proceed.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009

Welcome to our corner of the village and gentle hugs to you.

I agree with what the ladies above have posted.

The economic and financial issues are easy to dispense with.

If you did not sign the lease, you have no duty to pay anything. The landlord will take it back, release it, and perhaps sue your daughter for the deficiency and legal fees suffered by leasing to your daughter, not you. Her credit gets dinged, not yours. Good luck to her debt holders. If you did sign it, you may have to pay the deficiency after they evict her for non-payment. My guess is that they will be more than willing to work out a payment plan over several years for you. But, pay nothing unless you signed the lease!!!!

If she lost the scholarship, she was the one who lost it, not you. If she can’t make ends meet, it’s time for her to go to a local community college and local state university. We have two daughters and two SILs who went that route, lived at home, and got BS degrees for around $15,000 in tuition, fees, and books for each BS degree after tax credit benefits. Law School is on their dime and debt. In most states, community college costs are less than $2,000 per year. If you’re signing onto her student debt without results, STOP IT, as that debt can (and will) be collected from you and hubby.

(As a side point, for some kids who lack direction, I think dropping out and working for a year or two before or during their college years can be beneficial. They learn lots of valuable lessons that may motivate them to return and apply themselves. Hubby did that for a year after landing on the “Dean’s list” (academic suspension) and I should have, rather than changing majors like underwear. During that time they have to work 40 hours per week during this time and pay a minimal amount of rent and food costs during this time. Flipping hamburgers is fine. If you feel guilty taking the rent and food money, put it away for her to use later.)

Stop fretting over her lack of driving. If there is no bus service, you can drop her at the community college on your way to work and pick her up after work if necessary. Once again, this is a choice of hers.

I think Sabrtooth is correct about it being a psychological illness situation which will require professional help, and as Sabrtooth said for both your daughter and her parents. This professional should be able to help you and her understand what is reasonable for her and the family to work through this situation.

Something else a professional may be able to help you and hubby with is determining whether she is manipulating you for no valid reason other than getting things her way on her terms. This is not good for her or your family.

Professionals may also be able to guide you in dealing with your parents. My attitude would be mom and dad, you’re not helping here and hubby and I would like you to stay out and keep your mouths shut.

The professional can guide you on how to block out much of this friction that you should not take ownership for. As well as guide you in insulating the younger brothers from the situation.

Maybe Sabrtooth and Elc11 can help guide you on locating a good therapist. Some are better than others.

As I recently heard, “There is no pain greater than parental pain.” But things like this often do change with time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998

First of all, don't throw good money after bad. If you bail her out with the lease, you'll only be enabling her irresponsible behavior and the point right now is to put an end to it. Yes, she does need therapy so if you spend another dime on her, pay for that if she is willing to go. As Elc said, she may need to hit rock bottom before she realizes that her situation isn't tenable.

If this were my child, I wouldn't let her live on the street, but I'd take her in only with a lot of unbreakable strings attached: she must help with chores, she must have a civil attitude toward everyone in the house, and the dog has to go to a no-kill shelter (unless you want a new dog!), she has to keep a B average. She can live there month to month, assuming all the conditions are met. If not, she has to find somewhere else to live.

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998

It's time for her to fail. If she were coming to you for help and actually TAKING your advice, had a game plan for making things better, that would be quite a different story. If she's fighting you, well, then it's time to just let her take her knocks. She might need the lesson in humilaty. 

If it makes you feel better, I did something similar at 19. I didn't fight with my parents exactly. I pretty much just cut them off for a year (and I was going to college across the state.) I made a ton of financial and educational mistakes that I paid for into my late 20's. My reasonings were fear based. I had gotten a "D" in a college class and that had never happened (I hadn't even experienced a "C".) I was so afraid of their disapproval that I just ran instead of actually talking to them. I moved in with my boyfriend and didn't tell them were I was. I bounced checks. Struggled to pay for college that they rightfully stopped paying for when I stopped talking to them and ended up having to drop a semester. Went through a few jobs. Total mess. However, by 21, I got mad enough at myself to fix it. I patched things up with my parents. Returned and graduated college. Did a year long internship across the country then settled down close to my parents. Married  a super responsible guy and raising my family. My parents and I have been really close ever since. It's a little blip in my life that anyone I've ever told is absolutely shocked to hear.

I know, it's scary to let your kid crash but in my own case, it was the right thing for them to do. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2007

Oh boy, how I can relate.  So so many things you describe are my also 19yo (difficult to parent, ADHD, also 19 going on 15, VERY stubborn, very impulsive) lazy and unmotivated son.  And we cannot tell him ANYTHING and have basically given up trying until he is ready to listen which we are sure is not till either a major crisis or when he is a parent himself. We are instead resorting to totally natural consequences.

Slightly different to your DD, he didn’t want to actually learn to drive but DID want to drive and passed his test 2nd time, almost 19 - with about one hour of practice, and hungover – NOT on my dime! (I actually called DMV to let them know on the first try that he was taking his test with no practice – tough love? Really wanted to call them on the 2nd time too as he still did no more driving but didn’t work out for me).  I cried when he passsed – and not with joy!  We (his stepfather and I) had refused to take him for his license and had his enabling but non involved Disney dad not helped him get his license with no practice, and then handed him a car, and the insurance, (which DS is paying for) he would still not be driving and it would be fine with me!  And surprise suprise - less than 4 months later he just got his first ticket – the natural consequences are beginning!  He is not in college and likely will never be and I accept that due to the fact that he was non academic and non compliant at school and did as little as possible to scrape through and we just were happy to have him graduate!  He is living with us only because he agreed very reluctantly to pay a very nominal rent amount (works as minimal as possible just like in school, and a nice settlement again via his dad makes this do-able – till that runs out) and has surprised us by paying 3 months rent so far – still early days.  We also require he follow some very basic rules including respect – and one of those means I see some kind of reciprocation at Christmas and my birthday, something always lacking!  We will follow through and he may well be finding a new place to live if he does not come through on this one.  It took a final blow up where I was done and told him to leave for him to realize it was time to cooperate.  We still have very low expectations and our list of rules and chores are very minimal but then again we drew our line in the sand and he is on his last warning which means one major infraction including not paying rent and he is gone and I will have to eat the consequences. in exchange we are not on his case like we were and there is NO way he cannot notice this and how reasonable we are being (and perhaps very slowly that will mend the broken relationship) - and if not and he still is non compliant then we are back to our stand that he finds a new place to live.  It has been a long rough road and I have no doubts it will continue to be but now he is an adult the rough road will be more on him than on us as it was when he was a minor and we still had a certain amount of control.  His sister 3 years younger and thankfully night and day to him, (4.17 gpa, college bound, worked at age 13, cooperates and respects us blah blah blah – but my first time out of 3 kids!!) has little respect for him, and just wants him to move out, said she knew when she was aged 8 that her brothers (yes theres another one who isn’t doing much better) were very different!  

Anyway this is a very brief summary of my similar situation. Yes what you are facing is the “letting go” that we hear about, and that just happens to be much much harder with difficult to parent/stubborn ones like yours and mine and others. My mum also had one and she still does not speak to our parents 30+ years later and her 23 yo son has not met his grandparents, due to her stubbornness, cannot be told anything, all the traits I see in my difficult one, plus she has struggled in the work/business world unable to work for anyone, now almost 50.  We barely get along either as she has taken advantage of me also many times. 

In conclusion, these kids are absolutely exhausting, and we have to find a way especially once they become adults to make them accountable and not save or micromanage them as we did more when they were minors.  The term “letting go” has actually been easier for me with this one, because I was soooo exhausted just getting him graduated and I still had another teen to raise (with no involvement except financial from the father).

We have to let go a lot more than with kids who are willing to listen and take our guidance, and I had to come to the conclusion that it will most likely take a hard fall or maybe more than one, before he is willing to take our guidance. In the meantime we just have to let him learn the hard way.  The other posters give great advice, I agree as hard as it will be its time for tough love - it gets easier the more you do it, I have been doing it more the last 5 years with the help of a supportive husband/stepfather since the father was useless:  you already know that how you react will affect your minor children and husband and as someone said your priorities are them now she is an adult and refuses to cooperate – (like someone else says, the word cooperate is the key – if they cooperate we can do so much more for them).  I also made a conscious decision focus on my one minor child who does the “right” things and cooperates with us.  And I am a lot less stressed!  You can only do so much with these difficult kids now adults – believe me I know!  And when his sister commented recently how nice it was that her brother had no commitments – I was able to remind her that down the road a few years she will be the one earning 2 or 3 more times what he will be still earning minimum wage and not be able to buy a house etc etc. Oh, how I can relate!  If you want to chat more and ask more questions I lurk and dont post a lot, but will when someone needs help on something I have experience with!  It takes a lot of re teaching combined with absolute TON of support/assistance preferably from the Dad, but if not the stepfather.  Exhausting and a ton of strategizing I know, and I am still doing it but not on the same scale now we have backed off with this difficult one. 

mom_uk2socal - Mom to DS22, DS19, DD16

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-2013

Thank you so much to all of you that took the time to respond. I appreciate everyone's advice. As an aside, I think this post might show only as a reply to the last poster, but it's meant as a general response to further the conversation...sorry if I'm doing this incorrectly ;) I will try and touch on some individual things that some of you said, in an effort to give more clarity. Please feel free to jump back in to offer further thoughts on my situation.

It is truly my goal to do the "right" thing here, knowing full well that I have clearly failed miserably with her, thus far. I agree that tough love might be the best choice here, and that's ultimately the dilemma I am in. When I said my DD is 19 going on 15, I was being very literal. Her maturity level is really that of about a 15 year old. She has obvious emotional issues, likely resulting from being abandoned by her father (combined with years of what I consider resulting emotional abuse); add in a likely ADHD diagnosis, and the perfect storm of a troubled child who can't seem to function even remotely as an adult, has been created. That said, how could it be right to NOT open my doors for a "15year old" who is incapable of handling adulthood successfully? As much as I want her to mature and learn, it feels abusive to not come to her aid if she needs to come home.

I guess I should point out that she has not yet asked me for anything. She is following her own path, and I can see her struggling. I know where she's headed based on life experience, so I'm just trying to prepare myself for how I will handle things when her life implodes. I feel horrible, actually, saying that I see she's about to fall flat on her face, because she really is trying to make it on her own. I am proud of her for that...yet disappointed at the same time, as her impulsive and selfish decisions always seem to lead her towards failure and without friends. She refuses to change, even though she must feel disappointed and lonely. I just don't understand.

So, regarding her job that she's about to lose...she can't keep a job (or friends, frankly) because she has a bad attitude. Her bosses always seem to have it out for her, eventually. She takes forever to complete tasks, and looks for ways to cut corners on her responsibilities. She's manipulative and self motivated, only motivated by jealousy or out of the need for attention. She is unable to positively take any criticism, and her attitude reflects that. She always ends up in trouble for something she does while at work, yet she'll blame it on everyone else. Anyone else who is succeeding at work instantly becomes her enemy, and eventually the entire group wants her gone. Inevitably, she looses the job (and friends), and the same thing happens at the next place. That is, once she actually finally finds a new job. It's not like she's got job offers left and right. She talks and acts like a 15 yr old, so she isn't being presented with options other than fast food joints. This is where her lack of ability to drive becomes a huge problem. There are only so many places within walking distance of her dorm (or home, if she was living here). Inevitably she ends up using her friends as ride options until she loses the friendship, and her ride. Again, she's not really able to maintain long term friendships, so it's like she's in a constant search for friends and rides, all the while, never realizing that her selfish behavior and bad attitude are the problem.

Clearly, she needs psychological counseling. I forced her into it several years ago, and it was a bust. She and I had one that came to our home, and talked to us together. This counselor quickly discovered that DD had unreasonable life expectations, and each session started to become focused on getting DD to change her behavior and attitude. As soon as she realized that the counselor was not going to take her side and gang up on me, she refused to participate. A couple years later, we tried again with a different counselor. The idea was that she would go, and familiarize the counselor with her side of the situation, and then I was supposed to go join in eventually. We didn't end up getting that far, because as soon as the lady got to the point of telling DD that she had to confront her Daddy Issues, and self esteem problems, my daughter stopped going. Lastly, I encouraged her to see a psychologist over by her school. I know she has gone a couple times, but I think she's just discussing her likely ADHD diagnosis, rather than tackling any of the other emotional issues that she is plagued with. Since she doesn't live at home, and is an "adult," I can't force her to go or what to discuss. I suppose, if she ends up having to come home, I can use this as a tool...but honestly, it won't benefit her until she's willing to be open to it, and I just don't know that she's at that place of acknowledgement yet.

Let's see...oh, we don't live in a town with bus service. The only college option nearby is a 20 minute drive, and it's the one she goes to. Driving her there every day is feasible, and we did that with her for a while. But being held hostage by her school schedule is not exactly convenient, and frankly, when the arguments erupt we become quite resentful of the situation. Honestly, when her room is gross, her attitude is nasty, and she's not following any of the rules of the house, it's tough to want to be her chauffeur. We end up in a battle and tell her to we're done giving with nothing in return, and then the cycle starts again. Insert the friend/ride merry-go-round here. Easier to just help her with her dorm lease instead of dealing with all this again??? Absolutely! But that's not the "tough love" answer that she might need to grow up, nor is it smart for my own financial situation.

In response to her grades that a couple of posters mentioned, she does have a B average. She's actually a better college student than I was! She's currently carrying a 3.3 average, and does have a career goal. She definitely gets in her own way, as what she SAYS she wants to do with her life and how she is currently handling her life are two different things (I can't see how she'll make it to where she says she wants to be, with the way she's handling herself). Her shortcuts continue to backfire. Her self serving attitude pushes people away. Her immaturity does not promote success.

The more I read what I'm writing, it seems additional counseling is maybe where I should focus my worries? Advice on getting her to go, stay, and actually work through her issues maybe?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-11-2013
Sorry for that run on paragraph. I tried twice to edit it with separate paragraphs...not sure why it won't post that way.