I think you are quite right that this is a problematic api. While I can't 
address your specific question, I had tons of problems with TLF in the past. It 
caused strange bugs that would break my movies(this was in CS5) At the time, 
there were a lot of complaints on the forums with TLF with the solution simply 
to not use it. You can google "problems with TLF text" to see a lot of the 
issues and some of the clunky, heavy workaround solutions.
I noticed that Flash CC no longer supports TLF, which I found gratifying - as I 
had lost tons of hours dealing with it, while on deadline no less.
So, good luck, as it sounds as if your application requires TLF!!! But if you 
weren't too far committed, I thought this bit of history might help you in your 
decision making to use the api at all.

> From: flashco...@benga.li
> Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2013 18:53:41 +0200
> To: flashcoders@chattyfig.figleaf.com
> Subject: [Flashcoders] TLFTextField drowning me ...
> So I have this complex TLFTextField vortex where I try to let user format 
> text with … Bullet Lists for example.
> So … so so …. I have got this overly complex and deep question to whether 
> some did write this API or was it thrown together by some spaghetti monster ? 
> (ok, this is some intentional pun towards bad Adobe documenters not doing 
> their work)
> Here goes my question/remark/complaint/doom:
> Why is it /so/ hard to remove a ListElement ?
> If you wish to answer, don't bother reading, just get that:
> How can I remove a bullet list I added with EditManager.createList ?
> I see EditManager.createList (which works perfectly) but why on earth no one 
> did a 'EditManager.removeList' ???
> How can I remove a bulleted list I added with code ? Why is it not available 
> per se in the EditManager public methods ? Since when do we use a Class to 
> createSomething, and totally fail to provide the removeSomething part ?
> The only almost feasible way I found was using ListElement.moveChildren … but 
> maaaan: this only happens to be a success if you don't add button that let 
> the user decide when he/she wants to format some part of some text …
> This TLFTextField is quite a debacle. I wonder if Adobe people know that no 
> one can handle such bad APIs and documentation :'(
> Cedric, all in flames.
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