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The picture you paint Pam, is one of chaos and dysfunction. The very opposite to what family life should/could be.
I am a compulsive gambler who created havoc in my home and left a trail of destruction behind me, The lies and the secrecy have a greater effect than the actual gambling, on both the CG and the family.
I suppose I was “lucky” in that it was I who gambled and not my husband. Otherwise we would be in prison now for non payment of bills mortgages etc.
When violence and abuse creep into a relationship, it’s time to take serious action. It seems you’ re carrying the full responsibility for the marriage, the children and the living expenses.
As a mother of now grown up children I can relate to your reaction to you husband’s sneakiness and deceit. Ideally, you should not spy on him or try to track his movement because CGs are experts at twisting things around and portraying ourselves as the victims -“look what he/she made me do”. This sadly will cause confusion for your children and force them to have divided loyalties .
Until the CG admits he/she is powerless over gambling, nothing will change in the gambling world.
As you rightly said, gambling is both delusional and an illusion so when you try to apply rational thought and words to an irrational situation, all you will end up with is more chaos, more abuse and more grief.
Take ten steps back Pam and look at the things you can do.
You CAN go to gamanon, as Worried mama suggested.
You CAN stop paying all the bills and insist your husband pays his share.
You CAN arrange Family Counselling and go with the kids, even if hour husband refuses to attend.
You CAN seek legal advice regarding your rights and his duty as a husband and father.
You CAN tell the kids to “ask daddy” when they look for outings and treats.
You CAN draw up a plan explaining your intentions i.e. from now on the grocery bill/TV /internet bills will be halved-make a list of the “terms and conditions” and stick to them.
You CAN never “call his bluff” unless you intend carrying out your threats.
I know your husband is trying to be the “big man” by throwing shapes right now That’s the CG’s defence. I can guarantee that underneath that façade there lies a very scared little boy. Feeling out of control drives a CG to act tough but the time will come for him to face his demons and with his hand on his heart say “My name is ********I am a compulsive gambler”.
Until that time comes Pam take a fool’s advice and remain silent. Words mean nothing to a CG. Action is what matters and from what you describe, you need to take urgent action.
I wish you all the best in YOUR recovery.
Just for today admit to yourself that YOU are powerless over your husband’s gambling.
Stay close to this site.