Well done writing your post, I know it would not have been easy.
I know that what I am about to say doesn’t change anything overnight but I do know that it works. The best thing you can do for you and your mom is to put ‘you’ first. You are not responsible for your mom or her addiction; you cannot save her from herself; the only person you can save is you and you deserve not to live in the shadow of her addiction. It all sounds so easy but I know how difficult it is – she has raised you, you feel you owe her a duty of care because she is your mom.
I felt responsible when the addiction was close to me. It was so hard to begin to understand that I could not change my CG (compulsive gambler). I believed for 25 years that my love would conquer all and as a result I spent 25 years doing everything wrong for all the right reasons. It was so hard to put me first when I had spent my life putting my CG first. In my head I argued that this would not/could not change anything but in fact it changed everything.
I can’t address all your points in this first post but I wanted to let you know that you had been heard and that you are among those who understand you.
It is hard not to get in to an argument with someone who has this addiction which is the master of manipulation. The following is not professionally recognised as a method of coping but I know from personal experience and the experiences of many others that it does work.
Never forget that it is your mom who is controlled by the addiction to gamble but ‘you’ are not. Her addiction is a merciless master of threats and manipulation but you are not and nor do you ever want to be. Imagine your mom’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you keep your cool it will stay quiet but when it feels threatened it leaps from the corner, to stand between you, causing and controlling an argument that is scarey. Once it is active you will only hear the addiction speak and it will seek to blame and demoralize you. When ‘you’ speak, on the other hand, the addiction changes the reality of what you are saying to fit your mother’s perception of herself and that is what she hears.
My CG said that he couldn’t believe me when I told him he would live more happily if he lived honestly because his addiction was distorting his mind and convincing him that my words were lies, that I didn’t really love him, that I couldn’t possibly know or care what he felt. The addiction to gamble offers failure to those who own it. CGs believe they are unlovable, worthless failures who fight back in every way possible because they don’t have any other coping mechanism than to escape into a gamble.
If you can stand back a bit and listen to what your mom is saying, it becomes easier not get caught up in an argument that has no point apart from making you feel less in control. Once you begin to try and put your side the addiction has something to get its teeth into.
This all sounds a little negative but the positive side is that it removes you from the centre of the addiction giving you time and energy to look after you.
By looking after you first you will become stronger, you will reclaim your own life and be able to cope and make the right decisions for your relationship. One of the best ways to win the fight against the addiction is not to play the game.
I have a Friends and Family group on Tuesdays between 20.00-21.00 hours UK time. Although I cannot tell you what to do – because all decisions you make have to be ‘yours’, I will answer your questions honestly – It will be great to ‘meet’ you in real time.
If anything I say confuses you or if you want to ask anything else please post again soon.