Hi Hope
Well done joining this forum – I know it isn’t easy to pour everything out but you have made an excellent start and as you can already see there is judgement free support available.
Hope, I cannot tell you what to do because it is ‘your’ life but I can give you knowledge of your husband’s addiction so that you can make informed decisions. As Vera has indicated, it would be good to meet you in the F&F only group on Tuesdays between 20.00-21.00 UK time. In the group we can communicate in real time knowing that nothing that is said appears on this forum.
What has gone before cannot be changed but from now on it would be better if you didn’t threaten your husband with ultimatums that you might not be able to keep. The CG is the master of threats and when we back down on an ultimatum the addiction sees a weakness and seeks to use it.
Many CGs welcome help with their finances when they determine to live gamble-free but there is a difference between asking for support and having it thrust upon them.
Your husband’s addiction will probably be bouncing off the walls by now – he is blaming you because you are the nearest one to him, the person he thinks will give in to him and the person his addiction is telling him is the one denying him his so-called ‘pleasure’. As you have found, shouting, screaming, crying, pleading, tearing your hair out is useless against the addiction, it only wears you out – It is time to find another way to cope.
It is not recognized professionally but the following is a coping method that many of us have used at the beginning of our recovery to help us cope.
Imagine your husband’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten that addiction it stays quiet, although it never sleeps.
Your husband is controlled by his addiction but you are not – even though it feels like it sometimes. When you threaten his addiction, it comes between you and controls the conversation or argument. His addiction is the master of threats and manipulation which you are not and nor do you want to be. Once the addiction beast is between you, you will only hear that addiction speak and because it only knows lies and deceit, it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralize you. When you speak the addiction distorts your words and your husband cannot comprehend your meaning – you might as well be speaking through water..
My CG explained it to me by saying that when I told him (for instance) that if he didn’t lie but lived honestly he would be happy, his addiction was distorting his mind convincing him that I was lying because he truly believed that he was unlovable, worthless and a failure – he was lost and fought back angrily because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism. The addiction to gamble only offers failure to those who sadly own it.
I believe F&F waste valuable time ‘wanting’ to believe that the CG they love is telling the truth and that ‘this’ time, maybe, he/she is different. I think it is good, although difficult, to not ‘try’ and believe the CG because in doing so you become receptive. If you can stand back a bit and listen to what your husband is saying, it becomes easier to 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 with your children and make the right decisions for your relationship. One of the best ways to win is not to play the game.
You are indeed young and it is unfair that this addiction has entered your life – however your husband did not want or ask for his addiction any more than you did. Having said that, you do need to protect your finances because you have young children to care for and your husband’s addiction does not want him to take responsibility, it is best therefore to put money in an account to which he has no access.
It is very lonely living with a CG and equally it is very lonely owning the addiction. Is your husband accepting that he has the addiction to gamble or is he still saying he knows what he is doing? If he does accept he has a serious problem then please encourage him to seek support from those who understand him as you and I cannot. In GA or in ‘My Forum’ on this site he will find other CGs who want to change their lives and who will support him, our helpline is excellent as are our CG groups.
I don’t imagine anybody living with this addiction has not felt their love turn to resentment – It certainly happened to me but I can tell you that I would not be writing here if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and wonderful lives lived as a result.
I hope you will feel less lonely now that you are in a forum where ‘you’ are understood.
Speak soon and ask anything you want to know – you will always be heard.