Hi BB, I copied part of your post to Berber because I found this really interesting: My HB’s entire family knew and never said a word. My FIL even went so far as asking my HB if he had told me. When he said he had not that was the end of it! In a way my FIL told me at a family function…”I don’t know about that one (referring to my HB) you need to keep your eye on him.” I am so angry at his entire family for hiding this for YEARS I can not even be around them. I am angry at the disservice they did to my HB and the disservice they did to me and my children. How did you deal with your HB’s family?
Sorry, for some reason I can’t highlight or bold this.
I found myself in the same situation with my hb’s family. He started gambling when he was only about 12. In fact his mother and stepfather gave him money to bet on a horse when they were at the track. Basically everybody knew, my mil, his siblings and later also his buddies in the military. Nobody said a word to me ever. When he disappeared for the first time on his way back to the States I called my mil hysterically, crying and worried to death. She knew that he was gambling somewhere but just said that she had “hoped he had finally grown up” without explaining what that meant. They did a great job enabling him, with money, covering up for him and most of all with their silence. When he had lost control completely and had been fired from his job my sil actually wired him over $20 K to pay off a credit card. Which he didn’t do of course. She later got raging mad at ME because she had lost her savings to save my f….g house and my f….g car. Both were gone at that time.
Addiction is a family disease, it is actually the head of the household because it rules everyone’s life. The addict is the center of the universe and the rest of the family usually just reacts to what is going on. I also think that for the biological family it becomes so “normal” in a way that they just accept it for what it is. Lots of people still don’t believe that gambling is really an addiction. You don’t put a substance in your body, you just DO something and therefore the solution is to stop doing it. Now that I understand about the dynamics I am no longer mad at them for enabling him. But I am still very upset that they blamed me for his downfall. I think we are seen as the designated caregivers for our cgs when they leave their family of origin. The burden is past on to us. And if we can’t do the job of changing him, well, then we might have just failed. When my hb was in prison, I was dropped like a hot potato. Not that I care any longer but I’m still mad that they also ignored my daughter. She was in such need for support and a family of some kind since all my people live so far away. Instead they broke off all contact and that hurt my child very badly.
Nobody can tell you how to handle your in-laws. But if you hb is ever actively working on his recovery, they need to face the truth. Either they are part of the solution or continue to be part of the problem. Recovery means for the cg to make changes and the whole family has to change as well.