Hi, Ell. I was reading through your whole thread. Your (screen) name is familiar to me but I wasn’t sure why. I am glad for you that things look to be going in positive directions.
I was reading what you had to say, that he (still) goes to therapy, but to “improve himself”. When that is the case, I think it is awesome! I went to therapy for the longest time; the CG I was married to refused “there was nothing wrong with him” (his words and back then, I did not know about the gambling). Anyway, I hope it is encouraging for you, but I know that as I have learned more about myself and the big world too, I don’t just automatically fall back into destructive ways of “coping”. It sounds like maybe that is some of the growth he is having through therapy? I sure hope so.
At the same time, I too hear what you say about forgiveness. There are a lot of sayings about forgiveness and I won’t talk about them, it just seems to me that forgiveness, like being in a good mood, can’t be “forced” or just because you want to.
BUT one thing I learned through therapy and study is that many of the things we think (and learn in school or from society) are not always true. For example, anger. SO many people will just say “anger is bad”. No, it’s what can result from anger that MIGHT be bad. Anger (the energy from it) can actually be used in a positive way. But usually, a person has to be able to look at several options and the (likely) consequences of their actions and CHOOSE how to respond to the anger. Anger, like fear, tells us something might be wrong and tells us to check things out.
I think that you, even without therapy, show a lot of self-awareness about yourself and also about how the gambling has affected you. I did not realize you are in Greece until later in your thread and honestly, I don’t have a lot of chances to keep up on news, but I have heard some about the financial problems there and I can only say that it is completely understandable how the national problems can make your personal ones much harder and scarier. I also don’t know how the gambling there operates, here in U.S. it is often (the money raised) partially part of the government revenue and budget. There are big billboards and ads here, encouraging gambling, but the warnings are in very small print and downplayed. When I have posted about CG, people (often) tell me things like “it’s entertainment” and how gambling (industry) can’t be part of “people’s problems”. That is what makes me have a hard time with forgiveness. Also because here, you can’t just “walk away” from gambling debt, like to a casino. But you can walk away from what is owed a spouse or children. I struggle to just get through each month.
I ended up with PTSD as a result of all the experiences I went through. One of the things with PTSD is that your whole view of “reality” (what you think it is and how it works) is torn to shreds. One of the ways to recover from PTSD is to look at things and make a new framework of reality, putting in the things you have learned from your own experiences. For me, that has sometimes meant standing up and saying “no” when other people try to force me back into the old framework. So I am wondering if that is part of what you are going through? And maybe the “forgiveness” is bigger than “just” forgiving your husband?
When I DID find out about the gambling, I told my husband that he didn’t have to tell me more than I knew about. Most of it all (despite the consequences to me and our daughters) was “between him and God” (that’s my faith, but not saying it has to be looked at that way by everyone). The main point is that the truth had come out and therefore, the problems could be solved. He chose not to do that, but I was able to forgive him on one hand while I still struggle with some of the actions he’s taken, since then, that I still have to cope with. My problems with forgiveness don’t have to do with the person, they have to do with all the other stuff going on that “helps” someone develop a gambling problem and makes light of the problem, ignores it and so on. Your nation (like our govt) can’t even fix its own problems and then you are asked to take on more!
Anyway, I don’t know if this all makes sense or not but I hope some of it does. I don’t mean that my experience and yours are “the same” just that there are a lot of complex things (I think) that go into a gambling problem and as you work on recovering from it, you find out things that you would never have guessed, before. It takes time and strength to put things where they belong and understand, and that’s all while you are trying to take care of everything else.
I hope things continue in a positive direction for you and your family! Your writing has also helped me. Sending you the very best wishes and hopes for future!