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  • #6005
    CSoward
    Participant

    After lending my mom money off and on for 8-10 years to cover gambling losses, I told her this summer after covering her for an all night slot machine session in a casino near her, that I couldn’t do it anymore, as I’m now retired and have to be way more careful with money. It’s been thousands over the years and she has been good about paying it back (down to $900 at the moment), but it happened again last week and I told her I couldn’t help her, but did listen on the phone for awhile. She felt terrible, didn’t know why she did it, didn’t know what to do, knows she has a problem. We had a fairly good talk but mostly I listened. We live in different states; I called yesterday to see how she was doing and got blasted for all my faults, real and imagined (things I’ve never said), cut out of the will, I should get a job since I’m that low on money, how I manage money and lots more. She told me all the things she’s done to rearrange what finances she can, no gas in the car, no money for food but has some on hand, thankfully; said it all needed to be said because I’m so “religious,” fearful, cruel, etc. and then hung up. I’m actually fine with taking a break from all that meanness, but I guess I’m also looking for support that I did the right thing. My mom has a tendency to cut people out of her life, and so now it seems she’s cut me (already doesn’t speak to one of our daughters, the other one doesn’t want to spend time with her, and she doesn’t like my husband). I have REALLY TRIED over the years, and I thought things were getting better, and I would guess she would say the same about me, but I’m not sure what to do at this point, other than give it a rest, which could be permanent, as she’s 82. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your time, Cathy

    #6006
    velvet
    Moderator

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    Hello Cathy

    Thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy friends and family forum. This forum will provide you with warmth and understanding from your peers.

    Feel free to use the friends and family group, you’ll find the times for these if you click on the “Group times” box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself you’ll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and they’ll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂

    If you’re the friend or family member of someone who is either in, or has been through, the GMA residential programme please take extra care to make sure that nothing you say in groups, or on our forums, inadvertently identifies that person. Even if your loved one isn’t connected with GMA, please don’t identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.

    You’ll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which you’ll follow, some you won’t…but that’s ok because only you fully understand your
    situation and what’s best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you don’t because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂

    We look forward to hearing all about you!

    Take care

    The Gambling Therapy Team

    PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our
    privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!

    #6007
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Cathy
    I will write to you tomorrow but it is late for me and I don’t want to rush a reply when you have taken so much effort to write your story.
    You have done really well writing your first post, the first post is always the hardest.
    Velvet

    #6008
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Cathy
    It seems to me that it is an excellent opportunity to take a break from all the meanness in your life and get some peace.
    It is sad but many CGs do say some terrible things to those around them who have tried to support and your mum appears to have a tendency to ‘cut people’ out whom she perceives have crossed her. CGs often drastically distort reality to fit their personal perception and your mother appears to be adept at doing this.
    I can hear that you have really tried over the years but you could never save your mum from herself – only she can do that.
    I can imagine how tough this must be when your mother is 82 but age does not stop a person taking responsibility for their life and it also doesn’t preclude them from causing terrible pain. It is not unknown however, for CGs to learn to control their addiction even at your mother’s age. Maybe you could download the 20-Questions from the Gambler’s Anonymous website and send them to her along with GA literature. The thought that this could be permanent is quite provoking but I am not sure what anybody could suggest that you could do differently. Even at 82 your mother is able to make choices both right and wrong but it appears she is only willing to make bad choices at the moment.
    Look after yourself Cathy, you are now retired and it should be a relaxing time of your life – you deserve peace. If your mother doesn’t want you to have peace and is not prepared to seek peace for herself, then that is her decision but I sincerely hope that you will find the peace that her addiction seeks to destroy.
    Such posts as this must leave anybody who reads them feeling a sense of despair at the futility of the addiction to gamble. I am sure you know your mother didn’t ask for or want her addiction anymore than you but you can only save yourself, you can only control your own life.
    I wish you well; I wish you and your sisters peace. I hope that your mother will see the light and seek help but for now I suggest you enjoy the lack of the addiction in your life thanks to the distance from the problem.
    Post whoever you want to do so – you are understood and you will always be heard
    Velvet

    #6009
    CSoward
    Participant

    Thank you Velvet for your kind words. The last few days I’ve been consumed by guilt because I’m determined not to dig into our retirement funds to loan to my mom but worried about how she’s doing. But I am taking a break and will leave contact up to her. I’ve also arranged to see a counselor, and that is scheduled for the end of November. I realized today that my real mistake is not that I’m not willing to loan her any more now, but that I should have make this decision years ago and then maybe things wouldn’t have gotten to this point, but water under the bridge at this point. Thank you for this safe space.

    #6010
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Cathy
    If I had known years and years ago what I know now, would my life with a compulsive gambler (or his life with me), have been any different? We will never know. We can all only deal with what we do today; we cannot undo the past and wondering what might have been gets us nowhere.
    You didn’t make a mistake, you did what you thought was right for your mother and that is what most family members try and do.
    Worrying about what someone with an addiction ‘might’ be doing when they are not with you is a waste of energy. My son didn’t do well when we became estranged – but and it’s a big but – it was only because I stopped enabling that he was able to get to the point where he had had enough of living as he was. I protected him and his addiction, cocooning him away from reality for years, for what I thought was the right reason – I firmly believed that love would conquer all in the end. It didn’t.
    I doubt it would be a ‘loan’ to you mother if you dug into your retirement fund; it would more likely be a gift to those who know how to lure her into handing over ‘your’ money.
    I hope she wakes up and I hope you get the support you need from the counsellor you are going to see.
    Velvet

    #6011
    CSoward
    Participant

    Hello, thank you for your very kind comments awhile back. Unfortunately things are about the same, maybe worse. I’ve given my mom $2600 since March to cover a hospital bill and other bills since she didn’t have the money due to gambling. When she told me to put more in her account night before last and that she would pay me back over the next several months, I said that would be good because I was saving up for property taxes. The next morning, yesterday, she called and said I was so selfish and ungenerous and why was I worried about property taxes, just get my husband to pay them! I handle our financial info, so it’s all one pot, but I think she was just mad because even though I said I would put money in her account, it wasn’t with a generous attitude, to her way of thinking. Also, lately she’s been describing past events in ways they didn’t happen and blaming me, saying for example that I said having a home helper was too expensive, when she actually said that; when I offered to pay entrance fees for her to live in a nice retirement home that she chose, and she said she could manage the monthly fee, when they called her with an opening she turned it down and then renewed the lease on her apartment, because she thought the monthly fee was too high. Now she says I refused to help her with her monthly fees, pay her hospital bill, etc, and says she never said those things, which she did. All things that I DID give money for or offer to do, but I don’t know where the money went once she had it and she says I never gave her any. So yesterday she said to leave her alone and let her live her own life since she thinks I’m so selfish and judgmental. At this point, I’m giving it a rest, but I do worry about her because she’ll be 84 next month and doesn’t get around well and things are getting harder. Everything I try to do from a distance seems to be wrong in her opinion and her gambling is escalating, based on the amount and frequency of her money requests. A couple of months ago, she said that as long as I had money, she’d be fine. I was pretty stunned by that but didn’t say anything and later I realized she doesn’t have any boundaries on gambling. I know I should have stopped this years ago, but every time she says she has no food for a couple of weeks, I feel terrible and she guilts me into it, or yells or is generally mean. My husband is tired of it, she’s now cut off everyone in our family and is typically mad at me, although I’ve been going to help her more often, about 3-4 times a year and she’s very appreciative then. But now I’m to leave her alone. I realize this is kind of rambling and there’s more that didn’t go well, but that’s the gist of it. Thank you for reading, Cathy

    #6012
    CSoward
    Participant

    Forgot to mention that my mom has formed an opinion that we’re rich and have unlimited resources, which isn’t true and I’ve tried to explain. Maybe I inadvertently helped with that by lending her money over the years, but since I’m retired now, things have changed. Lately I’ve realized that probably nearly all of the mean things she says are the gambling addiction part of her talking. I did go visit a counselor a couple of times and he was very helpful and soothing, but I don’t seems to be able to say no to my mom. That may be a moot point now, but I’m considering going back to the counselor. Thanks, Cathy

    #6013
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Cathy
    Saying ‘no’ is so hard isn’t it and yet it is such a small word? You mother is manipulative and knows just how to push your buttons and I’m sorry to say that soothing words from another, possibly cannot take away your pain and confusion but you are retired now and in my opinion, you deserve a better relationship than the one your mom is offering you. Have your tried saying ‘no’ and sticking to it? Maybe it is worth a try.
    Your mother says she has no food but do you know whether this I true or not?
    Cathy, you know you have been a good daughter, you know you are not selfish, judgemental and mean – look at the person saying these things and ask yourself if her opinion really matters or is it the rambling of someone with an addiction and possible dementia? When your mother is determined to find fault with you and judge you regardless of truth; the only way you can win is not to play the game. In my opinion it is time for you to stop being the target for your mother’s cruel and unnecessary remarks, you don’t deserve them.
    Please keep posting, you are in my thoughts
    Velvet

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