25 December 2013 at 11:18 pm #3131
Good afternoon and merry Christmas everyone. This is usually my favorite time of year but this year thanks to my mother that is not the case. My story is a long one going back twenty years ago. When I was twelve my mom started dating a new guy and all they did was go to the casino. This was never a regular part of my moms life before. The first time I though there was a problem I was 16. Mom had gone to the casino Friday night and I woke up Saturday morning alone in the house with no ride to drivers Ed. She showed up with enough time to get me to my class and told me not to tell her fiancé.
A few years later my college fund was drained, her mother had tried to bail her out financially, her fiancé left her and I was stuck at 18 trying to cover three mortgages on the house. A month before my 19th birthday we lost the house to foreclosure. She blamed me for her fiancé leaving. Life was a mess. Through a family intervention, lots of GA meetings and bankruptcy and about 4 years she seemed to be getting back on track. She retired early from a government job with an excellent pension.
Then her mother got sick. She spent her days trying to help her dad care for her but 5 years ago grandma passed. Mom started going to the casinos again. I guess I knew even though I never asked. She would break down crying at he fair because she didnt have money for an extra sweet treat. November two years ago she came clean to me. When grandma passed mom was executor of estate. She started handling all the bills for grandpa. I’m not going to say what happened because I’m sure you are all able to deduct knowing gamblers yourselves. Well her sister found out and my mom was afraid he family would tell me so she spilled her secret. She was over $30,000 in debt again. She refused to get help though relying solely on me to get her through this. The following month my boyfriend proposed (bless his heart knowing the family mess me was about to marry into!). My mom had stopped communicating with her entire family whom I was extremely close to. Last year August she asked me and my fiancé for $10,000. Where she thought we were hiding that money is beyond me but my wonderful man stopped me from giving her what was in my bank account. I said no and she was forced to handle it on her own. I did help her find a good legal solution and things started looking up. Until two weeks ago when she called asking for money again. She has done it again. Now being married i told her my money was now my husbands as well and he would not approve. She is on the verge of losing her car and apartment this time.
I was so nervous about Christmas today with her family but only one aunt brought it up. Everyone else has been so supportive it brings tears to my eyes. My husband is amazing as well. There are no more local gamanon meetings in my area they have all disbanded and the last time I tried a counselor he told me to have her arrested. Wonderful solution. I know from the past holding my feelings in about this just end up resurfacing years later and I don’t want to keep bitching about it to my husband. He’s great but I know this gets old.
So my search led me here. Thank you for reading my story. ~Megan26 December 2013 at 1:43 pm #3132jenny46Participant
Just wanted to say hello and welcome, I’m sure you will soon get much support from here and I hope you stick with it. In the mean time do your best to look after yourself and if you feel up to reading, have a look at Twilights posts she really is a good read (Twilight that was a compliment !!!) as the child of a CG
Jenny26 December 2013 at 9:49 pm #3133velvetModerator
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!
The Gambling Therapy Team26 December 2013 at 9:58 pm #3134velvetModerator
I am glad you have found us; I hope we can give you peace of mind.
I wanted to say a personal ‘hello’ as well as giving you our official welcome. Unfortunately I have visitors at the moment but I will write to you tomorrow.
Having quickly read your post I think you have been doing great and your husband is a fantastic support.
As Jenny rightly says, Twilight is the child of a compulsive gambler and writes now as an adult, married with children of her own. She will almost certainly see your post soon and will reply to you. I will speak to you again tomorrow.
Velvet26 December 2013 at 10:53 pm #3135twilight16Participant
Glad that your search landed you here; it did the same for me about three years ago. This place became my saving grace when I felt all was lost. The support and wisdom from the numerous members here, family and friends, and cg in “The Journal” always had my back 🙂 Though at times I felt my stomach drop reading the truth, it was what I needed. Of course, there isn’t any judgment here but often true words can shake us; yet they are the ones that make us grow stronger.
First, as you know, there is nothing you or anyone can do that will stop your mother from gambling. Begging, pleading, or threats won’t stop her. This brought much relief to me because I thought there was something I could do, in my mind I thought there was some action I could do to make my father stop.
However, there was someone I could control and that was me. I learned that my reactions were just as important as when my father chose to gamble. I was no longer going to enable him in any way. When he called wanting money, or a place to stay, I would not help. This was incredibly hard and emotionally torture for me, because I loved my father. But I did not love the addiction and regardless of how many times I would try to talk reason to him about his gambling, he brushed it aside and protected it. So my philosophy became, I am not going to give you what you gambled away. I knew if I did I was only allowing the addiction to grow stronger in him and I did not want to be part of that anymore.
I have been to very dark places with this addiction. I went to court two times in regards to my father. I went on stand when I should have never, but again I was not going to let his addiction manipulate me. When I read about your counselor saying, you should have your mother arrested. I immediately thought, you are not having her arrested rather, she would get herself arrested for not following the law. I called the cops on my father after pleading with him to stop but he didn’t listen.
Years ago when I came here, I was bitter and I know that because I was harboring a lot of anger towards my father and what he did. I separated myself from him in a way where I had no contact with him for two years. I felt it was the only way I could live without being a total mess. I didn’t want to know what was happening in his life when he was gambling. I sought recovery here and I learned how I could have a relationship with him by separating the addiction from him. I would see him once a week and we would just have our father and daughter moments, which would work at times and sometimes, would not. The addiction would lurk out and try its best to get enablement and I would retreat back. Still it was tough but I was able to love my father and that was what I missed so much. I could see him and just enjoy him. At the end it got bad and again I had to do what I did before, but that is the only way I could have a relationship with him.
I really feel the best thing you can do now is to still love your mother and be her daughter, but you are not responsible for her financially or wellbeing. You already did this in the past and really nothing good came out of it (I did this too with a major loan). So let her deal with her financial woes and if she loses her car, it is not your concern. My father had to take a bus for a few months because he didn’t have money to make repairs and I wasn’t going to pay for it either. Your mother has got to want to stop gambling and seek recovery, there is no use trying to force her. Even if she were to promise that she is done with gambling this moment, don’t bail her out. You can love her but don’t be a puppet to her and her addiction. As you get stronger with your recovery you will see it is the best thing that you are doing for yourself.
This addiction will do whatever it needs to get enablement and it often bluffs, but we become so afraid of our loved ones words and actions that we cave in. When we feel overwhelmed by the demands of our loved ones it is best to do nothing. Let them deal with the mess they have made and be good to ourselves.
Twilight27 December 2013 at 1:24 am #3136madge456Participant
I wanted to say a hearty welcome to Megan – you have found a loving community of people who understand what you are going thru and have been in similar situations – Twighlight: I love your last line of the post:
“Let them deal with the mess they have made and be good to ourselves.”
This is so profound yet so hard to do. I have so far to go in this process but feel like I am making strides. It is hard to let others go, let them fail, let them be responsible for themselves –
I never thought of myself as a “fixer” but I guess I am – have been- for so long. But I never knew it – “enabler” was always someone else, not me! My helping was just that, help – they “needed” me to help and I guess I *needed* to help…NOW I understand that even if it pains me, I must let them fail, I must let them flounder because otherwise they are drowning ME.
I have been under water (metaphorically) for so, so long…deprived of oxygen, sun and other human dignities that I even forgot what it meant to have them. I got used to living without (“I’m fine”, I would say even though I knew I was dying).
I used to joke that I have bent so far over backwards for my husband and children that I am now in the shape of a circle – ha ha – or I would say “I am in an abusive relationship with my children” (because they boss me around) , again, ha ha – But, no,…..not so funny. Not funny at all. I let my kids and my husband walk all over me – doing their bidding in the guise of “helping”. They need me, I told myself. I may sound like a meek housewife, someone used to being last – Not so – I am a professional woman, I train as a cage fighter and am incredibly bossy but this just goes to show you that anyone in any situation can be manipulated by Gambling and other addictions and be sucked into enabling others thru their own guilt. I felt if I didn’t help my CG I was a bad person, that I would make excuses for his bad behavior bc of “x, y or z” – or “it won’t happen again, i need to give him another chance because of (fill in the blank)”. So many times I have done this – NO MORE – I can’t – it is killing me, crushing me and I decided even if he walks out I don’t care because I need to LIVE.
I am not sure if this is helpful but all I wanted to say is that even though I am married to a CG I know that pull of wanting to help, feeling like you must help, making excuses for the CG but in the end knowing you MUST turn around and walk away from the addiction because it is not healthy for YOU.
Post again – it is very therapeutic and helps tremendously to process “on paper” what is in your head.
M27 December 2013 at 8:23 am #3137NeecyParticipant
Your post made me happy and sad. Sad because I felt your pain and your helplessness. Happy because I too am new here , but I know already how the wonderful people on this site will help you to cope with the feelings you have now, and will have in the future. They have helped me move forward so much already , even though I have barely started yet on my journey.
Be kind to yourself, Ive learned that already, you deserve happiness and are not your mums keeper. Yes you love her and want to help her, but she has to do the hard work herself , for herself. You have your own hard work to do, for yourself.
Lots of love and a huge hug coming your way Megan.
Neecy xxxxxxxxxxx27 December 2013 at 10:48 am #3138moniqueParticipant
I want to add my welcome to you. It is good you have found this place of refuge, support and information and I’m glad to see you have already had wonderful replies from some great people, who have wisdom and understanding of what you are going through. No two situations are the same and we are all very aware of that, but we know that there are many common ‘themes’ in our stories and similar lessons to learn. Just writing out your thoughts and feelings can help, especially when you know they will be read with care and concern. I wish you well as you work through your particular situation with the support you need.
Monique27 December 2013 at 10:57 pm #3139
cage fighting? i know completely off topic but so cool!!! we watch UFC all the time!28 December 2013 at 11:36 pm #3140madge456Participant
Thanks for your nice post. Cage fighting is one of the things I do that makes me feel good about myself. I often wonder if anyone would even believe everything else that’s happening in the rest of my life…it just shows you that you never really know what goes on behind the gates. Fighting is a great stress reliever also as you can imagine and yes I watch UFC all the time too! Stay strong
Xx28 December 2013 at 11:54 pm #3141
Thank you for your reply Twilight. As with most CG stories it all sounds very familiar. You mentioned that you would not give him what he gambled away and this was emotional torture for you. This is where I am today. I’ve stayed firm for the last year and a half that my mom gets no more money from me. Each time in the last year and a half there was never the possibility of her losing everything. I helped her find a legal alternative to bancruptcy that seemed to be working. But it didn’t last long of course. So how did you deal with the emotional torment you went through? I don’t even know where to begin.
I started writing in the last week. Just word vomiting into a word document. Detailing the history, the things i can remember and the feelings. I had a big revelation, I’ve never once actually addressed the feelings i’ve had about this. i’ve always put her first and just suppressed everything. It makes me wonder how i’m not extremely messed up or if i’m just waiting to explode. (of course the chest pains from the stress the last week are a good indication i need to address this sooner than later).
I explained to my hubby that i haven’t been shutting him out when he asks me to talk about this lately just that I actually have no idea how to put these feelings into words. but i’m getting closer with my writing and told him he could read it when it was finished.
You said the best thing i could do now is to love her, but i have no feelings towards her at all. When i started writing it took me all over the place. I starting thinking about what it was like with my mom before the gambling and what i realized is she has never been a mother. (seriously how am i this normal! haha) Oh yes i use humor whenever possible – cracking jokes is i guess my way of dealing. I really dont’ know if i love her or if i wish to have anything to do with her anymore. You also mentioned that you didn’t speak to your dad for a while, how did you make that break from him? And i’m sure there were a lot of feelings of guilt – how did you work through that?
Megan29 December 2013 at 3:19 pm #3142twilight16Participant
Hope you are feeling better, if not a little just knowing that you have found the right place to start your recovery as a child of a cg. As you wrote, it truly is incredible that you are normal after going through what you did with your mother’s gambling and I share these same feelings.
You are already in a good position as you have not been helping/enabling your mother financially for the past year and a half. So in the back of her mind she already knows that you will not help again, but now with the risk of her losing everything I believe she will ask again and this time with tears and utter panic. Just know that this is also part of the addiction’s manipulation for enablement; the stakes are higher and if she is about to lose a car or apartment the performance will be downright brutal to watch. Its intention is to make you feel like you are the bad daughter for not giving in but you must hold your ground and continue not to enable.
The strategy of separating the addiction from the person has other parts. It had to separate my father’s financial problems from him. I did not get involved with his debts or hardships. I did not ask and I found when I didn’t ask I felt better. I did not need to know that he did not have car insurance anymore because this would be only stressful to me, because if he didn’t care about it then I shouldn’t either. If your mother starts unloading her financial problems just tell her that you are confident that she will figure it out, saying how smart she is. I found when I redirected my father’s requests for money to how he could do it he just stopped talking about his problems.
Also I learned from cg’s at the site that they are quite smart always finding a way to get what they need, they have friends and often they have the money somewhere. Don’t underestimate what your mother can do for herself. Again don’t get pulled in by the addiction as it will try everything to get you to crumb to its demands. If you mom pleads with you, just redirect her to how she can help herself. This really works.
When I first came here, I couldn’t stand my father. I even think I once wrote that I hated him for what his gambling did not only to his life but mine and my family. At the time when I came here he was in his mid-sixties on the verge of losing everything, when he should have been financial set for his retirement. When he lost it all, even after years of pleading with him, his addiction tried its best to keep me under its wing as it did for so many years. I had to break free somehow or I was going to suffer a major breakdown. I learned about this addiction and I never looked back with my stance of never enabling, as this is what I did for thirty plus years and I was never really happy. As I gained the tools I learned here I was able to have a somewhat relationship with my father, I was able to release any hard feelings as I did not want them anymore and I was able to love him again. Still it is not how I would have liked it to be but it is much better than I could have imagined considering the situation. My father never acknowledged his addiction so I can’t say that he recovered, but I did and that is really what is important.
It is good that you are getting your feelings out on paper; writing is so therapeutic and I do it often. It is amazing what seems to pour out of your fingers only to enlighten yourself. See this as your journey to a better life and one where your mother may find for herself.
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