Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family daughter dealing with her gambling mother

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    Dear friends,

    I’m Sandy, a 29 years old Asian girl, today determined to write my personal story here; wish to receive some advices from friends in this forum with all of my grateful and appreciation. The story as follow:

    My parents get divorced since I was a little girl, I spent most of my childhood living with my grandparents, my aunt, then with my father, until he got another family I lived with my mom along with another sister of me. Since a child, I understood well about my family situation so I spent much of my time in studying, and I never asked what my parents did.

    Since I got my first job (7 years ago), I just knew that my mom got a big debt, she told me that she failed with her business and she broke. Many of her debtors tried to find me telling me that she broke because of gambling but I didn’t believe. I trusted in what she said and i gave her all the money that i made, helped her to have a small shop to sell coffee and drinks, hoped that she could recover from the debt and make a new start. She had been hidden from her debtors for a year or more then she came back to her normal life, she got a real job with paying, but since there I witnessed she gambled.

    After her first broke, she had worked for some offices in town as an office cleaner. That job is not so hard with her age, not high salary but enough for her personal spends. I took care of all expenditure of the house include food, bills, house, everything, I also gave her a bit of money every month to make she feels life is still happy. But the situation was worsen and worsen, since she kept asking for more money.

    If i said no she will be upset, or say something to make me feel guilty, or cry, stop eating, stop talking, pretend that she is sick, etc. she caused me a lot of pressure and the way to help me breathe better is to give her money. And because I made a lot of money with my work so I didn’t care much the money I gave her. I was not happy with what she did to me but to help me get rid of her is to give her the money that she wants. Our lives was up and down, laugh and cry, happy and angry, talk and mute for serveral years until the day I get married (in 2016) and i moved abroad with my husband. I had no way to feed her money anymore, and she broke the second time. There comes my sister take over all the shit from me.

    The first 3 months abroad, whenever i called home the only thing she asked me is to give her some money. She had so many reasons like buying medicine, seeing doctor, legs hurting, ribs hurting, etc. Once i was very sad, and i talked all of these things to my aunt (her sister), my aunt called her to complain and my mom told me to not call her anymore that she doesn’t have a daughter is me. Then I never called her again, i just got to know her life through my sister.

    Six months passed, and i oftenly received news from my sister that my mom begged her for money, told my sister that she was threaten by debtor, by mafia, that she really regret and beg us to help her the last time. Whatever she said to my sister, my sister recorded all and she went to see all the debtors mentioned to find out the truth. But what we found was she all lied to us. So I decided to not give any money no more. Then she started to steal my sister’s money. My sister discovered and complained her hard. My mom said she would sell one of her kidney to pay all money back, and we shown that we don’t care then she scolded us and then the cycle begins again…

    May the story stop here, I’m sorry if i wrote too long I just want to say briefly so you can help me more or less. Everyday I live in scare, I have to pretend to my husband that I’m happy because I don’t want to pull him into my family issue. I wonder if i just give my mom all the money i have and i can have a peaceful life or keep untalking with her like im doing now to help her to awake.

    Thanks for reading.




    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
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    We look forward to hearing all about you!

    Take care

    The Gambling Therapy Team

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    Hi Sandy
    I am glad that you wrote all that you did and I hope you felt some relief from sharing in a place where you are understood.
    Unfortunately if you gave your mom all the money you had it would not be enough and you would not get the peace you deserve.
    Likewise all the talking in the world will not get her to change if she is determined to indulge her addiction so please don’t waste your energy trying to save her from herself when the only person who can save her is herself.
    You have recognised that there is a cycle and because it is a cycle it will go round and round until something or somebody says enough is enough. I have brought up my thread entitled ‘The F&F Cycle’ so that you can see that all you have said is recognised.
    It must be such a strain for you pretending to your husband that you are happy when this situation is making you so sad. Your mom’s addiction thrives on secrecy and those around her being ashamed to talk. When you understand more about the addiction your mother sadly owns maybe you could tell your husband what you know to be true and that is that it is not her fault that she is a CG (compulsive gambler) and it is not something to be ashamed about. Knowledge of her addiction will give you power over it Sandy.
    Saying ‘no’ in the face of someone you love who is manipulative and deceitful is so very, very hard – I know, I spent 25 years trying to save someone until I couldn’t take it anymore and had to say ‘no more’.
    Your sister has done well keeping a record of her mother’s behaviour because it will help her to look back and see the same lies manipulations over and over again. She will be able to see that giving your mother money and trying to talk her into changing her life hasn’t made any difference. It is time to try something new. Giving her money is the same as giving a drink to an alcoholic, paying her debts is the same as giving her cash.
    Maybe you could tell her that you have sought help, perhaps you could say that it is because you love her that the answer is ‘no’. Keep talking to your sister and tell her all that you are learning because it is so much better for both of you and for your mother that you are united against her addiction.
    Your mother needs treatment, maybe you could ask her to try our Helpline or our gambler groups or Gamblers Anonymous. Why not download the 20-questions from the Gamblers Anonymous web site for her so that she can see that her problem is recognised and there is a lot of support for her.
    You have been a fantastic daughter Sandy but you deserve a happy life as does your sister – and your mother. The only person who can change your mother is your mother – you cannot save her.
    Keep posting and maybe drop into the Friends and Family group tomorrow evening Thursday between 20.00-21.00 UK time here we can communicate in real time.
    I will leave this first reply here and await your thoughts


    Dear Velvet,

    Thank you for your post that is helping me to rethink about everything. I was about to join the live forum of last night as you mentioned but i had something came up and couldn’t join. I will wait for the session of next week.

    My mom cannot speak English so I think she cannot perceive your Helpline or similar thing and it’s also very difficult for me to talk with her at the moment, I cut off all communication with her since 6 months ago.

    Today, I just got a news from my cousin that my mom sought help from my cousin’s mother. My aunt 3 months ago borrowed money for my mom as my mom promised to pay back but she didn’t, and this has given my aunt a lot of debt interests. And now my aunt wants me to help her to pay this debt. When my cousin knew about this she also very upset with me because my mom caused a big debt to her mom. I really don’t know what can i do here. If there is only my mom has the problem she should be responsible for that but now she also pulled my aunt into the fire and i’m feeling worry for my aunt. Do you have any suggestion in this case for me? Thank you.



    Hi Sandy
    It is so difficult when other people enable a CG and then expect someone else to clear the problem for them.
    There are only two people who are responsible for the problem here and you are not one of them. Your aunt lent your mother the money; she did not lend it to you: You didn’t ask your aunt to lend your mother the money and indeed if she had asked you I am positive you would have said ‘no’.
    I can only make suggestions as I cannot tell you what to do but what I can say is that if it was me I would say ‘the problem is not mine, I cannot be responsible for a debt between my mother and her sister of which I had no knowledge’. It is not for you to apologise, it is a painful lesson that your mother’s sister should learn.
    I fully appreciate that you are feeling sorry for your aunt and I wonder if you could go and talk to her and explain the situation as you have described it to me. If this debt has placed your aunt in a dreadful financial position and you are in a position to help her without hurting your own finances, then maybe you could help her without your mother’s knowledge and ask her to still seek redress from your mother. In my opinion it is important that your mother does now know that her gambling debt has been cleared by you. If you follow this course of action it is only between you and your aunt because you care for your aunt and ultimately for your mother.
    I believe it is important that your aunt appreciates your mother’s problem especially as she has been unwittingly dragged in and used – it will probably happen again unless she is aware. I do feel it is important to inform people who love CGs and who might be called upon to enable, that there is a real problem, whilst also stressing that the CG did not want or ask for their addiction. Nobody would ever want an addiction to gamble. Maybe your aunt could support you by urging her sister to seek help. I think maybe it would help if you could tell your cousin the situation you have found yourself in too.
    I cannot stress enough Sandy that you are not responsible for your mother’s behaviour or for your aunt lending her money. Does your mother have other siblings that she can seek enablement from? Would she try and seek enablement from your husband?
    Families that unite against an addiction, with knowledge, whilst still caring for the CG are the best thing for a CG.
    Keep posting Sandy, you are doing well


    Hi Sandy. I read your story but this will be just a short comment. I hope you don’t think I’m being too blunt.
    Compulsive gamblers cannot gamble without money.
    CGs run out of money fast , so enlisting enablers is the only way the addiction can be “fed”. A Compulsive gambler cannot control their addiction in the active phase. Enablers prolong the agony by making gambling possible. That is not to say you are in any way to blame for your mother’s addiction or for her debt. CGs will surround themselves ONLY with people who can make it easy for them to gamble. Everyone else will be pushed aside. I know you don’t want to be disloyal to your mother but if you want to help her I would suggest you tell her that you are going to inform her enablers of her situation. She needs family intervention before she destroys herself. I think the family has a duty of care to the CG. Arranging an Intervention may or may not be the answer but at least it brings the problem into the open without being disloyal to the CG. We are all only as sick as our secrets. I am, as your mum is, a Compulsive Gambler. If the family had blown the lid on my secrecy long ago, it would have prevented a lot of misery.


    Dear Velvet,

    I’ve been waiting for you and it’s such a relief receiving your reply. Thanks for following my case.

    I finally called my aunt, my mom, and other relatives who knew about this to get better understanding. My aunt admitted that this debt belongs to both of her and my mom. When i tried to asked how much is owed by my mom, my aunt couldnot clarify and just asked me to give her as much money as i can. I responded that I have to clarify everything first before deciding anything.

    Then i talked with my mom, she denied all what my aunt said and told me the interests has been applied on my aunt since long time ago for her own debt. Sadly, my aunt is another CG. I also cross checked with other relative and just found out what my aunt said are discrepant. My mom was very angry and wanted to talk with my aunt but she refused her calls. In order to resolve this I’m asking all of them include my cousin and my sister to have an open talk right at the table to define the truth.

    Another sad thing, my cousin is also facing a CG like me. However, she acted so promtly that she already sold her own motorbike, jewelry to give money to her mom, she also asked me to share half the debt with her. I’m trying to explain her what i have learnt from here, maybe i will translate those posts here for her to read. I know that this addition problem will never end until I have to end it first.

    To answer your question, my mom cannot speak English so she has no way to ask anything from my husband. I also advised him to not give my mom any money except that i accepted. Other relatives in my home except my aunt always refuse helping her.

    Thanks Velvet, I will keep posting.



    Hi Sandy
    From what you are saying it is best not to believe either your mother or your aunt until they have accepted and controlled their addiction.
    Although it is sad that your cousin is facing the same as you, you do, hopefully, have someone to talk to who understands what you are going through and who wants the same as you. I think that sharing gives a tremendous relief.
    I am, however, concerned that your cousin is now asking you to pay half of her debts and suggest you do as you have said and translate for her what you are learning here. If she chose to do these things for her mother then that is her responsibility and not yours, you have lost enough money and emotional energy through your own mother’s addiction. I am glad your other relatives are not giving any money to your mother
    In view of what you have said I suggest that you do not lend/give your aunt any money – there is no way to know if your mother did lend her any money but whatever actually happened is immaterial if they are both CG.
    Lending/giving/borrowing are all difficult words when a CG is involved. There is an expression coined by Shakespeare ‘never a borrower or lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend’ which means don’t lend money or borrow money from a friend because if you do so you will lose both your friend as well as your money. I know of friends, who are not compulsive gamblers, who have lost their friendship when a debt was overdue for payment and I find that extremely sad.
    Unfortunately active CGs can encourage each other so I think your plan to get other family members round them table with them is a good idea to let them both know that enough is enough and that you and your cousin will not pay any gambling debts.
    Keep posting Sandy


    Dear Velvet,

    I think I’m gonna finished.

    These days, I was trying to explain to my cousin about the situation, telling her about my plan with hope that she would collaborate, but she didn’t. She didn’t believe in what I told her about her mom and my mom. She talked with her mom and gave us their recorded conversation. She trusts in her mom and said that I’m trying to protect my mom. Infact, I said that I don’t protect anyone, I just want to find the truth because if we cannot find out the truth this will never ends. And I concern for her future life. But she denied everything, she said it’s no meaning to find out the truth now, that I just need to know the total debt is that amount and I can help her as much as I can. And of course she doesn’t want her mom to see my mom.

    You know because we are from an Asian country where we cannot go against our parents. I knew this is insane but this is culture and it’s not easy to change someone’s mind. Even for me, I always fight for that but sometimes i give up. So, I decided to give her 1/4 of her mom’s debt instead of half. I do this not because i want to pay debt for her mom, nor I owe her money. I do this because deep inside me I feel so sorry for her, a person who can’t win over her mother. (Because I also feel sorry for my own self).

    Then my mom knew about this, she became crazy and scolded everyone. She cried and yelled and told us that she never asked us to pay off her debt, she only seeked for help, because she cannot pay interests every single day, and she only begged us to help her to pay off all debt in one time, then she will return with her monthly salary. She asking us in tears why it’s the only thing she wants and we turn our backs to her, and why some saying from our aunt that persuaded us to give money. She wanted to know why we didn’t help her. She said to my sister so many things and each of that thing cuts into my heart, my eyes just bursted into tears…

    Then after that, I asked my sister to ask her what is the final number? and she told me! At that moment, i realised that I will give her that money, like my heart and my brain both said YES. I then gave my sister a plan, I told her to tell my mom in this way:
    “Sandy will borrow and lend you the money you want, and how can she get that money I don’t know. But the money wont be ready in 1 second, it will take 3 days. There is condition, money I will keep, you have to let me meet every of your debtors, I pay and they have to sign off recipiency committing that no more loan to you otherwise police will solve your problems. Then you have to give me your credit card and PIN code, each month I will withdraw 80% to pay the loan, the rest you can use. After one year all debt will be finished. If you are OK with this she will proceed”

    This is so far what I can think of, I cannot do more than this i meant my heart is not of stone. I’m another one that cannot win over my parents. I will once again finished all the money that I accummulated, I think this will be a motivation for me to move my ass out of house to look for a job.

    Thanks for readings.



    Dear Sandy
    Please don’t give up posting. this forum is for people affected by the addiction to gambling and I think you still need support even if you feel like giving up.
    I will walk with you for as long as you want me to do so.


    Dear Velvet,

    I’m still here. I just told you all what happened these days. I’m now also waiting for the next thing to come. But I decided to give them all the money they want. Then I will off all the networks connected to me. They will never can find me again until or unless one day this hole can be filled up.

    I just did one bank transfering this morning. My bank credit is limited by day. I have to do a few more times in coming days.

    Thanks Velvet for being with me.


    Dear Sandy
    I can hear the frustration and disappointment in your posts; I feel for you and truly understand your dilemma.
    I believe you have recognised that even if you threw every penny in the world at your mother she would still want more so you are aware of what you are doing.
    It is so sad that you feel the only way you can cope is to cut yourself off but I do understand your reasoning and I hope this drastic action will bring you the peace in your life that should always have been yours. Neither you, nor your mother, chose her addiction but accepting the situation as it is, without denying it, is the way you have chosen to go forward and I respect that – I hope this settling of another’s debts does not leave you in financial trouble.
    I hope the rest of your family give you the support you need and that you enjoy your life away from living with the shadow of a gambling addiction – it is the way I have chosen to live too.
    Thinking of you

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