Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Girlfriend’s problem is killing me.

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  • #4527
    Silhouette
    Participant

    Hey guys. I am new here and I really need support or assistance.

    My girlfriend has a terrible problem. I accept it and I deal with it, but I don’t know what to do.

    She gambles everything she has, and once she can no longer do this, she resorts to using everything I have. The real problem is how she behaves after. I am always the one who receives the blame, and every aspect of my behaviour is scrutinised as justification of her gambling spree on any particular day. The way she speaks to me afterward breaks me. To make matters worse, I have my own mental health issues but yet I carry the burden of her issues as if they were my own and receive no appreciation in light of the blame that I receive.

    What am I supposed to do? I can’t stop it but I feel that supporting her is merely enabling her. I understand her issues and I am well versed in the psychology behind it, so I feel that leaving her is unfair. I just don’t know what to do. I feel helpless as I have absolutely no control, and I am punished when I try to avoid venues. I also feel like less of a man and lose respect for myself for putting up with the abuse. I am on the border of breaking down and I honestly feel myself edging closer and closer to ending my life because of it. I don’t need anyone to tell me that this is futile, because the guilt of hurting her or my family will prevent what seems like an easier way out from ever occurring.

    I don’t know what else to say and I apologise for how disjointed this post is.

    #4528
    worriedmama
    Participant

    Your post is not at all disjointed. Living with an active gambler can turn your world upside down. They can be very manipulative and nasty when you come between them and their gambling.
    Is there any way you can get yourself to a Gam Anon meeting? When we live with a compulsive gambler our own thinking and perspective can become very warped. To be able to sit in a room with people that share similar stories can be immensely helpful.
    You will never be able to change your girlfriend so you are left with trying to change yourself and your reactions to her gambling and abuse.

    #4529
    Silhouette
    Participant

    I don’t know if I would feel comfortable with a GA meeting. I just can’t face myself. I hate the feeling I get when I lend her money or when I have to sit through a gambling session biting my nails and being assured that it was fine only to have her destroy me immediately after. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

    It is becoming clear to me that I either have to choose her or myself. I need her to stop but I fear that this well never happen. The moment anything negative occurs she is back at it.

    Do other partners receive this abuse too?

    #4530
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Silhouette
    You seem to have a fairly good grasp of your girlfriend’s problem and yet you write ‘ I carry the burden of her issues as if they were my own’.
    It’s time to lay the burden down Silhouette.
    Your girlfriend has an addiction to gamble, but you do not, her addiction is the master of threats and manipulation and you are not – but it is ‘her’ addiction, not yours and you do not have to allow it to control your life. It is important not to get involved in the arguing and blaming game which will only wear you out and gain nothing. If you can stand back and detach yourself you will save energy and give yourself precious time to regain your strength. Putting yourself first is the best thing you can do for you and ultimately for your girlfriend. However much your girlfriend seeks to convinces you that she is in control – she is not.
    In your last post you have said that ‘you need’ your girlfriend to stop gambling but sadly that is your need, not hers, she believes her need is to gamble. You can only cope with your own needs and from what you have said your needs are to recover your self-esteem and confidence.
    Worriedmama mentioned Gamanon, this is not GA but is the sister group for those who are affected by the addiction of another, it is certainly not a place to avoid because you have feelings of hate towards yourself. I was terrified the first time I entered a Gamanon meeting as I believed myself to be a pathetic blob but it was the best thing I ever did. Gamanon groups are made up of people who have unwittingly enabled, who have hated their seeming inability to cope and who want to change their lives. The sharing and caring is amazing.
    I hope some of this helps. Giving up on yourself is not an option, keep posting and maybe try Gamanon. There is a lot more to learn.
    Velvet

    #4531
    nomore 56
    Participant

    Your last post spoke to me. I have suffered from depression and extreme anxiety my whole life and finding out that I had married a cg made both much worse over the course of about 26 years. Even now that my cg is in recovery, my own issues are still a huge problem. Certainly also because the “aftermath” of the gambling years is still ongoing as far as finances etc. are concerned.
    You asked about abuse. Yes, I have experienced it as well. Never physical, but painful nevertheless. The lying, the deceit, the blaming, the disrespect, taking advantage, not caring if there was food on the table, you name it, I lived it. I was told that I was the reason for my hb’s gambling. redirected the anger he had towards himself to me. Everything was just my fault. If I didn’t give him money, I was mean and controlling. I was told that nobody appreciated him. I guess that’s how he justified his trips to the casino. I, too, hated myself for putting up with it even after I had learned about the addiction and its dynamics. The person I was would have never put up with it. My problem was that I had given up my home, my family, my friends, my job and therefore my independency to follow my hb to this country because of his job. I had dug myself a hole so to speak and like to think of the enabling as involuntary. I had no choice.
    I agree with Velvet to maybe give GamAnon a try, just to see that you are not alone. And that you are not a person you need to hate but rather caught up in your gf’s insane addiction. Have you ever thought about getting help for your mental health issues? Maybe it would help you to find a way out of the desperate situation you seem to be in right now?
    Sad mentioned that she is not abusive but feels rather guilty towards her family. This is something I have seen too. My hb would every now and then morph into an extremely guilt ridden person who tried to accommodate every need he detected in me, our daughter and our extended family. Never lasted long, at least not as far as I was concerned. Then it was back to the blaming game, the angry outbursts and condescending remarks.
    There is life after gambling, go for it!

    #4532
    vera
    Participant

    Hi Silhouette and welcome to GT.
    I find your user name interesting. It is as if you feel you are living in your girlfriend’s shadow.
    I am a compulsive gambler.
    I agree with Nomore. All the deceit, manipulation, blame, projection, lies , justification certainly do cause immense harm to the S O in a gambler’s life. I’ve been there and yes, I used all those tools to get my own way .When we can’t control the gambling, we seek to control the people we love because deep down we know they are the people who want us to stop doing “our thing”! Emotional blackmail and manipulation were my main methods of obtaining funds for my next gamble. CGs can play our loved ones like a fiddle (especially the people who we know are the most vulnerable!)and yes, Sad, I did all the “guilt” trips too. The over compensating, the kindness, the attention, the covering up, the lavish presents bought with borrowed money. The false praise, the “positive” actions. All done for misguided reasons and sometimes with evil intentions. So long as I could keep everyone off my back and secure a new line of gambling ammunition (money) and see the flow going my way, I could be sweet as pie, but woe betide the person who tried to thwart my plans or sabotage my next bet! Then they would see the flip side of the coin. Nomore has seen the two sides of her darling man. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ! Most Cgs I know have seen it too In themselves, but how many of us want to admit it!
    My suggestion, Silhouette, is that you protect yourself. Walk into to limelight for one brief moment and tell your girlfriend that you have had enough of her bullshit. Tell her you have decided that you will not continue to enable her to destroy herself or destroy you. You need only say it ONCE then vote with your feet. Avoid arguments. Words mean absolutely NOTHING to an active CG. Make an appointment with a counsellor to talk out your fears and concerns and let your GF sink or swim. What you are allowing her to do to you, is also enabling her to destroy herself. You need to stand back and look at the wider picture.
    Gambling ruins lives. Will you allow it to ruin you? The choice is yours! Time for Tough Love. Take care!

    #4533
    nomore 56
    Participant

    Vera was blunt in her post and I agree with her 100%! Why sugar coat it, the truth hurts but also pushes one in the right direction at times. That’s just my opinion of course. Had I listened to my inner voice when the gambling issue first started to mess with my life and me, for that matter, I had put my foot down right away. The reason my hb finally made a last attempt with an inpatient, longterm treatment was only that I told him No More. No matter what it would do to me, my finances, my everything. Only when he had no way out did he make the decision to wrestle the beast and put it in a cage. He just knew that I was serious and would not budge. For us, it worked. He has been in recovery for over 6 years now and has become a very different person even if our marriage only exists on paper these days. Just saying….

    #4534
    ailujym
    Participant

    Hi Silhouette,

    I also found your username interesting. When I was living with my CG, I felt like a shadow of the person I really am. He was so self-centred that my life and needs were always secondary – or even further down the list as he gradually grew to hate me the more I resisted his problem. I am still grieving the pure, innocent love we once had before his gambling addiction destroyed everything, and I still pray every day that he will find recovery, although we have now been separated for five months…and I know how unlikely it is as all his friends and his parents are enabling him.

    But I just wanted to say that I also experienced the abuse, the blaming, the guilt…my self-esteem was crushed by my relationship with my CG, and now I am out of that situation I recover a little more each day, and my life is blossoming into what it should have been before his addiction got hold of me. It’s really amazing the things that are happening for me now, and I want to say that you can have this recovery too. I had to leave my CG to recover myself, that may not be the case for you, but I would like to echo the advice given in other posts to put yourself first.

    As you begin to take care of yourself the dynamic between you and your girlfriend will change. Either she will see that she needs recovery, or she will resist more and more…whatever the outcome, it will be clear to you what you need to do to protect yourself. Taking care of yourself, as hard and painful as the actions you may have to take in order to do that may be, is a win-win situation for you both. Refusing to enable your gf is the most loving thing you can do for her, although she may not see that now, or ever.

    If you are feeling suicidal you must get help now. You don’t deserve this. Take care of yourself.

    #4535
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Silhouette
    You have had a lot of replies and I wondered if you were still reading.
    If you are it would be great to get an update
    Velvet

    #4536
    Silhouette
    Participant

    Hi guys,

    I really appreciate all of your responses, and I apologise for my delayed response. My gf has been winning lately (the last few days at least) and, subsequently, my life is feeling a little better. This, however, is bittersweet. More winnings only bring her more to spend when she is spiralling, and therefore more pain and suffering for the both of us.

    I hate the fact that I can’t deny that this is a severe problem. I want it to stop, but all I see online and in reality is that it doesn’t. After one big win I thought that, finally, it might be enough for her to call it quits. It was nothing compared to everything she had lost prior, but it was enough to temporarily allow her to consider quitting. But, as you might guess, the gambling continued. Every time that she wins, her behaviour is reinforced.

    I am not sure where all of you hail from, but in Australia, there is literally a pub with poker machines on every corner. Our government pretends to care, in light of the enormous revenue it produces, but does nothing except trivialise the issue. Gambling is addictive because of its actvity in the same areas of the brain responsible for drugs and behavioural reinforcement – and poker machines are programmed to take advantage of this. Plain and simple. It is a juiced up version of the rat and lever experiment (I cannot remember the theorist). I dont know if gambling issues in the US present as table/card gambling or not, but it is a huge problem over here.

    #4537
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Silhouette
    I am sorry to be a damp squib but your girlfriend is not winning, she is losing because she is being kept in her cycle of addiction by what she terms a win.
    I am not sure what you call a ‘big win’ but fortunes are won and lost in the twinkling of an eye. and it doesn’t matter if it is one A$ or a million that is gambled it is the ‘gamble’ itself that is damaging your girlfriend.
    Poker machine are all over the world and I can’t see an end to their spread, all that can be done I believe, is that people are better educated about the dangers of gambling. Most people can gamble responsibly but you girlfriend cannot.
    As expressed in every reply to you, the best thing you can do for yourself and your girlfriend is to look after yourself first, keep up with your friends, hobbies and interests and protect your finances.
    Keep posting
    Velvet

    #4538
    vera
    Participant

    A compulsive gambler doesn’t need a variety of venues or machines. All it took for me to destroy myself were a couple of “bandits” in dingy “casinos” where I had my soul sucked out for too long.
    Gambling is not only about money.
    Would your GF be interested in opening a Thread here on GT?

    #4539
    Silhouette
    Participant

    I just want to make it clear that I know she isn’t “winning”, but more that she is leaving without wasting everything she has. She lost most of it within the next few days.

    I know poker machines are ubiquitous but in Australia they are totally unavoidable. I am sitting in public drinking a coffee and there are probably around 500 machines available within a 30 second walk. I am not exaggerating. The temptation is unavoidable. For this reason, Australian legislation prevents venues from having the volume of machines at levels audible outside the premises…. This is not enforced.

    Thankfully, she is not interested in tables. I don’t think she would be happy to open a thread here, because honestly, she probably would not be happy with this thread.

    I love her a lot and I understand the need to care for myself, but I don’t know what to do. I don’t even think there is anything I can do. Do gamblers ever stop?

    #4540
    Silhouette
    Participant

    Also to Vera – all she needs is one machine. She gets stuck on one.

    #4541
    nomore 56
    Participant

    It is not the presence of the machines. Or the tables. Or the race track. Or the lottery ticket. It is about gambling. The rush, the escape, maybe both or whatever the reward might be. Certainly not about money, winning or losing it. I can go to a grocery store and walk through aisles and aisles of booze (it is now legal to sell it in reg. stores in my state). I still don’t feel triggered to buy it. Yes, availability creates a demand but I know that people that live in states here where gambling/casinos are illegal drive hours and hours to cross state lines to get what they want.
    My hb started as a teen with a 1 dollar ticket at the race track. He plaid dice, bet on sports teams and when he was old enough, found his drug of choice, the poker and black jack tables. He played in casinos, he played in the army with his friends, he played Backgammon for money and when nothing else was available, he even played slot machines. Anything for the rush combined with a way to escape (his words).
    And yes, cgs can stop. Many did and many do every day. Nobody can “make” them stop, they have to come to that decision in their own time and for their own reason. It took me a very long time to understand it but at the end it made so much sense: why should an addict change anything if he/she doesn’t see the need because there is always someone who will cover their tracks, make and accept excuses, believe lies, forgive anything and everything, put food on the table, put gas in the car, pay the bills etc,. etc. That someone was me. The last couple of years because I had no choice but still. It might sound harsh but I wish, I just wish someone had told me the ugly truth and facts before my life was ruined along with his.

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