29 May 2018 at 11:15 pm #6296
I am wondering what the best thing to do it, for all of my family’s good, to start acknowledging my mum’s problem. We have not properly faced the issue yet, which is wearing me out. Thinking of how long the process is, is even worse. I am only 29, and I am thinking I cannot begin my own life without tackling this issue first.30 May 2018 at 12:09 am #6297
Well done starting your thread.
I was about to close down for the night when I saw your first post and I just wanted to say that I had heard you and will write to you again shortly.
In the meantime I hope the following will help, it is a coping method that has been successfully used by many F&F at the beginning.
Imagine your mother’s addiction is a malevolent beast in the corner of the room. When you try and speak to her about her addiction, the beast leaves the corner to come between you and distort your words. When you seek to thwart the addiction beast (by maybe suggesting it is not good for her), it takes control of the conversation, probably turning it into an argument
The addiction beast will have taken away your mother’s self-confidence and self-esteem so she may react by trying to manipulate, demoralise and blame you – but because you are not controlled by addiction you are stronger.
In my opinion, you would be wasting valuable energy trying to get your mother to admit something she is not willing to admit. I believe that it is better to gently talk about things that are not gambling related, things that are good in life, things you care about and hopes that ‘you’ have. I cannot tell you what to do because all decisions must be yours but maybe you could tell her that you have sought support for yourself because you are worried about her and then listen to what she has to say – hopefully it will make it harder for her to start an argument that has no point apart from making you feel less in control.
I know this all sounds quite negative but the positive side is that it removes you from the centre of the addiction giving you time and energy to look after you and I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to look after yourself first and that by doing so, you will become stronger.
You are at the beginning of a really difficult learning curve but you can do it. There is so much more to tell you but I will leave it there for now.
Velvet30 May 2018 at 11:57 am #6298
Thank you Velvet,
you are right, it sounds hard and, honestly, so new. Since I decided to open my eyes, I realized it is real and it has to be tackled. Before that day, I thought it was just a background situation that could come and go. Maybe I hoped it could be controlled, stopped, forgotten.
And again, the hardest psrt is: how do I start? Is it best to open up with my dad and see how we can deal with it together, or try to speak with her alone so that she doesn’t feel threatened or attacked?30 May 2018 at 5:44 pm #6299
In my opinion, a united front is best when a family deals with an addiction. If your dad is fit enough then maybe he should be the one you should talk to first – it is possible that he unwittingly enables your mother because he doesn’t know what else to do. I suspect he knows there is something very wrong – maybe now her problem has a name you can deal with it together.
The reality of this addiction in someone you love is indeed very painful and unfortunately unless your mother wants to stop gambling there is little if anything you can do that will make her stop. It is good to not enable her by giving her cash and/or clearing her gambling debts, which is the same as giving an alcoholic a drink. It isn’t the money your mother craves it is the gamble and money is merely the tool she needs to indulge her addiction. If a person with a gambling addiction wants to stop then offering to handle their finances is a good step forward. You and your father would do well to protect your finances in accounts to which she has no access.
Gentleness is the best way forward to avoid your mother feeling threatened. You now know that she didn’t ask for her addiction and she certainly doesn’t want it – but you are in possession of knowledge she does not have and wouldn’t understand at this stage – you are therefore much stronger than her addiction.
I believe that the best place to start is when she is either calm or seemingly very lost and not ready for a fight. It is important that you and your dad remain calm although I know from experience how hard this is. Your mum does not want to hurt you or your dad but she is controlled by something that for now is out of her power. I think it is important to let her know you love her and that there is really good support for her if she wants it. Our Helpline is one-to-one and anonymous so she has nothing to lose by contacting it. Our ‘My Journal’ forum would welcome her and she would be very welcome to join our CG groups – nothing and I mean absolutely nothing will surprise those she communicates with and there is no judgement.
So pick your time but make sure ‘you’ are ready because you matter. You have had quite enough suffering so it is important that you take care of yourself.
I look forward to hearing from you. You are in my thoughts
Velvet4 June 2018 at 12:21 pm #6300
Thank you velvet.
The topic came up today at lunch, when my dad asked where the money goes, since we spend X on food, X on cars, X on utility bills. She remained silent and tried to avoid the topic, as expected. So dad asked her to bring him receipts whenever she spends some money in order to keep track of it. He is entitled to freeze the account and remove her signature so that she won’t withdraw. However, I do not know where this could go.
Mind that dad and I hadn’t previously talked, meaning that maybe we both got to a “boiling point” where we now need to express ourselves. If you say it is the best way, I might speak with him alone and figure out the right approach. She may handle it better from her husband than her daughter, giving the shame and disappointment it brings along.
I think this will have to be quick, as we are receiving inheritance money we are going to use to pay our debts, and I certainly do not wish to go back into debts because she could make the first move on this money.5 June 2018 at 11:19 pm #6301
It seems to me that your dad knows that his wife has a problem and possibly either knows, or has guessed, what the problem is. It sounds as though he has his eyes open but could possibly do with support. I suspect he has been hoping the problem will go away but now is recognising that matters are out of control.
In my opinion he is right to protect his finances as your mother is capable of taking him all the way down with her.
I think that you and your dad presenting a united front could be the best way forward provided he has the knowledge you have gained and realises that his wife is not being malicious but needs support and treatment. I think you are a great daughter and he might be very pleased that you have sought help.
I am concerned that you say that there is a likelihood of inheritance money becoming available and I suggest that you take the necessary measures to protect it as soon as possible because sadly your mother could lose it all very quickly.
Keep posting, you are doing well.
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