Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family I have reached breaking point and the penny has dropped!

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  • #3866
    ld007xxx
    Participant

    Hi Everyone, I am quite new to this but

    #3867
    ld007xxx
    Participant

    I accidentally saved without completing! I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years, he went to prison 3 month in to our relationship he never asked me to hang around or wait for him and we never knew he would get as long as he did. I stayed loyal throughout it was really difficult but i loved him. I was unaware how serious gambling actually was and had been warned to stay away as he was quite bad on the roulette. This wasn’t enough to keep me away, I didn’t really understand what it meant to have a gambling problem. When he came out things got serious quite quickly but it wasn’t long before he showed his true colors. At first I took it quite personally and it affected my health and well being. I thought it was me and with the gambling came lies and deceit. We managed to get passed a lot and as I took his stresses on as my own I was on a mission to help him. We have never really done nice things on my birthday or been to nice places or created memories cos of gambling. His first year out of prison was an absolute nightmare, socializing with criminals, still committing crimes to gamble, we were constantly arguing and I am surprised we made as far as we did. He always promised he wanted to change and I have seen gamble from £100’s to now £1000’s at a time. We went to GA a year ago and he immediately said it wont work! He is selfish, lacks ambition and has been totally sucked in by his gambling problem. He has come from a very good background his parents are separated but have made sure they stayed together for him. He has not made a conscious effort to change his habits and behavior. He has stolen from his mother, friends and probably me. He seems like he doesn’t even want the help and at times shows as if he is in-denial. He is convinced he can beat the bandit and do it alone and refuses to accept help. He makes endless promises and hurts everyone around him but to people that don’t know him he acts the martyr. Yet I still love him, i don’t doubt he loves me but i know he isn’t what i need or want and he really needs to focus on himself. I try to leave him but he always comes back and I let him after we have cooled down. He has periods where he is motivated and doesn’t gamble or commit crimes and looks after himself. It is always inconsistent but he is truly loving and caring. 2days ago we agreed I would help him to manage his money, he is in untold amounts of debt that he doesn’t want to payoff! and yesterday he asked me for £70, I refused to give it to him as I knew he had an urge to gamble. I sent him £20 for a few bits. I returned from work, he arrived an hour later, immediately I knew he had been gambling he demanded £400 of his money and became very aggressive. I gave in and I knew I shouldn’t have but I honestly have had enough nor did I have the patience with all his threats. I went out and within an hour he called and said he wanted the rest of his money! He threatened to kick my door in. I was scared but believed he wouldn’t I returned home let him in he trashed my flat, looking for his money and then we got in to a physical fight he didn’t hurt me but I have never seen him so angry calling me names and throwing things at me. I gave him the rest of his money and asked him to leave. He called gain at 3am demanding I give him the rest of his money as he had nowhere to sleep and needed money for a hotel in total he had received £1200 there was no more money left so he threatened me with suicide. I sent him £100. I have no intention to enable him and understand how it can come across but what do you do in that scenario? the state he was in anything is possible and I don’t want that on my conscious. I haven’t heard from him and as far as I am aware we are over. I do still love him but whilst he has a gambling problem I can’t be with him, not any more. How can I stay strong now?

    #3868
    Dunc
    Keymaster

    <

    Hello ld007

    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!

    #3869
    jenny46
    Participant

    Its not easy to stay strong after going through all you have been through, possibly at a time where you have already been worn down over many months by trying to support and love a person with an addiction and one who appears not to want to change.
    I think taking care of yourself and not expecting too much of yourself could be helpful right now until you begin to recover from what must have been quite a traumatic experience. Although they might seem like very little statements to make they are quite loaded in content and much easier said than done.
    What I mean by looking after you is not allowing the addiction to gamble to dictate what happens next and also your future, it means concentrating on you and what you can control and not on that which you can’t. Distancing yourself from gambling and the effects of, can mean a whole host of changes for you such as beginning to do things again which you may have put on one side such as seeing friends etc. I was surprised just how much of my head and time had been taken up with issues around gambling, worrying, second guessing etc etc and the private detective skills that would have put Sherlock Holmes to shame, all take up so much time and energy that other more productive things go to the wayside and then there is suddenly a great big empty void where they once were – that needs to be filled.

    No one should live in fear of such physical outbursts and how they might escalate in the future, you tried to help but unfortunately he is not ready to accept that help and appears not to be showing any signs of doing so. Having an addiction is no excuse for that sort of threatening behaviour , its totally out of order and unacceptable and not, in my opinion, just a symptom of this addiction

    If it is truly over then slam the door in the face of the addiction and nail it up, even the smallest chink of light / hope shown to the addiction provide it with opportunities to seek enablement, manipulate and basically talk its nonsense until you believe once again that change is on the horizon.

    Looking after you, calls for you to look at your boundaries and how you are going to accept being treated especially if you decide to give it another go.

    Its difficult and its painful if a break up occurs but in these situations it can be more difficult and painful to carry on without light at the end of the tunnel, at least that was my own experience.

    People can and do change – if they want to badly enough there is proof of this all over this site.

    Take your time, put yourself first and above all keep yourself safe – and keep posting

    Jenny

    #3870
    ld007xxx
    Participant

    Hi Jenny,

    Thank you for taking the time to read my post and replying, it is really nice to talk to someone I don’t know about what is going on. I apologise for my delayed reply, honestly, things had got better then they got worse before they got better and I don’t know where I am at again.

    I have come to the conclusion that he is not ready to quit and I am not ready to leave him. As sad and pathetic as that comes across. It’s true and I am not in denial of the truth.
    That being said I took your advice and I have taken better or more care of myself and put my needs first. However still learning how not to let the addiction dictate what happens next. I no longer let the thoughts of what happens next or second guessing as you mentioned consume any more of my mental health, I have my trusty womanly instinct that hasn’t let me down yet and I know when I know. The rest isn’t worth the hassle.

    Sometimes I think about doing basic things like saving for a holiday or booking things in advance and contemplate if we will have the spending money whilst away on whatever we initially “planned” for. Example, I booked a hotel and paid for it however the weekend we were supposed to go he had blown all his money on a fruit machine after promising me that he wouldn’t and asking me to trust him just this one time. So I did, to find out later that he had spent the money we were going to spend on a nice meal and drinks. I was devastated but deep down expected it. Are those thoughts me allowing the gambling problem to dictate what happens next?

    I almost feel like its our gambling problem and I can’t leave him.

    I do what I want to do, I see my friends, I go to work, I have my own life. However when he is with me he is better and doesn’t gamble. How can he learn to be like this on his own? Im not expecting for big results, certainly not overnight. I have no expectations just want to support him.

    Further to the recent developments he was offered a job with his Dad and has gone to work abroad. We spoke about gambling and we both know you can’t move house and run away from your problems, but you can move house and take them with you. The in-denial cracks were always visible but clearer when he was determined that working abroad will help him to stop gambling. This was a failure in the making but I didn’t put him down. Just kept my disappointment to myself. Since being away he was 2 days in and gambled £3000. This money came from a watch he sold for £6000 and had gambled the £3000 prior to moving abroad. A week later I went to see him, he didn’t gamble, and yesterday he tells me he won back the £3000 – I was disappointed but relieved he can come to me this is a step to allowing me to help him one day? without having to end our relationship?

    Back to the point after losing the money he said he was sorry he wants to come home, i simply said he doesn’t have to apologise to me its himself he’s letting down which is more hurtful. I told him he cant come home he will see the job through and and achieve something that he can make himself proud of. i told him that losing the money has left a negative impact on this thoughts and he must not be defeated by the aftermath. Find a place within himself where can go to. And later hopefully when I get through to him somewhere praise him for having the strength to talk about it, pointing out that he can do the what seems impossible, I wasn’t expecting a response but was that the right thing to say? How can he think this will ever resolve itself?

    He has never been a violent person and I know that the incident I last mentioned was just an outburst and symptom of the addiction.
    Perhaps I can show him this website let him know that if he gamble anywhere in the world he can enable himself to stop if that’s what he really wants. He say’s it is, but is he saying that to keep me? I believe he can change and I know he can do it.
    Thanks again for listening and taking the timeout it really has helped me and I can only hope it helps him one day.
    Apologies for going off on tangents, its the story of my life!

    L x

    #3871
    jenny46
    Participant

    It’s not sad or pathetic to choose to stand by someone you love, it’s just the way it is. Well done on beginning to look after you and also for coming back. Stick with the forum even if it does from time to time appear that things have improved, knowledge is something you will need to give yourself the best chance of seeing this through.

    An active addiction will almost certainly dictate what happens financially and it is of little surprise that he spent money which was put aside for something else. An active CG cannot be trusted to handle money, prevention is better and I would suggest that any money that you are saving for joint things is kept by you or this will keep repeating until he finds recovery. Many people who want help give up their finances to others to handle as a barrier to gambling but he seems quite away off seeking help. It is quite unlikely that he will in fact save up for anything and that his answer is to gamble a little bit more – chase his losses. Asking you to trust him, sounds like manipulation to me, as I’m sure you found out.

    I’m sure he did want to come home after losing the money and for what its worth I feel you did the right thing in not immediately allowing this.

    Dictating what you do comes in many forms. The fact that you question your own responses or conceal your own hurt is being dictated to. It is the living in fear of saying, doing the wrong thing – not wanting to make things worse or constantly wondering how you can make things better – walking on egg shells etc etc.

    The fact is what you do, can neither make him gamble or make him stop gambling. It is his choice alone which way he goes. It feels like its both of your problems but in reality the problem is his alone and only he can address it. The aftermath however is the bit that you share. You can support from the side lines but you cannot take on something that is not actually yours or within your control as your own.
    Consequences of his actions and enough of them are what may lead him to believe that he has a problem. Yes he let himself down but he did let you down and he hurt you – consequences of his actions, don’t pretend otherwise to him it only serves to keep him in denial.

    I’m not suggesting you launch into a major lecture (as tempting as that can be !) but that you don’t down play the impact that his gambling also has on you.

    Its good that he is talking to you, but ideally it would be nice to see some action. If you put the words on one side what is he actually doing about it, seeking help or putting barriers in place ? or just talking a good show until the next time.

    He may well want to keep you but it’s also worth asking yourself whether its also you being frightened of losing him and if so – why ?

    Keep working on looking after you and think about what your own boundaries in all of this are going to be.

    You are doing well, keep posting

    Jenny

    #3872
    ld007xxx
    Participant

    I am starting to notice a pattern with my posts. I seem to go quiet when things are going well but posting has really helped me so far and I’ve noticed a difference on how I feel, think and what I have learnt. One thing is you can’t choose who you love in this world. So I will aim to stick to the forum, I sent my partner the link to the website but I will go on to that.

    The latest developments: NEWS FLASH! He gambled his wages yet again I have just got back from visiting him on a weekend away where he is working in Europe. We had a lovely weekend.

    Within days of me being back we had argued and fallen out since he told me he lost all of his money gambling online I didn’t shout at him or turn him away as I know it’s a big step for him being able to talk about it when it happens . However his way of talking is mentioning it and I have no say about the matter. He gets angry and walks away, ignoring me and the topic. Ultimate ignorance. Highly infuriates me, I have this built up rage waiting to come out and it always does.

    The weekend just gone came and the tip of the iceberg was being surrounded by my friends and family at a bridal shower, most of the women are engaged or in serious relationships and although you never know what happens behind closed doors I told him how I felt (whilst still holding on to the rage from the night before) and that it made me question a lot about our relationship. He got angry and put the phone down turning away from the conversation. Leaving me with more rage. The following day we skyped and got in to a conversation about the previous 2days. He got angry and put the phone down. We exchanged a flurry heated of messages, I eventually turned off my phone and partied with a good friend.

    The following day I turned my phone on, eventually spoke to him, I made the decision that I can’t be with him, after finding out he was trying to re-connect with his ex-yet again!

    We spoke for over an hour and everything I needed to say that I had built up for weeks all came out and to my surprise he listened, without cutting me off or interrupting. He knows the root of most of our problems stem from his gambling addiction and I can’t enable him anymore, by not doing anything to help our relationship, nor can I stand by him whilst he isn’t doing anything to show me he will change. He is adamant he can’t change where he is, although I know this is an excuse, is he just scared to do this alone? I know he doesn’t want to be a gambler, what it does to him is awful! But I’ve said if he can gamble anywhere in the world and wants help he can defiantly seek help anywhere. I told him I’m not expecting results over night or even putting a time frame on it as I know it takes time but a positive attitude can go a long way. I am hoping that once he has started some kind of treatment we will be in happier place and I will support him through this. I am happy to have him in my life but I have decided I can’t be with him the way we were.

    I am hoping he realises he can’t be in control of his money the next time he gets paid which will be this Thursday he makes the decision to trust my-self or a family member to guide him in the right direction. We have been down this road but maybe it will be different this time as he isn’t in the country.

    I handle my own finances he has nothing to do with that side of things.

    It worries me that he is such a long way off from seeking help. Is he prepared to lose me and our relationship to gamble? I know this is his problem and he has to make a decision but I want him to know he is not alone and he can have all the support he needs, or all the support I can offer him, it isn’t going to be easy but he can do it. I really believe he can. What are the best ways to support him to any differently than what I have been?

    He has let me down but I fear telling him that as I don’t want to rock the boat! I will not pretend he hasn’t let me down moving forward, he needs to be aware of his actions and the impact it’s having on me and our relationship. I have lectured him enough in the past there is only so much I can say now and how much I am willing to listen to him. I’m no fool and this situation has tested every emotion I have. It’s all about actions now. I can’t keep hanging on to empty broken promises.

    The next couple of days I will find out what barriers he will put in to place. Slow and steady, I want us to be together as if I didn’t this would have been A LOT easier.

    At the moment – I fear he will choose gambling over me. I know this is an addiction and he has no control at the worst of it but if he wants to change it surely he can seek help or find it within his own strength to do so. Will the addiction come first and he will lose us without putting up a fight? At least exhaust all options and possible solutions before giving up. I am scared of losing him to that – cheating is also the other ultimate form of deception for me but that’s a whole different forum! I love him and at the moment I am not ready to give him up. I really want to help him but what if leaving him is the only way to help him…… I haven’t considered that.

    I will keep looking after myself but thinking about my own boundaries is difficult. I don’t know what they should be. I really wish he would have a decisive bone in his body!

    Is it a good thing that I have him the link to the website?

    Thank you so much
    Lx

    #3873
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi L
    Yes it is good to point him towards support. If and when he does decide to live gamble-free it will be good for him to know where he can find those who understand him
    Jenny has given you amazing replies and I have been watching and nodding in agreement at her words but I am concerned that you are not appreciating the strength of your boyfriend’s addiction. You really have to know deep down that you cannot save your boyfriend, only he can do that – the only person you can save is you. At the moment, all the worrying and heart-wrenching is being done by you while he carries on indulging his addiction. I am not judging, I lived with the addiction for 25 years although I didn’t know what it was for 23 of them. It’s a long time to be controlled by the addiction of another but my experience is not unusual, it is repeated over and over on this site. I believed I could save him – I couldn’t; I could only save me but I was in a pathetic state by the time I finally got the message.
    I would never suggest you leave or stay. I think you are doing well pushing your thoughts around and gaining knowledge so that you can make an informed decision when ‘you’ are ready – but your boyfriend’s addiction is controlling both your lives at the moment and and that concerns me. It would be better for both of you if you considered what barriers ‘you’ are going to put in place to protect yourself before you worry about the barriers you hope your boyfriend will erect.
    ‘If’ he wants to change enough then he can – I wouldn’t be writing to you if I didn’t ‘know’ that his addiction can be controlled – but is he saying he wants to change? If your ‘need’ is that he changes but his ‘need’ is to gamble you will be hitting your head against a brick wall..
    You pose the difficult question ‘what if leaving him is the only way to help him?’ For many, this is the only outcome where the addiction is out of control but never threaten such an ultimatum unless you are prepared to carry it through because his addiction is the master of threats and you are not.
    I cannot stress enough the importance of putting yourself first; your boyfriend will not want you to be another piece of wreckage from his addiction. Maybe you could give him information on GA, dedicated counsellors, rehab who can understand him.. Hopefully he will try our helpline which is terrific. There is no shame in being unable to save a CG – it is something all those who love CGs have to face
    Keep posting, there is a lot to learn and knowledge will give you power over his addiction. What you do with that knowledge will always be up to you.
    Velvet

    #3874
    jenny46
    Participant

    I think boundaries are a very interesting topic but they should be a reflection of what we are prepared to put up with or tolerate. Whatever they are, they must be lines that other people can’t cross – for any reason.
    They are not necessarily always to do with ultimatums but similarly they cannot be stretched or bent.
    They do not always have to be major, in fact some small ones which are easy to put in place can have a very big impact.
    Like you, I had lots of supportive conversations, frequently to no avail. The times when I was allowed in usually followed a large episode of gambling (similar to your last one) and I would think, this is it, maybe this time etc etc only to find history repeated itself time and time again. I eventually realised that the response I would get just depended on where he was in his cycle, nothing to do with genuine intentions to stop.

    Funny don’t you think that he listens after a heavy loss, when it crosses his mind he might have pushed you that little bit too far ? It is no game, but it is distinctly possible that he gambles also with your relaitionship.
    I also believe any active CG will say anything to keep those that in some way enable the addiction to stay alive. Enablement takes so many forms other than financial ones, its often seems like a very complex subject, one which I certainly struggled with.
    An example of enablement could be something like keep allowing these fruitless discussions to take place – it can keep it alive, you get manipulated, lied to and he continues to gamble feeling that he has succeeded in fobbing you off (excuse my harsh description). The point I’m getting at is if the same cycle continues, the end result will always be the same. He has a cycle and so do you, it is changing your own cycle, your own response – that gives a different outcome. Different outcomes are also not necessarily the ones we hope for.
    So in theory a different response when he does exactly the same thing on his next pay day could be a very short and swift supportive comment from you like
    “I am not interested in hearing about this, but do please come and tell me when you have sort help and I will be happy to support you. Also please let me know if you’d like me to manage your money for you and I will be happy to do so ” and then refuse to have the conversation any further, then carry on as normal. Provide no money, pay off no debt and don’t be fooled into paying for everything else yourself.

    I am not trying to tell you what to do or what to say, that was just an example which saves you from a lot of the stress of listening to the BS and having another meaningless conversation ! It also doesn’t give a lot to argue about although I have no doubt he’ll try to pick one, don’t fall for it, it feels personal but its yet another tool of the addiction. Leave him to consider his consequences without involving you, you can turn your back on the addiction without turning your back on the person and one thing is certain, the addiction will be confused.

    I realise you see cheating as a matter for another forum but I think it is not always a separate issue it can be quite connected – gambling with relaitionships or certainly securing another enabler, maybe if you speak to Velvet in a group she can give you the same insight as she once gave to me on this very subject. Don’t underestimate the power and conniving behaviour behind this addiction.

    Who knows what it will take for him to come to the realisation that he wants to stop, leaving him might well at some point be a factor in his decision making process but it may not.

    My concern would be more for you should you decide to stay

    Keep reading, posting – try not too blow your top, its only going to put you through more upset.

    Above all look after yourself

    Jenny

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