7 September 2014 at 10:22 am #3486Jilly1Participant
It has been a long time since I wrote on this forum. I had tremendous support from people here for a number of years while I was going through a terrible situation. I wanted everybody who remembers me to know that I eventually took control of my life and am well on the road to recovery.
I wanted to thank everyone here and also give hope to others although I know everybody’s story is different and my outcome would not be right for everybody.
I had been married to a CG for over 25 years. We worked together and raised a large family together. I won’t go over my long drawn out story suffice to say it was the the roller coaster journey many of you have experienced.
I gave him many many chances and heard many many apologies and promises. He never sought any help and continued to lapse causing huge financial problems.
I went through everything that people describe here including blaming/doubting myself and covering up for him.
It took a couple of years of “support” before I was truly able to stand up for myself and work towards the life I wanted. I had to go away, stand on my own two feet and put what I had learned into action. It was the hardest thing and I had to dig deep into my reserves but it has given me the best result.
I think a big factor in me dithering was the feeling I should stay until the children were grown up to give them the stability of both parents living together. I now think this was a mistake as they grew up in a strained environment with financial instability.
My husband had an addictive personality that didn’t just stop at gambling and led him eventually to start a relationship with a woman over half his age and with a rather dubious background.
Interestingly although he still dabbles in gambling it has taken a backseat to his new “addiction” although it is equally as costly.
Eventually it wasn’t my decision to make as he left me for this woman. I could have fought and won him back and he was disappointed I didn’t. I let him go. I knew that I did not want that life anymore or to be the person I was with him.
In some ways I wish I had had the courage to leave before he eventually left but I didn’t. I waited for him to go but let it happen with my blessing. I know it will not work out for him long term and that he is being taken for a bit of a ride by this young woman but I saw it as my key to freedom and grabbed the opportunity to be “released” from what had become a torment.
He has left a trail of debt and children who are reeling from the discovery that he would want a relationship with a woman younger than them.
I can’t say that I felt the huge relief I had expected to feel and there is a sadness. But I feel in control of my own life and finances and have the chance to create a happy tranquil family home again. The children are struggling with it but the atmosphere at home is happier and as things have come out in the open I have had tremendous support from them. I had covered up for my husband as regards some of the darker stuff but they ended up finding out for themselves and being tremendously supportive of me.
I never thought this day would come.
As a woman in my 50s it is a difficult time to be left on your own. I may be on my own for the rest of my life now. But I am OK with that prospect. I have a large family, a few good friends and best of all peace of mind and control of my life. I am having a great relationship with myself. Who knows what lies ahead.
Amazingly I have maintained a reasonably amicable relationship with my husband although it is still early days and he still tries to manipulate me at times. With the distance I can see things more clearly now.
I don’t know what advice I could give to anybody else as each situation is unique. I would say the same as everybody said to me here which is look after yourself first. Somehow we tend to sacrifice ourselves in order to keep the show on the road. It is no good having regrets but if I could do anything differently I would have taken as much control of finances as I could earlier on. I would have laid down much clearer boundaries and stuck more to my values. I ended up losing sight of the life I wanted and accepting his views of what was acceptable behaviour. I would have used as much support as I could get and not felt ashamed about it. I felt too embarrassed to go to Gam anon and that was part of my feeling that I had to protect him in some way. That was a mistake. ( Charles will second that)
I would say never ever give up hope even in your worst moments of despair. You can get through it.
If there is any help I could give anybody I would. I am so grateful for the years of help I had here. I often think about the people I met here and want them to know that they all contributed to my recovery (that includes CGs as well as the family and friends…it was often the insight of a CG that tore away the facade my husband created. They could see through all his tales and manipulation). I won’t name you all because you all know who you are.
I will name one person though because she changed my life forever with endless patience and support. I don’t really have words to do it justice only this.:
Velvet. Thank you.
Jilly8 September 2014 at 9:22 am #3487DuncKeymaster
Firstly thank you for posting. Often being in cyberspace can be a difficult place to work not knowing how people are coping and if they have or haven’t moved on.
Thank you for making my week, its lovely to know at last you’ve started to find a life that is right for you without being help back by addictions… please keep us updated on your future
Harry8 September 2014 at 12:13 pm #3488moniqueParticipant
I have thought of you at times and wondered how things worked out. I am so pleased that you have written here and for the news you have given us.
I can see the truth of all you say. I’m sure Velvet would say ‘don’t do regret’ – even about the things you think you did ‘wrongly’ or ‘too late’ etc. Today, you are in a new place and that is so wonderful. It will still be tough at times, but things will make more sense and you will be less troubled. You will have peace of mind, in spite of the ordinary struggles of life.
I always admired the adventurous things you did in life and now you are on a whole new adventure. Women in their fifties are great!! (I am soon to leave my fifties behind!!)
Thank you so much for this post. I send you lots of lots of good wishes for now and all the future, for you and your family.
Monique8 September 2014 at 2:37 pm #3489jenny46Participant
You’ve certainly made my day, I have thought about you often and am just so relieved and excited for you.
Its just so lovely to have that peaceful feeling.
I am approaching my 50’s and am enjoying my life in so many ways, almost better for my learning over the past 7 or 8 years!! Its your time now Jilly and you certainly deserve continued peace and a very big dose of happiness.
I’m sure he was surprised that you didn’t try to win him back, almost as surprised as I would have been if you had !!
With very Best Wishes to you and your family
Jenny / Dawn ( I forgot who I was last time I spoke to you)8 September 2014 at 6:53 pm #3490charlesModerator
Hi Jilly, Thanks for the update. It was great to read.
A little sadness? No doubt. That little bit of sadness comes with, I hope, a big chunk of happiness, hope and excitement about what comes next.
Use this site as much as you like on your journey or just pop in from time to time with another update. Take care.9 September 2014 at 12:39 am #3491twilight16Participant
What a wonderful update, only emphasizing that in due time most of us will truly break away from the addiction like you.
Yes, trail and error and more of it, years and years of it, but it is what led you to where you are now. Surrounded by those you felt would not understand, your children, family and friends, I feel this is also one of life’s ironies. Now you and your children can move on, supporting and loving one another, not ever to worry about your ex-husband’s gambling addiction. He will have to deal with his actions alone.
Not to be a downer, but please be careful with your ex. He is good now, but once his addiction reaches a new level where he has close to nothing and his young love kicks him to the curb. He will return, he will expect for you to help and play the “We are family, we have children together. So for the sake of them, please help” card and he will be relentless. The addiction will make sure of it. Just pay it no mind. It does not control you anymore. Yet, for the now, it’s great reading that you doing a great job not letting him manipulating you, just continue this stand.
I have moved on too, much has happened with my father since you left, but like you, I am enjoying my recovery and I have you to thank, too. I will always remember how supportive your responds where to me at my darkest times. Many times I wrote to you being a bit direct yet your kind replies, only showed you appreciated what I wrote. I will always remember this. I also remember how you appreciated when I once wrote “you cannot sit on two chairs.”
Much love to you Jilly,
XXX Twilight13 September 2014 at 9:29 am #3492Jilly1Participant
How lovely to hear from you all and know that you are all ok. I would love to these your updates in more detail. Twighlight, when we last spoke I think your father was in a ‘sheltered’ type accomodation and you were tentatively visiting. You are right about the help card. It is a big danger but I am aware of it and my boundaries now. Jenny…so true about life being better because of what you have gone through. It’s hard to say you would want to be without all the bad experiences because they make you the strong aware person you are now. Monique, how is your son? There are others too that I think about and it would be lovely to hear an update from you all. Charles and Harry, I know life will be good for you both now you are both so far down the recovery path.
I am going to say something that may not be popular here and it is only based on my experience and hearing other stories.
I think now, if somebody asked me about their partner having an addiction I would say run, run as fast as you can to a safe place where you can shore yourself up. You can help that person and be a source of support but only from your own safe and protected place. Otherwise you will get sucked in to a storm and lose your bearings. Two of you will sink instead of one. That person has to make their own recovery and recovering from addiction is one of the hardest things to do. It should not become your responsibility. You can’t control it and it is not your fault.
It may be a good idea to separate your lives but tell that person they can return when they show that they are well on the way to recovery.
I struggled to get out even though without exception everybody who knew my situation was telling me I should. I couldn’t see it for myself. I was too immersed in it and manipulated I suppose.
I was very tangled up with my CG as we worked together in a family business. The more I stepped out of his world by getting my own job and seeking support the more clearly I could see how bizarre my world had become and how far removed it was from the life I wanted for myself and my family.
I don’t think there will be any reconciliation for us as he went too many steps too far and never attempted any sort of significant recovery.
I’m not going to pretend it is all plain sailing and instant happiness but it’s a better feeling than I had before. I feel more in control of my life and more positive about the future.
Jilly13 September 2014 at 9:25 pm #3493veraParticipant
I have thought of you often, Jilly and wondered how you and your CG had fared out.
I always say the only thing worse than being a CG would be to be married to a CG! I don’t think I could even imagine the disastrous financial/emotional effect it would have on family, business or personal life. In your case Jilly, all the “eggs were in one basket” which made it even more difficult for you to deal with. I feel both glad and sad for you. Ending a marriage is never easy; maybe it’s just as well the decision was made for you indirectly in the end.
My bet is, he’ll be back….watch this space!!
One thing we must always remember is that there is a VAST difference between a CG in recovery and a CG who makes no attempt whatsoever to change his life!
I wish you all the best for the future Jilly. Now, more than ever, you will need to live life one day at a time!
Stay strong!15 September 2014 at 1:50 am #3494twilight16Participant
Yes, as Vera has written there is a VAST difference between a CG in recovery and a CG who makes no attempt to change his life. My father and your husband share this in their lack of attempt to stop gambling or even recognizing there was a real problem.
This extremely important for family and friends to remember when the temptation to help or enable in anyway arises, when guilt may strike or if someone tries to influence by saying “but he your children’s father, etc” is to shut those voices and know you are doing the right thing, not only for you but him.
Dad is doing well, and yes, he is still in the same place, doing well safe from the addiction and in ways himself. When I visit him I am still overwhelmed by joy that he is living a normal life, compared to the years prior, as you know the story. However, it was at a very high price for not just him but me and my family. I feel his years of gambling as a young man to a senior, contributed to his mental demise.
I have moved on, though I do check on a few member once in a while, my time here is limited, and instead I am throughly enjoying my children, and my family and good life doing well for myself.
I can read your strength in your post and with a big smile, I say “Go Girl.” You will see as time passes, greater things happening to you and your children. You deserve all the great things in life and karma will certainly bless you.
Thinking of you often.
XXX Twilight8 October 2014 at 12:24 pm #3495velvetModerator
I can’t tell you how good it was to read your post.
As you so rightly stated you ‘stood up for yourself’ and you ‘stood on your own two feet’. Nobody did it, or is doing it, for you Jilly – you retook control of your life and laid the foundation on which to build your future. The door was ajar and you kicked it open – well done.
As a woman in her 50s you have a lot of life ahead of you and with good friends and a loving family you will flourish.
However, flourishing does take patience – your recovery will be a long one and sometimes it will seem very tough. You have trodden one of the most difficult paths so please continue taking support whenever and wherever you can. Your children will struggle and with that will come emotional demands on you. I cannot tell you what to do but I believe that protecting something that was wrong is not fair on them or you; I also know that the cover-ups of another’s past actions can come back and hit you and I know how painful this is. It is so hard that while you are taking your first breaths of recovery they are too and not everything drops into its correct place easily. Keep talking Jilly – you know where I am.
I appreciate the bluntness of Twilight’s post and believe the danger in her words is more real for you than for many. I would be doing you a disserve if I said that I was not concerned that you were maintaining a reasonable amicable relationship with your husband because reason has never been part of his make-up, either with his gambling addiction or other areas of his life. If ever you are feeling doubtful Jilly, re-read your posts and keep your health and sanity at the forefront of your life.
Monique is right – forget what might have been – this has been your experience, unique to you and is therefore the experience on which you will build your future – nobody can judge you and if they try then the fault will lie with them. My CG, in control of his addiction, has been able to tell me that because I tried to do everything right I did everything wrong and he was ‘not’ criticising me – it was a fact. Just like me Jilly you tried so hard to do everything right and it was manna to the addiction but how could you possibly have known? You have been a good wife when a bad one would have coped better – I know which I prefer.
You wrote that you would help anybody if you could and I can assure you that you have done that by writing this post. You said that you thought you would say to a partner of someone with an addiction that they should run – I don’t think that is a popular or unpopular thing to say here. The outcomes from this addiction do vary as the posts of many F&F members reflect. Your post reflects your experience and is (and will remain) an important part of the tapestry of this site.
I do appreciate your thanks but – and it is a massive but – you changed your life Jilly. My input was that I knew you could when you doubted it, so mine was the easier part.
V14 September 2015 at 2:22 am #3496veraParticipant
Yes, I said and still say there could only be one thing worse FOR ME, than being a CG and that is being married to one. (or indeed to have to live as an adult or a child with a compulsive gambler). Of course the fallout is truly devastating for both CG and “significant others” alike, but for the latter the damage is not self inflicted . Personally I would find that life intolerable. I know every CG is unique. Every “case” is different but there are common traits, similar trials and sadly most scenarios end with disastrous consequences .
Jilly, as a CG I feel I always have some control over the times I gamble. My husband and family have no idea when this madness is going to rear it’s ugly head and usually only find out if and when I decide to reveal the damage that I have caused. I see this as using a power weapon against the other person and I have been guilty of doing this on many occasions. Personally, I could not live with somebody who is liable , without warning to pull the rug from under my feet and bring my world crashing down when they (I) selfishly succumb to a whim (urge) that they (I) know will cause hurt, pain, stress and put yet a further wedge between an already fragile relationship where the partner is likely to be scrambling for damage control for years. And then have the audacity to shelter behind the banner of “Addiction” and expect to get off with a rap on the knuckles or in some cases expect the loved ones to lick their (my) wounds, brush themselves down and start all over again as if nothing happened. No, Jilly, I could not live with this and I am ever amazed when I read in the F and F Forum how “partners and spouses” are being hoodwinked up to the whites of their eyes by “tricksters” like me. I am very ashamed to admit, I often secretly chuckle at the amount of enabling that goes on and It even gives me further tips on “how to manipulate my spouse”! How SICK is that?
Yes, the unfortunate CG does suffer. There are lots of posts on the My Journal Forum to highlight that. We penalize ourselves to within an inch of our lives and sanity BUT every CG on this site knows the rules We all have been given the “bag of tools” so for that reason I say a Cg has the trump card in his/her hand and sometimes plays it merrily at the expense of others. Usually, by the time an F and F member begins to wise up , the relationship is drawing it’s last breaths and the finances are beyond repair. All this damage was done BY the CG TO the non CG. Let’s not forget that fact!
Every time I gamble,Jilly, I need to do a lot of groundwork before I set out. I must arrange to have funds available (Always secret funds). I need to lay out a plan to account for the time I intend being “absent”, then think up an excuse (a lie) to cover my tracks. Find a way to replace the money I lose or more likely a way to reshuffle funds to make things appear normal and if these tricks fail, I will resort to manipulation, pleading or both. All this planning and underground maneuvering is part of the sick thrill that comes with the territory and I don’t think I am being unfair to any CG here when I say that. I do not see myself as the innocent victim of an addiction. It is the people who have to live with me are the “victims” of my unadulterated greed and selfishness. I refer to myself only here. I don’t know the mindset of other gamblers but I have yet to meet a gambler who can’t leave the casino as often as need be, to visit the ATM and we will do this nonchalantly until the account is wiped out regardless of the dire consequences we cause for ourselves and OTHERS . I hear them (us) say. “It’s my own business/it’s my hobby/I’m not harming anyone/I don’t drink or smoke” or words to that effect. Could I live with somebody who is so selfish that he/she will jeopardize my peace and happiness to ensure he/she has a night of sick fun? Nope! I would have to take extreme measures to protect myself from that type of torture .
So now Jilly, after that ramble, I rest my case.
(Thanks for posting to my thread on July 3oth)14 September 2015 at 1:19 pm #3497jenny46Participant
Good to hear from you. I didn’t read anything that should make you unpopular ! in fact I remember one of the first replies I ever had on this forum many years ago in which I was told to “run like hell and never look back ” no mention of supporting from the side lines etc – do I wish I’d listened? well yes I do, I would have saved myself and my children a lot of grief and financial difficulties.
I still believe that we all have to go through our own process to come to the right conclusions, at the right time for us and I know I now suffer from impatience and intolerance of addiction in general whereas far from “running like hell” I personally limped through my own journey, probably looking like some bizarre example of how to lose a three legged race !!! I too feel like I would love to say “run like hell to people ”
I have no contact with my CG what so ever if I can help it, not because I hate him ( which I don’t) or I wouldn’t like to be amicable but because I still fear/respect the addiction and its ability to manipulate any situation / conversation it gets its grubby little paws on.
It is interesting how when we get in a ‘normal’ environment our own situation just seems to become more and more strange and bizarre and as you say when we are in the middle of it all despite what others say it is very difficult to truly see what is going on.
I think it is only recently that I truly understood what looking after me meant and often remind myself to do exactly that.
That’s what I would say to you Jilly – keep looking after you at every opportunity, recovery doesn’t end with the relaitionship – keep working at it and things can only get better.
Jenny xxx14 September 2015 at 11:18 pm #3498moniqueParticipant
It has been good to read your posts on other threads. You are a remarkable woman and have made amazing strides forward in your life. You have gained much wisdom and share it to great effect with others.
I wish you well, along with your family, always.
Monique20 September 2015 at 9:06 am #3499TiredAndHopelessParticipant
I have your answer to my post and I have now read this one here: I am happy for how you are doing better now, but I am also sad to have read more of your story: it sounds horrible what you have been thru, double betrayal… 🙁 Good job letting him go, and actually a pretty lucky hand there, i.e. his falling for this floozy.
Good job, Jilly! 🙂20 September 2015 at 9:09 am #3500TiredAndHopelessParticipant
Your post really hit close to home, I had the same things told to me by my CG, how can I be soooo dumb??? I must be one of those idiots who believe in love and honesty.
I am hurt and I feel very stupid.
I hope you keep enjoying your chuckles.
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