Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Mom is blaming us for her unhappiness / won’t admit addiction

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    My name is Anthony, and my mom is a CG.


    Our family owned a Chinese restaurant for 20+ years. My two brothers and I grew up working with our parents but now we are working professionals in our 20-30s.

    Our parents lost the lease to their restaurant 2 years ago because the new landlord wanted to build a retail outlet. Fortunately, many of the original investors forgave a huge portion of the debt we owed from the business. So we were able to start over and leave the burden of the restaurant behind us.

    Long story short = My brothers and I moved our parents to come live with us. We took out loans to cover payday/finance loans and their outstanding credit cards. My parents handled their finances very poorly both to cover restaurant expenses and their gambling debts (of course the two are related). Since the move, my dad is working at a restaurant again earning an hourly wage. Mom stays at home, but she has been a nightmare to live with ever since the move in. It’s been around a 1 year and a half so far and she has frequently complained about being bored at home, nothing to do. She always asks to go the casino. She doesn’t pay rent. She gets a social security check every month. She complains that she stays home and does household chores.

    A small but major detail: For 20+ years my parents when my parents owned the restaurant, they would go to the casino every Saturday night after work and gamble all weekend. That was their norm. I really think that my mom is so pissy all the time not just because of the big change, but because she misses that lifestyle. But she won’t admit it. Ever since moving here, my brothers and I have been doing everything we can to help keep my mom happy, such as taking her out to eat, taking her to festivals and cultural events, taking her shopping, giving her spending money, she has a car at home she can use to go wherever. It’s never enough though. She only wants to go to the casino. She says that she feels like she is in jail at home.

    The first week we moved into our new apartment, she and my dad lost $2000. My mom is really the one who bets big though. She is never the one to suggest cashing out and going home. I blame myself for taking them that first time. I did it because they had just moved in and had nothing to do. Now I regret that I did.

    Several months later my mom got a letter notice in the mail. It pretty much said that she had written a bad check for $5000 while in Vegas a long time ago and that she needed to pay the full amount or go to jail. We had no idea about this, but my mom remembered when she did this. She cried and begged us to fix the issue and my brother ended up draining his savings to cover it. Weeks go by and my mom starts talking about the casino again. She watches YouTube videos about people gambling while she stays at home. It’s like she was brainwashing herself.

    Months go by and she goes to Vegas for her birthday. Loses money again. Then she goes to Vegas a second time in the summer, saying she wants to visit a friend (who she never ended up seeing). Then she planned again to go for the holidays with my grandma and aunt but their plans fell through and they cancelled the trip. This is when my mom starts going crazy. She starts asking to go to the local casino every single week. We say no and it’s like we are fighting every weekend (my dad only has Saturdays off). Finally, as I predicted, my mom threatened to leave and screamed that she had been unhappy for a long time, that she wasted her life away at the restaurant, and that she hates her life. Then she does what she always does and locks herself in the room and we have to guess what mood she is in or wait until she asks us to fetch her food. Later, she told my aunt that she wanted to be cremated and poured into the ocean. And our aunt messaged us about this concerned. I confronted her about this and got verbal confirmation she wasn’t serious about this. She ended up booking a ticket to go my grandma’s place and she left. Once she’s there, we looked at her bank account and saw that one of the first things she did when she got there was go to the casino. She spent all her money in a few days. Then she asked my brother (who lives in a different city) for money. Once she lost that she demanded my dad give her money that he usually gives her every two weeks. Then she drained that. Then she asked for the money my brother had been settings aside savings for my mom by taking out from her social security check every month. That $500 was deposited and it was spent at the casino again. All during this time she has been saying the nastiest things through text to my dad (because she refuses to speak to us). She has been texting my dad that they should call it quits in their marriage, that “your sons are mean and controlling” just like you, and saying things like “goddamn you all” and “I can do whatever I want with my money.”

    I had tried to help by posting a gambling help video on FB but that only made things worse. She went off (texting my dad) saying more terrible things and claiming that we don’t accept her for who she is. At the same time she is complaining to the rest of my family (relatives) that no one called her on Christmas or sent her any presents. Next thing that happened was she got her social security check ($800) and she spent it all at the casino in 1 day. My dad got so pissed and finally called her to ask her what the hell she was doing. And she keeps using excuses like that she used the money to buy gifts for her nephews and nieces and that it’s her money and that has been sad, depressed, and angry.

    Again, long story short, pretty much my mom has been a monster this past month. This problem has been ongoing, however. Because to be honest, sometimes I wouldn’t come home after work until later because of the bad vibes she gave off or because I knew she was in a bad mood.  It is so sad for me to write all this stuff because this is not how I want to think of my mom. But I don’t know how to describe how I feel when she is this way. She blames her unhappiness on us. She guilts us for treating her bad when we are trying to help her address this addiction. She reminds us that she is the mom and that she suffered all those years at the restaurant. She demands money from us, and is ungrateful. She forgets all the terrible words she says and she lists off everything wrong we’ve ever done to her. Says that we kicked her out. She doesn’t realize everythign we’ve done to try to help the situtation. That things are better now that the restaurant is behind us, we got a loan to sort out those old debts, and that we are trying to save up so we can take trips and do fun things so that she isn’t bored and that we can be a normal family.

    We have tried to remain calm throughout this. When she texted us that she was done with us and told us to forget about her, we just told her “We love you. We have been good sons and a good husband to you. But you need to change if you want to be a part of our lives.” And I hope this is the right way to go about it. Because we have reached the point where enough is enough. I hope my mom changes. For now, she is still there living with my grandma, and she has $40 in her account. She had $800+ just a few days ago. Personally, I think she needs to experience and understand how much gambling is not worth it, and that it’s within her power to make better choices if she recognizes that there is a problem and there is help for it. I hope she gets to that point. Not for her to just say fake words and promises and act happy again because she wants money, but to mean it and to take active steps to better her life, and not ruin it.



    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.

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    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 🙂

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    Hi Anthony

    You have started your thread with a post that must have been hard to write – I want you to know that you have been heard and understood.

    I think your message to your mom was a wonderful way of showing her how much you care but I am sure you are aware that her addiction will probably prevent her from accepting your words as they are meant.

    Your mom has a roof over her head with your grandma so you know where she is and that she is safe which is good – is your grandma aware of her daughter’s addiction? Is your grandma a strong woman?

    You, your brothers and your father know you have done your best so your mother’s unkind words have no basis in fact. If she was in control of her addiction you can be sure that these are not the words she would express.

    When it is felt that everything has been tried and there has been no change for the better it is time to think what else could be done that is different. Your mother has had her debts cleared many times and still she gambles so clearing her gambling debts doesn’t work. She has demanded money and thrown it away feeding her addiction, so giving her cash hasn’t made any difference. Sometimes, when words and actions from loved ones have made no difference, a compulsive gambler has to be allowed to fall.

    Entering into prolonged conversations with an active gambler gives them the ability to place blame for their own poor behaviour on everybody else, so I suggest that when your mother makes contact it might be better just to calmly tell her that you will only listen to her when she is ready to be polite and that you will not listen when she is being unpleasant. Maybe you could give her the address of her local gamblers anonymous (GA), or a dedicated addiction counsellor, or give her information about this site. She would be welcomed on our Helpline where she can get one-to-one, non- judgmental, anonymous support.

    I hope you will keep posting Anthony; you have been fighting a long battle together with your father and brothers against an implacable addiction. You have told your mother that you will be there for her when she is ready to seek help and for now I cannot think of anything that you could have done better.


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