18 March 2016 at 4:25 am #4598
Hi, so I don’t know where to start with this. A year or so ago we found out my mother was spending a lot of her time at the casino blowing a huge part of my parents retirement money at a casino near by. To say the least it didn’t go over well, my dad felt betrayed and still holds those feelings today, I felt betrayed that my mother manipulated me and that I didn’t see it because she was my mother. The day we found out there was a lot of arguments and yelling and me getting angry to the point I snapped a door in half. After that I didn’t talk to her for a few days and then found out she removed money from my parents bank account to gamble and I gave my dad the money so he could pay bills.
I know I shouldn’t lend any money but I still live at home with my parents, and was eventually paid back. For the past year I thought she had quit, she had no access to money after we changed certain things around but come tonight she asked me for money because she removed money from my parents bank account again and she had been going to the casino frequently. More lies and more bullshit, I have enough shit I’m paying money for between my car/rent(to my father)/student loans/health insurance. I just found this out tonight and instead of responding and lashing out, calling her out on all her BS and telling her no amount of lying or manipulating will work on me again, I decided to sign up here and vent. I feel mad at myself for not noticing her excuses for “going out” to places.
I really just don’t understand how she fell victim to this, to me addiction seems like a foreign idea as I’ve never had problems with it. Simply put I know right from wrong, and it baffles me that she could be this stupid. I mean she’s unemployed and puts a lot of stress on my dad as he works and I work, yet she will get mad if we tell her to start looking for work. I just don’t fucking get it, at this point I feel like taking my younger brother and moving out so he doesn’t have to deal with this as he is still in high school.
Thanks for the time to read this and sorry for jumping around everywhere as I’m just really angry and tired right now.18 March 2016 at 9:00 am #4599
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, youll find the times for these if you click on the Group times box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself youll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and theyll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂
If youre 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 isnt connected with GMA, please dont identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.
Youll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which youll follow, some you wont…but thats ok because only you fully understand your
situation and whats best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you dont because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂
We look forward to hearing all about you!
The Gambling Therapy Team
PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our18 March 2016 at 9:25 am #4600
I’m glad you have found this forum – I hope that you can get some understanding and peace of mind.
Your mother isn’t stupid even though her actions would lead you to believe that she is. She has an addiction to gamble which she neither asked for, not wanted – anymore than you want it in your life. At some point she will have done the lottery, backed a horse for fun, put money into a gaming machine, played poker, the same as so many, many people do every day with no ill effect. However for your mother this has not been the case – she could not have known that addiction was waiting for her and by the time she became aware she would have been confused and frightened and unable to talk about it. Unfortunately, as you have found this addiction causes untold misery to those who live with it but with understanding and knowledge of her addiction I hope you will cope better and make informed decisions that are right for you, your brother, your father and ultimately for your mother.
Don’t be mad at yourself for not noticing her excuses and lies, you were not meant to notice them – her addiction is secretive and divisive which is why it is better to get your concerns into the open, which is what you are doing now.
What is your relationship like with your father? Is he aware of his wife’s addiction and the losses from his accounts? Can you talk to him about your concerns and will you be able to tell him what you learn here?
Giving money to a compulsive gambler (CG) is the same as giving a drink to an alcoholic. Money is not your mother’s problem, it is the addiction that is twisting her mind and causing the unacceptable behaviour and for that she requires treatment. Money is only a tool to her, a means to gamble more and that means she will not walk away until she has lost everything – in fact she will feel she cannot walk away.
I won’t answer all your questions in this first post as understanding this addiction takes time and making the right decisions takes time too. I hope you will stick with us until you are happy that you know what to do for the best for all of you.
You have done well writing your first post Bill. Everything you have written is understood.
Velvet18 March 2016 at 1:43 pm #4601
Thanks for taking the time to write that post, last night I was angry as you could see and tired. I just woke up and have let things go there course as I slept. I won’t be bailing my mother out this time. As for my father we are both close and he knows about all the money that was taken last year from there retirement but not about the money she asked me for last night. Problem is if I tell him I know how he’ll react and he generally responds with anger when it comes to this. He’s older and comes from a family that had addiction issues but none of them “thought of them as addictions” so to say. Luckily he didn’t fall victim to it. I will bring up to him what I find out here though and I told my mom this morning that she needs to face him and deal with the consequences of her actions as they are in a bad financial spot and she made it worse.
It wasn’t a large sum of money withdrawn this time luckily it was only a couple hundred dollars, but I’m at a point in my life where I’m saving for a downpayment on my own house and I told her I will not support an addiction. She played the sorrow game but I told her no and if she needs help finding help I’ll help her.
It’s a good thing that I recently in the past year or so learned that when I’m angry to just go lay down and sleep, a good nights rest allowed me to clear my head and think things through a bit. I also have a cousin who’s dealing with a heroin addiction and I talk to his mother(my Aunt) about what to do as well.
Bill18 March 2016 at 2:15 pm #4602worriedmamaParticipant
Addiction unfortunately brings out the worst in everybody… the addict and those they love. As Velvet says your mom is not stupid, she is an addict who after that first bet is made has literally no control over her gambling.
Although for the most part for her it is not about the money for your dad and family it is most definitely the money that is a problem right now. If you could sit down with your dad and cut virtually all her access to money it can help to bring her to her “rock bottom”. As you have probably figured out a compulsive gambler can be very manipulative and have no trouble lying to get the money to feed their addiction so you may also want to tell any friends or family that they should not be giving her money.
I know it is so very frustrating to be in the middle of this but unfortunately nothing you say or do is going to help her recover… that must come from her.18 March 2016 at 3:24 pm #4603
Just wanted to update the thread again, I’m at work right now but my mother texted me saying I didn’t give her a direct enough answer. I responded with saying this: “I’m worried about you and dad now, he’s going to know either way and I can’t just give extra money. I just paid $5500 in bills this month paying off monthly bills and a no interest credit card so I’m caught up on everything to buy a house and I have my quarterly car insurance that I owe. Even if I lent you money dad would know and at this rate you’re going to give him a heart attack. You need to get help and get back to working to help keep you busy and if you want to prove you’re ready for change you’ll go on the casino blacklists. ”
This is what I responded with, I didn’t know what else to say and I’m honestly worried how my dad is going react as he’s older now and him getting angry isn’t good for him.18 March 2016 at 5:52 pm #4604
Your text was good, you told her that you were not going to enable her, that she should seek help and self ban herself from the casino – great messages to get across.
Anger is an understandable response to this addiction but it is a waste of energy. Although the following is not recognised professionally, I know it has worked for many and it may help you cope.
Imagine when you talk to your mother that her addiction is a slavering beast in the corner of the room which will stay in its corner until it feels threatened. The beast is the master of threats and manipulation so when it hears anger it will leap between you and dictate the argument. It doesn’t hear logic or reason because to do so would be to accept responsibility for unacceptable behaviour, so it fights with lies and manipulation. It is important to realise that this addiction controls your mother but it doesn’t control you – unless you allow it to do so.
The CG in my life controls his addiction and is now able to explain to me that when I was talking to him about living an honest and truthful life to be happy, he couldn’t believe me – I had to be telling lies. His addiction had destroyed his self-esteem and confidence, convincing him that he was an unlovable, worthless, failure so why would he bother to fight to be honest and happy when such a life was not possible for him. Believing himself worthless therefore he fought back with every deception possible because he had no other coping mechanism.
In my opinion, it is better to stand back and listen from a calm distance to what an active CG is saying which makes it easier not get caught up in an argument that has no point apart from making you feel less in control.
This might sound a little 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 by looking after you first you will become stronger and more able to cope with your little brother, your father and your mother.
Maybe next time your mother ask for money you could possible tell her that you have sought support because of her behaviour and that you know that enablement is wrong and it is for that reason you will not bail out her gambling debts. Taking responsibility for her gambling debts is one of the early steps CGs should take when they accept their addiction.
Your mother does need support and GA is there for her, as is this site. Our helpline is one-to-one, completely understanding and non-judgemental, we have ‘My Journal’ which is a CG forum and CG only groups. The ’20 questions’ on the Gamblers anonymous website is worth downloading and giving to your mother – it might waken her up to the damage her addiction is causing. At the moment your mother may think her gambling secret is safe – I believe it is good to take away the secrecy. I think it is good that active CGs know that support has been sought by those who love them because it is a selfish addiction and CGs can think they are the only ones suffering.
In view of what you say about your father I understand that his health is not best placed to hear anymore of his wife-addictive behaviour but it may well be that he already knows and wants to close his eyes to it.
Keep posting Bill.
Velvet18 March 2016 at 6:43 pm #4605
Thanks for the good response, I’ve been spending a lot of my time at work researching it more and more. I mean when we found out initially a year or so ago there was yelling for a few days. My dad was extremely disappointed and broken in a way, but after a while he came around. At that point I lent $800 to her after she was found out because she took money out of their bank account and my dad needed it for bills so I deposited it back in and she ended up paying me back over time from the part time work she was doing for my Uncle.
Until recently I noticed her behavior changed again and she was taking longer than normal with simple errands and I had a feeling she was back at it. This time it’s $130 she wants to borrow and for me to deposit it back into the bank account and she said she’d pay me back. Then I responded with what I post previously. She messaged me back ~30 minutes ago or so and this was her response: “I know your father is going to be mad, but not as mad if I already put the money back in the bank, that’s why I’m asking you for the $130. I would put it back into your account in a week. I know I screwed up and can’t keep going down there, I’m not gonna even look at their offers anymore.” That’s what she responded back with. To me she ignored the blacklists and tried to guilt me into feeling sorry for her and my father.
I mean part of me wants to just deposit the $130 as it really isn’t the end of the world and I might get it back. But my other side is telling me not to, she should life up to her mistake and deal with it herself. Truth be told I work in IT and I do a lot of programming in my free time, I’ve always been a logical person and I love math and well logic. When it comes to gambling I see no logic in it, I can’t find the pattern to stop it or to understand it, it seems as simple as just not doing it. But I know the human brain is more complicated than that, and for awhile now I thought she had stopped and was getting better but I see that isn’t the case.
But here I am at work spending most of my day reading this forum board, GA.org and doing research, if it’s 1 thing I pride myself in it’s solving problems whether it’s a math problem or fixing a car or redoing a whole basement and fixing an insulation issue(house had a bad design and heat escaped a lot in the winter). To me this is a complex problem that has an answer but I’ve yet to arrive at how to fix it, and I know part of that fix is my mom wanting to stop her addiction and it’s something I don’t have control over. Thanks again to you and worried for taking the time to read this!
Bill19 March 2016 at 1:21 am #4606worriedmamaParticipant
Gambling addiction never just goes away on it’s own. A CG can abstain for time but if the problem isn’t addressed it will always resurface.
If you put the $130 in the account for her you are just perpetuating the addiction. I know she truly believes this will be the “last” time lesson learned but realistically this is just not so.
Your mom will not get to the point of wanting to stop her addiction until what she is doing no longer works. Nothing changes if nothing changes. You can change how you deal with her which will in turn force her to change or not.
Take care:)19 March 2016 at 5:36 am #4607
Yeah I’m pushing for the blacklists a lot and I gave in to putting the $130 in the account as my dad needs it for bills. I made sure it was deposited and I told my mom this is it, I will never ever give her money for anything nor will I bail her out. She has been saying that what she did was a mistake and she only recently started going. Honestly a lot of this happened I believe due to her losing her job a few years ago and she’s simply bored. I told her this is it and I”m only doing this because of my dad, but if it happens again tough luck. I also discussed with my dad changing the bank account to his name only and I’ll be setting up a system to notify him of any withdrawals from the account.
I no I shouldn’t have given in this time but I live under the same roof and it’s a last straw type of deal. I warned her that I won’t be living here soon enough and if it ever got bad with the gambling that I’d also take my younger brother with me who only has a couple of years left in high school. I also brought up GA to her and this forum board as well, she was in tears tonight after the talk I had with her and I did like you guys said to just talk and no yelling/arguing and taking a step back to listen. I can tell part of her doesn’t want to let go yet part of her does. What bothers me the most is this is my mom who raised me and I’ve lived with and respected my whole life. It just tears me apart seeing this and realizing that I will have to tell her no next time she messes up. Part of me looks back at the stupid stuff I did when I was younger and how she bailed me out of things, but in the end this is it in terms of money being lent and she knows where I stand with money after this.19 March 2016 at 12:50 pm #4608veraParticipant
Hi Bill and welcome to GT.
I hail from the “other side” of the GT Forum. I am a compulsive gambler and also the mother of a grown up family. I began playing slot machines approx. 18 years ago and became “hooked” very fast.
The problem with compulsive gambling, Bill is that the only time a CG will stop is when we want to or when we have to.
I gambled because I wanted to .
I stopped because I had to.
In my case I never really wanted to stop but I did stop. To add to the complexity of the issue, I always started again! The way this works , Bill (on a simple level) ,is that a CG builds up a fantasy that gambling is the only thing in the world that will make us happy. It starts with one thought , develops into a dream and before we know it we become a prisoner in an Illusionary World, which eventually becomes our Hell. (I speak from my own experience , but I will write in general terms because many other CGs describe similar situations). Of course a CG doesn’t realize that our world is hellish ; we refer to it as our “Comfort Zone” or our “Place to relax/chill out”, “Our Special World”. Sooner or later, Bill this world will come crashing down and then, ONLY then will a CG wake up to reality.
We need certain props to sustain our Illusionary existence.
In my case I relied on my salary, my own car, my own time , my loans ( which were many and frequent) and above all ENABLEMENT from my husband and my SON!!
Bail outs and secrecy are the recipe for disaster for both the CG and the people who prop up the Lifestyle, Bill. Without both, my gambling career would have quickly ground to a halt…………………….
As soon as you change your attitude towards your mom’s gambling ( from what you have posted , it seems you are changing), you will , indirectly be helping her to re structure her moves. Logic and addiction are diametrically opposed. What fuels gambling, is secrecy, manipulation, emotional blackmail, threats, promises (all false) and money. Attempting to apply logic to irrational issues causes turmoil CGs thrive on turmoil and chaos.
My suggestion would be to stop texting your mother. She will tie you up in guilt knots and confuse you to the point where you won’t know what to believe. I used texting at weak moments (work or the middle of the night) to catch enablers off guard to ensure I got my “evil way”. The “addict” you are dealing with right now Bill is not the woman who mothered and nourished you and to whom you owe respect and gratitude. This is a different woman A person with flawed thinking and reason who is merciless enough to drag her own son to the gutter to feed her gambling habit. Very sad, but true. You owe this stranger nothing!
You do , however owe yourself protection from her behaviour and perhaps you owe your dad some support. My advice to you is to call a family meeting. A sort of “Intervention”, if you like. Calming state your position as you have done in your above posts. Tell everyone present that from now on YOU will be doing things differently i.e, NEVER lending money again to ether your dad or mam and that you refuse to keep secrets. Keep it short . No threats. No anger. Just facts.
IF ONLY (but there are no “if onlies”) my son or husband had had the courage to do what you are doing now Bill , it would have saved everyone a lot of heartache and expense.
Yes, ONLY the CG can help her/him self when we decide to stop gambling, but the actions of loved ones sure can bring things to a head sooner rather than later.
Words , written or spoken , mean little to a CG.
Action is what counts.
Best wishes with YOUR recovery Bill
One day at a time.19 March 2016 at 2:43 pm #4609twilight16Participant
A big welcome to you, this site will help you get on the road to recovery. Letting go of the idea that there is something one can do to cure a person from gambling is the first step.
However, we can control how we react when a loved one complusively gambles, that’s the hard part, and whether we realize it or not we can give mixed messages. The best practice is not to enable with money period, even if your intentions were not to stress your father about not having enough money in the account. Doing so just prolongs the inevitable; another gambling episode and state of panic for you and your mother, and the cg is off the hook once again for their choice to gamble. If your mother starts screaming, demanding and even threatens her life, just walk away. Do not engage with any type of craziness; its the addictions attempt to get you to cave in. If she ever threatens suicide, you can have her committed for an evaluation. How old is your mother?
My father is a cg, and has been for most of my life. His addiction eventually took everything from him, he lost his house, first his business, then his job to another employer, he became homeless sleeping in his car, and eventually he lost his mind/dementia.
Eventually he didn’t even hide his gambling saying it was his right to do with his money what wanted (never acknowledging his debt or the loads of money he owed me). I had to remain strong. I only helped what he couldn’t gamble away, like food and clothes. I was there for him as a daughter, but I was not his bail out person anymore. Thinking back, he didn’t call as much because he knew I wouldn’t give him money.
If only there was a cure or magic pill to wipe out this addiction from our loved ones, so we can have the ones we love back to normal. Now that you are getting familiar with the addiction to gamble, you must place your barriers against it, remembering that the ball is always in your court. Your recovery will take you to places that you never thought you would travel, just keep your sights on the road. There will be hiccups and slips on your part, after all you are only human. Hopefully your mother will get the helps she needs, admitting to her addiction is a huge step in the right direction. However, she has to back it up with her own plan; which includes not having access to money, banning herself from casinos, etc. Just saying it and not doing anything about it, in my opinion hardly holds weight.
Remember you have the power to break through this addiction and not be a prisoner to it, and hopefully your mother will fall suit.
Twilight19 March 2016 at 6:25 pm #4610
Knowing what we should do and doing it is not easy – as someone who did everything wrong for all the right reasons for years I understand you supporting your dad.
I believe you wanted to draw a line and that is what you have done. It is what you do next that matters and I believe from your posts that you know what you are going to do and you are strong enough to stick to it for your mother’s sake as well as yours.
Boredom and loneliness can take people into casinos and maybe your mother needs to address this. Perhaps you could encourage her to think of hobbies or interests that she might benefit from, maybe she could see more friends – do your parents do thing together or is your mother often alone? It is not your job to provide a life for your mother however – she has given you your life and that is what you have to protect
I don’t think it is enough to say to a CG – you’re on your own now without offering direction to support or other ways to live but lines have to be drawn and that is what you have done. Well done
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