Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family My dad has been gambling and my mom brought this subject up

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    Thanksgiving is supposed to be a holiday full of joy and blessings especially when you return home to your family from college. But it wasn’t the case this year. My mom told me my dad was gambling. This wasn’t the first time she mentioned it either. She mentioned it in the past but never really elaborated on it. When I was younger, she would tell me in Chinese my dad was doing bad stuff but never said what specifically.


    I was really angry. On Thanksgiving, I brought it up to him and he said he stopped and I decided to give him the benefit of doubt. On Black Friday, we went to go look for his truck at the casino near our home and there it was. She told me how when I was only three months old, he lost everything from gambling and she had no choice but to send me back to China so they can make the money he lost. She pleaded with him many times to stop, but he doesn’t listen.


    In third grade when we moved to a bigger house, she talked to him. She told him to stop gambling and he said after the house was remodeled he would stop but he didn’t. He just kept gambling and gambling. He had to withdraw cash for it too from his bank account.


    He constantly scolds and lectures me and my sister for not showing care and devotion to our mom reprimanding us for not going over to her workplace to help her yet he’s the once who gets off work early and goes to the casino to gamble. He even reprimanded us on wasting and/spending money. He would also get mad if my sister and I got into fights or if either one of us gets the family involved into conflict disrupting the peace, quiet, and harmony of it and calling us out for making everyone unhappy.


    When he came back, i asked him where he went. He said he went to work and I told him to cut the crap. My mom said the same thing pretty much. She said the two of us went through his mail that had bank statements and such and she even circled the ones that had the name of the casino written on it. He got mad and asked why we were digging through his stuff and this angered my mom and she retaliated by saying and you’re asking. He kind of tried to make excuses by saying it’s legal and it’s one of my interests/hobbies. He’s been doing it for over 18 years. Whenever my mom brings it up around him, it only pisses him off which then leads to him gambling even more money. He says I’m still young and there are things I don’t understand. While that may be true, I wouldn’t do something like that that would disappoint everyone. Once in the past, my mom trusted him with her bank account, but later he lost all her savings due to gambling and he never reimbursed her for it. He says he won’t lose the house, but a lot of gamblers said that and they end up losing everything. On my mom’s birthday, he didn’t even treat her or buy her a gift. He just went gambling.


    The day before I had to go back to college after Thanksgiving break, my sister and I talked to him. I was really angry and threw a bunch of arguments at him. I called him out for his hypocrisy and asked what he would do if he lost everything then who would look after me and my sister. I also pointed out if he didn’t want people to be heartbroken then he shouldn’t be doing this and if he actually saw us as his family he wouldn’t have done this or if he cared about his family back in his home country he wouldn’t have done this. I most likely struck a nerve because he berated and said I had no right to talk like that if I’m not the one who raised a family yet. Things were tense after that and the atmosphere wasn’t good as I had to leave to go back to college.




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    Hi Tryingtogetthru
    I fully appreciate all the anger and frustration that you feel. How is your mother coping now that you have gone back to college?
    I’m sorry to say that the bunch of arguments that you threw at your father would probably have made no difference to his gambling; he is compulsive and therefore needs treatment to stop. Unfortunately if he will not acknowledge his addiction but chooses to do nothing to help himself, there is nothing you can do. You cannot save him and nor can you mom – you can only save yourselves.
    It is so very hard to understand but your father is not deliberately hurting you or your mother, he has an addiction that he didn’t want or ask for; there is nothing he would like more than to be able to gamble responsibly, to walk away from loses without chasing them. The addiction to gamble is becoming better recognised and there is a lot of support for compulsive gamblers but they have to want that support or nothing changes.
    Maybe you could download the 20-questions from the Gamblers Anonymous web site for him – maybe (and it is only a maybe) he would see from them that he has a serious problem.
    I think it is important that you complete your college course and that you protect yourself, I suspect your mother is gaining a lot of joy from you being successful. If you allow yourself to be crushed by his addiction it will have claimed another victim, so keep your head up and do well.
    It seems to me that your mother needs support, has she got friends to do things with and to talk to? Has she got somewhere else she can go for a break from the constant worry of his addiction?
    Maybe your mom could find a Gam-Anon group which is the sister group of GA (Gamblers anonymous). I am sure it would be beneficial for her to sit down with others who know what she is going through. Just hearing that you are not alone is a relief.
    Please ask your mom if she would like support here, she is welcome in this forum and on our Helpline. With knowledge and support, your mother may feel strong enough to think about what she wants in her life. I would imagine that your father’s addiction will have caused your mom to feel isolated and broken – talking to those who understand her will help her. She has never done anything to cause her husband’s addiction.
    I will leave it there for now and hopefully hear from you again soon

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