17 April 2015 at 9:22 am #3837
I never thought I would be the one to post this. My wife has always been the better one. She has always been the sturdy one. I’ve always been the one needed saving. However, she is now a CG. I have no idea how to deal with it at this point other than ignore her requests. I am at my wits end at this point.just last week we got into such a huge fight that she actually blamed me for her problems and I ended up apologizing in order to calm her down. Eventually she came to her senses but every couple of days, it seems to be the same story now.
Her problem started about 3 years ago. We are both very successful people and now she has a lot of extra money to throw around. She started gambling quite frequently at one spot and I would go with her and gamble. I did not know how bad it was until she started refusing to leave. A coupe of times,she would ask me to grab the car and I waited over 2 hours for her alone in the car.
She quit for about 6 months after I asked her because I was about to leave and move out. However, she got back into a new spot and has been going there for about the past year and half. I never really monitored her gambling because it was like 1 time every two weeks. Oh before I forget, her mom gambles with her too. Her mom is elderly and lives with us.
Anyways, about the past 8 months her gambling became more and more frequent. It was so bad, she was going 2-3 times a week. Mat first it was just an hour or two but when I really started to get scared and really angry is when it would turn into an 8 – 10 hour ordeal. There were times she would even make me late to work and I would have to call in sick. That is when I really started checking into her finances. She makes around $20k a month…yes she does very well..but always seemed to have just enough money to pay her bills and not have much else left over. I seemed to be loaning her money every now and then for her to buy nice clothes and go shopping. I didn’t mind because I make good money as well.
It came to a head when I checked her finances last month and noticed that in a span of a week, she gambled over $10k away at the casino. I was startled and truly saddened. I was not angry with her but worried for her. I came to her with this very calmly and she seemed to get it and stopped again.
However, over th past two weeks she has been wanting to go and even lied about it one night blowing through $1000 in the matter of an hour or so. Then upon her return home, she blamed me for being controlling and trying to control her life. I explained that I didn’t but I wanted to help her and not have her ruin her retirement or our 11 year old sons future. He is very affected by this but I don’t allow him to speak to her about it because then she thinks I’m trying to turn him against her.
She hasn’t gone for about two weeks since our last big blow up but now seems to hate me and ignore me every time she wants to go and I say no or ignore her requests. Just last night, she was begging me to go and I just stopped talking to her. She didn’t go but hasn’t really talked to me since then. About 30 hours now.
I’m lost and do not know what to do.
It’s too embarrassing to ask my family or friends for advice so I turned to the Internet. What can I do?
How can I make her see that this is for her benefit? How can I stop her from going without it being about control? How can I stop her from blaming me and making me feel like shit the next from her not having fun?
She cancelled a family vacation tonight that was supposed to happen in August. She said it was because of timing but I could tell it was because she was angry.
Please help me. Even if there is someone to talk to. Please help.
I cannot help the love of my life from destroying her self. She has helped me countless times and I can’t return the favor. I feel powerless and hurting pretty bad. I really just want to leave her now but am afraid that she would just jump to her addiction even further.
Jason17 April 2015 at 9:42 am #3838
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 our17 April 2015 at 11:43 am #3839
By starting this thread, you are more than returning your wife’s favours to you. You feel you want to leave but you have not done so, instead you are seeking support for yourself, which is the best thing for you and ultimately is the best thing for your wife – hardly the behaviour of a lesser person – well done.
I think most members would agree that they never thought they would feel compelled to write on this forum – the addiction to gamble is not something people would expect to find central to their lives – however, if it becomes central, in my opinion, this is the best place to be – so welcome.
You probably didn’t know how you got into that big fight last week – your wife’s addiction is a master at creating scenarios where blame can be placed on anybody but the CG. Without any judgement Jordan you found yourself apologising, you reacted with love and there can be no blame attached.
At some point in her life, your wife in company with many others, gambled for fun – but for her, the addiction was a sad outcome – she neither wanted it nor asked for it, anymore than you but it is now a fact for her and unless treated her addiction will grow.
Knowledge of your wife’s addiction will help you cope and there is a lot to learn. I remember being overwhelmed by information when I stood in your shoes many years ago so for this first reply to you I will focus on one thing you said. – “She cancelled a family vacation tonight that was supposed to happen in August. She said it was because of timing but I could tell it was because she was angry”.
Many CGs are not aware that their behaviour is recognized so I suggest you perhaps have a look at the gamblersanonymous web page and print off the 20 questions. Question 2 and 13 directly relate to your wife’s words. Leave the 20 questions for your wife to see – it is perhaps best not to hand them to her as this would probably provoke an argument. Sometimes a CG will screw them up and discard them but I have heard of many instances where the CG has returned to the bin and read the contents due to curiosity. Hearing, reading, finding out about her behaviour from a source, that is not her loved one, is hopefully far more thought provoking because undoubtedly she will feel that you cannot understand and your opinion is therefore not relevant.
One last question – has she ever accepted her addiction?
I will leave this first post there and wait to hear from you. You are right that you cannot save the love of your life but you can help her, you can be a tremendous support to her and she can change. I wouldn’t be writing to you now if I didn’t know that this addiction can be controlled and amazing lives lived as a result.
Velvet17 April 2015 at 9:11 pm #3840
Thank you Ms Velvet.
I was up very late last night talking to the advice line as well. Unfortunately I got disconnected early but I got some good advice there as well.
I will definitely print off the 20 questions. I have been doing a lot of searching here but it is tough because I get teary eyed reading a lot of people’s stories similiar to mine.
“One last question – has she ever accepted her addiction?”
No, I cannot remember any of our talks which she has accepted it. the last few times, I asked her; ” do you not know that you are addicted?”…She either gets angrier or stops the conversation. At that point, I tend to let her go. I just have to deal with the silent treatment for a day or two.
I was going to buy her a gift today just to show her that she needs to be here. Nothing big, just some flower or something. Is this ok or not worth the time?
I am tempted to solicit the help of friends but still unsure. How do I approach them with this issue? I have trust issues now because of this.
Jason18 April 2015 at 12:08 am #3841
I saw your name in the chat earlier but missed you.
I am a compulsive gambler and like you I was surprised to find myself on a Gambling Therapy Site posting those very words.
Gambling is a complex issues Jason and I always say there is only one thing worse than being a CG and that is being married to one! I honestly don’t know how my husband lived/lives with me when I am in the “active phase” of this illness! It transforms us into what I could only describe as a “she devil”!
I do believe it is an illness Jason. It takes hold of us and pulls us powerfully into places and situations that no “normal” person would ever dream of going . It is progressive. It escalates fast once we lose control and it ruins lives. The good news is, however , that a Cg can stop gambling and we can stay stopped. You will read lots of recovery stories on the Journal Section of this Forum. Many CGs have succeeded in staying Gamble Free for years. My own recovery has been rocky. Not due to lack of knowledge or support, but through lack of discipline and effort on my part.
You wife appears to be in a very bad place right now. As a CG I can feel her panic and overwhelming desperation. When I needed to gamble I created scenes which led to chaos and confusion by magnifying the most minor flaws in my husband and family and projecting my own issue onto others to the extent that my husband would be in such a state of confusion he would be reduced to the level of a wimp, I am very ashamed to admit that at this point I would resort to manipulation and my new found “power” would give me the opportunity to flee to the nearest casino acting like a victim of his “unfair or shoddy handling ” of whatever situation we were dealing with. In other words I create drama as an excuse to gamble.
It seems to me that your wife is using a similar tactic!
Velvet will give you all the “self help skills” you need Jason.
You ask what can you do to STOP your wife gambling.
As a CG I will give you a short answer
Look after yourself Jason or you will find yourself being sucked in by this powerful force which will fast become beyond everyone’s control.
You wife will stop gambling only when she becomes SICK of what it is doing to her and to her loved ones.
I hope it will stop before everything ends in tears!
God bless!18 April 2015 at 3:27 am #3842
Thank you so much.
I too actually feel like a wimp at times when she starts to get into her gambling mode. It’s funny too because I’m a foot taller and have work out ever day . But I dont use my stature to be imposing, I actually retreat so she doesnt feel threatened.
It’s enlightening to hear your point of view because I can see a lot of what she does in your words. She does create scenarios or blows things out of proportion in order to make an excuse to travel and gamble.
I was…until this week…very easy manipulated by her but now trying to stand strong is making her angry. I dont like this feeling either and having a tough time dealing with it.
I know tonight or maybe this weekend, she will be on her game and asking me to go. I will stay as strong as possible and probably stressing about her attitude again.
Thank you for the support Vera.18 April 2015 at 6:27 am #3843
Well. I could not stop her tonight. I tried to be nice and reason with her. She started yelling and calling me AND my son controlling. she was very angry. She said I’m forcing her to go because of my attitude. She really let me have it.
She told me to go find someone else since she was a bad wife and a bad mom. She told me to find someone better. The she said that I didnt want her to go because if she spent all the money, I would have to take financial responsibility for the family. I let her know that hurt but it didnt stop her.
She continued for about 15 mins to yell and say mean and hurtful things to both my son and myself.
I told her tonight that I joined this group and she just thought of it as a joke. Told me to leave so I wouldnt need “therapy” anymore.
I’m super sad right now..18 April 2015 at 12:25 pm #3844
I will go back to what you asked in your earlier post and hopefully help you make the right decisions for yourself. You asked “I was going to buy her a gift today just to show her that she needs to be here. Nothing big, just some flower or something. Is this ok or not worth the time”
Such a simple act that has a great meaning for you – but what is the meaning for her. There is no single answer that anyone else should give you but you will know the answer once you have greater knowledge of her addiction.
Your wife’s addiction has nothing to do with money – it is everything to do with the gamble. As non-CGs we find this hard to get our heads around as it is the money that we see going in and out and it is that which we understand – but If the money comes out of the equation we are still left with unacceptable behavior. I have brought my thread entitled ‘The F&F Cycle” up for you which I hope will help you determine the pattern on behavior that you are in – unless one person breaks the cycle it will go on ad infinitum. However, this does not mean that I am suggesting you leave your wife or that you stay – that decision comes later and will always be yours.
So what does giving her flowers mean to you? They are tokens of love and appreciation but what do you hope for when you give them – a smile, a hug a return of affection, a thank you. Wanting a good reaction is something that you need to weigh up because a bad reaction causes a set-back to your well-being and I am afraid that a ‘thank you’ (as with ‘I’m ‘sorry)’ have little meaning from an active CG
Your wife wants money to gamble; money has no consequence for her, it is only the essential tool of her addiction. My CG saw all my gifts as something to sell but flowers are not like that. So it is something to weigh up Jordan and maybe post her reaction – there is never any judgment here.
I know you have been reading the forum and you may have come across the analogy of the ‘addiction beast’ but I will post it to you anyway because although It isn’t recognized professionally it is a brilliant method used by many of us at the beginning or our recovery to help us cope.
Imagine your wife’s addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you keep your cool and don’t threaten her addiction it stays quiet. Never forget that she is controlled by that addiction – you are not.
Her addiction is the master of threats and manipulation – you are not and nor do you want to be. When you threatened her addiction, by telling her that you were seeking support here to help you cope, the beast came between you and turned what you had said to suit her personal perception – she called your getting support a ‘joke’ and told you to leave. She didn’t really hear what you said because her addiction distorted your meaning and in turn you only heard her addiction as it sought to demoralise you.
Because the life of a CG is riddled with failure the addiction has a ready mind to distort.
My CG explained to me what happened when I tried to reason with him: His addiction had caused him to truly believe that he was unlovable and a worthless failure so when I was pleading with him and telling him that if he stopped lying and lived honestly, he would be happy, his distorting addiction was twisting my words telling him I was a liar. Deep in his misery he felt lost and afraid, and fought back with the chosen weapons of his addiction – namely blame, lies and deceit because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism..
I think it is good, although difficult, to try ‘not’ to believe your wife’s words because in doing so you become receptive. If you can stand back a bit and listen to what she is saying, it becomes easier not get caught up in an argument that has no point apart from making you feel less in control. Once you begin to try and put your side the addiction has something to get its teeth into. Having said all that, I think you did well telling her you were getting support, the knowledge would do her no harm – secrecy is the currency of her addiction – it is not your chosen way to live.
This all sounds 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.
By looking after you first you will become stronger, you will reclaim your own life and be able to cope and make the right decisions for your relationship. One of the best ways to win is not to play the game.
Keep posting Jordan – I promise you it does get clearer. Instead of trying to make sense of the senseless, put yourself first and if you give flowers, be ready in your own mind to cope with whatever reaction there is.
Velvet18 April 2015 at 1:01 pm #3845
I have just re-read Vera’s terrific post – it is brutally honest and I think gives plenty food for thought. I think it is the beauty of this site that we can see both sides of the coin in a spirit of helpfulness and without rancour.
The only thing I want to clarify is when she says that ‘nothing’ you do will stop your wife gambling. This might sound like picking at words but I hope I make sense. You cannot stop your wife gambling but you can do things to support her so that stopping gambling is a better way forward for her.
If you are dragged down by an addiction then you become impotent – you become a victim just like your loved one. By refusing to be dragged down, by learning about the addiction, by never sinking to manipulation or threats, by continuing to be honest and unafraid you will not become part of the wreckage of her addiction. She doesn’t want to destroy you but her addiction will do so if you ‘allow’ it.
She can change – she possibly doesn’t know how to or where to go for support but you are learning and you can give her direction – once you are strong again. I don’t know what your outcome will be but whatever it is, it is important you survive and survive well and by that I mean a stronger person who can take this miserable experience and turn it into one of the greatest educations.
I was lower than a wimp; I was a blob whose personality had been extracted over years of unwittingly living with the addiction to gamble. Loved or loathed now, I am no longer that blob. You are not unwitting – you cannot save your wife but you can make a difference.
Velvet18 April 2015 at 7:34 pm #3846
Hi again Jason!
To clarify my comment that there is nothing you can do to stop your wife gambling, I will reiterate what I said while referring to my own experience.
I cannot , of course speak for any other CG.
In my case, there was nothing whatsoever that my husband could do or say that would have stopped me gambling until I was ready to admit I was powerless and that gambling (not my husband)had me beaten! In fact, the more he tried to stop me ( looking back he really didn’t try that hard) the more determined I became to overrule him. I think like you Jason HE WAS AFRAID! I can identify with your wife’s present behaviour and I can see where you might be enabling her to gamble even more. In order to allow me to gamble I needed three pieces of ammunition. Money, Time and Opportunity. If anybody ever tried to interfere with my access to any of the above, I felt immediately threatened to the point where I would instantly provoke all sorts of irrational arguments to create the smoke screen I needed to allow me to escape.My desire to gamble was like a forceful magnet , drawing me away from real life to a secret world which I believed in my flawed mind was the only place I ever wanted to be. In order to continue my actions, I needed an Enabler and a Scapegoat. My husband fulfilled my needs because he did not know how to handle me. This is the KEY, Jason. Nobody knows how to handle a CG at this stage of the illness. His mistakes gave me all the Opportunity and the Time that I needed. I learned to play him like a fiddle and fine tune every note to keep my Illusions intact! My need for money came later…..
What is obvious from your posts Jason is you don’t know how to handle your wife’s present behaviour. In fact I suspect you might be even blaming yourself for some of it .
This is firing her gambling big time! Taking blame plus your fear is allowing her to continue to gamble. You say you don’t know how to “handle her requests”. These words jumped out at me from your first post because in the beginning I used to ask my husband to drive me to a casino. Why should a person need to “request” to partake in “normal” fun! This shows how “sick” we have become! I would allow him to think he had some say in my gambling and like you, he would wait in the car and it seemed all above board because I was going “with his consent”. What he didn’t know was, that every chance I got I was also going more and more behind his back, on my own and would spend up to 12 hours there doing “my own thing” and I was secretly borrowing huge sums of money and packing those machines with every cent I borrowed! Like I did, your wife has involved you to a limited degree and has even allowed you to carry the blame because that served her addiction at that time.
I will let you in on a little CG secret Jason. My guess is that now her game is almost up! You are an obstacle to her gambling now . That is why she wants you out of the way. She is insulting and verbally abusing you so she will have a clear run to do the only thing she wants to do right now. Gamble! This cannot last Jason!
My guess is she is petrified by her own lack of control. She cannot face her fears so she is running scared! The time will come when she will collapse under the strain. I think that time is near from what you have described. She is both teasing you and testing you because you are her best friend yet her addiction’s worst enemy. Sooner or later things will erupt. Secrecy is very stressful . We can run but we can’t hide forever Jason and it seems the time is coming when she will need you to be there for her. Sadly, when I arrived at that place and “came clean” with my husband it was too late for him in many ways.
Every scenario is different . Velvet will tell you how to look after yourself. I am just sharing my experience to let you know that Gambling comes with a high price tag. Every CG must face the music at some point. While I say there is NOTHING YOU can do to stop your wife gambling, I will say there is a LOT she can do to STOP HERSELF!
Stay strong. She will need your support when she wakes up from this horrible nightmare we call “Fun”!20 April 2015 at 11:21 pm #3847
Thanks again Vera and Velvet.
it’s weird how your stories really follow what I am going through.
I almost had a breakthrough on Saturday night. She admitted to having a problem but did not admit to having an addiction.
She admitted to having a problem by going too often but did not want to stop going but wanted to slow down. Should I look at this as progress? I dont know, I wanted her to stop cold turkey but not sure what I can do.
I did tell her about my feelings and how she reacted. I told her that she doesnt even realize what she says when she is talking. It’s like her addiction has a hold of her and spews junk out of her mouth. She did not accept this fact and just ignored that part of the conversation.
She IS willing to accept that I am seeking help for this but still does not understand why I do it. I said I seek help for my benefit and hers.
She requested that We shield her problem from my son. I dont know how to feel about this. I dont want him to be hurt but I also dont want to lie to him about his mom’s problem. What does everyone think? Should I tell him that I now accept it when she goes out? Should I just tell him to ignore what he is doing and I will handle it? This is where I am confused.
I really thank you all. I went to 2 of my closest friends this weekend and was able to finally talk to someone else about this issue. They did not have any experience but are willing to give emotional support if I need it.
I feel like I am moving forward with this but want to know what a good next step is. She admits she has a problem but not an addiction. So maybe she’s not admitted fully. I dont know but I am happier than I was on Friday.
Jason20 April 2015 at 11:59 pm #3848
“Addiction” is far too strong a word to use at this stage Jason.
Just stick to “gambling problem”!
Time to put on the kid gloves.
You are making wonderful progress.
Your wife is aware she has a problem
That is a huge step for a CG.
In my opinion your son is far too young to be involved in his mam’s “issues”.
She wants to protect him.
Grant her a mother’s privilege. He is only a child!21 April 2015 at 2:50 am #3849nomore 56Participant
my daughter was 14 when her dad went to prison for a crime he had committed to finance his gambling. Needless to day that it was a huge shock for her. We had not told her about the gambling at all but she had witnessed almost everything else related to it for years. The arguments, the anger, the periods of silence and towards the end my terrible fear of what was going to happen to us. Not to mention the countless occasions when her dad promised to do something with her/us and then didn’t show up. My panic when he didn’t come home and I couldn’t reach him. You name it, she witnessed it. When I told her about the prison sentence I had to tall her the reason. Her reaction was that she told me she wished we or at least I had told her about what was going on. I don’t know your son, some kids are “older” than their age, some are not. I don’t know how much he saw, heard and or/experienced. And I would never advise you what to do. Your wife probably tries to protect him and might also feel some guilt deep down inside, or some shame, Nobody knows but her.
From your posts it sounds like you live in the US. Most states have a council on problem gambling, might have a slightly different name in some. These councils are a great resource for cgs and the families. The have lists of groups and counselors certified to treat cgs and families in your area. From my own experience I can say that I wished all this would have been available when the sunshine hit the fan here. It would have helped my daughter and myself a great deal. Maybe you could find someone who can help you with the situation re your son. Here in WA the topic of cg was integrated into the social studies curriculum, starting in JH. It is age appropriate and part of the topic of substance abuse etc. Imho a therapist who is trained in treatment of cg might be able to help you. Just an idea.21 April 2015 at 4:26 am #3850Michelle66Participant
I am new here and just started reading some posts.It is shocking to see so many similar stories.I always was having false perception of people having fun at casinos but now I realise.
I started going only to accompany my husband and because they offer free dollars to play I joined membership.Only recently after nearly 2 yrs when my husband is away on business I have started uncontrolled gambling.
I am afraid to face him and try to gamble more thinking I can win and replace the loss.It is getting worse and worse.
I win and gamble more.Its greed and something takes control on your mind.
My husband is not back another few days.I have very little money left and am totally scared.He is a gentleman and I know he will help.But ashamed of myself.
I have heard people loosing everything they have with this addiction but only started truly understanding now.
Please God help me fight this.
Jason you are very loving not to leave your wife in this crisis.As I would understand as fellow gambler about her is she is in denial as there is no financial strain.
Dont know if it would help if you cut off your financial contribution to the household?
First of all she has to accept to herself and then try to seek help.As I lost 2000 Dollars in one day I know I need help. I couldn’t sleep last night and cried through the night.
We all need lot of courage and patience to fight this demon taking control of our lives.God bless!21 April 2015 at 5:13 am #3851
Thank you. I will grant her a mother’s privilege for now. I will see how it goes.
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