24 November 2013 at 10:35 am #2991
January my husband and I will celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We have been together for a total of 4 years and I never knew he was a CG until after we got married. I accept this is an addiction and he has little control over it. After too many broken promises I took control of our finances and now hold all money, debit cards, and checks under lock and key. When I approached him with this new plan he was understanding (it was after he screwed up pretty bad so he was very remorseful). My problem is he works 3rd shift and had asked me to leave the bank card out for him so he could buy something when he got off work. I told him I was uncomfortable doing that and I would get him cash the next day after I woke up. This made him very angry. He claimed that he had been “good” the last time he was given some financial responsibility. I told him how proud I was of his accomplishment but that it didnt change the fact that he had been good for months in the past only to slip up one day and lose all of our money. I am tired of this cycle of anger, resentment, forgiveness, regained trust, broken trust,….and so forth. I am sticking to my guns this time and NOT allowing him to have access to money without my supervision. He is currently furious with me and I dont know what to do. Is this his addiction that is making him angry? Am I hurting his ego by basically treating him like a child? How do I stay firm yet not make my husband feel like less of a person? He is the bread winner of the family. I am a stay at home mom and wife. I feel bad that he works so hard and is not allowed spend freely. I also am afraid that any day we can be penny-less until his next payday. How do I handle this new responsibility and still allow my husband to be “man of the house”?24 November 2013 at 11:30 am #2992
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, you’ll find the times for these if you click on the “Group times” box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself you’ll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and they’ll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂
If you’re 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 isn’t connected with GMA, please don’t identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.
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 🙂
We look forward to hearing all about you!
The Gambling Therapy Team
PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our24 November 2013 at 1:05 pm #2993
I think you have made a brilliant start on handling this unwelcome responsibility in your life by starting your thread and making such mature decisions on your finances.
It is your husband’s addiction that is making him angry – it will seek to blame anyone but your husband. To take responsibility for his poor behaviour, he will have to face his demons and he will put that off as long as he can – that is the nature of the beast. As the person who loves him and is closest to him, you will be the target for his addiction to blame.
A coping mechanism that has worked for many to communicate with an active CG without losing their cool is to imagine his addiction as a slavering beast in the corner of the room. As long as you don’t threaten that addiction it stays quiet, although forever watchful. This method is not recognised professionally but I often pass it on as many F&F have said it worked for them and that includes me.
It is important for your state of mind to remember that your husband is controlled by that addiction but you are not. When you threaten his addiction, it comes between you and from then on it can take control because it is the master of threats and manipulation and you are not. Once it is between you, you will only hear his addiction speak. Your husband will hear a distortion of your words as though they have passed through water making him unable to comprehend their meaning. It is an addiction that breathes lies and deceit and it will seek to make you feel blame and demoralise you.
My CG explained it to me by saying that when I told him (for instance) that I loved him and that he was capable of good things, his addiction distorted his mind into hearing that I was lying to him – how could I be telling the truth when his addiction had convinced him he was unlovable, worthless and a failure. However much your husband convinces you that he is in control – he is not. You are hurting his addiction, not his ego but until he determines to change his life around, his addiction will not allow him to give credit to your actions.
I am aware that self-esteem and confidence can be totally knocked out of you when this addiction enters your life. I am sure you have asked yourself; ‘how come you could have married him, loving him so much and you didn’t know?’ It is so important to understand how devious this addiction is and to know, without a shadow of doubt that you are in no way to blame and nothing you could have done would have made any difference.
I would not be writing on here if I did not know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and wonderful lives lived as a result. I unwittingly enabled my CG for 23 years and then spent 2 years in a miasma of confusion and doubt. My CG now lives in control of his addiction and it is that positive message that I would seek to get over to your husband.
Your husband did not ask for, or want, his addiction anymore than you want it in your life. He would have indulged in what he considered a harmless, fun thing to do when he placed his first bet – he was not to know that addiction was waiting for him.
You are doing great with the finances. It’s common for CGs to feel less of a person when their loved one tries to support as you are doing. Perhaps you could Google information on pre-paid credit / debit cards. I don’t know if you can get the following link where you are but if not I would imagine there are similar cards in the US.
There is so much more to say but I will leave it there for now. Ask anything you want to ask, feel free to vent your feelings, there is no judgement on this site, only understanding.
Please look at the times of F&F groups – we communicate in real time and nothing said in the group appears on the forum. I would be pleased to ‘see’ you.
You have really well stretching out your hand for support. I will walk with you for as long as you want me to.
Velvet24 November 2013 at 6:32 pm #2994madge456Participant
I just wanted to say Hi and welcome to GT. I have been here for not too long but have found the advice and support to be fantastic. It really is a wonderful place to meet people in
the same situation who understand what you are going thru and don’t judge. Posting and reading others posts helps you see that you are not alone and that others have been where you are.
I agree with Velvet that a pre-paid credit card might be a good option. I also worried that my husband was feeling like a child. I asked him to keep receipts for all the cash he spends so that it doesn’t “disappear”. I am not sure how badly he feels about this but he has accepted it as a consequence of his own making. I haven’t been that ridged on tallying up the receipts but just knowing that he keeps them and hands them over to me makes me feel like he has to be accountable. I also am a stay at home mom and my husband being the bread winner. I too feel guilty when he asks me “is is ok if I do such and such?” but he realizes after many calm mature conversations that it needs to be this way for a while until I can trust him again. My husband never really blew much money gambling. At least I never noticed much missing and i have access to all our accounts. He set a limit for himself and never went over it. He’s a card counter (black jack) and for him it was the thrill of beating the house, skipping out on work, lying to me, etc etc. Everyone’s story is different but we all have common threads.
If you can talk to your husband respectfully and explain that given what has happened he needs to earn your trust back. Like I just said in my latests post “we have fallen a long way… and it will take a long time to get back” Maybe the pre-paid card with a set amount will give him freedom to buy essentials but you peace of mind that he wont sink you into financial ruin?
I am hardly any kind of expert but I wanted to say welcome and bravo for being brave and posting. It can be scary sharing all these things “out there”. But you are in a safe place. The members here are lovely and all care about the growth and healing of others.
Keep posting, keep reading and know you are in the right place.
Madge24 November 2013 at 8:01 pm #2995
Thank You Velvet and Madge! It is nice to have someone to talk to about this. I do not go to family and friends with this as I feel it would only cause unwanted division and problems amongst those who are not living in this situation. So until now I have had to bear this alone. Thank You. I like the analogy of the beast in the corner. Also, Velvet, thank you for the realization that my words become distorted cause that makes perfect sense in the situation I am currently in. I thought I was being very clear, compassionate, and understanding as well as accommodating when he asked for the bank card and I said no. I expressed my worries and reminded him that this was a joint decision for me to hold control over money. He wouldn’t hear any of it. He became very angry and irrational. I just didn’t understand why. We have always been able to have conversations about this with no problems but this time I was telling him no. So of course once he reacted this way my mind went straight to gambling. He was angry because his intentions were to gamble. And with that thought there was no way I was giving him access to our money. I guess my question now is, once I am “talking” to the beast what do I say or do to not start a fight or to fix the fight? If my words are being distorted is there anything I can say? I mean seriously it has been 2 days now and the husband is still angry and not talking to me (how he handles conflict).25 November 2013 at 12:51 pm #2996DuncKeymaster
Whilst I’m staff at Gambling Therapy, I’m also a Gambler who hasn’t gambled for some time, The ladies and gents on friends and family forum will be with you the whole way, as will the rest of us within Gambling Therapy.
I try and back away from F&F as in all honesty they know more about living with a gambler than a gambler can comprehend, but you’ve hit on a few points that I’d like to reply too.
You said ” If my words are being distorted is there anything I can say?” the truth, No, remember that if your arguing or discussing with someone whose mind frame is illogical and distorted then how can a logical mind understand their answers, to you its incomprehensible, this will just round in a cycle until if an argument hasn’t started one probably will, that doesn’t mean you give in it means you have to learn coping skills to help you
Does a distorted gambler whose manipulating, distorting know or be able to control their words, the chances are no they can’t control it, irrespective if they know their right or wrong, the addiction is just that strong.. at the end of my gambling life of 25 I did start to see things from the other side, but even then I still needed professional help as well as support groups to get to an understand what I was doing and how to help me think rationally and logically to remove these traits and thoughts and suppress my addiction
What May really help you is to use the F& F groups but also use the community groups, whilst the F&F groups are 100% F&F the community groups
are for Gamblers and those affected, there also moderated but mostly the CG’s within our site are so serious about their recovery their very open to
talking about how they feel… you have the opportunity to talk to gamblers and ask them how they feel, how they reacted. This is something that may just help you more than you realise
KB, the following link is to a brilliant website, it explains how to talk, the do’s and don’ts… and you can always pop onto the helpline and talk
Take Care KB, you’ve 13000 members all behind you now, your never alone and the answers are normally always here
Harry25 November 2013 at 6:09 pm #2997
I’m glad Harry has written to you, it is always good to get the reaction of someone who remembers being an active CG and who, although he will always be a CG, is now in control of his addiction.
My reply to you is going to be in the same vein as Harry’s but I will write it anyway as it helps, I think, that the more people who say the same thing, in different ways, the better. I believe you cannot talk to the addiction but you can talk to your husband. I hope the following explanation makes sense but if it doesn’t just come back to me.
The addiction takes over the mind of someone who loves a CG and it is so easy just to think solely of the gambling and how it affects you and what you think it is doing to your loved one – you forget to talk about anything else. This is double edged sword – the first edge being that the addiction isn’t going to allow your husband to understand your words anyway but the sharpest edge is that it will not help you in the slightest. It will bring you nothing but grief because you know you are going to hear lies and feel anger and disappointment – it is heart-breaking.
You cannot make your husband stop gambling but you can stand shoulder to shoulder with him against his addiction. You can do this by looking after you first and foremost. Every day have periods of time where you fill your life with things that please you and where addiction has no room in your mind. This might seem a pretty pathetic way to deal with something so awful but it works. It works because your husband does not deliberately hurt you and if/when he is ready to face his addiction, if you have cared for yourself then you will not be part of the wreckage he has to deal with. Ultimately this is the greatest thing you can do for your husband and it really is the best thing you can do for you.
Bashing your head against a brick wall, which is what it feels like, trying to deal with this addiction, will always hurt ‘you’. ‘You’ are important and if trying to makes sense of the senseless doesn’t work it is time to try something new.
It takes time and I know only too well it isn’t easy but the most important change in my life was finding myself again and learning to like myself – in doing so I also found a person strong enough to cope with an addiction and its multiple horrible effects on me. I was a pathetic blob and turning me around was hard for me and for those who were supporting me but it was the best thing I have ever done.
Your husband’s addiction has seen red which is why you are still seeing his anger. You have stood up to his addiction and it doesn’t like it. Make your husband a dinner that he likes but most importantly one ‘you’ like; go and see a friend that ‘you’ like and chat to your husband later about what you discussed with your friend (not gambling); change furniture around because ‘you’ like it in a different way: have a massage; a new hairstyle – whatever you do make sure it is for ‘you’. Get communication open without letting that addiction speak. His addiction believes you will crumble, it will be confused that you are not crying, shouting, pleading, threatening, asking him to understand and all the other things we have all done.
Do you have a Gamanon group near you? It is wonderful to talk in real time and share physical contact with those who understand you.
I will write again soon but I wanted to deal with the post you have written.
Velvet26 November 2013 at 2:33 am #2998
Thank you both for your replies. Harry it is great to hear from a CG. That is the perceptive I need to understand so that I will know better in the future. Velvet thank you for the advice on taking care of myself. You are right that I have allowed this addiction to overwhelm my thoughts and actions. I have been a very angry and defeated person for the past several months and IM TIRED. I will definitely take your advice. There is NO reason this addiction has to engulf my life the way I have allowed it. I finally spoke to my husband about our recent fight and he admitted to me he was angry because he felt that enough time had past that I should trust him again. He also felt that I was “punishing” him for his past behavior by not allowing him to have the bank card. I explained to him that his past has been forgiven and I was in no way punishing him. I also explained that due to the cycle of broken trust – regained trust – broken trust again, my trust is at an all time low. I asked him to think about it as something I am going through and not a direct attack against him. There will be days when I do trust and days I do not. I asked for his help on the days that I do not. That if he would just be patient and not explode in anger it will help the trust to be renewed. I explained that when he responds with anger it only makes me want to trust him less. I am trying to keep the “beast” in the corner and not in between us. I understand that this is not going to be the last fight, but I hope the next time I will be better equipped to handle it. I have also decided that it is probably best for me to always have some (not a lot just what ever we can afford) cash available so he can have access to some money just not ALL money. I dont know if that is considered enabling him, but I do not see him stopping anytime soon and honestly I cannot live in an angry home. As long as the gambling can stay under my supervision, meaning only money we can afford to lose is gambled, then I will be at peace.26 November 2013 at 2:34 am #2999
No, I do not have a gamanon near where I live. The closest one is about an hour away. That is why I am so thankful I have found this site.26 November 2013 at 12:45 pm #3000moniqueParticipant
I would like to add my welcome to you. I am so glad you have received a lot of really useful posts and information here already.
I think it sounds like you have given a lot of thought to what it means to have a cg partner and you were strong enough and wise enough to take positive decisions and actions, in spite of the shock and pain you must have experienced.
I was struck by your comments (echoed by Madge) that you feel bad about controlling the money, given that it is your husband who is the bread-winner and you are the stay at home mother and wife. I want to say strongly that being a mother is an important (though often undervalued) ‘job’, even if there is no salary from outside attached to it. Of course you know that, but your confidence about this part of your life can be eroded, even without the addiction in the family and probably more so because of it. Can you tell yourself that you are a hard-working and valuable member of the family team and you too deserve the earnings that come in? I am sure that the ‘father behind the addiction’ knows deep down that you are vital right now in the protection of the family – he would want his children to be protected, even if his addiction clouds his judgement at times. Does that all make some sense?
You also ask about whether you should just keep some money available for him – an amount you can ‘afford to lose’. This is a difficult one – you say that would give rise to a more peaceful home. I am sure you have already thought carefully about this. I know someone managing the salary of a cg ‘at long-distance’, so he cannot know for sure how every penny is spent, but only small amounts of money are transferred online at any one time. But that is a situation where the ‘manager of funds’ does not live with the cg and the cg is not responsible for a family. Do you think you might start with a small fund and find yourself ‘pressured’ into giving more? – thus moving into ‘unaffordable’ expense? Or are you sure you would be able to maintain the limits? Other members may have clearer thoughts on this and will post them, hopefully – ultimately, you must decide what is best for you and your family and no one will judge the decisions you make. Also, decisions are not set in stone – you can change things that do not work. This is a place for you to try out ideas, get new ideas and support. You do need a peaceful home, but do not blame yourself if sometimes it is not so.
Very best wishes,
Monique, Gambling Therapy Team26 November 2013 at 4:14 pm #3001
Monique thank you for your welcome and concern. I do understand your point about my importance in the home. I guess to try and clarify my previous statement…. I do feel valued in the home and that his earning are as much mine, but thats just it. I dont feel his earnings are all mine. Gambling is the only money he spends I get to spend the rest. Though it is on bills, groceries, and necessities mostly Im the one that gets to do the spending. His only enjoyment from his hard earned income is his gambling. I dont mind that, in theory, the problem comes with the compulsion on his part when he cannot stop until it is all gone (which is not every time but when it happens it is a huge set back for us) . I feel for now I can manage only allowing “what we can afford” Im sure the day will come when I am faced with a battle for him wanting more and I hope I am strong enough to stand my ground. That is why you guys have become so important to me. You all give me strength. I no longer feel defeated. I feel supported. I have an army behind me and for that today I smile!26 November 2013 at 4:38 pm #3002
Well done with the way you handled you husbands’ belief that you were punishing him.
Cash is enabling if it is used for a gamble but your husband has to eat. It is a very fine line between knowing what to allow him and what not to allow him. We did deal with enablement in our Friends and Family Topic Forum which unfortunately did not travel well from our old site and has (hopefully temporarily) lost its brilliant posts – it is as bit like a reference library with no books at the moment. There is a lot of effort being done to bring those old posts back but sadly I can’t direct you to the Enablement Topic with all its replies. Maybe you could look at the topic on enablement and perhaps focus on what your answers would be. It makes it easier for me to see where you are struggling.
When your husband questions your trust, I think, it would be in order to ask him if he believes that he can trust himself because a CG accepting he has an addiction knows he/she cannot trust themselves and therefore cannot expect others to trust them. It is the desire of the non-CG to trust that has causes them so much heartache – it better not to trust and so not to feel let down again.
Have you told your husband that you are seeking support?
In our Resources there is the link for http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/content/20-questions. I think it is good to print them off, tick the ones you would answer ‘yes’ to and leave them for your husband to see. I suggest leaving them for him to see rather than handing them over and saying ‘read this’ as the addiction would be more than ready to wage an argument with you over it. Just as you did not know that there would be people who understood the experience you have lived through, many CGs are unaware that their addiction is recognised and understood by others.
I am not of the opinion that a CG father knows deep down that his wife and mother of his children is vital to the protection of his family. Only in a true recovery is the CG able to begin to feel such empathy. The addiction to gamble will take you down with it if it can regardless of anything. In recovery the guilt over the lack of all consideration for anybody else in the past can be overwhelming and that is another reason why the CG needs to get the right support.
Does your husband acknowledge he has an addiction that requires support? Would he consider coming on this site and joining the CG groups and/or forum, would he approach our helpline? Our CGs on this site are trying to control their addiction or they are controlling their addiction – what comes over strongly is the positive care they have for each other and the desire for everybody to succeed. I have seen so many change their lives and the joy is felt throughout the site when it happens – even by those still struggling.
I am afraid that a CG will accept living in an angry home and will not be ready to give peace when allowed only the money that can be afforded to throw away on a gamble. The addiction to gamble has nothing to do with money and this is one of the hardest things for the non-CG to take on board. It is the ‘gamble’ that matters and as long as the gamble is being indulged the addiction will gain ground. The non-CG gives a meaning to money that a CG lacks. To a CG money is no more than a tool – a means to an end and because of the nature of the addiction the end will always be failure.
I have brought up my thread ‘The F&F Cycle’ which I hope will help you realise the pattern that evolves for the CG and for us.
Keep talking, keep sharing, you are doing great. You are already better equipped to cope and there is so much more that will help you.
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