28 June 2015 at 8:28 pm #3947
I’ve resorted to look for help online….
I have a 5 year old son to my now ex partner who is a compulsive gambler. We split up 2 and half years ago when things got so bad I couldn’t handle it any more, I have been on the verge of depression so many times tbh I think I’ve been depressed for years dealing with this. We remained close as I still loved/love him and it was the most frustrating thing in the world but nothing I done helped, we went round in circles and I was in so much debt and he stole from our son and I knew I had to walk away. 2 years later he seemed to have this addiction under control slightly, attending meetings, able to keep most wages which was non existent back when we were together. We spent a lot of time as a family as this was always the easy part, he convinces me so much because I think he actually believes himself, we decided to give it another go, 3 months later he had blew his full wage again and the nightmare started all over again, for a few weeks I’d forgot how it felt to be so helpless, so alone, so ill. He convinced me it was because he hadn’t been attending meetings which were vital, and I’d have control over his money from now on, I agreed to help as my son had just got used to having his daddy again, he attended meetings weekly, I had his money, it wasn’t ideal but I couldn’t see any other way, something just didn’t feel right tho, I was in constant doubt, counting penny’s, asking where this went and how much was this, did he go to meeting? Scared to leave money anywhere, I was a paranoid wreck. We were due to go on holiday and things came up that I couldn’t personally take care of e.g passport and I put the money in his account just as he had meeting at passport office. All of a sudden forms hasn’t been filled in properly and I started questioning things, I felt like I was losing my mind. I was questioning everything, I was on the verge of panic attacks constantly, felt like I had to speak to him constantly but never felt like I got the answers. The passport arrived later than expected and after lots of stories which seemed legit. We went on holiday, 2 weeks, something was niggling at me but things were ok. I asked constantly are we going to be ok? Everything’s ok with ur wages etc as I had got a loan to pay for spending money which we agreed to pay monthly, he promised me all was ok. 2 days later I came home from work to the news he’s been gambling again, had got loans from family, friends, god knows where else and has not a penny, he lied about passport and other things, the money was all spent, he spent 3/4 weeks lying to me, covering every track. He’s left me without a penny n deceived me, looked into my eyes and promised me so many times. I keep going over it all n I just feel so sick, he’s thrown away our family and I’m left with our son asking me why and I don’t have an answer. He, as usual, is sorry. That’s about all we get, he’s sorry, he loves us more than anything and he’s let this addiction take over, convinced he’s going to sort himself but he’s bk where we have been so many times, I can’t count how much I’ve paid for his debts n I can’t live like this any longer. He doesn’t seem to change, he was with us 2 weeks on hol and not a word. All he can say is he was convinced he could sort it, was delusional. I’m heart broken and as I write this he’s came to visit our son n it’s so hard as he doesn’t change, he’s still him, he still looks at us n tells us he loves us, still convinced he can make it ok but I don’t think he can. His family are very out of sight out of mind. They have gave him loans but no one really wants to help. My friends listen but they don’t completely understand as they haven’t lived it and there’s only so many times they can listen to me going thru this. I’m completely lost. I’ve never spoke to anyone who’s been thru this so I’m hoping there’s someone I can relate to29 June 2015 at 9:01 am #3948DuncKeymaster
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 our29 June 2015 at 4:28 pm #3949
I wanted to tell you that I had read your thread and understood every word you have written – it must have taken a lot out of you to write it.
I am unable to give you the reply you deserve until tomorrow morning but I will tell you that I wouldn’t be writing on this forum if I didn’t ‘know’ that the addiction to gamble can be controlled.
You are among those who do not judge and who really do understand, so welcome
Velvet29 June 2015 at 9:44 pm #3950michelle45Participant
I see velvet has already replied to you. She will help you a lot on here but I wanted you to know that as I read your post I had the strangest feeling as it could have been written by me.!
I am seperated from my CG and we have a 4 year old daughter. My CG addiction is very active and he is not doing anything about it.
I completely understand what you have written especially in relation to your son. I have been using this site for months now and wanted you to know I have received compassion and undertanding and good advice to help me deal with all my issues.
I just wanted to say ‘hi’ and to let you know I do understand!!!
Michelle29 June 2015 at 10:14 pm #3951
I just wanted to thank you both for your replies. It means a lot for someone to take the time out to read and reply, it’s very much appreciated.
Velvet, I’m so glad u understood my story as I wrote it so quickly without clearly thinking just trying desperately to put everything across but so much was going thru my head I didn’t know if it’d make much sense to anyone.
Michelle, ur story was one that I came across last night and I have to say I also felt like I could relate massively especially because of our children!
I’ve tried desperately to understand this addiction but I guess no one can understand it completely, not even the cg in my case I don’t think. I’m so glad I’ve came across this site. Although reading some stories on the forum I felt horribly sorry for the other families etc as I could feel the pain as I read as if it was my own it was also the first time I didn’t feel so alone. I’ve never spoken to anyone who has experienced gambling as I have, I’ve always felt very much an outcast with this horrible problem and as friends n family maybe listen now and then I kno we r the topic of discussion and “she’s stupid for taking him back” attitude is probably universal. Thank you both again for your replies
Michelle xxx30 June 2015 at 1:05 pm #3952
As Harry wrote above we have Friends and Family group times. If you click on ‘Support Groups’ at the top of this page, you will see that I have a group running this evening between 20.00 and 21.00 hours UK time (I think it is 8 – 9pm for you). At 8pm if you run your mouse over the Friends and Family box in the purple schedule you will see the word ‘join’ light up. Click on it and we can communicate in real time. Nothing said in the group appears on the forum – you will be very welcome.
You got your experiences across very well. It is hard to get it out when there is so much that has happened and so much that makes no sense in your life. I think we get used to talking to those who could never understand and we can’t believe that there is someone out there who can.
There is a lot in your first post and I think for me to try and answer everything would confuse – I do tend to talk too much! When I first sought support, it took me months to even believe there was such an addiction so I know how hard it is to get your head round it. I have brought up my thread ‘The F&F Cycle’ for you to read which I hope helps you see the nature of the beast and the way that those involved go round and round until all senses are blurred.
The first bit of news I have for you is that you are not losing your mind – you love someone with an addiction that destroys relationships leaving those within in lacking in self-esteem and confidence and I include the CG in that. You can recover.
When your ex-partner first gambled he would have thought he was the same as everybody else, it was a fun thing to do. He would have had no idea that for him ‘addiction’ was waiting and by the time he could have been aware, it would probably have been too late. He would have lied to cover his initial losses and his feeling of being out of control because the addiction he owns uses lies as a tool. Those who heard the lies would have been confused, but we have all allowed ‘silly’ lies to go at times and after all who could know what was really going on in his mind? More losses would follow, more and more exaggerated lies used until the CG’s memory is full of lies – as you said your ex-partner seems to believe his lies – that is because he can’t remember ‘truth’ because at some point his lies became his truth.
I will leave this there but there is much to tell you and much that will help you cope. Your ex-partner has been to GA but I am wondering if he has he ever accepted he is a compulsive gambler. Many do pay lip-service. When he went to GA, did he talk about it when he came home, was he any different. Does he say he wants to stop gambling?
I look forward to hearing from you again. Look after yourself and your son first and foremost. At the moment your ex-partner believes his addiction will look after him so he is selfishly getting on with his life. The best thing you can do is to look after you, when you are strong you will be better equipped to cope with him.
Velvet30 June 2015 at 4:13 pm #3953
Thank you again for your reply. I noticed the support group part but I hadn’t looked into it very much. I’m using my mobile so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to join without being on a laptop? . I think it would most definitely be a good support for me at the moment.
Lacking self esteem and confidence has been a huge factor I guess not only for me but my ex partner over the past 5 years. Does it sound bad to say even tho he’s only been out the house a matter of days and my heart is broken I almost feel a weight has slightly lifted off my shoulders? I’ve lived an unhappy untrusting life for so long now I can’t remember what anything else feels like. I don’t believe in happy honest relationships.
My partner began to realise about 5 years ago he had an addiction but it wasn’t completely sunk in, he’d heard of someone who had been to meetings and there was a series of questions and he could say yes to almost every one. He joked about it but I knew then he was trying to tell me something and slowly but surely the signs all began showing. It got worse and worse. I had my son and I stupidly thought love would be enough, I kno now love or anything else does not come into it. I paid thousands of pounds of debts to keep him safe, they came with promises each time, none of which were kept, although some lasted longer than others. Over n above this my mum was ill, my mum n dad were seperating and I had moved into a flat with my cg and was left to provide for us all. with the gambling haunting me. I was depressed but I didn’t breathe a word and just took care of my son. I could cry all day thinking about single moments that were destroyed with gambling, what I can say tho is whilst my heart broke, he didn’t seem to change, water off a ducks back I guess? So used to it? There didn’t seem to be an obvious change in him although now I can very slightly tell when it’s happening but still nothing majorly obvious. He attended meetings. Admitting he’s a cg, very rarely spoke about them unless I asked which I did. He had stopped gambling as far as I’m aware for about 6 months, he missed some meetings here and there and then I found out he had stolen from our son, swore on his life he hadn’t then later admitted it, that was it for me, I phoned his family stupidly thinking I need support, they’ll help. He moved in with his mum but there was no support at all. We knew we couldn’t be together, a year or so passed and he decided he had to change because he wanted to be with us, I think before things had got so bad in the relationship he didn’t even kno if we were to be because gambling affected so much. He started meetings again and stopped apparently for about 10 months and then had a relapse. Again he stopped and I moved into a new flat and as far as I knew he hadn’t been gambling, he had been paying his way etc which was a massive step as previously he wouldn’t have a penny, every single pence was used for gambling, he’d walk miles to pretend everything was ok when he’s gambled bus fare. He moved in and I’d almost forgot what that life had felt like till I started to get the feeling in the pit of my stomach, after a few days n full day crying n begging him to tell me what was wrong he told me he’d gambled his full wage again. We agreed to meetings and me to have control of money. I’m sure I’ve went into this so I won’t again and bore u but that hasn’t stopped him, he lasted 2 months n we are bk here again but he attended meetings, he admits he’s a cg, very aware n very much so a clever and logic person when gambling isn’t involved. I’ve asked him why n bombarded him with how could he do this to us n lists of the lies, he says he’s not looking for an excuses. It’s very simple, he’s cg and he done everything he could to hide that he’d gambled. Where I can’t get thru my head how someone can go on hol and pretend all is ok n allow us to spend money his answer is he never knew, in his head he would make it all ok somehow. He needs help but obviously meetings aren’t quite doing that for him right now. He’s currently looking for a flat. Something he’s never done before, he says he can’t be with family as he needs to sort this himself and that’s not helping although his family don’t want him either anyway. I fight with myself thinking maybe he’s just a liar. Maybe he’s just a horrible person. I see a side which takes up most of his being n it’s who I chose to be with, it’s the monster he is when I’m not there that’s killing us, it’s the unknown, I can’t be with someone I don’t think I actually know.
Michelle x11 July 2015 at 5:45 pm #3954
I missed you this week – I hope you are ok.
I have just re-read your last post and I am not sure I answered all your points in the group.
I can hear that your CG is confused, lost and unsupported by his family; however it is important that you put yourself and your child first regardless of how sad you feel he is. It always seems that such words offer little to someone in your position but I really do know they work. I was a blob Chelle when I finally realised I had to change my life – my personality was lost to the addiction that my CG owned, I lacked self-esteem, confidence, drive, original thought and in this state I was impotent, unable to support him, myself or those around me.
Retaking control of your life is not easy, you are a loving person who wants to feel loved and you deserve to be loved. Unfortunately at the moment your CG is unable to give you that love or to accept the responsibility of his own life, never mind you or his child. Many members have described it as having another child leaning on them but never believe that you are looking after another child.
I have written the following coping method to many members so you may have read it before – but I will write it anyway because it has helped so many of us cope even though it is not a professionally recognised way of coping.
Imagine your CGs addiction is a hungry vicious beast in the corner of the room. When you speak to your CG it will stay in the corner but it is never sleeping and always ready to take action when it feels threatened.
The good news is that although your CG is controlled by his addiction, you do not have to be. His addiction is the master of threats and manipulation but you are not. When you threaten your CG with logical argument, his addiction leaps between you and that’s when you find yourself in the middle of an argument without knowing how or why you got there. Once it has got between you, the only words you will hear will be the words of his addiction blaming you and seeking to demoralise you. When you try and fight your corner his addiction distorts your words leaving your CG unable to comprehend your meaning.
This was explained to me by my CG who truly believed he was a worthless failure. When I told him I loved him and that changing his life would bring him happiness – his addiction distorted mind told him that I was a liar because why would anyone love someone who was so unlovable and of such little worth. He was completely lost in his addiction and his only coping mechanism was to fight me with lies, blame, manipulation and threats.
I believe F&F waste valuable time ‘wanting’ to believe that the CG they love is telling the truth and that ‘this’ time, maybe, he/she is different. I think it better not to believe them until there is positive and visible change because in doing so you become receptive. In my opinion it is better to stand back and listen to what your CG is saying, making it 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.
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 with your child and make the right decisions for your relationship.
I hope you update soon and maybe pop in to the group on Tuesday.
Velvet11 August 2015 at 5:30 pm #3955KatbriverParticipant
It’s so hard to live with a gambler. I find it hard to express the hurt and emotional pain gambling has caused. My mother is a cg and I mourn all the time the mother I once had. She was kind, sweet, thoughtful and loving. And I’m sure beneath her nasty addiction still is. I’m in the process now (at 36years old) of trying to figure out how to live my life and not let her affect me emotionally. That’s why I found this forum today…. I hope you realize that it’s all just a horrible, nasty, soul stealing addiction and can heal and find your own happiness!11 August 2015 at 9:35 pm #3956
Hi guys, I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve wrote. I’ve just had a few health issues and just dealing with day to day with the seperation. Velvet thank you for your reply, the way u describe the way a gambler will defend their addiction really rang true, so many times I’ve been lost in arguments heartbroken and no idea how I got there and now I can think bk and know exactly it was because he was in such a state to keep his addiction uncovered. I’ve had more trouble arise thru his gambling, he pretended he had lost a new phone or more likely it was stolen which I’d bought him, I claimed the insurance , all in my name, as a partner of a gambler i questioned it but the act he put up to everyone no one in this world would have thought he was lying, however weeks down the line I get a lovely letter telling me I am facing fraud as he had sold it that day. You’d think I’d be used to this but it was yet another stab in the heart, the pretence he put up was unbelievable but then that’s a gambler for u. We r in the midst of trying to sort this mess. He’s still gambling. He is starting to regret his actions yet again. I’m hearing the usual about how he loves us more than life and he hasn’t given up on hope we can be together. I love him but I can’t put me or my son thru it again. It’s heart breaking. I’ve had no control over it and I’ve been left while I kno how easy n happy it could have been. It hurts me every day. Katbriver thank u too for ur reply, as much as it’s horrible and breaks my heart knowing there’s other ppl out there suffering from this addiction it’s the first time I’ve not felt alone. I’m sure under this illness your mum is still the person u remember and I hope she overcomes it. This has left me doubting every aspect of my relationship. For a while I have been terrified I will be ashamed to call him my sons father if he lets this take over. Things seem to b slightly picking up but I just don’t know, I feel like I’m in limbo. I see him and it’s so easy to forget and to love as I get to see him and not the disease but I can’t live with that feeling in the pit of my stomach and I can’t go thru this heartbreak again.
Michelle12 August 2015 at 11:36 am #3957
Unfortunately my words regarding the final sentence in your post have to be blunt or I would be doing you a disservice. You will go through the heartache again and again and the feeling in the pit of your stomach will not go away until your partner seeks treatment and actively goes about changing his life. The words his is using such as ‘sorry’ and ‘I love you’ are meaningless until the addiction is addressed.
With regard to the fraud action being taken against you I can only offer you my opinion, based on experience and that is – if I were in your shoes I would not cover up for a CG. The more cover-ups the active CG gets the more their addiction grows. Taking responsibility for their addiction is the first step a CG makes towards a gamble-free life and if your CG is not prepared to take that step he is not seriously trying to sort himself out.
I hope in time you will not be ashamed to call this man your son’s father. He didn’t ask for, or want, his addiction – he didn’t know when he first gambled that addiction was to be his lot. However at the present time I understand your feelings and in this forum it is you that is forefront in my concern.
You say that ‘we’ are in the midst of working out the problem of the phone but if your partner is actively gambling, as you believe, I think it is best you accept that you are on your own with this worry and look after yourself first I can believe he loves you, I can believe he is sorry but in my opinion the sorrow expressed by an active CG is sorrow for themselves that their poor choice of behaviour is not working out for them – they see problems as glitches to be overcome by somebody else, thus allowing their addiction free rein again. I really do know how you feel and I know how hard it is to do the right thing for yourself but you cannot save your partner from himself – only he can do that.
Give your partner directions to those who can support him such as GA, Gordon Moody, dedicated addiction counsellors or this site and then look after you and your son first.
It is often easier to enable and close your eyes to the problem but you now know it won’t go away until he seeks positive change and acts on it. Your eyes are open and however bad it is you are not in denial. Keep posting, you are doing well even if it doesn’t feel as though you are.
Velvet12 August 2015 at 12:23 pm #3958
Thank you velvet, I only say “we” in regards to phone as if has to pay the money to get it back from a pawn shop, I was going to do this myself as I expected a long road of excuses before it was done and needed it sorted ASAP but he surprisingly has paid it (with gambling money) and I have to get it today but I don’t hold my breath until it’s in my hands. As I’ve said he’s paid the phone with gambling money and whilst I’ve been thru him explaining this does not solve the root of the problem and nothing will ever sort if he is gambling i have to say it’s one of the ONLY times I’ve ever known him to gamble and walk away and pay something important and not gamble the lot. The problem is usually he is unable to walk away even with a win as you will know. He will gamble to the last penny then overcome each obstacle to get money to chase what’s lost and so on continuously but knows deep down he will never win because he’s unable to walk away n no win is “enough”. He’s said he knows this and he needed sort problems forefront in his mind I.e. Phone and now everything else is manageable on a monthly basis. I kno this is excuses and if he had intention of sorting his life he’d start from the bottom up but I hold on to slight differences hoping he’s eventually going to fall in the right direction but I kno now nothing I say or do will affect that and it’s not my job. I’ve tried everything in my power and I’m out now, it’s down to him n him alone and as frustrating as that is and heartbreaking I know I’ve done everything and I need to stop blaming myself and thinking what if. There’s just a huge part of him that’s still here outside the gambling, I get to see him as my partner, as my sons dad and almost forget that part and it hurts that I can’t have that because we all love each other so much or so I think. I’ve doubted everything now as i don’t fully nor never will understand the mind set or thought process or personality traits of a gambler so at times I wonder if it’s all been a lie and if he’s lived n lied so much is our relationship a lie although he protests he’s only ever lied about gambling and anything that has been around covering up gambling but as an honest person I question if someone can lie about these things then could he/would he lie about everything else. I suppose there’s no point in thinking about it but I can’t help myself at times, it’s hard to hear he’s not gave up on us because I need to be strong continuously and remind myself I can not live in this horrible life any longer. It’s just hard to cut off when u love someone although I know that’s what I need to do. I do completely put myself and my son first. That’s the only thing I kno now I’m just disappointed I’ve not been able give him the family I wish I could have. As for the fraud issue he has completely taken the blame and I explained exactly what’s happened and who. He was ready to take that on completely but doesn’t change what’s happened. I just hope I find some peace among this, I also hope he begins to live his life, for so long I’ve fought for us but now I just want us both to find happiness and start living, I hate that this has a control over him. I’m sorry, I’ve completely rabbled from one thing to another. I don’t know the best way to communicate my feelings on this.
Michelle14 August 2015 at 8:59 am #3959michelle45Participant
I wanted to reply as I always feel I could have written your posts. Your posts are not rambling but very clear. You love someone with a gambling addiction and their behaviour is irrational and confusing and as hurt you over a long period of time. Its so understandable its so hard. I can see this very clearly when I read your posts but do struggle to see it for myself. I do understand.
You are doing well you are realising what is going on and trying to do something about it by not getting involved. I received advice that said you will always be involved in dramas if you let yourself and its so true. (Thanks jenny) . You know all this but it is so difficult to break patterns of behaviour. If your CG is taking the responsibility for his actions maybe he will start to change. But as you say they are his choices.
I am moving forward but it is a long road. Some days are easier than other. Today I feel angry and feel like ringing my CG and telling how irresponsible and selfish he is. This is because my daughter is a little unsettled although he has seen her. His recent compliant behaviour confuses me. I know I won’t and yet a couple of months ago I would have tried to explain this to him and have a reasonable discussion about it. It would have got me nowhere but angrier, more upset and feeling more hopeless. Now I write it here!!
Velvet commented that we often know the right thing to do and actually doing it is so much harder. It is but peace of mind is absolutely priceless. I am also striving for this.
Take care. I do completely understand
Regards m21 August 2015 at 11:47 am #3960
I can think of no better way to communicate your feeling than as you have done – everything you say makes complete sense.
It would be lovely to get an update – you are in my thoughts.
Velvet24 August 2015 at 12:37 pm #3961
Hi everyone, I’m really sorry, sometimes I reply so much in my head i totally forget I haven’t physically replied! Thanks very much for responding as it always means a lot to hear from ppl who take the time to read my story and care enough to respond.
Thank u so much Michelle, as much as I don’t want anyone else to be going thru what I am at the same time it gives me comfort to know I’m not alone and someone out there understands what it’s like to live with this. I think right now the emotion I’m struggling with recently is guilt and although I kno I’d tell anyone else it’s not their fault and they r doing great I almost feel guilty I’ve put my son thru this, his father says he does his best and tbh he does more than some but he’s still not the dad I wanted my son to have and his family r much the same. I feel guilty he’s left with me and my mum and dad when they can help out which also brings out guilt in me as I hate to rely on them and my mum doesn’t keep well. Right now he sees him a day a week which could b only a few hours right now as he try’s to get his flat sorted but as we kno it’s going to be a long road especially when he has nothing and I imagine still gambling. It’s pay day for him tomorrow and I still feel sick to my stomach at what mess he’s going to get in. It’s not my business outside money he owes me which im yet to see but I still feel ill at the thought of him throwing his life away to gambling. I still hear the love yous and I think it’s taking its toll on him now and it’s hard because for the majority of it gambling is an invisible disease and it’s so easy to forget why its ruining your life in moments you can see the person you love and it’s a constant battle trying to keep the moments of heartbreak fresh as to keep yourself strong. No one asks how I’m doing. I’m supposed to just get on. Which I do. I think my family forget even tho he’s done wrong and it might be the “right” thing for us to be apart my heart still breaks every day, I cry everyday. I get angry and annoyed and bitter at him having the opportunity for a new life at times, I love my son more than life itself and he is always going to be my priority without a thought but I see him being able to meet with friends etc whilst I’m picking up the pieces of his mess and I don’t think it’s fair but gambling isn’t fair, I guess relationship break downs just aren’t fair. I have so much to be grateful for and God knows I am so at times I feel down I feel guilty for letting myself but sometimes u just can’t help it, the past 5/6 years has knocked it out me. I was a young girl when this all began and i gave it my everything. I hope your well Michelle and you too velvet and hope to hear from yous soon.
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