Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family Want to know how to help more effectively!

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  • #3226
    alicyat824
    Participant

    Been so long since I posted, I miss the community but I have found so much comfort in my Gam-Anon family I haven’t been compelled to post unfortunately. I need to work to give back to the community here also!

    I’ve been feeling very frustrated with my CG and myself as of late.  I’m frustrated in general because of our lack of communication over his struggles with his gambling problem for one. He is not big on communicating his issues to me and I find that just being there to listen when he is having some sort of mental battle is my best role. I am not enabling nor trying to change but simply lending an ear to listen and it worked well for both of us (I think) for a while. But not so much anymore, we don’t talk about much lately. And besides him not being forthcoming, I am also not very good at asking either. I can definitely feel and see when he has some sort of struggle but in my desire not to be a nagging partner I often keep my mouth shut when I shouldn’t. This starts a vicious cycle that includes the lack of communication. His internalization. And my everlasting curiosity on his struggle.  I have backed off in my desire to change for sure but I have not given up my desire for knowledge. I’m certain it is still a way I feel in control of the situation by knowing exactly what is going on in his life.

    During this cycle, when he doesn’t talk to me, I go to find out the information on my own anyways. By snooping in a serious way. I want to know EVERYTHING and I certainly find it out but then I inevitably put myself between a rock and a hard place because I’ve got the information but the only way I could bring it up for conversation is by selling myself out. I don’t want to let him know how inappropriately I delve into his private time and finances but because he has not told me what he has been up to I have no other way to bring it up.

    Through this cycle I struggle to find ways to communicate more effectively so I do not have to snoop and I also struggle with my desire to know everything.  

    #3227
    jenny46
    Participant

    you have learned to communicate ? who’s talking back then ? not him clearly. snooping is not communicating is it ?
    The biggest part of communication is listening. You are trying to read something that can never be understood, you think you know but you cannot ever know, you are not supposed to know – you will never know

    Listen to yourself, and if you like to learn as you say you do then listen to yourself and know what you are telling you.

    the biggest learning curve will be from how well you can listen to you and what you can learn from you

    No matter how much you think you know or could learn you will never be in control of him or his addiction. you can only ever be in control of yourself

    Jenny

    #3228
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Ali
    Playing the detective is incredibly wearing and frustrating and I think most of us who have experienced this method of trying to understand, or discover, have been very glad to stop doing it, as it is not part of who we are – but more a part of what the addiction has turned us into.
    What information has put you between a rock and a hard place? Is this a discovery that he has been gambling or is it knowledge of the addiction that you think he does not possess?
    What is your friend doing about his addiction? Is he attending GA, seeking counselling or what? It is not enough for you to lend an ear, he has to want to stop gambling enough to turn words into action.
    A healthy desire to know about the addiction to gamble is not the same as delving into a friend’s private time and finances and I am concerned that such behaviour will boomerang back painfully. It is my belief that it is important to be completely honest with a CG because returning ‘like for like’ is, I think, counter-productive. When my CG started his gamble-free life the strangest thing for me was to realise that he had to learn to trust me – I had assumed the greatest lack of trust would be mine but it was not so. A CG’s world is full of mistrust, it emanates from them and it surrounds them. To take the leap of faith that is required to live a gamble-free life it is, my opinion, beneficial for the CG to know that that those around them are honest, or how else can they learn?
    I hope some of this helps.
    Speak soon.
    Velvet

    #3229
    alicyat824
    Participant

    Jenny,
    I certainly have plenty more to learn in the communication department so no I am not communicating the way I should (I think thats what you are asking) and I am wholeheartedly listening when he talks to me but this is a rare thing, I don’t have to work very hard at it because it isn’t happening regularly. I am listening to myself and hearing it but it is hard for me to implement.

    Velvet,
    The information that put me between a rock and a hard place requires a bit of back story so I’m sorry if this is long and drawn out. I have long since known about the gambling issue itself and have not “officially”found anything that leads me to believe he has relapsed. When he originally came clean to me about his financial troubles related to gambling I was put in charge of the finances (we are not legally married but we may as well be for this purpose) in an effort to put me in charge I was given a list of all login info for any sort of financial accounts online such as the bank account, credit card accounts etc. In this process I was NOT given the login info for one particular account used for credit purposes (it lists accounts, debt and an estimated credit score). But I am able to log in to this website because all of his usernames and passwords are about the same so I figured it out.

    So, one day I tried to log in to one of his Credit card accounts and was locked out, i asked him why and he said he had to reset the password, ok, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and gave him a day or two to resolve it. He kept saying he had to call, now this was about a month or so ago. In the mean time by logging into the credit reporting site I discovered he had not only applied for a new credit card, gotten approved for it, and maxed it out. None of which he told me. This new card is with the same old company he already has one with. Now if I had been able to log in to this company I would have seen it right away which is why I think he has failed to rectify the login issue with the account. I also found the new card in his wallet. Now because he technically did not give me the login info for the credit reporting site I never would have found this info had I not been snooping. I’ve tried to get him to simply tell me about the card by bringing the website login up multiple times to no avail.

    As for your other questions, he had been attending GA with me for awhile but has not attended in a couple of weeks. I support him and “remind” him of which meetings are in session on any given night but he’s always “too tired” or “not feeling well” So I go alone and enjoy my reprieve but wish he would make more of an effort in his own recovery.

    thanks girls
    Ali

    #3230
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Ali
    I am sorry you couldn’t drop in on my group just after you wrote this post – it would be good to communicate in real time. It is now too late in the evening for me to give your post the considered reply it deserves but I do thank you for explaining the rock and the hard place to which I can now fully relate.
    I will reply as soon as possible.
    Velvet

    #3231
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Ali
    I can see your rock and hard place now – thank you.
    Your friend asked you to help him by handling his finances so when he retook control he would have known that you were going to be locked out of the accounts. However, having asked for your support with his finances and knowing that you are aware of his addiction, it seems to me, he knows there is a bombshell waiting to happen – so probably all the time you are hoping he is going to communicate, his addiction is playing for time – chasing his losses, thus leaving him with nothing he is prepared to say.
    It is an unfortunate by-product of digging that nasty things surface and having brought them up it seems impossible to bring them into the open. I am not opting out when I say I cannot tell you what to do because in my opinion it depends on what you are prepared for, rather than what you want. His addiction is highly manipulative and it will not like being caught out. Many people have found that if they treat the addiction like an angry beast in the corner of the room, waiting to strike when threatened, they can open communication more easily. Keeping that addiction beast at bay is not easy but once it is between you it is very frightening – everything you say is distorted by it and everything you hear is twisted by it.
    My CG told me that as soon as I started to speak to him his addiction would be on full alert so when I told him that I loved him and wanted to support him, his addiction said to him that I was obviously lying because he was a worthless, unlovable failure and I only wanted to undermine him. As a result he fought back with lies and threats because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism, leaving me to retire wounded and confused.
    Standing back and listening, as you are doing, makes it easier not to get caught up in an unwanted argument because the addiction has nothing to get its teeth into but of course this does give the addiction freedom to believe it is safe.
    This all sounds a little negative but the positive side is that when you remove yourself from the centre of the addiction, you have time and energy to look after you.
    Without any judgement Ali, it seems you have been affected too much by the addiction of another and your happiness should not be dependent on the outcome of this dilemma. You have written that you are going alone and enjoying your reprieve but does this mean you feel released?
    Speak soon
    Velvet

    #3232
    jenny46
    Participant

    My comments on communication are by no means a criticism of you. I unfortunately know only to well the desire to communicate with an active CG, to talk, to sort things out and hopefully to start again with a ‘clean slate’

    I am particularly familiar with the desire to snoop and like you my snooping skills served me well and I found out all sorts of things that I didn’t want to know, the results of which pointed to one thing, which was the addiction was still there kicking and screaming, finding new ways of funding itself, more lies and deceipt and consequently more distrust.

    Managing someones finances is a short term fix, it is a barrier to assist someone in their quest to control their addiction. Someone who really wants to stop, not someone who has made sure that they have left themselves an avenue to continue their habit. There will always be another avenue until he wants to stop. Your snooping will drive it even more under ground than it is already, you unfortunately will burn out trying to keep ahead of the situation, its not worth the hassle.

    I can only tell you what I would do and that is to make sure my own financial situation was safe and protected and then let him get on with it, his addiction, his debt, his consequences. No snooping, just concentrating on thoughts of how I could best look after me. No more listening to the lies etc. It took me a long time to get to that and the burnout in between was awful, through the snooping, trying to communicate and pure bewilderment as to why everything was happening and what I could do.

    It took me a long time to accept properly that there was nothing I could do and no real way to understand all the ins and outs of it all.

    What I meant was not that there is anything wrong with how you are communicating with him, but how you are communicating with yourself. In your posts, your happiness seems to depend on his outcomes and not yours, you listen well to him and you have learned what you can.

    I think from my knowledge of my own experience and reading between the lines of very many struggles on this forum, I would say that the toughest lesson I’ve learned and the best one ever was to begin to look after me, to trust and listen to myself instead of wasting countless hours listening to the blithering promises and lies of an addiction, through that listening I learned to look after me and put myself further up the list of priorities than I had been doing, the rest slowly fell in to place.

    I hope that clears up my somewhat cryptic last post to you

    Jenny

    #3233
    alicyat824
    Participant

    Velvet, I very much can understand your insight especially more now that I went to my Gam-Anon meeting last night and my “family” there told me essentially the same thing as you when you say I have allowed my CG’s gambling to affect me too much as I very much have. They offered me the ideas that many of my plans and ideas on how to better the situation while in my head are good decisions for me I still am basing a lot of my decisions on him and his gambling also. I am helping myself without fully “letting go and letting god” and that is my biggest and deepest underlying struggle.

    Jenny, my happiness does very often seem to depend on him these days, no matter the amount I supposedly concentrate on me I have yet to find what exactly works for me to actually seperate my happiness from his. I have indeed taken the necessary steps to secure my own finances, and do not feel that I am at any risk financial unless I were to enable him willingly I dont think he could access any of my money

    Ali

    #3234
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Ali
    When one person tells you something you can choose easily to ignore it, when two tell you the same thing it is maybe time to listen but when you are being given the same message by many, in my opinion, it would be unwise not to take note and action on what you hear, I believe that is what makes this site so great. I am so pleased you have a strong Gamanon family – I am sure you will be a tremendous support to others in your group.
    A positive post, well done
    V

    #3235
    velvet
    Moderator

    Hi Ali
    I can see that you are giving support to others which is terrific but please don’t forget to ask for support for yourself.
    How are things with you? Have you found out what works for you?
    Speak soon
    Velvet

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