Get practical support with your gambling problem Forum Friends and Family When is it time to leave the gambler?

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  • #4122
    pretendsleep
    Participant

    At this point, I have been living with my father’s gambling for my entire life. I am 20 years old and life is getting too unbearable. I am done with him and his gambling. I have tried to talk to him calmly about the matter and tell him to get help. I’ve told him where some local resources are and he told me that he has tried to go to a gambling support group but didn’t end up going because it was held at a church that was not of his religion. He has started gambling two times a week and he is manipulating my mom causing her to get into more debt than she can handle. I feel like it’s my job to get my family out of this situation. We have given him many chances to look for help but at this point I feel that there is nothing left to do except protect my family.
    I feel like, as the child, I have to take my mom out of this emotionally abusive situation because she is a push-over and will continue to stay and bail him out of his debt. I know that you should be supportive and patient with the gambler but he is actually using his family as a crutch to support his gambling. He keeps threatening to leave but we know he won’t because he won’t be able to support himself. I want to look for an apartment with my mom, sister and brother to move into. I want to give him some alone time and explain to him that unless he goes to treatment and seeks help, he won’t have his family. It’s either us or his addiction. He’s a grown man and he can choose.
    I wanted to make this forum because I wanted to make sure that this was the necessary step to take. I feel like it is because he is so emotionally manipulative and bullies us around. This gambling is also starting to affect my baby brother as he is getting older and starting to pick up on the emotional and financial damage. I am just starting to see therapy at my college for all of the emotions I’ve held in and am realizing how harmful his gambling has been, not just in my personal life, but my academic life as well. So, is this the right thing to do? Is space abandonment? I feel kind of guilty for it but we can’t live this way anymore.

    #4123
    charles
    Moderator

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    Hello

    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!

    Take care

    The Gambling Therapy Team


    PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our

    privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!

    #4124
    charles
    Moderator

    Hello Pretendsleep and welcome to the forum, well done on looking for help.

    Unfortunately only your father can make the decision to stop gambling. From what you say you have already made sure he is aware of all the support that he has available.

    Now you need to concentrate on you. You don’t have to do this alone, you can get a lot of support here both on the forum and in the groups. Also of course the support you have at college.

    If he doesn’t decide to address his addiction then you might have to make some of those tough decisons you are talking about, there are no wrong or right answers there – if it’s the right thing for you then its the right thing! Using support will put you in a stronger position to make those decisons.

    Maybe show your mum this site as well – obviously she will also have to make her own decisions.

    #4125
    monique
    Participant

    Welcome from me too. I can see what a lot of responsibility you have taken on your shoulders, while still so young. I am so glad you are getting some help at college and that you have come to this site too.
    As Charles has already said, you do not have to carry all this on your own. Do try to get into some of the Support Groups and chat with others (Family and Friends Support Group will probably be most useful for you – see the list under Support Groups) and exchange thoughts and ideas with people on the Forum, as you have just begun to do.
    Again, as Charles has said, it sounds like your Mum would benefit from support, including information about this addiction, too.
    You show great strength of character and concern for your whole family circle. You have probably got wisdom beyond your years. So cherish yourself and allow yourself to be cared for, too.
    I really wish you well as you seek day by day the right ways forward for you (and the family circle).
    Monique

    #4126
    Jilly1
    Participant

    Hello and welcome from me. I am so glad you are getting some support especially when you mentioned feeling guilty. It is most important that you look after yourself first. I have 3 daughters who have grown up with a gambling father and anyone of them could have written the same thing as you. I don’t know all the details or your specific circumstances but I do need to tell you it is not your responsibility and you have nothing to feel guilty about. you sound like a wonderful daughter and sister.
    As a Charles says your father needs to take the steps to deal with his gambling and whatever he says there are places he can get help and support. He will know that.
    Your mum needs support and if you haven’t already I would show her this site. It could be the first step on the path to recovery for her. It was for me and others. It is very difficult to see the wood for the trees when you are in the middle of the situation. I thought I was doing right by the children by staying with their father for many many years and it is only now that we are getting divorced that the children have truly been able to express their relief at this decision. They were looking to me to do the right thing but I was torn by what I thought was right for them, their dad, myself etc. I couldn’t see a path through it all. I was being manipulated by my husbands addiction.
    Only today I Was talking to my mother in law (soon to be ex but very supportive of me) and she was saying she would have strangled my husband if he had been hers many years ago! Even I look at myself in amazement now about the things I repeatedly tolerated and the chances I gave him. But I said to my m in l that crazy though it seems the only other people who would really understand how you allow something to go on for so long are the other wives/partners of compulsive gamblers. They will know how you don’t just wake up one day £30,000 or whatever in debt. It all creeps up on you. After many years I had almost got to the point where if my husband had said tomorrow the sky will be green I would have believed him!
    I took the first baby step to recovery by coming here, talking to other people dealing with this horrible addiction. It was not an instant overnight success. It has taken me a few years to get to the point I am at now. Everybody’s situation is unique and I am not saying that divorce is the solution for your mum. She needs support though to see through the fog of addiction. It has helped me tremendously to have the support of my children but they only really felt able to show that support when I led the way and to take that lead I needed a lot of help for myself. That is the first thing that I would suggest. Encourage your mum to get all the support she can so that over time she can make the right decisions for herself which will most likely end up being the right choices for everyone else too…even your dad who will be forced to face his addiction. Just as my children are not responsible for their parents behaviour neither are you. It is understandable you want to help but you are not responsible.
    It all probably feels horrible just now but life is very strange and good things can come out of the worst of situations. Me and the children have an openness and honesty with each other that I don’t think we would have ever had if they had not lived through this very difficult time. They haven’t had the innocent and charmed life that we would like to give our children but they are wiser and more aware of the real world. They know they can survive difficult times.
    Your mum may need help to get back that control of her life. It’s a really good feeling. I remember a year ago sitting in an airport with my brother and for the first time telling him the truth of my situation and that I planned to divorce my gambling husband. I told him all my fears for the unknown future. He said ‘you can’t put a price on freedom’. Those words have stayed with me almost more than any others.
    I’m sorry if I ramble a bit. I do want to help but I also write for my own therapy too!
    So dear kind wise thoughtful 20 year old daughter that you are. Look after yourself first…your mum would want that. Encourage your mum to get every bit of help she can from whatever source. Remember that out of all this upset something good can grow.
    Jilly
    X

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