8 March 2013 at 4:09 am #1959
I am fairly new to this site, I’ve been checking it out and well all the nice people I’ve met so far say this is the place for me! My husband was sweet and kind, funny and caring. He was a great father to our 5 children…and then he was forced to deal with the fact that he is a compulsive gambler! Since then he has been angry, short tempered, swearing at the children and looks at me with complete contempt!
I’m so grateful that he has finally acknowledged that his gambling is a problem, much longer and he may have lost everything, but now he seems so angry with us! All he does all day is yell at everybody, sigh, and say ” who cares?”
Why are we not enough? We used to make him happy, but now not so much? I don’t understand… and it’s killing me to see him so unhappy!I know, right?!8 March 2013 at 8:31 am #1960kathrynParticipant
Hi Nitenurse and welcome.
You will get loads of support here…….
I am the compulsive gambler in my home, i have been gamble free for over 3 years now. I can, however remember when i first stopped. One of my very first posts here was titled "day 3 and im angry"!!!!!
I dont know how long your husband has stopped gambling for, i do however remember that feeling of rage. I wanted to gamble and i couldnt, the addiction in me was being starved. I didnt realise that i was withdrawing, and that is exactly what it was. Like a **** or alcohol addict, i was going through the same pain.
I felt a bit better knowing there was a reason for my anger, i had not been able to control it and i didnt know why it was happening. I was a screaming banchee!!!!!
This addiction is horrific. It sucks out your soul. I got help. I talked about it with the people here who were wonderful. I see my addiction now as a scowling beast in the corner of my mind just waiting for an opportunity. I refuse to feed it. I refuse to give it an inch because i know it will take a mile, and then some.
Im not making excuses for your husband. I just know what happened to me, it is a process. It takes a long time for us to hit bottom and its no walk in the park to find the person we were before gambling entered our life.
I hope your husband is getting help, he ***** to work through it and talking always helps even though we may not think so at the time……..
The same goes for you nitenurse, you have been living with this addiction too, as have your children. You need support, you need to ensure your finances are safe.
There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel, if he is prepared to be open to the possibilities and do the work required to manage this addiction.
I look forward to reading more from you,
Love K ****
To live, that would be a great adventure – Peter Pan– 8/03/2013 10:48:31 AM: post edited by Kathryn.8 March 2013 at 1:34 pm #1961
It is always good when you eventually find the place that is right for you and I am glad that you have found us. I am also incredibly glad that Kathryn spotted your post because she offers support from a different perspective and is an inspiration on our site.
You and your family ‘are’ enough Nite. The fact that you ask that says to me that your self-confidence and self-esteem are pretty low but this addiction is not your fault in any way. It is also not your husband’s fault. As some time he gambled as others do and he would have had no idea that addiction was the heavy penalty that he would pay.
I think Kathryn has summed up so much of how the addiction works. If I say the same but in a different way it is because we have both lived with it – the same addiction but in different halves. My CG told me he was angry and I didn’t understand, I couldn’t see where anger fitted in to the unhappiness that surrounded him – I was also totally unaware that he had an addiction to gamble for 25 years.
My CG went into rehab for 9 months. I don’t know what he talked about in rehab but he changed his life. With the change came the ability to explain to me, much as Kathryn has done for you, the feelings of a CG. It is my belief that we can never understand what it is like to be a CG but we can gain as much knowledge as possible to help us cope. Apparently for the first three months in rehab he blamed me – it was good that there was no contact between us or I would have been spitting feathers to hear him do so – although ‘I’ was blaming me, I would have been shouting that he did not have that right.
Which bring me on to the important part of what I want to say – I was blaming me. I was a pathetic blob, a victim of his addiction and out of control of my life but nobody is to blame for this addiction. Once we accept that we can retake control of our lives.
Your husband is controlled by an addiction but you are not which makes you stronger than he is. His addiction makes him angry because he is trying to take responsibility for something that is powerful, corrosive and destructive, that thrives on lies and manipulation – as Kathryn says it is not a walk in the park.
While your husband fights his demons it is important that you find your self-worth. Each day try and do something that his addiction has stopped you doing – while he is yelling perhaps you could go and have a manicure or paint a picture – something you used to like doing but stopped because his addiction filled your mind 24 hours a day. Don’t waste your energy yelling back and getting involved in a row – his addiction will distort your words and it will be his addiction that yells back. His addiction will be fighting to control him and if it can cause an argument then it has won and it is important that the addiction does not win with you because ‘you’ matter.
If I didn’t know that his addiction can be controlled and the person who emerges can be ‘better’ for owning the addiction and having the courage to control it, I wouldn’t be writing on here.
Do things with your children – let him hear you all laugh and try to include him but don’t be distressed by his shouting. Let him leave the room if he wishes – that is common and in my opinion, is better not to ask him to stay. Allow him to watch you getting on with your life so that he can lean on you and learn to trust you. Imagine his addiction in the corner of the room waiting for you to attack it so that it can leap between you – confuse it by being happy, change your hair-style, have a massage – let it know that you are not going to allow it to take you down. Surprise your husband by being happy.
Are you children aware that their father has an addiction? If they are older perhaps you can explain to them so that they can feel understanding towards him. The addiction to gamble is divisive in families and believe it is better that those who are old enough to be affected know what the CG is struggling with.
Please don’t let it kill you to see him so unhappy – I don’t want to be writing to someone who isn’t around anyone – such a waste! He can change. A large part of recovery is taking responsibility for the addictive behaviour and guilt is quite overwhelming. If you husband sees his family as wreckage of that behaviour his guilt will be greater but if his family are healthy and living their lives his guilt will be easier. Guilt is not necessary when you realise he didn’t want his addiction – my CG said he could live with regret but not guilt. Guilt causes anger.
How is your husband seeking his recovery? I have never heard of a CG who can go it alone and if he is trying to do this I think it is good to leave recovery literature ***** around to let him know that you are seeking recovery too and want to support him. We have a terrific helpline, CG only groups, ‘My Journal forum’ where he will be welcome and understood by others in a way that you and I cannot understand. There is also GA and dedicated addiction counsellors. It is very hard for a CG to accept that they can never gamble responsibly again but other CGs help with that kind of understanding. If my CG writes on this site i don’t read what he has written – his continued recovery is all that matters. if your husband wants to use this site then maybe you could offer him the same privacy.
My CG said that in early recovery he was ‘bouncing off the walls’ – quite a few years on now he is a fine person, living a happy and good life. Don’t kill yourself Nite – pick yourself up, do something just for ‘you’ today and then tell me what you did. We want the CG to change but we have to make the effort too in a way we would not have expected.
Keep posting and perhaps join our F&F groups, ***** in the top right hand box – you will be very welcome. Nothing said in the groups appears on the forum – you will be among those who understand.
Well done on starting your thread – I look forward to hearing you walking forward into ‘your’ recovery. I recommend the journey.
Velvet11 March 2013 at 1:52 pm #1962
Thank you all for your insight, I am learning more and more about my husbands gambling problem and hopefully that will help me be strong as now he has decided that he ISN’T a compulsive gambler!!! He has convinced himself that he can stay in control and just gamble occasionally. Forgive me if I’m not buying that one! He placed yet another bet and promptly lost ( I was secretly thrilled he lost cause I feel like winning just encourages him) and now claims he won’t bet again for 2 weeks (our next payday). Problem is since then he has been even more distant than before, I keep trying to communicate with him but he’s very short. All i can do is try, right?!
Meanwhile, I have refused to put any $ in the debit account in a feeble attempt to protect our finances. And Velvet… I took your advice and went out with some friends for dinner. I know that sounds simple but it was something I haven’t done for a long time because we didn’t have the $ or because I was preoccupied with all the problems at home! It felt good, and I had do much fun! It was nice to step away from my husbands addiction and the grip it’s had over me for so long! Today I think the kids and I will have a play date, they are young (2yrs, 3yrs and newborn) but I’m know they could use to get out and have some fun!
Now… My husband just ***** to find his way… Any advice? How can I help him get there?11 March 2013 at 5:09 pm #1963
Carry on as you are doing because you are doing well. Going out for dinner with friends was probably far from simple for you – it takes guts to break away from the addiction buzzing around in your head. Playing with the kids will fill your head with lovely thoughts making the addiction more bearable and confused..
It is sadly common for a CG to think they are not compulsive gamblers and I am not surprised you are not buying into that.
One way to show him that you are not buying in to his manpulation is to let him know, by surreptitious means if necessary, that even if he is not taking his addiction seriously – you are.
At the top of this page click on to ‘Resources’ and in ‘Location’ scroll down to ‘World’. Click ‘Gambling help’ and ‘Search’. Scroll down to ‘Gamblers anonymous – Twenty Questions’. Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions. In my opinion most members who have lived with the compulsion to gamble will also be able to answer yes to at leave seven of those questions. Print them off and leave them so he can find them. Maybe you could put a tick by the ones where you know there should be a ‘yes’.
Perhaps you could get details of your local Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and leave them ***** round. The reason I think it is good to not get into a discussion about support is because his addiction will be defensive and you will find yourself in another unasked for row.
If your husband gets annoyed about the amount of literature, then the answer can be that you are only looking for support with ‘your’ recovery. CGs do not realise that those around them need recovery too.
Not putting money into the debit account is far from feeble – I know how angry the addiction can sound.
You have hit the nail on the head when you said that winning encourages a CG. In this forum a ‘win’ is a ‘loss’ because the only thing that gets fed from it, is the addiction.
Even if he does go 2 weeks without placing a bet his mind will still be in gamble-mode. The addiction is live until the CG accepts it and wants to change. You cannot make him stop but you can make your life better so that he can see you are not being cowed by his addiction as he is.
You have made an excellent start and I look forward to hearing that you are having more fun. It might seem a strange way to cope and certainly a strange way to make a difference to your husband but it can and does work.
Your latest post is already more positive than the first and that is great.
Speak soon and/or perhaps join me in a Friends and family group.
Velvet11 March 2013 at 6:05 pm #1964nomore 56Participant
Hi Nitenurse, Velvet is right, you already sound more positiv! It is very important for us as family members to do something for ourselves. Meeting with friends for dinner or having a play date with the kids will take your mind of the misery, at least for a while and you can see that life has so much more to offer than battling the addiction. I think it is very important not to isolate, which is what I did while my hb was gambling, especially during the years when his addiction completely got out of control. You will find an abundance of emotional support on this site and would like to add something on the practical side. It is much easier to support your cg if you can find some peace of mind re your finances. If you can, take over paying the bills. Take his name off your credit cards and vice versa. Pull your credit reports to see where you and he stand in re to debt. Don’t do any shared banking as in checking or savings accounts. If you have your own car, make sure it is in your name only. This will probably make him angry but might be necessary to protect yourself down the road. The addiction eats you both alive, it tries to take over everything to stay well and the emotional pressure is more than enough at this time. I wish I would have known back then what I know now, I could have avoided at least some of the destruction my cg caused. Since you live in the US, you might want to check if your state has a council on problem gambling. These councils are a great resource for support and information. Take care of yourself and your children, just because your hb is miserable doesn’t mean you have to be, too!11 March 2013 at 8:14 pm #1965
From positive to negative with just 1 question…”why can’t I just make 1 bet?” I explained to my husband that I was standing firm on this matter and he went off!!! He called me lazy and said our marriage was a joke and so was I! Then he left me alone with all the kids… And part of me wishes he would just leave for good! I’m not sure how much more I can take ?? this is ruining our lives!
Velvet, he’s answered the 20 questions before… He answered yes to 16 of them! But still he insists he doesn’t have a problem. I guess it’s just me!11 March 2013 at 11:02 pm #1966
He can’t make one bet because he is a compulsive gambler and he can’t gamble responsibly – but of course his addiction doesn’t want to hear that so it hits out at the person closest and that is you.
I know it is hard but his words are meaningless. You know you are not lazy and your marriage is far from a joke for you.
It is not a professional way to cope with the addiction but many people have found that it helps if you can see the addiction as a beast in the corner of the room. When you talk to your CG about things that are not gambling related the beast stays in the corner although it is always awake and listening – ready to defend itself. When you try and talk about something that is gambling connected, the beast leaps between you. From that moment on your husband only hears your words distorted by the beast and you only hear cruel spite that knows no love or truth – it is like a wounded animal that fights tooth and claw for survival.
I’m not 100% sure what you mean when you say that you guess it is just you. This is far from ‘just you’ – this is not what you signed up for, what you wanted or dreamed of when you got married. I am not asking for an answer to this but I wonder what you answer would be if you asked yourself if you still love your husband. Some***** I think you can be so consumed by the addiction, you forget to think how you feel – and how you feel does matter.
I would imagine when you next see your husband he will behave as though this poor behaviour never happened. He tried to get you to agree to ‘just one bet’ and he failed – you stood up to his addiction and he tried to blame you. His addiction will have forgotten all that happened by the time you speak again. His mind is full of addiction and it lacks logic and reason – yours does not. All the lies and manipulation have built up in your husband mind and he ***** support from those who understand to help him tip some of that addiction out so that reason, logic, truth and love can find a space to grow.
Do you ever talk about the happy ***** you had and the things you used to do? It is so easy to be constantly on gambling alert that good things are forgotten and I really am not judging – I can’t – I did everything wrong for all the right reasons for far too many years.
Your self-confidence has taken a hit and you are among those who understand how that feels. It is difficult, I know, to talk to other people but do you have family to support you? Unfortunately unless people have lived with the addiction to gamble, their opinions can be very narrow and not supportive. Personally I think it is best to tell others as a statement rather than ask for opinions. You are going to get your knowledge here and you can make your own informed decisions with that knowledge. At no time will I ever tell you what to do – everything will always be in your hands.
Velvet11 March 2013 at 11:16 pm #1967bjbuzzyParticipant
I just signed up to this site today. I am a compulsive gambler like your husband. Today is my first day that I am trying to stop. I don’t have the outward anger like your husband but I can share with you some of the feelings I have because your husband probably has some of these same feelings, and it the way he shows it to you and the kids, is through anger. I have the urge to gamble every day and it consumes me. I am also embarrased for all the things I have done due to gambling, and also ashamed. I also feel less of a man and weak because I wasn’t in control, and have the feeling that I let down the people closest to me. Your husband may be feeling the some of the same feelings. Try to be support and not judgmental even though I am sure you are furious with him. If you haven’t, take control of ALL the finances. Gambling is just as bad as any other addiction, its just not out there as much and still sort of taboo. The anxiety and stress it causes and the constant weight you feel with all the pressure of hiding the addiction and losing money is almost too much to take at *****. Best of luck for both you, your husband, and the kids!
Fall Down 7 *****, Get Up 8– 12/03/2013 10:51:00: post edited by janey.12 March 2013 at 2:17 pm #1968
After my husband’s cruel words I crumbled! I love this man but when he is defending his addiction he’s a totally different person! I was a crying mess and I hate that he saw that cause it’s like the addiction is winning! So, I picked up the pieces of my broken heart and tattered self-esteem, cranked up the radio and made a killer dinner! And I had fun doing so!
When my husband came around he immediately apologized for his behavior, which was nice to hear but part of me wonders if its just another attemp at manipulation on his part?!
This has been our dirty little secret for a long time, but i recently broke down and let my mother in, basically cause i couldnt keep it in anymore! she was initially very judgmental and that’s why i hesitated to tell her! i dont want her to hate him! she cooled off and when she did we had a good talk about what i was feeling and how we could get through this! It felt good to let someone in! I’ve felt so alone!
I just love him soooo much… So what else can I do? Like many people have suggested, I will just keep control of the finances, even though it infuriates him so! I will be there for him and try to be supportive even when I want to strangle him! And I will continue living my life… I guess! I hope that if he sees us happy and living our lives ***** want to join in and we can get back to the happy *****!12 March 2013 at 5:42 pm #1969
My goodness if the addiction to gamble didn’t make you cry sometimes, you would not be human. The ability to stop crying, when confronting the addiction, comes after a while when you begin to make some sort of sense of the senseless and realise that your tears feed the addiction and are futile – this does not come overnight although you are learnng it very quickly.
The addiction is often called the dirty secret and I’m glad you shared with your mother. It was understandable that her initial reaction was judgemental – learning to be non-judgemental is part of our recovery. How much easier it would be to see ‘them and us’ as ‘good and bad’ but it isn’t like that and that wretched ‘love’ does get in the way.
The other reason it is good to tell others is that when a CG loses their initial enablement they often borrow (with no hope of paying back) from other family members and friends and then the mess becomes even bigger.
Making the divine dinner says it all – you are doing fantastically and I do know it doesn’t feel like it.
Below this forum is the Friends and Family topic forum where we have focussed on specific issues that relate to most forum members. Whilst looking for further ways forward you might something there. Perhaps you could add to it, it helps direct me to the areas you are struggling with most.
The apology you got is unusual – maybe it was in readiness for the next manipulation but it comes after you denied him enablement and that is a feather in your cap.
Our new member bjbuzzy, in the post above suggests you try and support and not be judgemental. I always appreciate CGs who are working on their recovery, or are in control of their addiction, writing to us but support can mean different things depending in which half of the addiction you are standing. Support for a CG, in Friends and Family is to look after yourself first. My CG who is enjoying a long recovery explained that the more wreckage there if from the addiction the harder it is to face it. You are showing your husband that you are not rolling over and allowing his addiction to take you down with it. Only in recovery will he truly appreciate this – until then his addiction will fight and it is tough.
I have brought up a thread I wrote some time ago, called ‘the F&F cycle’ and I hope it helps.
Cry in this forum Nite, vent your anger here, leaving you as cool and as calm as possible to fight this unseen enemy. I am not saying that you should not tell your husband that you have feelings as a result of his addiction and that you need recovery – because you have and you do. You don’t deserve to have this addiction destroying your life. You need support with your very young children and you won’t be getting it because your husband is not taking responsibility for his own life yet – never mind yours. What I would hope is that you will be able to stand back and make informed decisions on what you want and what you will do and not allow his addiction to pull the strings – I don’t want you walking on eggshells. I have sayings on my wall beside me, one of which is ‘I have often regretted my speech but never my silence’. This does mean I am silent but I have learned that I can understand more by listening and it has made a difference to everything I do.
You ask what more you can do. Allow yourself time for you – you need your self-esteem and confidence restored which his addiction will have badly dented. The killer dinner was brilliant and would have confused his addiction. I can hear you growing in strength in such a short time and I am sure his addiction will be hearing it too. Never forget you are the stronger – you can control your life. You are doing what ***** to be done and I applaud you.
Velvet12 March 2013 at 6:41 pm #1970berberParticipant
Hi Nitenurse, wow: thank you for posting – you are not alone, as you have noticed. Knowing there are others will make us stronger against the addiction! You inspired me: I’ll **** a fabulous dinner too!12 March 2013 at 7:28 pm #1971nomore 56Participant
Hi Nitenurse, I feel your pain. It is hard to hear the person you love spit out such spiteful words. Try to look at it like it is not really him saying it. Because it is not, it is his addiction. The man you love is just like a s**** right now, pretending to be your husband. Not that easy to do but it might help. My hb kept telling me repeatedly that the last 20some years were pure **** for him, nothing but upsetting and so on and so forth. It did hurt a lot because I was thinking how nobody ever asked ME what life with a gambler was like for ME. Moot point of course but that was what I thought. The last time he said that I asked him very calmly why he didn’t leave me if it was all sooo bad? I could have had a life with our daughter back home where we belong, focusing on us and not on his addiction. Of course I did not get an answer. Now that he is in recovery, he feels terrible about all this and cannot even imagine, he said that. You are right, it is part of the manipulation as well. To take you down, to destroy your self esteem and to force you into compliance with the addiction. I am glad that you shared your secret with your mom! You need all the support you can get at this time and it is so good to be able to talk to someone without having to put on a face. The only thing you can really do is to take good care of yourself and your kids. The less you give in to the addiction, the more nervous it will become. It does not like to be ignored, that is for sure. Making a nice dinner and having fun doing so was a great idea!!! You don’t have to suffer just because he does. The sooner he sees that you want nothing to do anymore with his addiction, the sooner he might wake up and smell the coffee. That is what I wish for you with all my heart!!!!!!!
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