10 March 2022 at 7:02 pm #150456evelyn91Participant
It’s very difficult for me to write this post. My partner is a gambling addict and, unfortunately, I enabled him until very recently because I couldn’t say no to him. I’ve been indebted to people I know for over 2 years. It even happened that I had to rely on charity food because I gave all my money to him after he promised it’ll be his final bet. Needless to say I feel betrayed and exploited, but equally resposible for the situation as I shouldn’t have given money to him at all. We’ve been having constant arguments over gambling, I can’t even sleep from the huge amount of stress I’m taking, and I’ve got an arthritis flareup, my doctor said that most probably it has something to do with constant anxiety. Today, basically to buy some mental peace for myself, I gave him money again as he swore this’ll be the last bet and he promised he’ll restore my trust. I ended up giving almost double the amount, and in the meantime I paid my monthly expenses. He promised he’ll send a bit more money tomorrow that he took, so he expects me to take a debt from someone for him to gamble today. I’ve already lost friendships and professional connections due to this. Recently I’ve been refusing to take any more debt as it’s shameful to constantly bother people for money. Most probably he’ll indeed send the money back by taking another debt but still I don’t want to participate in this. I asked him so many times to choose between me and gambling, but apparently he can’t. He’s blaming his losses on me, one day he promises marriage and the other day he threatens with breakup if I refuse to take debts for him, and it is getting increasingly difficult to take. He’s just started therapy (because of pressure from his family, he doesn’t really see that he has a real problem) and I guess it’ll take a lot of time to see any improvement. I feel partially responsible of the situation even though he already had a gambling problem before we met. It feels like it would be wrong to leave him, I’d like to support him on his path to recovery but I also want to take care of myself. I don’t know what is the right action to take. I’ve invested so much time, money and love in this relationship that makes it difficult to let go. I love him unconditionally but many times it feels like he’s viewing me as a living, breathing ATM instead of a person who needs and deserves care, love and respect. Sometimes I even question my sanity as he skillfully makes me guilty and stressed if I resist. Even if he gives the money back in a few days, I don’t want to participate in this, I don’t want to constantly pester my acquaintances for money, I don’t want to fear salary day knowing that he’ll bother me for money with full force, and I don’t want to take the blame for his lost bets and to listen to him cursing. I wonder if he’s just using me or he indeed loves me but his addiction took over. I have no way to know that. This is just difficult and I feel guilty, ashamed and heartbroken.
Please say something constructive, I feel lost and I can’t talk about this to anyone.
10 March 2022 at 8:19 pm #150486velvetModerator
I am so pleased you wrote your first post even though it was so very difficult for you.
The first thing I want you to do is to stop blaming yourself, there is no book to tell you how to cope with this addiction when it comes uninvited into your life and until there is, friends and family will enable because the addiction is the master of manipulation.
This is a very short reply but I wanted to get let you know as quickly as possible that you were being heard. I will write again tomorrow and hopefully support you more constructively.
I would really like for you to come into a Friends and Family Group – they are on Tuesday and Thursdays between 19.00-20.00 UK time. We could communicate in real time; I always feel it is like we are sitting together chatting with no holds barred.
11 March 2022 at 5:41 am #150489evelyn91Participant
Thank you for your supportive words! I’ll try to attend the Friends and Family talk on Tuesday. Thursdays are not good for me because I’m working at that time. I just talked to some friendly and helpful people in the drop-in group though. I don’t want to lose hope, but it’s being increasingly difficult to take this stress. At this time we’re in a long-distance relationship, he’s in his country where gambling is illegal. He expects me to assist him by placing bets in the local betting shop by sneaking out during worktime and either using my own money or taking debts. Unfortunately I gave in many times. I’m very sensitive to stress and I felt like I have to buy some mental peace like this, he can be VERY persistent when he wants to gamble. Even though he manages to give back at least a portion of the money he takes from me by taking debts from elsewhere or lying to his family, I still don’t want to participate in this. I don’t want gambling to be part of my time. I don’t want to ask anyone to give me money ever again and I want to spend my salary however I see fit. I don’t want my bank account to be already dried up soon after salary day and I hate to live from paycheck to paycheck. He believes that there’s nothing wrong in asking me to bother people for money ‘as the money will be given back, everyone needs help sometimes’ but I feel extremely guilty about taking money from others by lying. In my country it’s considered extremely shameful to ask money from anyone, it’s taboo even in many families. I don’t want to bend down and feel humiliated anymore. I want him to make serious efforts towards recovery, or if he’s unable to,at least break up gracefully, without this and emotional torture. It feels like mental warfare and I wonder if he’s doing this to me on purpose.
11 March 2022 at 7:53 pm #150560velvetModerator
I look forward to the day when you look back at these early posts and say to yourself – ‘haven’t I come a long way?’ because I know you will.
Learning about the addiction to gamble will give you power over it. It is important to remember that you do not own the addiction – ‘you’ can control ‘your’ life.
Your partner is not doing this to you on purpose, the addiction to gamble is all-consuming and needs feeding. When you partner is triggered, he will probably say or do anything to make you enable him because he knows how to push your buttons. It is those buttons I hope to help you stop being pushed.
The addiction to gamble is not about money, your partner gambles because ‘the gamble’ excites him, he cannot and will not win because he is an addict.
As long as you enable your partner, he has no need to try and take control of himself. It will take courage and determination to control his addiction and your partner will benefit from you having the courage and determination to support him but if you feel you cannot go on, then nobody on this site would blame you.
I hope it helps to know that I enabled for too many years, I did all the wrong things for all the right reasons – it wasn’t until I stopped enabling that the gambler in my life turned his life around – finally I stopped the madness.
The addiction to gamble wants secrecy to gain enablement. Do the people you are borrowing from know that your partner has an addiction to gamble.
Perhaps you could tell your partner that you are seeking help for yourself because his addiction is affecting your health.
There is nothing for you, or him, to be ashamed about; the addiction to gamble is not something that anybody would choose to own. You do not deserve to have this affecting your life and nor does you partner. There is support for him here. On this site he will be understood and welcomed.
If you are worried that he will recognise you from your posts then speak to our Helpline and they will help you.
I agree that you have invested too much of you in your partner’s problems and I will walk with you for as long as you want me to do so. If he couldn’t change his life, I wouldn’t be writing you but I know that he can. I’m bringing my thread ‘the F&F Cycle’ up for you, maybe it will help.
More importantly for ‘you’, I know you can stop enabling once you accept that giving him money only feeds his addiction which will grow and grow.
Please keep posting. I will leave you, for now, with one of my favourite quotes from Mahatma Gandi ‘you may never know what results come from your actions but if you do nothing there will be no results’
My thoughts are with you
22 April 2022 at 9:42 am #153025jornweickParticipant
It’s so sad to hear about your story life and your partner
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