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    • #1997

      I can clearly remember the first time it happened. My mom never left home for too long for anything other than work. That day was different. Mom never came back from work until 4 am. I didn’t know what was going on then. Her nights out multiplied and by the time she finally told me she had a gambling problem it was way too late. We had to sell our car and our department and move over to my dead great grandfather’s house. My dad did little if anything to intervene. He covered up for her lies and enabled her all the way. She stole, she lied, she became agressive. Extremly agressive. I remember hiding beneath my sheets as some men would bang on my door to collect on the many loans she got, while she was away gambling. The rest of the family eventually found out.
      It was like going through hell, it was way too much for a child.
      After that I developed an general anxiety disorder that has troubled me ever since. I have gone to therapy, of course.
      I’m currently 23, I’m in med school and I also have a full time job. And my mom is having a new “surge” of gambling. My dad has alzheimer and he’s out of the picture in that sense now. I realized something was going on a few weeks ago, she’s bipolar and I have adquired through the years, unfortunately, an amazing sixth sense to know when she’s emotionally unstable. And I knew she was gambling again, how much I didn’t know.
      One Sunday she was supposed to take my father back to his nursing home (he comes home on weekends), I knew her schedule perfectly and I knew she was running extremly late. So I called a cab and went to the casino only to find her gambling. She had taken my father with her, who didn’t know what was going on. When I faced her she smiled and said “how did you know I would be here?”. It was, by far, the worst moment of my entire life. I felt sick, and furious.
      She made excuses, apologized, begged, got angry, insulted me, and went back o beggining; till the point I was not sure if I was right of being angry at her. She also told me she had gone because she was extremly mad at me.
      Currently,I’m living under a lot of stress. I know she’s still doing it as regulary as she can but everytime I confront her or call her over the cellphone to check where she is she lies to my face and gets angry. Extremly angry, as in angry and violent. She doesn’t directly threaten to kill herself, but she does fake not feeling well or having palpitations.
      Las time I confronted her about it she went mad and since then everytime she talks to me she talks to me with hatred and anger (she has specifically said she hates me and doesn’t want to talk to me so she has stopped answering her cell phone when I call).
      I’ve tried to tell her that it’s not that I want to confront her or that I want to hurt her, it’s just that I’m really scared and I don’t want her to put me through the same hell we lived 9 years ago. She tells me to go to a Doctor, that it is not her problem
      Truth be told, I have been so scared and anxious for the last couple of weeks I have failed a final, an important one I spent the last months studying for. My hair has began to fall and I have being dealing with renal colics and general body pain. I feel this eating me from the inside and I just don’t know what to do, who to turn to or how to cope with this.
      I sometimes feel she’s a lost cause, and I wouldn’t mind this so much if I didn’t have to live here. Don’t get me wrong, she’s the most important person I have left, but I don’t want to be torn appart by this. I don’t want to go down with her illness. What I feel right now is that I’m lost and in dispair, and I also feel guilty because I think that by confrinting her and making her angry her gambling only gets worse. So I have stopped confronting her and I have stopped calling.
      This is the first time I have ever vented it out, and well, the first time I have ever reached out. I’m not into sharing my problems over the internet but I truly needed to tell someone, even if they don’t know me. I took the courage of writing this after reading your stories. They helped me feel I’m not alone in the world and that has been great since isolation has been my biggest and saddest problem, so thank you for reading. Any advice or words of support will be greatly appreciated.

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