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How do I find my own happiness, while he's busy self destructing?

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#1 Posted on:
Thu, 12/07/2018 - 13:53

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

My name is Brenda from the USA. I am 44 years old. My fiance has a real gambling problem. He has not yet reached the point where he is thousands in debt, but he only recently started making enough money to make that even possible. I helped him build his credit over the past 7 years and now he's opening loans and using CCs to charge lottery and other gambling, or to pay for living expenses to free up cash for gambling. He says that I am sick. He says that I am controlling. He tells me that I need to figure out how to make myself happy and not depend on him for my own happiness. He tells me that I need Alanon, yet refuses to get any treatment for himself. He acknowledges that he is an addict, yet defends it because it makes him happy. I have family members who have struggled with addictions to drugs & alcohol and I am familiar with the downward spiral that he is on. He is 13 years younger than me, so it's difficult for him to understand the guidence I try to give him. Much of it comes from life experience that he hasn't had yet. I am lost. I am broken. I am desperate to find my happiness again. But I love him and want to support him and help him to find recovery. He is such a good man, beneath the demon of his addiction. I hate to lose him to this. But my hands are tied and I have no idea how to help him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

Posted on:
Fri, 13/07/2018 - 14:24

bluescreen

Joined:
2018-03-13

Hi Brenda,

he's playing the blame game to make you feel bad, controlling, unreasonable, to make you doubt your own judgment. You are spot on though. He's in the grip of something that has more power over him that he'd like to admit. It's got him beaten, he just doesn't see it yet.
He doesn't want to stop and he wants you to leave him alone in his bubble.
I can tell you one thing though... it does a lot of things, but it for sure doesn't make him happy in any way.

He may not be in debt by now, but if he goes on like this he eventually will, that's for certain. It's progressive, it will constantly get worse. You unfortunately can't do much to make him stop, he needs to finally get there himself, but you can show him where your personal boundaries are. Don't take his mood swings, don't let him blame you for things beyond your control. You're not the one whose behaviour is unacceptable - that's him.

And... most importantly... saveguard your finances. He doesn't see the value of money. It's only tokens to feed his addiction, so you'd best take control of both of your finances. If he doesn't agree to that, make sure he doesn't have any access to yours. Don't give him any money and don't ever bail him out. His mess - his responsibility.

You can only support him if he wants to stop, but you can't go on like this either. Tell him clearly what you will and what you won't accept, what needs to be done. It takes two to have a functioning relationship, you can't be happy if he treats you like this. Stick to what you say though, letting a gambler get away with something sets them free to do it again.

As suggested before, you can get help for yourself at a GamAnon meeting. You are not alone.

This is a nasty thing to deal with and it requires a lot of tough love to get your point across through the thick fog that's currently clouding his brain.

I hope it's ok for you that I'm posting here. I wish you all the best and welcome to the forum.

Posted on:
Sat, 14/07/2018 - 13:31

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

bluescreen, 

Thank you so much for your response. I appreciate you taking the time to reply. The funny thing is, I've worked in mental health for 20 years. I am educated on many different mental illnesses, including addiction. I don't really know why I even question myself. I guess my love for him clouds my judgement as well. I've allowed him to make me doubt what I already know is true about what he's doing and about the ways that I've enabled him to be so sick. I know that I've carried him, made excuses, and even bailed him out many times over the last 7 1/2 years, all in the name of "love" and "partnership". But I'm realizing that what would be support and love in a healthy relationship, is actually manipulation and tools for keeping his addiction satisfied in this relationship. I don't want to feed that monster anymore, and thanks to the many posts that support my truths and reinforce what I already knew to be facts, I have found some strength again. I had that hard conversation with him. I told him how sorry I was that he is sick and how very much I love him and want him well. But I also acknowledged to him out loud that he is manipulative, lying, and deceitful and that I will be taking all of the steps to find my own happiness. I will be working on my life and my happiness. I will be strengthening my foundation for when his crumbles. I have all of my finances split from him already. Thankfully, we don't own anything together. (lesson I learned in my divorce years ago) So, the real struggle is my heart. So much of me is wrapped up in him. He is AMAZING under that **** addiction. He has loved me like no other. I know he loves me, but I feel like his gambling is "the other woman". I'm tired of trying to compete and prove I'm worth more than "her". This is going to be hard, no question about it. But I am prepared to fight for me. I can't fight for us until he joins the fight. I'm not ready to let go and walk away, but even in this short time of trying to refocus, I see that he isn't. That effects me deeply and pushes me to continue to work toward an independant, strong, happy me. Even if it means without him. Wow! That really hurts to think about! Sorry for rambling. I get lost in the pain, plans, struggles. Have a blessed day and thank you again for sharing. If I may ask, are you a family/friend of an addict, or have you/do you struggle with the addiction?

Posted on:
Sat, 14/07/2018 - 17:56

bluescreen

Joined:
2018-03-13

Glad you talked to him about how you feel and what you want, and even though he didn't come to his senses, he now knows that you are being serious. You have put that quite well - you can't fight for your relationship (and for his wellbeing) if he doesn't join the fight. You don't have to rush it, you don't have to decide anything now. Just make sure you put yourself first. Work towards your own happiness and wellbeing and leave his bubble to him as long as he decides not to get out of it. Don't let this affect you, ignore his moods and / or sob stories. You don't have to compete with the voice of a demon inside his head, you count as much as he does and you deserve to live a happy life.

Yes, you may ask. I am from his side of the fence, as they say. That's why I hesitated a bit until I posted here. I somehow find it inappropriate to do so. I've come to see what this does to the people involved, not just ourselves, and even after a considerable time 'in the straight and narrow', reading stories like yours still fills me with guilt and embarassment, although my partner never knew what they were up against - yet another reason to better keep quiet, I guess...
In the fog of it I never thought about that. I never realized how much I hurt my partner. I isolated, I didn't come home for hours straight, and when I finally did, grumpy and moody, I just didn't feel like talking at all. I just couldn't take it. The shame of what I just did, yet again, was overwhelming. I never explained myself, said I was working or out with mates and went straight to bed. Lies, I simply didn't care. All I wanted to do was putting things right without asking for help. I didn't need help, only that big win that would solve all the problems. I'd stop there, all would be okay. Of course that never happened, every penny I ever won went straight back into the bookie's pockets, but I kept on telling myself the next time would be different. If they'd just leave me alone and stop asking me what the matter was... I'm fine... if I'd just be given the chance to put it right... when in fact all I needed was the opposite. I needed to stop.

Sorry for that wall of text, you probably know that anyways. When I finally stopped I had nothing left. I was evicted from my flat, broke yet again, up to my eyeballs in debt, alone, miserable and consumed by a deeply rooted feeling of worthlessness. Reading about other people who are heading in that direction or loved ones who see that coming and are emotionally harming themselves while trying to save someone who is in denial and therefore beyond help still is a horrible feeling, even after all this time.

I guess 'falling for it' is normal if it's about someone we love. My partner would have probably seen right through it if it wouldn't have been me. But they kept on thinking they did something wrong and I kept on making them believe so. Secrecy, manipulation and straight out denial... the struggle of 'survival' of a gambler in action. We need to keep going on, no matter the costs. We don't care, because we don't see it. It's just about getting the tokens (and opportunity) for the next fix. How dare anyone standing in my way? Leave me alone! It's not about money, greed or getting something for nothing. It's a complex mix of emotions, feelings, an escape from the the hopelessness, the numbness deep inside. Hard to explain, and even harder to leave behind, at least it was for me.

What starts with a harmless flutter at some later point becomes despair. The feeling of having no other options left. He might or might not get there, but the chances are high that he eventually will. Don't let him drag you down with him. It's hard because you love him and you want to help, but there is nothing you can do until he wants to stop. All you can do is help and protect yourself. It's hard to realize that, he doesn't deliberately act like he does, but as you said, his actions are controlled by a viscious addiction that takes everything and leaves only devastation. Regardless of that, the only one who can stop feeding that monster is him.

Oh dear... I never planned on writing that much, just got carried away a bit, I guess.
I am pleased you decided to look only after yourself from now on. It's a healthy decision. Not easy, but the best you can do here and now, and here and now is what counts most when dealing with this.

I admire your attitude, the strength and determination to want a better future for yourself, whatever that might look like.

Wish you all the best. :)

Posted on:
Sat, 14/07/2018 - 18:49

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your honesty! I was actually hopeful that my assumption that you were in recovery was correct! I needed you to be straight with me about where you were/he is. I just felt like I was reading his story, written by someone else! It's rather scary how textbook so much of what I've experienced is. But it's kind of a relief to know that what I thought was unique isn't. What I felt so alone in dealing with is something that many others are feeling and dealing with. What you share also gives me hope! And man, do I need a little hope right now! I commend you for fighting for your recovery. I'm sorry that you were so sick that you lost so much before you were able to find the strength to face your truths and fight. I want to tell you not to feel guilty for those of us who are living with an addict, but the truth is, it's probably good for your recovery to feel that. Hopefully it will help to keep you focused on the NEW AND BEAUTIFUL YOU! Reinforcing that what you've done can not ever be repeated. You're words of experience and blunt truths are so very helpful to me and I ask that you continue to share your side with others like me. It brings me comfort to know that I have others who can relate to my pain as friends/family, but it brings me clarity and a better understanding of the person that I love and his struggles. Knowing the manipulations are exactly what I assumed they were really empowers me in how I see his approach to "us". Many of those things that I saw as "awww...he feels bad, he's really sorry, he's working on him and I'm making it impossible because I am so needy, and maybe just a little gambling isn't so bad" are actually manipulations that I've opened myself up to and embraced. It's time to pull back his mask and see who really hides behind it. Unfortunately, with every layer that I peel back, I find more of him that I don't like. That's so sad to me. How in the world can someone as observant and experienced as me not see all of this in him all along?! Why on Earth would I ever allow that to happen in my world?! I know better! I see it so clearly in the rest of the world, just not in my own home. That reality BITES! Better late than never though, right?! But now the truth is that I may be building toward the finale. That's a painful thought! My heart aches to think that he may always be this way and I may find myself alone and without him one day. That is a pain deeper than most. It feels like I've begun the long good-bye. All I want is for him to surrender to recovery. All I want is for him to beat that demon off of his back and battle back to me. I want him to be whole again. I want us to be whole. I want to look back on this as the time in our lives that we faced a huge fork in the road, but decided to take the high road together and live happily ever after. Much of what I've read and learned here leads me to believe that I am fantasizing and the reality is a very ugly one. 

Thank you so much, and please feel free to write as much as you like! I love to learn - and you're a great read! You should consider putting your experiences and advice in a paperback! I see a best seller in your future! 

Have a great day and thanks again! 

Posted on:
Sun, 15/07/2018 - 02:46

bluescreen

Joined:
2018-03-13

Thank you. Sometimes some encouraging words are very powerful. A virtual pat on the back for leading an ordinary life, something that actually should be taken for granted. It means a lot to me though.

He's in denial, he refuses to see it as it is. You can't get through to him in this state. He needs to change his mindset to let reality sink in, but he just doesn't do it, doesn't seem to want it.
It's toxic for everyone around him, yet it isn't him, he can do better, you know that, you remember those days. Hard to decide where the point is when it's time for you to stop trying and let go.
Me being the addict that I am, I am hoping for him to get there before it's too late. I really do, with all my heart.

It's tough, but achievable. Absolutely. All it takes to get there is his honest will to do it.

As for writing a book... you have taken a look around here. My experiences aren't that unique. Unfortunately there are a lot of people like me and my life is a textbook example of what not to do, of how to mess things up beyond repair. It happens thousandfold, all over the world and it drags so many people down, not only us. I can't even be angry at someone or something in particular, because at the end of the day it's all self-inflicted...

Yes, I needed to reach the point where things got unbearable to finally come to my senses. Enough is enough. Rock bottom, the card house collapsed, back to the wall, no way out, the point where the pain outweights everything else, where there is simply no other way than forward. This isn't uncommon either. A lot of people have to learn it the hard way, and for some this isn't even enough. The feeling of being fed up, the guilt and remorse all fade too quickly...
Complacency and selective memory, those two are the worst opponents in this life long fight for the upper hand and you are definately right about that feeling of shame and discomfort, there is a good side to that. It's a stark reminder of why returning to old habits can never again be an option for me. So it's good to sometimes remember that the voice of addiction, no matter how convincing it can sound at times (and believe me, it can be extremely persuasive), should be firmly ignored. It's a one way trip to total disaster, no matter how long I've managed to stay away. The moment I try will be the moment I'm doomed. Old habits die hard, and some will never die at all.

I have to see it as it is. A mug's game, designed for me to lose. I know that, I fell for it anyways, over and over again. Is there anything more stupid? Probably not. Hard to admit, but that's me.

I'm not even drunk or anything. Maybe it's just therapeutic to write things down for once...

Mhh... I might sound a bit negative here. There is hope, it can be done. It just needs to be treated with the respect it deserves. For me that means being one step ahead of myself at any given moment in time, and for loved ones it means not to shy away from asking questions or digging deeper when they feel like something is wrong, because you are mostly right on that one, obviously.

I hope he will start seeing it for what it is. A viscious, unforgiving addiction that thrives on secrecy and deceit and doesn't make anyone happy but itself, that leaves chaos and devastation in its wake and doesn't care about anything. It makes people do things they'd never even consider to be capable of, not in a hundred years.

Please, let him realize...

Posted on:
Sun, 15/07/2018 - 14:09

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

There again, is my conundrum. How do I remove myself from the stress, anxiety, and anger and not be a part of his disease without leaving him? How do I stay firmly in the know, and not concern myself with what he's doing to himself? How do I work on my happiness and strengthen myself while continuing to dig deeper and hold him accountable for those things that I already know are happening? It feels like my only option is to leave him. That the only real option left for me to get him to seek help or me to a happy place eventually, is to leave. Is there no way to stay and support him and pray that he figures it out in the meantime? Am I ignorant to believe that there is hope for us too? Ughh.....so much ugliness. So much loss in all of those questions. I struggle with even hitting the save button, for fear of what answers may come. It's clear that this is all going to get way more painful before it gets any better. Whether I stay or go, that is for sure to happen. How do you stay focused blue? How did you find success in your recovery? What worked in getting you to that point? Is there a magic formula that I need to learn? If so will you share the recipe! haha! Have a great day! I was glad to see you had posted again. I appreciate you!

Posted on:
Sun, 15/07/2018 - 18:29

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

At the moment, it seems that everything is about him or more precisely, about what you think he needs. If you move your focus away from him and over to you, (where it belongs) then your answers will become clearer to you. Less of what he needs and more of what you need. Ask yourself what you need from a lifetime partner. Someone to fix? You have that. Someone to have an equal life partnership with? Someone trustworthy who values and respects you as you value and respect him, someone who has similar values to you, someone who has your back as you have his, someone humanly imperfect but not inhumanly perfect? Do you have what you want in your life and in your relationship and if not, what are you going to do to achieve your own goals and dreams?

CW

Posted on:
Sun, 15/07/2018 - 18:51

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

cw

Ughhh....just as I thought. Much of your response leaves me with only one conclusion. ****! ****! ****! Thank you for your response. I have never been good at the whole "think about your own happiness" thing. I've only ever taken care of those around me. In my personal and my professional life. I don't even know if there is something esle that makes me happy. I always base my happiness on being selfless and doing for others, helping them to be the best them that they can be. I take pride in my selflessness, but now everyone is telling me that the only way to find happiness in my relationship is to learn how to be more about self, which feels selfish to me. Only because I don't understand that reality. Am I a gluton for punishment or have I become blindly codependant?! I can't see my life without him in it when I picture my future. Yet I can't see us being any more than we are right now if he doesn't stop the maddness and get help. I want to tell him that I need him to choose me or his addiction and that I will support him as he works through recovery, but that I will not allow him in my life if he doesn't. But I'm scared to death that he either doesn't love me enough to fight, or he loves his addiction more and I will essentially be saying goodbye to him. I think I would die (not literally) if he left and stayed gone over gambling. My soul is torn! 

Posted on:
Sun, 15/07/2018 - 20:16

bluescreen

Joined:
2018-03-13

You can't stay in the know without getting involved in his problems.
You can't help him without him letting you.
In the end it's all up to him. That's why staying out of it until he comes to his senses is the healthiest way to deal with it. Everything else would be a fight you cannot win.

You can't have both without him cooperating. He either lets you know about things or he doesn't. If he decides to not let you know, all you can do is leave him to himself.

The moment he choses to face it, everything you are asking will be doable. It's tough as it is if he choses recovery, it's impossible if he doesn't.

Don't focus on him. Don't even focus on the relationship. At the moment he doesn't partake anyways. It takes two to make it worthwile and at the moment he doesn't contribute. Fixing him if he doesn't see the problem won't work.

Honestly. You don't have to fully understand him. Heck... not even I do, and I've been there. You know he's struggling, even if he doesn't admit it, and you know you can't help him if he doesn't face it. So move on to yourself.

As to that ultimatum... don't do that if you are not willing to stick to it. Letting us get away is never a good idea. It sets us free and gives us a free pass. We love that. See... all is okay. Let's go on, it's not that bad...

Yes, it's ugly. Seeing someone in that situation would be gut-wrenching. It wouldn't even have to be my partner to make me feel like that. Anyone. I know what it does and I know I'm helpless as long as the monster is firmly in control.
The first thing I read on here was the diary of someone, a complete stranger. He had posted here for years and it took me weeks to read through it. It was heartbreaking. I knew what was going to happen, every time, even before I had read his next post, it really made me physically sick. It left me speechless with a deep feeling of sadness for someone I've never met, yet I knew how he felt, what he was going through, what it did to him. I wanted to get there and shake him, make him come to his senses... lol... But there is just nothing anyone can do but him. The first time in my life I've come across a story like mine, another person behind a statistic. It's hard, it really is. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

I can't go back. Ever.

What made me stop was being fed up. Fed up with my own weakness, my worthlessness, my lack of self-control. Living a lie to 'protect' and cover up for something that got me through the mangler over and over again. Fed up with sleepless nights of shame and remorse for what I did. No more being skint within 24 hours after payday and having to get through the month, keeping the demon and me both fed and pay the bills with an empty bank account and maxed out credit options, the stressful and exhausting struggle of survival...

I was lucky. For once I managed to stay on track, put blocks and measures in place before that feeling faded. For the first time in my life I really wanted it and for that to happen I had to be ahead of myself, make sure I couldn't act on impulse.
Don't get me wrong here, I had failed countless times before, the next day I had already forgotten what I'd sworn to myself sobbing and in tears the night before...

I shall never forget that. The memory keeps me on track. It would inevitably end there again and I wouldn't have the strength to make it out the next time, I'm sure of that...

I take every day as it comes. Small chunks. There are bad days and good ones. The good ones are a majority now. But occassionally my demon comes knocking at the back door. I won't let him in. I've heard his wonderful stories more often than I can count, they were never true. Why should it be different this time?

There is help available. Counselling, GA. He only has to reach out and want it. That is the hard part, admitting defeat, but it won't work without him facing it. No magic formula, just the honest will to end this **** once and for all and good measures to make sure it stays that way.

There is always hope. It's never too late. But it starts with him.

Posted on:
Sun, 15/07/2018 - 21:13

Amom

Joined:
2014-10-09

I am the mom of a compulsive gambler. He has been owned by this addiction for 11 years. Unfortunately I can tell you from experience you are never going to shame, bully, scare or love an addict into recovery. As CW & Bluescreen have said you need to start living your life for you and not as a manipulative tool to get your desired result... him to say OMG you've been right all along I have to stop this... It ain't gonna happen!

He has the best shot of living his best life when you start living yours. 

Get support for yourself as we quickly become just as sick as the addict we live with.

Cathyx

Posted on:
Mon, 16/07/2018 - 10:20

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

You don't have to leave. You have to change. Change reaction, stop helping. Tell him in a happy healthy relationship gambling is not acceptable. Find a gamanon meeting, work the steps. Be honest, what do you want? If you want him you have to find a way to get strong and set limits. I've never walked away, I've learnt to accept that the only person I can change is me. I'm married to a compulsive gambler so I found out what that means for me, what that entails. It's not easy but you have to face why you're attracted to someone like that and what is acceptable to you.

Posted on:
Mon, 16/07/2018 - 13:42

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

Thanks Blue, Amom, and Merry go round. Blue - I expected you to share that formula with me. *****! haha. I know this isn't my battle to fight or win. I spent the last week trying to not concern myself with whether or not he was gambling, as long as he was paying me his share of the expenses and bills. But, something in me told me that the whole conversation that I had with him: where I told him I was gonna shift my focus onto myself and my own healing and strengthening and preparation for his ultimate failure, was interpreted wrong. Something told me that he had decided that I meant he could do whatever the **** he wanted and I was not going to be in his business anymore (FREE PASS). So last night I asked how he's been doing. To which he replied, I didn't gamble yesterday. I said: well on Monday you told me you would make an effort to not gamble everyday. So were you successful or is this your way of telling me you only didn't gamble yesterday (because the money is gone)? He started on the whole merry go round of twisted truths about what had happened, so I called that to him and asked him to show me his bank account to prove his words. When he opened it, he looked like he was shocked to find out that his truths were lies, even to himself! He had gambled away about $200 US of the $500 US of his weekly pay and around $200 US of his savings (savings being the $500 remaining of the $1000 LOAN he just took out last week). I was not surprised, as I knew what was happening behind the scenes. I know him. But I needed him to be accountable. I told him that he needs to be accountable for what he's doing with his finances. He kept referring back to the self-help book he got at the library that he hasn't really gotten into yet. That he is going to dig into it and I need to give him time. But just as I said, I know him. I know that book on the end table is another manipulation tool. I feel like he wants to stop for me, but has no desire to stop for him. I think he only tries to get control because everyone around him gives him grief about it. But in his "perfect world" he would never stop! Do I get excited and wait for these baby steps (self-help book and admitting he's sick) and pray he eventually realizes or do I see them as I have, as manipulations? Can you guys tell me what "turning the focus on myself" looks like? I've never done that. I don't know what that means (not joking). Can you tell me what it looks like for me to be focused on me and in a relationship with an active addict? Can you tell me what happiness looks like in that situation? I have no idea what I'm working for or trying to change to. Thank you all for your support. It means so much! ps. Blue, I think I read the thread you spoke of in your last post. That battle was brutal. Is brutal. So sad.  

Posted on:
Mon, 16/07/2018 - 15:29

Amom

Joined:
2014-10-09

You know that he is not in recovery. He is in addict mode, deflect, deflect, deflect. Anything to bring chaos to the situation.

Recovery for you is not giving him a chance to spew his BS while you try to catch him up in another lie... that is just a game that you are both playing. I don't mean this at all disrespectfully (cuz we've all done it) but what are you getting out of this? Why do you play the games? Are you addicted to the chaos?

That is what turning the focus on yourself means. We have to ask ourselves the hard questions and be willing to do the hard work to change. There are all sorts of groups you can attend... Gam Anon, Al Anon and I know CW also speaks highly of a codependant group. 

When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves. Victor Frankl.

Take care of yourself Brenda.

Cathyx

 

Posted on:
Mon, 16/07/2018 - 18:02

bluescreen

Joined:
2018-03-13

Sorry that I couldn't provide that magic formula. But if you ever stumble across it, let me know. ;)

I'm not surprised of what you found. Right in the fog of it he might not even have realized how much it actually was, but he for sure did at some point after that, when the hard truth finally kicked in.
First we gamble away our spare money, then our wages, our savings, our rent and bill money, our food money, then we take out loans to cover it up, lose them too, we start borrowing from friends and family and even work mates, acquaintances, juggling direct debits, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and after that we are getting 'creative'.
Every single step of that is a line I once swore I would never cross...

He is sick, just like me, and a self-help book won't help him, even less so if he doesn't read it. You are right, he is just trying to calm the waters to make you feel at ease, to make you think he's making an effort, without actually doing what needs to be done. That scares him, because he doesn't want to go without it. The addiction does that, time will only make it worse, it's obvious where this is heading.

You are turning around in circles. He is trying to sell you his fairy tales and you are proving him wrong. You know what's happening, he knows that you know, yet it leads nowhere. As Amom said, you can't force him to wake up. That's what you can change, not wasting energy on a charade. Easier said than done, I know. I can see where you're coming from with not knowing how to turn your focus on yourself. It may sound like the ultimate bad joke, given my past, but I also had to learn how to do that, and I'm still not very good at it.
I guess happiness in a situation like that is living your life regardless of what he is doing. Accepting the things you cannot change, not letting it affect your own life.
Going to a meeting, as suggested, might help you find a way to do that, and it would show him that you are prepared to fight it.

Not being willing to have an argument with that deceitful demon on his shoulder doesn't mean you are giving up on him.

Posted on:
Mon, 16/07/2018 - 18:55

Lethe

Joined:
2016-12-10

Are you the one holding the fort financially? If you're bailing him out and/or covering his unpaid share of the bills he has no incentive to change. If you're not acting as his safety net, your finances are secure against his access  and he's meeting his share of the household expenses trying to make him accountable for what he's spent gambling when he doesn't want to give up is a waste of energy and may even drive the existing deceit further underground.

Living with an active gambler involves endless chaos and drama if you let it. If your finances are secure you have a bit of breathing space to disengage and decide how you want to live and where your lines in the sand are. Once you've done that you can lay them out to him without discussion or compromise. Engaging with the madness blurs your focus and gives him the chance to manipulate you into tolerating intolerable behaviour.

Posted on:
Mon, 16/07/2018 - 21:58

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

Thanks all. Lethe I feel like what you've said is going to be the least painful approach. I must admit that I've always "had his back" when it came to his short comings financially. I have kept my finances separate and he is paying me the rent he is responsible for. I have, in the past allowed him to skip paying for our weekly "date night" even though, for me that night is very important to our relationship and I consider it part of his contribution to our home. On the day that I became a member of this site, I did have the conversation with him about not bailing him out anymore. He actually tried to skimp on date night funds last Saturday and I held my ground. I won't be covering for him anymore with family and friends. If he doesn't have any money to do something that comes up unexpected, then he just won't be doing it. I won't make excuses or give the loans that I've always been good for. He always pays me back, but the truth is, I'm just extending his gambling abilities for another week by loaning him a get out of jail free card everytime he's in a pinch. I've also decided to be honest with our family members about it. No more keeping his secrets. They all know he has a problem. However, they have no idea how bad it actually has become. I'm not sugar coating anymore. I won't let him feed me bs anymore. When he's being manipulative, I'm calling him on it. When he lies, I'm calling him on it. Not in a mean or aggressive way, but just so that he knows I know what he's doing and won't tollerate it anymore. I won't ignore that he's gambling. I won't NOT ask him if he's gambling. I feel like he needs to own it. I feel like he needs to be accountable, otherwise he can just waller in his secrets. I won't fight anymore though. I'm done fighting over it. I'm simply going to state facts and leave it there. I find that since I've started just stating facts and asking questions that require proof and accountability, he's become quite aggitated and defensive. I won't let him get me fired up anymore or twist it around to my fault for nagging. No more! Until he is ready to get help, which I will ask from time to time, I will remain steadfast in this. I will also reassure him that the "happy" that he feels (and defends) from gambling can be transformed into a health happy that he has never felt before. And I'm gonna pray pray pray!!! I hope that he wakes up and reaches out for help. I want him to work toward recovery so bad. But I'm also aware that this road that I'm on is exhausting!! It's only been a week of holding my line and seeing the addiction clearly (thanks blue for removing the rose colored glasses for me) and I'm already tired. As sad as it sounds, I hope that if this is how he will always be, I eventually grow so tired of it that I am able to walk away from him without the tremendous amount of pain that I know I would feel if I left him now. Does this sound like a good approach, or am I making excuses to stay? I know CW will shoot straight with me, and I'd appreciate all of your honesty, even if it hurts. No need to ever apologize to me for shooting straight with me. I respect that in others. I know that the truth sometimes hurts as I'm a straight shooter. Am I making the right choices/changes or no?

Posted on:
Tue, 17/07/2018 - 07:50

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

Morning,

It’s interesting that you say how your whole life has been about other people. That’s actually the root and cause of your problems. Somewhere along the line you’ve learnt the wrong lessons, picked up the idea that you don’t really matter and so you’ve become codependent and attracted to the chaos and drama of someone impossible who will be wonderful once you’ve fixed them. Except that as we all find out the hard way, we can’t fix anybody except ourselves. Take away the fantasy of how he and how your relationship would be wonderful if only he didn’t gamble and you’re left with the reality of trying to have relationship with a gambler who is in reality is impossible. And you’ve lost yourself along the way, you don’t know or have to think about who you are, what you think, what you value, what you want and need, what your goals are, all of this goes out of the window whilst you focus on how to fix Mr Impossible and everyone else around you.

It’s not about if you stay or if you go. It’s about you facing the pain of looking at you because if you don’t, the next man will be worse. And each one after that. Healthy attracts healthy, a healthy person would regard the intolerable behaviour of an addict as intolerable and wouldn’t be attracted by any notion of saving or changing him.

Start a GamAnon program (and AlAnon if he drinks) and also look at issues of codependency. The book that helped me was Robin Norwood, “Women who love too much”, also Pia Mellody’s “Facing Love Addiction” .

Above all, protect yourself financially then focus on you without being distracted by him.

CW

Posted on:
Tue, 17/07/2018 - 11:08

Lethe

Joined:
2016-12-10

I would add that my personal point of view is that I wouldn't maintain or even consider a relationship with someone who gambled even for fun if they showed no interest in stopping. That's my line in the sand if you like. Mr L is in no doubt that if he ever crosses it again I will walk.I can't and won't live that life ever again. Focusing on you and how you want your life to be is the key thing here. 

Posted on:
Tue, 17/07/2018 - 12:06

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

Compulsive gamblers are compulsive liars, no point asking they only lie. What difference does it make, you'll never hear the truth. Concentrating on you means stop thinking about him and what he's doing. The least painful way is not living with an active gambler. No point waiting if you are continuing to endure the chaos. The pain could get far worse. I totally agree with Lethe and CW, if you don't deal with this the next man will be worse. As I said to my husband 'you're not the first gambler I had a relationship with'! As a young woman I had no idea.

Posted on:
Tue, 17/07/2018 - 13:53

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

Thanks all. I know I'm damaged goods. CW you are correct. I come from a broken man. My father was a verbally and physically abusive devil from the time I was born until the time my mother left him. He then refused to change anything about him for us and in fact turned his back on us when he and my mother divorced. He never attempted to make all of his wrong right. So yeah, I would say that probably has a lot to do with who I am. When I got into this, I was of the mindset that I wasn't going to judge him. We all have our crosses to bare. But the truth is, I was judging him for it from the beginning. I did want to fix him. I did want to help him see how amazing he "could" be. I've worked hard to try to stop being that person, but clearly this is not something that I can fix or even need to fix. That's for him. I just have to find the strength to make those hard choices for myself. To believe that if he doesn't think me worthy of fighting for, then someone else will. That's the hardest part of all of it! Have a great day everyone. Thank you so much for being there. 

Posted on:
Tue, 17/07/2018 - 15:41

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

It’s not about whether he or anyone else thinks that you’re worth it. Change will come when you start to think that you’re worth it and think and act accordingly.

Take care of you.

CW 

Posted on:
Tue, 17/07/2018 - 17:21

bluescreen

Joined:
2018-03-13

Sorry that it all sounds so negative. It's an awful feeling when things are beyond our control. But sometimes it's just better to see it as it is than struggling and exhausting ourselves in a battle we cannot win, and that noone else wants us to fight in the first place. As you said, it's only a week and you already feel it's toll.

You sound like you hope that one day you will be fed up enough to leave without it hurting as much as it would now. My partner once did that, so I will refrain from giving my opinion on it, I'd be biased if I did and I only know his side of the fence. But... is that something to look forward to? Something to actually want to achieve? A goal to set on your way to a better life?... Waiting until you're fed up enough to leave?

What I want to say is something along the lines of: Live your life, enjoy what you like to do. If he doesn't have money for a night out, go with a friend. Move on. Along the way you can decide wether you want him to be a part of your future or not, no rush on that, you don't need to make that decision now. As long as he pays his part of the household expenses and other things you agreed on, you don't have to argue with him in any way. You don't have to put up with his bs, don't have to listen to the distorted truths of his very own parallel universe.
He might eventually come to his senses or he might not... don't stand still waiting for reality to dawn on him.

You're worth it. It doesn't matter what he thinks, his mind is blurred anyways.

Posted on:
Tue, 17/07/2018 - 18:24

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

I'm so glad I found you guys! Thank you so much!

Posted on:
Wed, 18/07/2018 - 04:57

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

So tonight he asked for a link to this page. He's reaching out. I pray he finds something that works. Fingers crossed! Note the incognito name...

Posted on:
Wed, 18/07/2018 - 07:01

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

Sorry to be harsh but how does him extressing an interest in GamCare change your project to work on you?

He may well be trying (I find coping with addiction very trying). I hope he does find recovery but you need to heal and recover as well.

Focus on you, take care.

CW

Posted on:
Wed, 18/07/2018 - 08:33

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

Comment about spam now deleted.

Posted on:
Wed, 18/07/2018 - 08:42

Merry go round

Joined:
2017-06-08

That's funny! How do they get here?

Posted on:
Wed, 18/07/2018 - 13:53

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

CW I'm not sure how me noting a name change was to try to protect my privacy and my thread was NOT about me. If he asked for a link to a page that may help him to open his eyes and realize just how badly he needs help, is it not my responsibility to try to help him find his way? I get the focus on me thing, and NO that has not changed. But if he needs supported while making positive steps to get into recovery, isn't that what we are supposed to do? The reason for the post was to inform those who I have been finding support and strength with that I wanted to try to protect my anonymity from HIM. I don't even know that he will be in this section of the forums, but I'd like to continue to share my feelings and thoughts private from him. That's all. Am I wrong? What is that comment about spam being deleted? and How funny! How do they get here? I'm confused. I hope I am making sense. I hope you all still post and give me guidence. I appreciate it and meant no offense by doing this. I feel there is a wealth of knowledge and support here. I think it would be a disservice to anyone who needs help to deny them this connection if I know how powerful it has been for me. Have a great day! 

 

Posted on:
Wed, 18/07/2018 - 14:36

bluescreen

Joined:
2018-03-13

I'm at work right now, and some people here seem to leave their brains at home every day, I guess that's what a six figure salary does... "I'm entitled not to think on my own, because I'm great!"
Sorry, I am slightly annoyed.
I can't post much at the moment obviously. Just wanted to say that those comments referred to a spam post advertising love spells from an internet guru. This post has been deleted by a moderator by now. It had nothing to do with you.

See you later.

Posted on:
Wed, 18/07/2018 - 17:18

Cynical wife

Joined:
2015-06-23

Hi,

Just saying that what you need to do doesn’t depend on what he does or doesn’t do, either positive or negative. Apologies for any  offence.

CW

Posted on:
Wed, 18/07/2018 - 17:21

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

Thanks for bothering with me during your busy work day Blue! CW, no worries. I'm still very much focused on me. 

Posted on:
Thu, 19/07/2018 - 00:01

bluescreen

Joined:
2018-03-13

No worries, it's actually quite easy going most of the time, but unfortunately our receptionist is on sick leave and I, being the yes person that I am, agreed to taking her phone calls. I really don't know how she manages to put up with this level of stupidity every day. It requires stoic calm and patience... she has neither, and now I know where her regular rants stem from... :P
Anyways. It was my last day and now I'm on annual leave.

Good to hear he's reaching out. It starts with facing reality and actively doing something about it. There's lots of good advice on here, let's just hope he didn't only ask because he thinks it would make you feel at ease.

Wanting to stay anonymous, especially when it comes to things like this, is okay. Thoughts, feelings... it's very personal after all. I for sure wouldn't want anyone I know to make the connection between my username on here and me. Some see it differently, but I'm not sure if I'll ever get there. If you want me to delete the start of my first post, I will, btw.

It's absolutely okay to help him if he asks for help. After all, that's what it's all about, and when really wants to beat this he will need every support he can possibly get. Taking some serious steps in that direction is the key though. Half hearted attempts simply don't work. Don't even bother as long as he is not taking action.

Good night (or is it good morning for you?) :)

Posted on:
Thu, 19/07/2018 - 15:10

He's trying

Joined:
2018-07-10

Hahaha your posts crack me up Blue! It is now 9:42am as I'm reading this. I have a late work day today, so I slept in TOO LONG. Your work description was a good start to my day. (giggles) I work in mental health, and with some of the most severely mentally ill people in our area. I don't think I need to tell you that my days can be a real roller coaster! It never gets boring that's for sure! But, I was born to do what I do. I just need the vacations (or is it annual holiday in your terms) that I get desperately. I get 3 weeks a year (could use 1 a month). Unfortunately, he never looked at the link. I made an observation the next morning, and asked the question "Have you overspent your budget on gambling this week"? To which, he answered "yes". Which is when I politely and without agression stated, "Oh, I see. That's why you were talking about how you needed to get some help last night. You always do this when you are on a losing streak and end up broke (I think you guys say skint)". I said it matter of factly and without threat and turned away to continue what I was doing. I won't pretend to not know his manipulations anymore. I'm going to leave him to reflect on his reality. Me - I'm going to continue to do whatever it is that I need to do to separate and strengthen me. Yesterday, in the art program at my agency, we did Faces Of Recovery masks. They are paper masks that people in recovery from mental illness and addiction paint and decorate to represent the mask that they wear to hide their addiction or mental illness, or to represent what hides beneath their everyday mask. The masks travel all around our state in a traveling art show to bring awareness to mental illness and addiction. I decided to join my members and create my own. I must say, it was a very deep and moving experience to reveal my truths on this mask. I spend so much of my time helping everyone else sort out themselves and try to heal that I rarely ever reflect on what lies deep in me. It's kind of scary in there! haha! Anyway, I'm proud of how it turned out and I'm proud of me for accepting the truth about me. But I must admit, it's draining and frustrating to try to sort out what is healthy and not. So much of who I am is not healthy for me, but I've helped change countless lives by being the selfless person that I am. I don't want to ever stop being the person that people can count on and that will go the extra mile to help those in need. I'm proud of her. But in my personal life, I really do need to realize my worth and expect more from my partner. That whole worth thing is the hard one. Ughh.... Blue, I don't think you need to worry about editing any comments. I'm not so concerned with that. If he takes the time to read so many posts that he finds this thread and realizes, good for him. I have no secrets here. I'm not ashamed of what I've written and I will own my truths. I just like to have my privacy to share my thoughts without provoking him or arguing or hearing him be defensive. I would love for him to get on the forum and read what other addicts have written. I think it would help him to really see more clearly if he realized that your stories are so alike that I have a hard time separating one from the other! And I mean that Blue, much of what you have said was like you were standing in my livingroom journaling our daily activity! You candidly telling on yourself and revealing yourself so truly has helped me so much! I know others can agree. Please never stop. Have a great day my friends from far away! Your support and listening (or reading I guess) means alot!