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Gambling dad still relying on me  


Hello all, 

For the last 10 years I have been lending my dad money and I thought it was all over as the last time he asked me to lend him money was for £300 In November last year. That was until today when he asked me to lend him another £400. 

I don’t think he is still gambling, i really hope he isnt, the last 2 times I have lent him money he has paid me back a few weeks later once he got paid and that was never the case before.  

It came out 3 years ago his gambling addiction and how he had lost over £60k in 7 years. My parents divorced 11 years ago and the first few years of lending him money I thought he was just struggling and wasnt aware of the real reason, his gambling addiction. 

I said to him in November last year I cannot keep lending him money forever, that it wasnt fair on me and it effects me and he said he understood and there would be no more. Today he has asked for the money as he has a lot of debt he has due to this gambling and due to an operation 3 weeks ago he is short of pay this month.

When he asked me for the money today I said I understand but that I was sticking to what I said last time, that I wasnt going to bail him out anymore. He said he was really sorry to put me in the position and that he has noone else to ask. 

After about 20 minutes of him pleading with me I gave in, transferred him the £400 and he is due to pay me back his next payday. 

I feel like it really effects me when I have to keep looking out for my dad, I have had this for over 10 years now and worry he will always rely on me. 

I live with my girlfriend and her parents at her house and my dad is fully aware we are saving up to hopefully move out soon and get our own place next year and I have explained this to my dad but he isn't taking me seriously. 

I know that the majority of the advice will be to stop lending him money at all costs, and I really want to its just really difficult when he makes me feel so responsible and puts so much pressure on me making out he has nobody else. Any advice?

Posted : 31st March 2020 11:47 pm


Have you been getting it all back?...... but even so you should not be put in a position where he is coming to you for significant amounts of money.

I dont know what he earns or the full story but he is pulling your heart strings to get money out of you. He has to try and live within his means like we all do.

Its unusual so I suspect he is gambling and you will need to give him some reality checks fairly soon...mainly that you don't have Bank written above your front door and its just not right to be bailing out an active gambler.

You see I know he will gamble to extinction knowing you are a lifeline. If it was a genuine story about a rare need I could understand it but some people just take the mickey because they are serial borrowers or heavily addicted to gambling.

I have a friend like this and Im fed up of her never paying me back until I really push it so she gets no more again.  She just uses me really.

We had a bloke in our shared house that would go round everyone asking for a fiver or even a pound as he couldnt get to work. If you asked him for it back he would get really angry and say its only a fiver...why are you bothered...then he would ask to borrow again later. It really grates when I knew he was out drinking and gambling in pubs.

The advice here is you don't bail a gambler and you tell him that it is not acceptable. In a way you are fueling his next gambling because he will rely on you again an again.

Gambling debts get seedy so you should advise him to seek help. Ive been a problem gambler so his stories wouldnt wash with me as I know its not an income scheme or a get it all back later scheme.

Its a difficult one CM but for your own pride and self respect it must stop. Your father should have some pride and self respect but the addiction has taken it from him.

Im not saying he is a bad man. I am saying he is an addict who needs help. Acting as a payday loan lender isnt helping him face his life. he needs financial advice and proper help but he needs to be ready.

He is relying on your love to pressure you into lending...That is manipulation in any terms

Best wishes from everyone on the forum

This post was modified 2 months ago by Joydivider
Posted : 1st April 2020 2:23 am
Merry go round

Hi cm3003. He's an addict, he will blame anyone but himself. Enabling is as much a problem as addiction. You lend the money because it stops you feeling guilty or bad. You have to go through the uncomfortable feelings of not giving in to feel better. Harsh I know but until you distance yourself and stand by your  boundaries this will continue.

Posted : 1st April 2020 8:02 am

I have just become so used to being the person he relies on over the last 10 years. When my parents divorced 11 years ago I went with my dad and my two younger brothers went with my mum, we are 19, 15 & 12 at the time. 

My younger brothers have not had him asking for money all these years like I have, when he did ask my younger brother for money for the first time a few years ago he said no straight away as he addiction was known to all by that point and my dad never thinks to ask him anymore. 

I hope he isn’t gambling, i know there is a chance he is but he is in so much debt and swears he isn't but obviously they are just words. 

My dad works but its not a great wage something like £1300 he takes home, I take home £1750 which is good for me at the moment as I am still at home and like I said saving to move out next year, I put away £600 a month. 

A few times ago when he asked to borrow money I wasnt sure so I text my uncle who is close to him and he confirmed my dad was lying to me about the reasons he needed the money. My dad saying this time to not tell anyone just makes me suspicious, he says he just doesn't want the hassle, well of course he doesn't. 

My only worry is that if he is gambling, even slightly, that by me lending him the money it is enabling him to do so.  

Posted : 1st April 2020 8:54 am

Hi.. Welcome to the forum. I echo the thoughts of Joydivider and Merrygoround.

To me it reads as if your Dad has been paid, he's gambled, he's panicked, he's asked you for the money to tide him through to the next pay day. My guess is that he will pay you back as soon as he gets paid. He probably feels very terrible. I do hope he pays you back.

The true horror of this addiction is that its the only addiction where you can convince yourself that further gambling can be the solution as well as the problem. That's what makes it so terrifying. If your dad doesn't pay you back and comes up with some obscure reason as to why he can't pay you back or just goes quiet hoping that you won't ask, then that's probably what has happened.

As your father he probably wants to "fix" things and that's the only way that he can think of to "fix" things. You could perhaps try to reassure him that he doesn't have to try and do this, he just needs to budget his money. It might be that you would be happy to have half the money back when he gets paid and then the other half the following month. Maybe what you could do is to try to think like a gambling addict and see if you could help your dad that way. Sometimes when gambling addicts are backed into a corner they slip into "all or nothing" thinking, which will end in disaster.

Just my thoughts at this moment in time. They might be wrong.

Posted : 1st April 2020 8:54 am

If he is gambling then borrowing money becomes a survival instinct and a gambler will go for the easiest option. It will be embarrassing for him but  he is prepared to go through it as its the only option he may have other than soup kitchens or not being able to afford to travel to work 

Gambling strips us of a self respect very early on. He needs to see the reality that constantly asking his son for money should be extremely embarrassing and totally unacceptable.

Knowing this addiction I assume he has exhausted all avenues of normal lending. I know what its like to have a bad credit rating but it can be built up again with enough credit to tick over with.

Sorry CM but you need to start asking him where his money is going and why he seems to be living beyond his means. He is taking you for a soft touch because he sees no other easier options.

If he has a gambling past you can assume he is gambling. The tragic thing about this is that you are not helping him face up to it. He is chucking your money down a  grid and you need to see it that way...You have become a payday lender but you are not a financial puts your life on hold.

He cant afford to pay that sort of money back quickly on his must see that...if he pays you back quickly it just leaves him with very little to live on and he will see gambling as a way out again so its a vicious cycle until his debts swallow him ( as seems to have happened in the past)

Its not your fault and I detest how this addiction hurts our loved ones.

You have to stop the lending...reducing it dramatically on a slope to stopping may be a way but ideally you say you will do him emergency food parcels to be paid back but you are not going to fund "spending" beyond his means.

The tragedy of this addiction is it leaves families asking for receipts and a breakdown on cant throw good money after bad because there will come a day when you wont get your money back. To be blunt there may come a day when you no longer have a father due to gambling

This is the way to help him face up to his spending/gambling and get help.

Best wishes

This post was modified 2 months ago 2 times by Joydivider
Posted : 2nd April 2020 11:56 pm

Hi Joyrider,

Thanks for the above post got me thinking and more importantly realising this cant go on. 

With his bad gambling past I cant know for sure if he is gambling or not. I do know that he is in such a massive hole, due to his own actions I know, with all this debt. 

He is earning a wage and it is not great let alone when you have all these debts to pay. I give him the money believing I am helping him pay these debts, i would not give him the money if i knew he was gambling. 

I have also realised that £500 is a lot of money to lend him, it started off with a couple hundred and now we are at the point where he is asking me for £500. That cannot go on and I will speak with him in a few weeks when the money is due to be paid back to me. 

Posted : 3rd April 2020 10:34 am

So my dad was due to pay me back yesterday but of course he came up with an excuse, which I am so used to being the case after years of lending him money. 

He said he got the dates wrong to which he was supposed to be paid, it is now next week he says he will be able to pay me back. 

I said OK as I am tired of all his lies in the past and I never know anymore when he is lying or telling the truth. 

I am not desperate for the money and he knows it, I will see next week if he sticks to his word or if he comes up with another excuse. 

Posted : 19th April 2020 2:06 pm


reading your update made me think of this. It's like watching a magic trick. Before you know how the trick is done everything to do with the trick is believable. Once you know the magician's secrets all of a sudden you feel a bit cheated. You know what's going to happen, you can see the moves that are made before the trick is revealed.

By coming on here a couple of weeks ago, a few people made you aware of how it would pan out, how the trick works, and lo and behold it did. You even knew he wouldn't pay you back on time.

You could really get him to prove it by asking to see his bank statement but I suggest that maybe you don't want to really know or see the depths of his problems.

As someone who was enabled many times because I could manipulate people, if my supply of money had been cut off I would have hated them initially but ultimately my lies would have been found out earlier. Then I could start to get well. 

I'll go as far as to say that if he had a sudden bill that needed paying, rather than give him the money but offered to pay it for him, you'd suddenly find the bill isn't as big or doesn't exist at all.

I feel sad that my mind works like it does, but many years of lying and deceiving have made me aware of what we or I will go through to have a bet.

All the best



Posted : 19th April 2020 3:39 pm

To be honest I have just had enough with it all, the lies the excuses. A few years ago I had a few one on one sessions through gamcare as it effected me quite badly mentally having to always be there for him and I just dont want it to get to that stage again. 

At one point I was lending him money every month and it became the norm. He would make me keep it all a secret from everyone and I obviously didn't realise at the time what all the money was for. 

He has said he will definately get paid next week so I don’t see what other excuse he can come up with now, will just have to see. 

Posted : 19th April 2020 4:27 pm

I understand.

I'm just now starting to make amends to the people I've hurt. I spent so long not thinking properly about others that now I am, I realise just how much my gambling affected others.  Not just financially but the hurt and mental trauma I must have caused.

I wish you well.


This post was modified 2 months ago by Chris.UK
Posted : 19th April 2020 4:50 pm

So he paid me the money back today! Shocked to be honest after the excuse last week was expecting another but he gave me the money back in full. 

I know it doesnt mean for sure that he isnt gambling but its a good sign. I do know from the thousands he has lost in the past he is in a bad way with his debts and with him not having the best paid job its difficult. 

I dont mind lending him the money but I am aware it only takes one time for him to get back into the habit again so I wont let him think it can be a regular thing me lending him money like it used to be. 

Posted : 24th April 2020 8:38 pm

So he asked me for another £300 last night, his explanation was he has accumulated so much debt due to the years of gambling that he is struggling to get anywhere every month. 

I said to him that I had thought a lot about the money I had lent him last month, that it was a lot and I don't want him to get used to me doing it every month. 

He said that he understands just that I am all he has to help him at the moment. Most of my family are not bothering with him because of the damage this gambling has caused. 

It does cause me a lot of stress having to be there for him but Ive just got so used to being his go to man to get him out of trouble all of the time.

He has paid me back the money I have lent him in full the last 3 times which is why I do feel as though the gambling has stopped. If I had any feeling he was gambling i wouldn't give the money.

I just dont know how to get it through to him to stop asking me for money every month, he knows I have savings, I am living at home still so dont pay much rent, he knows me lending him a few hundred quid each month doesn't effect me financially. But he is not listening to me when I say to him how it effects me mentally. I have felt like his dad the last 10 years and dont want that to continue forever.


Posted : 4th May 2020 4:55 pm


Would your dad be open to having help with his debts so that he can manage each month, as long as he's not gambling? He would need to make a comprehensive list of who he owes money to and how much and then either he can call them all individually and set up individual repayment plans or go through a company like Payplan and they'll do all the work for you/him and make sure he has money left over each month to live on.

You are right when you say he doesn't listen to how you feel mentally, unfortunately that's a trait people in need have. Being selfish just to get what they want. I took everything I could in order to gamble and ruined others along the way. 

I'm not comparing him to me, but obviously you are affected by his behaviour. I suggest a conversation with the pretext of helping him reduce his debts.

All the best.


Posted : 4th May 2020 5:49 pm
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