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How do i stop enabling him?  


Hello again, one of the replies to my previous post told me I was an enabler. It was from somebody who had been in the same position I'm currently in so I have total respect for their honesty in saying that but it has really got my head ticking. They were absolutely right, I never ever carry any of my threats through, I was the same as a parent with my boys. I'm just a pushover and I always have been but I just dont know what my husband wants from me anymore because nothing I ever do is good enough. I literally do everything for him bar wipe his backside. He doesn't lift a finger around the house, his clothes stay on the floor where he drops them, I cook all of his meals then I bring them in to him while he's watching the telly along with a drink, I move his plate when he's finished, he does Nothing!!!! I think I am only just realising that the way I'm living my life isn't normal anymore. I suffer from agoraphobia so I never leave the house but after 25yrs with this man who over the last 10yrs has taken over £98000 away from us and his family I think I've come to the end of my rope. He never talks to me, touches me, hugs me, kisses me. He is miserable and angry all of the time, he constantly belittled me and puts me down. I have only twice had a birthday present from him and he hasn't once acknowledged our anniversary even though we've been married for 23yrs. A few months ago he stopped sleeping with me altogether and now sleeps on the couch, I feel like I must disgust him, yet he is the one who has caused all of the problems and the pain over the years and I've been the one taking it. I don't know what to do anymore, I have nowhere to go and I know he would never leave, why would he when he's got me waiting on him hand and foot. I have nobody to talk to, no family at all and no friends anymore. I'm so alone in this world. I can sit in the same room as him and be sobbing my heart out begging him to talk to me but he completely ignores me being there, it's like he has no emotion inside him. I could never do that to him. I'm feeling very scared at the moment, I dread him coming home from work and my stomach is constantly churning when I'm around him. If I has some money I'd be gone in a flash but I won't ever get back on my feet now because he's got us into so much debt. I just want a life that is normal, not the one I'm living now and I don't know where to turn 😢

Posted : 29th October 2020 9:19 pm

Your post is so important to so many people in the same situation. Thank you for your bravery in doing it. Seek the support of the team. They have people you can talk to that will help you. I really feel for you. 

Posted : 29th October 2020 9:28 pm

Hello. Sometimes I think it's important to just acknowledge a post and think about what has been written.

I just wanted to say I feel for you and if I could give you a hug I would.


Posted : 29th October 2020 10:09 pm

Hi Trace , I don't think any of us know what to say to help. How old are your sons Trace ? Do they know how bad your life has become? I wish I had some magical words but sadly I dont. Get as much professional help for yourself as you can , what about citizens advice ? I hope that you find someone to help. Take care of yourself

Posted : 29th October 2020 10:36 pm
Merry go round

Hi Trace I read your new post and went on another site I follow that is about /help/support for those affected by addicts of any sort, to try and answer your question.

A definition of enabling is ‘doing for an addict what they can do themselves’.

Another and one I find easier to get my head around, is making life comfortable for an addict.

Reading others views, most ask the question ‘how do I stop enabling?’

I don’t think there is a definitive answer. What works for one may not work for another.

I think the must important thing to do is stop focusing attention on the addict. Focus on yourself. What small thing can you do today to make you feel better.

Do you have a counsellor? 

I think the main thing that stops us/me/you/anyone enabling an addict is when we stop thinking ‘it’s them, it’s their problem.’

We have to think about ourselves and how do we stop the cycle of bad behaviour. What can we change in ourselves, what can we do differently? We have to stop looking to the addict for change, and look at ourselves.

Also another thing to try and do is stop being affected by another. To stop being drawn into the drama or the game. To stop reacting in the same way.

As you talk more I can see that you have too many things to deal with at once. Try and take things in tiny steps. Try to focus on yourself and how to ‘recover’. 

It’s up to your husband to seek help for his addiction and find his way to a better life.

Its up to you to concentrate on yourself.

It’s not easy and I’m not a professional or qualified person, but I’m offering my own interpretation and experience.

I’m also asking the same question every day. It’s always up to me to sort everything, but only if I choose to. 

Try and make some connections with people, text or email. Gamcare, gamanon, your children, an old friend. Reaching out is the first small step and will help.

There is no magic wand and we don’t change overnight, it’s about discussion and views, take from it what helps you.

Posted : 30th October 2020 5:48 am

Hello  Trace i have alot of empathy for you. Seems like hes blaming you for his problem.

You say he sits in the room , does not talk to you and doesn't have any emotion.

To me this is a very red Flag of Psychopathy !

these people always try to make the victim feel that they are wrong and its there fault.

you have to think about yourself is this person worth being with.

People that really love you will NOT be Cruel.

No matter how lonely you feel , your better off on your own, than be with somebody who starves you of Love,

Best wishes

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by Johnny57
Posted : 30th October 2020 7:32 am

He must be filled with self loathing, Trace, but it sounds as though he's not even beginning to face up to it.  Does he have friends and relatives who are prepared to support you?   Maybe if he saw the rest of his support network (if he has one) rallying around you, it might give him something of a wake up call?

You seem like a really kind, caring person and I think it's very easy for somebody with those qualities to end up in a codependent relationship where they're devoting too much of themselves towards trying to help somebody who has an addiction. 

You've mentioned that he would never leave, but potentially you could give him no choice. You've tried to support him through this, but from the sound of things he totally stonewalls any effort to help him try to address the addiction.  

Particularly in these times of lockdown, I'm mindful that there is potential for domestic abuse in many families and so I suppose before making any suggestions I'd want to know...would it be safe for you to confront him in a very assertive way?  Is there any history of physical abuse?

If you felt able, and safe, about confronting him in a very direct way, I think one way to do it might be to write him a note along these lines, and just shove it under his face before walking out of the room to leave him to (hopefully) read it.

"you need to get yourself some professional help to deal with this problem that you've financially ruined us with. I'm going to give you a week to reach out to professionals and make at least some preliminary plans to put an addiction recovery package together. If you can do that, and if I can see clear evidence of you actually engaging with those professionals and showing a convincing determination to address this problem, then I will do what I can to support you. But if you're content to carry on sitting in this terrible hole that you've dragged the rest of your family into, and refusing to do a thing to help yourself get free of this addiction, then you're going to find yourself in the homeless section of the Council asking for help with emergency housing.  And at that point you're going to wish you'd made better use of the love and support that at this point in time I'm still prepared to offer you."

Posted : 30th October 2020 7:42 am

Sorry for my delay in replying, I've had a terrible week and haven't engaged with this site at all and now I've read all of your repliesi wish I'd come back much sooner. Your help and advice is beyond words and for that I thank you all. I'm in quite a dark place at the moment and I just don't think I've got the physical or mental strength to fight this fight anymore. The only people I have I my life besides my husband are my two sons, the eldest has his gf and they have my three beautiful grandsons together. They have no clue the life I'm living every day because I just keep on smiling and they think all is good however it's my oldest grandsons birthday on the 24th and then we have Christmas. I am so embarrassed about what is happening money wise, they think their dad works long hours and brings home a good wage which he does, but they don't see they loan repayments being taken every month, the debts he has mounted up that we're trying to pay off. Last Friday he got paid £1640, yet a couple of hours ago the bank text me to say we were overdrawn by £16 and when I've checked low and behold there is nothing left and all these companies I've never heard of taking payments I know nothing about. How can I not buy my grandbabies Christmas presents???? I'd sooner not be here than face them with nothing for Christmas. How do you explain to a 5yr old that his grandad is a selfish idiot???? I've literally had as much as I can take, I'm so tired of feeling broken and lonely and ultimately stupid for loving this man who clearly doesn't give a toss about me. The person  I used to be wouldn't accept this, but he destroyed her years ago and I'm not sure she even exists inside me anymore 😢

Posted : 6th November 2020 1:39 pm
Merry go round

Hi trace, can you call and talk to the bank? Is this joint account?

Another charity that are great are stepchange. They can help you prioritise living expenses and sort a debt plan. You can’t live just paying debts, you have to have money for everyday life and food. 

You really can’t keep struggling alone. These organisations are setup to help people like you and me who live with addicts who are out of control. Using family money for gambling is not acceptable. 

You need to get help and tell your family. Stop putting on a brave face. No one needs to give you money but you need emotional support and maybe some help with talking to your husband.

There is no shame. We become incapable of asking for help or seeing another way. Trust me there is. We can’t do this alone. We need help and advice, counselling, a support group of others in the same situation. Experience of this life comes from others who have also lived with a gambler.

Gamanon or gamcare will help. Gamanon online Sunday night 7pm just go to the website and join the meeting, someone is there to help.

Posted : 6th November 2020 7:22 pm
Forum admin

Hello Trace,

I see that elsewhere on the forum you have posted that you have made three attempts on your life in the last eighteen months, and that you are medicated for anxiety and that you have the support of your local mental health team.  We have emailed you this afternoon inviting you to call us on our freephone 0808 8020 133, so we can provide you with more support if you like.   We are available 24 hours a day on that freephone and on our netline, for whenever you want immediate emotional support, information, advice, or access to free appointments by telephone or online videocall.

It is good that you have the support of your local mental health team.  Please call their crisis team if you need urgent support at any point.   You are doing the best you can under difficult circumstances and as others have encouraged you to focus on using support to meet your own needs, we do too urge you to make good use of all the available support.    

Some of our forum members also make use of the freephone for the Samaritans on 116 123, and the freephone for the National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, both of which are also available 24 hours a day.

Well done to you for telling your story.  Although you suffer with anxiety, you have had the courage to join this site and post your story here, it is a step forward to find your voice here and talking with us here may help you to gain further confidence in using your voice to talk with your family or with the professionals supporting you.

You have posted elsewhere that you couldn't contemplate separation from your dogs, which I accept and understand, but in case it is of interest at any point in the future, here is a site that has information on fostering dogs for people fleeing domestic abuse:

Take care Trace, and please do feel welcome to call us on our freephone 0808 8020 133.


Posted : 6th November 2020 9:39 pm

Hi Trace,

Reading your posts it certainly sounds like you are suffering with depression and no wonder as it also sounds you are in an abusive relationship. Your self worth is on the floor but there is help and support out there for you if you really want to turn things around, do not doubt yourself you can do this. It is pointless remaining in a relationship and pretending to the outside world that all is ok when in reality the house is burning to the ground.

Imagine this was one of your children being treated like this by their partner, what advice would you give them? I get that your family/friends are not supportive but there is counselling via Gamcare, you can call Womens aid or even the Samaritans. You can open up and get the help you need to start turning your life around, focus on you and your needs, they have been ignored for too long.

Posted : 9th November 2020 4:45 pm
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