How Someone Else’s Compulsive Gambling Affects Us
Gam-Anon members are familiar with how someone else’s gambling problem can affect their lives. Do you identify with any of these situations?
1. We set aside money to pay bills . . . and we discover the money is missing; we find ourselves hiding money for safekeeping.
2. We feel that our loved one cannot be trusted with money.
3. We find ourselves wanting to search our loved one’s clothing, wallets, closets, electronic devices, bank statements, financial statements, etc., for evidence to confirm our suspicions; or we find scratch-off tickets, lottery tickets, loan books, etc. hidden away in the house or even the family car.
4. Our significant other may be inexplicably unavailable and unreachable, neglecting and jeopardizing employment and family responsibilities.
5. We notice a personality change in our loved one as their gambling progresses; per- haps their behavior becomes unpredictable with angry outbursts or moodiness or depression.
6. When confronted, the gambler will either deny that gambling is a problem or will promise to curtail or stop it; however, the gambling continues, often in secret.
7. Our gambler justifies that gambling will solve financial problems.
8. We resort to making threats in an effort to control the gambler; we are promised the gambling will stop; we submit to pleas for another chance, but, then the gambling continues again and again. We doubt ourselves and wonder what is wrong with us that we cannot stop our loved one from gambling.
9. Our gambler may not be able to hold on to a job due to gambling and irresponsible behavior; our family’s security and financial well-being are jeopardized due to gambling.
10. Our gambler may consider or commit illegal and fraudulent acts to finance the gambling.
11. We are lied to or manipulated by our gambler; things do not make sense; the gambler can make us feel guilty, shifting blame onto us, suggesting we are the cause for the gambling. We lose trust in ourselves as well as the gambler; we wonder if our behavior could possibly trigger the gambling.
12. We worry about how easy it is to gamble on electronic devices and become frustrated at our inability to manage this ease of access for our gambler.
13. We feel hopeless, isolated and alone, too embarrassed or ashamed to confide in close family members and friends.
If you think you are living with or affected by someone with a gambling problem, we invite you to come to a Gam-Anon meeting whether or not the gambler acknowledges the problem.