Resources Available for Loved Ones Posted On
Introducing resources for loved ones
Are you concerned about your loved one’s gambling? Whenever you try to bring it up to them does it turn from a conversation to an argument? If this has ever been the case for you, you’re not alone. For the person who is gambling, it can be frustrating to hear what can sound like criticism. They then act defensively because of it. For you, it can feel like you’re nagging or picking on them even though your concern is out of love. It can seem like your relationship is falling apart or that you’re losing your loved one. It can feel terrifying. We have put together six online, self-paced modules so that you can communicate with your loved one around their gambling, and so that you can help yourself understand them better.
No matter if your “loved one” is a child, parent, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, lifelong friend, etc., it can be challenging to know how to manage your emotions in a situation where you’re worried about them and their gambling behavior. It is important to make sure both are in a place to have a two-way conversation before you start talking.
Why do they gamble?
One of the questions we ask ourselves when our loved one has a gambling problem is “why is my loved one gambling?”. There can be many different reasons someone started gambling. Often people do not continue to gamble for the same reasons they started. It is important to understand their “why” to better be able to be a support for them.
Lying about gambling, especially about the amount of time or money spent, is something that happens frequently when a person has a gambling problem. It is important to remember that most people aren’t lying to be deceitful for the sake of it. The lie(s) being told are serving a purpose. Often the purpose is to protect their loved ones or selves. There are some helpful ways you can respond so the conversation doesn’t turn into an argument.
Warning! Ambivalence is normal
People’s motivation for getting help and making change in their lives is not constant. Depending on what is going on around them, sometimes they may be more or less motivated to stop or cut back on gambling or even to getting help. Ambivalence is normal for anyone considering making a change in their lives. If you’ve ever wanted to lose weight, stop smoking, save money, you’ve probably experienced ambivalence to. On one hand, you know you need to make changes, but on the other, there are reasons to continue. It is the same for someone with a gambling problem. They know they should stop or change, but at the same time, one big win could solve problems. Talk to your loved one about what motivates them to change or stop, and what gets in the way.
When it feels like everything you say about your loved one’s gambling comes out wrong and seems to initiate an argument, it seems impossible to relay your concern and have hope that their behavior will change. There are ways to invite conversations that will allow you to really talk and listen to each other. Using open-ended questions, affirming statements, reflective statements and summaries are all great ways to let your loved one know that you are really trying to understand where they are coming from instead of judging them.
The course is designed to give you options and skills so you can practice more effective communication. Sometimes, loved ones like yourself need more support. If you are in New York State, you can reach out to the PGRC to get additional support that is available for loved ones. There are also other options, The Hidden Addiction Podcast can give you information about problem gambling as well as more details about services and what they’re like. The I, Butterfly: A Podcast for Affected Others gives firsthand stories of people who have experienced their loved one’s gambling disorder and found hope and recovery.
The long and short of it is, you are not alone. There is hope.