My mom has a problem with overspending and gambling. Help!

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
My mom has a problem with overspending and gambling. Help!
Fri, 09-14-2012 - 12:29am


My mom is beyond broke. She cannot afford groceries, her bills, gas, household items, and etc. The sad part is she has a really good job that pays amazing. She is so poor because of her gambling and compulsive overspending. She started gambling just like once or twice a year when she'd go on one of those day bus tours to a casino. Next thing we knew she was going at least once a week then by the time we realized how bad it was she was calling off of work to go gambling or canceling prior obligations. She was really skillful in her lying and keep it a secret. Her and her husband have 100% seperate bank accounts and split the bills up by one person pays this and the other pays that so they never have to meet in the middle to discuss finances. In the past year she's probably spent over $10,000 gambling and we all know it's so much more but she won't admit the real number.

Another problem is her overspending to overcompensate because she'll feel guilty about this or that so she starts buying everyone things they don't need or family members that should not be looking for hand-outs try to guilt trip her into taking them shopping or buying things for their kids.

We don't know what to do to help her because it's hard to get help for someone who doesn't want it. She's been to individual therapy, group therapy, spending and gambling support groups, she's tried different hobbies, but she always goes back to it.

I'm living back home with them while I get this new degree because my college is literally 10 miles from the house so it doesn't make sense to move out. It's embarassing having to explain this to family ( they already know but they always ask about it ) and to my boyfriend because it's pretty obviously that something is going on and we tend to fight alot when she's on a gambling binge so I vent to him.

I don't have any issues helping out with groceries and what not but it's sad when she literally makes 10X what I make and I'm using what little money I have to buy groceries so my siblings aren't hungry and so they have personal items.


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004

What does her husband say about her gambling?  If she doesn't pay the bills she's responsible for or buy groceries surely he knows something is wrong financially.  I'd probably seek the advice of a counselor and maybe set up an intervention.  I wouldn't bail her out by buying things or spending your money on things she is responsible for because that only delays the inevitable fall she's going to have when the results of her gambling hit home.

Is her husband the father of your siblings?  If so, I'd talk to him directly about the kids not having enough to eat.  Are you paying rent for living at home?  If you are, start giving your rent money to your mother's husband instead of her, so at least that money can be spent on food for your siblings instead of your mother gambling it away.  Covering for an addict never only enables them to continue their addiction.