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Am I being mean?
Brother with gambling problems


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#1 Pocahontas

Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:54 PM

I spoke with my brother tonight who lives in a different state.  Basically he's telling me that he's having money issues and that he owes money to some people because he borrowed some from them (no-one serious like loan sharks but more friends he plays golf with).  He's going to have trouble making his rent this month on time and paying people back and is pretty stressed. It is all getting him down.  

He didn't ask me for money outright but I think he was fishing in a fairly subtle way.  It would have been fairly easy for me to offer to bail him out with say around $200 at least for this month without really feeling the pinch.

However, he has had a pokie adiction for as long as I can remember and is not at all responsible with money.  He has blown all the money he has every earnt as well as the small inheritance our father left us. I don't want to start enabling this habit with him thinking I'll bail him out when things get tough.  

BUT it is the first time he's ever hinted to me that he needs money and I'm thinking I'm being mean for not offering to help this once.  Also he has a history of mental health issues which I'm scared this may trigger.

WWYD?  Am I being mean?  Would you open this can of worms?



#2 VioletRose

Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:58 PM

Offer him support but not money.  It's ok for him to be uncomfortable because of his choices.

#3 noi'mnot

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:00 PM

That's a tough situation.

What does your gut tell you to do?

Do you have a close relationship? Could you ask him about his gambling?

If I were in this situation and could really afford to do so, I'd pay the $200 or so directly into where it's owed - into the RE agent's bank account, into the bpay, whatever it is rather than giving the money directly. I'd also be honest about why I was doing it this way. I'd also make it clear that I would not be making about habit out of it.

Sorry I can't be of any more help!

#4 Squeekums Da Feral

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:02 PM

Support in getting help, practical stuff like cupboard essentials if it gets that bad but never money. It goes straight in the pokies in hopes of 'I can turn this in to.... If I win' followed by 'its (machine) due to pay out for me'
Witnessed first hand as the daughter of a pokie addict

#5 Escapin

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:03 PM

I'm sure you know that you shouldn't give him any money, or pay his bills for him. Doesn't make it any easier. As the first PP said, you need to offer support but not money. I'm really sorry that you're in this position.

#6 beccajayne

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:03 PM

I would offer the money if i had it spare just once.
Maybe he is slowly managing it and just needs a help once.

If it turns out he is still gambling then I would only offer support the next time.

I always give people a chance, if they stuff up, I only offer support the next time round.

Do what feels right for you.

#7 123tree

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:03 PM

I'd ask for the details of the real estate agent and pay directly into their account if you are worried.

It is a tough one because we have paid a BIL a substantial amount of money to avoid being evicted.  He never paid us back and I am very angry.  However I still think if we had our time over I'd probably give him some money, but not as much.

#8 FeralHez

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:04 PM

We had similar concerns for a relative, we gave him groceries. I like the pp's idea of direct payments to the real estate. Perhaps supermarket vouchers as its a bit far to actually take food?

#9 RCTP

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:04 PM

I agree with squeekums - you never give money to someone with a gambling problem.

#10 beccajayne

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:04 PM

QUOTE (noi'mnot @ 20/11/2012, 08:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That's a tough situation.

What does your gut tell you to do?

Do you have a close relationship? Could you ask him about his gambling?

If I were in this situation and could really afford to do so, I'd pay the $200 or so directly into where it's owed - into the RE agent's bank account, into the bpay, whatever it is rather than giving the money directly. I'd also be honest about why I was doing it this way. I'd also make it clear that I would not be making about habit out of it.

Sorry I can't be of any more help!



This says it better than I did above.


#11 Pocahontas

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:10 PM

QUOTE
What does your gut tell you to do?

Do you have a close relationship? Could you ask him about his gambling?


My gut tells me to offer to bail him out once.  He can get quite depressed and if something serious happened then I'm not sure if I'd forgive myself.  I don't think that is the case atm but I'm too far away to really assess things.  My mum who lives in the same state is normally more aware.

We are not really close in the way that some siblings are best friends that talk all the time.  But he is my only sibling and he does share his problems with me from time to time, as shown by telling me about his financial problems now.

I'm still in two minds though as I think he gets bailed out a bit by my mum and I don't want to enable too.  I



#12 cinderellainsydney

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:16 PM

If it was my brother, I would probably bail him out, on the condition that he gets help with the gambling AND sees a financial councilor who drafts a budget that he sticks to (or you or another family member geographically closer help him with the budget and manage his money for him until he learns how).

If he is addicted, the addiction owns him, and he is pretty helpless against it. On one hand his suffering now is real notwithstanding the bad habit and he does need help, on the other it seems like it's a pattern of gambling everything away and you don't want to feed the gambling monster inside him. It's a tough call either way, but maybe consider his psychological make-up: some people respond better to tough love, firm boundaries, even criticism; while others respond better to compliments, positive reinforcement, affirmations. gentle encouragement etc.

My brother is the latter not former, and he will definitely not be able to rise up to the challenge if left alone to get out of a difficult situation, if past experience is anything to go by.

I hope this problem is short lived.

#13 starsg

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:23 PM


If people keep enabling/bailing him out he won't ever feel the true consequences of his behaviour. I would offer him support/put him in contact with people who could help him, but no way in hell would I be giving him money.

#14 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:27 PM

QUOTE (Pocahontas @ 20/11/2012, 08:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm still in two minds though as I think he gets bailed out a bit by my mum and I don't want to enable too.

Talk with your Mum and see if he's currently getting financial help from her at the moment.  If it's hitting you both up but doing it separately (ie. assuming that you won't talk to each other about it), then you need to show him that you talk to each other and that you are both aware that his gambling is digging him into a deeper hole.

I'd offer to pay his rent directly to the real estate agent this month, but let him know it's a one-off and he needs to figure himself out and get some help.

#15 The 7 Dwarfs

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:56 AM

QUOTE
WWYD?  Am I being mean?  Would you open this can of worms?


As someone who also has a close family member with this problem. DO NOT DO IT!

Once will become twice, 3 times etc etc. And don't think that all that $200 wont go down the pokies, a portion may go on what he says, but in their head they can 'double it' IYKWIM.

Why do you think he needs to pay his friends back and yet still is behind in the rent?

QUOTE
Maybe he is slowly managing it and just needs a help once.

If it turns
out he is still gambling then I would only offer support the next time.


Doesn't work like that. The just once will quickly become an expectation. He is fishing at the moment, she goes there he'll be demanding next time.

And gamblers recovering go through services to get them back on track, they help sort out how they are going to help themselves (payment plans, extra shifts at work, etc etc)O. They don't ask off family.

#16 Holidayromp

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:21 AM

QUOTE (starsg @ 20/11/2012, 09:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If people keep enabling/bailing him out he won't ever feel the true consequences of his behaviour. I would offer him support/put him in contact with people who could help him, but no way in hell would I be giving him money.


This.

There would be no way in hell I would pay anything to anyone even the RE on his behalf.  He made his bed.  By paying a gamblers debt you are enabling their addiction because it just frees up money to gamble so instead of paying debt with money he will just gamble with it instead.

He needs to suffer the consequences.  Be supportive but that is where it ends.

#17 Holidayromp

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:24 AM

QUOTE (cinderellainsydney @ 20/11/2012, 09:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If he is addicted, the addiction owns him, and he is pretty helpless against it. On one hand his suffering now is real notwithstanding the bad habit and he does need help, on the other it seems like it's a pattern of gambling everything away and you don't want to feed the gambling monster inside him. It's a tough call either way, but maybe consider his psychological make-up: some people respond better to tough love, firm boundaries, even criticism; while others respond better to compliments, positive reinforcement, affirmations. gentle encouragement etc.


Which is even more reason NOT to give money or help out with debt.  It is not the OPs fault that he is addicted.  What she will be doing it enabling this addiction.  Only he can recognise that he needs help and until he gets in and puts steps in place to stop gambling this will become and on-going cycle of debt.

He needs to reach rock bottom and he is not going to get there if people keep financially bailing him out.

#18 JustBeige

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:43 AM

QUOTE (noi'mnot @ 20/11/2012, 09:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If I were in this situation and could really afford to do so, I'd pay the $200 or so directly into where it's owed - into the RE agent's bank account, into the bpay, whatever it is rather than giving the money directly. I'd also be honest about why I was doing it this way. I'd also make it clear that I would not be making about habit out of it.

this is what I would do to.

I would also do an online order shop for him and get it home delivered so he at least has a tin of baked beans to eat.   I would order stuff like long life milk too so he has pantry items if he finds himself with no money.

This is all I would be doing as a one off.  I would be making sure he knows this.   We would also be having conversations about his gambling addiction and I would be nagging him to get to the GPs and/or gamblers anonymous for help.


QUOTE
(Pocahontas @ 20/11/2012, 08:10 PM)
I'm still in two minds though as I think he gets bailed out a bit by my mum and I don't want to enable too.
Have an honest conversation with your mum about this then before you decide to help out or not.


Its incredibly hard watching someone you love self destruct, unfortunately with addictions (generally) they have to before they want to get help.

#19 Charlie & Lola

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:04 AM

QUOTE
He can get quite depressed and if something serious happened then I'm not sure if I'd forgive myself.
If this is your reasoning to help him then no I would not do it...it might not be right now but he will get to the 'something serious happening stage' eventually.

Unless you are prepared to escalate the level of help each time he comes to you with his problems it might be best to step away now. You could potentially go on forever helping him to avoid trouble. If you do help this time there will be another time and then another time, how many times are you going to pay up to avoid the guilt of something bad happening?

It might be worth you contacting a support group for families of Gamblers. I assume that this issue is common and the gambler is enabled to continue because of the emotional feelings of family who want to save the addict from harm.

#20 opethmum

Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:56 AM

I agree with pp in that he needs to reach rock bottom, he needs to realise that he needs to change, if he is living under a bridge so be it. He needs to realise that his family will be there for him when he makes a genuine effort to change. The worst thing you could do is enable him and give him monetary support, if he has a grumbling tummy so be it, don't enable him to spend more money on the machines. You cannot change him, he can only change himself and if you financially enable him it will hamper the process. He is a grown adult and he needs to realise that his family is not a bank and that you have financial obligations and that you are not his bail out fund.
Consider this, would you give a drug addict heroine, oxycontin etc? No I don't think you would. Gambling is the same. Your family needs to reach a consensus and have a united front and do not yield to someone who clearly puts his addiction above his relationships with his family. Assure him you will be there when he grows up and takes responsibility for his life and gets help for himself and demonstrates a sober life free from gambling and manipulation.

#21 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:03 PM

I wouldn't be giving him money.

#22 Spa Gonk

Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:22 PM

No money from me.  If you are concerned about his mental health, tell him this and support him to see a doctor.  Or if he admits he has a gambling problem, put him in touch with services that can help him.

QUOTE
I would do this and make it clear it's a once-off.


I don't think telling him it is a one off is overly helpful.  If he is desperate for money, he will say and do whatever is needed to get it.  What he will remember though is if he pushes the right buttons and makes you feel sorry for him or like you can affect his health status, you are likely to give to him again when he needs it.

#23 Pocahontas

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

I'm sensing a theme here that most of you say noooooo.  

It's interesting that he's been down and out before over the past 10 years but really he's never needed me to bail him .  I think I might have give me mum a call tonight and see what she says.  

I really wish he'd kick this addiction as I'm worried that he'll become a sad destitute old man!




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