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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just learned, again, the extent of my (now) ex husband's gambling. It makes my head spin to think of all he's done to me, to our daughters and even to this day, everything is "all my fault". I never dreamed of anything that could affect me so much and yet be oblivious of it, nearly to the end. The other day, I found an article on pathological gambling's effect on family and how that is a "little studied" subject.

We had our final hearing last month and I had made a lot of discovery. Most of his gambling was lotto and scratch off, as he "could not" drive to casinos. But for the sake of example, his income for one month would be $2343, from disability and a part-time retail job and his gas station expenditures $1196. Another month, income of $2079 and gas station, $1265. But for some reason, my attorney dropped the dissipation argument (but I didn't learn this til two days ago) because we "couldn't prove" the money went on lottery. I say, who cares? It obviously went somewhere and I have enough auto records to show it didn't go into a gas tank at that rate!

But for me, the worst part was finding a bank statement after the hearing and realizing that when he was previously (this is our second divorce) taking me to Court to restrict me from our daughters, he didn't show up for a hearing and only because he was off on a trip, out of state, and spent at least some time in a casino.

I think back to the terror I experienced way back when all the fighting started in earnest, and especially after his brother hid in our house and snatched our 5 & 6 year old daughters ... our pastor there for supposed "safe passage"; when the police arrived, I was sent to a mental hospital for allegations that I was going to "kill the pastor". I was in emotional shock and couldn't talk ... I couldn't tell the police that I was on the way to spend the night with a friend but needed some things ... that I wanted to work things out but not expose our children to more fighting and etc. I couldn't tell them that right after the children were snatched, I noticed the kitchen telephone was gone and it hit me that I might be in danger ... and as I look back, I can't really understand how the police could even believe such a far-fetched tale ... me against 3, or even 2 guys?

There have been so many times that he has taken advantage of my naivete ... he went to this out of state place a month or so before he first filled out divorce papers (he filed them right after getting me to the hospital). We were supposed to take a family vacation and he made up some story about going out to see if he could do construction. He had not worked a day of our then 6 1/2 year marriage and I had been after him to figure out something to try; I would support it all the way, in contrast to his parents, who babied him and lived next door, his mother in particular controlling aspects of our lives.

When our children were small, I spent a year working full-time weekends and going to school full-time, to earn a nursing certificate. Everything was 40 miles away, one way, so it was a long year, as the majority of regular responsibilities also fell on me. I wanted to continue later, but couldn't see how I could, so far from all and with so much I "had" to do. My world sort of caved in when he told me we could never move while his parents were still alive, because he "couldn't break a promise" to them (our house was on an acre they deeded to us).

So I got a bit down and depressed and went for some counseling. When I started to finally improve, he used the counseling to call me a psycho and make me look bad, when the fighting began. I think about everything I've lost and will never be able to get back ... we divorced later and he refused to let me have visitation two summers, most holidays. I was shafted in settlement and could only write letters to the Court about his refusals; I knew nothing of contempt motions and such. He took me to Court because I "wasn't visiting"; I had moved 40 miles away to get away from hell on Earth and he refused to give me my car, which was part of the settlement. I wrote his attorney, the Court, stating I wanted to visit and the reasons I couldn't ... asked for a continuance, nobody cared. I purchased a new vehicle I couldn't really afford the day I missed the hearing and the first one they showed me, because I was fearful I might not qualify and I figured I better get a new one with a warranty so I wouldn't end in the same boat. As soon as he knew I couldn't make the hearing, he got tickets for his out of state trip and during Christmas, dumped the kids with some relatives (I think?) and went to his other state to do his thing.

I actually left because I was half convinced maybe I was crazy; I was reading some old notes the other day and I was having to take my medicine down to the doctor's for safekeeping because he kept saying he would throw it away. Our children had told me they overheard him calling the doctor to try to get me hospitalized again. He was fine if I was "bipolar" but he hated it when I could think and be assertive and "stick with it". He kept talking about the old me and he didn't like this "new me". He got divorce papers and filled them out again ... as he had before, a month before filing and putting me through hell. So I left peaceably and with very little, thinking that would avoid the problems. At the time, it seemed like a person could love their children but not their spouse. I left the children, partly because I didn't know that when our last divorce case was cancelled, I automatically regained custody. I also thought stability and being around school friends and etc would be better and easier, especially if it turned out I was crazy. We requested joint custody. I received the decree and he got all the custody.

2 1/2 years later, I tried to get a protective order because he yelled, screamed and threatened when I came to pick up our daughters for summer visitation. They hid under a table and refused to come with me til a police officer came. I waited at the end of the driveway, my mouth dry with fear, as he'd threatened I was going out "in the back of a squad car".

I really don't understand this gambling and how someone can be such a Jekyll and Hyde. Once I tried to explain to him that his refusal to return my car ended up costing us additional $25,000 between the car note and the comp/collision insurance required during financing. I of course, did not know about his ulterior motives. Another time, I tried to show him that if we hadn't gone through all the rigmarole, we'd have a nearly paid off house, probably same on vehicles, close to $100k in savings and so on. Instead, the mortgage was nearly the same level as 14 years before, we were head over heels i debt and very little saved. Plus a shabby looking house.

I guess the thing that is hardest too, for me to understand is that there is "no help". When I found out what WAS going on, I contacted everyone and every place I could think of. The criteria for psychiatric intervention is supposed to be "harm" but apparently, only death and threat of dismembership count ... the specter of homelessness, financial ruin or a nervous breakdown followed by PTSD (what I went through with his early terrorization tactics) don't constitute harm, even if they do constitute torture, especially as you can't earn enough to deal with the negatives and if legally over a barrel, you're screwed. I am sick of therapy, although it has helped me immensely ... I am sick to nearly death of having to "cope" with continued lunacy and THAT is the only "help" offered to family members of crazed, lying gamblers.

Really sucks; I got better after getting away from him. But legally, my only real option (according to the attorney who represented me in the last case he tried to restrict me in) was to "get along" with him. So I came back; left a good, career oriented job with potential to come back and slowly, with the passage of time, watch the apparent positive changes fade, the b*tching at me start anew and eventually, again watch and throw money to an attorney to protect me from worse, I guess.
Really sucks to be sane and legally constrained to behave as a civilized, polite adult while another "adult" engages in a rampage of destruction and fantasy, and when you don't go with their new plan, they start "punishing" without getting into any legal problems for what they are doing.

Anyone have any good ideas how to grapple with the aftermath and the problems that come with being divorced by a vindictive gambler?
 

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I am not anti-gambling, if person can handle it.

But I have extremely painful experiences with gambling. My father's addiction destroyed our family finances for decades. We lost our house, college funds, cars, hell basic bills, to his gambling.

My wife's mother was also a gambler, who happened to be in charge of paying the bills. Her husband thought she just had a little fun at the track, until he discovered about 20 years into the marriage that she stopped paying bills, gambled away their nest egg, and was gambling away all her paychecks.

Gambling addiction is an awful disease.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Right; I agree if a person can "handle it". It's just been a bitter experience, especially finding more and more evidence "after the fact". No real or effective means to stop the person, if they come across as "competent" in other areas. Everything I worked for, sucked away, $8k to attorney for "partial" protection, and he is STILL trying to make me pay ... this too shall pass, but I sure wish it would be more quickly. The "hole" can't get much deeper LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
With such a long beginning post, I sort of wondered if I should start a new one but I decided not to. Today was not fun, yesterday was rotten. My head keeps spinning from all the new realizations (truth) and how everything I worked for ... pretty much gone without my having any say so. Used to have a career ... I spent a year, when our children were really young, working full-time weekends and attending school full-time for a year for a practical nursing cert. It was 40 miles one way to school (and nearly that to work) and I did most of the housework, too, as my husband was disabled at the time ... blind from diabetes causing bleeding into his eye balls. I wanted to continue my education etc ... I can't even go back to it, at least for now because my stress level ... well, I wouldn't want to endanger anyone's health/life from clinical judgement impaired by PTSD and my skills/knowledge need updating.

Yesterday, I ended up in a ditch from the roads being snow-covered and slick. I didn't feel "as bad" when one of the county snowplows went off right behind me, on the opposite ditch :eek:. And fortunately, I ended up getting towed out by a friendly driver who couldn't get through the mess our vehicles made (I kept thinking "tow truck = $70"). But a two hour job turned into a five hour disaster of trying to keep from getting stuck again.

Today, I went to put gas in the car and my debit card was rejected. I came back home and found I had just overdrawn, so transferred all but $3 from savings to checking, giving me about a $100 cushion til more money. I keep asking why I keep trying. But I also know if I could get past this "hellacious hump", I could do it. Nothing like $450/month attorney and counseling fees for a period of two years to screw up the most careful budget ... and I didn't "want" an attorney, I have just had too many dealings with him to go unprotected. All I wanted was six months, when he filed, to save some money and pay down some bills. I would have gladly have foregone my equity, etc 'cause I know better. So I am supposed to keep going ... I cried, all the way home and for a while after leaving the gas station. I feel like I should have just quit paying bills when he filed ... there seems to be no point in being responsible, when faced with an addict determined to destroy. And the laws don't do much to stop them, the mayhem or "reverse the charges" when reasonable and responsible protests are raised.

I don't really want to die, but I tell you I don't know how long I can keep waking up to a nightmare I didn't create and because of having children, have been unable to just leave (and after divorce, I was tempted to just "disappear" and try to explain it to our children ... later.). I feel like an idiot and there doesn't seem to be ANY agency or ANYTHING/ONE out there that really helps. I applied to some program to see if I could at least get some assistance for car repairs I can't do, so I won't lose my job, but after getting estimate, going through the whole app and letter process, they told me "no funds". I seriously feel like "no point" in anything. Although I'm equally certain that somewhere out there, some form of help exists. I've gotten burned out researching and communicating, getting blown off or told no. It's humiliating in a way to begin with. Need a vacation from all this ...
 
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