Feeling overwhelmed by someone's problem gambling? It can be a strain dealing with someone’s gambling, but there are lots of ways you can help yourself.

Feeling the strain is normal

Many people find it difficult to understand why people cannot just stop gambling.  It is normal to feel upset or angry about someone else's gambling. 

People often ask, 'how can I make them stop?' or 'what can I do, to make them see the problem?'

It may feel natural to want to take responsibility for someone else's gambling. However, choosing to change gambling behaviour is ultimately the responsibility of the person who gambles.

When someone chooses to continue to gamble, it can lead to others feeling upset and hurt. Focusing on caring for yourself and working through your feelings can decrease the impact of someone's gambling on you.

Self care

It is important to look after yourself, because feeling tired and run down as a result of trying to help is not helpful to you or the person who gambles in the long run.

Having some time out may enable you to cope better in difficult circumstances. You could try to:

  • Relax – take some time for yourself you could book yourself a massage or just have a bath or a shower.
  • Eat healthy food – it can be tempting to eat lots of sugary or fatty snacks but eating well will make you feel better overall.
  • Get moving – go for a walk or a run, maybe join a fitness class, moving even just a little bit will make you feel better.

To find out some more strategies chat to one of our online gambling counsellors today:

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Seek support

It can be very difficult to cope on your own when a person close to you has a gambling problem. 

Talk to someone you trust, such as a close family member, your local doctor, friend or a counsellor who you know will not judge you or the person that gambles. Talking about what you are going through can be really helpful in alleviating stress.

Talking to other people can also provide useful advice and a different perspective on the situation.

Planning

Know your limits by thinking about what you are willing to accept and what is unacceptable.

Determine the level of involvement you are prepared to commit to, and then discuss this with the person who gambles. 

Discuss and negotiate a plan by determining what each of you is willing to do. It may be helpful to speak to a professional gambling counsellor, another family member or a friend for assistance in making decisions or to develop a plan. 

You can seek support from a counsellor who specialises in gambling to help you decide what you can realistically do to support the person who gambles. Get started by chatting to one of our counsellors today

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Taking steps to protect to you and your family

In most cases, people who have a gambling problem have difficulty dealing with money. There are measures you can take to protect yourself and those around you, including:

  • Take control of finances for the immediate future
  • Limit access to cash for the person who gambles - Limiting cash can be difficult to put in place. Seeking support from a specialist gambling counsellor can be important to help you work out the best way to approach this strategy. 
  • Organise direct debit for bills, mortgages and other regular payments
  • Create a realistic budget and keep good records of all financial transactions
  • Keep a check on the mail
  • Speak to a financial counsellor about how to avoid inheriting the gambler's debts and removing your name from joint accounts
  • Do not sign anything you don't understand or are not prepared to pay for
  • Do not lend EFTPOS or credit cards, share pin numbers or leave that information where it can be easily accessed

Next steps

By helping yourself and your family you can take control of your life and be in a better position to help the person who gambles:

  • Find out how to access support services 
  • Find out how you can protect your finances and assets by talking to a financial counsellor on 1800 007 007 they are open Monday-Friday 9.30-4.30
  • If you need to talk to someone about domestic violence, family violence or sexual assault call the 1800 RESPECT LINE - 1800 737 732